Saturday 1 February 2020

Surah Al i Imran - The Family of Imran: 3rd Chapter of the Quran (Part III)

Sürah Al i Imran ( ʾĀl ʿImrān  "آل عِمْرَان " The Family of Imran) is the 3rd sürah with 200 ayahs with twenty rukus, part of the 3rd and 4th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Sürah takes its name from 33rd verse.

This Sürah is cognate to Sürah II Al Baqarah. but the matter is here treated from a different point of view, The references to Badr (Ramadân. H. 2) and Uhud Shawwal. H. 3.) give a clue to the dates of those passages.

Like Sürah II. it takes a general view of the religious history of mankind, special reference to the People of the Book, proceeds to explain the birth 4 he new People of Islam and their ordinances, insists on the need of struggle and fighting in the cause of Truth, and exhorts those who have been blessed with Islam to remain constant in Faith, pray for guidance, and maintain their with hope for the Future.

The new points of view developed are: (1) The emphasis is here laid on the duty of the Christians to accept the new light: the Christians are here specially appealed to, as the Jews were specially appealed to in the last Sürah(2) the lessons of the battles of Badr and Uhud are set out for the Muslim community; and (3) the responsibilities of that community are insisted on both internally and in their relations to those outside.

As already explained in the Overview, the exegesis of the Sürah has been divided into parts owing to the length of the Sürah, which is 200 verses long. The exegesis will be presented in following parts according to the subject matter:
  • Part I: Verses 1 - 32.  
  • Part II: Verses 33 - 63. 
  • Part III: Verses 64 - 101.  
  • Part IV: Verses 102 - 120. 
  • Part V: Verses 121 - 175. 
  • Part VI: Verses 175 - 189. This part also includes the concluding verses of the Sürah  (190-200), which are not directly connected with the verses immediately preceding it but with the theme of the Surah as a whole. 
Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer of Part II of the Sürah. This part covers Verses 64-101. This discourse is particularly mentions the people of the Book, the Jews, who have been invited to give up their sinister ways and accept the divine Guidance. At the same time the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their malicious intentions, erroneous ways and absurd objections. 

For Arabic Text and recitation in Arabic with English subtitles, please scroll down for the video at the end of the exegesis of this part:

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

Ruku / Section 7 [Verses 64-71]
Verses 64-71 Call for unity with Jews and Christians on what is common between them and Muslims and Religion of Ibrahim was Islam and Muslims are the followers of Ibrahim:

قُلۡ يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَآءٍۢ بَيۡنَـنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ اَلَّا نَـعۡبُدَ اِلَّا اللّٰهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهٖ شَيۡـئًا وَّلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا اَرۡبَابًا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ​ؕ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَقُوۡلُوا اشۡهَدُوۡا بِاَنَّا مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 64 )   Say, "O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah." But if they turn away, then say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]."
This marks the beginning of the third discourse of this surah. Its contents invite the conclusion that the surah was revealed sometime between the battles of Badr and Uhud. The subjects of these three discourses are so closely interrelated that some commentators have wrongly understood the verses which follow to be part of the foregoing discourse. From the whole tenor of the discourse which now begins, however, it is evident that it is addressed to the Jews.

The invitation here is for the two parties to agree on something believed in by one of them, the Muslims, and the soundness of which could hardly be denied by the other party, the Christians. For this was the belief of their own Prophets and had been taught in their own scriptures.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In the abstract the People of the Book would agree to all three propositions. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being-Cohen, or Pope, or Priest, or Brahman, could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and Allah in some special sense. The same remarks apply to the worship of saints. They may be pure and sincere, but no one can protect us or claim Lordship over us except Allah. Abraham was a true Prophet of Allah, but he could not be called a Jew or a Christian as he lived long before the Law of Moses or the Gospel of Jesus was revealed.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
This call has been given by the Qur’an in exactly the same manner as it itself has urged people to adopt: people should be called towards God through wisdom and sound counsel. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… A special feature of this methodology of wisdom is that if there is some commonality in views, it should be discussed first. A person should not needlessly and recklessly present views which are unique to him. Thus the Qur’an here has also adopted this method. Since the People of the Book were recipients of divine guidance, they were fully aware of the teaching of monotheism and also claimed to be its vociferous advocates. Their scriptures contained this teaching of tawhid in a very explicit manner. If they had become incriminated with various forms of polytheism, it was not because there was any room for it in their religion, but it was through the path of religious innovation that they were led into it. This was in total contradiction to what their prophets and scriptures had taught them. Moreover, by following the mutashabihat issues they fabricated baseless arguments in favour of polytheism. The Qur’an called upon them to take heed of this commonality of tawhid: Muslims and Christians both believe that no one except God should be worshipped nor partners be associated to Him and nor anyone be regarded as the Lord. Why then have they associated others in worshipping God in violation of this established and recognized reality of tawhid? What has invested their scholars and monks, and their Pharisees and jurists and sufis with the status of اَرۡبَابًا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ (Lords besides God)? (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 112)
The People of the Book should analyze their beliefs and see which of these beliefs have sprung from following religious innovations and issues which relate to the mutashabihat. After this analysis, such spurious beliefs should be discarded and the pure tawhid taught by the prophets of God should be adopted. Here a specific mention of the fact that no one should be regarded as Lord except God refers to the authority which the People of the Book had invested their clergy with regarding what is prohibited and what is permissible. The reason is that regarding someone as an absolute law-giver and then obeying him is like worshiping him. At another place, the Qur’an has clarified that such an attitude is equivalent to making something as one’s Lord.

These words express acquittal and renunciation. The People of the Book should be witness to the fact that Muslims have fulfilled their responsibility by communicating to them that tawhid is the real essence of Islam. If a person deprives oneself of it, he can never reach the Almighty.

يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تُحَآجُّوۡنَ فِىۡۤ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَتِ التَّوۡرٰٮةُ وَالۡاِنۡجِيۡلُ اِلَّا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 65 )   O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason?
That is, both Judaism and Christianity came into existence after the Torah and the Injil had been revealed; Abraham had lived much earlier than that. Thus it can easily be grasped that the religion of Abraham could not have been that of either Judaism or Christianity. If Abraham was on the right path and had attained salvation it is obvious that one need not follow either, Judaism or Christianity in order to be on the right path and to attain salvation.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The Jews, Christians and the Idolaters of Makkah – all three would try to present Abraham (sws) in support of their errant views. Here the Qur’an has referred to their dispute: each of these say that Abraham (sws) held the same views as they hold even though both the Torah and the Gospel were revealed centuries after him; how could then Abraham (sws) be a Christian or a Jew? In frenzy of their denial of the truth, they are not being able to grasp this simple fact.

