Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 20-67

{20. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “O my people! Remember the favour of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (Al-Alamin).”

21. “O my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and turn not back; for then you will be returned as losers.”

22. They said: “O Musa! In it are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter.”

23. Two men of those who feared (Allah and) on whom Allah had bestowed His grace said: “Assault them through the gate; for when you are in, victory will be yours. And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.”

24. They said: “O Musa! We shall never enter it as long as they are there. So go, you and your Lord, and fight you two, we are sitting right here.”

25. He [Musa] said: “O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother, so Ifruq us from the rebellious people!”

26. (Allah) said: “Therefore it is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So do not greive for the rebellious people.”}

Musa Reminds His People of Allah’s favours on Them; The Jews Refuse to Enter the Holy Land

Allah states that His servant, Messenger, to whom He spoke directly, Musa, the son of  Imran, reminded his people that among the favors Allah granted them, is that He will give them all of the good of this life and the Hereafter, if they remain on the righteous and straight path. Allah said, ”And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you, when He made Prophets among you” for whenever a Prophet died, another rose among them, from the time of their father Ibrahim and thereafter. There were many Prophets among the Children of Israel calling to Allah and warning against His torment, until Isa was sent as the final Prophet from the Children of Israel. Allah then sent down the revelation to the Final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, from the offspring of Ismail, the son of Ibrahim, peace be upon them. Muhammad is the most honorable Prophet of all times.

Allah said next, ”made you kings” Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Ibn Abbas commented: “Having a servant, a wife and a house.” (Abdur Razzaq 1:187) In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “A wife and a servant, and, a ”and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (Alamin).” means, during their time.” (Al-Hakim 2:312) Al-Hakim said, “Sahih according to the criteria of the Two Sahihs, but they did not collect it.” Qatadah said, “They were the first people to take servants.” (At-Tabari 10:163)

A Hadith states,

”He among you who wakes up while healthy in body, safe in his family and having the provision for that very day, is as if the world and all that was in it were collected for him.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:11)

Allah’s statement, “and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (Al-Alamin).” means, during your time, as we stated. The Children of Israel were the most honorable among the people of their time, compared to the Greek, Copts and the rest of mankind. Allah said in another Ayah, ”And indeed We gave the Children of Israel the Scripture, and the understanding of the Scripture and its laws, and the Prophethood; and provided them with good things, and preferred them above the nations (Al-Alamin).”

Allah said, ”They said: “O Musa! Make for us a god as they have gods.” He said: “Verily, you are an ignorant people.” [Musa added] “Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in (idol worship). And all that they are doing is in vain. He said: “Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah, while He has given you superiority over the nations.” Therefore, they were the best among the people of their time. The Muslim Ummah is more respected and honoured before Allah, and has a more perfect legislative code and system of life, it has the most honorable Prophet, the larger kingdom, more provisions, wealth and children, a larger domain and more lasting glory than the Children of Israel. Allah said, ”Thus We have made you, a just (the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind.”

We mentioned the Mutawatir Hadiths about the honor of this Ummah and its status and honor with Allah, when we explained Allah’s statement in Surah Al-Imran (3), ”You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind…” Allah states next that Musa encouraged the Children of Israel to perform Jihad and enter Jerusalem, which was under their control during the time of their father Yaqub. Yaqub and his children later moved with his children and household to Egypt during the time of Prophet Yusuf. His offspring remained in Egypt until their exodus with Musa. They found a mighty, strong people in Jerusalem who had previously taken it over. Musa, Allah’s Messenger, ordered the Children of Israel to enter Jerusalem and fight their enemy, and he promised them victory and triumph over the mighty people if they did so. They declined, rebelled and defied his order and were punished for forty years by being lost, wandering in the land uncertain of where they should go. This was their punishment for defying Allah’s command.

Allah said that Musa ordered them to enter the Holy Land, ”which Allah has assigned to you” meaning, which Allah has promised to you by the words of your father Isra’il, that it is the inheritance of those among you who believe. ”and turn not back” in flight from Jihad. “. ..for then you will be returned as losers. They said, “O Musa! In it are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter.” Their excuse was this, in this very town you commanded us to enter and fight its people, there is a mighty, strong, vicious people who have tremendous physique and physical ability. We are unable to stand against these people or fight them. Therefore, they said, we are incapable of entering this city as long as they are still in it, but if they leave it, we will enter it. Otherwise, we cannot stand against them.

The Speeches of Yuwsha (Joshua) and Kalib (Caleb)

Allah said, ”Two men of those who feared (Allah and) on whom Allah had bestowed His grace said…” When the Children of Israel declined to obey Allah and follow His Messenger Musa, two righteous men among them, on whom Allah had bestowed a great bounty and who were afraid of Allah and His punishment, encouraged them to go forward. It was also said that the Ayah reads in a way that means that these men were respected and honored by their people. These two men were Yuwsha, the son of Nun, and Kalib, the son of Yufna, as Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Atiyyah, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and several other Salaf and latter scholars stated. (At-Tabari 10:176-178) These two men said to their people, “Assault them through the gate, for when you are in, victory will be yours. And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” Therefore, they said, if you rely on and trust in Allah, follow His command and obey His Messenger, then Allah will give you victory over your enemies and will give you triumph and dominance over them. Thus, you will conquer the city that Allah has promised you. This advice did not benefit them in the least, ”They said, “O Musa! We shall never enter it as long as they are there. So go, you and your Lord, and fight you two, we are sitting right here.” This is how they declined to join Jihad, defied their Messenger, and refused to fight their enemy.

The Righteous Response of the Companions During the Battle of Badr

Compare this to the better response the Companions gave to the Messenger of Allah during the battle of Badr, when he asked for their advice about fighting the Quraysh army that came to protect the caravan led by Abu Sufyan. When the Muslim army missed the caravan and the Quraysh army, between nine hundred and one thousand strong, helmeted and drawing closer, Abu Bakr stood up and said something good. Several more Muhajirin also spoke, all the while the Messenger of Allah saying, ”Advise me, O Muslims!” inquiring of what the Ansar, the majority then, had to say. Sad bin Muadh said, “It looks like you mean us, O Messenger of Allah! By He Who has sent you with the Truth! If you seek to cross this sea and went in it, we will follow you and none among us will remain behind. We would not hate for you to lead us to meet our enemy tomorrow. We are patient in war, vicious in battle. May Allah allow you to witness from our efforts what comforts your eyes. Therefore, march forward with the blessing of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah was pleased with the words of Sad and was encouraged to march on. (At-Tabari 13:399)

In the Book of Al- Maghazi and At-Tafsir, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said, “On the day of Badr, Al-Miqdad said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! We will never say to you what the Children of Israel said to Musa, ”So go, you and your Lord, and fight you two, we are sitting right here.” Rather, march on and we will be with you.’ The Messenger of Allah was satisfied after hearing this statement.” (Al-Bukhari no.4609)

Musa Supplicates to Allah Against the Jews

Musa said, “O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother, so separate us from the rebellious people!” When the Children of Israel refused to fight, Musa became very angry with them and supplicated to Allah against them, ”O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother” meaning, only I and my brother Harun among them will obey, implement Allah’s command and accept the call, ”So Ifruq us from the rebellious people!” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “Meaning, judge between us and them.” (At-Tabari 10:188)  Ad-Dahhak said that the Ayah means, “Judge and decide between us and them.” Other scholars said that the Ayah means, “Separate between us and them.”

Forbidding the Jews from Entering the Holy Land for Forty Years

Allah said, ”Therefore it is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land.” When Musa supplicated against the Jews for refusing to fight in Jihad, Allah forbade them from entering the land for forty years. They wandered about lost in the land of At-Tih, unable to find their way out. During this time, tremendous miracles occurred, such as the clouds that shaded them and the manna and quails Allah sent down for them. Allah brought forth water springs from solid rock, and the other miracles that He aided Musa bin Imran with. During this time, the Tawrah was revealed and the Law was established for the Children of Israel and the Tabernacle of the Covenant was erected.

Conquering Jerusalem

Allah’s statement, ”for forty years” defines, ”in distraction they will wander through the land.”

When these years ended, Yuwsha bin Nun led those who remained among them and the second generation, and laid siege to Jerusalem, conquering it on a Friday afternoon. When the sun was about to set and Yuwsha feared that the Sabbath would begin, he said (to the sun), “You are commanded and I am commanded, as well. O Allah! Make it stop setting for me.” Allah made the sun stop setting until Yuwsha bin Nun conquered Jerusalem. Next, Allah commanded Yuwsha to order the Children of Israel to enter Jerusalem from its gate while bowing and saying Hittah, meaning, ‘remove our sins.’ Yet, they changed what they were commanded and entered it while dragging themselves on their behinds and saying, ‘Habbah (a seed) in Sharah (a hair).” We mentioned all of this in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas commented, ”Therefore it is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land.” “They wandered in the land for forty years, during which Musa and Harun died, as well as everyone above forty years of age. When the forty years ended, Yuwsha son of Nun assumed their leadership and later conquered Jerusalem. When Yuwsha was reminded that the day was Friday and the sun was about to set, while they were still attacking Jerusalem, he feared that the Sabbath might begin. Therefore, he said to the sun, ‘I am commanded and you are commanded.’ Allah made the sun stop setting and the Jews conquered Jerusalem and found wealth unseen before. They wanted to let the fire consume the booty, but the fire would not do that. Yuwsha said,’Some of you have committed theft from the booty.’ So he summoned the twelve leaders of the twelve tribes and took the pledge from them. Then, the hand of one of them became stuck to the hand of Yuwsha and Yuwsha said, ‘You committed the theft, so bring it forth.’ So, that man brought a cow’s head made of gold with two eyes made of precious stones and a set of teeth made of pearls. When Yuwsha added it to the booty, the fire consumed it, as they were prohibited to keep the booty.” There is evidence supporting all of this in the Sahih.

