Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 99-129

{99. And indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat and none disbelieve in them but Fasiqun (those who rebel against Allah’s command).

100. Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throw it aside? Nay! (the truth is:) most of them believe not.

101. And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah (i.e. Muhammad) confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know!

102. They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulayman (Solomon). Sulayman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew.

103. And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!}

Proofs of Muhammad’s Prophethood

Imam Abu Ja` far bin Jarir said that Allah’s statement, “And indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat” means, “We have sent to you, O Muhammad, clear signs that testify to your prophethood.” These Ayat are contained in the Book of Allah (Qur’an) which narrates the secrets of the knowledge that the Jews possess, which they hid, and the stories of their earlier generations. The Book of Allah also mentions the texts in the Books of the Jews that are known to only the rabbis and scholars, and the sections where they altered and distorted the rulings of the Tawrah. Since Allah mentioned all of this in His Book revealed to His Prophet Muhammad , then this fact alone should be enough evidence for those who are truthful with themselves and who wish to avoid bringing themselves to destruction due to envy and transgression. Further human instict testifies to the truth that Muhammad was sent with and the clear signs that he brought which he did not learn or acquire from mankind. Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “And indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat” means, “You recite and convey this Book to them day and night, although you are an Ummi (unlettered) who never read a book. Yet, you inform them of what they have (in their own Books). Allah stated that this fact should serve as an example, a clear sign and a proof against them, if they but knew.”

The Jews break Their Covenants

When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was sent and Allah reminded the Jews of the covenant that they had with Him, especially concerning Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Malik bin As-Sayf said, “By Allah! Allah never made a covenant with us about Muhammad, nor did He take a pledge from us at all.” Allah then revealed, “Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throw it aside?” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that Allah’s statement, “Nay! (the truth is:) most of them believe not” means, “There is not a promise that they make, but they break it and abandon it. They make a promise today and break it tomorrow.”

The Jews abandoned the Book of Allah and practiced Magic

As-Suddi commented on, “And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah (i.e. Muhammad) confirming what was with them”, “When Muhammad came to them, they wanted to contradict and dispute with him using the Tawrah. However, the Tawrah and the Qur’an affirmed each other. So the Jews gave up on using the Torah, and took to the Book of Asaf, and the magic of Harut and Marut, which indeed did not conform to the Qur’an. Hence Allah’s statement, “As if they did not know!” Also, Qatadah said that Allah’s statement, “As if they did not know!” means, “They knew the truth but abandoned it, hid it and denied the fact that they even had it.”

Magic existed before Sulayman (Solomon)

As-Suddi said that Allah’s statement, “They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulayman” means, “During the time of Prophet Solomon. Beforehand, the devils used to ascend to heaven and eavesdrop on the conversations of the angels about what will occur on the earth regarding death, other incidents or unseen matters. They would convey this news to the soothsayers, and the soothsayers would in turn convey the news to the people. The people would believe what the soothsayers told them as being true. When the soothsayers trusted the devils, the devils started to lie to them and added other words to the true news that they heard, to the extent of adding seventy false words to each true word. The people recorded these words in some books. Soon after, the Children of Israel said that the Jinns know matters of the Unseen. When Solomon was sent as a Prophet, he collected these books in a box and buried it under his throne; any devil that dared get near the box was burned. Solomon said , ‘I will not hear of anyone who says that the devils know the Unseen, but I will cut off his head.’ When Solomon died and the scholars who knew the truth about Solomon perished, there came another generation. To them, the devil materialized in the shape of a human and said to some of the Children of Israel, ‘Should I lead you to a treasure that you will never be able to use up’ They said. Yes.’ He said, ‘Dig under this throne,’ and he went with them and showed them Solomon’s throne. They said to him, ‘Come closer.’ He said, ‘No. I will wait for you here, and if you do not find the treasure then kill me. ‘ They dug and found the buried books, and Satan said to them, ‘Solomon only controlled the humans, devils and birds with this magic.’ Thereafter, the news that Solomon was a sorcerer spread among the people, and the Children of Israel adopted these books. When Muhammad came, they disputed with him relying on these books. Hence Allah’s statement, “Sulayman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved”. (At-Tabari 2:405)

The Story of Harut and Marut, and the Explanation that They were Angels

Allah said, “And such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife”. There is a difference of opinion regarding this story. It was said that this Ayah denies that anything was sent down to the two angels, as Al-Qurtubi stated and then referred to the Ayah, “Sulayman did not disbelieve” saying, “The negation applies in both cases. Allah then said, “But the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels”. The Jews claimed that Gabriel and Michael brought magic down to the two angels, but Allah refuted this false claim.” (A-Qurtubi 2:50)

Also, Ibn Jarir reported, that Al-‘Awfi said that Ibn ‘Abbas said about Allah’s statement, “And such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels” “Allah did not send magic down.” (At-Tabari 2:419) Also, Ibn Jarir narrated that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said about, “And such things that came down to the two angels”, “Allah did not send magic down to the them.” Ibn Jarir commented, “This is the correct explanation for this Ayah. “They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely) in the lifetime of Sulayman.” meaning, magic. However, neither did Solomon disbelieve nor did Allah send magic with the two angels. The devils, on the other hand, disbelieved and taught magic to the people of the Babylon of Harut and Marut.” Ibn Jarir continued; “If someone asks about explaining this Ayah in this manner, we say that, “They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely) in the lifetime of Sulayman” means, magic. Solomon neither disbelieved nor did Allah send magic with the two angels. However, the devils disbelieved and taught magic to the people in the Babylon of Harut and Marut, meaning Gabriel and Michael, for Jewish sorcerers claimed that Allah sent magic by the words of Gabriel and Michael to Solomon, son of David. Allah denied this false claim and stated to His Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that Gabriel and Michael were not sent with magic. Allah also exonerated Solomon from practicing magic, which the devils taught to the people of Babylon by the hands of two men, Harut and Marut. Hence, Harut and Marut were two ordinary men (not angels or Gabriel or Michael).” These were the words of At-Tabari, and this explanation is not plausible.

Many among the Salaf, said that Harut and Marut were angels who came down from heaven to earth and did what they did as the Ayah stated. To conform this opinion with the fact that the angels are immune from error, we say that Allah had eternal knowledge what these angels would do, just as He had eternal knowledge that Iblis would do as he did, while Allah refered to him being among the angels,

“And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.” And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused” (20:116)

and so forth. However, what Harut and Marut did was less evil than what Iblis, may Allah curse him, did.

Learning Magic is Kufr

Allah said, “But neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” Abu Ja` far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that Qays bin ‘Abbad said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “When someone came to the angels to learn magic, they would discourage him and say to him, ‘We are only a test, so do not fall into disbelief.’ They had knowledge of what is good and evil and what constitutes belief or disbelief, and they thus knew that magic is a form of disbelief. When the person who came to learn magic still insisted on learning it, they commanded him to go to such and such place, where if he went, Satan would meet him and teach him magic. When this man would learn magic, the light (of faith) would depart him, and he would see it shining (and flying away) in the sky. He would then proclaim, ‘O my sorrow! Woe unto me! What should I do.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that this Ayah means, “The angels were sent with magic, so that the people whom Allah willed would be tried and tested. Allah made them promise that they would not teach anyone until first proclaiming, ‘We are a test for you, do not fall into disbelief.”’ It was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Also, Qatadah said, “Allah took their covenant to not teach anyone magic until they said, ‘We are a test. Therefore, do not fall in disbelief.”’ (At-Tabari 2:443)

Also, As-Suddi said, “When a man would come to the two angels they would advise him, ‘Do not fall into disbelief. We are a test’ When the man would ignore their advice, they would say, ‘Go to that pile of ashes and urinate on it.’ When he would urinate on the ashes, a light, meaning the light of faith, would depart from him and would shine until it entered heaven. Then something black that appeared to be smoke would descend and enter his ears and the rest of his body, and this is Allah’s anger. When he told the angels what happened, they would teach him magic. So Allah’s statement, “But neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).”  (At-Tabari 2:443)

Sunayd said that Hajjaj said that Ibn Jurayj commented on this Ayah (2:102), “No one dares practice magic except a disbeliever. As for the Fitnah, it involves trials and freedom of choice.” The scholars who stated that learning magic is disbelief relied on this Ayah for evidence. They also mentioned the Hadith that Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar recorded from’ Abdullah, which states,

“Whoever came to a soothsayer or a sorcerer and believed in what he said, will have disbelieved in what Allah revealed to Muhammad.” (Kashaf Al-Astar 2:443)

This Hadith has an authentic chain of narration and there are other Hadiths which support it.

Causing a Separation between the Spouses is One of the Effects of Magic

Allah said, “And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife,” This means, “The people learned magic from Harut and Marut and indulged in evil acts that included separating spouses, even though spouses are close to, and intimately associate with each other. This is the devil’s work.” Muslim recorded that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Satan erects his throne on water and sends his emissaries among the people. The closest person to him is the person who causes the most Fitnah. One of them (a devil) would come to him and would say, ‘I kept inciting so-and-so, until he said such and such words.’ Iblis says, ‘No, by Allah, you have not done much.’ Another devil would come to him and would say, ‘I kept inciting so-and-so, until I separated between him and his wife.’ Satan would draw him closer and embrace him, saying, ‘Yes, you did well.’ (Muslim 4:2167)

Separation between a man and his wife occurs here because each spouse imagines that the other spouse is ugly or ill-mannered, etc.

Allah’s Appointed Term supercedes Everything

Allah said, “But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave”. Sufyan Ath-Thawri commented, “Except by Allah’s appointed term.” Further, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that, “But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave” means, “Allah allows magicians to adversely affect whomever He wills and saves whomever He wills from them. Sorcerers never bring harm to anyone except by Allah’s leave.” Allah’s statement, “And they learn that which harms them and profits them not”. means, it harms their religion and does not have a benefit compared to its harm. “And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no (Khalaq) share in the Hereafter”. meaning, “The Jews who preferred magic over following the Messenger of Allah knew that those who commit the same error shall have no Khalaq in the Hereafter.” Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid and As-Suddi stated that ‘no Khalaq’ means, ‘no share.’

Allah then said,“And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew. And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!”. Allah stated, “And how bad” meaning, what they preferred, magic, instead of faith and following the Messenger, if they but comprehend the advice. “And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord”, meaning, “Had they believed in Allah and His Messenger and avoided the prohibitions, then Allah’s reward for these good deeds would have been better for them than what they chose and preferred for themselves.” Similarly, Allah said,

 “But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except As-Sabirun (the patient in following the truth).” (28:80)

{104. O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina but say Unzurna (make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment.

105. Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikin (the idolaters) like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord. But Allah chooses for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty.}

Manners in Speech

Allah forbade His believing servants from imitating the behavior and deeds of the disbelievers. The Jews used to use devious words that hide what they really meant. May Allah’s curse be upon them. When they wanted to say, ‘hear us,’ they would use the word Ra’ina, which is an insult (in Hebrew, but means ‘hear us’ in Arabic). Allah said,

“Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from (their) right places and say: “We hear your word (O Muhammad ) and disobey,” and “Hear and let you (O Muhammad ) hear nothing.” And Ra`ina with a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion (Islam). And if only they had said: “We hear and obey,” and “Do make us understand,” it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not except a few” (4:46)

Also, the Hadiths stated that when they would greet Muslims, they would say, ‘As-Samu  alaykum,’ meaning, ‘death be to you’. This is why we were commanded to answer them by saying, ‘Wa ‘alaykum,’ meaning, ‘and to you too’, then our supplication against them shall be answered, rather than theirs against us.

Allah forbade the believers from imitating the disbelievers in tongue or deed. Allah said,

“O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger) Ra’ina but say Unzurna (make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment” (2:104).