Abraham (sws) was obedient to God and solely adhered to the path of the truth. He had never adopted the wayward ways of polytheism.

Just as Abraham (sws) had no relation with Judaism and Christianity, similarly, he had no relation with the Idolaters of Makkah. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… This has been stated out of the general context of the sentence because it consisted of a disavowal of the Idolaters who are not directly addressed in this surah. As has been explained earlier, this surah is specifically addressed to the People of the Book, in particular the Christians. If the Idolaters are rebutted in some of their views, it is in a secondary manner. What is stated here is also stated in a secondary manner and the need to mention it, as indicated earlier, arose because just as the Jews and Christians would present the name of Abraham (sws) in support of their innovations and deviant views, in a similar manner, in fact even more vehemently, the Idolaters of the Quraysh would present his name in their support; they went as far as to claim that the religion they were following was inherited by them from Abraham (sws).(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 115)

هٰۤاَنۡـتُمۡ هٰٓؤُلَآءِ حٰجَجۡتُمۡ فِيۡمَا لَـكُمۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ فَلِمَ تُحَآجُّوۡنَ فِيۡمَا لَـيۡسَ لَـكُمۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏  
( 66 )   Here you are - those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows, while you know not.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The number of sects among the Jews and Christians shows that they wrangled and disputed even about some of the matters of their own religion, of which they should have had some knowledge. But when they talk of Abraham, they are entirely out of court, as he lived before their peculiar systems were evolved.
مَا كَانَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمُ يَهُوۡدِيًّا وَّلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّا وَّ لٰكِنۡ كَانَ حَنِيۡفًا مُّسۡلِمًا ؕ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ‏ 
( 67 )   Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.
The word hanif denotes someone who turns his face away from all other directions in order to follow one particular course. We have tried to convey this sense through the expression: 'a Muslim, wholly devoted to God'.
اِنَّ اَوۡلَى النَّاسِ بِاِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ لَـلَّذِيۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡهُ وَهٰذَا النَّبِىُّ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَلِىُّ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏  
( 68 )   Indeed, the most worthy of Abraham among the people are those who followed him [in submission to Allah] and this prophet, and those who believe [in his message]. And Allah is the ally of the believers.
وَدَّتۡ طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ لَوۡ يُضِلُّوۡنَكُمؕۡ وَمَا يُضِلُّوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ 
( 69 )   A faction of the people of the Scripture wish they could mislead you. But they do not mislead except themselves, and they perceive [it] not.
يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تَشۡهَدُوۡنَ‏   
( 70 )   O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while you witness [to their truth]?
Another rendering of this could be, 'and you yourselves bear witness' to Muhammad's prophethood. However it is translated the sense remains the same. In fact, the impeccable purity of the life of the Prophet, the astounding impact of his teachings and training on the lives of his Companions, and the loftiness of the teachings of the Qur'an all constituted such illustrious signs of God that it was very difficult for anyone conversant with the lives of the Prophets and the tenor of Divine Scriptures to doubt the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be on him).

It is a fact that many Jews and Christians (especially their scholars) came, to recognize in their hearts that Muhammad was the very Prophet whose coming had been announced by the preceding Prophets. This fact was so overwhelming that, despite their intransigence, they could not help but give verbal expression, at times, to the truth of the Prophet's teachings. This is why the Qur'an repeatedly blames them for maliciously misrepresenting the signs of God which they saw with their own eyes and to which they themselves attested.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a reference to the interpolations of the People of the Book regarding the Baytullah, the chronicles of Abraham (sws) and the predictions made by their prophets about the advent of Muhammad (sws). The words وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ (when you know it) show that the scholars of the Jews present in the time of the revelation of the Qur’an were aware of these interpolations.

يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَلۡبِسُوۡنَ الۡحَـقَّ بِالۡبَاطِلِ وَتَكۡتُمُوۡنَ الۡحَـقَّ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 71 )   O People of the Scripture, why do you confuse the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know [it]?
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
There are many ways of preventing the access of people to the truth. One is to tamper with it, or trick it out in colours of falsehood: half-truths are often more dangerous than obvious falsehoods. Another is to conceal it altogether. Those who are jealous of a prophet of Allah, whom they actually see before them, do not allow his credentials or virtues to be known, or vilify him, or conceal facts which would attract people to him. When people do this of set purpose, against their own light ("of which ye are yourselves witnesses"), they are descending to the lowest depths of degradation, and they are doing more harm to themselves than to anyone else.

Ruku / Section 8 [Verses 72-80]
Verses 72-74 Hypocrites among Jews and Christians:

وَقَالَتۡ طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ اٰمِنُوۡا بِالَّذِىۡۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَى الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَجۡهَ النَّهَارِ وَاكۡفُرُوۡۤا اٰخِرَهٗ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُوۡنَ​​ۚ​ ۖ‏ 
( 72 )   And a faction of the People of the Scripture say [to each other], "Believe in that which was revealed to the believers at the beginning of the day and reject it at its end that perhaps they will abandon their religion,
This was one of the devices adopted by the leaders and rabbis of the Jews who lived on the outskirts of Madina in order to damage the mission of Islam. To demoralize the Muslims and create misgivings about the Prophet (peace be on him), they sent their agents to embrace Islam publicly, then to renounce it, and subsequently to go about telling people they had done so because of the faults they had found in Islam, the Muslims and their Prophet.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Wajh here has the sense of "beginning", early part. The cynics who plotted against Islam actually asked their accomplices to join the believers and then repudiate them.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
Mentioned here is a ploy the Jews, while declaring themselves to be compatriots of the Muslims, had adopted to harm Muhammad(sws) and his call. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while explaining it, writes:

"… One of the tricks was that their leaders trained some of their people to first openly declare faith in Islam so as to be regarded as Muslims and later dissociate themselves from it by recounting some flaws in this faith. They would have thought that one of the benefits of this trick would be to shake the faith of new converts to Islam as they would be induced to think that there indeed were some flaws in this faith because of which the literati find themselves repelled by it after drawing close to it. The second benefit would be that through this trick they would be able to nullify the influence of Islam on their own common masses; when they would see that some well-read people from among them had forsaken Islam after tasting it, their own inclination to accept it – the inclination produced in them through the efforts of the Muslims – would be affected negatively." (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 119)