Allah Comforts Musa

Comforting Musa, Allah said ”So do not grieve for the rebellious people.” Allah said: Do not feel sorrow or sadness over My judgment against them, for they deserve such judgment. This story chastises the Jews, exposes their defiance of Allah and His Messenger, and their refusal to obey the order for Jihad. They were weak and could not bear the thought of fighting their enemy, being patient, and enduring this way. This occurred although they had the Messenger of Allah and the one whom He spoke to among them, the best of Allah’s creation that time. Their Prophet promised them triumph and victory against their enemies. They also witnessed the torment and punishment of drowning with which Allah punished their enemy Firawn and his soldiers, so that their eyes were pleased and comforted. All this did not happen too long ago, yet they refused to perform Jihad against people who had less than a tenth of the power and strength than the people of Egypt had. Therefore, the evil works of the Jews were exposed to everyone, and the exposure was such an enormous one that the night, or the tail, can never cover its tracks. They were also blinded by their ignorance and transgression. Thus, they became hated by Allah, and they became His enemies. Yet, they claim that they are Allah’s children and His loved ones! May Allah curse their faces that were transformed to the shape of swine and apes, and may Allah’s curse accompany them to the raging Fire. May Allah make them abide in the Fire for eternity, and He did; all thanks are due to Him.

{27. And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam in truth; when each offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: “I will surely, kill you.” The former said: “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who have Taqwa.

28. “If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists.”

29. “Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.”

30. So the soul of the other encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.

31. Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. He said: “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother” Then he became one of those who regretted.}

The Story of Habil (Abel) and Qabil (Cain)

Allah describes the evil end and consequence of transgression, envy and injustice in the story of the two sons of Adam, Habil and Qabil. One of them fought against the other and killed him out of envy and transgression, because of the bounty that Allah gave his brother and because the sacrifice that he sincerely offered to Allah was accepted. The murdered brother earned forgiveness for his sins and was admitted into Paradise, while the murderer failed and earned a losing deal in both the lives. Allah said, ”And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam in truth” meaning, tell these envious, unjust people, the brothers of swine and apes from the Jews and their likes among mankind, the story of the two sons of Adam, Habil and Qabil, as many scholars among the Salaf and later generations said.

Allah’s statement, ”in truth” means, clearly and without ambiguity, alteration, confusion, change, addition or deletion. Allah said in other Ayat, ”Verily, this is the true narrative [about the story of Isa]” ”We narrate unto you their story with truth” and, ”Such is Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth.”

Several scholars among the Salaf and the later generations said that Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons because of the necessity of such action. They also said that in every pregnancy, Adam was given a twin, a male and a female, and he used to give the female of one twin, to the male of the other twin, in marriage. Habil’s sister was not beautiful while Qabil’s sister was beautiful, resulting in Qabil wanting her for himself, instead of his brother. Adam refused unless they both offer a sacrifice, and he whose sacrifice was accepted, would marry Qabil’s sister. Habil’s sacrifice was accepted, while Qabil’s sacrifice was rejected, and thus what Allah told us about them occurred.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said – that during the time of Adam – “The woman was not allowed in marriage for her male twin, but Adam was commanded to marry her to any of her other brothers. In each pregnancy, Adam was given a twin, a male and a female. A beautiful daughter was once born for Adam and another one that was not beautiful. So the twin brother of the ugly daughter said, ‘Marry your sister to me and I will marry my sister to you.’ He said, ‘No, for I have more right to my sister.’ So they both offered a sacrifice. The sacrifice of the one who offered the sheep was accepted while the sacrifice of the other [the twin brother of the beautiful daughter], which consisted of some produce, was not accepted. So the latter killed his brother.” This story has a better than good chain of narration. (At-Tabari 10:223)

The statement, “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who have Taqwa.” who fear Allah in their actions. Ibn Abi Hat im recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “If I become certain that Allah has accepted even one prayer from me, it will be better for me than this life and all that in it. This is because Allah says, ”Verily, Allah accepts only from the those who have Taqwa.”

The statement, “If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists.” Qabil’s brother, the pious man whose sacrifice was accepted because of his piety, said to his brother, who threatened to kill him without justification, ”If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you” I will not commit the same evil act that you threaten to commit, so that I will not earn the same sin as you, ”for I fear Allah; the Lord of the all that exists” and, as a result, I will not commit the error that you threaten to commit. Rather, I will observe patience and endurance. Abdullah bin Amr said, “By Allah! Habil was the stronger of the two men. But, fear of Allah restricted his hand.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said in a Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs,

 ”When two Muslims fight (meet) each other with their swords, both the murderer as well as the murdered will go to the Hellfire.”

They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! It is all right for the murderer, but what about the victim?” Allah’s Messenger replied,

‘He surely had the intention to kill his comrade.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:35)

Imam Ahmad recorded that, at the beginning of the calamity that Uthman suffered from, Sad bin Abi Waqqas said, “I bear witness that the Messenger of Allah said,

“There will be a Fitnah, and he who sits idle during it is better than he who stands up, and he who stands up in it is better than he who walks, and he who walks is better than he who is walking at a fast pace.”

When he was asked, ‘What if someone enters my home and stretched his hand to kill me?’ He said,

“Be just like (the pious) son of Adam.” (Ahmad 1:185)

The Qur’an continues, “Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.” Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad- Dahhak, As-Suddi and Qatadah said that, “Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours…” means, the sin of murdering me, in addition to your previous sins. Allah’s statement, ”So the soul of the other encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.” means, his conscience encouraged him to kill his brother by making it seem like a sensible thing to do, so he killed him, even after his brother admonished him. Ibn Jarir said, “When he wanted to kill his brother, he started to twist his neck. So Shaytan took an animal and placed its head on a rock, then he took another rock, and smashed its head with it until he killed it while the son of Adam was looking. So he did the same thing to his brother.” (At-Tabari 4:536)

Abdullah bin Wahb said that Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that his father said, “Qabil held Habil by the head to kill him, so Habil laid down for him and Qabil started twisting Habil’s head, not knowing how to kill him. Shaytan came to Qabil and said, ‘Do you want to kill him?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Shaytan said, ‘Take that stone and throw it on his head.’ So Qabil took the stone and threw it at his brother’s head and smashed his head. Shaytan then went to Hawwa in a hurry and said to her, ‘O Hawwa’! Qabil killed Habil.’ She asked him, ‘Woe to you! What does ‘kill’ mean?’ He said, ‘He will no longer eat, drink or move.’ She said, ‘And that is death?’ He said, ‘Yes it is.’ So she started to weep until Adam came to her while she was weeping and said, ‘What is the matter with you’ She did not answer him. He asked her two more times, but she did not answer him. So he said, ‘You and your daughters will inherit the practice of weeping, while I and my sons are free of it.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded it.

Allah’s statement, ”And became one of the losers.” in this life and the Hereafter, and which loss is worse than this Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Any soul that is unjustly killed, then the first son of Adam will carry a burden of its shedding, for he was the first to practice the crime of murder.” (Ahmad 1:383)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Abdullah bin Amr used to say, “The son of Adam, who killed his brother, will be the most miserable among men. There is no blood shed on earth since he killed his brother, until the Day of Resurrection, but he will carry a burden from it, for he was the first person to establish murder.” (At-Tabari 10:219)

Allah said, ”Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said, “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother” Then he became one of those who regretted.” As-Suddi said that the Companions said, “When his brother died, Qabil left him on the bare ground and did not know how to bury him. Allah sent two crows, which fought with each other until one of them killed the other. So it dug a hole and threw sand over the dead corpse (which it placed in the hole). When Qabil saw that, he said, “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “A crow came to the dead corpse of another crow and threw sand over it, until it hid it in the ground. He who killed his brother said, ”Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother” Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on the statement, ”Then he became one of those who regretted.” “Allah made him feel sorrow after the loss that he earned.”

The Swift Punishment for Transgression and Cutting the Relations of the Womb

A Hadith states that the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said,

”There is no sin that is more worthy of Allah hastening its punishment in this life, in addition to what He has in store for its offender in the Hereafter, more than transgression and cutting the relations of the womb.” (Abu Dawud 5:208)

The act of Qabil included both of these. We are Allah’s and to Him is our return.

{32. Because of that, We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with Al-Bayyinat, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits in the land!

33. The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified, or their hands and their feet be cut off on opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.

34. Except for those who (having fled away and then) came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power; in that case, know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

Human Beings Should Respect the Sanctity of Other Human Beings

Allah says, because the son of Adam killed his brother in transgression and aggression, ”We ordained for the Children of Israel…” meaning, We legislated for them and informed them, ”that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” The Ayah states, whoever kills a soul without justification – such as in retaliation for murder or for causing mischief on earth – will be as if he has killed all mankind, because there is no difference between one life and another. ”and if anyone saved a life…” by preventing its blood from being shed and believing in its sanctity, then all people will have been saved from him, so, ”it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” Al-Amash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said, “I entered on Uthman when he was under siege in his house and said, ‘I came to give you my support. Now, it is good to fight (defending you) O Leader of the Faithful!’ He said, ‘O Abu Hurayrah! Does it please you that you kill all people, including me?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘If you kill one man, it is as if you killed all people. Therefore, go back with my permission for you to leave. May you receive your reward and be saved from burden.’ So I went back and did not fight.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “It is as Allah has stated, ‘‘if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”

Saving life in this case occurs by not killing a soul that Allah has forbidden. So this is the meaning of saving the life of all mankind, for whoever forbids killing a soul without justification, the lives of all people will be saved from him.” (At-Tabari 10:235) Similar was said by Mujahid; ”And if anyone saved a life…” means, he refrains from killing a soul. (At-Tabari 10:236)

Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said that Allah’s statement, ”it would be as if he killed all mankind.” means, “Whoever kills one soul that Allah has forbidden killing, is just like he who kills all mankind.” (At-Tabari 10:233) Said bin Jubayr said, “He who allows himself to shed the blood of a Muslim, is like he who allows shedding the blood of all people. He who forbids shedding the blood of one Muslim, is like he who forbids shedding the blood of all people.” In addition, Ibn Jurayj said that Al-Araj said that Mujahid commented on the Ayah, ”it would be as if he killed all mankind” “He who kills a believing soul intentionally, Allah makes the Fire of Hell his abode, He will become angry with him, and curse him, and has prepared a tremendous punishment for him, equal to if he had killed all people, his punishment will still be the same.” Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that the Ayah, ”and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” means, “He who does not kill anyone, then the lives of people are safe from him.”

