Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Scholars' Viewpoint: Relationship of Muslims with Qur'an

Quran, the last Divine book, plays an important role in shaping the lives of Muslims and even its influence on Non Muslims which attracts them to it and embrace Islam. But many beleivers are not very sure what their relationship should be with Quran or how to establish a relationship with Quran.

Allah had given Divine books and scriptures to earlier people too but most of them parted ways with the guidance and truth that was contained in those books and scriptures and even added many additions and innovations to suit their needs rather than seeking guidance from the actual words of Allah.

It is also in many cases with Muslims. Although they recite it everyday, they do not know what they are reading and why. A large number of Muslims leave the explanation of the Quran to the scholars and listen to them what are they being told - not what they like to know. Unless we establish a strong relationship with Quran and know why we need to do it, we shall never be able to reach to the real truth contained in the Quran and seek guidance from it.

Please listen to eminent Muslim scholar and preacher Nouman Ali Khan on the Miracle of Quran and why and how Muslims should establish a relationship with this last Divine Book from Allah:
Nouman Ali Khan, born to a Pakistani family, is an American Muslim speaker and Arabic instructor who founded the Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies, after serving as an instructor of Arabic at Nassau Community College. He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are that of the concerned scholar . We have shared these view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to Islam.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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99 Attributes of Allah: Al Badi' - The Originator

Allah is Al-Badiʿ "ٱلْبَدِيعُ" - (pronounced Al Badee) The Originator, The Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful.

 بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰٓ أَمۡرً۬ا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ ۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ 

"The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: "Be!" - and it is". (Al-Baqarah 2:117)

A similar description of this attribute of Allah appears in Surah 6 Al An'am:101:

بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ صَاحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

"[He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing."

Allah, All Mighty, is the Innovator of the heavens and the earth and the One Who created the heavens and the earth according to no former example and with no helper or teacher. It is He, Glory to Him, Who innovated the essences, properties, qualities, sizes, shapes, forms, colors, movements, …etc, of all things, including mankind, animals and plants. In other words, everything in the entire universe shows clearly that Allah, All Mighty, is the “Badee’” (Innovator) of the heavens and the earth, that He, Glory to Him, is “Badee’” (Unique) in Himself, i.e. nothing is the like of Him, whether in His Divine Self, Attributes, Acts, or Creativity. 

Allah is The Originator, One who originates, commences, invents and creates all that exists, from something that never existed before and according to no former example and without getting help or information from anyone.. Those who associate others with Allah should be questioned: Can their deities originate anything that never existed before. If no, which certainly will be, then their deity can not be god, but a mere fallacy of mind.

Linguistically speaking, the word “Badee’” is derived from the verb “Abda’a” (to innovate), i.e. “to do or create something unprecedented”.

Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi, while explaining the meaning of the attribute Al Badi' writes [5]:
The best airplane a man has ever made is by no means comparable to a bird. Not only that, but also all man-made things are mere imitations or copies of things existing in the universe, which is nothing but one of the countless creatures of Allah, All Mighty. It is only Allah, All Mighty, Alone, Who created the whole universe according to no former example. Who said that the Earth should be round? Who said that the earth should go round itself and round the Sun?
Who created light? Who made the Sun a source of light and warmth? Who gave water its properties? Who gave the air its properties? Who gave each and every element its properties? If all solids melted at the same temperature, and if all substances had the same properties, the whole universe would be a gigantic mass of gas, liquid or solid. In the whole universe, with all its stars, planets, galaxies, and other heavenly objects, with their movements and distances among them: the entire universe with all the things therein and the earth with all things thereon; no two leaves are like each other. This means that Allah, All Mighty is All-Embracing and All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, and His Creativity is Infinite. Also, no human being can imagine or draw a leaf that does not exist in the world, simply because there are innumerable kinds, forms, shapes and colors of leaves of trees.
That is why one of the knowledgeable religious scholars, said, “If two leaves were similar to each other, Allah’s Creativity would not be Infinite.”

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allāh" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran

Photo | References1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Selected Verse from Quran: Do not usurp one another’s possessions by false claims

Islam is a complete of life and spells out the code of conduct for the righteous and the true believers. It tells how a believer should live his life and how he should protect the rights of others by not usurping on their possessions.

Unfortunately, while almost all Muslims can read and recite Qur'an in Arabic, a large portion of them do not know what they are reading and what Allah demands of them. Even those who can understand the meaning, fail to read the detailed explanation of each verse and the reference to the context under which a particular verse (ayat) was revealed. And because of this, they fail to grasp the true spirit of a verse and fail to understand what is required of them as true servant of Allah.

These days I am presenting the exegesis of Surah 2 Al Baqarah and while reading the Surah, I came across the verse below and I froze there and then for here is something that Allah forbade us to do and we are doing exactly just the opposite of it. Please read the verse and its translation, both in English and Urdu, fro I want it to be read and understood very clearly for we may committing a grave sin if we are doing something that we have been forbade to do:
وَلَا تَاۡكُلُوۡٓا اَمۡوَالَـكُمۡ بَيۡنَكُمۡ بِالۡبَاطِلِ وَتُدۡلُوۡا بِهَآ اِلَى الۡحُـکَّامِ لِتَاۡکُلُوۡا فَرِيۡقًا مِّنۡ اَمۡوَالِ النَّاسِ بِالۡاِثۡمِ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ

"Do not usurp one another’s possessions by false means, nor proffer your possessions to the authorities so that you may sinfully and knowingly usurp a portion of another’s possessions." (Surah 2 Al Baqarah: 188) 

اور تم ایک دوسرے کے مال آپس میں ناحق نہ کھایا کرو اور نہ مال کو (بطورِ رشوت) حاکموں تک پہنچایا کرو کہ یوں لوگوں کے مال کا کچھ حصہ تم (بھی) ناجائز طریقے سے کھا سکو حالانکہ تمہارے علم میں ہو  کہ یہ گناہ ہے

Now why I want every reader of mine to ponder over it. I have seen many Muslims, though offering prayers five times a day and giving charity and performing Hajj and Umrah, usurping others' possessions and even doing it on behalf of the rulers and thus giving a large chunk to them to cover their sins. I have seen rulers getting filthy rich while people they rule being robbed of the money that should in fact had been used for their welfare. Perhaps the dishonest rulers and their cronies have not really read this verse, and so many of its like, or even if they have read, have not really bother to understand it. For then they would have never been dishonest and usurpers.