وَلَا تُؤۡمِنُوۡۤا اِلَّا لِمَنۡ تَبِعَ دِيۡنَكُمۡؕ قُلۡ اِنَّ الۡهُدٰى هُدَى اللّٰهِۙ اَنۡ يُّؤۡتٰٓى اَحَدٌ مِّثۡلَ مَاۤ اُوۡتِيۡتُمۡ اَوۡ يُحَآجُّوۡكُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّكُمۡ​ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّ الۡفَضۡلَ بِيَدِ اللّٰهِۚ يُؤۡتِيۡهِ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ ۚۙ
( 73 )   And do not trust except those who follow your religion." Say, "Indeed, the [true] guidance is the guidance of Allah. [Do you fear] lest someone be given [knowledge] like you were given or that they would [thereby] argue with you before your Lord?" Say, "Indeed, [all] bounty is in the hand of Allah - He grants it to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Wise."
The word wasi' which is used here occurs in the Qur'an in three contexts. The first context is the narrow-mindedness and mean outlook of certain people, in contrast to which God is not 'narrow'. The second context is the denunciation of miserliness, meanness and niggardliness, in contrast to which God is Generous and Munificent. The third context is the ascription of finite, limited concepts to God as a result of their limited imagination, whereas the truth is that God is infinite.

That is, God is neither limited, mean, narrow-minded, nor poor in resources. All such notions about God, which arise from considering Him as essentially similar to human beings, are erroneous. God's realm is boundless and so is His vision and the range of His benevolence and mercy. Moreover, God's knowledge is all-embracing. He knows who remembers Him, as well as where, when and why he does that.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The two clauses following have been variously construed, and some translations leave the sense ambiguous. I have construed the conjunction "an" to mean "lest", as it undoubtedly does in vii. 172. 'an taqulu", etc.

Cf. ii. 76. The People of the Book were doubly annoyed at the Muslims: (1) that they should (being outside their ranks) receive Allah's revelations, and (2) that having received such revelations, they should be able to convict them out of their own scriptures before their Lord.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a parenthetical sentence which is meant to rebut a notion right at the time when it was presented. The real discourse is: وَ لَا تُؤۡمِنُوۡۤا اِلَّا لِمَنۡ تَبِعَ دِیۡنَکُمۡ اَنۡ یُّؤۡتٰۤی اَحَدٌ. The word مَخَافَةً (lest) or one of similar meaning is suppressed before the word اَنْ as per the linguistic principles of Arabic. The Jews would vehemently emphasize on the people whom they sent to profess faith in Islam to not attest to any prophet not belonging to the Israelites. Since all their erroneous views were based on this very premise, the Qur’an stopped them at the very instance they brought up this issue: What sort of fierce bias has overcome them? The real guidance is the guidance of God whether this comes from an Israelite prophet or an Ishmaelite one; everyone should be a seeker of this guidance; salvation can only be attained on its basis; Judaism or Christianity will not provide it.

Ie., this should not happen that the position of religious leadership which they have today should also be acquired by some other group also. Reference here is to the Ishmaelites among whom the Prophet Muhammad (sws) was born. The Qur’an has kept this implicit because the Jews would not say this from their tongues.

This is a reference to the absurd fear these people have that if today someone from them utters something in favour of the Almighty, Muslims will use it against them on the Day of Judgement.

The decisions of God are not based on prejudices like those of the addressees of the Qur’an; thus they have great flexibility. God is munificent and knows everything. He knows who is worthy of what and who is not.

While explaining the two things which are referred to in this sentence, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… Firstly, to the fact that the messenger hood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a great mercy and blessing and secondly to the fact that it is a great favour of the Almighty on the Ishmaelites that the Almighty selected their clan for sending a prophet among them. There are two obvious corollaries of this: First, it is the obligation of the Ishmaelites that they value and honour this favour of the Almighty and show gratitude to Him. Second, it is in spite of the anger and envy of the Israelites that the Almighty has blessed them with this favour. It is up to Him to choose whomsoever He wants for His favour. His choice and will are governed by nothing except wisdom. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 122)

يَّخۡتَصُّ بِرَحۡمَتِهٖ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ ذُو الۡفَضۡلِ الۡعَظِيۡمِ‏ 
( 74 )   He selects for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty.
Verses 75-78 There are some good Jews and Christians and there are some bad and they cheat in quoting their Holy Book:

وَمِنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ مَنۡ اِنۡ تَاۡمَنۡهُ بِقِنۡطَارٍ يُّؤَدِّهٖۤ اِلَيۡكَ​ۚ وَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ اِنۡ تَاۡمَنۡهُ بِدِيۡنَارٍ لَّا يُؤَدِّهٖۤ اِلَيۡكَ اِلَّا مَا دُمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ قَآئِمًا ​ؕ ذٰ لِكَ بِاَنَّهُمۡ قَالُوۡا لَيۡسَ عَلَيۡنَا فِىۡ الۡاُمِّيّٖنَ سَبِيۡلٌۚ وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ الۡكَذِبَ وَ هُمۡ يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 75 )   And among the People of the Scripture is he who, if you entrust him with a great amount [of wealth], he will return it to you. And among them is he who, if you entrust him with a [single] silver coin, he will not return it to you unless you are constantly standing over him [demanding it]. That is because they say, "There is no blame upon us concerning the unlearned." And they speak untruth about Allah while they know [it].
This was not merely the misconception of the ignorant mass of Jews. Their religious teaching was the same and the legal doctrines of their accepted religious authorities and jurists reflected this idea. With regard to injunctions on loans and interest the Bible makes a clear distinction between an Israelite and a non-Israelite (Deuteronomy 15: 1-3; 23: 20).

It is stated in the Talmud that if the bullock of an Israelite injures the bullock of a non-Israelite the former is not liable to any penalty, but not vice versa. Similarly, it is laid down that if anyone finds an unclaimed article he should inquire among the people who live nearby. If they are Israelites he should announce his find; if not he may keep it without saying anything further.

Rabbi Samuel Ishmael says that if a dispute between a Jew and a Gentile is brought before a judge, he should base his verdict on Jewish law if it is favourable; if the law of the Gentiles goes in favour of the Jew he should justify his judgement by saying that the Gentile has no valid ground for complaint since judgement was given according to his own law. Even if both laws are unfavourable towards the Jew the judge should still find some pretext for deciding in his favour. Rabbi Samuel says that benefit should be derived from every mistake the non-Israelite may make. (See Paul Isaac Hershon, Talmudic Miscellany, London, 1880, pp. 37 and 210-21.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Hoard of gold: qintar: a talent of 1,200 ounces of gold. See iii. 14. n. 354.

Silver coin: dinar. In the later Roman Empire, the denarius was a small silver coin. It must have been current in Syria and the markets of Arabia in the time of the Prophet. It was the coin whose name is translated in the English Bible by the word penny. Matt. xxii, 19: hence the abbreviation of penny is d (= denarius). The later Arabian coin dinar coined by the Umaiyads, was a gold coin after the pattern of the Byzantine (Roman) denarius aureus and weighed about 66349 grains troy, just a little more than a half-sovereign.