Warning Those who Commit Mischief

Allah said, ”And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with Al-Bayyinat” meaning, clear evidences, signs and proofs, ”even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits in the land!” This Ayah chastises and criticizes those who commit the prohibitions, after knowing that they are prohibited from indulging in them. The Jews of Al-Madinah, such as Banu Qurayzah, An-Nadir and Qaynuqa, used to fight along with either Khazraj or Aws, when war would erupt between them during the time of Jahiliyyah. When these wars would end, the Jews would ransom those who were captured and pay the blood money for those who were killed. Allah criticized them for this practice in Surat Al-Baqarah,

”And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not your (people’s) blood, nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bear witness. After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of your own from their homes, assist (their enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you. Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” (2:84- 85)

The Punishment of those Who Cause Mischief in the Land

Allah said next, ”The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.” ‘Wage war’ mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al- Basri said that the Ayat, ”The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger” until, ”Allah is Of-Forgiving, Most Merciful” “Were revealed about the idolators. Therefore, the Ayah decrees that, whoever among them repents before you apprehend them, then you have no right to punish them. This Ayah does not save a Muslim from punishment if he kills, causes mischief in the land or wages war against Allah and His Messenger and then joins rank with the disbelievers, before the Muslims are able to catch him. He will still be liable for punishment for the crimes he committed.”  (At-Tabari 10:244) Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i recorded that Ikrimah said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah, ”The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land…” “Was revealed concerning the idolators, those among them who repent before being apprehended, they will still be liable for punishment for the crimes they committed.”

The correct opinion is that this Ayah is general in meaning and includes the idolators and all others who commit the types of crimes the Ayah mentioned. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that Abu Qilabah Abdullah bin Zayd Al-Jarmi, said that Anas bin Malik said, “Eight people of the Ukl tribe came to the Messenger of Allah and gave him their pledge to follow Islam. Al-Madinah’s climate did not suit them and they became sick and complained to Allah’s Messenger. So he said,

”Go with our shephard to be treated by the milk and urine of his camels.”

So they went as directed, and after they drank from the camels’ milk and urine, they became healthy, and they killed the shepherd and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured. He then ordered that their hands and feet be cut off (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron. Next, they were put in the sun until they died.” This is the wording of Muslim. In another narration for this Hadith, it was mentioned that these people were from the tribes of Ukl or Uraynah. Another narration reported that these people were put in the Harrah area (of Al-Madinah), and when they asked for water, no water was given to them. (Fath Al-Bari 12:114)

Allah said, ”they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.” Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said about this Ayah, ‘He who takes up arms in Muslim land and spreads fear in the fairways and is captured, the Muslim Leader has the choice to either have him killed, crucified or cut off his hands and feet.” Similar was said by Said bin Al-Musayyib, Mujahid, Ata’, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ibrahim An-Nakhai and Ad-Dahhak, as Abu Jafar Ibn Jarir recorded. (At-Tabari 10:262-263) This view is supported by the fact that the word Aw (or), indicates a choice. As Allah said, ”The penalty is an offering, brought to the Kabah, of an eatable animal equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting.” (5:95)

Allah said, ‘‘And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a ransom of either fasting or giving charity or offering a sacrifice.” and, ”…for its expiation feed ten of the poor, on a scale of the average of that with which you feed your own families, or clothe them, or free a slave.” All of these Ayat offer a choice, just as the Ayah above.

As for Allah’s statement, ”or be exiled from the land.” some said that it means, he is actively pursued until he is captured, and thus receives his prescribed punishment, or otherwise he escapes from the land of Islam, as Ibn Jarir recorded from Ibn Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Said bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Az-Zuhri, Al-Layth bin Sad and Malik bin Anas. Some said that the Ayah means these people are expelled to another land, or to another state by the Muslims authorities. (At-Tabari 10:268-270) Said bin Jubayr, Abu Ash-Shatha, Al-Hasan, Az-Zuhri, Ad-Dahhak and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that he is expelled, but not outside of the land of Islam, while others said that he is to be imprisoned.

Allah’s statement, ”That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.” means, the punishment We prescribed, killing these aggressors, crucifying them, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or expelling them from the land is a disgrace for them among mankind in this life, along with the tremendous torment Allah has prepared for them in the Hereafter. This view supports the opinion that these Ayat were revealed about the idolators. As for Muslims, in his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said, “The Messenger of Allah took the same pledge from us that he also took from women: That we do not associate anything with Allah in worship, we do not steal, commit adultery, or kill our children, and that we do not spread falsehood about each other. He said that he who keeps this pledge, then his reward will be with Allah. He who falls into shortcomings and was punished, then this will be his expiation. And those whose errors were covered by Allah, then their matter is for Allah: If He wills, He will punish them and If He wills, He will pardon them.” (Muslim 3:1333)

Ali narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”He who sins in this life and was punished for it, then Allah is far more just than to combine two punishments on His servant. He who commits an error in this life and Allah hides this error and pardons him, then Allah is far more generous than to punish the servant for something that He has already pardoned.” (Ahmad 1:159)

Al-Hafiz Ad-Daraqutni was asked about this Hadith, and he said that it was related to the Prophet in some narrations, and it was related to the Companions in others, and that this narration from the Prophet is Sahih. (Ad-Daraqutni 3:215)

Ibn Jarir commented on Allah’s statement, ”That is their disgrace in this world” “Meaning, shame, humiliation, punishment, contempt and torment in this life, before the Hereafter, ”and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.” if they do not repent from these errors until death overcomes them. In this case, they will be stricken by the punishment that We prescribed for them in this life and the torment that We prepared for them therein, ”a great torment” in the Fire of Jahannam.” (At-Tabari 10:276)

The Punishment of those who Wage War Against Allah and His Messenger is Annulled if They Repent Before their Apprehension

Allah said, ”Except for those who (having fled away and then) came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power; in that case, know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This Ayah is clear in its indication that it applies to the idolators. As for the Muslims who commit this crime and repent before they are apprehended, the punishment of killing, crucifixion and cutting the limbs will be waved. The practice of the Companions in this regard is that all of the punishments prescribed in this case will be waved, as is apparent from the wording of the Ayah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ash-Shabi said, “Harithah bin Badr At-Tamimi was living in Al-Basrah, and he committed the crime of mischief in the land. So he talked to some men from Quraysh, such as Al-Hasan bin Ali, Ibn Abbas and Abdullah bin Jafar, and they talked to Ali about him so that he would grant him safety, but Ali refused. So Harithah went to Said bin Qays Al-Hamadani who kept him in his house and went to Ali, saying, ‘O Leader of the Faithful! What about those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and cause mischief in the land?’ So he recited the Ayah until he reached, ”Except for those who (having fled away and them) came back cas Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power.” So Ali wrote a document that granted safety, and Said bin Qays said, ‘This is for Harithah bin Badr.”’ Ibn Jarir recorded this Hadith. (At-Tabari 10:280)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Amir Ash-Shabi said, “A man from Murad came to Abu Musa, while he was the governor of Al-Kufah during the reign of Uthman, and said to him after he offered the obligatory prayer, ‘O Abu Musa! I seek your help. I am so-and-so from Murad and I waged war against Allah and His Messenger and caused mischief in the land. I repented before you had any authority over me.’ Abu Musa proclaimed, ‘This is so-and-so, who had waged war against Allah and His Messenger and caused mischief in the land, and he repented before we had authority over him. Therefore, anyone who meets him, should deal with him in a better way. If he is saying the truth, then this is the path of those who say the truth. If he is saying a lie, his sins will destroy him. So the man remained idle for as long as Allah willed, but he later rose against the leaders, and Allah punished him for his sins and he was killed.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Musa bin Ishaq Al-Madani said that Ali Al-Asadi waged war, blocked the roads, shed blood and plundered wealth. The leaders and the people alike, sought to capture him, but they could not do that until he came after he repented, after he heard a man reciting the Ayah, ”O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” So he said to that man, “O servant of Allah! Recite it again.” So he recited it again, and Ali put down his sword and went to Al-Madinah in repentance, arriving during the night. He washed up and went to the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah and prayed the dawn prayer. He sat next to Abu Hurayrah amidst his companions. In the morning, the people recognized him and went after him. He said, “You have no way against me. I came in repentance before you had any authority over me.” Abu Hurayrah said, “He has said the truth,” and he held his hand and went to Marwan bin Al-Hakam, who was the governor of Al-Madinah during the reign of Muawiyah. Abu Hurayrah said, “This is Ali and he came in repentance and you do not have a way against him, nor can you have him killed.” So Ali was absolved of punishment and remained on his repentance and went to the sea to perform Jihad in Allah’s cause. The Muslims met the Romans in battle, and the Muslims brought the ship Ali was in to one of the Roman ships, and Ali crossed to that ship and the Romans escaped from him to the other side of the ship, and the ship capsized and they all drowned.” (At-Tabari 10:284)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 3 Pages 140-168

{35. O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah and seek the Wasilah to Him, and strive hard in His cause, so that you may be successful.

36. Verily, those who disbelieve, if they had all that is in the earth, and as much again therewith to ransom themselves thereby from the torment on the Day of Resurrection, it would never be accepted of them. And theirs would be a painful torment.

37. They will long to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom; and theirs will be a lasting torment.}

Commanding Taqwa, Wasilah, and Jihad

Allah commands His faithful servants to fear Him in Taqwa, which if mentioned along with acts of obedience, it means to refrain from the prohibitions and the prohibited matters. Allah said next, “seek the Wasilah to Him.” Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Talhah said that Ata’ said that Ibn Abbas said that Wasilah means the means of            approach’.  Mujahid, Abu Wa’il, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abdullah bin Kathir, As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and others gave the same meaning for Wasilah. Qatadah said that the Ayah means, “Seek the means of approach to Him by obeying Him and performing the acts that please Him.” (At-Tabari 10:291)

“Those whom they call upon seek a means of access to their Lord (Allah).”(17:57)

Wasilah is a means of approach to achieve something, and it is also used to refer to the highest grade in Paradise, and it is the grade of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his residence and the nearest grade in Paradise to Allah’s Throne. Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever, after hearing to the Adhan says, “O Allah! Lord of this perfect call and of the regular prayer which is going to be established! Grant Muhammad the Wasilah and superiority and send him [on the Day of Judgment] to the praiseworthy station which You have promised him,” then intercession from me will be permitted for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:251)

Muslim recorded that Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As said that he heard the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“When you hear the Mu’adhdhin, repeat what he says, and then ask for Salah (blessing, mercy from Allah) for me. Verily, whoever asks for Salah for me, then Allah will grant ten Salah to him. Then, ask for the Wasilah for me, for it is a grade in Paradise that only one servant of Allah deserves, and I hope that I am that servant. Verily, whoever asks (Allah) for Wasilah for me, he will earn the right of my intercession.” (Muslim 1:288)

Allah said, “and strive hard in His cause as much as you can. So that you may be successful.” After Allah commanded Muslims to avoid the prohibitions and to work towards obedience, He commanded them to fight against their enemies, the disbelievers and idolators who have deviated from the straight path and abandoned the correct religion. Allah encouraged the believers by reminding them of the unending success and great happiness that He prepared for them for the Day of Resurrection, which will never change or decrease for those who join Jihad in His cause. They will remain in the lofty rooms of Paradise that are safe and beautiful. Those who live in these dwellings will always be comfortable and will never be miserable, living, never dying, and their clothes will never grow thin, nor will their youth ever end.

