Showing posts with label Explanation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Explanation. Show all posts

Thursday 25 January 2024

Incredible explanation of 5th verse of Surah 1. Al Fatiha (The Opener)

The very first chapter of Qur'an, Surah Al Fatiha (The Opener) is the most important Surah of the Qur'an. This Surah is in fact a prayer which Allah has taught to all those who want to make a study of His book. It has been placed at the very beginning of the Qur'an to teach this lesson to the reader: if you sincerely want to benefit from the Qur'an, you should offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.

And it for this importance, it has been made part of the every cycle / rakah of the obligatory and voluntary prayers. By reading this supplication right at the beginning of the prayers, a believer not only acknowledges the supremeness of Allah, but also pledges to be His servant and vows to ask none other than Him for his every need. 

We have already published the Summary and Tafseer / Exegesis of this very important Surah. But today we share the incredible explanation of the 5th verse of the Surah, which in fact is the crus of faith of a believer, in which he not only submits himself completely to his Creator, but aslo pledges in his entire sincerity to ask none but He if in want of something.

Renowned Muslim scholar and exegete Yusuf Ali  while interpreting this verse notes: On realizing in our souls God's love and care, His grace and mercy, and His power and justice (as Ruler of the Day of Judgment), the immediate result is that we bend in the act of worship, and see both our shortcomings and His all-sufficient power. The emphatic form means that not only do we reach the position of worshipping God and asking for His help, but we worship Him alone and ask for His aid only. For there is none other than He worthy of our devotion and able to help us. The plural "we" indicates that we associate ourselves with all who seek God, thus strengthening ourselves and strengthening them in a fellowship of faith.

You may also like to read an exhaustive explanation of the 5th verse by one of the most revered and expert exegete Ibn Kathir from Tafseer / Exegesis of the surah already posted.

Today, we share an incredible explanation of this verse by one of the most eminent scholars of present times, Nouman Ali Khan, which takes the meaning of the 5th verse of the Surah Al Fatiha and explains it in a manner that even a simple believer with least intellect can get to know what is being said in this verse and how it lays the foundation of our faith in Allah. Please watch the video:

About Nouman Ali Khan: Born to a Pakistani family, Nouman Ali Khan is an American Muslim speaker and Arabic instructor who founded the Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies, after serving as an instructor of Arabic at Nassau Community College. He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.

Let us listen to this video again and again and really understand how Allah wants us to be His servants and how we should always be looking towards him, and no one else, for our worldly needs. If we can really Ingrid the meaning of this verse into ourselves, we will never go astray or be misled by worldly desires or following the priests and imams or asking from the dead saints.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is our duty to convey only to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

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

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For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to IslamYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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Saturday 20 June 2020

Resuming Tafsir / Exegesis and Detailed Explanation of Sürahs / Chapters of Qur'an

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

Almost two years back, when we started this blog for the benefit of reverts who had recently embraced Islam, we commenced a series of posts on summary of Sürahs of the Qur'an for them to understand the why of revelation of these Sürahs in as brief form as possible.

We started from the 114th Sürah backwards, for these were shorter and pertained to the early period of Islam, as these gave away the earliest commandments of Allah at a time when Islam was still in its infancy stage and new Muslims were bearing the wrath of the non believers / polytheists of Makkah. 

But as we progressed to rather lengthier posts, mainly of post Hijrah period in Medina, we commenced with detailed exegesis / tafsir with reference to the context as these Medina period Sürahs were about laws and other important issues that required elaboration.

Now that we are over with the summaries and Tafsir / Exegesis of the entire 114 Sürah, Alhamdolillah, we fell that we need to go back and start afresh from the 114th Sürah backwards, giving away their Tafsir / Exegesis for detailed understanding of each verse with reference to the context. In order to provide detailed explanation, we will incorporate the noble work of many a renowned exegists for better understanding and comprehension. 

An effort, thus, 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. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
Please pray for us that we are able to complete the exegesis / tafsir of all those Sürah for which only summaries were given earlier. By the end of this work, In Sha Allah, the tafsir / exegesis of the entire 114 Sürahs will stand completed.

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all Sürahs / chapters of the Qur'an.

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

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Friday 13 March 2020

Surah An Nisa: 4th Chapter of Quran (Exegesis Part-VI)

Sürah An-Nisa' " ٱلنِّسَاء‎ " - The Women, is the fourth chapter of the Qur'an part of the Juz' 4-5 with 176 āyāt (verses) and 24 Ruku / sections. The title of the surah is mainly attributed to  numerous references to women throughout the chapter, including verses 4:34 and 4:127-130.

This Sürah closely connected chronologically with Sürah 3 Al i Imran  and the subject matter deals with social problems which Muslim community had to face immediately after Uhud.

The main object of this Sürah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.

Owing to the length  of the Sürah and varied subjects discussed therein, the Sürah has been divided into six parts parts for better understanding, as already explained in the Overview.  We have already presented the first five parts. 

We now begin with the Part VI, the last part ( verses 134-176):
  • Verses 135-175:Resuming the theme of defense, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their enemies. They have been admonished to take necessary precautions against the machinations of the hypocrites and the unbelievers and the people of the Book. As belief in Allah, and Revelation and Life-after-death is the only safeguard against every kind of enemy, they should sincerely believe in and follow His Messenger, Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). 
  • Though verse 176 also deals with the family laws contained in verses 1 - 35, it has been added as a supplement at the end of this Surah because it was revealed long after Sürah An-Nisa' was being recited as a complete Surah. 
Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

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

Ruku / Section 20 [Verses 135-141]
Verses 135-141 Believers are required to stand firm for justice and believe wholeheartedly and boycott unIslamic gatherings and Hypocrites have double standards:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّـهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّـهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَن تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِن تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
( 135 )   O you who have believed, be persistently stand firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
When I was reading this verse, I thought perhaps this was written for the present times where rich get away by evading justice even if having committed the most heinous crimes and the poor are prosecuted even if innocent.