Also, Imam Ahmad narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said,

“I was sent with the sword just before the Last Hour, so that Allah is worshipped alone without partners. My sustenance was provided for me from under the shadow of my spear. Those who oppose my command were humiliated and made inferior, and whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.” (Ahmad 2:50)

Abu Dawud narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them”. (Abu Dawud 4:314)

These Hadiths indicate, along with their threats and warnings, that we are not allowed to imitate the disbelievers in their statements, deeds, clothes, feasts, acts of worship, etc., whatever actions of the disbelievers that were not legislated for us.

Ad-Dahhak said t hat Ibn ‘Abbas commented on the Ayah, “Say not (to the Messenger) Ra`ina” They used to say to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Ar`ina samak (which is an insult).” (At-Tabari 2:461) Ibn Abu Hatim said that it was reported that Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Abu Malik, Ar-Rabi’bin Anas, ‘Atiyah Al-‘Awfi and Qatadah said similarly. Further, Mujahid said, “Do not say Ra’ ina’ means, ‘Do not dispute’.(Ibn Abi Hatim 1:318)  Mujahid said in another narration, “Do not say, `We hear from you, and you hear from us.”’ Also, Ata’ said, “Do not say, (Ra’ina), which was a dialect that the Ansar used and which was forbidden from use by Allah.”

Also, As-Suddi said, “Rifa’ah bin Zayd, a Jewish man from the tribe of Qaynuqa’, used to come to the Prophet and say to him, ‘Hear, Ghayr Musma’in (let you hear nothing).’ The Muslims used to think that the Prophets are greeted and honored with this type of speech, and this is why some of them used to say, ‘Hear, let you hear nothing,’ and so on, as mentioned in Surat An-Nisa.” Thereafter, Allah forbade the believers from uttering the word Ra` ina.” (At-Tabari 2:462)

The extreme Enmity that the Disbelievers and the People of the Book have against Muslims

Allah said next,

“Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al- Mushrikin (the idolaters), like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord”.  (2:105)

Allah described the deep enmity that the disbelieving polytheists and People of the Scripture, whom Allah warned against imitating, have against the believers, so that Muslims should sever all friendship with them. Also, Allah mentioned what He granted the believers of the perfect Law that He legislated for their Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah said,

“But Allah chooses for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty” (2:105).

{106. Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh (We abrogate) or Nunsiha (cause to be forgotten), We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things

107. Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.}

The Meaning of Naskh

Ibn Abi Talhah said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh” means, “Whatever an Ayah We abrogate.” Also, Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh” means, “Whatever an Ayah We erase.” Also, Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh” means, “We keep the words, but change the meaning.” He related these words to the companions of ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud. Ibn Abi Hatim said that similar statements were mentioned by Abu Al-‘Aliyah and Muhammad bin Ka’b Al- Qurazi. Also As-Suddi said that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh” means, “We erase it.” Further, Ibn Abi Hatim said that it means, “Erase and raise it, such as erasing the following wordings (from the Qur’an), ‘The married adulterer and the married adulteress: stone them to death,’ and, `If the son of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would seek a third.”’ Ibn Jarir stated that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh” means, “Whatever ruling we repeal in an Ayah by making the allowed unlawful and the unlawful allowed.” The Nasakh only occurs with commandments, prohibitions, permissions, and so forth. As for stories, they do not undergo Nasakh. The word, ‘Nasakh’ literally means, ‘to copy a book’. The meaning of Nasakh in the case of commandments is removing the commandment and replacing it by another. And whether the Nasakh involves the wordings, the ruling or both, it is still called Nasakh.

Allah said next, “or Nunsiha (cause it to be forgotten)”. ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh or Nunsiha” means, “Whatever Ayah We repeal or uphold without change.” Also, Mujahid said that the companions of Ibn Mas’ud (who read this word Nansa’ha) said that it means, “We uphold its wording and change its ruling.” Further, ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr, Mujahid                   and ‘Ata’ said, ‘Nansa’ha’ means, “We delay it (i.e. do not abrogate it).” Further, ‘Atiyyah Al-‘Awfi said that the Ayah means, “We delay repealing it.” This is the same Tafsir provided by As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi ‘bin Anas. ‘Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma’mar said that Qatadah said about Allah’s statement, “Whatever a verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten” “Allah made His Prophet forget what He willed and He abrogated what He willed.”

Allah’s said, “We bring a better one or similar to it”, better, relates to the benefit provided for the one it addresses, as reported from ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah that Ibn ‘Abbas said,“We bring a better one” means, “We bring forth a more beneficial ruling, that is also easier for you.” Also, As-Suddi said that,“We bring a better one or similar to it” means, “We bring forth a better Ayah, or similar to that which was repealed.” Qatadah also said that,“We bring a better one or similar to it” means, “We replace it by an Ayah more facilitating, permitting, commanding, or prohibiting.”

Naskh occurs even though the Jews deny it

Allah said,“Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper”. Allah directed His servants to the fact that He alone is the Owner of His creatures and that He does with them as He wills. Indeed, His is the supreme authority and all creation is His, and just as He created them as He wills, He brings happiness to whom He wills, misery to whom He wills, health to whom He wills and ailment to whom He wills. He also brings success to whom He wills and failure to whom He wills. He judges between His servants as He wills, allows what He wills and disallows what He wills. He decides what He wills, there is no opponent for His judgment, and no one can question Him about what He does, while they shall be questioned. He tests His servants and their obedience to His Messengers by the Naskh. He commands a matter containing a benefit which He knows of, and then He out of His wisdom, prohibits it. Hence, perfect obedience is realized by adhering to His commands, following His Messengers, believing in what ever they convey, implementing their commands and avoiding what they prohibit.

The statements of Allah here contain tremendous benefit, prove that the Jews are disbelievers and refute their claim that Naskh does not occur, may Allah curse the Jews. In ignorance and arrogance they claimed that the sound mind stipulates that Naskh does not occur. Some of them falsely claimed that there are divine texts that dismiss the possibility that Naskh occurred.

Imam Abu Ja’far bin Jarir said, “The Ayah means, ‘Do you not know, O Muhammad, that I alone own the heavens and the earth and that I decide whatever I will in them I forbid whatever I will, change and repeal whatever I will of My previous rulings, whenever I will. I also uphold whatever I will.” Ibn Jarir then said, “Although Allah directed His statement indicating His greatness towards His Prophet, peace be upon him, He also rejected the lies of the Jews who denied that the rulings of the Torah could undergo Naskh. The Jews also denied the prophethood of Jesus and Muhammad, because of their dislike for what they brought from Allah, such as changing some rulings of the Torah, as Allah commanded. Allah thus proclaimed to the Jews that He owns the heavens and earth and also all authority in them. Further, the subjects in Allah’s kingdom are His creation, and they are required to hear and obey His commands and prohibitions. Allah has full authority to command the creation as He wills, forbidding them from what He wills, abrogate what He wills, uphold what He wills, and decide whatever commandments and prohibitions He wills.” (At-Tabari 2:488)

I (Ibn Kathir) say that the Jews’ dismissal of the occurrence of the Naskh is only a case of their disbelief and rebellion. The sound mind does not deny that there could be a Naskh in Allah’s commandments, for He decides what He wills, just as He does what He wills. Further, Naskh occurred in previous Books and Law. For instance, Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons and then later forbade this practice. Allah also allowed Nuh to eat from all kinds of animals after they left the ark, then prohibited eating some types of foods. Further, marrying two sisters to one man was allowed for Israel and his children, but Allah prohibited this practice later in the Torah. Allah commanded Abraham to slaughter his son, then repealed that command before it was implemented. Also, Allah commanded the Children of Israel to kill those who worshipped the calf and then repealed that command, so that the Children of Israel were not all exterminated. There are many other instances that the Jews admit have occurred, yet they ignore them. Also, it is a well-known fact that their Books foretold about Muhammad and contained the command to follow him. These texts, in their Books, indicate that the Jews were required to follow the Prophet Muhammad and that no good deed would be accepted from them, unless it conformed to Muhammad’s Law. The Prophet, peace be upon him, brought another Book, – the Qur’an -, which is the last revelation from Allah.

{108. Or do you want to ask your Messenger (Muhammad ) as Musa (Moses) was asked before (i.e. show us openly our Lord) And he who changes faith for disbelief, verily, he has gone astray from the right way.}

The Prohibition of Unnecessary Questions

In this Ayah, Allah forbade the believers from asking the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, numerous questions about matters that did not occur yet. Similarly, Allah said,

“O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you” (5:101).

This Ayah means, “If you ask about a matter after it is revealed, it shall be duly explained to you. Therefore, do not ask about matters that have not occurred yet, for they might become prohibited, due to your questions.” This is why the Sahih narrated,

“The greatest criminal among the Muslims is the one who asks if a thing is prohibited, which is not prohibited, and it becomes prohibited because of his asking about it.” 

This is why when the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was asked about a husband who finds another man with his wife; if he exposes the adultery, he will be exposing a major incident; if he is quiet about it, he will be quiet about a major matter. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, did not like such questions. Later on, Allah revealed the ruling of Mula’anah [Refer to Nur 24:6-9 in the Qur’an]. The Two Sahihs recorded that Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, “Forbade saying, ‘It was said’ and ‘He said,’ and wasting money and asking many questions.” (Muslim 3:1341) Muslim recorded that the Prophet said,

“Leave me as I leave you; those before you were only destroyed because of their excessive questioning and disputing with their Prophets. Therefore, when I command you with a matter, adhere to it as much as you can, and when I forbid from something, avoid it.”

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him only said this after he told the Companions that Allah has ordered them to perform Hajj. A man asked, “Every year, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, did not answer him, but he repeated his question three times. Then the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“No. Had I said yes, it would have been ordained, and you would not have been able to implement it.” (Muslim 2:975)

This is why Anas bin Malik said, “We were forbidden from asking the Messenger of Allah about things. So we were delighted when a bedouin man would come and ask him while we listened.” (Muslim 1:41)

Ibn ‘Abbas said that Rafi’bin Huraymilah or Wahb bin Zayd said, “O Muhammad! Bring us a Book sent down from heaven and which we could read, and make some rivers flow for us, then we will follow you and believe in you.” Allah sent down the answer to this challenge, “Or do you want to ask your Messenger (Muhammad ) as Musa was asked before (i.e. show us openly our Lord)? And he who changes faith for disbelief, verily, he has gone astray from the right way”. 

Allah criticized those who ask the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, about a certain matter just for the purpose of being difficult, just as the Children of Israel asked Musa out of stubbornness, rejection and rebellion. Allah said,“And he who changes faith for disbelief” meaning, whoever prefers disbelief to faith,“verily, he has gone astray from the right way” meaning, he has strayed from the straight path, to the path of ignorance and misguidance. This is the case of those who deviated from accepting the Prophets and obeying them and those who kept asking their Prophets unnecessary questions in defiance and disbelief, just as Allah said,

“Have you not seen those who have changed the blessings of Allah into disbelief (by denying Prophet Muhammad and his Message of Islam), and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction Hell, in which they will burn and what an evil place to settle in!” (14:28-29).

Abu Al-‘Aliyah commented, “They exchanged comfort for hardship.”

{109. Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command. Verily, Allah is able to do all things.)

110. And perform the Salah and give the Zakah, and whatever of good you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah. Certainly, Allah is the Seer of what you do.}

The Prohibition of following the Ways of the People of the Book

Allah warned His believing servants against following the ways of the People of Book, who publicly and secretly harbor emnity and hatred for the believers, and who envy the believers, while they recognize the virtue of the believers and their Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah also commanded His believing servants to forgive them and to be patient with them, until Allah delivers His aid and victory to them. Allah commanded the believers to perform the prayer perfectly, to pay the Zakah and He encouraged them to preserve the practice of these righteous deeds.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that ‘Abdullah bin Ka’b bin Malik said that Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf, who was a Jew and a poet, used to criticize the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in his poems, so Allah revealed, “Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away” regarding his matter. Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “An unlettered Messenger came to the People of the Scriptures confirming what they have in their own Books about the Messengers and the Ayat of Allah. He also believes in all of this, just as they believe in it. Yet, they rejected the Prophet out of disbelief, envy and transgression. This is why Allah said,“out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them”.