Now coming over to its explanation that many of us have may have never read:

One meaning of this verse is that people should not try to seek illegitimate benefits by bribing magistrates. Another meaning is that when a person is aware that the property, he claims rightfully belongs to someone else, he should not file a judicial petition either because the other party lacks the evidence to support their case or because by trickery and cunning the petitioner can usurp that property. It is possible that the judicial authority would decide the case in favour of the false claimant on the basis of the formal strength of the claim, but as this judicial verdict would merely be the result of the chicanery to which the claimant had resorted he would not become its rightful owner. In spite of the judgement of the court the property would remain unlawful for him in the sight of God. 

It has been reported in a Tradition that the Prophet said: 'I am merely a human being and you bring to me your disputes. It is possible that some of you will be more impressive in argument than others, so that I may give judgement in favour of one on the basis of what I hear. Beware that if I award to someone what belongs to his brother, I will have assigned to him a lump of Fire.' (Bukhari, 'Shahadat', 27; Muslim, 'Aqdiayah', 4; Abu Da'ud , 'Aqdiayah', 7; Tirmidhi, 'Ahkam', 11, 18; Nasai 'Qudat', 12, 33; 1bn Majah, 'AhkAm', 5, etc. - Ed.)

Yusuf Ali, a prominent Muslim scholar and exegetist of Qur'an explains this verse as under:

Besides the three primal physical needs of man, which are apt to make him greedy, there is a fourth greed in society, the greed of wealth and property. The purpose of fasts is not completed until this fourth greed is also restrained. Ordinarily honest men are content if they refrain from robbery, theft, or embezzlement. Two more subtle forms of the greed are mentioned here. One is where one uses one's own property for corrupting others - judges or those in authority - so as to obtain some material gain even under the cover and protection of the law. The words translated "other people's property" may also mean "public property". A still more subtle form is where we use our own property or property under our own control - "among yourselves" in the Text - for vain or frivolous uses. Under the Islamic standard this is also greed. Property carries with it its own responsibilities. If we fail to understand or fulfill them, we have not learnt the full lesson of self-denial by fasts.
Mufti Muhammad Shaffi / Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani's Explanation:
This verse was revealed in the background of a particular event which relates to a land dispute between two of the noble Companions. The case came up for hearing in the court of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) The plaintiff had no witnesses. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the defendant to take an oath in accordance with Islamic legal norm. He was all set to take the oath when the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the following verse before him as a matter of good counsel: 
Surely, those who take a small price out of the covenant of Allah and out of their oaths, for them there is no share in the Hereafter. (3:77) 
When the Companion heard this verse which warns those who try to take over someone's property through a false oath, he abandoned his intention to take that oath and surrendered the land to the plaintiff. (Ruh al-Ma'ani) 

Previous verses to verse 188 dealt with injunctions relating to fasting in which the use of lawful things has been forbidden during a fixed period and fixed timings. Now in this verse, the acquisition and use of haram or unlawful wealth or property has been forbidden. This has a thematic congruity since the real purpose behind fasting, an act of worship, is nothing but to make man get used to abstaining from what is lawful for him. If he can do that, there is every likelihood that abstaining from what is totally unlawful will become all the more easier for him. There is yet another correspondence here. It is necessary that one must make an effort to break his or her fast with what is halal. Anyone who goes through the rigours of fasting throughout the day but ends up breaking his fast in the evening with what is haram shall only find his fast unacceptable in the sight of Allah. 

This verse forbids the acquisition and use of wealth and property by unlawful means. It will be recalled that the acquisition and use of things by lawful means has been stressed upon in Verse 168 of Surah al-Baqarah as follows: 
"0 people, eat of what is in the earth, permissible and good, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; indeed, for you he is an open enemy."
Again, the same command appears in Surah al-Nahl:
"So, eat from what Allah has provided for you, permissible and good, and be grateful for the blessing of Allah, if it is Him you worship." (16:114) 
The words of this divine injunction are general: 'And do not eat up each other's property by false means'. This includes the usurping of someone's property, and theft, and robbery, through which money or property belonging to someone is taken away by force. Again, any money or property acquired through lying or a false oath, or earnings which have been prohibited by Islamic law, even though one has personally sweated out to earn it, are all haram, unlawful and false. 

Look around and if you find such people, try to read out this verse to them and make them understand its meaning - may you can prevent them from committing further sins and save others of being usurped by them.

May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'an

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the Sūrahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given in each page. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

An Amazing Account of Revert Experience

I have been sharing revert experience and each account was different and informative for me. But today I am sharing a revert account which for me was both different from all previous accounts but very soul inspiring. I came across this account while I was searching for material for a series of posts I write about Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries. And this account I came across while searching for input on Nicaragua.

This account of multiple reversions was shared in the Islamic Bulletin and I am sharing it as it appeared in its source:

The Nicaraguan government bans all missionary groups from Pakistan, India and other Arab or Islamic countries. After receiving requests for help, a group of brothers from the San Francisco area made travel arrangements to Nicaragua to reintroduce Islam to these forgotten brothers and sisters. 

While in Managua, the capitol city of Nicaragua, the group was told about a Palestinian elder, named Mukhtar, who had been in a coma for three weeks and near death. Before going into the coma, this man had asked to be among Muslims as he died. He was located in the town of Chinandega, which is approximately 150 Km from Managua. So the group from San Francisco decided to go to the dying Muslim and fulfill his wish to be among the Muslims when he died.