No Amount of Ransom Shall Be Accepted from the Disbelievers on the Day of the Judgment and They Will Remain in the Fire

Allah then describes the painful torment and punishment that He has prepared for His disbelieving enemies for the Day of Resurrection. Allah said, “Verily, those who disbelieve, if they had all that is in the earth, and as much again therewith to ransom themselves thereby from the torment on the Day of Resurrection, it would never be accepted of them. And theirs would be a painful torment.”

So if a disbeliever brought the earth’s fill of gold, and twice as much as that amount on the Day of Judgment to ransom himself from Allah’s torment that has surrounded him, and he is certain that he will suffer from it, it will not be accepted of him. Rather, there is no escaping the torment, and he will not be able to evade or save himself from it. Hence Allah’s statement, “And theirs would be a painful torment.” meaning, hurtful, “They will long to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom, and theirs will be a lasting torment.”

In another Ayah, Allah said, “Every time they seek to get away therefrom, in anguish, they will be driven back therein.” Therefore, they will still long to leave the torment because of the severity and the pain it causes. They will have no way of escaping it. The more the flames lift them to the upper part of Hell, the more the angels of punishment will strike them with iron bars and they will fall down to its depths, “And theirs will be a lasting torment.” meaning, eternal and everlasting, and they will never be able to depart from it or avoid it. Anas bin Malik said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “A man from the people of the Fire will be brought forth and will be asked, ‘O son of Adam! How did you find your dwelling?’ He will say, ‘The worst dwelling.’ He will be told, ‘Would you ransom yourself with the earth’s fill of gold?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord!’ Allah will say to him, `You have lied. I asked you for what is less than that and you did not do it,’ and he will be ordered to the Fire.” (Muslim 4:2162)

{38. And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off their hands as a recompense for that which both committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All- Powerful, All-Wise.

39. But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds, then verily, Allah will pardon him. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

40. Know you not that to Allah (Alone) belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! He forgives whom He wills and He punishes whom He wills. And Allah is able to do all things.}

The Necessity of Cutting off the Hand of the Thief

Allah commands and decrees that the hand of the thief, male or female be cut off. During the time of Jahiliyyah, this was also the punishment for the thief, and Islam upheld this punishment. In Islam, there are several conditions that must be met before this punishment is carried out, as we will come to know, Allah willing. There are other rulings that Islam upheld after modifying these rulings, such as that of blood money for example.

When Does Cutting the Hand of the Thief Become Necessary?

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

 ”May Allah curse the thief who steals an egg and as a result his hand is cut off, and who steals rope and as a result his hand is cut off.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:83)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that A’ishah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”The hand of the thief shall be cut off if he steals a quarter of a Dinar or more.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:99)

Muslim recorded that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”The hand of the thief shall only be cut off if he steals a quarter of a Dinar or more.” (Muslim 3:1313)

This Hadith is the basis of the matter since it specifies (that the least amount of theft that deserves cutting the hand) is a quarter of a Dinar. So this Hadith fixes the value. And saying that it is three Dirhams is not a contradiction. This is because the Dinar in question was equal to twelve Dirhams, so three Dirhams equalled a fourth of a Dinar. So in this way it is possible to harmonize these two views. This opinion was reported from Umar bin Al-Khattab, Uthman bin Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib – may Allah be pleased with them – and it is the view of Umar bin Abdul-Aziz, Al-Layth bin Sad, Al-Awzai, and Ash-Shafii and his companions. This is also the view of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ishaq bin Rahwayh in one of the narrations from him, as well as Abu Thawr, and Dawud bin Ali Az-Zahari, may Allah have mercy upon them.

As for Imam Abu Hanifah and his students Abu Yusuf, Muhammad and Zufar, along with Sufyan Ath- Thawri, they said that the least amount of theft that deserves cutting off the hand is ten Dirhams, whereas a Dinar was twelve Dirhams at that time. The first ruling is the correct one, that the least amount of theft is one forth of a Dinar or more. This meager amount was set as the limit for cutting the hand, so that the people would refrain from theft, and this is a wise decision to those who have sound comprehension. Hence Allah’s statement, “as a recompense for that which both committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” This is the prescribed punishment for the evil action they committed, by stealing the property of other people with their hands. Therefore, it is fitting that the tool they used to steal the people’s wealth be cut off as punishment from Allah for their error. “And Allah is All-Powerful,” in His torment, “All-Wise.” in His commands, what he forbids, what He legislates and what He decrees.

Repentance of the Thief is Acceptable

Allah said next, “But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds, then verily, Allah will pardon him. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Therefore, whoever repents and goes back to Allah after he commits theft, then Allah will forgive him. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said that a woman committed theft during the time of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and those from whom she stole brought her and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! This woman stole from us.” Her people said, “We ransom her.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Cut off her hand.”

They said, “We ransom her with five hundred Dinars.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “Cut off her hand.”

Her right hand was cut off and the woman asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Is there a chance for me to repent?” He said,

”Yes. This day, you are free from your sin just as the day your mother gave birth to you.”

Allah sent down the verse in Surat Al-Ma’idah, ”But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Ahmad 2:177)

This woman was from the tribe of Makhzum. Her story was narrated in the Two Sahihs from Az-Zuhri from Urwah from A’ishah, The incident caused concern for the Quraysh after she committed the theft during the time of the battle of the Conquest [of Makkah]. They said, “Who can talk to Allah’s Messenger about her matter?” They then said, “Who dares speak to him about such matters other than Usamah bin Zayd, his loved one.” When the woman was brought to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Usamah bin Zayd talked to him about her and the face of the Messenger changed colour (because of anger) and he said,

“Do you intercede in a punishment prescribed by Allah?”

Usamah said to him, “Ask Allah to forgive me, O Allah’s Messenger!” During that night, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stood up and gave a speech and praised Allah as He deserves to be praised. He then said,

“Those who were before you were destroyed because when an honorable person among them would steal, they would leave him. But, when a weak man among them stole, they implemented the prescribed punishment against him. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! If Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad stole, I will have her hand cut off.”

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commanded that the hand of the woman who stole be cut off, and it was cut off. A’ishah said, ‘Her repentance was sincere afterwards, and she got married and she used to come to me so that I convey her needs to the Messenger of Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:619) In another narration by Muslim, A’ishah said, “She was a woman from Makhzum who used to borrow things and deny that she took them. So the Prophet ordered that her hand be cut off.” Allah then said, “Know you not that to Allah (Alone) belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth!” He owns everything and decides what He wills for it and no one can resist His judgment, “He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is able to do all things.”

{41. O Messenger! Let not those who hurry to fall into disbelief grieve you, of such who say, “We believe” with their mouths but their hearts have no faith. And of the Jews are men who listen much and eagerly to lies, listening to others who have not come to you. They change the words from their places; they say, “If you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, then beware!” And whomsoever Allah wants to put in Fitnah, you can do nothing for him against Allah. Those are the ones whose hearts Allah does not want to purify; for them there is a disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a great torment.

42. They (like to) listen to falsehood, to devour Suht. So if they come to you, either judge between them, or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot hurt you in the least. And if you judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.

43. But how do they come to you for a decision while they have the Tawrah, in which is the decision of Allah; yet even after that they turn away. For they are not believers.

44. Verily, We did send down the Tawrah, therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets who submitted themselves to Allah’s will, judged for the Jews. And the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar, for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto. Therefore fear not men but fear Me and sell not My verses for a miserable price. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.}

Do Not Feel Sad Because of the Behavior of the Jews and Hypocrites

These honorable Ayat were revealed about those who rush into disbelief, deviating from the obedience of Allah, His Messenger, prefering their opinions and lusts to what Allah has legislated, “of such who say, “We believe” with their mouths but their hearts have no faith.” These people pretend to be faithful with their words, but their hearts are empty from faith, and they are the hypocrites. “And of the Jews…” the enemies of Islam and its people, they and the hypocrites all, “listen much and eagerly to lies…” and they accept and react to it positively, “listening to others who have not come to you,” meaning, they listen to some people who do not attend your meetings, O Muhammad. Or, the Ayah might mean, they listen to what you say and convey it to your enemies who do not attend your audience.

The Jews Alter and Change the Law, Such As Stoning the Adulterer

“They change the words from their places” by altering their meanings and knowingly distorting them after they comprehended them, “they say, “If you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, then beware!” It was reported that this part of the Ayah was revealed about some Jews who committed murder and who said to each other, “Let us ask Muhammad to judge between us, and if he decides that we pay the Diyah, accept his judgement. If he decides on capital punishment, do not accept his judgement.” The correct opinion is that this Ayah was revealed about the two Jews who committed adultery. The Jews changed the law they had in their Book from Allah on the matter of punishment for adultery, from stoning to death, to a hundred flogs and making the offenders ride a donkey facing the back of the donkey. When this incident of adultery occurred after the Hijrah, they said to each other, “Let us go to Muhammad and seek his judgement. If he gives a ruling of flogging, then implement his decision and make it a proof for you with Allah. This way, one of Allah’s Prophets will have upheld this ruling amongst you. But if he decides that the punishment should be stoning to death, then do not accept his decision.” There are several Hadiths mentioning this story. Malik reported that Nafi said that Abdullah bin Umar said,

“The Jews came to Allah’s Messenger and mentioned that a man and a woman from them committed adultery. Allah’s Messenger said to them,

“What do find of the ruling about stoning in the Tawrah?”