Allah said that after He illuminated the truth for them, such that they were not ignorant of any of it, yet their envy made them deny the Prophet . Thus Allah criticized, chastised and denounced them.” Allah legislated the characteristics that His Prophet and the believers should adhere to: belief, faith and accepting what Allah revealed to them and to those before them out of His generosity and tremendous kindness.

Ar-Rab’ bin Anas said that,“from their own selves” means, “of their making.” Also, Abu Al-‘Aliyah said that,”even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them” means, “After it became clear that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah whom they find written of in the Torah and the Injil. They denied him in disbelief and transgression because he was not one of them.” Qatadah and Ar-Rabi ‘bin Anas said similarly. Allah said, “But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command” this is similar to His saying;

“And you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah” (3: 186).

‘Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Allah’s statement,“But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command.” was abrogated by the Ayah,

“Then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them” (9:5), and,

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day” (9:29) until,

 “And feel themselves subdued” (9:29).

Allah’s pardon for the disbelievers was repealed.” Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Ar-Rabi ‘bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said similarly: It was abrogated by the Ayah of the sword.” (Mentioned above). The Ayah,“till Allah brings His command” gives further support for this view. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Usamah bin Zayd saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and his Companions used to forgive the disbelievers and the People of the Book, just as Allah commanded in His statement,“But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command. Verily, Allah is able to do all things”. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to forgive them and was patient with them as Allah ordered him, until Allah allowed fighting them. Then Allah destroyed those who He decreed to be killed among the strong men of Quraysh, by the Prophet’s forces. The chain of narration for this text is Sahih, but I did not see its wordings in the six collections of Hadith, although the basis of it is in the Two Sahihs, narrated from Usamah bin Zayd.

The Encouragement to perform Good Deeds

Allah said, “And perform the Salah and give the Zakah, and whatever of good you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah”. Allah encouraged the believers to busy themselves in performing deeds that would bring them benefit and reward on the Day of Resurrection, such as prayer and paying Zakah. This way, they will gain Allah’s aid in this life and on a Day when the witnesses testify,

“The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to the Zalimin (wrongdoers). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell-fire)” (40:52).

This is why Allah said,“Certainly, Allah sees what you do”, meaning, that He is never unaware of the deeds of any person, nor will these deeds be lost by Him. Whether deeds are righteous or evil, Allah will award each according to what he or she deserves based on their deeds.

{111. And they say, “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” These are their own desires. Say (O Muhammad ), “Produce your Burhan if you are truthful.”

112. Yes! But whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin then his reward is with his Lord (Allah), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

113. The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. Like unto their word, said those (the pagans) who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.}

The Hopes of the People of the Book

Allah made the confusion of the Jews and the Christians clear, since they claim that no one will enter Paradise, unless he is a Jew or a Christian. Similarly, Allah mentioned their claims in Surat Al-Ma’idah:

“We are the children of Allah and His loved ones” (5:18).

Allah refuted this false claim and informed them that they will be punished because of their sins. Previously we mentioned their claim that the Fire would not touch them for more than a few days, after which they would be put in Paradise. Allah rebuked this claim, and He said about this baseless claim, “These are their own desires”. Abu Al-` Aliyah commented, “These are wishes that they wished Allah would answer, without basis.” Similar was stated by Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Allah then said, “Say” meaning, “Say O Muhammad:” “Produce your Burhan…” meaning, “Your proof”, as Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Muj ahid, As-Suddi and Ar- Rabi’ bin Anas stated. Qatadah said that the Ayah means, “Bring the evidence that supports your statement, “Yes! But whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin” meaning, “Whoever performs deeds in sincerity, for Allah alone without partners.” In a similar statement, Allah said,

“So if they dispute with you (Muhammad ) say: “I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam), and (so have) those who follow me.” (3:20)

Abu Al-‘Aliyah and Ar-Rabi’ said that, “Yes! But whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah” means, “Whoever is sincere with Allah.” Also, Sa`id bin Jubayr said that,”if you are truthful” in your claim. ” Allah then said,“Yes! But whoever submits” means, he is sincere, “his face (himself)” meaning, in his religion. “and he is a Muhsin” following the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. For there are two conditions for deeds to be accepted; the deed must be performed for Allah’s sake alone and conform to the Shari’ah. When the deed is sincere, but does not conform to the Shari’ah, then it will not be accepted. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever performs a deed that does not conform with our matter (religion), then it will be rejected.”(Muslim:3:1344)

Therefore, the good deeds of the priests and rabbis will not be accepted, even if they are sincerely for Allah alone, because these deeds do not conform with the method of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who was sent for all mankind. Allah said regarding such cases,

“And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.” (25:23)

“As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing.” (24:39) and,

“Some faces, that Day will be humiliated. Laboring, weary. They will enter in the hot blazing Fire. They will be given to drink from a boiling spring” (88:2-5).

When the deed conforms to the Shari’ah outwardly, but the person did not perform it sincerely for Allah alone, the deed will also be rejected, as in the case of the hypocrites and those who do their deeds to show off. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salah (the prayer), they stand with laziness to be seen by people, and they do not remember Allah but little.” (4:142) and,

“So woe unto those performers of Salah (prayers) (hypocrites). Those who delay their Salah (from their stated fixed times). Those who do good deeds only to be seen (of men). And withhold Al-Ma` un (small kindnesses)” (107:4-7).

This is why Allah said,

“So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord” (18: 110).

He also said in this Ayah, “Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (follows Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin”.

Allah’s statement,“Shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” guaranteed them the rewards and safety from what they fear and should avoid.“There shall be no fear on them” in the future, “nor shall they grieve” about what they abandoned in the past. Moreover, Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “(There shall be no fear on them) in the Hereafter, and (nor shall they grieve) about their imminent death.”

{ 113. The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. Like unto their word, said those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.}

The Jews and Christians dispute among Themselves out of Disbelief and Stubbornness

Allah said, “The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture.” Allah explained the disputes, hatred and stubbornness that the People of the Book have towards each other. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “When a delegation of Christians from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the Jewish rabbis came and began arguing with them before the Messenger of Allah . Rafi ‘bin Huraymilah said, ‘You do not follow anything,’ and he reiterated his disbelief in Jesus and the Injil. Then a Christian man from Najran’s delegation said to the Jews, ‘Rather, you do not follow anything,’ and he reiterated his rejection of Musa’s prophethood and his disbelief in the Torah. So Allah revealed the Ayah, “The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. )” Allah made it clear that each party read the affirmation of what they claimed to reject in their Book. Consequently, the Jews disbelieve in Jesus, even though they have the Torah in which Allah took their Covenant by the tongue of Moses to believe in Jesus. Also, the Gospel contains Jesus’ assertion that Moses’ prophethood and the Torah came from Allah. Yet, each party disbelieved in what the other party had.

Allah said, “Like unto their word, said those who know not” thus exposing the ignorance displayed by the Jews and the Christians concerning their statements that we mentioned. There is a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of Allah’s statement, “who know not” For instance, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qat adah said that, “Like unto their word, said those said those who know not” means, “The Christians said similar statements to the Jews.” Ibn Jurayj asked ‘Ata’ “Who are those ‘who know not”’ ‘Ata’ said, “Nations that existed before the Jews and the Christians and before the Torah and the Gospel.” Also, As-Suddi said that, “said those who know not” is in reference to the Arabs who said that Muhammad , peace be upon him, was not following anything (i.e. did not follow a true or existing religion). Abu Ja’far bin Jarir chose the view that this Ayah is general and that there is no evidence that specifically supports any of these explanations. So interpreting the Ayah in a general way is better. Allah knows best.

Allah said, “Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing” meaning, that Allah will gather them all on the Day of Return. On that Day, Allah will justly judge between them, for He is never unjust with anyone, even as little as the weight of an atom. This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement in Surat Al-Hajj,

“Verily, those who believe (in Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Majus, and those who associate partners with Allah; truly, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, Allah is over all things aWitness”  (22:17)

Allah said,

“Say: “Our Lord will assemble us all together (on the Day of Resurrection), then He will judge between us with truth. And He is the Just Judge, the Knower of the true state of affairs.” (34:26).

{114. And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah’s Name be mentioned (i.e. prayers and invocations) in Allah’s Masjids and strive for their ruin It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah’s Masjids) except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter.}

Of the Most Unjust are Those Who prevent People from the Masjids and strive for their Ruin

The Quraysh idolators are those who hindered the people from the Masjids of Allah and wanted to destroy them. Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn Zayd said that Allah’s statement, “And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah’s Name be mentioned (i.e. prayers and invocations) in Allah’s Masjids and strive for their ruin” is about the Quraysh idolators who prevented the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, from entering Makkah from Al-Hudaybiyyah, until he slaughtered the Hadi (animal for sacrifice) at Dhi-Tuwa. He then agreed to a peace treaty with the idolators and said to them, “No one before has ever prevented people from entering the House. One would even see the killer of his father and brother, but would not prevent him (from entering the House of Allah)” They said, “Whoever killed our fathers at Badr, shall never enter it while there is one of us alive.” Allah’s statement, “and strive for their ruin” means those who prevent whoever maintain the Masjids with Allah’s remembrance and who visit Allah’sHouse to perform Hajj and `Umrah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Quraysh prevented the Prophet, peace be upon him, from praying at the Ka` bah in Al- Masjid Al-Haram, so Allah revealed,“And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah’s Name be mentioned (i.e. prayers and invocations) in Allah’s Masjids”. After Allah chastised the Jews and Christians, He also criticized the idolators who expelled the Messenger of Allah and his Companions from Makkah, preventing them from praying in Al-Masjid Al-Haram, which they kept exclusively for their idols and polytheism. Allah said,

“And why should not Allah punish them while they hinder (men) from Al-Masjid Al-Haram, and they are not its guardians None can be its guardians except Al-Muttaqun (the pious), but most of them know not.” (8:34)

“It is not for the Mushrikin (polytheists), to maintain the Masjids of Allah while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide. The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; perform the Salah, and give the Zakah and fear none but Allah. It is they who are on true guidance.” (9:17-18)

and,

“They are the ones who disbelieved and hindered you from Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) and detained the sacrificial animals, from reaching their place of sacrifice. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His mercy whom He wills ␣ if they (the believers and the disbelievers) had been apart, We verily, would have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment” (48:25).

Therefore, Allah said here, “The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; perform the Salah, and give the Zakah and fear none but Allah”. Therefore, if those believers who follow the virtues mentioned in the Ayah were prevented from attending the Masjid, then what cause for destruction is worse than this Maintaining the Masjids not only means beautifying them, but it involves remembering Allah, establishing His Shari`ah in the Masjids and purifying them from the filth of Shirk.

The Good News that Islam shall prevail

Allah said next,“It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah’s Masjids) except in fear”. This Ayah means, “Do not allow them – the disbelievers – to enter the Masjids, except to satisfy the terms of an armistice or a treaty.” When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, conquered Makkah in 9 H, he commanded that someone announce at Mina, “After the current year, no idolators shall perform Hajj, and no naked persons shall perform Tawaf around the House, except for those who have a treaty. In this case, the treaty will be carried to the end of its term.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:565) This Ayah supports the Ayah,

“O you who believe! (in Allah’s Oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad )! Verily, the Mushrikun (idolators) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) after this year” (9:28).

It was also said that this Ayah (2:114) carries the good news for the Muslims from Allah that He will allow them to take over Al-Masjid Al-Haram and all the Masjids and disgrace the idolators. Soon after, the Ayah indicated, no idolator shall enter the House, except out of fear of being seized or killed, unless he embraces Islam. Allah fulfilled this promise and later decreed that idolators not be allowed to enter Al-Masjid Al-Haram. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated that no two religions should remain in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Jews and Christians should be expelled from it, all praise is due to Allah. All of these rulings ensure maintaining the honor of Al-Masjid Al-Haram and purifying the area where Allah sent His Messenger to warn and bring good news to all of mankind, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him.

