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Thursday, February 6, 2020

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


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 last part, i.e, Part VI of the Sürah. This part covers Verses 175 - 189. From here the main theme of the verses 109 - 120 has been resumed to reassure and encourage the Muslims against the dangerous plots of their enemies.  

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.

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 18 [Verses 173-180]
We have already presented explanation of verses 173-176 as these formed part of the discourse being discussed in Ruku 17. We now resume Ruku 18 from verses 176-178, which deal with Punishment for bartering belief for unbelief:

وَلَا يَحۡزُنۡكَ الَّذِيۡنَ يُسَارِعُوۡنَ فِى الۡكُفۡرِ​ۚ اِنَّهُمۡ لَنۡ يَّضُرُّوا اللّٰهَ شَيۡـئًا ​ؕ يُرِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ اَلَّا يَجۡعَلَ لَهُمۡ حَظًّا فِىۡ الۡاٰخِرَةِ ​ۚ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 176 )   And do not be grieved, [O Muhammad], by those who hasten into disbelief. Indeed, they will never harm Allah at all. Allah intends that He should give them no share in the Hereafter, and for them is a great punishment.
 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ لَن يَضُرُّوا اللَّـهَ شَيْئًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ 
( 177 )   Indeed, those who purchase disbelief [in exchange] for faith - never will they harm Allah at all, and for them is a painful punishment.
  وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لِّأَنفُسِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا ۚ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
( 178 )   And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
That the cup of their iniquity may be full. The appetite for sin grows with what it feeds on. The natural result is that the sinner sinks deeper into sin. If there is any freedom of will, this naturally follows, though Allah's Grace is always ready for the repentant. If the Grace is rejected, the increase of iniquity makes the nature of iniquity plainer to those who might otherwise be attracted by its glitter. The working of Allah's Law is therefore both just and merciful. See also the next verse.

 Verse 179 Adverse conditions are a test from Allah:

مَّا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَىٰ مَا أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّىٰ يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَجْتَبِي مِن رُّسُلِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۚ وَإِن تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَلَكُمْ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ  
( 179 )   Allah would not leave the believers in that [state] you are in [presently] until He separates the evil from the good. Nor would Allah reveal to you the unseen. But [instead], Allah chooses of His messengers whom He wills, so believe in Allah and His messengers. And if you believe and fear Him, then for you is a great reward.
That is, God does not want to see the Muslim community in a hotch-potch condition with the true men of faith indistinguishable from the hypocrites.

This means that God does not resort to revelation to provide information as to whether specific individuals are true men of faith or hypocrites. God creates, instead, certain situations in which the faith of those who profess to believe is severely tested. The result is that the man of faith stands out clearly from the hypocrite.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The testing of good men by calamities and evil men by leaving them in the enjoyment of good things is part of the trials of Allah, in which some freedom of choice is left to man. The psychological and subjective test is unfailing, and the separation is effected partly by the operation of the human wills, to which some freedom is allowed. But it must be effected, if only in the interests of the good.

Man in his weak state would be most miserable if he could see the secrets of the Future or the secrets of the Unseen. But things are revealed to him from time to time as may be expedient for him, by Messengers chosen for the purpose. Our duty is to hold fast by faith and lead a good life.

Verse 180 Punishment for the niggardly:

وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ بِمَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ شَرٌّ لَّهُمْ ۖ سَيُطَوَّقُونَ مَا بَخِلُوا بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ وَلِلَّـهِ مِيرَاثُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
( 180 )   And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.
Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to God alone. Hence the possession and use of anything by man is purely transient. For everyone will be dispossessed of his temporary belongings, and everything will ultimately return to and abide with God. If anyone therefore spends openheartedly in the way of God out of his temporary possessions he does so from property which, ultimately, belongs to God alone. Anyone who hoards his possessions and fails to spend them in the way of God is indeed stupid.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The gifts are of all kinds: material gifts, such as wealth, property, strength of limbs, etc., or intangible gifts, such as influence, birth in a given set, intellect, skill, insight, etc., or spiritual gifts of the highest kind. The spending of all these things (apart from what is necessary for ourselves) for those who need them, is charity, and purifies our own character. The withholding of them (apart from our needs) is similarly greed and selfishness, and is strongly condemned.