As the group traveled to Chinandega, a local brother explained some background of the family. While the Palestinian Muslim had married Nicaraguan woman, she continued to be strong catholic. And obviously, due to the mother's influence their two sons and a daughter were all raised Catholic. It also transpired that the dying man's wife wanted her husband's burial burial as a Christian.

When they all reached the Palestinian Muslim's house, upon entering his home, they were surrounded by a plethora of Christian statues and large crucifixes everywhere. They felt as if they had been transported into a church. Ignoring these, they approached the dying elder brother. With his sons and daughter present they started reciting "Surah Ya seen" and made a collective dua (supplication to Allah) for the old gentleman.

They could see in the eyes of the sons and daughter the anguish and love for their father. At that moment one is filled with a sense of helplessness.
"Then why do ye not (intervene when the soul of the dying man) reaches the throat...and ye the while (sit) looking on... But we are nearer to Him than ye, and ye see not." (Qur'an 56:83-85)
The group comforted the grown children with mention of the greatness of Allah and the principles of Islam, some points about the Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him), and tried to give them a little of what they had missed of an Islamic upbringing. As they were listening, the oldest brother removed the cross from his neck and at once accepted Islam and said the Shahada (declaration of faith), followed by his brother, and together they invited their sister to do the same, which she did. The Mother, listening to this conversation, became upset by what was happening and left the house.

The brothers from San Francisco then proceeded to their drivers house for a late lunch and Dhuhr Salah (the midday noon prayer) along with the children of the dying man. It was the first salah for the children and they were instructed to make dua for their poor dying father. As the group prayed for the dying man with their hands raised to Allah, the phone rang...the father had passed away...in peaceful repose. How thankful the brothers from San Francisco were that they had delayed Dhuhr prayer and lunch for the sake of visiting the man who only had a short time left in this life.

They all then returned to the elders home and started the process of an Islamic burial. The eldest brother, the first of the family to accept Islam, was able to perform a final service for his beloved father by Islamically washing and preparing him for the final internment with the help of the San Francisco brothers. The wife of the deceased man later admitted that when she had left the house earlier, she had gone to her local priest and explained to him about this strange group of men who had arrived from nowhere and converted all her family and was in the process of burying her husband of many years the Islamic way. She explained to the priest what the brothers had been saying about Jesus and Islam. This priest agreed with the points the brothers had made and suggested that she submit to her husband's wishes. During the burial, the son's of Mukhtar were able to place him lovingly into his grave facing the Qiblah (Makkah) with their own hands and thus fulfilled their father's dying wish...to be among Muslims as he died. The greatness of Allah allowed him to be buried as a Muslim, by Muslims, and with those Muslims being his own blood family.

After the burial, the brothers from San Francisco stayed awhile and provided further Islamic information for the family. The family cleared their house of idols and crosses and made their big house into the 'Mosque of Chinandega'. It was then that the mother, who was deeply touched by her husband's funeral also accepted Islam before the brothers departed! 

This was really amazing and very motivating to read this first account. But that was not all. The group from USA had more miraculous stories to tell as they continued their journey to neighbouring El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala!!

One of the brothers of the San Francisco group visiting Central America was asked by his secretary to deliver some items to her mother, Mrs. Molina, then living in the little town of Granada, close to Managua. It seems that the brother's secretary, a non-Muslim, had been criticized by mother and other members of her family for her Islamic leanings due to working for our friend. She did not eat pork and liked to read the Qur'an "because it made her feel good". The mother had been accusing the good brother of 'brainwashing' her daughter.

Well, the brother delivered the parcel to Mrs. Molina as promised. By that time it was time for the Maghreb prayer and he asked her permission to pray there, and she allowed him so. After praying, our friend started answering Mrs. Molina's questions about Islam and before he knew it...she asked to become Muslim, made Shahada, and even asked him to speak to her neighbors and friends about Islam! A very enthusiastic convert! Well, needless to say...the brothers secretary no longer heard about 'brainwashing' from her mother, and was even a little surprised by this turn of events. The problem though...now her mother is criticizing her again...wanting to know what is taking her daughter and son-in-law too long in accepting Islam too!

The presence of the group in Nicaragua reinvigorated the spirit of Islam in the Islamic community of Managua and a  masjid which was virtually empty during salah times when the group first arrived, started attracting Muslims to it. The hearts of the Muslims of Managua were again united in brotherhood. As a result of their visit, many of the Muslim residents of Managua again started attending Fair and Isha prayer in congregation. The San Francisco brothers also provided a yearly prayer schedule which the Managuans did not have previously, having to rely on a schedule they had received during Ramadan which they had not adjusted for the course of the year.

These descendants of the early immigrants are hungry for information about Islam. Almost 60 people accepted Islam as a consequence of the group from San Francisco. Spanish Qur'an and literature are continually in demand. It's the responsibility of all of us to remember these Muslims far away. Please help if you assist with Islamic literature in Spanish language to share with Muslims of Nicaragua.

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the source as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the reference and its author.  

To read personal accounts of many a celebrity who have reverted to Islam, please visit our page: Embracing Islam: Revert Experiences.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo Source: Islamic Bulletin 
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Surah Al Baqarah - The Cow: 2nd Chapter of Quran (Exegesis - Section 1 / Part I)

Sūrah Al Baqarah "البقرة" is the longest Sūrah of the Qurān with 286 verses and forty ruku, spanned over Juz' 1-3. 

Please read the Summary and the Overview of the Surah before reading its detailed exegesis so as to have a fair idea how this Surah has been compartmentalized into various sections and parts to emphasize on the important subject matter of the surah:

  • Introduction
  • Section 1: [verses 40 to 121 (Ruku 5-14)] and has been further divided into two parts as under:
  • Part I:  (Verses 40-61) 
  • Part II: (Verses 62-121) 
Section 2: [verse 122-163 (ruku 15-19)]
  • Section 3: [Verses 164 - 242 (Ruku 20-40)]  It has been further sub divided into three parts as under:
  • Part I: (verses 164-188) 
  • Part II: (Verses 189-218) 
  • Part III: (Verses 219-242) 
  • Section 4: (Verses 243-286) 
We have already presented the Introduction. We now begin with Section-1 / Part I. The translation and exegesis / tafseer is in English. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles.