This Ayah also described the disgrace that the disbelievers earn in this life, and that the punishment comes in a form comparable to the deed. Just as they prevented the believers from entering Al-Masjid Al-Haram, they were prevented from entering it in turn. Just as they expelled the believers from Makkah, they were in turn expelled from Makkah, “and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter” because they breached the sanctity of the House and brought filth to it by erecting idols all around it, invoking other than Allah and performing Tawaf around it while naked, etc.

Here it is worth mentioning the Hadith about seeking refuge from disgrace in this life and the torment of the Hereafter. Imam Ahmad recorded that Busr bin Artah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to supplicate,

“O Allah! Make our end better in all affairs, and save us from disgrace in this life and the torment of the Hereafter.” (Ahmad 4:181)

{115. And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne). Surely, Allah is Sufficient (for His creatures’ needs), Knowing.}

Facing the Qiblah (Direction of the Prayer)

This ruling brought comfort to the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, who were driven out of Makkah and had to depart from the area of Al-Masjid Al-Haram. In Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to pray in the direction of Bayt Al-Maqdis, while the Ka’bah was between him and the Qiblah. When the Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, he faced Bayt Al-Maqdis for sixteen or seventeen months, and then Allah directed him to face Al-Ka’bah in prayer. This is why Allah said, “And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) t here is t he Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)”.

‘Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `’Abbas said, “The first part of the Qur’an that was abrogated was about the Qiblah. When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, which was inhabited by the Jews, he was at first commanded to face Bayt Al-Maqdis. The Jews were happy, and the Messenger of Allah faced Bayt Al-Maqdis for some ten months. However, the Messenger of Allah liked to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim (Al-Ka`bah at Makkah), and he used to look to the sky and supplicate. So Allah revealed, “Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s) face towards the heaven” until, “turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction” (2:144). The Jews were disturbed by this development and said, ‘What made them change the direction of the Qiblah that they used to face’ Allah revealed, “Say (O Muhammad): “To Allah belong both, east and the west” and, “So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne).” means “Allah’s direction is wherever you face east or west.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:347)

Mujahid said that, “So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)” means, “Allah’s direction is wherever you face, east or west.” means, “Wherever you may be, you have a Qiblah to face, that is, Al-Ka’bah.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:345)

However, it was said that Allah sent down this Ayah before the order to face the Ka’bah. Ibn Jarir said, “Others said that this Ayah was revealed to the Messenger of Allah permitting the one praying voluntary prayers to face wherever they wish in the east or west, while traveling, when in fear and when facing the enemy.” (At-Tabari 2:530) For instance, Ibn ‘Umar used to face whatever direction his animal was headed and proclaim that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, did the same, explaining the Ayah,“So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah.” (At-Tabari 2:530)

That Hadith was also collected by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwyah, and its origin is in the Two Sahihs from Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Amr bin Rabi’ ah without mentioning the Ayah. (Muslim 1:486) In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that Nafi` said that whenever Ibn ‘Umar was asked about the prayer during times of fear, he used to describe it and would then say, “When the sense of fear is worse than that, pray while standing, or while riding, whether facing the Qiblah or not.” Nafi` then said, “I think Ibn `Umar mentioned that from the Prophet.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:46) It was also said that the Ayah was revealed about those who are unable to find the correct direction of the Qiblah in the dark or due to cloudy skies and, thus, prayed in a direction other than the Qiblah by mistake.

The Qiblah for the People of Al-Madinah is what is between the East and the West

In his Tafsir of this Ayah (2:115), Al-Hafiz Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“What is between the east and the west is the Qiblah for the people of Al-Madinah, Ash-Sham and Iraq.” (Al-Uqayli 4:309)

At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the wording, “What is between the east and the west is a Qiblah.” (Ibn Majah 1:323)

Ibn Jarir said, “The meaning of Allah’s statement, “Surely, Allah is Sufficient (for His creatures’ needs), Knowing” is that Allah encompasses all His Creation by providing them with sufficient needs and by His generosity and favor. His statement, “Knowing” means He is knowledgeable of their deeds and nothing escapes His watch, nor is He unaware of anything. Rather, His knowledge encompasses everything.” (At-Tabari 2:537)

 {116. And they (Jews, Christians and pagans) say: Allah has begotten a son (children or offspring). Glory is to Him (Exalted is He above all that they associate with Him). Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all are Qanitun to Him.

117. The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: “Be! – and it is.}

Refuting the Claim that Allah has begotten a Son

This and the following Ayat refute the Christians, may Allah curse them, and their like among the Jews and the Arab idolators, who claimed that the angels are Allah’s daughters. Allah refuted all of them in their claim that He had begotten a son. Allah said, “Glory is to Him.” meaning, He is holier and more perfect than such claim, “Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth,” meaning, the truth is not as the disbelievers claimed, rather, Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and earth and whatever and whoever is in, on and between them. Allah is the Supreme Authority in the heavens and earth, and He is the Creator, Provider and Sustainer Who decides all the affairs of the creation as He wills. All creatures are Allah’s servants and are owned by Him. Therefore, how could one of them be His son? The son of any being is born out of two comparable beings. Allah has no equal or rival sharing His grace and greatness, so how can He have a son when He has no wife Allah said,

“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife He created all things and He is the Knower of everything” (6:101).

“And they say: “The Most Gracious (Allah) has begotten a son (offspring or children).” Indeed you have brought forth (said) a terrible evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins. That they ascribe a son (or offspring or children) to the Most Gracious (Allah). But it is not suitable for (the majesty of) the Most Gracious (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring or children). There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious (Allah) as a servant. Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting. And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender)” (19:88- 95), and,

“Say: “He is Allah (the) One, Allah the Samad (the Self- Sufficient, upon whom all depend), He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable to Him.” (112).

In these Ayat, Allah stated that He is the Supreme Master Whom there is no equal or rival, everything and everyone was created by Him, so how can He have a son from among them This is why, in the Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam has denied Me, and that is not his right. He has insulted Me, and that is not his right. As for the denial of Me, he claimed that I am unable to bring him back as he used to be (resurrect him). As for his insulting Me, he claimed that I have a son. All praise is due to Me, it is unbefitting that I should have a wife or a son.'” (Fath Al-Bari 8:18)

It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“No one is more patient when hearing an insult than Allah. They attribute a son to Him, yet He still gives them sustanence and health.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:372, Muslim 4:2160)

Everything is within Allah’s Grasp

Allah said, “all are Qanitun to Him”. Ibn ‘Abbas said that, Qantin” means, they pray to Him. ‘Ikrimah and Abu Malik also said that,“and all are Qanitun to Him” means, bound to Him in servitude to Him. Sa’id bin Jubayr said that Qanitun is sincerity. Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that, “all are Qanitun to Him” means, “Standing up – before Him – on the Day of Resurrection.” Also, As-Suddi said that,“and all are Qanitun to Him” means, “Obedient on the Day of Resurrection.” Khasif said that Mujahid said that, “and all are Qanitun to Him” means, “Obedient. He says, ‘Be a human’ and he becomes a human.” He also said, “(Allah says,) ` Be a donkey’ and it becomes a donkey.” Also, Ibn Abi Naj ih said that Mujahid said that,”and all are Qanitun to Him” means, obedient. Mujahid also said, “The obedience of the disbeliever occurs when his shadow prostrates, while he hates that.” Mujahid’s statement, which Ibn Jarir preferred, combines all the meanings, and that is that Qunut means obedience and submission to Allah. There are two categories of Qunut: legislated and destined, for Allah sa i d ,

“And unto Allah (alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the (late) afternoons” (13:15).

The Meaning of Badi

Allah said, “The Badi` (Originator) of the heavens and the earth” which means, He created them when nothing resembling them existed. Mujahid and As-Suddi said that this is the linguistic meaning, for all new matters are called Bid’ah. Muslim recorded the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“…every innovation (in religion) is a Bid’ah”

There are two types of Bid’ah, religious, as mentioned in the Hadith:

 “…every innovation is a Bid’ah and every Bid’ah is heresy.” (Muslim 2:592)

And there is a linguistic Bid’ah, such as the statement of the Leader of the faithful ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab when he gathered the Muslims to pray the Tarawih prayer in congregation (which was also an earlier practice of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “What a good Bid’ah this is.”

Ibn Jarir said, “Thus the meaning of the Ayat (2:116-117) becomes, ‘Allah is far more glorious than to have had a son, for He is the Owner of everything that is in the heavens and earth. All testify to His Oneness and to their submissiveness to Him. He is their Creator and Maker. Wit hout creat ed precedence, He shaped the creatures in their current shapes. Allah also bears witness to His servants that Jesus, who some claimed to be Allah’s son, is among those who testify to His Oneness. Allah stated that He created the heavens and earth out of nothing and without precedent. Likewise, He created Jesus, the Messiah, with His power and without a father.” (At-Tabari 2:550) This explanation from Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy upon him, is very good and correct.

Allah said, “When He decrees a matter, He only says to it : “Be! – and it is.” thus, demonstrating His perfectly complete ability and tremendous authority; if He decides a matter, He merely orders it to, ‘Be’ and it comes into existence. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be! – and it is.” (36:82),

“Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: “Be! – and it is.” (16:40) and,

“And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye” (54:50)

So Allah informed us that He created Jesus by merely saying, “Be!” and he was, as Allah willed:

“Verily, the likeness of ` Isa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: “Be! – and he was” (3:59).

{118. And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us?” So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike, We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.}

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Rafi’ bin Huraymilah said to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “O Muhammad! If you were truly a Messenger from Allah, as you claim, then ask Allah to speak to us directly, so that we hear His Speech.” So Allah revealed, “And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us’?’ (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:352)

Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Ar-Rabi ‘bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that it was actually the statement of the Arab disbelievers: “So said the people before them words of similar import.” He said, “These are the Jews and the Christians. ”

What further proves that the Arab idolators said the statement mentioned in the Ayah is that Allah said,

“And when there comes to them a sign (from Allah) they say: “We shall not believe until we receive the like of that which the Messengers of Allah had received.” Allah knows best with whom to place His Message. Humiliation and disgrace from Allah and a severe torment will overtake the criminals (polytheists and sinners) for that which they used to plot.” (6:124) and

“And they say: “We shall not believe in you (O Muhammad ), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us… Say (O Muhammad ): “Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord – (Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him ! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger” (17:90-93) and,

“And those who expect not a meet ing wit h Us (i. e. t hose who deny t he Day of Resurrect ion and the life of the Hereafter) said: “Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord” (25:21) and,

“Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out” (74:52).

There are many other Ayat that testify to the disbelief of the Arab idolators, their transgression, stubbornness, and that they asked unnecessary questions out of disbelief and arrogance. The statements of the Arab idolators followed the statements of the nations of the People of the Two Scriptures and other religions before them. Allah said,

“The People of the Scripture (Jews) ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed, they asked Musa (Moses) for even greater than that, when they said: “Show us Allah in public,” (4:153) and,

“And (remember) when you said: “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.” (2:55).

Allah’s statement, “Their hearts are alike” means, the hearts of the Arab idolators are just like the hearts of those before them, containing disbelief, stubbornness and injustice. Similarly, Allah said,

“Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them but they said: “A sorcerer or a madman!” Have they (the people of the past) transmitted this saying to these (Quraysh pagans)” (51:52- 53).

