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Friday 27th of November 2020
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Envy and Obstinacy

109. "Many of the people of the (earlier) Book wish they could turn you back to be infidels, after you have believed, out of their own envy, even after thr truth was manifest to them. (Neverthless) forgive and overlook till Allah brings about His kommand, truly Allah has power over all things."

110. " And keep up the prayer, and pay the poor-rates; whatever good you shall forward for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah; surely Allah sees what you do."

Commentary:

Envy and Obstinacy

There were many members of the People of the Book, especially those of the Jews, who not only disbelieved in Islam but they also urged the believers to abandon their Faith. Their motive, for this action, was nothing but envy.

Through the above mentioned verses, the Qur'an addresses this matter by saying:

"Many of the people of the (earlier) Book wish they could turn you back to be infidels, after you have believed, out of thir own envy, even after the truth was manifest to them. ..."

Here, the Qur'an bids the believers to forgive them their evil

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endeavours aiming at the destruction of Faith until Allah sends His command:

"... (Neverteless) forgive and overlook till allah brings about His command, truly Allah has power over all things."

This is, in fact, a tactical instruction given to Muslims that they should stand firm before the intense pressure of the enemies; and in this particular circumstance utilize the weapon of forgiveness while they focus their abilities upon constructing themselves and their Islamic society, and wait for the command of Allah.

As a great many of the commentators have said, the purpose of 'the command of Allah ',her, is ' the command for the Holy War 'which at that time had not been revealed yet. The reason for the delay may have been that their conditions were not completely appropriate for that command. That was why, according to many of the commentators, the idea in this verse was changed by the subsequent verses regarding ' the Holy War', which will be referred to later.

* * * *

The verse following the above one bids the believers to perform two great constructive commands. One of them is about ' prayer ' which establishes a firm relationship between the servant and his Lord. The second is alms-giving which is the secret of cohensiveness among the members of societies. These two are necessary for defeating enemies. It says:

" And keep up the prayer, and pay the poor-rates; ... "

By these two deeds you may strengthen both your spirit and body. Then, it adds that you should not think that the good deeds you do and the material wealth you pay as poor-rates in the way of Allah will be lost totally. It is not so, but:

"... whatever good you shall forward for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah; ..."

"... surely Allah sees what you do."

Thus, He definitely knows which deeds you have done for His sake and which ones for the sake of other than Him.

113. " The Jews said: ' The Christians rest on naught ', and the Christians said: ' The Jews rest on naught '; yet they (both) recite the (same) Book. Even so, similar to their sayings, spoke those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgement in what they differ."

 

Occasion of Revelation :

Some of the commentators have narrated from Ibn Abbas that when a group of Christians who were from Najran were attending a gathering of the Prophet's (p.b.u.h.) , some of the Jewish scholars were there, too. These two groups began disputing with each other before the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) . Rafi'-ibn-Harmalah, one of the Jews, turned to the Christians and said that their religion was based on naught. Thus, he was rejecting the prophethood of Jesus (a.s.) and his Divine Book. Then, a man from among the Christians from Najran, too, replied to him with a similar expression and said that the religion of the Jews was based on naught. Thus, he also rejected both the prophethood of Moses (a.s.) and the Turah. It was at that time that the above verse was revealed and reproached both groups for their fabricated statements. (1)

Commentary:

Exclusivity, the Fruit of Ignorance

In the previous verse, we became acquainted with a portion of the proofless claims of a group of the Jews and the Christians. The verse

(1) Majma'-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 188, Tafsir Ghartabi and Tafsir Almanar

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under discussion indicates that when a proofless claim comes forth, it results in exclusivity and then leads to contradiction.

" The Jews said: ' The Christians rest on naught ' , and Christians said: ' The Jews rest on naught '; ..."

The phrase: ' rest on naught ' may mean that they have no rank and honour with Allah; or their belief is not a thing worthwhile. Then, to complete the above idea, it adds:

"...yet they (both) recite the (same) Book. ..."

That is, with the Divine Book that they have in their hands which can guide them toward the right path concerning these problems, it is surprising that they say such words which originate from nowhere except prejudice and enmity. Then the Qur'an continues saying:

"...Even so, similar to their sayings, spoke those who know not."

(Although these are the People of the Book and those are pagans or idolaters.)

This verse introduces ignorance as the origin of bigotry and prejudice, because ignorant people are always shut in their own worlds and do not accept other than that which they know. They seriously believe only in the Faith that they have been acquainted with from their early childhood, even if it is false or superstitious. Therefore, they put aside everything other than that which they believe.

At the end of the verse, it says:

"...Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgement in what they differ."

It is in the Hereafter where the facts will be entirely evident and the proof and references of all things will become perfectly manifest. None will be able to deny what is right and, thus, there will remain no dispute. Yes, one of the special characteristics of the Resurrection Day is that all disagreements will come to an end.