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku / Section 5 [Verses 40-46]
Verses 40-43 Allah's covenants with the Children of Israel
( 40 )   O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me.
'Israel' means the slave of God. This was the title conferred on Jacob (Ya'qub) by God Himself. He was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. His progeny are styled the 'Children of Israel'.

Turning to the Qur'anic text itself, it is noteworthy that the foregoing verses have been in the nature of introductory remarks addressed to all mankind. From the present section up to and including the fourteenth (verses 40 discourse, the reader should be particularly aware of the following purposes:

(1) The first purpose of this discourse is to invite those followers of the earlier Prophets who still had some element of righteousness and goodness to believe in the Truth preached by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and to join hands in promoting the mission he championed. In these sections they are told that the Qur'an and the Prophet are bearers of the same message and mission preached by the earlier Prophets and Scriptures.

The earlier communities were entrusted with the Truth in order that, as well as following it themselves, they might call others towards it and try to persuade them to follow it. But instead of directing the world in the light of this truth, they themselves failed to follow the Divine Guidance and sank into degeneracy. Their history and their contemporary religious and moral condition bore out this degeneration.

They are also told that God has once again entrusted the same Truth to one of His servants and has appointed him to carry out the same mission as that of the earlier Prophets and their followers. What the Prophet has brought is, therefore, neither new nor foreign; it is their very own and they are asked to accept it as such. A fresh group of people has now arisen with the same mission they had, but which they failed to carry out. It is clearly their duty to support these people.

(2) The second purpose of this discourse is to leave no reasonable justification for the negative Jewish attitude towards Islam, and to expose fully the true state of the religious and moral life of the Jews. This discourse makes it clear that the religion preached by the Prophet was the same as that preached by the Prophets of Israel. So far as the fundamentals are concerned, nothing in the Qur'an differs from the teachings of the Torah. It is also established that the Jews failed glaringly to follow the guidance entrusted to them, even as they had failed to live up to the position of leadership in which they had been placed. This point is established by reference to events of irrefutable authenticity.

Moreover, the way in which the Jews resorted to conspiracies and underhand machinations designed to create doubts and misgivings, the mischievous manner in which they engaged in discussions, the acts of trickery in which they indulged in willful opposition to the Truth, and the vile tactics which they employed in order to frustrate the mission of the Prophet, were all brought into sharp relief so as to establish that their formal, legalistic piety was a sham. What lay behind it was bigotry, chauvinism and self-aggrandizement rather than an honest search for and commitment to the Truth. The plain fact was that they did not want goodness to flourish.

This candid criticism of the Jews had several salutary effects. On the one hand, it made the situation clear to the good elements among the Jews. On the other, it destroyed the religious and moral standing of the Jews among the people of Madina, and among the pagans of Arabia as a whole. Moreover, it undermined the morale of the Jews to such an extent that from then on they could not oppose Islam with a firmness born of strong inner conviction.

(3) Third, the message addressed in the earlier sections to mankind as a whole is here elucidated with reference to a particular people. The example of the Jews is cited to show the tragic end that overtakes a people when it spurns Divine Guidance. The reason for choosing the Children of Israel as an example is that they alone, out of all the nations, constituted for four thousand years the continual embodiment of a tragedy from which many lessons could be learnt. The vicissitudes of fortune which visit a people, depending on whether they follow or refrain from following Divine Guidance, were all conspicuous in the history of this nation.

(4) Fourth, this discourse is designed to warn the followers of Muhammad (peace be on him) to avoid the same pitfalls as the followers of the earlier Prophets. While explaining the requirements of the true faith, it clearly specifies the moral weaknesses, the false concepts of religion, and the numerous errors in religious belief and practice which had made inroads among the Jews. The purpose is to enable Muslims to see their true path clearly and to avoid false ones. While studying the Qur'anic criticism of the Jews and Christians, Muslims should remember the Tradition from the Prophet in which he warned them that they would so closely follow the ways of the earlier religious communities that if the latter had entered a lizard's burrow, so would the Muslims. The Prophet was asked: 'Do you mean the Christians and Jews, O Messenger of God?' The Prophet replied: 'Who else?' (See Bukhari, 'Itisam', 14; Muslim, "Ilm', 6 - Ed.) This was not merely an expression of reproof. Thanks to the peculiar discernment and insight with which the Prophet was endowed, he knew the ways in which corruption encroaches upon the lives of the followers of the Prophets, and the different forms it assumes.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The appeal is made to Israel subjectively in terms of their own tradition. You claim to be a favoured nation; have you forgotten My favours? You claim a special Covenant with Me: I have fulfilled My part of the Covenant by bringing you out of the land of bondage and giving you Canaan, the land "flowing with milk and honey" how have you fulfilled your part of the Covenant? Do you fear for your national existence? If you fear Me, nothing else will matter.
( 41 )   And believe in what I have sent down confirming that which is [already] with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.
'Trifling gain' refers to the worldly benefits for the sake of which they were rejecting God's directives. Whatever one may gain in exchange for the Truth, be it all the treasure in the world, is trifling; the Truth is of supreme value.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
You receive revelations before: now comes one confirming it: its first appeal should be to you: are you to be the first to reject it? And reject it for what? God's Signs are worth more than all your paltry considerations. And the standard of duty and righteousness is to be taken from God, and not from priests and customs.
( 42 )   And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].
For the proper understanding of this verse we need to recall that in the time of the Prophet the Jews of Arabia were more learned than the Arabs. In fact, there were some Jewish scholars of Arabia whose fame had spread even beyond the confines of that land. For this reason the Arabs tended to be intellectually overawed by them. In addition, the influence of the Jews had become pervasive and profound by virtue of the pomp and pageantry of their religious rites, and the magical crafts and feats of exorcism for which they were famous. The people of Madina, in particular, were greatly under the spell of the Jews. These Jews made on them the sort of impression generally created on ignorant neighbours by a better educated, more refined and more conspicuously religious group.