Allah said next, “We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty” meaning, We made the arguments clear, prooving the truth of the Messengers, with no need of more questions or proofs for those who believe, follow the Messengers and comprehend what Allah sent them with. As for those whose hearts and hearing Allah has stamped and whose eyes have been sealed, Allah described them:

{119. Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad ) with the truth (Islam), a bringer of glad tidings (for those who believe in what you brought, that they will enter Paradise) and a warner (for those who disbelieve in what you brought, that they will enter the Hellfire). And you will not be asked about the dwellers of the blazing Fire.}

Allah’s statement, “And you will not be asked about the dwellers of the blazing Fire” means, “We shall not ask you about the disbelief of those who rejected you.” Similarly, Allah said,

“Your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning” (13:40)

“So remind them (O Muhammad ) – you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them.” (88:21-22) and,

“We know best what they say. And you (O Muhammad ) are not the one to force them (to belief). But warn by the Qur’an; him who fears My threat” (50:45).

There are many other similar Ayat.

The Description of the Prophet in the Tawrah

Imam Ahmad recorded ‘Ata’ bin Yasar saying that he met ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As and said to him, “Tell me about the description of the Messenger of Allah in the Torah.” He said, “Yes, by Allah, he is described by the Torah with the same characteristics that he is described with in the Qur’an with: ‘O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of good news, a warner, and as safe refuge for the unlettered people. You are My servant and Messenger. I have called you the Mutawakkil (who depends and relies on Allah for each and everything). You are not harsh, nor hard, nor obnoxious in the bazaars. He does not reward the evil deed with an evil deed. Rather, he forgives and pardons. Allah will not bring his life to an end, until he straightens the wicked’s religion by his hands so that the people proclaim: There is no deity wort hy of worship except Allah. By his hands, Allah will open blind eyes, deaf ears and sealed hearts.”’ This was recorded by Al-Bukhari only.

{120. Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance. And if you (O Muhammad ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.)

121. Those to whom we gave the Book recite it as it should be recited (Yatlunahu Haqqa Tilawatihi) they are the ones who believe therein. And whoso disbelieve in it, those are they who are the losers.}

Ibn Jarir said, “Allah said, “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion.” meaning, ‘The Jews and the Christians will never be happy with you, O Muhammad! Therefore, do not seek what pleases or appeases them, and stick to what pleases Allah by calling them to the truth that Allah sent you with.’ Allah’s statement, “Say: “Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance” means, ‘Say, O Muhammad, the guidance of Allahthat He sent me with is the true guidance, meaning the straight, perfect and comprehensive religion.”’ Qatadah said that Allah’s statement, “Say: “Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance” is, “A true argument that Allah taught Muhammad and his Companions and which they used against the people of misguidance.” Qatadah said, “We were told that the Messenger of Allah used to say,

“There will always be a group of my Ummah fighting upon the truth, having the upper hand, not harmed by their opponents, until the decree of Allah (the Last Hour) comes.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:355)

“And if you (O Muhammad ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.” This Ayah carries a stern warning for the Muslim Ummah against imitating the ways and methods of the Jews and Christians, after they have acquired knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, may Allah grant us refuge from this behavior. Although the speech in this Ayah was directed at the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the ruling of which applies to his entire Ummah.

{121. Those to whom we gave the Book recite it as it should be recited (Yatlunahu Haqqa Tilawatihi) they are the ones who believe therein. And whoso disbelieve in it, those are they who are the losers.}

The Meaning of Correct Tilawah

“Those to whom We gave the Book. Yatlunahu Haqqan Tilawatih” ‘Abdur-Razzaq said from Ma’mar, from Qatadah, “They are the Jews and Christians.” This is the opinion of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, and it was also chosen by Ibn Jarir. Sa’id reported from Qatadah, “They are the Companions of the Messenger of Allah .” Abu Al-‘Aliyah said that Ibn Mas’ud said, “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! The right Tilawah is allowing what it makes lawful, prohibiting what it makes unlawful, reciting it as it was revealed by Allah, not changing the words from their places, and not interpreting it with other than its actual interpretation.” As-Suddi reported from Abu Malik from Ibn ` Abbas who said about this Ayah (2:121): “They make lawful what it allows and they prohibit what it makes unlawful, and they do not alter its wordings.” ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “They are those who when they recite an Ayah that mentions mercy, they ask Allah for it, and when they recite an Ayah that mentions torment, they seek refuge with Allah from it.” This meaning was attributed to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, for when he used to recite an Ayah of mercy, he invoked Allah for mercy, and when he recited an Ayah of torment, he sought refuge from it with Allah.

Allah’s statement, “Those to whom We gave the Book. Yatlunahu Haqqa Tilawatihi” These Ayat mean, “Those among the People of the Book who perfectly adhered to the Books that were revealed to the previous Prophets, will believe in what I have sent you with, O Muhammad!” Allah said in another Ayah,

“And if only they had acted according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Qur’an), they would surely, have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.” (5:66).

The Ayah, “Say (O Muhammad ) “O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing (as regards guidance) till you act according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur’an)” means, “If you adhere to the Torah and the Gospel in the correct manner, believe in them as you should, and believe in the news they carry about Muhammad’s prophethood, his description and the command to follow, aid and support him, then this will direct you to adhere to truth and righteousness in this life and the Hereafter.” In another Ayah, Allah said,

“Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad ) whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil.” (7:157) and,

“Say (O Muhammad to them): “Believe in it (the Qur’an) or do not believe (in it). Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it 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.” (17:107-108).

These Ayat indicate that what Allah promised for Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, will certainly occur. Allah also said,

“Those to whom We gave the Scripture (i. e. the Tawrah and the Injil) 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 to Allah in Islam as Muslims. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided them.” (28:52-54) and,

“And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are 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; and Allah is the Seer of (His) servants” (3:20).

Allah said,”And whoever disbelieves in it (the Qur’an), those are they who are the losers”, just as He said in another Ayah,

“But those of the sects (Jews, Christians and all the other non-Muslim nations) that reject it (the Qur’an), the Fire will be their promised meeting place” (11:17).

As recorded in the Sahih, the Prophet said, “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! There is no member of this Ummah (mankind and Jinns), Jew or a Christian, who hears of me, yet does not believe in me, but will enter the Fire.”

{122. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the nations).

123. And fear the Day (of Judgement) when no person shall avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from him, nor shall intercession be of use to him, nor shall they be helped.}

We mentioned a similar Ayah at the beginning of this Surah, and it is mentioned here to emphisize the importance of following the Ummi Prophet and Messenger, who is described for the People of the Scriptures in their Books by his characteristics, name, the good news about him and the description of his Ummah. Allah warned them against concealing this information, which is among the favors that Allah granted them. Allah also commanded them to remember their daily life and their religious affairs and how He blessed them. They should not envy their cousins, the Arabs, for what Allah has given them, the Final Messenger of Allah being an Arab. Envy should not incite them to oppose or deny the Prophet or refrain from following him, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him until the Day of Judgment.

{124. And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).” (Ibrahim) said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).” (Allah) said, “My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).”}

Ibrahim Al-Khalil was an Imam for the People

Allah is informing us of the honor of Ibrahim Al-Khalil, who He made an Imam for the people, and a model to be imitated, because of the way he conducted himself and adhered to Tawhid. This honor was given to Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, when he adhered to Allah’s decisions and prohibitions. This is why Allah said, “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands”. This Ayah means, O Muhammad! Remind the idolators and the People of the Scriptures, who pretend to be followers of the religion of Ibrahim, while in reality they do not follow it, while you, O Muhammad, and your followers are the true followers of his religion; remind them of the commands and prohibitions that Allah tested Ibrahim with. “which he fulfilled” indicating that Ibrahim implemented all of Allah’s orders. Allah said in another Ayah,

“And of Ibrahim (Abraham) who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (Allah ordered him to do or convey)” (53:37)

meaning, he was truthful and he was obedient to Allah’s legislation. Also, Allah said,

“Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanif (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikin (polytheists), (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) favors. He (Allah) chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have sent the revelation to you (O Muhammad saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanif (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the Mushrikin.” (16:120-123)

“Say (O Muhammad ): “Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan, and Ibrahim (to worship none but Allah, alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin.” (6:161) and,

“Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin. Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers” (3:67-68).

Allah said  “with Kalimat (words)” which means, “Laws, commandments and prohibitions.” ‘Words’ as mentioned here, sometimes refers to what Allah has willed, such as Allah’s statement about Maryam,

“And she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and (also believed in) His Scriptures, and she was of the Qanitin (i.e. obedient to Allah)” (66:12).

“Words” also refers to Allah’s Law, such as Allah’s statement,

“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice” (6:115)

meaning, His legislation. “Words” also means truthful news, or a just commandment or prohibition. For instance, Allah said, “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) Words (commands), which he fulfilled” meaning, he adhered to them, Allah said, “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).’ as a reward for Ibrahim’s good deeds, adhering to the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions. This is why Allah made Ibrahim a role model for the people, and an Imam whose conduct and path are imitated and followed.

What were the Words that Ibrahim was tested with

There is a difference of opinion over the words that Allah tested Ibrahim with. There are several opinions attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas. For instance, ‘Abdur-Razzaq said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Allah tested him with the rituals (of Hajj).” (At-Tabari 3:13) Abu Ishaq reported the same. ‘Abdur-Razzaq also narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said that , “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands” means, “Allah tested him with Taharah (purity, ablution): five on the head and five on the body. As for the head, they are cutting the moustache, rinsing the mouth, inhaling and discarding water, using Siwak and parting the hair. As for the body, they are trimming the nails, shaving the pubic hair, circumcision and plucking under the arm and washing with water after answering the call of nature.” (‘Abdur-Razzaq 1:57)

There is a similar statement that Imam Muslim narrated from ‘A’ishah who said that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Ten are among the Fitrah (instinct, natural constitution): trimming the mustache, growing the beard, using Siwak, inhaling and then exhaling water (in ablution), cutting the nails, washing between the fingers (in ablution), plucking the underarm hair, shaving the pubic hair, washing with water after answering the call of nature, (and I forgot the tenth, I think it was) rinsing the mouth (in ablution).” (Muslim 1:223)

The Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Five are among the acts of Fitrah: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the mustache, cutting the nails and plucking the underarm hair.” (Muslim 1:222)

Muhammad bin Ishaq reportd that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The words that Allah tested Ibrahim with, and that he implemented were: abandoning his (disbelieving) people when Allah commanded him to do so, disputing with Nimrod (king of Babylon) about Allah, being patient when he was thrown in the fire (although this was extremely traumatic) migrating from his homeland when Allah commanded him to do so, patience with the monetary and material demands of hosting guests by Allah’s command, and Allah’s order for him to slaughter his son. When Allah tested Ibrahim with these words, and he was ready for the major test, Allah said to him,

“Submit (be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of all that exists. ” (2:131)

although this meant defying and being apart from the people.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:360)

The Unjust do not qualify for Allah’s Promise

Allah said that Ibrahim said, “My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)”. When Allah made Ibrahim an Imam (Leader for the faithful), he asked Allah that Imams thereafter be chosen from his offspring. Allah accepted his supplication, but told him that there will be unjust people among his offspring and they will not benefit from Allah’s promise. Thus, they will neither become Imams nor be imitated (for they will not be righteous). The proof that Ibrahim’s supplication to Allah was accepted is that Allah said in Surat Al-‘Ankabut,

“And We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book”  (29:27)

Hence, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim were from among his offspring, and every Book that Allah revealed was to them. As for Allah’s statement, “(Allah) said, “My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).” Allah mentioned that there are unjust people among the offspring of Ibrahim, and they will not benefit from Allah’s promise, nor would they be entrusted with anything, even though they are among the children of Allah’s Khalil (intimate friend, Prophet Abraham). There will also be those who do good among the children of Ibrahim, and these it is who will benefit from Ibrahim’s supplication. Ibn Jarir said that this Ayah indicated that the unjust shall not be Imams for the people. Moreover, the Ayah informed Ibrahim that there will be unjust people among his offspring. Also, Ibn Khuwayz Mindad Al-Maliki said, “The unjust person does not qualify to be a Khalifah, a ruler, one who gives religious verdicts, a witness, or even a narrator (of Hadiths).”