That is why it is being said that it is not enough for believers to uphold justice themselves: they are expected to be its standard-bearers. They are supposed not merely to practice justice in their own dealings but to strive for its triumph. They have to do all within their power to ensure that injustice is eradicated and replaced by equity and justice. A true believer is required to be the pillar supporting the establishment of right and justice.

The testimony of the believers should be solely for the sake of God. Their testimony should not be biased in favour of any of the parties concerned, they should not use any opportunity for personal aggrandizement, and they should not seek to please anyone but God.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Some people may be inclined to favour the rich, because they expect something from them. Some people may be inclined to favour the poor because they are generally helpless. Partiality in either case is wrong. Be just, without fear of favour. Both the rich and the poor are under Allah's protection as far as their legitimate interests are concerned, but they cannot expect to be favoured at the expense of others. And He can protect their interests far better than any man.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
On the previous verse ended the answer to the question posed about marrying the mothers of the orphans. From here onward to verse 152, the answer is given to people who gave preference to friendships and relationships over the truth and in order to keep intact their status and position among the rejecters of truth would repeatedly ask: what is the problem in adopting the middle course? Why is it necessary to equate the rejecters from the People of the Book to the disbelievers whom the Qur’an is regarding as worthy of punishment? They contended that the People of the Book believe in a lot of things and thus should be dealt with leniently. Such questions would arise in their minds with regard to the various topics discussed in this surah. While answering these questions, the Qur’an has fully explained that there existed no such possibility because disbelief is not merely rejecting God and His messengers in blatant words; what also constitutes disbelief is insistence to accept God and His messengers not on His conditions but on one’s own. Thus the verdict of God is that Muslims have to speak the truth at all costs, bear witness to it and accept the whole religion the way it is without any additions or deletions. All attitudes besides this amount to hypocrisy and there is no difference between hypocrisy and disbelief in the eyes of God.

It is not sufficient that people fully adhere to the truth and to justice; they must also bear witness to these before others.

The actual words are: یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اٰمِنُوۡا. In this sentence, the first verb is in its initial meaning and the second in its complete meaning. The words thus mean: Believers who lay claim to faith! Have faith in God the way it is befitting.

In this verse, the verb اَنۡزَلَ is used for the Torah and the word نَزَّلَ for the Qur’an. What is the reason for this difference? Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
... Those who are aware of the delicacies of the Arabic language know that the word اَنۡزَلَ means to merely reveal while نَزَّلَ means to reveal in an elaborate way and in a gradual manner. This difference of verbs throws light on the nature of revelation of the Torah and the Qur’an. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 401)
These words depict an actual situation: these people would take the initiative in embracing faith and after that engage in conspiracies against the Qur’an, Islam and the Messenger. It is this attitude of theirs which is called disbelief here.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا آمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
( 136 )   O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.
To ask believers to believe might at first seem strange. The fact is, however, that belief as used here has two meanings. First, belief denotes that a man has preferred to acknowledge the soundness of true guidance, to distance himself from the fold of those who disbelieve, and to join the camp of the believers. Second, belief denotes faith, a man's believing in the truth with all his heart, with full earnestness and sincerity. It denotes man's sincere determination to mould his way of thinking, his taste and temperament, his likes and dislikes, his conduct and character, his friendship and enmity, and the direction of his efforts and striving, in conformity with the creed which he has resolved to embrace. This verse is addressed to all those who are 'believers' in the first sense of the term, and they are asked to change themselves into true believers, i.e. believers in the second sense.

Kufr has two meanings. One signifies categorical rejection. The other signifies that pretence of belief even when either one's heart is not convinced or one's conduct is flagrantly opposed to the demands of one's belief. Here the term Kufr conveys both meanings, and the verse aims at impressing upon people that whichever kind of Kufr they adopt in respect of the fundamental beliefs of Islam, it will only alienate them from the Truth, and lead them instead to falsehood, and ultimately to their tragic failure and destruction.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If your belief is by habit or birth or the example of those you love or respect or admire, make that belief more specific and personal to yourself. We must not only have faith, but realize that faith in our inmost being. The chief objects of our Faith are Allah, His Messenger, and His Revelations. To all these we must give a home in our hearts. The angels we do not see and realize as we realize Allah, who is nearer to us than the vehicle of our life-blood, and the Day of Judgment is for our future experience, but we must not deny them, or we cut off a part of our religious view.

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَّمْ يَكُنِ اللَّـهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلًا 
( 137 )   Indeed, those who have believed then disbelieved, then believed, then disbelieved, and then increased in disbelief - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way.
This refers to those for whom religion is no more than an object of casual entertainment, a toy with which they like to play as long as it suits their desires and fancies. One wave carries them to the fold of Islam and the next away to that of disbelief. Whenever Islam appears to suit their interests they become Muslims; and when the glamorous visage of the god of utility leaps up before their eyes they rush off to worship it. To such people God holds out neither the assurance of forgiveness nor of direction to true guidance. The statement that such people 'became even more intense in their disbelief refers to those who are not content with not believing themselves, but also try to undermine the faith of others and to persuade them to disbelief, who engage in secret conspiracies as well as overt activities against Islam, and who devote their energies to the struggle aimed at exalting disbelief and degrading the true religion of God. This is a higher degree of disbelief, involving the progressive heaping of crime upon crime. It is obvious that the punishment for this must be greater than for simple disbelief.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Those who go on changing sides again and again can have no real Faith at any time. Their motives are mere worldly double-dealing. How can they expect Allah's grace or forgiveness? Here is a clear warning against those who make their religion a mere matter of worldly convenience. True religion goes far deeper. It transforms the very nature of man. After that transformation it is as impossible for him to change as it is for light to become darkness.