It was natural in such circumstances that, when the Prophet began to preach his message, the ignorant Arabs should approach the Jews and ask their opinion of the Prophet and his teachings, particularly as the Jews also believed in Prophets and Scriptures. We find that this inquiry was often made by the Makkans, and continued to he addressed to the Jews after the Prophet arrived in Madina.

In reply to this query, however, the Jewish religious scholars never told the candid truth. It was impossible for them to say that the doctrine of monotheism preached by Muhammad was incorrect, that there was any error in his teachings regarding the Prophets, the Divine Scriptures, the angels and the Next Life and that there was any error in the principles of moral conduct which the Prophet propounded. At the same time, however, they were not prepared to make a straightforward affirmation of the truth of his teachings. In short, they neither categorically denied the Truth nor were prepared to accept it with open hearts.

Instead, they tried to plant insidious doubts in the minds of everybody who inquired about the Prophet and his mission. They sought to create one misgiving after another, disseminated new slanders, and tried to engage people's minds in all kinds of hypothetical problems so as to keep them in a state of doubt and uncertainty. They also tried to raise controversial issues which might keep people, including the followers of the Prophet, entangled in sterile debate. It is this attitude of the Jews to which the Qur'an alludes when it asks them not to overlay the truth with falsehood, not to suppress and conceal it by resorting to false propaganda and mischievous campaigns of slander, and not to attempt to deceive the world by mixing truth with falsehood.

In the last three verses (40-42) and following four verses (43-46), Allah reminds the Israelites of the blessings He has bestowed upon them, and invites them to Islam and to good deeds. The earlier three verses were concerned with the true faith and doctrines; the present verses speak of good deeds, mentioning only the most important of them. It was usually the love of money and power that made it difficult for the Jews, specially for their scholars, to accept Islam. The verses prescribe the remedy for the twin diseases - they should fortify themselves with Sabr (patience) and Salah (prayer). 
( 43 )   And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].
Prayer and Purifying Alms (Zakah) have always been among the most important pillars of the Islamic faith. Like other Prophets, the Prophets of Israel laid great stress upon them. The Jews had, however, become very negligent about these duties. Congregational Prayer had all but ceased among them; in fact, a great majority of the Jews did not perform Prayers even individually. They had also not only ceased to pay Purifying Alms, but some had even gone so far as to make their living out of interest.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The argument is still primarily addressed to the Jews, but is of universal application, as in all the teachings of the Quran. The chief feature of Jewish worship was and is the bowing of the head.

Mufti Muhammad Shaffi/Muhammad Taqi Usmani's Explanation:
paying Zakah, the prescribed alms. Now, lexically speaking, the Arabic word Zakah has two significations: (a) to purify (b) grow. Zakah is not a tax levied by the State or society, but, in the terminology of the shariah, means that portion of one's belongings which is set apart and spent in total accord with the injunctions of the Shariah.

This verse is addressed to the Israelites, and does not by itself show that offering prayers and paying alms was obligatory for them before the days of Islam. But the following verse:
Allah made a covenant with the Israelites and raised among them twelve chieftains. And Allah said, 'I am with you. Surely, if you perform Salah and pay Zakah'. (5:12) 
does show that the two things were obligatory for them, even if the external modes might have been different.

The verse proceeds to say: "Bow down with those who bow (in worship)." Lexically, the Arabic word Ruku' means "to bow down", and may hence be applied even to prostrating oneself (Sajdah), which is the ultimate form of bowing down. But in the terminology of the Shari'ah it pertains to the particular form of bowing down which has been prescribed for Salah.

One may well ask why this particular gesture has been chosen for a special mention from among the different gestures involved in the salah. We would reply that it is a metonymy for Salah, and a part has ,7 -19 been made to stand for the whole -just as in verse 17:78 : "the recitation of the Qur'an in the morning" refers to the morning prayers, and on several occasions in some Hadith narrations the use of the word Sajdah covers one set of movements (Ruku) in Salah or even to the whole of it. Thus, the verse actually means: "Offer Salah along with those who offer Salah."

Verse 44 Do you advise others and forget yourselves? 
( 44 )   Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?
Verses 45-46 Allah's help come with patience and Salah 
( 45 )   And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]
That is, if they feel difficulty in keeping to righteousness, the remedy lies in resorting to Prayer and patience. From these two attributes they will derive the strength needed to follow their chosen course.

The literal meaning of 'sabr' is to exercise restraint, to keep oneself tied down. It denotes the will-power, the firm resolve and the control over animal desires which enables man to advance along the path of his choice - the path that satisfies his heart and conscience - in utter disregard of the temptations within, and of all obstacles and opposition without. The purpose of this directive is to urge man to develop this quality and to reinforce it from the outside by means of Prayer.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Arabic word Sabr implies many shades of meaning, which it is impossible to comprehend in one English word. It implies (1) patience in the sense of being thorough, not hasty; (2) patient perseverance, constancy, steadfastness, firmness of purpose; (3) systematic as opposed to spasmodic or chance action; (4) a cheerful attitude of resignation and understanding in sorrow, defeat, or suffering, as opposed to murmuring or rebellion, but saved from mere passivity or listlessness, by the element of constancy or steadfastness.
( 46 )   Who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.
This means that Prayer is an insufferable encumbrance and affliction for the man who tends not to want to obey, God and to believe in the After-life. For the man who, of his own violation, has to stand before God after death, it is failure to perform the Prayer, rather than its performance, that becomes intolerable.