{125. And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (or the stone on which Ibrahim as a place}

The Virtue of Allah’s House

Al-‘Awfi reported that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind) “They do not remain in the House, they only visit it and return to their homes, and then visit it again.” Also, Abu Ja’far Ar-Razi narrated from Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas from Abu Al- ‘Aliyah who said that, “And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety” means, “Safe from enemies and armed conflict. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people were often victims of raids and kidnapping, while the people in the area surrounding it (Al-Masjid Al-Haram) were safe and not subject to kidnapping.” Also, Mujahid, ‘Ata’, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas were reported to have said that the Ayah (2:125) means, “Whoever enters it shall be safe.”

This Ayah indicates that Allah honored the Sacred House, which Allah made as a safe refuge and safe haven. Therefore, the souls are eager, but never bored, to conduct short visits to the House, even every year. This is because Allah accepted the supplication of His Khalil, Ibrahim, when he asked Allah to make the hearts of people eager to visit the House. Ibrahim said,

“Our Lord! And accept my invocation”.  (14:40)

Allah described the House as a safe resort and refuge, for those who visit it are safe, even if they had committed acts of evil. This honor comes from the honor of the person who built it first, Khalil Ar-Rahman, just as Allah said,

“And (remember) when We showed Ibrahim the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) (saying): “Associate not anything (in worship) with Me…” (22:26) and,

“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-` Alamin (mankind and Jinn). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim; whosoever enters it, he attains security” (3:96-97).

The last honorable Ayah emphasized the honor of Ibrahim’s Maqam, and the instruction to pray next to it, “And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer”.

The Maqam of Ibrahim 

Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported that Sa’id bin Jubayr commented on the Ayah, “And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer” “The stone (Maqam) is the standing place of Ibrahim, Allah’s Prophet, and a mercy from Allah. Ibrahim stood on the stone, while Isma’il was handing him the stones (constructing the Ka’bah).” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:371) As-Suddi said, “The Maqam of Ibrahim is a stone which Isma’il’s wife put under Ibrahim’s feet when washing his head.” (At-Tabari 3:35) Al-Qurtubi mentioned this, but he considered it unauthentic, although others gave it prefrence, Ar-Razi reported it in his Tafsir from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. (Ar-Razi 4:45)

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Jabir, describing the Hajj (pilgrimage) of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “When the Prophet performed Tawaf, ‘Umar asked him, ‘Is this the Maqam of our father?’ He said, ‘ Yes.’ ‘Umar said, ‘Should we take it a place of prayer?’ So Allah revealed,“And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham) as a place of prayer.”

Al-Bukhari said, “Chapter: Allah’s statement, “And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham) as a place of prayer” meaning, they return to it repeatedly.’ He then narrated that Anas bin Malik said that ‘Umar bin Al- Khattab said, “I agreed with my Lord, or my Lord agreed with me, regarding three matters. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I wish you take the Maqam of Ibrahim a place for prayer.’ The Ayah, “And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham)” was revealed. I also said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! The righteous and the wicked enter your house. I wish you would command the Mothers of the believers (the Prophet’s wives) to wear Hijab. Allah sent down the Ayah that required the Hijab. And when I knew that the Prophet was angry with some of his wives, I came to them and said, ‘Either you stop what you are doing, or Allah will endow His Messenger with better women than you are.’ I advised one of his wives and she said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! Does the Messenger of Allah not know how to advise his wives, so that you have to do the job instead of him’ Allah then revealed, “It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, – Muslims (who submit to Allah).” (66:5)

Also, Ibn Jarir narrated that Jabir said, “After the Messenger of Allah kissed the Black Stone, he went around the house three times in a fast pace and four times in a slow pace. He then went to Maqam of Ibrahim, with it between him and the House, and prayed two Rak’ahs.” This is part of the long Hadith that Muslim recorded in Sahih. Al-Bukhari recorded that ‘Amr bin Dinar said that he heard Ibn ‘Umar say, “The Messenger of Allah performed Tawaf around the House seven times and then prayed two Rak`ahs behind the Maqam.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:586)

All these texts indicate that the Maqam is the stone that Ibrahim was standing on while building the House. As the House’s walls became higher, Isma’ il brought his father a stone, so that he could stand on it, while Isma’il handed him the stones. Ibrahim would place the stones on the wall, and whenever he finished one side, he would move to the next side, to complete the building all around. Ibrahim kept repeating this until he finished building the House, as we will describe when we explain the story of Ibrahim and Isma’il and how they built the House, as narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas and collected by Al-Bukhari. Ibrahim’s footprints were still visible in the stone, and the Arabs knew this fact during the time of Jahiliyyah. This is why Abu Talib said in his poem known as ‘Al-Lamiyyah’, “And Ibrahim’s footprint with his bare feet on the stone is still visible.”

The Muslims also saw Ibrahim’s footprints on the stone, as Anas bin Malik said, “I saw the Maqam with the print of Ibrahim’s toes and feet still visible in it, but the footprints dissipated because of the people rubbing the stone with their hands.”

Earlier, the Maqam was placed close to the Ka’bah’s wall. In the present time, the Maqam is placed next to Al-Hijr on the right side of those entering through the door.

When Ibrahim finished building the House, he placed the stone next to the wall of Al-Ka’bah. Or, when the House was finished being built, Ibrahim just left the stone where it was last standing, and he was commanded to pray next to the stone when he finished the Tawaf (circumambulating). It is understandable that the Maqam of Ibrahim would stand where the building of the House ended. The Leader of the faithful ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, one of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs whom we were commanded to emulate, moved the stone away from the Ka`bah’s wall during his reign. ‘Umar is one of the two men, whom the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, described when he said,

“Imitate the two men who will come after me: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi: 569)

Umar was also the person whom the Qur’an agreed with regarding praying next to Maqam of Ibrahim. This is why none among the Companions rejected it when he moved it.

‘Abdur-Razzaq reported from Ibn Jurayj from ‘Ata’, “Umar bin Al-Khattab moved the Maqam back.” Also, ‘Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Mujahid said that ‘Umar was the first person who moved the Maqam back to where it is now standing.” Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin ‘Ali bin Al- Husayn Al-Bayhaqi recorded ‘A’ishah saying, “During the time of the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr, the Maqam was right next to the House. ‘Umar moved the Maqam during his reign.” This Hadith has an authentic chain of narration.

{125. And We commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma’il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I’tikaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).

126. And (remember) when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” He (Allah) answered: “As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!”

127. And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma’il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.”

128. “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.}

The Command to purify the House

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that, “And We gave Our ‘Ahd (command) to Ibrahim and Isma’il” means, “Allah ordered them to purify it from all filth and impurities, of which none should ever touch it.” Also, Ibn Jurayj said, “I said to ‘Ata’,’What is Allah’s ‘Ahd’? He said, ‘His command.”’ Also, Sa’ id bin Jubayr said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on the Ayah, “that they should purify My House (the Ka`bah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (Itikaf)” ‘Purify it from the idols.’ ‘Further, Mujahid and Said bin Jubayr said that, “purify My House for those who are circumambulating it” means, “From the idols, sexual activity, false witness and sins of all kinds.”

Allah said, “for those who are performing Tawaf (circumambulating) it”. The Tawaf around the House is a well-established ritual, Sa’id bin Jubayr said that, “for those who are circumambulating it” means, strangers (he means who do not live in Makkah), while, “or staying (I’tikaf)” is about those who live in the area of the Sacred House. Also, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that I’tikaf is in reference to those who live in the area of the House, just as Said bin Jubayr stated. Allah said, “or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)” Ibn ‘Abbas said, when it is a place of prayer it includes those who are described as bowing and prostrating themselves. Also,  Ata’ and Qatadah offered the same Tafsir. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:376)

Purifying all Masjids is required according to this Ayah and according to Allah’s statement,

 “In houses (mosques) which Allah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honored), in them His Name is remembered (i.e. Adhan, Iqamah, Salah, invocations, recitation of the Qur’an). Therein glorify Him (Allah) in the mornings and in the (late) afternoons” (24:36).

There are many Hadiths that give a general order for purifying the Masjids and keeping filth and impurities away from them. This is why the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The Masjids are established for the purpose that they were built for (i.e. worshipping Allah alone).” (Muslim 1:397)

I have collected a book on this subject, and all praise is due to Allah.

Makkah is a Sacred Area

Allah said, “And (remember) when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” Imam Abu Ja’far bin Jarir At-Tabari narrated that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Ibrahim made Allah’s House a Sacred Area and a safe refuge. I have made what is between the two sides of Al-Madinah a Sacred Area. Therefore, its game should not be hunted, and its trees should not be cut.” (Muslim 2:992)

There are several other Hadiths that indicate that Allah made Makkah a sacred area before He created the heavens and earth. The Two Sahihs recorded ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said

“Allah has made this city a sanctuary (sacred place) the Day He created the heavens and earth. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection because Allah made it a sanctuary. It was not legal for anyone to fight in it before me, and it was legal for me for a few hours of one day. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection, because Allah made it a sanctuary. None is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, or to chase its game, or to pick up something that has fallen, except by a person who announces it publicly, nor should any of its trees be cut.” Al-‘Abbas said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Except the lemon-grass, for our goldsmiths and for our graves.’ The Prophet added, “Except lemon-grass.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:56)

Abu Shurayh Al-‘Adawi said that he said to ‘Amr bin Sa’id while he was sending armies to Makkah, “O Commander! Let me narrate a Hadith that the Messenger of Allah said the day that followed the victory of Makkah. My ears heard the Hadith, my heart comprehended it, and my eyes saw the Prophet when he said it. He thanked Allah and praised him and then said,

“Allah, not the people, made Makkah a sanctuary, so any person who has belief in Allah and the Last Day, should neither shed blood in it nor should he cut down its trees. If anybody argues that fighting in it is permissible on the basis that Allah’s Messenger fought in Makkah, say to him, ‘Allah allowed His Messenger and did not allow you.’ Allah allowed me only for a few hours on that day (of the Conquest), and today its sanctity is valid as it was before. So, those who are present should inform those who are absent (concerning this fact).”

Abu Shurayh was asked, ‘What did ‘Amr reply?’ He said, (‘Amr said) ‘O Abu Shurayh! I know better than you about this, the Sacred House does not give protection to a sinner, a murderer or a thief.’ This Hadith was collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. (Fath Al-Bari 4:50 and Muslim 2:987)

After this, there is no contradiction between the Hadiths that stated that Allah made Makkah a sanctuary when He created the heavens and earth and the Hadiths that Ibrahim made it a sanctuary, since Ibrahim conveyed Allah’s decree that Makkah is a sanctuary, before he built the House. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was written as the Final Prophet when Adam was still clay. Yet, Ibrahim said,

“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own” (2: 129).

Allah accepted Ibrahim’s supplication, although He had full knowledge beforehand that it will occur by His decree. To further elaborate on this subject, we should mention the Hadith about what the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said when he was asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Tell us about how your prophethood started.” He said,

“I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, the good news of Jesus, the son of Mary, and my mother saw a light that radiated from her which illuminated the castles of Ash-Sham (Syria).” (Ahmad 5:262)

In this Hadith, the Companions asked the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, about the beginning of his prophethood. We will explain this matter later, if Allah wills.

Ibrahim invokes Allah to make Makkah an Area of Safety and Sustenance

Allah said that Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security” (2:126) from terror, so that its people do not suffer from fear. Allah accepted Ibrahim’s supplication. Allah said,

“Whosoever enters it, he attains security” (3:97) and,

“Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them” (29:67).

We have already mentioned the Hadiths that prohibit fighting in the Sacred Area. Muslim recorded that Jabir said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“No one is allowed to carry weapons in Makkah.” (Muslim 2:989)

Allah mentioned that Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security” meaning, make this a safe city. This occurred before the Ka’bah was built. Allah said in Surah Ibrahim,

“And (remember) when Ibrahim said, “My Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security…” (14:35)

as here, Ibrahim supplicated a second time after the House was built and its people lived around it, after Ishaq who was thirteen years Isma’il’s junior was born. This is why at the end of his supplication, Ibrahim said here,

“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Isma’il (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Isaac). Verily, my Lord is indeed the Hearer of invocations” (14:39).