  بَشِّرِ الْمُنَافِقِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا 
( 138 )   Give tidings to the hypocrites that there is for them a painful punishment 
  الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِندَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّـهِ جَمِيعًا
( 139 )   Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely.
The term 'jzzah denotes a position which is at once exalted and secure. In other words, the term signifies 'inviolable honour and glory'.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If the motive is some advantage, some honour,-the fountain of all good is Allah. How can it really be expected from those who deny Faith? And if there is some show of worldly honour, what is it worth against the contempt they earn in the next world?

وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ جَامِعُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ جَمِيعًا 
( 140 )   And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together.
A person who professes Islam and yet enjoys the company of those who indulge in blasphemy against God, and who bears with equanimity their scoffing at God and His Messenger, is no different' from the unbelievers mentioned here. (For the injunction in this verse, see also (Surah al-An'am 6: 68).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vi. 68, an earlier and Makkan verse. Where we see or hear Truth held in light esteem, we ought to make our protest and withdraw from such company, not out of arrogance, as if we thought ourselves superior to other people, but out of real humility, lest our own nature be corrupted in such society. But it is possible that our protest or our sincere remonstrance may change the theme of discourse. In that case we have done good to those who were inclined to hold Truth in light esteem, for we have saved them for ridiculing Truth.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
This is a reference to verse 68 of Surah al-An‘am in which it is instructed that when people start baseless arguing with the verses of God, Muslims should not sit with these wrongdoers until they get involved in some other talk. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
If a Muslim sits in gatherings in which God’s religion and shari‘ah are ridiculed, then this shows that he has no sense of honour and dignity left in him. If a person thinks that being part of such gatherings is a source of honour and respect for him, then this would not only show that he is devoid of any sense of honour, but also he is devoid of faith. Such Hypocrites will meet the same fate as has been destined for people who ridicule religion – with whom they sit. 
(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 410)

 الَّذِينَ يَتَرَبَّصُونَ بِكُمْ فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ فَتْحٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ وَإِن كَانَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ نَصِيبٌ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَسْتَحْوِذْ عَلَيْكُمْ وَنَمْنَعْكُم مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ فَاللَّـهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا  
( 141 )   Those who wait [and watch] you. Then if you gain a victory from Allah, they say, "Were we not with you?" But if the disbelievers have a success, they say [to them], "Did we not gain the advantage over you, but we protected you from the believers?" Allah will judge between [all of] you on the Day of Resurrection, and never will Allah give the disbelievers over the believers a way [to overcome them].
This is typical of the hypocrites of every age. Such people try to avail themselves of all the benefits which can accrue from a verbal profession of Islam and identification with the Islamic community. They also try to secure the advantages to be obtained by associating with the unbelievers, by assuring them in every possible way about themselves that they are not 'fanatic Muslims', that their association with the Muslims is only nominal. On the other hand, they never fail to assure the unbelievers that their loyalties and concerns are the same as theirs, that in mental outlook, cultural orientation and taste they are in harmony with them, and that if a decisive conflict between Islam and unbelief were to take place, their weight will certainly be on the side of the latter.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The actual words are: یَتَرَبَّصُوۡنَ بِکُمۡ. This is an idiom of the Arabic language i.e. یَتَرَبَّصُوۡنَ بِکُمُ الدَّوَآئِرَ.

Ie., on that day, these people will not be able to influence and overpower the believers, and the way these people are audacious enough here to say: اَلَمۡ نَکُنۡ مَّعَکُمۡ (were we not with you?), they should not even image that they will be able to say this there.

Ruku / Section 21 [Verses 142-152]
Verses 142-147 Characteristics of hypocrites and the acts of hypocrisy and Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of hellfire:

إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ وَإِذَا قَامُوا إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ قَامُوا كُسَالَىٰ يُرَاءُونَ النَّاسَ وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا 
( 142 )   Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little,
In the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) no one, unless he prayed regularly, could be reckoned as belonging to the Islamic community. We know that secular associations consider the absence of any member from their meetings, without a valid excuse, a sign of lack of interest, and that in the event of continued absence, they cancel his membership. The early Islamic community did the same with those who absented themselves from congregational Prayers. In those days a person's absence from congregational Prayers was considered a clear indication of his indifference towards Islam: if he absented himself from them repeatedly he was no longer held to be a Muslim. In those days, therefore, even the worst hypocrites had to attend the five daily Prayers in the mosque. What distinguished a true believer from the hypocrite was that the former came to the mosque with devotion, fervour and eagerness, came there well before the appointed time for the Prayer, and did not rush out of the mosque as soon as the Prayer was over. In short, everything about him indicated that his heart was in the Prayer. Whereas the call to the Prayer for the hypocrite seemed like the announcement of an unavoidable calamity. When such a person set off for the mosque, he seemed to do so in spite of himself. He walked as if he were dragging the entire weight of his being. No wonder, then, that as soon as the Prayer was over, he escaped like a prisoner released from jail. His entire demeanour testified that the remembrance of God was not what he really had his heart in.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
Hypocrites are neither with the Muslims nor with the rejecters whose cause they are advocating. When they are with the Muslims, they assure them about their support, and when they are with the rejecters, they assure them that they are backing them. The fact is that in their hearts they are with neither. The Qur’an has used the words کُسَالٰی , یُرَآءُوۡنَ and مُذَبۡذَبِیۡنَ for them. All the three are accusatives of state. A little deliberation shows that they portray their complete situation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The implication is that these Hypocrites are not trying to deceive merely the people of God, they also seek to deceive God Himself. The fact is that anyone who tries to deceive God does not deceive God; he only deceives his own self. This is because God gives him respite; as a result of this, he thinks that he has deceived God whereas he has been deceived by God. The words وَ اِذَا قَامُوۡۤا اِلَی الصَّلٰوۃِ portray an example of their deception: ie. when they get up for prayer, they do so lazily, slothfully and under compulsion because if they do not participate in the prayer, their name will be struck off from the register of the Muslims; it is a pretentious prayer and is meant to show to the Muslims that they are with them. Thus in this prayer they remember God only to the extent a person can who offers the prayer in duress and to just put up a display. This is obviously a blatant act of deception against God. The Qur’an thus says that they have been forsaken by God; He has left them to wander about, and who can guide those who have been left to wander by God? 
(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 411)