Every race imbued with race arrogance resorts to this kind of moral or religious subterfuge. Even if its members are usually honest or just among themselves, they are contemptuous of those outside their circle, and cheat and deceive them without any qualms of conscience. This is a "lie against Allah."

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
Justice in this matter meant that they should honestly state the predictions which were made by their prophets and which had been entrusted to them by these prophets.

This is the reason pointed out by the Qur’an about their dishonesty regarding religion: how can people who hesitate in returning the trivial treasures of this world entrusted to them be expected to show honesty in such a serious matter entrusted to them: they were required to bear witness about the veracity of a prophet before the whole world. However, the Qur’an has also clarified here that the honest among them will not refrain from bearing such witness and soon or late will embrace Islam after testifying to the prophethood of Muhammad (sws).

The Jews believed that the prohibition mentioned in the Torah about illegally devouring the wealth of others is not related to other nations; they would call the Ishmaelites as the unlettered and regard them to be among such nations. Thus the ruling of their clergy about the Ishmaelites was that there was nothing wrong in usurping their wealth: the Almighty has allowed this to them.

Why should they not be blamed? The law of God is the same for everyone. Breaking one’s word and being dishonest is prohibited for each and every person. The Almighty has not allowed any person or nation to be selective in this regard.

The answer to the condition in this verse is suppressed. I have unfolded it in the translation. This is an overall comment on all the aforementioned crimes of the Jews. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi explains:

… The implication is that this notion of the Jews is absolutely wrong that they have a special status before the Almighty on account of which they regard themselves to be superior to others and do not have any responsibility towards the unlettered Ishmaelites. In reality, only those people hold status and position in the eyes of God who abide by their covenant with Him and who, in all circumstances, remain within the limits prescribed by such a covenant. People who adhere to such an attitude are pious in the sight of the Almighty and God befriends such pious people only; those who have no qualms in crossing the limits set by God and still claim to be pious and loved ones of the Almighty are only making castles in the air. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 124)

بَلٰى مَنۡ اَوۡفٰى بِعَهۡدِهٖ وَاتَّقٰى فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُحِبُّ الۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ‏  
( 76 )   But yes, whoever fulfills his commitment and fears Allah - then indeed, Allah loves those who fear Him.

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يَشۡتَرُوۡنَ بِعَهۡدِ اللّٰهِ وَاَيۡمَانِهِمۡ ثَمَنًا قَلِيۡلًا اُولٰٓـئِكَ لَا خَلَاقَ لَهُمۡ فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ وَلَا يُكَلِّمُهُمُ اللّٰهُ وَلَا يَنۡظُرُ اِلَيۡهِمۡ يَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ وَلَا يُزَكِّيۡهِمۡ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَ لِيۡمٌ 
( 77 )   Indeed, those who exchange the covenant of Allah and their [own] oaths for a small price will have no share in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them or look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them; and they will have a painful punishment.
The reason is that, despite their worst crimes, they still thought that on the Day of Judgement they alone would be honoured with God's favour, and that towards them alone He would turn His gracious attention. They also entertained the belief that if they had been stained by any trace of sin, it would be washed away by the grace of their pious elders. Such people are warned here that the treatment meted out to them in the Next Life will be altogether contrary to their expectations.‏

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
All our duties to our fellow creatures are referred to the service and faith we owe to Allah. But in the matter of truth an appeal is made to our self-respect as responsible beings: is it becoming that we should be false to our own word, to ourselves? And then we are reminded that the utmost we can gain by falsifying Allah's word or being untrue to ourselves is but a miserable price. We get at best something very paltry as the price for selling our very souls.

Even on sinners-ordinary sinners-Allah will look with compassion and mercy: He will speak words of kindness and cleanse them of their sins. But those who are in active rebellion against Allah and sin against their own light,-what mercy can they expect?

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The covenant referred to here is the one which was taken from the Jews regarding the shari‘ah of the Almighty and the last prophet of God. This refers to the oaths they had sworn at the time of making a covenant to support and back the prophets of God, in particular the unlettered prophet. In verse 81 ahead, this covenant and these oaths are mentioned.

The implication is that their crimes are not such that the Almighty may cleanse them after a little punishment; such is the heinous nature of their crimes that their only punishment can be eternal Hell.

Everyone can have an idea of the extent of hate and disgust for the Jews concealed in the words of the verse. The status they had been invested with by the Almighty and the way He dealt with them thereafter entailed that they be treated thus. Details are mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah. A person who is aware of them will not be surprised at this hate and disgust expressed.

وَاِنَّ مِنۡهُمۡ لَـفَرِيۡقًا يَّلۡوٗنَ اَلۡسِنَتَهُمۡ بِالۡكِتٰبِ لِتَحۡسَبُوۡهُ مِنَ الۡكِتٰبِ​ وَمَا هُوَ مِنَ الۡكِتٰبِۚ وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ هُوَ مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰهِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰهِ​ۚ وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ الۡكَذِبَ وَ هُمۡ يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
( 78 )   And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. And they speak untruth about Allah while they know.
This could mean that they either distort the meaning of the Scriptures or twist the words of the text in order to misinterpret it. Its real meaning, however, seems to be that when, during their reading of the Scriptures, they encounter any word or sentence which goes against their interests, and the beliefs and notions which they cherish, they distort the meaning of it by deliberately twisting their tongues.

  Instances of such tongue-twisting are not altogether wanting among those who, despite their belief in the Qur'an, share some of these people's characteristics. For instance, some people who stress the superhuman character of the Prophet (peace be on him) misread the following verse: innama ana basharun mithlukum (Qur'an 18: 110) (I am nothing but a human being like you), replacing innama by inna ma ana and translate it: '(O Prophet), say to them: "I am not a human being like you."‏

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a mention of one of the schemes which the People of the Book had adopted to evade their responsibilities with respect to the covenant they had made with God. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, explains:

… This crime was perpetrated by both the Jews and the Christians. We have already mentioned the word Marwah as an example of this false ascription. It occurs in the Torah in the account of Abraham (sws) as the place where he was directed to sacrifice his son. The Jews have altered this incident of sacrifice in various details by suppressing some details and fabricating others. Among these is their distortion of the recital and pronunciation of the word Marwah. They called it by various names as Murya, Murya and Muriyah and Murah. The purpose was to make it imply some place in the Bayt al-Maqdis instead of the famous hill of Makkah and in this manner sever the relationship of Abraham (sws), his migration and the incident of sacrifice from the House of God. The purpose of these interpolations was to misdirect the predictions found in the Torah about the advent of the last prophet among the Ishmaelites. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 128)