They said, ‘We only find that they should be exposed and flogged.’ Abdullah bin Salam said, ‘You lie. The Tawrah mentions stoning, so bring the Tawrah.’ They brought the Tawrah and opened it but one of them hid the verse about stoning with his hand and recited what is before and after that verse. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, ‘Remove your hand,’ and he removed it, thus uncovering the verse about stoning. So they said, He (Abdullah bin Salam) has said the truth, O Muhammad! It is the verse about stoning.’ The Messenger of Allah decided that the adulterers be stoned to death and his command was carried out. I saw that man shading the woman from the stones with his body.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith and this is the wording collected by Al- Bukhari. In another narration by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to the Jews,

 “What would you do in this case?”

They said, “We would humiliate and expose them.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recited,

“Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.”

So they brought a man who was blind in one eye and who was respected among them and said to him, “Read (from the Tawrah).” So he read until he reached a certain verse and then covered it with his hand. He was told, “Remove your hand,” and it was the verse about stoning. So that man said, “O Muhammad! This is the verse about stoning, and we had hid its knowledge among us.” So the Messenger ordered that the two adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. (Al-Bukhari no.4556)

Muslim recorded that a Jewish man and a Jewish woman were brought before Allah’s Messenger because they committed adultery. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, went to the Jews and asked them,

 “What is the ruling that you find in the Tawrah for adultery?”

They said, “We expose them, carry them (on donkeys) backwards and parade them in public.” The Prophet recited:

 “Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.”

So they brought the Tawrah and read from it until the reader reached the verse about stoning. Then he placed his hand on that verse and read what was before and after it. Abdullah bin Salam, who was with the Messenger of Allah , said, “Order him to remove his hand,” and he removed his hand and under it was the verse about stoning. So the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commanded that the adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. Abdullah bin Umar said, “I was among those who stoned them and I saw the man shading the woman from the stones with his body.” (Muslim 3:1326) Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn Umar said, “Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, ‘O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter.’ They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he sat on it and said,

“Bring the Tawrah to me.”

He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying, “I trust you and He Who revealed it to you.” He then said,

“Bring me your most knowledgeable person.”

So he was brought a young man… ” and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi. (Abu Dawud 4:597)

These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling. What made them go to the Prophet for judgement in this matter was their lusts and desires, hoping that the Prophet would agree with their opinion, not that they believed in the correctness of his judgment. This is why they said, ”If you are given this” referring to flogging, then take it, ”but if you are not given this, then beware!” and do not accept or implement it. Allah said next, ”And whomsoever Allah wants to put in Fitnah, you can do nothing for him against Allah. Those are the ones whose hearts Allah does not want to purify; for them there is a disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a great torment. They (like to) listen to falsehood, to devour Suht” ‘Suht’ refers to bribes, as Ibn Masud and others stated. The Ayah states that if one is like this, how can Allah cleanse his heart and accept his supplication Allah said to His Prophet, ”So if they come to you…” so that you judge between them, ”either judge between them, or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot hurt you in the least.” meaning, there is no harm if you do not judge between them. This is because when they came to you to judge between them, they did not seek to follow the truth, but only what conformed to their lusts. We should mention here that Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam, Ata’ Al-Khurasani, and several others said that this part of the Ayah was abrogated by Allah’s statement, “And so judge among them by what Allah has revealed.” (At-Tabari 10:330-332) ”And if you judge, judge with justice between them.” and with fairness, even if the Jews were unjust and outcasts from the path of fairness, ”Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.”

Chastising the Jews for Their Evil Lusts and Desires, While Praising the Tawrah

Allah then chastises the Jews for their false ideas and deviant desires to abandon what they believe is true in their Book, and which they claim is their eternal Law that they are always commanded to adhere to. Yet, they do not adhere to the Tawrah, but they prefer other laws over it, although they believe that these other laws are not correct and do not apply to them. Allah said, “But how do they come to you for decision while they have the Tawrah, in which is the decision of Allah; yet even after that they turn away. For they are not believers.” Allah next praises the Tawrah that He sent down to His servant and Messenger Musa, son of Imran, “Verily, We did send down the Tawrah [to Musa], therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets who submitted themselves to Allah’s will, judged the Jews.” and these Prophets did not deviate from the law of the Tawrah, change or alter it, “And (also) the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar…” wherein Rabbaniyyun refers to the worshippers who are learned and religious, and Ahbar refers to the scholars, “for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book” meaning, they were entrusted with the Book of Allah, and they were commanded to adhere to it and not hide any part of, “and they were witnesses thereto. Therefore fear not men but fear Me and sell not My verses for a miserable price. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.” There are two ways to explain this Ayah and we will mention the later.

Another Reason Behind Revealing these Honorable Ayat

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Allah sent down the Ayat, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers”, “Such are the unjust” and, “Such are the rebellious.” about two groups among the Jews. During the time of Jahiliyyah, one of them had defeated the other. As a result, they made a treaty that they would pay blood money totaling fifty Wasaq [of gold] (each Wasaq approx. 3 kg) for every dead person from the defeated group killed by the victors, and a hundred Wasaq for every dead person the defeated group killed from the victors. This treaty remained in effect until the Prophet came to Al- Madinah and both of these groups became subservient under the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Yet, when the mighty group once suffered a casualty at the hands of the weaker group, the mighty group sent a delegation demanding the hundred Wasaq. The weaker group said, ‘How can two groups who have the same religion, one ancestral lineage and a common land, have a Diyah that for some of them is half of that of the others? We only agreed to this because you oppressed us and because we feared you. Now that Muhammad has come, we will not give you what you asked.’ So war was almost rekindled between them, but they agreed to seek Muhammad’s judgement in their dispute. The mighty group among them said [among themselves] ‘By Allah! Muhammad will never give you double the Diyah that you pay to them compared to what they pay to you. They have said the truth anyway, for they only gave us this amount because we oppressed and overpowered them. Therefore, send someone to Muhammad who will sense what his judgement will be. If he agrees to give you what you demand, accept his judgment, and if he does not give you what you seek, do not refer to him for judgement.’ So they sent some hypocrites to the Messenger of Allah to try and find out the Messenger’s judgement. When they came to the Messenger, Allah informed him of their matter and of their plot. Allah sent down, “O Messenger! Let not those who hurry to fall into disbelief grieve you” until, “Such are the rebellious.” By Allah! It is because of their problem that Allah sent down these verses and it is they whom Allah meant.” (Ahmad 1:246)

Abu Jafar Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah, ”either judge between them, or turn away from them…” until, ”Those who act justly” was revealed concerning the problem of blood money between Bani An- Nadir and Bani Qurayzah. The dead of Bani An-Nadir were being honored more and they received the full amount of Diyah, while Qurayzah received half the Diyah for their dead. So they referred to the Messenger of Allah for judgement and Allah sent down these verses about them. The Messenger of Allah compelled them to adhere to the true judgement in this matter and made the Diyah the same for both groups and Allah knows best about that matter.” (At-Tabari 10:326) Ahmad, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith from Abu Ishaq.

Al-Awfi and Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that these Ayat were revealed about the two Jews who committed adultery, and we mentioned the Hadiths about this story before. It appears that both of these were the reasons behind revealing these Ayat, and Allah knows best. This is why Allah said afterwards, “And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye” until the end of the Ayah, which strengthens the opinion that the story of the Diyah was behind revealing the Ayat as we explained above. Allah knows best.

Allah said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.” Al-Bara’ bin Azib, Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman, Ibn Abbas, Abu Mijlaz, Abu Raja’ Al-Utaridi, Ikrimah, Ubaydullah bin Abdullah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and ot hers said that this Ayah was revealed about the People of the Book. Al-Hasan Al-Basri added that this Ayah also applies to us. Abdur- Razzaq said that Ath-Thawri said that Mansur said that Ibrahim said that these Ayat, “Were revealed about the Children of Israel, and Allah accepted them for this Ummah.” Ibn Jarir recorded this statement. (At-Tabari 10:356)

Ali bin Abi Talhah also stated that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, ”And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers” “Whoever rejects what Allah has revealed, will have committed Kufr, and whoever accepts what Allah has revealed, but did not rule by it, is a Zalim (unjust) and a Fasiq (rebellious) and a sinner.” Ibn Jarir recorded this statement. (At-Tabari 4:597)

Abdur-Razzaq said, “Mamar narrated to us that Tawus said that Ibn Abbas was asked about Allah’s statement, “And whosoever does not judge…” He said, ‘It is an act of Kufr.’ Ibn Tawus added, ‘It is not like those who disbelieve in Allah, His angels, His Books and His Messengers.’ Ath-Thawri narrated that Ibn Jurayj said that Ata’ said, ‘There is Kufr and Kufr less than Kufr, Zulm and Zulm less than Zulm, Fisq and Fisq less than Fisq.”’ (Abdur-Razzaq 1:191) Waki said that Said Al-Makki said that Tawussaid that, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers” “This is not the Kufr that annuls one’s religion.’ (At-Tabari 10:355)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 3 (Abridged) Pages 168-188

{46. And in their footsteps, We sent Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him, and We gave him the Injil, in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for those who have Taqwa.

47. Let the people of the Injil judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the rebellious.}

Allah Mentions Isa and Praises the Injil

Allah said, “and We sent…” meaning, We sent “in their footsteps” meaning the Prophets of the Children of Israel, “Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him,” meaning, he believed in it and ruled by it. “and We gave him the Injil, in which was guidance and light” a guidance that directs to the truth and a light that removes the doubts and solves disputes, “and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,” meaning, he adhered to the Tawrah, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that Isa said to the Children of Israel, “…and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.” So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah. Allah’s statement, “a guidance and an admonition for those who have Taqwa.” means, We made the Injil guidance and an admonition that prohibits committing sins and errors, for those who have Taqwa of Allah and fear His warning and torment. Allah said next, “Let the people of the Injil judge by what Allah has revealed therein.” meaning, so that He judges the people of the Injil by it in their time. Or, the Ayah means, so that they believe in all that is in it and adhere to all its commands, including the good news about the coming of Muhammad and the command to believe in and follow him when he is sent. Allah said in other Ayat, “Say “O People of the Scripture! You have nothing (guidance) until you act according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has been sent down to you from your Lord.” and, “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written with them in the Tawrah…” until, “…successful.” Here, Allah said, “And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the rebellious.” meaning, the rebellious and disobedient of Allah who prefer falsehood and abandon truth. We mentioned before that this Ayah was revealed about the Christians, and this is evident from the context of the Ayah.