  مُّذَبْذَبِينَ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ لَا إِلَىٰ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ وَلَا إِلَىٰ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ ۚ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّـهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلًا
( 143 )   Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allah leaves astray - never will you find for him a way.
Here an important fact has been stated about the person who remained unguided to the Truth despite his acquaintance with the Book of God and with the life of His Prophet (peace be on him). He was a person who was so disinclined to the Truth and so infatuated with error that even God let him go forth along the same erroneous direction that he had chosen for himself, a person on whom the door of true guidance had been shut and the way towards error had been made smooth by God. It is virtually beyond the power of human-beings to direct such a person to the Truth.

We may be able to grasp this if we consider the case of man's livelihood. God controls all the sources of man's livelihood. Thus, anyone who receives any portion of livelihood receives it from God alone. At the same time, God grants every man livelihood through the means he has himself sought. If a man seeks his livelihood through lawful means and strives accordingly, God opens the door to honest living to him and closes the avenues of dishonest earnings in proportion to his earnestness. On the other hand, there is the person who is bent upon fattening himself on dishonest earnings and strives accordingly. God permits such a person to continue making an unlawful living, and no one has the power to help him secure an honest means of living.

The same applies to man's belief and conduct in this life. In this respect too, the ultimate control rests with God. No human being can proceed along any path, whether it be good or evil, unless God lets him proceed along it, and bestows upon him the means to do so. However, it is up to man himself to choose his own path, and after he has made the choice, God will let him proceed along it, and will even pave the way for him. If a person really cares about God, genuinely seeks the truth and earnestly tries to pursue the path charted by God, God permits him to follow his choice, and even provides the means necessary to proceed along his chosen path. On the other hand, God shuts the door of true guidance on the person who chooses error and strives to proceed only along wrong paths, and further enables him to follow the path of his choice. It is beyond the power of any human being to prevent such a person from thinking wrongly, acting wrongly and using up his energies in wrong directions. If a man loses the road to his success and is subsequently deprived of true guidance by God, in whose power does it lie, then, to restore to him his lost treasure?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If we choose evil deliberately and double our guilt by fraud and deception, we do not deceive Allah, but we deceive ourselves. We deprive ourselves of the Grace of Allah, and are left straying away from the Path. In that condition who can guide us or show us the Way? Our true and right instincts become blunted: our fraud makes us unstable in character; when our fellow-men find out our fraud, any advantages we may have gained by the fraud are lost; and we become truly distracted in mind.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُّبِينًا 
( 144 )   O you who have believed, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allah against yourselves a clear case?
  إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الْأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا 
( 145 )   Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire - and never will you find for them a helper
  إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَأَخْلَصُوا دِينَهُمْ لِلَّـهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَسَوْفَ يُؤْتِ اللَّـهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا 
( 146 )   Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward.
To make one's faith exclusively to God means to concentrate one's loyalties, concerns, affections, and adorations on God, and not to allow any attachments to strike such deep roots in one's heart that one may cease to be capable of sacrificing them for His sake.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Even Hypocrites can obtain forgiveness, on four conditions: (1) sincere repentance, which purifies their mind; (2) amendment of their conduct, which purifies their outer life; (3) steadfastness and devotion to Allah, which strengthens their faith and protects them from the assaults of evil, and (4) sincerity in their religion, or their whole inner being, which brings them as full members into the goodly Fellowship of Faith.

مَا يَفۡعَلُ اللّٰهُ بِعَذَابِكُمۡ اِنۡ شَكَرۡتُمۡ وَاٰمَنۡتُمۡ​ ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيۡمًا‏ 
( 147 )   What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.
Shukr denotes an acknowledgement of benefaction and a feeling of gratitude. This verse states if a person does not behave ungratefully towards God then there is no reason why God should punish him.

The attitude of gratefulness to God consists of acknowledging His benefaction in one's heart, in confessing it in one's speech and by manifesting it in one's deeds. It is the sum-total of these which is termed shukr. This attitude requires:

(1) that a person should ascribe the benefaction to its real source, letting no one share in either the gratitude or the acknowledgement of benevolence;

(2) that his heart should be overflowing with love for, and loyalty to, the Benefactor, and that he should have no attachment to His opponents;

(3) that he should obey the Benefactor and should not use His bounties contrary to His directives.