Verses 79-80 Eesa (Jesus) never said to worship him instead of Allah:

مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ اَنۡ يُّؤۡتِيَهُ اللّٰهُ الۡكِتٰبَ وَالۡحُكۡمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُوۡلَ لِلنَّاسِ كُوۡنُوۡا عِبَادًا لِّىۡ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ وَلٰـكِنۡ كُوۡنُوۡا رَبَّانِيّٖنَ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ تُعَلِّمُوۡنَ الۡكِتٰبَ وَبِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ تَدۡرُسُوۡنَۙ
( 79 )   It is not for a human [prophet] that Allah should give him the Scripture and authority and prophethood and then he would say to the people, "Be servants to me rather than Allah," but [instead, he would say], "Be pious scholars of the Lord because of what you have taught of the Scripture and because of what you have studied."
The term rabbani is used here to denote Jewish religious scholars and functionaries who were supposed to provide true religious guidance to establish their rites of worship, implement religious laws, and so on. The same word occurs in Surah 5: 44 and 63. In the Christian tradition the word 'divine' is used as an equivalent to the word rabbani.

It is not in reason or in the nature of things that Allah's messenger should preach against Allah. Jesus came to preach and convey the true message of Allah.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: رَبّٰنِیّٖنَ. It is the plural of رَبَّانِي which mean “a person who serves God and is devoted to Him.” This word seems to have come into Arabic from Hebrew.

Here the Qur’an addresses the sanity found in the Jews and Christians and even the Quraysh of Makkah and informed them that they have wrongly attributed their superstitious beliefs to their illustrious prophets. No prophet of God ever tries to lead away his followers from faith and belief into disbelief and polytheism. Wherever one sees this, one should conclude that it is only the result of the changes brought over by people who have gone astray. It cannot be regarded as something which a prophet of God calls to.

وَلَا يَاۡمُرَكُمۡ اَنۡ تَتَّخِذُوا الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةَ وَالنَّبِيّٖنَ اَرۡبَابًا​ ؕ اَيَاۡمُرُكُمۡ بِالۡكُفۡرِ بَعۡدَ اِذۡ اَنۡـتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ
( 80 )   Nor could he order you to take the angels and prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelief after you had been Muslims?
This refutation is directed at all the false concepts which were attributed to the Messengers of God by various nations, and then made an integral part of the religious scriptures. These concepts were false in that they elevated either the Prophets or the angels to the level of deities.

Ruku / Section 9 [Verses 81-91]
Verses 81-82 Covenant of Allah with all the Prophets concerning the Last Prophet Muhammad pbuh:

وَاِذۡ اَخَذَ اللّٰهُ مِيۡثَاقَ النَّبِيّٖنَ لَمَاۤ اٰتَيۡتُكُمۡ مِّنۡ كِتٰبٍ وَّحِكۡمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَآءَكُمۡ رَسُوۡلٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمۡ لَـتُؤۡمِنُنَّ بِهٖ وَلَـتَـنۡصُرُنَّهٗ ​ؕ قَالَ ءَاَقۡرَرۡتُمۡ وَاَخَذۡتُمۡ عَلٰى ذٰ لِكُمۡ اِصۡرِىۡ​ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اَقۡرَرۡنَا ​ؕ قَالَ فَاشۡهَدُوۡا وَاَنَا مَعَكُمۡ مِّنَ الشّٰهِدِيۡنَ
( 81 )   And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], "Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him." [Allah] said, "Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?" They said, "We have acknowledged it." He said, "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses."
A party of the People of the Book would fain lead you astray, whereas in truth they lead none astray except themselves, but they do not realize it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏ ‏
Cf. ii. 63. The argument is: You (People of the Book) are bound by your own oaths, sworn solemnly in the presence of your own Prophets. In the Old Testament as it now exists, Muhammad is foretold in Deut. xviii. 18: and the rise of the Arab nation in Isaiah. xlii. 11. for Kedar was a son of Ismail and the name is used for the Arab nation: in the New Testament as it now exists. Muhammad is foretold in the Gospel of St. John. xiv. 16, xv. 26, and xvi. 7: the future Comforter cannot be the Holy Spirit as understood by Christians, because the Holy Spirit already was present, helping and guiding Jesus. The Greek word translated "Comforter" is "Paracletos", which is an easy corruption from "Periclytos", which is almost a literal translation of "Muhammad" or "Ahmad": see Q lxi. 6. Further, there were other Gospels that have perished, but of which traces still remain, which were even more specific in their reference to Muhammad; e.g., the Gospel of St. Barnabas, of which an Italian translation is extant in the State Library at Vienna. It was edited in 1907 with an English translation by Mr. Lonsdale and Laura Ragg.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The word “messenger” is mentioned in the general sense; however, it is evident that it refers specially to Muhammad (sws) who was sent in confirmation of the religion which was previously given to the Jews and the Christians. It was their misfortune that they rejected the very person who was sent to corroborate their religion and whose testimonies of advent they had borne for ages.

This sentence has a specific context which if kept in consideration will be instrumental in understanding its real emphasis. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained it thus:

… It was a tradition in the Mosaic shari‘ah that when directives would be revealed from the Almighty, Moses (sws) would not merely read them out to his companions individually, he would gather all the leaders of the Israelites in the tabernacle, the ark would face them and Moses (sws) would read out to them the directives of God and would then take a promise from them to follow them. Once everyone made this solemn affirmation, he would stress upon them to bear witness to this and would make God a witness over this event; he would finally inform them of the consequences they would have to face in this world and in the next if they disobeyed. In this manner, every directive of the Almighty would occupy the status of a covenant between Him and the Israelites. How disgraceful it is to see that the shari‘ah for which such measures were adopted for preservation has been utterly defied in every respect by its recipients.