Allah said next, “…and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” He (Allah) answered: “As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!”

Ibn Jarir said that Ubayy bin Ka’ b commented on, “He answered: “As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!” “These are Allah’s Words (meaning not Ibrahim’s)” This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid and ‘Ikrimah. Furthermore, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” “Ibrahim asked Allah to grant sustenance for the believers only. However, Allah revealed, ‘I will also provide for the disbelievers, just as I shall provide for the believers. Would I create something and not sustain and provide for? I shall allow the disbelievers little delight, and then force them to the torment of the Fire, and what an evil destination.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:377) Ibn ‘Abbas then recited,

“On each these as well as those We bestow from the bounties of your Lord. And the bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden” (17:20).

Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah will never be successful. (A brief) enjoyment in this world! And then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.” (10:69-70),

“And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you (O Muhammad ). To Us is their return, and We shall inform them what they have done. Verily, Allah is the Knower of what is in the breasts (of men). We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.” (31:23-24) and,

“And were it not that mankind would have become of one community (all disbelievers desiring worldly life only), We would have provided for those who disbelieve in the Most Gracious (Allah), silver roofs for their houses, and elevators whereby they ascend. And for their houses, doors (of silver), and thrones (of silver) on which they could recline. And adornments of gold. Yet all this would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world. And the Hereafter with your Lord is (only) for the Muttaqin (the pious).” (43:33-35).

Allah said next, “Then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!” meaning, “After the delight that the disbeliever enjoyed in this life, I will make his destination torment in the Fire, and what an evil destination.” This Ayah indicates that Allah gives the disbelievers respite and then seizes them in a manner compatible to His greatness and ability. This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement,

“And many a township did I give respite while it was given to wrongdoing. Then (in the end) I seized it (with punishment). And to Me is the (final) return (of all)” (22:48).

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded,

“No one is more patient than Allah when hearing abuse. They attribute a son to Him, while He grants them sustenance and health.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:372 and Muslim 4:2160)

The Sahih also recorded,

“Allah gives respite to the unjust person, until when He seizes him; He never lets go of him.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:205)

He then recited Allah’s statement,

“Such is the punishment of your Lord when He punishes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.” (11:102)

Building the Ka’bah and asking Allah to accept This Deed

Allah said, “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma’il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.”

Allah said, “O Muhammad! Remind your people when Ibrahim and Isma”il built the House and raised its foundations while saying, “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.” Al-Qurtubi mentioned that Ubayy and Ibn Mas’ud used to recite the Ayah this way, “And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma’il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), Saying, “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.” (Al-Qurtubi 2:126)

What further testifies to this statement (which adds ‘saying’ to the Ayah) by Ubayy and Ibn Mas’ud, is what came afterwards, “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You”. The Prophets Ibrahim and Isma’il were performing a good deed, yet they asked Allah to accept this good deed from them. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Wuhayb bin Al-Ward recited, “And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma’il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us” and cried and said, “O Khalil of Ar-Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of Ar-Rahman (Allah), yet you are afraid that He will not accept it from you?” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:384) This is the behavior of the sincere believers, whom Allah described in His statement,

“And those who give that which they give” (23:60)

meaning, they give away voluntary charity, and perform the acts of worship yet,

“with their hearts full of fear” (23: 60)

afraid that these good deeds might not be accepted of them. There is an authentic Hadith narrated by A’ishah on this subject, which we will mention later, Allah willing.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Prophet Ibrahim took Ismail and his mother and went away with them until he reached the area of the House, where he left them next to a tree above Zamzam in the upper area of theMasjid. During that time, Ismail’s mother was still nursing him. Makkah was then uninhabited, and there was no water source in it. Ibrahim left them there with a bag containing some dates and a water-skin containing water. Ibrahim then started to leave, and Ismail’s mother followed him and said, ‘O Ibrahim! To whom are you leaving us in this barren valley that is not inhabited?’ She repeated the question several times and Ibrahim did not reply. She asked, ‘Has Allah commanded you to do this?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘I am satisfied that Allah will never abandon us.’ Ibrahim left, and when he was far enough away where they could not see him, close to Thaniyyah, he faced the House, raised his hands and supplicated, “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah)” until, “Give thanks” (14:37). Ismail’s mother then returned to her place, started drinking water from the water-skin and nursing Ismail. When the water was used up, she and her son became thirsty. She looked at him, and he was suffering from thirst; she left, because she disliked seeing his face in that condition. She found the nearest mountian to where she was, As-Safa, ascended it and looked, in vain, hoping to see somebody. When she came down to the valley, she raised her garment and ran, just as a tired person runs, until she reached the Al-Marwah mountain. In vain, she looked to see if there was someone there. She ran to and fro (between the two mountains) seven times.” Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said, “This is why the people make the trip between As-Safa and Al-Marwah (during Hajj and Umrah).”

“When she reached Al-Marwah, she heard a voice and said, ‘Shush,’ to herself. She tried to hear the voice again and when she did, she said, ‘I have heard you. Do you have relief?’ She found the angel digging with his heel (or his wing) where Zamzam now exists, and the water gushed out. Ismail’s mother was astonished and started digging, using her hand to transfer water to the water-skin.” Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, then said, “May Allah grant His mercy to the mother of Isma’il, had she left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”

“Ismail’s mother started drinking the water and her milk increased for her child. The angel (Gabriel) said to her, ‘Do not fear abandonment. There shall be a House for Allah built here by this boy and his father. Allah does not abandon His people.’ During that time, the area of the House was raised above ground level and the floods used to reach its right and left sides.

Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, passing through Kada’, made camp at the bottom of the valley. They saw some birds, they were astonished, and said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water. We did not notice before that this valley had water.’ They sent a scout or two who searched the area, found the water, and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to Ismail’s mother, next to the water, and said ‘O Mother of Ismail! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)’ She said, ‘Yes. But you will have no exclusive right to the water here.’ They said, ‘We agree.”’ Ibn  Abbas said that the Prophet said, “At that time, Ismail’s mother liked to have human company.”

“And thus they stayed there and sent for their relatives to join them. Later on, her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them, for Ismail learned Arabic from them, and they liked the way he was raised. Ismail’s mother died after that.

Then an idea occurred to Abraham to visit his dependents. So he left (to Makkah). When he arrived, he did not find Ismail, so he asked his wife about him. She said, ‘He has gone out hunting.’ When he asked her about their living conditions, she complained to him that they live in misery and poverty. Abraham said (to her), ‘When your husband comes, convey my greeting and tell him to change the threshold of his gate.’ When Ismail came, he sensed that they had a visitor and asked his wife, ‘Did we have a visitor?’ She said, ‘Yes. An old man came to visit us and asked me about you, and I told him where you were. He also asked about our condition, and I told him that we live in hardship and poverty.’ Ismail said, `Did he ask you to do anything?’ She said, ‘Yes. He asked me to convey his greeting and that you should change the threshold of your gate.’ Ismail said to her, ` He was my father and you are the threshold, so go to your family (i.e. you are divorced).’ So he divorced her and married another woman. Again Ibrahim thought of visiting his dependents whom he had left (at Makkah). Ibrahim came to Ismail’s house, but did not find Ismail and asked his wife, ‘Where is Ismail?’ Ismail’s wife replied, ‘He has gone out hunting.’ He asked her about their condition, and she said that they have a good life and praised Allah. Ibrahim asked, ‘What is your food and what is your drink’ She replied, ‘Our food is meat and our drink is water.’ He said,’ O Allah! Bless their meat and their drink.”’ The Prophet (Muhammad) said, “They did not have crops then, otherwise Ibrahim would have invoked Allah to bless that too. Those who do not live in Makkah cannot bear eating a diet only containing meat and water.”

“Ibrahim said, ‘When Ismail comes back, convey my greeting to him and ask him to keep the threshold of his gate.’ When Ismail came back, he asked, ‘Has anyone visited us?’ She said, ‘Yes. A good looking old man,’ and she praised Ibrahim, ‘And he asked me about our livelihood and I told him that we live in good conditions.’ He asked, ‘Did he ask you to convey any message’ She said, ‘Yes. He conveyed his greeting to you and said that you should keep the threshold of your gate.’ Ismail said, ‘That was my father, and you are the threshold; he commanded me to keep you.’

Ibrahim then came back visiting and found Isma’il behind the Zamzam well, next to a tree, mending his arrows. When he saw Ibrahim, he stood up and they greeted each other, just as the father and son greet each other. Ibrahim said, ‘O Ismail, Your Lord has ordered me to do something.’ He said, ‘Obey your Lord.’ He asked Ismail, ‘Will you help me?’ He said, ‘Yes, I will help you.’ Ibrahim said, ‘Allah has commanded me to build a house for Him there, ‘ and he pointed to an area that was above ground level. So, both of them rose and started to raise the foundations of the House. Abraham started building (the Ka’bah), while Ismail continued handing him the stones. Both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.’ (2.127).”’ (Fath Al-Bari 6:456)

Hence, they were building the House, part by part, going around it and saying, “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.”

The Story of rebuilding the House by Quraysh before the Messenger of Allah was sent as Prophet

In his Seerah, Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said, “When the Messenger of Allah reached thirty-five years of age, the Quraysh gathered to rebuild the Ka’bah, this included covering it with a roof. However, they were weary of demolishing it. During that time, the Ka’bah was barely above a man’s shoulder, so they wanted to raise its height and build a ceiling on top. Some people had stolen the Ka’bah’s treasure beforehand, which used to be in a well in the middle of the Ka’bah. The treasure was later found with a man called, Duwayk, a freed servant of Bani Mulayh bin ‘Amr, from the tribe of Khuza’ah. The Quraysh cut off his hand as punishment. Some people claimed that those who actually stole the treasure left it with Duwayk. Afterwards, the sea brought a ship that belonged to a Roman merchant to the shores of Jeddah, where it washed-up. So they collected the ship’s wood to use it for the Ka’bah’s ceiling; a Coptic carpenter in Makkah prepared what they needed for the job.

When they decided to begin the demolition process to rebuild the House, Abu Wahb bin ‘Amr bin ‘A’idh bin ‘Abd bin ‘Imran bin Makhzum took a stone from the Ka’bah; the stone slipped from his hand and went back to where it had been. He said, ‘O people of Quraysh! Do not spend on rebuilding the House, except from what was earned from pure sources. No money earned from a prostitute, usury or injustice should be included.”’ Ibn Ishaq commented here that the people also attribute these words to Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Makhzum. (Ibn Hisham 1:204)

Ibn Ishaq continued, “The Quraysh began to organize their efforts to rebuild the Ka’bah, each subtribe taking the responsibility of rebuilding a designated part of it. However, they were still weary about bringing down the Ka’bah. Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah said, ‘I will start to bring it down.’ He held an axe and stood by the Ka’bah and said, ‘O Allah! No harm is meant. O Allah! We only seek to do a good service.’ He then started to chop the House’s stones. The people waited that night and said, ‘We will wait and see. If something strikes him, we will not bring it down and instead rebuid it the way it was. If nothing happens to him, then Allah will have agreed to what we are doing.’ The next morning, Al-Walid went to work on the K’bah, and the people started bringing the K’bah down with him. When they reached the foundations that Ibrahim built, they uncovered green stones that were above each other, just like a pile of spears.” Ibn Ishaq then said that some people told him, “A man from Quraysh, who was helping rebuild the Ka’bah, placed the shovel between two of these stones to pull them up; when one of the stones was moved, all of Makkah shook, so they did not dig up these stones.” (Ibn Hisham 1:207)

The Dispute regarding Who should place the Black Stone in Its Place

Ibn Ishaq said, “The tribes of Quraysh collected stones to rebuild the House, each tribe collecting on their own. They started rebuilding it, until the rebuilding of the Ka’bah reached the point where the Black Stone was to be placed in its designated site. A dispute erupted between the various tribes of Quraysh, each seeking the honor of placing the Black Stone for their own tribe. The dispute almost led to violence between the leaders of Quraysh in the area of the Sacred House. Banu ‘Abd Ad-Dar and Banu ‘Adi bin Ka’b bin Lu’ay, gave their mutual pledge to fight until death. However, five or four days later, Abu Umayyah bin Al-Mughirah bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Makhzum, the oldest man from Quraysh then intervened at the right moment. Abu Umayyah suggested that Quraysh should appoint the first man to enter the House from its entrance to be a mediator between them. They agreed.