The word used here is shakir which we have translated as 'All-Appreciative'. In the context of the God-man relationship, when the word shukr is used in respect of God, it denotes 'appreciation of services'. When it is used in respect of man, it denotes his acknowledgement of God's benefaction and his sense of gratitude to Him. To say that God 'thanks' His creatures stresses that God is fully appreciative of the services which His servants have rendered and will recompense them liberally. This contrasts sharply with the attitude of human beings, who are generally slow and uncharitable in appreciating the services rendered to them, and quick and severe in censuring people for their omissions. As for God, He is lenient and prone to overlook man's omissions. On the contrary, He rewards man manifold for his good deeds.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We can make a public scandal of evil in many ways. (1) It may be idle sensation-mongering: it often leads to more evil by imitation, as where criminal deeds are glorified in a cinema, or talked about shamelessly in a novel or drama. (2) It may be malicious gossip of a foolish, personal kind: it does no good, but it hurts people's feelings. (3) It may be malevolent slander or libel: it is intended deliberately to cause harm to people's reputation or injure them in other ways, and is rightly punishable under all laws. (4) It may be a public rebuke or correction or remonstrance, without malice. (1), (2) and (3) are absolutely forbidden. (4) may be by a person in authority; in which case the exception applies, for all wrong or injustice must be corrected openly, to prevent its recurrence. Or (4) may be a person not vested with authority, but acting either from motives of public spirit, or in order to help some one who has been wronged; here again the exception will apply. But if the motive is different, the exception does not apply. (4) would also include a public complaint by a person who has suffered a wrong; he has every right to seek public redress.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
Deliberation on this verse will show that a mention of gratitude precedes that of faith. This is because with regard to the philosophy of religion it is gratitude which is the fountainhead of true faith.

Thus if they adopt the right attitude, God will duly honour this and reward them more than their expectations. He is aware of the faith and deeds of every person; hence their attitude will also not remain hidden from him.

Verses 148-152 Do not utter evil words and Do not draw a line between Allah and His Rasools in obedience: 

لَّا يُحِبُّ اللَّـهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلَّا مَن ظُلِمَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا 
( 148 )   Allah does not like the public mention of evil except by one who has been wronged. And ever is Allah Hearing and Knowing.
  إِن تُبْدُوا خَيْرًا أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ أَوْ تَعْفُوا عَن سُوءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا قَدِيرًا 
( 149 )   If [instead] you show [some] good or conceal it or pardon an offense - indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Competent.
This verse embodies a moral directive of very high value to the Muslims. The hypocrites, the Jews and the polytheists were all bent on placing all kinds of obstacles in the way of the spread of Islam: They eagerly persecuted the Muslims and used all possible means, however malicious, against them. Such an attitude inevitably created anger and resentment. It was in the context of this storm of bitter feelings that God told the Muslims that He did not consider speaking ill of people as praiseworthy. No doubt the Muslims had been wronged, and if a wronged person speaks out against a wrong-doer, he is quite justified in doing so. Even though this is a person's right, it is more meritorious to continue to do good both in public and in private, and to ignore the misdeeds of others. For one's ideal should be to try to approximate to God's way as far as possible. God with whom one wants to be close is lenient and forbearing; He provides sustenance even to the worst criminals and seeks mitigating circumstances in even the most serious offences. In order to become close to God, one ought to be generous in spirit and full of tolerance.

In this verse two attributes of Allah have been used. For detail on these, please refer to our series of posts on attributes of Allah: 99 Attributes of Allah

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Qadir.- The root qadara not only implies power, ability, strength, but two other ideas which it is difficult to convey in a single word, viz., the act and power of estimating the true value of a thing or persons, as in vi. 91; and the act and power of regulating something so as to bring it into correspondence with something. "Judgment of values" I think sums up these finer shades of meaning. Allah forgives what is wrong and is able fully to appreciate and judge of the value of our good deeds whether we publish them or conceal them.
( 150 )   Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allah and His messengers and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in others," and wish to adopt a way in between
 Insofar as being an unbeliever is concerned, there is no difference between

(1) those who believe neither in God nor in the Prophets,

(2) those who believe in God but not in the Prophets, and

(3) those who believe in some Prophets but reject others.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Unbelief takes various forms. Three are mentioned here: (1) denial of Allah and His revelation to mankind through inspired men; (2) a sort of nominal belief in Allah and His Prophets, but one which is partial, and mixed up with racial pride, which does not allow of the recognition of any Messengers beyond those of a particular race; and (3) a nominal belief in universal revelation, but so hedged round with peculiar doctrines of exclusive salvation, that it practically approaches to a denial of Allah's universal love for all mankind and all Creation. All three amount to Unbelief, for they really deny Allah's universal love and care.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡـكٰفِرُوۡنَ حَقًّا​ ۚ وَ اَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ عَذَابًا مُّهِيۡنًا‏ 
( 151 )   Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.
وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا بِاللّٰهِ وَرُسُلِهٖ وَلَمۡ يُفَرِّقُوۡا بَيۡنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡهُمۡ اُولٰٓـئِكَ سَوۡفَ يُؤۡتِيۡهِمۡ اُجُوۡرَهُمۡ ​ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِيۡمًا
( 152 )   But they who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not discriminate between any of them - to those He is going to give their rewards. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
This means that only those who acknowledge God to be their sole object of worship and their only sovereign, and who commit themselves to follow all the Prophets, will merit reward for their acts in the Hereafter. What that reward will be depends on the nature and extent of their acts of goodness. Those who do not either acknowledge the exclusive sovereignty of God or who rebelliously reject some Messengers of God and believe only in those whom they choose to, will not be rewarded, for in God's sight their apparently good acts are essentially not valid.

God will be lenient and forgiving in judging the conduct of those who believe in Him and the Prophets.