Ruku / Section 6 [Verses 47-59]
Verses 47-48 Criminals will find no way out on the Day of Judgement
( 47 )   O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds.
This refers to that period of human history when, of all nations, only the Children of Israel possessed that knowledge of Truth which comes from God alone. At that time they were entrusted with the task of directing the nations of the world to righteousness; they were expected to serve God and to invite the rest of the world to do the same.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
These words are recapitulated from ii. 40, which introduced a general account of God's favours to Israel; now we are introduced to a particular account of incidents in Israel's history. Each incident is introduced by the Arabic word "Iz", which is indicated in the translation by "Remember".
( 48 )   And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided.
A major reason for the degeneration of the Israelites was the corruption of their beliefs about the After that since they were related to those venerable saints and pious men who had dedicated themselves entirely to the service of God in the past, they would be forgiven by the grace of those great men. They believed that once they had bound themselves firmly to those men of God, it would become impossible for God to punish them. Such false reliance made them negligent of true religious piety and enmeshed them in a life of sin and wickedness. Hence, as well as reminding the Children of Israel of God's favour upon them, it was necessary to refute all the false ideas which they cherished.

Verses 49-50 Israelites deliverance from Pharaoh's persecution
( 49 )   And [recall] when We saved your forefathers from the people of Pharaoh, who afflicted you with the worst torment, slaughtering your [newborn] sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.
From here on, through the several sections that follow, reference is made to the best

We have rendered 'Al Fir'awn' as 'Pharaoh's people'. This includes the members of the Pharaonic family as well as the aristocracy of Egypt. The test was whether they would emerge from the crucible of persecution as pure gold, or as mere dross. The test also lay, in whether or not, after their miraculous deliverance from so great a calamity, they would become grateful servants of God.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The bondage of Egypt was indeed a tremendous trial. Even the Egyptians' wish to spare the lives of Israel's females when the males were slaughtered, added to the bitterness of Israel. Their hatred was cruel, but their "love" was still more cruel. About the hard tasks, see Exod. i. 14: "They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." Pharaoh's taskmasters gave no straw, yet ordered the Israelites to make bricks without straw: Exod. v 5-19. Pharaoh's decree was: "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive": Exod. i. 22. It was in consequence of this decree that Moses was hidden three months after he was born, and when he could be hidden no longer, he was put into an ark of bulrushes and cast into the Nile, where he was found by Pharaoh's daughter and wife (xxviii. 9), and adopted into the family: Exod. ii. 2-10. Cf. xx. 37-40. Thus Moses was brought up by the enemies of his people. He was chosen by God to deliver his people, and God's wisdom made the learning and experience and even cruelties of the Egyptian enemies themselves to contribute to the salvation of his people.
( 50 )   And [recall] when We parted the sea for you and saved you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you were looking on.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
When the Israelites at last escaped from Egypt, they were pursued by Pharaoh and his host. By a miracle the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, but the host of Pharaoh was drowned: Exod. xiv. 5-31.

 Verses 51-52 Their sin of worshiping the Calf
( 51 )   And [recall] when We made an appointment with Moses for forty nights. Then you took [for worship] the calf after him, while you were wrongdoers.
When the Israelites reached the Sinai peninsula after their exodus from Egypt, God summoned Moses to the mountain for forty days and nights so that the nation which had now achieved independence could be taught law and morality. (See Exodus 24-3l.)

The cult of cow-worship was widespread among Israel's neighbours. It was particularly common in Egypt and Canaan. After the time of Joseph, when the Israelites fell prey to degeneracy and became the slaves of the Copts, they were contaminated by many of the corrupt practices prevalent among their rulers. Cow-worship was one of them. (There is a detailed account of the episode of calf-worship in Exodus 32.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This was after the Ten Commandments and the Laws and Ordinances had been given on Mount Sinai: Moses was asked up into the Mount, and he was there forty days and forty nights: Exod. xxiv. 18. But the people got impatient of the delay, made a calf of melted gold, and offered worship and sacrifice to it: Exod. xxxii 1-8.
( 52 )   Then We forgave you after that so perhaps you would be grateful.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Moses prayed for his people, and God forgave them. This is the language of the Qur-an. The Old Testament version is rougher: "The Lord reprented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people": Exod. xxxii. 14. The Muslim position has always been that the Jewish (and Christian) scriptures as they stand cannot be traced direct to Moses or Jesus, but are later compilations. Modern scholarship and Higher Criticism has left no doubt on the subject. But the stories in these traditional books may be used in an appeal to those who use them: only they should be spiritualized, as they are here, and specially in ii.54 below.

Verses 53-54 Their repentance through slaying the culprits 
( 53 )   And [recall] when We gave Moses the Scripture and criterion that perhaps you would be guided.
'Criterion' here means that understanding of religion which differentiates truth from falsehood, making each stand out distinctly.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
God's revelation, the expression of God's Will, is the true standard of right and wrong. It may be in a Book or in God's dealings in history. All these may be called His Signs or Miracles. In this passage some commentators take the Scripture and the Criterion (Furqan) to be identical. Others take them to be two distinct things: Scripture being the written Book and the Criterion being other Signs. I agree with the latter view. The word Furqan also occurs in xxi. 48 in connection with Moses and Aaron and in the first verse of Surah xxv, as well as in its title, in connection with Muhammad. As Aaron received no Book, Furqan must mean the other Signs. Al Mustafa had both the Book and the other Signs: perhaps here too we take the other Signs as supplementing the Book. Cf. Wordsworth's "Arbiter undisturbed of right and wrong." (Prelude, Book 4)
( 54 )   And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator." Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Moses's speech may be construed literally, as translated, in which case it reproduces Exod. xxxii 27-28 but in a much softened form, for the Old Testament says: "Go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor... and there fell of the people that day 3,000 men." A more spiritualized version would be that the order for slaying was given by way of trial, but was withdrawn, for God turned to them in forgiveness. A still more spiritualized way of construing it would be to take "anfusakum" as meaning "souls" not "selves". Then the sense of Moses's speech (abbreviated) would be: "By the worship of the calf you have wronged your own souls; repent: mortify (=slay) your souls now: it will be better in the sight of God."