If, in the light of this discussion, the words فَمَنۡ تَوَلّٰی بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ (Verse 82) are deliberated upon, the real stress sounded by بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ (after this) can be felt. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 135)‏

فَمَنۡ تَوَلّٰى بَعۡدَ ذٰ لِكَ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡفٰسِقُوۡنَ‏ 
( 82 )   And whoever turned away after that - they were the defiantly disobedient.
Verses 83-85 No religion is acceptable to Allah other than Al-Islam:
اَفَغَيۡرَ دِيۡنِ اللّٰهِ يَبۡغُوۡنَ وَلَهٗۤ اَسۡلَمَ مَنۡ فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ طَوۡعًا وَّكَرۡهًا وَّاِلَيۡهِ يُرۡجَعُوۡنَ
( 83 )   So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned?
The basic principle characterizing the universe, in other words the religion of the universe and of every part of it, is Islam; insofar as the universe is in a state of total obedience and service to the Will of God. Here people are asked if they would follow a way of life different from Islam though they are part of the universe which is characterized by submission to God (Islam).‏

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
This question expresses wonder: all the creatures of the heavens and the earth are obeying the Almighty in the spheres ordained for them; neither can anyone escape from Him in this world nor in the next. These People of the Book are aware of this. Then where do they want to run leaving this religion founded on their nature and followed by every object of this universe.

قُلۡ اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰهِ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَيۡنَا وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلٰٓى اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ وَاِسۡحٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوۡبَ وَالۡاَسۡبَاطِ وَمَاۤ اُوۡتِىَ مُوۡسٰى وَ عِيۡسٰى وَالنَّبِيُّوۡنَ مِنۡ رَّبِّهِمۡ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡهُمۡ وَنَحۡنُ لَهٗ مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 84 )   Say, "We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him."
They are told that it is not the habit of Muslims either to believe in Prophets and disbelieve in others or to affirm to the truth of some call others false. Muslims are free from narrow prejudices and chauvinistic loyalties. The true attitude of Muslims is to bear witness to truth of every Messenger of God, irrespective of where and when he appears.

Muslims are not selective in this matter: it is not that they believe in one prophet and reject another; they do not reject any guidance from God nor refute it; they profess faith in it without any exception.

وَمَنۡ يَّبۡتَغِ غَيۡرَ الۡاِسۡلَامِ دِيۡنًا فَلَنۡ يُّقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُ​ ۚ وَهُوَ فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ مِنَ الۡخٰسِرِيۡنَ 
( 85 )   And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.
Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The implication is that Muslims have professed faith in the religion which is the religion of all the universe and of all prophets of God. If the People of the Book want to forsake it and want to consign themselves to Satan, they are free to do so; as far as Muslims are concerned, they have decided to consign themselves to God.‏

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏
The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. It was the religion preached by all the earlier Prophets. It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If any one wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah's Will and Plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance. (A) Cf. ii. 161-62.

Verses 86-91 Curse of Allah, the Angels and all mankind on the unbelievers and fate of the unbelievers who die as unbelievers:

كَيۡفَ يَهۡدِى اللّٰهُ قَوۡمًا كَفَرُوۡا بَعۡدَ اِيۡمَانِهِمۡ وَشَهِدُوۡۤا اَنَّ الرَّسُوۡلَ حَقٌّ وَّجَآءَهُمُ الۡبَيِّنٰتُ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يَهۡدِى الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 86 )   How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and had witnessed that the Messenger is true and clear signs had come to them? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
This is a repetition of the statement made earlier, namely that the Jewish rabbis of Arabia in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) knew, and sometimes even testified to verbally, that Muhammad was a true Prophet and that his teachings were the same as those of the earlier Prophets. (See for instance Qur'an 2: 89) Their subsequent attitude - namely that of rejection and opposition - was the outcome of prejudice and intransigence, born out of their centuries-old hostility to the Truth.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ جَزَآؤُهُمۡ اَنَّ عَلَيۡهِمۡ لَعۡنَةَ اللّٰهِ وَالۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَۙ
( 87 )   Those - their recompense will be that upon them is the curse of Allah and the angels and the people, all together,
 Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
Their hearts bear witness to the fact that he is the true messenger of God; however, in spite of this, their tongues are adamant on his denial.

The word اَجۡمَعِیۡن occurs with النَّاس. This bears evidence to the fact that on the Day of Judgement everyone, pious or impious, will curse them. Cursing of the pious is obvious; the impious will also curse them as it was because of them that the impious were led astray.

خٰلِدِيۡنَ فِيۡهَا ​ۚ لَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنۡهُمُ الۡعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمۡ يُنۡظَرُوۡنَۙ
( 88 )   Abiding eternally therein. The punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved. 
The actual words are: خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا. They refer to Hell even though Hell has not been mentioned in words. However, the curse mentioned earlier has become an indication for its mention. In other words, it is as if the curse has taken the place of the punishment.

اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ تَابُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰ لِكَ وَاَصۡلَحُوۡا  فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏
( 89 )   Except for those who repent after that and correct themselves. For indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا بَعۡدَ اِيۡمَانِهِمۡ ثُمَّ ازۡدَادُوۡا كُفۡرًا لَّنۡ تُقۡبَلَ تَوۡبَتُهُمۡ​ۚ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الضَّآ لُّوۡنَ‏ 
( 90 )   Indeed, those who reject the message after their belief and then increase in disbelief - never will their [claimed] repentance be accepted, and they are the ones astray.
They were not content with just rejecting the call to the Truth but stood in vehement opposition and hostility to it and spared no efforts in obstructing people from following the way of God. They created doubts, spread misgivings, sowed the seeds of distrust and engaged in the worst conspiracies and machinations in order to frustrate the mission of the Prophet (peace be on him).

This style is merely adopted to convey the fact that their redemption would not be possible in any way otherwise neither will anyone have anything in the Hereafter to give away nor is it a place of such deals.

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا وَمَاتُوۡا وَهُمۡ كُفَّارٌ فَلَنۡ يُّقۡبَلَ مِنۡ اَحَدِهِمۡ مِّلۡءُ الۡاَرۡضِ ذَهَبًا وَّلَوِ افۡتَدٰى بِهٖ ؕ اُولٰٓـئِكَ لَـهُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِـيۡمٌۙ وَّمَا لَـهُمۡ مِّـنۡ نّٰصِـرِيۡنَ
( 91 )   Indeed, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers - never would the [whole] capacity of the earth in gold be accepted from one of them if he would [seek to] ransom himself with it. For those there will be a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers.
Ruku / Section 10 [Verses 92-101]
Verse 92 Criteria for righteousness:

لَنۡ تَنَالُوا الۡبِرَّ حَتّٰى تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِمَّا تُحِبُّوۡنَ   وَمَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ شَىۡءٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِهٖ عَلِيۡمٌ
( 92 )   Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.
The purpose of this verse is to remove the misconception of the Jews concerning 'righteousness'. The Jews had inherited an elaborate legal code which had accumulated as a result of the casuistry and hair-splitting legalism of their jurists. Their notion of 'righteousness' consisted of outward, formal conformity to that code and they evaluated all day-to-day actions, especially the trivial ones, in terms of conformity to that code. Narrow-mindedness, greed, covetousness, meanness, concealment of the Truth and readiness to barter with it lay beneath this veneer of formal piety. They were, nevertheless, considered pious in the minds of the people; Jewish public opinion condoned their conduct because it conformed to its concept of 'righteousness'.