By an apt metaphor the miser is told that his wealth or the other gifts which he hoarded will cling round his neck and do him no good. He will wish he could get rid of them, but he will not be able to do so. According to the Biblical phrase in another connection they will hang like a millstone round his neck (Matt. xviii. 6). The metaphor here is fuller. He hugged his wealth or his gifts about him. They will become like a heavy collar, the badge of slavery, round his neck. They will be tied tight and twisted, and they will give him pain and anguish instead of pleasure. Cf. also xvii. 13.

Another metaphor is now introduced. Material wealth or property is only called ours during our short life here. So all gifts are ours in trust only; they ultimately revert to Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens or on earth.


Ruku / Section 19 [Verses 181-187]
Verses 181-184 Jews insulted Allah and uttered a lie against Him:

 لَّقَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّـهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاءُ ۘ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَالُوا وَقَتْلَهُمُ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَنَقُولُ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ
( 181 )   Allah has certainly heard the statement of those [Jews] who said, "Indeed, Allah is poor, while we are rich." We will record what they said and their killing of the prophets without right and will say, "Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.
This statement was made by the Jews. On the revelation of the Qur'anic verse (2: 245): 'Who of you will lend Allah a goodly loan?', the Jews began to ridicule it and said: 'Look, God has now gone bankrupt and has begun to beg of His creatures for loans.' (For this statement made by the Jews see the Tradition mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his comments on this verse - Ed.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In ii. 245 we read: "Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan?" In other places charity or spending in the way of Allah is metaphorically described as giving to Allah. The Holy Prophet often used that expression in appealing for funds to be spent in the way of Allah. The scoffers mocked and said: "So Allah is indigent and we are rich!" This blasphemy was of a piece with all their conduct in history, in slaying the Prophets and men of God.

For the expression "slaying in defiance of right," Cf. iii. 21, and iii. 112.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This is a mention of how the Hypocrites would ridicule the calls of the Qur’an to spend for the cause of God. When the Qur’an would ask them to lend money to God, they would make fun of this by saying that God is very poor these days and thus asking for money from these rich people.

The actual words are: سَنَکۡتُبُ مَا قَالُوۡا. This is a very subtle admonition. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while explaining its subtlety, writes:

… Those who are aware of the art of eloquence very well know that our limited power of expression can in no way fully express the anger and wrath hidden in these words. Even more subtle is the fact that the expression وَ قَتۡلَہُمُ الۡاَنۡۢبِیَآءَ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ (and their slaying of the prophets unjustly) was co-ordinated to it implying that God is also recording their unjust killings of the prophets. Obviously, it was the Jews who were guilty of this crime. Mentioning a statement of the Hypocrites together with an act of the Jews in a single category in this manner and using the same pronoun for both bears witness to two things: after saying such a grave thing these Hypocrites have once again entered the fraternity of the Jews which they had earlier left to put up a false display of being Muslims. Secondly, this making fun by the Hypocrites and this practice of the Jews are such grave crimes that God will never forget them; He too will one day tell them: taste this punishment of God. The punishment would be commensurate with their deeds because God is not unjust in any way to His people. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 219)

 ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ  
( 182 )   That is for what your hands have put forth and because Allah is not ever unjust to [His] servants."
اَلَّذِيۡنَ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَهِدَ اِلَيۡنَاۤ اَلَّا نُؤۡمِنَ لِرَسُوۡلٍ حَتّٰى يَاۡتِيَنَا بِقُرۡبَانٍ تَاۡكُلُهُ النَّارُ​ؕ قُلۡ قَدۡ جَآءَكُمۡ رُسُلٌ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِىۡ بِالۡبَيِّنٰتِ وَبِالَّذِىۡ قُلۡتُمۡ فَلِمَ قَتَلۡتُمُوۡهُمۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِيۡنَ 
( 183 )   [They are] those who said, "Indeed, Allah has taken our promise not to believe any messenger until he brings us an offering which fire [from heaven] will consume." Say, "There have already come to you messengers before me with clear proofs and [even] that of which you speak. So why did you kill them, if you should be truthful?"
The Bible mentions at several places that the token of Divine acceptance of a person's sacrificial offering was the appearance of a mysterious fire which consumed the offering. (See Judges 6: 20-1 and 13: 19-20; 2 Chronicles 7: 1-2.) The Bible does not state, however, that the consuming fire was an indispensable token of prophethood and that anyone not endowed with that miracle could not be a Prophet. The Jews in discussing the claim of Muhammad (peace be on him) to be a Messenger of God brought up the question of this miraculous sign, and used it as a pretext for denying that claim. There was even clearer evidence of the Jews' hostility to Truth: they had not hesitated to murder a number of Prophets who had been endowed with the miracle of consuming fire. The Bible mentions, for example, the Prophet Elijah who had challenged the worshipers of Ba'l to sacrifice a bull, promising that he too would sacrifice a bull. He stated that the offering of the one who was truthful would be consumed by the miraculous fire. The confrontation took place before a large crowd and it was Elijah's sacrifice which was consumed by the fire. This so antagonized the Ba'1-worshiping Queen that the henpecked King decided to put the Prophet Elijah to death. Elijah was forced to leave his homeland and take refuge in the mountains of Sinai. (See 1 Kings 18 and 19.) The Jews are told in effect: 'How dare you ask for the miracle of the consuming fire when in the past you have not even refrained from murdering Prophets who performed that miracle?'‏

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Burn sacrifices figured in the Mosaic Law, and in the religious ceremonies long before Moses, but it is not true that the Mosaic Law laid down a fire from heavens on a burnt sacrifice as a test of the credentials of Prophets. Even if it had been so, did the Jews obey the Prophets who showed this Sign? In Leviticus ix. 23-24, we are told a burnt offering prepared by Moses and Aaron: "and there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat." Yet the people rebelled frequently against Moses. Abel's offering (sacrifice) was probably a burnt offering: it was accepted by Allah, and he was killed by Cain out of jealousy: Gen. iv. 3-8. Mosaic sacrifices were no longer needed by the people of Jesus or the people of Muhammad.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
Earlier on, with a mention of the Hypocrites the matter of the Jews was brought up. Hence, one of their pranks is cited here and they too are refuted. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

The prank of the Jews alluded to is that in order to silence the Muslims they would say that they had been directed by God to not believe in any person’s claim to prophethood until he works a certain miracle; as per this miracle, he should make an offering of an animal which should be consumed by a fire that descends from the heavens to indicate that it had been accepted. The Jews would say only this as a prank. It is mentioned in the Torah that certain prophets worked this miracle. For example in Kings (18:37-38), it is attributed to the Prophet Elia (sws) and in History (7:1), it is attributed to the Prophet Solomon (sws); however, at no place is it stated that this miracle is a pre-requisite or a corollary of prophethood and unless a prophet works this miracle his claim to prophethood will not even be considered. In particular, in the case of the last prophet the predictions found in their scriptures are absolutely devoid of such stipulations. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 220)

فَاِنۡ كَذَّبُوۡكَ فَقَدۡ كُذِّبَ رُسُلٌ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِكَ جَآءُوۡ بِالۡبَيِّنٰتِ وَالزُّبُرِ وَالۡكِتٰبِ الۡمُنِيۡر
( 184 )   Then if they deny you, [O Muhammad] - so were messengers denied before you, who brought clear proofs and written ordinances and the enlightening Scripture.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
The three things mentioned in the Text are: (1) Clear Signs (baiyinat); (2) zubur, and (3) kitab-il-Munir. The signification of (1) I have explained in the note to iii. 62, as far as they relate to Jesus. In a more general sense, it means the clear evidence which Allah's dealings furnish about a Messenger of Allah having a true mission: e.g., Moses in relation to Pharaoh. (2) The word Zubur has been translated as scriptures. It comes from the root Zabara which implies something hard. The commentators are not agreed, but the prophetic writings which seemed to contemporaries difficult to understand may well be meant here. David's psalms (Zabur, iv. 163) may also come under this description. As to (3), there is no doubt about the literal meaning of the words, "the Book of Enlightenment". But what does it precisely refer to? I take it to mean the fundamental guide to conduct,-the clear rules laid down in all Dispensations to help men to lead good lives.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The Qur’an mentions three things here: bayyinat, zubr, kitab-i munir. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi explains them thus:

The word bayyinat means “clear and obvious.” This word generally qualifies the signs of God. Wherever this word is mentioned in the Qur’an without qualifying a noun, it is used in two meanings: clear and silencing arguments or miracles that can be felt by the senses.

The word zubr is the plural of zabur. It means “a piece, portion and scripture.” It is very commonly used for the Psalms of David. Here it refers to those scriptures of the prophets which are included in the Bible.

The words kitab-i munir refer to the Torah. In the books which were revealed before the Qur’an, it is only the Torah which can be referred to by this expression. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 221)

Verse 185 Everyone has to die:

كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الۡمَوۡتِ​ؕ وَاِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوۡنَ اُجُوۡرَكُمۡ يَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ​ؕ فَمَنۡ زُحۡزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَاُدۡخِلَ الۡجَـنَّةَ فَقَدۡ فَازَ​ؕ وَمَا الۡحَيٰوةُ الدُّنۡيَاۤ اِلَّا مَتَاعُ الۡغُرُوۡرِ‏
( 185 )   Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
Whoever considers the effects of his actions in this earthly life to be of crucial significance, and sees in them the criteria of right and wrong, the criteria of that which leads either to one's ultimate salvation or to one's doom, falls prey to a serious misconception. The fact that a person is outstandingly successful in life does not necessarily prove that he is either not prove that he has either strayed from the right way or is out of favour with God. The earthly results of a man's actions are often quite different from the ones he will see in the Next Life. What is of true importance is what will happen in that eternal life rather than in this transient one.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
The death of the body will give a taste of death to the soul when the soul separates from the body. The soul will then know that this life was but a probation. And seeming inequalities will be adjusted finally on the Day of Judgment.

Cf. Longfellow's Psalm of Life: "All this world's a fleeting show. For man's illusion given". The only reality will be when we have attained our final goal.

Verse 186 Test of the believers:

لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا ۚ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
( 186 )   You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah - indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.
Muslims should not lose their self-control in the face of the Jews' invidious taunts and slander. The Jews' accusations, debased talk and false propaganda should not provoke the Muslims into adopting a posture either inconsistent with truth and justice or with the dignity, decorum and high standards of moral conduct that become men of faith.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
Not wealth and possessions only (or want of them), are the means of our trial. All our personal talents, knowledge, opportunities, and their opposites,-in fact everything that happens to us and makes up our personality is a means of our testing. So is our Faith: we shall have to put up for it many insults from those who do not share it.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This is a reference to those tests and trials that are necessarily faced by the companions of a messenger through his adversaries in order to isolate and demarcate the latter before divine punishment descends on them.

Verses 187-189 Punishment for claiming credit for some thing you have not done:

 وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّـهُ مِيثَاقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَاشْتَرَوْا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ
( 187 )   And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], "You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it." But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.
Although the Jews remembered that some Prophets had been endowed with the miracle of consuming fire, they conveniently forgot their covenant with God at the time they were entrusted with the Scripture, and their mission as the bearers of the Scripture. The 'covenant' to which this verse alludes is mentioned at several places in the Bible. In the last sermon of Moses, cited in Deuteronomy, he again and again calls the attention of Israel to the covenant in the following words:
'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. And these words which I command shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.' (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9.)
Then, in his last testament Moses said:
'And on the day you pass over the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall set up large stones, and plaster them with plaster and you shall write upon them all the words of this law, when you pass over to enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you. And when you have passed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you this day, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.' (Deuteronomy 27: 2-4.) 
When the Levites were handed a copy of the Torah, they were instructed to gather men, women and children every seventh year on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles and to recite the entire text to them. But their indifference to the Book of God grew to such a point that seven hundred years later even the priests of the Temple of Solomon and the Jewish ruler of Jerusalem did not know that they had the Book of God with them. (See 2 Kings 22: 8-13.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
Truth-Allah's Message-comes to any man or nation as a matter of sacred trust. It should be broadcast and published and taught and made clear to all within reach. Privileged priesthood at once erects a barrier. But worse,-when such priesthood tampers with the truth, taking what suits it and ignoring the rest, it has sold Allah's gift for a miserable ephemeral profit; how miserable, it will learn when retributive justice comes.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
Ie., they do remember that certain prophets did make such an offering which was consumed by a heavenly fire but they do not remember what they had pledged with the Almighty when they were receiving the Book from Him. They should be reminded that this pledge is even now found in their Books. Thus, it is written in Deuteronomy:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates. (11:18-20)
Similarly, in the Gospels too, this is written in very effective styles. The words in Matthew are:
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. (10:27)
Ie., even after cheaply selling the covenant of God to gain personal objectives they desire that they be called the People of the Book and be regarded as the chosen ummah of God and considered themselves as the sole worthy recipients of God’s favours and gifts – both in this world and in the next.

Ruku / Section 20 [Verses 188-200]

 لَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَا أَتَوا وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُوا بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُوا فَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّهُم بِمَفَازَةٍ مِّنَ الْعَذَابِ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
( 188 )   And never think that those who rejoice in what they have perpetrated and like to be praised for what they did not do - never think them [to be] in safety from the punishment, and for them is a painful punishment.
Such people expected praises to be lavished upon them for being God-fearing, devout and pious, for being sincere servants of the true faith, for being defenders of God's Law and for having reformed and purified the lives of people, even though none of this might be true. They wanted people to go about trumpeting that such and such a person had made great sacrifices in the cause of God and had sincerely guided people to the right way even though the facts might be the reverse of what they claimed.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
A searching picture of the wordily wise! They may cause mischief and misery to others, but gloat over any glory it may bring them! They may trample down Allah's truths, and enthrone false standards of worship. They may take credit for virtues they do not possess and seeming successes that come in spite of their despicable deceptions.

  وَلِلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
( 189 )   And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all things competent.
The Concluding Verses:
This section constitutes the conclusion of the present surah. It is related not so much to the verses which immediately precede it as to the entire surah. In order to grasp its significance one should particularly bear in mind our introductory remarks to this surah. 

Verses 190-194 Signs from Nature and Supplication of the believers:

اِنَّ فِىۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَاخۡتِلَافِ الَّيۡلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّاُولِى الۡاَلۡبَابِ ۚۖ‏ 
( 190 )   Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
See ii. 164. The two items mentioned here are just brief symbols recalling the six or seven mentioned in the other passage. And those too are but brief symbols and reminders of the glorious majesty of Allah and His goodness to man.
( 191 )   Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
This means that with the help of those signs one can easily arrive at the Truth, provided one is not indifferent to God and looks at the phenomenon of the universe thoughtfully.

When people look carefully at the order of the universe, it becomes clear to them that it is an order permeated by wisdom and intelligent purpose. It is altogether inconsistent with wisdom that the man endowed with moral consciousness and freedom of choice, the man gifted with reason and discretion, should not be held answerable for his deeds. This kind of reflection leads people to develop a strong conviction that the After-life is a reality. Thanks to this conviction, they begin to seek God's refuge from His punishment.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏
That is, in all postures, which again is symbolical of all circumstances, personal, social, economic, historical and other.

It is the thought of Salvation that connects all these glories with man. Otherwise man would be a miserable, contemptible creature in these beauties and wonders of Nature. With his high destiny of Salvation he can be lifted even higher than these glories!