Ruku / Section 22 [Verses 153-162]
Verses 153-159 Jews are habitual sinners and violators of Allah's commandments and Jesus was neither killed nor crucified:

يَسْأَلُكَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ أَن تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ كِتَابًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ ۚ فَقَدْ سَأَلُوا مُوسَىٰ أَكْبَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ فَقَالُوا أَرِنَا اللَّـهَ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ بِظُلْمِهِمْ ۚ ثُمَّ اتَّخَذُوا الْعِجْلَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ فَعَفَوْنَا عَن ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ سُلْطَانًا مُّبِينًا 
( 153 )   The People of the Scripture ask you to bring down to them a book from the heaven. But they had asked of Moses [even] greater than that and said, "Show us Allah outright," so the thunderbolt struck them for their wrongdoing. Then they took the calf [for worship] after clear evidences had come to them, and We pardoned that. And We gave Moses a clear authority.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The first question was from the common Muslims and the second one was from the Hypocrites. Now this is the third question which in response to the call of this surah was posed by the People of the Book in the form of a demand. They demanded that instead of the Qur’an, they wanted a Book directly revealed to them from the heavens. Only after that would they be willing to embrace faith. The answer given to them is couched in such warning that in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi anger is exuding from each and every word. He writes:
… The whole speech from the beginning to the end is based only on the charge sheet against them and the force and flow of the discourse is such that it becomes difficult to ascertain where exactly the speech has ended. In such a forceful and furious discourse, the enunciative (khabar) is generally suppressed. It is as if the rage of the speaker has taken the place of this enunciative and it becomes evident from the inchoative (mubtada) as to what the speaker intends to say. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 415)
If the desire to observe God is for satisfaction and assurance, then this is not condemnable. However, this demand of the Israelites was a mere display of their uncertainty and skepticism and an excuse for their rejection and denial. They could not be convinced in any manner that God conversed with Moses (sws). Hence they were reprimanded. The Qur’anic words used to convey this meaning are: فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الصّٰعِقَۃُ بِظُلۡمِہِمۡ. These words imply that God was not unjust to them in any way; it is they who were unjust to themselves. They are insisting on an experience which they could never have been able to bear. The result was that they were made to suffer the consequences.

This was achieved by cleansing the Israelites of the criminals at the behest of Moses (sws) and no one could dare utter a word before him. In the book of Exodus of the Bible, this incident is recorded thus:
… Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said: “Who is on the LORD’s side [ie. firm in faith]? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.And he said to them: “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbour.” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.And Moses said: “Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD], each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.” (Exodus, 32:26-29) 
  وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَاقِهِمْ وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لَا تَعْدُوا فِي السَّبْتِ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا 
( 154 )   And We raised over them the mount for [refusal of] their covenant; and We said to them, "Enter the gate bowing humbly", and We said to them, "Do not transgress on the sabbath", and We took from them a solemn covenant.
This 'manifest commandment' refers to the commandments which had been handed over to Moses on tablets. (For a more detailed account of this incident see (Surah al-A'raf 7, verses 143 ff.).The covenant referred to here is that which had been entered into by the representatives of Israel in the valley of Mount Sinai. For this see (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 63 )and (Surah al-A'raf 7:171.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In this verse there is a recapitulation of three salient incidents of Jewish refractoriness already referred to in the second Surah: viz., (1) the Covenant under the towering height of Sinai, ii. 63: (2) their arrogance where they were commanded humility in entering a town, ii. 58: and (3) their transgression of the Sabbath, ii. 65.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
It is evident from the Qur’an and the Bible that this covenant was taken from the Israelites in the valley of Ṭur where the mountain was extracted from its place and made to hang aloft on their heads like a roof, and it seemed to them that it will fall on them. It is this situation which the Qur’an has termed as raising Ṭur over them. The Qur’anic words which state this are: وَ رَفَعۡنَا فَوۡقَہُمُ الطُّوۡرَ بِمِیۡثَاقِہِمۡ. The letter ب is for mulabasah. Its purpose, in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, is to portray the fact that the Lord Almighty raised aloft mount Ṭur over them as well as the covenant that here is the covenant and mount Ṭur; if this covenant is violated, their heads will be crushed by this very mountain.

This was a city of Palestine after conquering which they were directed to enter it in a manner that showed their humility and modesty.

This originally was Friday which the Israelites had changed to Saturday. For generations, this day was specified for them to worship God signifying their covenant with Him. On this day, working, going out and hunting etc so much so lighting fire in their houses and taking service from slave men and maidens was prohibited to them. This verse mentions the people of one of their cities and refers to the various subterfuges they had invented to liberate themselves from its restrictions and in this manner made fun of God’s shari‘ah.

فَبِمَا نَقۡضِهِمۡ مِّيۡثَاقَهُمۡ وَكُفۡرِهِمۡ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ وَقَتۡلِهِمُ الۡاَنۡۢبِيَآءَ بِغَيۡرِ حَقٍّ وَّقَوۡلِهِمۡ قُلُوۡبُنَا غُلۡفٌ ؕ بَلۡ طَبَعَ اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهَا بِكُفۡرِهِمۡ فَلَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ اِلَّا قَلِيۡلًا
( 155 )   And [We cursed them] for their breaking of the covenant and their disbelief in the signs of Allah and their killing of the prophets without right and their saying, "Our hearts are wrapped". Rather, Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few.
This is a parenthetical statement.