In order to remove this misconception they are told that the things they considered fundamental to righteous conduct are of little consequence. The real spirit of righteousness consists in the love of God - a love which makes man value the good pleasure of God above all worldly acquisitions. If the love of anything seizes a man's mind to such an extent that he is unable to sacrifice it for the sake of the love of God, then that thing has virtually become an idol, and until he smashes it the door to righteousness will remain closed to him. If a man lacks this spirit, then his excessively formal and legalistic approach in religious matters can be considered no more than glossy paint over a piece of hollow, worm-eaten wood. It may be possible to deceive human beings by the sheer luster of the outer paint, but not God.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏‏‏
The test of charity is: do you give something that you value greatly, something that you love? If you give your life in a Cause, that is the greatest gift you can give. If you give yourself, that is, your personal efforts, your talents, your skill, your learning, that comes next in degree. If you give your earnings, your property, your possessions, that is also a great gift; for many people love them even more than other things. And there are less tangible things, such as position, reputation, the well-being of those we love, the regard of those who can help us, etc. It is unselfishness that Allah demands, and there is no act of unselfishness, however small or intangible, but is well within the knowledge of Allah.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The essence of virtue is keeping promises and carrying out one’s obligations and fulfilling the rights imposed. Consequently, this is the real essence of the word الۡبِرّ used.The implication is that if they want to acquire the essence of virtue they should be vigilant in these things. One cannot be virtuous by simply discharging certain religious rituals and by adopting a religious appearance.

The objective is to state the consequence of this knowledge: when God knows, then one should rest assured that He will reward a person from ten to seven hundred times. Not a penny spent in His way will go waste.

Verses 93-95 Lawful and unlawful food for the Children of Israel:

كُلُّ الطَّعَامِ كَانَ حِلًّا لِّبَنِىۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِيۡلَ اِلَّا مَا حَرَّمَ اِسۡرَآءِيۡلُ عَلٰى نَفۡسِهٖ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ تُنَزَّلَ التَّوۡرٰٮةُ ​ؕ قُلۡ فَاۡتُوۡا بِالتَّوۡرٰٮةِ فَاتۡلُوۡهَاۤ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِيۡنَ
( 93 )   All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed. Say, [O Muhammad], "So bring the Torah and recite it, if you should be truthful."
 When the Jewish rabbis found no grounds for criticizing the fundamental teachings of the Prophet (there was no difference between the teachings of the previous Prophets and that of the Arabian Prophet on matters which constitute the core of religion), they raised objections about the details of religious law. The first objection was that the Prophet (peace be on him) had declared lawful a number of things which had been reckoned as unlawful since the time of the ancient Prophets. What is said here is a refutation of that objection.

If 'Israel' is taken to mean the 'Children of Israel' then the interpretation of this verse must be that before the revelation of the Torah they treated a number of things as prohibited on the grounds of custom and usage alone. If, however, 'Israel' signifies Jacob (Ya'qub) then, the meaning is that he avoided the use of certain foods, which his descendants wrongly understood to be religiously prohibited, as a result of either a temperamental dislike or an ailment. This latter version is more commonly accepted. It becomes clear from the next verse that the Biblical injunction regarding the prohibition of the flesh of camels and rabbits was not part of the original Torah but an interpolation by Jewish doctors.

A detailed discussion given Surah 6 Al Anaam (The Cattle) as under:
 For a full appreciation of this point it is necessary, to remember that man's deeds will be classified into positive and negative categories. The positive category will consist of knowing the truth, believing in it, acting upon it, and striving to make it prevail. It is such acts alone which will have weight in the Hereafter. Conversely, whenever someone follows and goes after lusts or blindly follows other humans or satans, his acts will be reckoned as 'negative'. Such acts will not only be of no value at all, but will also have the effect of reducing the total weight of one's positive acts.

Thus, a man's success in the Hereafter requires that his good acts outweigh his evil ones to such an extent that even if his evil acts cause the effacement of some of his good acts, he should still have enough left in his credit to ensure his scale is inclined towards the positive. As for the man whose evil acts outweigh his good acts, he will be like the bankrupt businessman who, even after spending all his assets, remains under the burden of debt.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏‏‏ ‏
The Arabs ate the flesh of the camel, which is lawful in Islam, but it was prohibited by the Jewish Law of Moses (Leviticus xi. 4). But that Law was very strict because of the "hardness of heart" of Israel, because of Israel's insolence and iniquity (Q. vi. 146). Before it was promulgated Israel was free to choose its own food.

فَمَنِ افۡتَرٰى عَلَى اللّٰهِ الۡكَذِبَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰ لِكَ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 94 )   And whoever invents about Allah untruth after that - then those are [truly] the wrongdoers.
 قُلۡ صَدَقَ اللّٰهُ​ فَاتَّبِعُوۡا مِلَّةَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ حَنِيۡفًا ؕ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ‏ 
( 95 )   Say, "Allah has told the truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of the polytheists."
The Jews had enmeshed themselves in legalistic minutiae and these had become their major concern. They had abandoned service to the One True God and had allowed their religious life to become corrupted by polytheism. Instead of attending to the fundamentals of religion they indulged in discussions about questions that had only arisen because of the hair-splitting legalism of their scholars during their centuries of decadence.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏‏‏ ‏
The greater freedom of Islam in the matter of the ceremonial law, compared with the Mosaic Law, is not a reproach but a recommendation. We go back to an older source than Judaism,-the institutions of Abraham. By common consent his Faith was sound, and he was certainly not a Pagan, a term contemptuously applied to the Arabs by the Jews.

Verses 96-97 First House of Allah on earth:

اِنَّ اَوَّلَ بَيۡتٍ وُّضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَـلَّذِىۡ بِبَكَّةَ مُبٰرَكًا وَّهُدًى لِّلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ​​ۚ‏ 
( 96 )   Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah - blessed and a guidance for the worlds.
 The second objection raised by the Jews was that the direction for Prayer had been changed from Jerusalem to the Ka'bah. This objection is answered in (Surah 2 (see verses 142 and 147 above) The Bible, itself, testifies that Jerusalem was built by Solomon more than four and a half centuries after Moses (see 1 Kings 6: 1), and that it was during his time that the worshipers of the One God began to pray towards it (1 Kings 8: 29-30). It is established by traditions from numerous sources which are undisputed throughout Arabia, however, that the Ka'bah was constructed by Abraham who lived some eight or nine centuries before Moses. That the Ka'bah was older than the Temple of Jerusalem was beyond dispute.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:‏‏‏ ‏
Bakka: same as Makkah, perhaps an older name. The foundation of the Ka'ba goes back to Abraham.