Verses 55-57 Those who wanted to see Allah face to face were put to death, then Allah gave them life again and provided them with heavenly food
( 55 )   And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we will never believe you until we see Allah outright"; so the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We have hitherto had instances from the Jewish traditional Taurat (or Pentateuch). Now we have some instances from Jewish traditions in the Talmud, or body of exposition in the Jewish theological schools. They are based on the Jewish scriptures, but add many marvelous details and homilies. As to seeing God, we have in Exod. xxxiii 20: "And He said, Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me and live." The punishment for insisting on seeing God was therefore death; but those who rejected faith were forgiven, and yet they were ungrateful.
( 56 )   Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful.
The incident referred to here is the following. When Moses went to the mountain he had been ordered to bring with him seventy elders of Israel. Later, when God bestowed upon Moses the Book and the Criterion, he presented them to the people. Some mischief-makers, according to the Qur'an, began to complain that they could not believe in something just because Moses claimed that God had spoken to him. This invited the wrath of God and they were punished. The Old Testament, however, has the following account:
'And they saw the God of Israel and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank' (Exodus 24: 10-11),
Interestingly, it is stated later in the same book that when Moses requested God to show him His glory, God rejected the request and said: 'You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live'. (See Exodus 33: 18-23)
( 57 )   And We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails, [saying], "Eat from the good things with which We have provided you." And they wronged Us not - but they were [only] wronging themselves.
That is, God provided them with shade from clouds in the Sinai peninsula where there was no shelter from the heat of the sun.

It should be remembered that the Israelites had left Egypt in their hundreds of thousands. In Sinai, there were not even any tents in which they could shelter, never mind proper houses. But for the fact that God by His grace kept the sky, overcast for a considerable period, these people would have been scorched to death by the heat of the sun.

Manna and quails constituted the natural food that was continually made available to them throughout the forty years of their wandering in the Sinai desert. Manna was like coriander seed. When the dew fell in the night, manna fell with it from above. By God's grace the quails were made available so plentifully that the entire nation was able to live on them alone and so escaped starvation. (For details regarding manna and quails see Exodus 16; Numbers 11: 7-9 and 31-2; Joshua 5: 12)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Manna=Hebrew, Manhu: Arabic Mahuwa? - What is it? In Exod. xvi. 14 it is described as "a small round thing as small as the hoar frost on the ground." It usually rotted if left over till next day; it melted in the hot sun; the amount necessary for each man was about an Omer, a Hebrew measure of capacity equal to about 2| quarts. This is the Hebrew account, probably distorted by traditional exaggeration. The actual Manna found to this day in the Sinai region is a gummy saccharine secretion found on a species of Tamarisk. It is produced by the puncture of a species of insect like the cochineal, just as lac is produced by the puncture of the lac insect on certain trees in India. As to quails, large flights of them are driven by winds in the Eastern Mediterranean in certain seasons of the year, as was witnessed during the Great War of 1914-1918 by many Indian officers who campaigned between Egypt and Palestine.

Verses 58-59 Their discontent and disbelief 
( 58 )   And [recall] when We said, "Enter this city and eat from it wherever you will in [ease and] abundance, and enter the gate bowing humbly and say, 'Relieve us of our burdens.' We will [then] forgive your sins for you, and We will increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward]."
It has not yet been possible to arrive at any conclusion about the identity of the locality mentioned here. The series of events in the context of which God's command to enter the city is mentioned belong to the period of the exodus of the Children of Israel in the Sinai peninsula. It is therefore probable that the place mentioned in this verse is some Sinaitic city. Another plausible suggestion is that it is Shattim, which was located opposite Jericho on the eastern bank of the river Jordan. According to the Bible the Israelites conquered this town during the last years of the life of Moses. After the conquest the Israelites became so decadent that God smote them with a plague from which twenty-four thousand died (Numbers 25: 1-9).

God's command was to enter the city not with the arrogance of tyrannical conquerors, but with the humility of men of God (in the manner in which the Prophet would later enter Makka at the time of its conquest).

As for 'hit ' tah', it could either mean that when they entered the town they should seek God's pardon for their sins or that instead of plundering and massacring people in the wake of their conquest, they should proclaim an amnesty.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This probably refers to Shittim. It was the "town of acacias," just east of the Jordan, where the Israelites were guilty of debauchery and the worship of and sacrifice to false gods (Num. xxv. 1-2, also 8-9); a terrible punishment ensued, including the plague of which 24,000 died. The word which the transgressors changed may have been a pass-word. In the Arabic text it is "Hittatun" which implies humility and a prayer of forgiveness, a fitting emblem to distinguish them from their enemies. From this particular incident a more general lesson may be drawn; in the hour of triumph we are to behave humbly as in God's sight, and our conduct should be exemplary according to God's word; otherwise our arrogance will draw its own punishment.
( 59 )   But those who wronged changed [those words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged a punishment from the sky because they were defiantly disobeying.
Ruku / Section 7 [Verses 60-61]
Verse 60 Miracle of providing water in the desert from a rock
( 60 )   And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, "Strike with your staff the stone." And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people knew its watering place. "Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption."
That rock can still be seen in the Sinai Peninsula with the twelve holes of the springs. Twelve springs were caused to flow for the Israelites in order to avoid water disputes among their twelve clans.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Here we have a reference to the tribal organization of the Jews, which played a great part in their forty years' march through the Arabian deserts (Num. i. and ii.) and their subsequent settlement in the land of Canaan (Josh. xxii. and xiv.). The twelve tribes were derived from the sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel (soldier of God) after he had wrestled, says Jewish tradition, with God (Genesis xxxii. 28). Israel had twelve sons (Gen. xxxv. 22-26), including Levi and Joseph. The descendants of these twelve sons were the "Children of Israel." Levi's family got the priesthood and the care of the Tabernacle; they were exempted from military duties for which the census was taken (Nu. i. 47-53), and therefore from the distribution of Land in Canaan (Josh. xiv. 3); they were distributed among all the Tribes, and were really a privileged caste and not numbered among the Tribes; Moses and Aaron belonged to the house of Levi. On the other hand Joseph, on account of the high position to which he rose in Egypt as the Pharaoh's minister, was the progenitor of two tribes, one in the name of each of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus there were twelve Tribes in all, as Levi was cut out and Joseph represented two tribes. Their having fixed stations and watering places in camp and fixed territorial areas later in the Promised Land prevented confusion and mutual jealousies and is pointed to as an evidence of the Providence of God acting through His prophet Moses. Cf. also vii. 160.