{48. And We have sent down to you the Book (this Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Muhayminan over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.

49. And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most men are rebellious.

50. Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) ignorance And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm faith.}

Praising the Qur’an; the Command to Refer to the Qur’an for Judgment

Allah mentioned the Tawrah that He sent down to His Prophet Musa, the one whom He spoke directly to, praising it, commanding that it should be implemented, before it was abrogated. Allah then mentioned the Injil, praised it and commanded its people to adhere to it and follow it, as we stated. He next mentioned the Glorious Qur’an that He sent down to His honorable servant and Messenger. Allah said, “And We have sent down to you the Book in truth…” meaning, with the truth that, no doubt, is coming from Allah, “confirming the Scripture that came before it” meaning, the Divinely Revealed Books that praised the Qur’an and mentioned that it would be sent down from Allah to His servant and Messenger Muhammad . The Qur’an was revealed as was foretold in the previous Scriptures. This fact increased faith in the previous Scriptures for the sincere who have knowledge of these Scriptures, those who adhered to Allah’s commands and Laws and believed in His Messengers. Allah said, “Say: “Believe in it 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.” meaning that they say, the promise of our Lord, concerning the coming of Muhammad by the words of His previous Messengers, will certainly be fulfilled. Allah’s statement, “and Muhayminan over it” means entrusted over it, according to Sufyan Ath-Thawri who narrated it from Abu Ishaq from At-Tamimi from Ibn `Abbas. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “Muhaymin is, ‘the Trustworthy’. Allah says that the Qur’an is trustworthy over every Divine Book that preceded it.” This was reported from Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Kab, Atiyyah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ata’ Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd. Ibn Jarir said, “The Qur’an is trustworthy over the Books that preceded it. Therefore, whatever in these previous Books conforms to the Qur’an is true, and whatever disagrees with the Qur’an is false.” Al-Walibi said that Ibn Abbas said that Muhayminan means, ‘Witness’. Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi said the same. Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said that Muhayminan means, ‘dominant over the previous Scriptures’. These meanings are similar, as the word Muhaymin includes them all. Consequently, the Qur’an is trustworthy, a witness, and dominant over every Scripture that preceded it. This Glorious Book, which Allah revealed as the Last and Final Book, is the most encompassing, glorious and perfect Book of all times. The Qur’an includes all the good aspects of previous Scriptures and even more, which no previous Scripture ever contained. This is why Allah made it trustworthy, a witness and dominant over all Scriptures. Allah promised that He will protect the Qur’an and swore by His Most Honorable Self, “Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Allah said, “So judge between them by what Allah has revealed.” The Ayah commands: O Muhammad! Rule between the people, Arabs and non-Arabs, lettered and unlettered, by what Allah has revealed to you in this Glorious Book and what it approves of for you from the Law of the previous Prophets, as Ibn Jarir said. Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Prophet had the choice to judge between them or to turn away from them and refer them to their own Law. Then this Ayah was revealed, “So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires. ..” and he was commanded to judge between them by our Book.”. Allah’s statement “and follow not their vain desires…” This means the ideas they promote, because of which they turned away from what Allah revealed to His Messengers. This is why Allah said, “And follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you.” The Ayah commands: Do not diverge from the truth that Allah has ordained for you, to the vain desires of these miserable, ignorant people. Allah’s statement, “To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.” “To each among you, We have prescribed a law” Shir`at meaning, a clear path, as Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn Abbas. “If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation.” This is a general proclamation to all nations informing them of Allah’s mighty ability. If Allah wills, He would make all mankind follow one religion and one Law, that would never be abrogated. Allah decided that every Prophet would have his own distinct law that is later abrogated partially or totally with the law of a latter Prophet. Later on, all previous laws were abrogated by the Law that Allah sent with Muhammad , His servant and Messenger, whom Allah sent to the people of earth as the Final Prophet. Allah said, “If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you.” This Ayah means, Allah has instituted different laws to test His servants’ obedience to what He legislates for them, thus, He rewards or punishes them according to their actions and what they intend. Abdullah bin Kathir said that the Ayah, “In what He has given you.” means, of the Book. Next, Allah encouraged rushing to perform good deeds, “so strive as in a race in good deeds.” which are obedience to Allah, following His Law that abrogated the laws that came before it, and believing in His Book, the Qur’an, which is the Final Book that He revealed. Allah said next, “The return of you (all) is to Allah” Therefore, O people, your return and final destination is to Allah on the Day of Resurrection, “then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.” Allah will inform you about the truth in which you used to differ and will reward the sincere, as compensation for their sincerity, and will punish the disbelieving, rebellious people who rejected the truth and deviated from it to other paths, without proof or evidence to justify their actions. Rather, they have rejected the clear evidences, unequivocal proofs and established signs. Ad-Dahhak said that, “So strive as in a race in good deeds.” is directed at the Ummah of Muhammad , but the first view is more apparent. Allah’s statement, “And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires,” emphasizes this command and forbids ignoring it. Allah said next, “but beware of them lest they turn you far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you.” meaning; beware of the Jews, your enemies, lest they distort the truth for you in what they convey to you. Therefore, do not be deceived by them, for they are liars, treacherous and disbelievers. “And if they turn away” from the judgement that you pass in their disputes, and they defy Allah’s Law, “then know that Allah’s will is to punish them for some sins of theirs.” meaning, know that this will occur according to the decree of Allah, and because out of His wisdom they have deviated from the truth, and because of their previous sins. “And truly, most men are rebellious.” Therefore, the majority of humans are disobedient to their Lord, defiant of the truth and deviate away from it. Allah said in other Ayat, “And most people will not believe even if you desire it eagerly,” and, “And if you obey most of those on the earth they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path.” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “Kab bin Asad, Ibn Saluba, Abdullah bin Surya and Shas bin Qays said to each other, ‘Let us go to Muhammad to try and misguide him from his religion.’ So they went to the Prophet and said, ‘O Muhammad! You know that we are the scholars, noblemen and chiefs of the Jews. If we follow you, the Jews will follow suit and will not contradict us. But, there is enmity between us and some of our people, so we will refer to you for judgement in this matter, and you should rule in our favor against them and we will believe in you.’ The Messenger of Allah refused the offer and Allah sent down these Ayat about them, “And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you.” until, “for a people who have firm faith.” Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this Hadith. Allah continues, “Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm faith” Allah criticizes those who ignore Allah’s commandments, which include every type of righteous good thing and prohibit every type of evil, but they refer instead to opinions, desires and customs that people themselves invented, all of which have no basis in Allah’s religion. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to abide by the misguidance and ignorance that they invented by sheer opinion and lusts. The Tatar (Mongols) abided by the law that they inherited from their king Genghis Khan who wrote Al-Yasiq, for them. This book contains some rulings that were derived from various religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many of these rulings were derived from his own opinion and desires. Later on, these rulings became the followed law among his children, preferring them to the Law of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. Therefore, whoever does this, he is a disbeliever who deserves to be fought against, until he reverts to Allah’s and His Messenger’s decisions, so that no law, minor or major, is referred to except by His Law. Allah said, “Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) ignorance?” meaning, they desire and want this and ignore Allah’s judgement, “And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm faith?” Who is more just in decision than Allah for those who comprehend Allah’s Law, believe in Him, who are certain that Allah is the best among those who give decisions and that He is more merciful with His creation than the mother with her own child Allah has perfect knowledge of everything, is able to do all things, and He is just in all matters. Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said, “The most hated person to Allah is the Muslim who seeks the ways of the days of ignorance and he who seeks to shed the blood of a person without justification.” Al-Bukhari recorded Abu Al-Yaman narrating a similar Hadith, with some addition.

{51. O you who believe! Do not take friends from the Jews and the Christians, as they are but friends of each other. And if any among you befriends them, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers.

52. And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease, they hurry to their friendship, saying: “We fear lest some misfortune of a disaster may befall us. ” Perhaps Allah may bring a victory or a decision according to His will. Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves.

53. And those who believe will say: “Are these the men who swore their strongest oaths by Allah that they were with you” All that they did has been in vain, and they have become the losers.}

The Prohibition of Taking the Jews, Christians and Enemies of Islam as Friends

Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them. Allah then states that they are friends of each other and He gives a warning threat to those who do this, “And if any among you befriends them, then surely he is one of them.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Umar ordered Abu Musa Al-Ashari to send him on one sheet of balance the count of what he took in and what he spent. Abu Musa then had a Christian scribe, and he was able to comply with Umar’s demand. Umar liked what he saw and exclaimed, “This scribe is proficient. Would you read in the Masjid a letter that came to us from Ash-Sham?” Abu Musa said, ‘He cannot.” Umar said, “Is he not pure?” Abu Musa said, “No, but he is Christian.” Abu Musa said, “So Umar admonished me and poked my thigh (with his finger), saying, ‘Drive him out (from Al-Madinah).’ He then recited, “O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends…” Then he reported that Abdullah bin Utbah said, “Let one of you beware that he might be a Jew or a Christian, while unaware.” The narrator of this statement said, “We thought that he was referring to the Ayah, “O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends,” Allah said, “And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease…” A disease of doubt, hesitation and hypocrisy. “they hurry to their friendship,” meaning, they rush to offer them their friendship and allegiances in secret and in public, “saying: “We fear lest some misfortune of a disaster may befall us.” They thus offer this excuse for their friendship and allegiances to the disbelievers, saying that they fear that the disbelievers might defeat the Muslims, so they want to be in favor with the Jews and Christians, to use this favor for their benefit in that eventuality! Allah replied, “Perhaps Allah may bring a victory…” referring to the conquering of Makkah, according to As-Suddi. “or a decision according to His will” requiring the Jews and Christians to pay the Jizyah, as As-Suddi stated, “Then they will become” meaning, the hypocrites who gave their friendship to the Jews and Christians, will become, “for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves” of allegiances, “regretful,” for their friendship with the Jews and Christians which did not benefit them or protect them from any harm. Rather, it was nothing but harm, as Allah exposed their true reality to His faithful servants in this life, although they tried to conceal it. When the signs that exposed their hypocrisy were compiled against them, their matter became clear to Allah’s faithful servants. So the believers were amazed at these hypocrites who pretended to be believers, swearing to their faithfulness, yet their claims were all lies and deceit. This is why Allah said, “And those who believe will say, “Are these the men who swore their strongest oaths by Allah that they were with you” All that they did has been in vain, and they have become the losers.”