This statement of the Jews has already been mentioned in (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 88). In fact, like all ignorant worshipers of falsehood, these people also boasted that their faith in the ideas and prejudices, customs and usages of their forefathers was so firm that they could never be made to forsake them. Whenever the Messengers of God tried to admonish them, they have been told point-blank that no matter what argument or evidence the latter might adduce in support of their message, they would never be prepared to alter their viewpoint. (See Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n. 94.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In verses 155, 156, 157, 160 (latter half), and 161 with parenthetical clauses including those in verses 158-159, and 160 (first half), there is a catalogue of the iniquities of which the Jews were guilty, and for these iniquities we must understand some such words as: "They are under divine displeasure." Each clause of the indictment I have indicated by prefixing the word "that."

Cf. ii. 88, where the full meaning is explained. Note the crescendo (heightening effect) in the argument. Their iniquities were: (1) that they broke their Covenant: (2) that they rejected Allah's guidance as conveyed in His signs; (3) that they killed Allah's Messengers and incurred a double guilt, viz., that of murder and that of a deliberate defiance of Allah's law; and (4) that they imagined themselves arrogantly self-sufficient, which means a blasphemous closing of their hearts forever against the admission of Allah's grace. Then begins another series of iniquities from a different point of view: (1) that they rejected Faith: (2) that they made false charges against a saintly woman like Mary, who was chosen by Allah to be the mother of Jesus; (3) that they boasted of having killed Jesus when they were victims of their own self-hallucination: (4) that they hindered people from Allah's way: and (5) that by means of usury and fraud they oppressed their fellow-men.

وَّبِكُفۡرِهِمۡ وَقَوۡلِهِمۡ عَلٰى مَرۡيَمَ بُهۡتَانًـا عَظِيۡمًا ۙ‏ 
( 156 )   And [We cursed them] for their disbelief and their saying against Mary a great slander,
The Jews had no grounds for suspicion regarding the miraculous birth of Jesus. The day he was born God made the entire Jewish people witness that it was the birth of an extraordinary person, and that his birth had taken place miraculously rather than as the result of an act of moral corruption. When this unmarried girl, of a highly esteemed and pious Israelite family, produced a new-born infant, thousands of people of all age groups thronged to her house out of curiosity. Instead of replying to their queries verbally, Mary pointed to the baby, indicating that he would himself reply. The wonder-struck crowd inquired if they were expected to direct their questions to the infant child who lay in the cradle. To their amazement the child addressed the crowd in a clear and eloquent style: 'I am indeed a servant of God, and to me has He vouchsafed Revelation, me has He made a Prophet'. (Surah Maryam 19: 30.)

Thus God demolished every basis for casting doubt on the birth of Jesus. When Jesus was young no one accused Mary of either unchastity or Jesus of being born illegitimately. When Jesus reached the age of thirty he launched his prophetic mission, censuring the Jews for their misdeeds and reproaching the rabbis and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He also called attention to the moral degeneration to which they had sunk, urging people to rise up and engage in the perilous struggle to establish the hegemony of God's religion. Such a struggle called for all kinds of sacrifices and involved confrontation with Satanic forces on all fronts. Once Jesus launched this mission these criminals decided to spare no weapon, however base, in their bid to silence this fearless voice of truth. It was at this point that they flung at Mary the accusation of unchastity and at Jesus that of illegitimate birth. They made these accusations despite full knowledge that both mother and child were absolutely chaste and innocent. That is why this accusation is not characterized as either a wrong or a falsehood. It is rather branded as disbelief (kufr) since the calumny was motivated chiefly by the desire to obstruct the path of true faith and not just to bring an innocent woman into disrepute.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The false charge against Mary was that she was unchaste. Cf. xix. 27-28. Such a charge is bad enough to make against any woman, but to make it against Mary, the mother of Jesus, was to bring into ridicule Allah's power itself. Islam is specially strong in guarding the reputation of women. Slanderers of women are bound to bring four witnesses in support of their accusations, and if they fail to produce four witnesses, they are to be flogged with eighty stripes and debarred from being competent witnesses: xxiv. 4.

وَّقَوۡلِهِمۡ اِنَّا قَتَلۡنَا الۡمَسِيۡحَ عِيۡسَى ابۡنَ مَرۡيَمَ رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰهِ​ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوۡهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوۡهُ وَلٰـكِنۡ شُبِّهَ لَهُمۡ​ ؕ وَاِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ اخۡتَلَـفُوۡا فِيۡهِ لَفِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّنۡهُ​ ؕ مَا لَهُمۡ بِهٖ مِنۡ عِلۡمٍ اِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ​ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوۡهُ يَقِيۡنًا ۢ ۙ‏ 
( 157 )   And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.
Their criminal boldness had reached such proportions that they attempted to put an end to the life of the one they themselves knew to be a Prophet, and subsequently went around boasting of this achievement. The least reflection on the incident of Jesus talking in his cradle (see the preceding note) makes it clear that there was no strong reason to doubt his prophethood. Moreover, the miracles of Jesus which they themselves witnessed (see Surah Al 'Imran 3: 49) had firmly established his claim to prophethood. Thus, whatever treatment they meted out to him was not based on any misconception, for they were fully aware that the person whom they were subjecting to criminal treatment had been appointed by God as the bearer of His message. It seems strange that a people should recognize a man to be a Prophet in their hearts and still try to assassinate him. The ways of degenerate nations are indeed strange. Such people are absolutely unprepared to tolerate the existence of those who reproach them for their corruption and seek to prevent them from evil. Hence the reformers, including Prophets, who arise among corrupt nations are always persecuted; they are imprisoned and even put to death. The Talmud mentions that:

Nebuchadnezzar laid waste the land of Israel. . . when the city had been captured, he marched with his princes and officers into the Temple ... on one of the walls he found the mark of an arrow's head, as though somebody had been killed or hit nearby, and he asked: 'Who was killed here?' 'Zachariah, the son of Yohoyadah, the high priest', answered the people. 'He rebuked us incessantly on account of our transgressions, and we tired of his words, and put him to death.' (The Talmud Selections by H. Polano, London, Frederick Warne & Co.)