'Alamin: all the worlds (i. 2. ii), all kinds of beings; all nations (iii. 42): all creatures (iii. 97),

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: بَكَّة. Literally, it means “a city” as is evident from the word بِبَکَّۃ (the city of Ba‘l). Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while explaining why this word has been mentioned here, writes:
… This word is one example of the interpolations done by the Jews by distorting the recital of a word (called layy al-lisan by the Qur’an) in order to do away with the signs of the advent of the last prophet. The Jews garbled it from Bakkah to Buka’ and by regarding it to be a verbal noun translated it to mean “to cry.” In this manner, by converting the valley of Bakkah into the valley of Buka’, they obliterated the greatest sign which could have guided people to the last prophet. By mentioning Makkah with its ancient name of Bakkah, in this verse the Qur’an has reminded us of its name which was mentioned in the Torah and which even exists today in certain scriptures like the Psalms. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 145)
The manifest signs that this is the very house built by Abraham (sws) and therefore it only should be the qiblah. After that, three of these manifest signs are specifically mentioned: firstly, it is the place of Abraham (sws), secondly, he who enters this haram is rendered safe and secure and thirdly, offering pilgrimage to it has always been considered to be a religious obligation. All these three things were part of the tradition established by Abraham (sws) and validated by the consensus and perpetual adherence of the ummah to them and no man of justice could deny them. In the Torah also, existed undeniable evidence for these three and its readers could not deny the fact that the mention in it of building the Bayt Īl from the hands of Abraham (sws) could only and only have referred to this house of Makkah and not the Bayt al-Maqdis.
فِيۡهِ اٰيٰتٌ ۢ بَيِّنٰتٌ مَّقَامُ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ  وَمَنۡ دَخَلَهٗ كَانَ اٰمِنًا ​ؕ وَلِلّٰهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ اسۡتَطَاعَ اِلَيۡهِ سَبِيۡلًا ​ؕ وَمَنۡ كَفَرَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ
( 97 )   In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.
Here it is stressed that there are several clear signs which prove that the Makkan sanctuary enjoys God's blessing and has been chosen by Him as His sanctuary. Even though it is located in the middle of wide expanses of desert God has seen to it that its inhabitants enjoy a satisfactory living. Although the rest of Arabia was plunged into chaos and disorder for about two and a half thousand years, peace and tranquility reigned in both the precincts and the environs of the Ka'bah. Thanks to the Ka'bah the entire Arabian peninsula enjoyed four months of peace and order every year. These were the sacred months when people went on Pilgrimage. Moreover, barely a half century before the revelation of these verses, people had seen how Abrahah, the Abyssinian invader, fell prey to God's scourge when he attacked Makkah with the intention of destroying the Ka'bah. At that time, this incident was known to everybody in Arabia. Its memory was fresh and many eye-witnesses were still alive at the time of the Prophet (peace be on him).

Even during the pre-Islamic era - the Age of Ignorance in Arabia - this sanctuary enjoyed such veneration that even those who thirsted for each other's blood saw their enemies in the sacred territory but dare not attack them.

Verses 98-101 Disbelief of the Jews and Christians and do not obey the Jews or Christians:

قُلۡ يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ ۖ وَاللّٰهُ شَهِيۡدٌ عَلٰى مَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 98 )   Say, "O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while Allah is Witness over what you do?"
قُلۡ يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ تَبۡغُوۡنَهَا عِوَجًا وَّاَنۡتُمۡ شُهَدَآءُ ​ؕ وَمَا اللّٰهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ
( 99 )   Say, "O People of the Scripture, why do you avert from the way of Allah those who believe, seeking to make it [seem] deviant, while you are witnesses [to the truth]? And Allah is not unaware of what you do."
يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ تُطِيۡعُوۡا فَرِيۡقًا مِّنَ الَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡكِتٰبَ يَرُدُّوۡكُمۡ بَعۡدَ اِيۡمَانِكُمۡ كٰفِرِيۡنَ‏  
( 100 )   O you who have believed, if you obey a party of those who were given the Scripture, they would turn you back, after your belief, [to being] unbelievers.‏ 
Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
The first section of the surah ends on verse 99. From here begins the next section. The address in the first section was directed at the People of the Book. After their deliberate denial of the truth, from this verse onward the address is directed towards the Muslims. Consequently, now in this second section, Muslims are first warned of the deviant schemes of the People of the Book which they would employ to turn away the Muslims from the path of the truth. After this, the subject of purification of the Muslims and isolating them from the disbelievers begins. In it, they are given the necessary directives to combat this important phase of trial; they are told that they can truly discharge the obligation of following Islam by only holding steadfast to the rope of God and by fully obeying God and His Prophet (sws) when faced with trials and tribulations.

This is a reference to the same group among the People of the Book whose animosity and trait of implanting evil suggestions in the minds of people are mentioned earlier. It is evident from the Qur’an that one group among the People of the Book adhered to justice. Consequently, the Almighty has taken into consideration this fact at all times so that no injustice should befall them.

وَكَيۡفَ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تُتۡلٰى عَلَيۡكُمۡ اٰيٰتُ اللّٰهِ وَفِيۡكُمۡ رَسُوۡلُهٗ ​ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّعۡتَصِمۡ بِاللّٰهِ فَقَدۡ هُدِىَ اِلٰى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٍ‏  
 ( 101 )   And how could you disbelieve while to you are being recited the verses of Allah and among you is His Messenger? And whoever holds firmly to Allah has [indeed] been guided to a straight path.
Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
Muslims think that these people are religious and so cannot think of misleading people; in reality, all their religiosity is pretentious. They are such grave enemies of the real religion that they not only themselves are its disbelievers they will also lead the Muslims into disbelief if the Muslims are led away by them.

The implication is that if in spite of this they disregard the truth then it is their own misfortune and bad luck. They will now have no excuse to present before the Almighty which in other words would mean that they have slipped in broad daylight.

“To hold fast to God” means that in good and bad circumstances a person adheres to the truth and does not swerve in any way from the directives of God and the teachings of His Book.

Here we come to the end of the Part III of the exegesis of the Sürah. In Part IV, Verses 102 - 120, the Muslims have been instructed to learn lessons from the history of the people of the Book and also to guard themselves against their machinations, and to prepare and train themselves to establish virtue and eradicate evil. 

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Al i Imran 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 | 8 |
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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