The Messenger – Muhammad – was the first person to enter the House. When the various leaders of Quraysh realized who the first one was, they all proclaimed, ‘This is Al-Amin (the Honest one). We all accept him; This is Muhammad.’ When the Prophet reached the area where the leaders were gathering and they informed him about their dispute, he asked them to bring a garment and place it on the ground. He placed the Black Stone on it. He then requested that each of the leaders of Quraysh hold the garment from one side and all participate in lifting the Black Stone, moving it to its designated area. Next, the Prophet carried the Black Stone by himself and placed it in its designated position and built around it. The Quraysh used to call the Messenger of Allah ‘Al-Amin’ even before the revelation came to him.”

Ibn Az-Zubayr rebuilds Al-Ka` bah the way the Prophet wished

Ibn Ishaq said, “During the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the Ka’bah was eighteen cubits high and was covered with Egyptian linen, and then with a striped garment. Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf was the first person to cover it with silk.” (Ibn Hisham 1:211) The Ka’bah remained the same way the Quraysh rebuilt it, until it was burned during the reign of ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr, after the year 6o H, at the end of the reign of Yazid bin Mu’awiyah. During that time, Ibn Az-Zubayr was besieged at Makkah. When it was burned, Ibn Az-Zubayr brought the Ka’bah down and built it upon the foundations of Ibrahim, including the Hijr in it. He also made an eastern door and a western door in the Ka’bah and placed them on ground level. He had heard his aunt ‘A’ishah, the Mother of the believers, narrate that the Messenger of Allah had wished that. The Ka’bah remained like this throughout his reign, until Al-Hajjaj killed Ibn Az-Zubayr and then rebuilt it the way it was before, by the order of ‘Abdul-Malik bin Marwan.

Muslim recorded that ‘Ata’ said, “The House was burnt during the reign of Yazid bin Mu’awiyah, when the people of Ash-Sham raided Makkah. Ibn Az-Zubayr did not touch the House until the people came for Hajj, for he wanted to incite them against the people of Ash-Sham. He said to them, ‘O people! Advise me regarding the Ka’bah, should we bring it down and rebuild it, or just repair the damage it sustained ‘Ibn’Abbas said, ‘I have an opinion about this. You should rebuild the House the way it was when the people became Muslims. You should leave the stones that existed when the people became Muslims and when the Prophet was sent.’ Ibn Az- Zubayr said, ‘If the house of one of them gets burned, he will not be satisfied, until he rebuilds it. How about Allah’s House I will invoke my Lord for three days and will then implement what I decide.’ When the three days had passed, he decided to bring the Ka’bah down. The people hesitated to bring it down, fearing that the first person to climb on the House would be struck down. A man went on top of the House and threw some stones down, and when the people saw that no harm touched him, they started doing the same. They brought the House down to ground level. Ibn Az-Zubayr surrounded the site with curtains hanging from pillars, so that the House would be covered, until the building was erect. Ibn Az-Zubayr then said, `I heard ‘A’ishah say that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“If it was not for the fact that the people have recently abandoned disbelief, and that I do not have enough money to spend on it, I would have included in the House five cubits from Al-Hijr and would have made a door for it that people could enter from, and another door that they could exit from.” 

Ibn Az-Zubayr said, ‘I can spend on this job, and I do not fear the people.’ So he added five cubits from the Hijr, which looked like a rear part for the House that people could clearly see. He then built the House and made it eighteen cubits high. He thought that the House was still short and added ten cubits in the front and built two doors in it, one as an entrance and another as an exit.

When Ibn Az-Zubayr was killed, Al-Hajjaj wrote to ‘Abdul-Malik bin Marwan asking him about the House and told him that Ibn Az-Zubayr made a rear section for the House. ‘Abdul-Malik wrote back, ‘We do not agree with Ibn Az-Zubayr’s actions. As, for the Kabah’s height, leave it as it is. As for what he added from the Hijr, bring it down, and build the House as it was before and close the door.’ Therefore, Al-Hajjaj brought down the House and rebuilt it as it was.” In his Sunan, An-Nasa’i collected the Hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, narrated from ‘A’ishah, not the whole story. (An-Nasai 5:218)

The correct Sunnah conformed to Ibn Az-Zubayr’s actions, because this was what the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, wished he could do, but feared that the hearts of the people who recently became Muslim could not bear rebuilding the House. This Sunnah was not clear to ‘Abdul-Malik bin Marwan. Hence, when ‘Abdul-Malik realized that ‘A’ishah had narrated the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, on this subject, he said, “I wish we had left it as Ibn Az-Zubayr had made it.” Muslim recorded that ‘Ubadydullah bin ‘Ubayd said that Al-Harith bin ‘Abdullah came to ‘Abdul-Malik bin Marwan during his reign. ‘Abdul-Malik said, ‘I did not think that Abu Khubayb (Ibn Az- Zubayr) heard from ‘A’ishah what he said he heard from her.’ Al-Harith said, ‘Yes he did. I heard the Hadith from her.’ ‘Abdul-Malik said, ‘You heard her say what?’ He said, ‘She said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Your people rebuilt the House smaller. Had it not been for the fact that your people are not far from the time of Shirk, I would add what was left outside of it. If your people afterwards think about rebuilding it, let me show you what they left out of it.” 

He showed her around seven cubits.’

One of the narrators of the Hadith, Al-Walid bin ‘Ata’, added that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“I would have made two doors for the House on ground level, one eastern and one western. Do you know why your people raised its door above ground level?”

She said, ‘No.’ He said,

“To allow only those whom they wanted to enter it. When a man whom they did not wish to enter the House climbed to the level of the door, they would push him down”

Abdul-Malik then said, ‘You heard ‘A’ishah say this Hadith?’ He said, ` Yes.’ ‘Abdul-Malik said, ‘I wish I left it a sit was.” (Muslim 2:971)

An Ethiopian will destroy the Ka’bah just before the Last Hour

The Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The Ka’bah will be destroyed by Dhus-Sawiqatayn (literally, a person with two lean legs) from Ethiopia.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:538 and Muslim 4:2232)

Also, Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“As if I see him now: a black person with thin legs plucking the stones of the Ka` bah one after another.”  (Fath Al-Bari 3:538)

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded in his Musnad that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say,

“Dhus-Sawiqatayn from Ethiopia will destroy the Ka’bah and will loot its adornments and cover. It is as if I see him now: bald, with thin legs striking the Ka` bah with his axe.” (Ahmad 2:220)

This will occur after the appearance of Gog and Magog people. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There will be Hajj and ‘Umrah to the House after the appearance of Gog and Magog people.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:531)

Al-Khalil’s Supplication

Allah said that Ibrahim and Isma’il supplicated to Him, “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” Ibn Jarir said, “They meant by their supplication, “Make us submit to Your command and obedience and not associate anyone with You in obedience or worship.” Also, ‘Ikrimah commented on the Ayah, “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You” “Allah said, ‘I shall do that.”’And of our offspring a nation submissive unto You” Allah said, ‘I shall do that.'”

This supplication by Ibrahim and Isma’il is similar to what Allah informed us of about His believing servants,

“And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqin” (25:74).

This type of supplication is allowed, because loving to have offspring who worship Allah alone without partners is a sign of complete love of Allah. This is why when Allah said to Ibrahim, “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you)” Ibrahim said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).” (Allah) said, “My covenant (prophethood) includes not the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)” which is explained by, “And keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.”

Muslim narrated in his Sahih that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “When the son of Adam dies, his deeds end except for three deeds: an ongoing charity, a knowledge that is being benefited from and a righteous son who supplicates (to Allah) for him.” (Muslim 3:1255)

The Meaning of Manasik

Sa’id bin Mansur said that ‘Attab bin Bashir informed us from Khasif, from Mujahid who said, “The Prophet Ibrahim supplicated, “and show us our Manasik” Jibril then came down, took him to the House and said, ‘Raise its foundations.’ Ibrahim raised the House’s foundations and completed the building. Jibril held Ibrahim’s hand, led him to As-Safa and said, ‘This is among the rituals of Allah.’ He then took him to Al-Marwah and said, ‘And this is among the rituals of Allah.’ He then took him to Mina until when they reached the ‘Aqabah, they found Iblis standing next to a tree. Jibril said, ‘Say Takbir (Allah is the Great) and throw (pebbles) at him.’ Ibrahim said the Takbir and threw (pebbles at) Iblis. Iblis moved to the middle Jamrah, and when Jibril and Ibrahim passed by him, Jibril said to Ibrahim, ‘Say Takbir and throw at him.’ Ibrahim threw at him and said Takbir. The devious Iblis sought to add some evil acts to the rituals of Hajj, but he was unable to succeed. Jibril took Ibrahim’s hand and led him to Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram and ‘Arafat and said to him, ‘Have you ‘Arafta (known, learned) what I showed you?’ thrice. Ibrahim said, ‘Yes I did.”’ (Said Bin Mansur 2:615)

 

{129. “Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur’an), and purify them. Verily, You are the Mighty, the Wise.”}

 

Ibrahim’s Supplication that Allah sends the Prophet

Allah mentioned Ibrahim’s supplication for the benefit of the people of the Sacred Area (to grant them security and provision), and it was perfected by invoking Allah to send a Messenger from his offspring. This accepted supplication, from Ibrahim, conformed with Allah’s appointed destiny that Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, be sent as a Messenger among the Ummiyyin and to all non-Arabs, among the Jinns and mankind.

Hence, Ibrahim was the first person to mention the Prophet to the people. Ever since, Muhammad was known to the people, until the last Prophet was sent among the Children of Israel, Jesus the son of Mary, who mentioned Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, by name. Jesus addressed the Children of Israel saying,

“I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming what is before me in the Tawrah, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad” (61:6)

This is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said ,

“The supplication of my father Ibrahim and the glad tidings brought forth by Jesus the son of Mary.” (As-Sahihah nos. 1546 and 1925)

The Prophet, peace be upon him said,

“My mother saw a light that went out of her and radiated the palaces of Ash-Sham.” (Ahmad 5:262)

It was said that the Prophet’s mother saw this vision when she was pregnant with him, narrated this vision to her people, and the story became popular among them. The light mentioned in the Hadith appeared in Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), testifying to what will later occur when the Prophet’s religion will be firmly established in Ash-Sham area. This is why by the end of time, Ash-Sham will be a refuge for Islam and its people. Also, Jesus the son of Mary will descend in Ash-Sham, next to the eastern white minaret in Damascus. The Two Sahihs stated,

“There will always be a group of my Ummah who will be on the truth, undeterred by those who fail or oppose them, until the command of Allah comes while they are on this.” Al-Bukhari added in his Sahih, “And they will reside in Ash-Sham.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:731 and Muslim 2:1524)

The Meaning of Al-Kitab wal-Hikmah

Allah said, “and instruct them in the Book” meaning, Al-Qur’an, “and Al-Hikmah” meaning, the Sunnah, as Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Abu Malik asserted. It was also said that ‘Al-Hikmah‘, means ‘comprehension in the religion’, and both meanings are correct. ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah said, that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “and purify them” means, “With the obedience of Allah.’ “Verily, You are the Mighty, the Wise”.

This Ayah stated that Allah is able to do anything, and nothing escapes His ability. He is Wise in His decisions, His actions, and He puts everything in its rightful place due to His perfect knowledge, wisdom and justice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s