{54. O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.

55. Verily, your Protector is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, those who perform the Salah, and give Zakah, and they bow down.

56. And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.}

Threatening to Replace the Believers With Another People if They Revert from Islam

Allah emphasizes His mighty ability and states that whoever reverts from supporting His religion and establishing His Law, then Allah will replace them with whomever is better, mightier and more righteous in Allah’s religion and Law. Allah said in other Ayat, “And if you turn away, He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.” and, “Do you not see that Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth If He will, He can remove you and bring (in your place) a new creation! And for Allah that is not hard or difficult.” (14:19-20). Verily this is not difficult or hard on Allah. Allah said here, “O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion…” and turns back from the truth to falsehood, from now until the commencement of the Last Hour. Allah said next, “humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers.” These are the qualities of perfect believers, as they are humble with their believing brothers and allies, stern with their enemies and adversaries. In another Ayah, Allah said, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.” The Prophet is described as the smiling fighter, smiling to his allies and fighting his enemies. Allah’s statement, “Fighting in the way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers.” Nothing prevents them from obeying Allah, establishing His Law, fighting His enemies, enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil. Certainly, nothing prevents them from taking this path, neither someone who seeks to hinder them, nor one who blames or chastises them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said, “My Khalil (intimate friend, the Messenger) has commanded me to do seven deeds. He commanded me to love the poor and to be close to them. He commanded me to look at those who are less than me and not those who are above me. He commanded me to keep the relations of the womb, even if they cut it. He commanded me not to ask anyone for anything, to say the truth even if it was bitter, and to not fear the blame of anyone for the sake of Allah. He commanded me to often repeat, ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no strength or power except from Allah)’, for these words are from a treasure under the Throne (of Allah).” It is confirmed in the Sahih; “The believer is not required to humiliate himself.” He was asked; “How does one humiliate himself, O Messenger of Allah?” So he replied; “He takes on tests that he cannot bear.” “That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills.” meaning, those who have these qualities, acquired it by Allah’s bounty and favor and because He granted them these qualities. “And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower,” His favor is ever extending, and He has perfect knowledge of those who deserve or do not deserve His favor and bounty. Allah’s statement, “Verily, your Protector is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers…” means, the Jews are not your friends. Rather, your allegiance is to Allah, His Messenger and the faithful believers. “those who perform the Salah, and give the Zakah…” referring to the believers who have these qualities and establish the prayer, which is one of the most important pillars of Islam, for it includes worshipping Allah alone without partners. They pay Zakah, which is the right of the creation and a type of help extended to the needy and the poor. As for Allah’s statement, “and they bow down,” some people thought that they give the Zakah while bowing down. If this were the case, then paying the Zakah while bowing would be the best form of giving Zakah. No scholar from whom religious rulings are taken says this, as much as we know. Therefore, “and they bow down” means, they attend the prayer in congregation in Allah’s Masjids and spend by way of charity on the various needs of Muslims. Allah said; “And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.” similarly Allah said; “Allah has decreed: “Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty. You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a Ruh (proof) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful.” Therefore, those who accept the allegiance of Allah – His Messenger and the faithful believers – will gain success in this life and the Hereafter. Hence Allah’s statement here, “And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.”

{57. O you who believe! Do not take as friends those who take your religion for a mockery and fun from those who received the Scriptures before you, and (nor) the disbelievers; and have Taqwa of Allah if you indeed are true believers.

58. And when you proclaim the call for the Salah, they take it (but) as a mockery and fun; that is because they are a people who understand not.}

The Prohibition of Being Loyal Friends with Disbelievers

This Ayah discourages and forbids taking the enemies of Islam and its people, such as the People of the Book and the polytheists, as friends. These disbelievers mock the most important acts that any person could ever perform, the honorable, pure acts of Islam which include all types of good for this life and the Hereafter. They mock such acts and make them the subject of jest and play, because this is what these acts represent in their misguided minds and cold hearts. Allah said, “from those who received the Scriptures before you and (nor) the disbelievers…” This is to clarify the particular category (of disbelievers). As Allah said, “So shun the evil of the idols…” (22:30)

So some recited it “Kuffari”, making it an object of the preposition, and others recited it “Kuffara”, making it a predicate noun, “Take not as friends those who take your religion for a mockery and fun from those who received the Scriptures before you…” with the meaning of “nor”, “nor the disbelievers as friends” That is, do not take these people nor those people as friends. The meaning here of “Kuffar”  [disbelievers] is idolators. Similarly, Ibn Jarir recorded that in the recitationof Ibn Masud in place of “Kuffar” here cited it: “and those who commit Shirk. (At-Tabari 10:430)

Allah’s statement, “And have Taqwa of Allah if you indeed are true believers.”means, fear Allah and do not take the enemies of you and your religion as friends, if you believe in Allah’s Law and religion that these people mocked and jested about. Allah said in another Ayah, “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, and whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself, and to Allah is the final return.”

The Disbelievers Mock the Prayer and the Adhan

Allah said, “And when you proclaim the call for the Salah, they take it (but) as a mockery and fun” When you proclaim the Adhan for the prayer, which is the best action there is, for those who have sound minds and good comprehension, “they take it…” also, “as a mockery and fun; that is because they are a people who understand not.” the acts of worship and Allah’s Law. These are the characteristics of the followers of Shaytan who,

“When the call for prayer is made, Shaytan takes to his heels passing wind so that he may not hear the Adhan. When the call is finished he comes back, and when the Iqamah is pronounced, Shaytan again takes to his heels. When the Iqamah is finished he comes back again and tries to interfere with the person and his thoughts and to say, ‘Remember this and that,’ which he has not thought of before the prayer, until the praying person forgets how much he has prayed. If anyone of you does not remember, then he should perform two prostrations before pronouncing the Salam.” (Al-Bukhari nos 608, 1222, and 1231)

This Hadith is agreed upon. Az-Zuhri said, “Allah mentioned the Adhan in His Book, “And when you proclaim the call for the Salah, they take it (but) as a mockery and fun; that is because they are a people who understand not.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement. (Ibn Abi Hatim 4:1164)

{59. Say: “O People of the Scripture! Do you criticize us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and in what has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us), and that most of you are rebellious?”

60. Say: “Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah: those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, and those of whom He transformed into monkeys and swine, and those who worshipped Taghut; such are worse in rank, and far more astray from the straight path.”

61. When they come to you, they say: “We believe.” But in fact they enter with disbelief and they go out with the same. And Allah knows all that they were hiding.

62. And you see many of them hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been doing.

63. Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.}

The People of the Book are Enraged at the Believers Because of their Faith in Allah

Allah commands: Say, O Muhammad, to those who mock and jest about your religion from among the People of the Scriptures, “Do you criticize us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and in what has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us)?” Do you have any criticism or cause of blame for us, other than this This, by no means, is cause of blame or criticism. Allah said in other Ayat, “And they had no fault except that they believed in Allah, the Almighty, Worthy of all praise!) and, “and they could not find any cause to do so except that Allah and His Messenger had enriched them of His bounty.” (9:74) In an agreed upon Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“What caused Ibn Jamil to Yanqim (refuse to give Zakah), although he was poor and Allah made him rich?” (Fath Al-Bari 3:388)

Allah’s statement, “and that most of you are rebellious…” is connected to “that we believe in Allah, and in that which has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us).” Therefore, the meaning of this part of the Ayah is: we also believe that most of you are rebellious and deviated from the straight path.

The People of the Scriptures Deserve the Worst Torment on the Day of Resurrection

Allah said next, “Say: “Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah?” The Ayah commands the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to say: Shall I inform you about a worse people with Allah on the Day of Resurrection than what you think of us? They are you, with these characteristics, “those who incurred the curse of Allah” were expelled from His mercy, “and who incurred His wrath” and anger, after which He will never be pleased with them, “those of whom He transformed into monkeys and swine” as we mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (2) and as we will mention in Surat Al-Araf (7). Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated that Ibn Masud said, “Allah’s Messenger was asked if the current monkeys and swine were those whom Allah transformed. He said,

 “Allah never destroyed a people by transforming them and making offspring or descendants for them. The monkeys and swine existed before that.” (Mushkil Al-Athar 4:275)

Allah said, “Those who worshipped Taghut…” and served them, becoming their servants. The meaning of this Ayah is: you, O People of the Scriptures, who mock our religion, which consists of Allah’s Tawhid, and singling Him out in worship without others, how can you mock us while these are your characteristics This is why Allah said, “such are worse in rank…” than what you – People of the Scriptures – think of us Muslims,“and far more astray from the straight path.” ‘More’ in the Ayah does not mean that the other party is ‘less’ astray, but it means that the People of the Scriptures are far astray. In another Ayah, Allah said, “The dwellers of Paradise will, on that Day, have the best abode, and have the fairest of places for repose.”

The Hypocrites Pretend to be Believers but Hide their Kufr

“When they come to you, they say, “We believe.” But in fact they enter with (an intention of) disbelief and they go out with the same.” This is the description of the hypocrites, for they pretend to be believers while their hearts hide Kufr. So Allah said, “But in fact they enter” on you, O Muhammad, “with disbelief” in their hearts and they depart with Kufr, and this is why they do not benefit from the knowledge they hear from you, nor does the advice and reminder move them. So, “and Allah knows all that they were hiding.” Allah knows their secrets and what their hearts conceal, even if they pretend otherwise with His creatures, thus pretending to be what they are not. Allah, Who has perfect knowledge of the seen and unseen, has more knowledge about the hypocrites than any of His creatures do and He will recompense them accordingly. Allah’s statement, “and they go out with the same” meaning, they alone, “And you see many of them (Jews) hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things.” They hurry to devour prohibited and illegal things, all the while transgressing against people, unjustly consuming their property through bribes and Riba, “Evil indeed is that which they have been doing.” Indeed, horrible is that which they used to do and the transgression that they committed.