Verses 61 Israelites rejected the heavenly food and their disobedience and transgression
( 61 )   And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we can never endure one [kind of] food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions." [Moses] said, "Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go into [any] settlement and indeed, you will have what you have asked." And they were covered with humiliation and poverty and returned with anger from Allah [upon them]. That was because they [repeatedly] disbelieved in the signs of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That was because they disobeyed and were [habitually] transgressing.
This does not mean that their real fault lay in asking for things which entailed cultivation instead of availing themselves of manna and quails which they received without any toil. What is emphasized here is that rather than being concerned with the great purpose for which they had been brought to the Sinai they relished the foods which gratified their palates to such a degree that they could not forgo them even temporarily (cf. Numbers 11: 4-9).

There are several ways in which one might deny the signs of God. First, one might refuse to accept those teachings of God which one found contrary to one's fancies and desires. Second, one might know that something is from God and yet wilfully flout it. Third, one might know well the import of God's directives and yet distort them.

The Israelites recorded their crimes in detail in their own history. Here are just a few examples from the Bible:
(1) After the death of Solomon the state of the Israelites was split into two: the State of Judah with its capital in Jerusalem, and the State of Israel with its capital in Samaria. This was followed by a series of wars between the two States so that the State of Judah sought the assistance of the Aramacan State of Damascus against its own kinsmen. At this, Hamani the seer went under God's direction to Asa the king and rebuked him. Instead of rectifying his behaviour, Asa was so angry that he put the seer in the stocks. (See 2 Chronicles 16: 7-10.)
(2) When Elijah denounced the Jews for their worship of Baal and invited them to return to monotheism, Ahab, the king of Israel pursued him for the sake of his pagan wife so that he had to take refuge in the mountains of the Sinai peninsula. On this occasion, according to the Bible, he said: '. . . the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword., and 1, even 1 only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away' (1 Kings 19: 14).
(3) The same king Ahab imprisoned another Prophet, Micah, for no other reason than that of speaking the truth. King Ahab ordered that he should be given only bread and water. (See 1 Kings 22: 26-7)
(4) When idol-worship and moral corruption became prevalent in Judah and the Prophet Zechariah raised his voice against them, he was stoned to death in the very court of the house of the Lord. (See 2 Chronicles 24: 2l.)
(5) When the Israelite State of Samaria was wiped out by the State of Jerusalem, the Prophet Jeremiah deplored the condition of the Israelites. He warned them that it was time they set about mending their ways otherwise they would face an even more calamitous end than that of Samaria. The response to this sincere preaching was abuse and curses: he was beaten, imprisoned, put in the stocks and lowered by ropes into a cistern, where he was left to die of hunger and thirst. He was also accused of various crimes, including treason and conspiracy. (See Jeremiah 15: 10; 18: 20-3; 20: 1-18; 36-40)
(6) It is reported of another Prophet, Amos, that when he denounced the widespread errors and corruption in the State of Samaria and warned of the evil consequences that follow such misdeeds, he was condemned to exile and told to pursue his prophetic task somewhere beyond its frontiers. (See Amos 7: 10-13.)
(7) When John the Baptist protested against the acts of moral corruption that were brazenly practised in his court, Herod, the ruler of Judah, first put John into prison, then had him beheaded at the request of a dancing girl, and had his head set on a platter and presented to the girl. (See Mark 6: 17-29)
(8) The same hostility to Prophets is evident from the life of Jesus. The priests and political leaders of Israel ultimately became inflamed against Jesus, who criticized them for their impiety and hypocrisy and invited them to true faith and righteousness. It was this which prompted them to prepare a false case against him and persuade the Romans to sign a death sentence. Later, when the Roman governor, Pilate, asked them which of the two prisoners - Jesus or Barabbas, a notorious brigand - should be released on the occasion of the feast, they asked for the release of Barabbas and for the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27: 20-6). This is a shameful chapter in the record of the Jewish nation, to which the Qur'an refers here in passing. It is evident that when a nation chooses its most notoriously criminal and wicked people for positions of leadership, and its righteous and holy men for gaol and the scaffold, God has no alternative but to lay His curse and damnation on that nation.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The declension of the word Misr ( اِهۡبِطُوۡا مِصۡرًا ) in the Arabic text here shows that it is treated as a common noun meaning any town, but this is not conclusive, and the reference may be to the Egypt of Pharaoh. The Tanwin expressing indefiniteness may mean "any Egypt", i.e., any country as fertile as Egypt. There is here a subtle reminiscence as well as a severe reproach. The rebellious children of Israel murmured at the sameness of the food they got in the desert. They were evidently hankering after the delicacies of the Egypt which they had left, although they should have known that the only thing certain for them in Egypt was their bondage and harsh treatment. Moses's reproach to them was twofold: (1) Such variety of foods you can get in any town; would you, for their sake, sell your freedom? Is not freedom better than delicate food? (2) In front is the rich Promised Land, which you are reluctant to march to; behind is Egypt, the land of bondage. Which is better? Would you exchange the better for the worse?

From here the argument becomes more general. They got the Promised Land. But they continued to rebel against God. And their humiliation and misery became a national disaster. They were carried in captivity to Assyria. They were restored under the Persians, but still remained under the Persian yoke, and they were under the yoke of the Greeks, the Romans, and Araba. They were scattered all over the earth, and have been a wandering people ever since, because they rejected faith, slew God's messengers and went on transgressing.

Here we come to the end of Part I of Section 1. The next post (Section 1 / Part II), covers a history of the breach of promises and the traitor-ship of the Jews as to how they disobeyed the commandments of Allah and how this criminal mentality had been nurtured in them since the very beginning. A mention has also been made of their superstitions and of other activities which were instrumental in debasing the Shariah and the Book of Allah in their eyes.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah al-Baqarah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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