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
It is evident from this that men of vision and intellect are those who, while reflecting on this world, are led to keep God and the Hereafter in remembrance and under reflection. It is further evident from this that remembering God is required at all times and just as this remembrance, reflection and deliberation are also required because through reflection does one have conviction of the Hereafter. In its absence, remembering God becomes a mere exercise of the tongue; it has no status beyond this.

With great eloquence, the Qur’an has explained in these verses how true men of vision and intellect when they remember God and deliberate on the creation of the heavens and the earth are led to the right conclusion. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
…This remembrance and reflection itself leads him to the conclusion that this great Universe cannot be purposeless, and when this is not so it is essential that it should not end just like this; it is essential that a day come when the righteous and the wrongdoers both are rewarded and punished respectively for their deeds and in this way the immense wisdom that is concealed in the creation of this world manifest itself.
Only a brief allusion is made here to the signs found in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of day and night. The details are spread in the whole corpus of the Qur’an. With great detail, the Qur’an has elaborated upon those signs in this universe which bear witness that not only is there great authority behind this universe, but also great wisdom; there is not only immense power but also unfathomable mercy and affection; there is not only enormous diversity, there is also amazing harmony and poise. This shows that the creation of this world is not a chance happening nor a place of amusement for a merry maker; it is in fact created by a powerful and wise, authoritative and merciful, all-knowing and all-hearing being. Hence it is against His nature that this world go on and end without any distinction being made in dealing between good and evil, virtue and vice. If this happens, it will mean that either this world has no Creator or Master; it has been created of its own accord and will continue in this manner or its Creator has made it for His amusement and is watching a show by making some rich and some poor, some oppressors and others oppressed. Obviously, both these postulates are against God’s power and wisdom – power and wisdom to which every nook and corner of this universe bears witness. It is absolutely against the majesty of knowledge and wisdom of such a knowledgeable and wise being that He do something imprudent.

A person who in this manner reflects on the power and wisdom behind this universe himself automatically reaches not only to an acknowledgement of God but also to an acknowledgement of the Hereafter. And obviously, a person whose mind makes this journey will tremble with fear at the conception of reward and punishment and he will have a great urge to seek refuge with God from the torment and humiliation ordained for people who regarded this universe to be a place of amusement and in this manner spent all their lives in defiance. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 227)

If one deliberates on the last sentence of this verse, one comes to the conclusion that it has been very clearly set out in it that on the Day of Judgement, humiliation is ordained for those who are relying on false intercessions. Thus it was said that on that day they will have no supporters and helpers.

رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّكَ مَنۡ تُدۡخِلِ النَّارَ فَقَدۡ اَخۡزَيۡتَهٗ ​ؕ وَمَا لِلظّٰلِمِيۡنَ مِنۡ اَنۡصَارٍ‏
( 192 )   Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire - You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. 
رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّنَا سَمِعۡنَا مُنَادِيًا يُّنَادِىۡ لِلۡاِيۡمَانِ اَنۡ اٰمِنُوۡا بِرَبِّكُمۡ فَاٰمَنَّا  ۖ رَبَّنَا فَاغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوۡبَنَا وَكَفِّرۡ عَنَّا سَيِّاٰتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الۡاَبۡرَارِ​ۚ‏  
( 193 )   Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], 'Believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.
Many eras have passed before you. Go about, then, in the land and behold the end of those who gave the lie to (the directives and ordinances of Allah).

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
Ie., we did not demand miracles nor did we insist on silly arguments and in fact the mere person of the prophet was no less than a miracle in our eyes; so when we saw that this call of professing faith in God and the Hereafter is the call of our own hearts and our inner self bears witness to it and knowledge and intellect also demand it, we accepted it without any hesitation.

رَبَّنَا وَاٰتِنَا مَا وَعَدتَّنَا عَلٰى رُسُلِكَ وَلَا تُخۡزِنَا يَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ ​ؕ اِنَّكَ لَا تُخۡلِفُ الۡمِيۡعَادَ 
( 194 )   Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise."
Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:‏
The actual words are: مَا وَعَدۡتَّنَا عَلٰی رُسُلِکَ. Here, as per linguistic principles, the mudaf (governing noun) has been suppressed ie. عَلٰی اَلْسِنَةِ رُسُلِكَ.