Criticizing Rabbis and Learned Religious Men for Giving up on Forbidding Evil

Allah said, “Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing?” meaning why don’t the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from this evil? The Rabbaniyyun are the scholars who are in positions of authority, while the Ahbar are the regular scholars.

 “Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.” referring to the Rabbaniyyun, as Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas, because they abandoned forbidding evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “There is no Ayah in the Qur’an that has more severe admonition than this Ayah, “Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing?” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Yahya bin Yamar said, “Ali bin Abi Talib once gave a speech, which he started by praising Allah and thanking Him. He then said, ‘O people! Those who were before you were destroyed because they committed sins and the Rabbaniyyun and Ahbar did not forbid them from evil. When they persisted in sin, they were overcome by punishment. Therefore, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil before what they suffered also strikes you. Know that enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil does not reduce the provision or shorten the term of life.” Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There is no people among whom there are those who commit sins, while the rest are more powerful and mightier than the sinners, yet they do not stop them, but Allah will send a punishment upon them.” Ahmad was alone with this wording. (Ahmad 4:363)

Abu Dawud recorded it, but in his narration Jarir said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

 “There is no one who resides among people committing evil among them, and they do not stop him though they are able to do so, but Allah will punish them [all] before they die.” (Abu Dawud 4:510)

{64. The Jews say: “Allah’s Hand is tied up.” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched. He spends as He wills. Verily, the revelation that has come to you from your Lord makes many of them increase in rebellion and disbelief. We have put enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection. Every time they kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and they (ever) strive to make mischief on the earth. And Allah does not like the mischief-makers.

65. And if only the People of the Scripture had believed and had Taqwa, We would indeed have expiated for them their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise).

66. 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. And among them is a Muqtasid Ummah, but for most of them; evil is their work.}

The Jews Say That Allah’s Hand is Tied up!

Allah states that the Jews, may Allah’s continuous curses descend on them until the Day of Resurrection, describe Him as a miser. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. The Jews also claim that Allah is poor, while they are rich. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “The Jews say, “Allah’s Hand is tied up.” “They do not mean that Allah’s Hand is literally tied up. Rather, they mean that He is a miser and does not spend from what He has. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him.” Similar was reported from Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ad-Dahhak. (At-Tabari 10:453) Allah said in another Ayah, “And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty.”

In this Ayah, Allah prohibits stinginess and extravagance, which includes unnecessary and improper expenditures. Allah describes stinginess by saying, “And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck.” Therefore, this is the meaning that the Jews meant, may Allah’s curses be on them. Ikrimah said that this Ayah was revealed about Finhas, one of the Jews, may Allah curse him. We mentioned before that Finhas said, “Truly, Allah is poor and we are rich!” and that Abu Bakr smacked him. Allah has refuted what the Jews attribute to Him and cursed them in retaliation for their lies and fabrications about Him. Allah said, “Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered.” What Allah said occurred, for the Jews are indeed miserly, envious, cowards and tremendously humiliated. Allah said in other Ayat, “Or have they a share in the dominion Then in that case they would not give mankind even a Naqir. Or do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His bounty Then, We had already given the family of Ibrahim the Book and the Hikmah, and conferred upon them a great kingdom.” and, “Indignity is put over them.”

Allah’s Hands are Widely Outstretched

Allah said next, “Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched. He spends (of His bounty) as He wills.” Allah’s favors are ample, His bounty unlimited, as He owns the treasures of everything. Any good that reaches His servants is from Him alone, without partners. He has created everything that we need by night or by day, while traveling or at home and in all situations and conditions. Allah said, “And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrongdoer, an extreme ingrate.” There are many other Ayat on this subject. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that Abdur-Razzaq narrated to him that Mamar said that Hammam bin Munabbih said, “This is what Abu Hurayrah narrated to us that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah’s Right Hand is perfectly full, and no amount of spending can decrease what He has, even though He spends by night and by day. Do you see how much Allah has spent since? He created the heavens and earth Yet surely it has not decreased what He has in His Right Hand. His Throne is over the water and in His Other Hand is the hold by which He raises and lowers.”

He also said,

“Allah said, ”Spend and I will spend on you.” (Ahmad 2:313)

This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs.

The Revelation to the Muslims only Adds to the Transgression and Disbelief of the Jews

Allah said, “Verily, the revelation that has come to you from your Lord makes many of them increase in rebellion and disbelief.” meaning, the bounty that comes to you, O Muhammad, is a calamity for your enemies, the Jews and their kind. The more the revelation increases the believers in faith, good works, and beneficial knowledge, the more the disbelievers increase in envy for you and your Ummah, the more they increase in Tughyan – which is to exceed the ordained limits for things – and in disbelief – meaning denial of you.

Allah said in other Ayat, “Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away.” and, “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases wrongdoers in nothing but loss.” Allah said next, “We have put enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection.” Therefore, their hearts are never united. Rather, their various groups and sects will always have enmity and hatred for each other, because they do not agree on the truth, and because they opposed you and denied you.

Allah’s statement, “Every time they kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguished it” means, every time they try to plot against you and kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it and makes their plots turn against them. Therefore, their evil plots will return to harm them. “and they (ever) strive to make mischief on earth. And Allah does not like the mischief- makers.” It is their habit to always strive to cause mischief on the earth, and Allah does not like those with such behavior.

Had the People of the Book Adhered to their Book, they Would Have Acquired the Good of this Life and the Hereafter

Allah said next, “And if only the People of the Scripture had believed and had Taqwa…” Consequently, had the People of the Book believed in Allah and His Messenger and avoided the sins and prohibitions that they committed, “We would indeed have expiated for them their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise).” meaning We would have removed the dangers from them and granted them their objectives. “And if only they had acted according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord” meaning, the Qur’an, as Ibn Abbas and others said. (At-Tabari 10:463) “they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.” Had they adhered to the Books that they have with them which they inherited from the Prophets, without altering or changing these Books, these would have directed them to follow the truth and implement the revelation that Allah sent Muhammad with. These Books testify to the Prophet’s truth and command that he must be followed. Allah’s statement, “they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.” refers to the tremendous provision that would have descended to them from the sky and grown for them on the earth. Allah said in another Ayah, “And if the people of the towns had believed and had Taqwa, certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth.” Allah’s statement, “And among them is a Muqtasid Ummah, but for most of them; evil is their work.”is similar to Allah’s statement, “And of the people of Musa there is a community who lead (the men) with truth and establish justice therewith.” (7:159) and His statement about the followers of Isa, peace be upon him, “So We gave those among them who believed, their (due) reward.” Therefore, Allah gave them the highest grade of Iqtisad, which is the middle course, given to this Ummah. Above them there is the grade of Sabiqun, as Allah described in His statement, “Then We gave the Book as inheritance to such of Our servants whom We chose. Then of them are some who wrong themselves, and of them are some who follow a middle course, and of them are some who, by Allah’s permission, are Sabiq (foremost) in good deeds. That itself is indeed a great grace. Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) will they enter, therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments there will be of silk.” (35:32-33)

{67. O Messenger! Convey what has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the people who disbelieve.}

Commanding the Prophet to Convey the Message; Promising Him Immunity and Protection

Allah addresses His servant and Messenger Muhammad by the title ‘Messenger’ and commands him to convey all that He has sent him, a command that the Prophet has fulfilled in the best manner. Al-Bukhari recorded that A’ishah said, “Whoever says to you that Muhammad hid any part of what Allah revealed to him, then he is uttering a lie. Allah said, “O Messenger! Convey what has been sent down to you from your Lord.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:124) Al-Bukhari collected the short form of this story here, but mentioned the full narration in another part of his book and Muslim in the Book of Iman (Muslim 1:159). It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that A’ishah said, “If Muhammad hid anything from the Qur’an, he would have hidden this Ayah, “But you did hide in yourself that which Allah will make manifest, you did fear the people while Allah had a better right that you should fear Him.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Az-Zuhri said, “From Allah comes the Message, for the Messenger is its deliverance and for us is submission to it.” The Ummah of Muhammad has testified that he has delivered the Message and fulfilled the trust, when he asked them during the biggest gathering in his speech during the Farewell Hajj. At that time, there were over forty thousand of his Companions. Muslim recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said in his speech on that day,

“O people! You shall be asked about me, so what are you going to reply”

They said, “We bear witness that you have conveyed (the Message), fulfilled (the trust) and offered sincere advice.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, kept raising his finger towards the sky and then pointing at them, saying,

“O Allah! Did I convey? O Allah! Did I convey?”

Allah’s statement, “And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message.” meaning: If you do not convey to the people what I sent to you, then you have not conveyed My Message. Meaning, the Prophet knows the consequences of this failure. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message.” “It means, if you hide only one Ayah that was revealed to you from your Lord, then you have not conveyed His Message.” Allah’s statement, “Allah will protect you from mankind.” means, you convey My Message and I will protect, aid and support you over your enemies and will grant you victory over them. Therefore, do not have any fear or sadness, for none of them will be able to touch you with harm. Before this Ayah was revealed, the Prophet was being guarded, as Imam Ahmad recorded that A’ishah said that the Prophet was vigilant one night when she was next to him; she asked him, “What is the matter, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “Would that a pious man from my companions guard me tonight!” She said, “Suddenly we heard the clatter of arms. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “Who is that?”

He (the new comer) replied, “I am Sad bin Malik (Sad bin Abi Waqqas).” The Prophet asked,

 “What brought you here?”

He said, “I have come to guard you, Allah’s O Messenger.” A’ishah said, “So, the Prophet slept (that night) and I heard the noise of sleep coming from him.” (Ahmad 6:141)  Another narration for this Hadith reads, “The Messenger of Allah was vigilant one night, after he came to Al-Madinah…”, meaning, after the Hijrah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that A’ishah said, “The Prophet was being guarded until this Ayah, “Allah will protect you from mankind” was revealed.” She added: “The Prophet raised his head from the room and said

“O people! Go away, for Allah will protect me.”

At-Tirmidhi recorded it and said,”This Hadith is Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:410) It was also recorded by Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari 10:469) , and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, where he said, “Its chain is Sahih, but they did not record it.”

Allah’s statement, “Verily, Allah guides not those who disbelieve.” means, O Muhammad, you convey, and Allah guides whom He wills, and misguides whom He wills. In other Ayat, Allah said, “Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills” and, “Your duty is only to convey and on Us is the reckoning.”

 

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