By the way, the above verse reminds Muslims that although the followers of these religions have stood against them and rejected Islam, therefore, they need not be worried because the Jews and Christians do not verify even themselves. Each of them nullifies 

Occasion of Revelation :

It has been narrated from Ibn Abbas, cited in the book ' Asbab-un-Nuzul ', that this verse was revealed about Fatlus-ur-Rumi, a Roman, and his friends. They fought against the Children of Israel and burnt the Turah. In that war, Jewish children were made captives, and Jerusalem was ruined and filled with corpses. (1)

The Late Tabarsi, a great commentator, narrates from Ibn Abbas, in his book ' Majma'ul-Bayan ', that this strive for the destruction of Jerusalem was continued until when that Holy Land was conquered by Muslims. ... (2)

A tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says that this verse was revealed about the Quraysh when they prevented the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) from entering Mecca and the Ka'bah. (3)

Also, a third occasion of revelation is cited for this verse. It says the verse is referring to the sites in Mecca where Muslims used to pray at, which pagans destroyed totally after the emigration of the Prophet

(1) Asbab-un-Nuzul, p. 22, Arabic version

(2) Majma'-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 189

(3) Ibid

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(p.b.u.h.) from that City. (1)

There is no discrepancy in saying that all three of these occasions of revelation refer to their own individual incidents. Therefore, each of them illustrates one of the dimensions of the subject.

Commentary :

The Most Unjust Ones !

When dealing with the occasions of revelation of the above mentioned verse, it is understood that the words are about all three groups: the Jews, the Christians and the pagans, while the words in the previous verses were mostly about the Jews and sometimes about the Christians.

At any rate, the Jews, creating mischief about the Qiblah, tried to return the direction of the prayers of Muslims toward Jerusalem in order to appear to have, by that manner, a kind of superiority in the eyes of the community of Muslims and also weaken the lustre and elegance of the Sacred Mosque and the Ka'bah. (2)

The pagans of Mecca, having prevented the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and Muslims from visiting and pilgrimaging to the Sacred House, the Ka'bah, practically stepped forth toward the desolation of this Holy Structure.

The Christians, too, having conquered Jerusalem and having performed actions which gave rise to what was said to be the occasion of revelation of this verse, as narrated by Ibn Abbas, tried to uin it.

The Qur'an, warning these three groups and all others who pave a similar way, says:

" And who is more unjust than he who prevents the mosques of Allah of His Name being remembered therein and strives for their ruin? ..."

Thus, the Qur'an considers this prevention unjust and introduces contrivers of it as the most unjust people. Indeed, what greater ' unjust'

(1) Majma'-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 189 & Almizan, the commentary of the verse.

(2) Tafsir Fakhr-i-Razi, vol. 4, p. 9

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could be committed than that they strive to ruin the Monotheistic centers and prevent people from remembering the Name of their providence, whose consequence would be the spread of polytheism and corruption in the society!

Then, the verse continues saying :

".....such (people) night never enter them,save in fear...."

That is, Muslims and monotheists of the world should stand so firm against these transgressors that their hands be curtailed from these sacred sites so that none of them can freely and without fear enter therein .

In commenting of the above verse, a possble meaning is that these kind of of unjust people with these kind of actionswill never truly succeed in taking these Holy shrines and places of worship under their own control. The final circumstance will be such that they will not be able to enter them save in fear. They will be subject to just the same fate and fortune that the pagans of Mecca had regarding the Sacred Mosque.

Finally, through the concluding words of the verse and with a shocking statement, the Qur'an has referred to the penalty of those transgressors both in the present world and the coming world. It says:

"... For them is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a great punishment. "

And this is the end of those who want to separate servants from their Providence.

Explanation

Mosques and the Ways of their Desolation

There is no doubt that the above verse has a vast meaning which is not confined to a particular time or place. The verse, from this point of view, is like other verses of the Qur'an which have been revealed in relation to a specific condition or circumstance referred to as the occasion of revelation, but their ordinances are valid in all ages. Therefore, anyone or any group who strive in any form to ruin the mosques of Allah, or prevent the Name of Allah from being

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remembered and adored therein, will be faced with the same disgrace and great punishment which have been pointed out in this verse.

It is also necessary to pay attention to this fact that the prevention of worshippers from entering into the Sacred Mosque and the barring of the remembrance of the Name of Allah and His adoration along with striving for ruining it, does not only refer to the mosque being destroyed by shovel and pick, but involves any actions that cause mosques to be ruined or seem dull and lustreless.

As it will be explained when commenting on Sura Al-Taubah, No. 9, verse 18, the purpose of the Qur'anic phrase /ya'muru masajid/, mentioned in the verse,according to the clear meanings of some Islamic narrations and traditions, is not merely ' to build or to mend the mosques '. Attending these holy shrines and remembering the Name of Allah and adoring Him therein not only is a means of maintaining them but also is counted as their most important form of maintenance. Therefore, in the opposite case, whatever causes people to neglect the remembrance of the Name of Allah and keeps them apart from the mosques, is a very grand injustice.

Supplication :

O' Lord ! Guard us from, and against, any deviation and corruption!


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