Instead of showing vanity on their faith, these men of vision here are seen submitting before their Lord in utter humility. They are imploring Him to forgive their sins and ease out for them the way they tread for His cause just as He has granted them the urge to accept the truth.

Verse 195 Acceptance of supplication by Allah:

فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ ۖ فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَأُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُوا فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُوا وَقُتِلُوا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ
( 195 )   And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward."
Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:‏
This, in very subtle words, is an expression of acceptance of the prayer. It is as if it was answered by God as soon as it was uttered.

This is an encouragement to all the believers who passed through the phases of migration and jihad for the cause of God and suffered horrific persecution at the hands of the opponents of Islam. Women have been specially mentioned here because the persecution and oppression women of those times were inflicted with will cause our hair to rise on its ends even today. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… These words bring the discourse in line with the actual situation. Who else could have known that these two words would have assured the oppressed women who suffered many wrongs and injustices merely because they had embraced Islam. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 231)
Here the reason because of which the deeds of men and women are equal in status in the eyes of the Almighty is cited. A little deliberation will show that through this the Qur’an has refuted all those views of the age of jahiliyyah which regarded women to be inferior to men.

The actual words are: ثَوَابًا مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ The word ثَوَابًاis a verbal noun and refers to the consequence which is received in response to an action by its doer. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while explaining its subtlety, writes:

… By calling the everlasting rewards which the Almighty will award the believers for their trivial deeds as thawab, the Almighty has elevated the value of the deeds of people otherwise what is the relation between a speck and a mountain? The words ثَوَابًا مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ وَ اللّٰہُ عِنۡدَہٗ حُسۡنُ الثَّوَابِ actually dispense with this distance. Though this is a recompense of their own deeds yet it is from God Who has treasures of rewards with Him. His great generosity induces Him to give to whomsoever He wants to and everything is found in great numbers and quantity with Him. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 231)

Verses 196-200 Do not be deceived by the unbelievers and Be patient and excel in patience:
لَا يَغُرَّنَّكَ تَقَلُّبُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي الْبِلَادِ 
( 196 )   Be not deceived by the [uninhibited] movement of the disbelievers throughout the land.
 مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ ثُمَّ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۚ وَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
( 197 )   [It is but] a small enjoyment; then their [final] refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place.
لَـٰكِنِ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا نُزُلًا مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَمَا عِندَ اللَّـهِ خَيْرٌ لِّلْأَبْرَارِ 
( 198 )   But those who feared their Lord will have gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein, as accommodation from Allah. And that which is with Allah is best for the righteous.
وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ لِلَّـهِ لَا يَشْتَرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۗ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
 ( 199 )   And indeed, among the People of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to them, [being] humbly submissive to Allah. They do not exchange the verses of Allah for a small price. Those will have their reward with their Lord. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.
 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا وَرَابِطُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
( 200 )   O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.
The original Arabic word is " sabiru". This has two possible meanings. One is that whenever they are in confrontation with unbelievers, the believers should endure even greater hardships for their cause, and display a higher degree of fortitude than the unbelievers. The other is that the believers should try to excel one another in facing the opposition and hostility of unbelievers with courage and fortitude.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:ِ‏ 
The full meaning of Sabr is to be understood here, viz.: Patience, perseverance, constancy, self-restraint, refusing to be cowed down. These virtues we are to exercise for ourselves and in relation to others; we are to set an example, so that others may vie with us, and we are to vie with them, lest we fall short; in this way we strengthen each other and bind our mutual relations closer, in our common service to Allah.

Prosperity (falah here and in other passages is to be understood in a wide sense, including prosperity in our mundane affairs as well as in spiritual progress. In both cases it implies happiness and the attainment of our wishes, purified by the love of Allah.

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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