The Bible also mentions that when the corrupt practices of Israel exceeded all limits, and Jeremiah warned them that God would have them overrun by other nations in punishment for their wickedness, his warning was greeted by the Jews with the accusation that he was a collaborator with the Chaldeans and hence a traitor. And under that pretext Jeremiah was sent to prison. In the same manner, about two and a half years before Jesus' crucifixion, John the Baptist suffered a cruel fate. On the whole the Jews knew him to be a Prophet, or at least acknowledged him to be one of the most religious people in the nation. But when he criticized the royal court of Herod, the King of Judah, he was first thrown into prison, and then, in response to the demand of a dancing girl, who was Herod's favourite 'mistress', his head was cut off.

If this record of the Jews is kept in mind, it does not seem surprising that, after having subjected Jesus - according to their belief - to crucifixion, they might have been overcome by jubilation and in a fit of self-congratulation might have boastfully exclaimed: 'Yes, we have put a Prophet of God to death!' (For similar incidents see Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n. 79 - Ed.)

This again is a parenthetical statement.

This verse categorically states that Jesus was raised on high before he could be crucified, and that the belief of both the Jews and the Christians that Jesus died on the cross is based on a misconception. As a result of a comparative study of the Qur'anic and Biblical versions we are persuaded that, so far as the trial at the court of Pilate is concerned, it was probably Jesus who was tried. Pilate sentenced him to death after the Jews showed their deep hostility to Truth and righteousness by openly declaring that, in their view, the life of a thief was of higher value than that of a man with such a pure soul as Jesus. It was then that God raised Jesus up to heaven. The person the Jews subsequently crucified was someone else who, for one reason or another, was mistaken for the person of Jesus. The fact that the person who had actually been crucified was someone other than Jesus does not in any way detract from the guilt of those Jews, for in their minds it was Jesus whose head they were crowning with thorns, in whose face they were spitting, and whom they were subjecting to crucifixion. We are not in a position now to find out how and why such a confusion arose. As no authentic source of information is available to us, it would be inappropriate to conjecture and speculate about the cause of the misapprehension which led the Jews to believe that they had crucified Jesus, the son of Mary, whereas he had already passed far beyond their grasp.

"Those who differed' refers to the Christians. The Christians have dozens of different versions, rather than one universally agreed view, regarding the crucifixion of the Messiah. This in itself is an eloquent testimony that the Christians were doubtful about the actual event. Some of them held the view that the one who was crucified was someone other than-Jesus and that Jesus himself in fact remained standing somewhere nearby, laughing at their folly. Others were of the opinion that the one who was crucified was certainly Jesus himself, but that he did not die on the cross and was still alive when brought down from it. Others asserted that though Jesus died on the cross, he later returned to life, met his disciples and conversed with them about ten times. Again, some believe that the human body of Jesus suffered death and was buried, while the spirit of godhead in him was taken up on high. Yet others believe that after his death the Messiah was resurrected physically and was subsequently taken up to heaven in physical form. Had the truth been fully known and well-established so many divergent views could not have gained currency.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The Jews made this false accusation against Mary after Jesus (sws) had passed away. They did not have the guts to do this in his lifetime.

The words رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰہِ (the Messenger of God) in my opinion are not part of the words uttered by the Jews. These words have been inserted by the Almighty and they serve to point out the severity of their sin.

This is another parenthetical sentence in which the claim of the Jews that they had killed Jesus (sws) is rebutted forthwith. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
This immediate rebuttal brings to light two aspects: first, the messengers of God are in His protection. He does not let their enemies succeed in their plans against them. For this reason, the claim of the Jews that they killed him or crucified him is totally baseless. They totally failed in this mischievous scheme of theirs. However, by accepting a false claim they ended up eternally cursed and earned the constant wrath of God. Second, neither did any incident of killing the Messiah nor of crucifying him took place but the followers among Christians of Saint Paul got hold of this cooked up story and authored a whole mythology on its basis and in this manner in order to please others harmed their own selves. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 420)
Ie., the situation that was created made the Jews believe that they had actually crucified Jesus (sws). What then did actually happen? The most likely of scenarios is the one depicted in the Gospel of Barnabas. As per its account, when Judas Iscariot after being bribed by the chief priest of the Jews came over with some guards to arrest Jesus (sws), four angels at the behest of the Almighty took him away and transformed the voice and face of Judas into exactly those of Jesus (sws). It was he who was crucified. No one was able to even touch Jesus (sws). It is while pointing to this scenario that perhaps the Qur’an has dubbed it as being made muddled up for the Jews.

The actual words are: اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ. They refer to the Christians. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi while explaining them writes:
… It is thus a fact that about the nature of the incident itself Christians … greatly differ with one another, and the mythology they have fashioned out has many discrepancies. These discrepancies are the obvious outcome of the fact that they have based their version and its reasoning on conjecture instead of reality, and in this manner the Christians crucified themselves on the cross from which the Almighty saved Jesus (sws).
(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 421)
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The end of the life of Jesus on earth is as much involved in mystery as his birth, and indeed the greater part of his private life, except the three main years of his ministry. It is not profitable to discuss the many doubts and conjectures among the early Christian sects and among Muslim theologians. The Orthodox Christian Churches make it a cardinal point of their doctrine that his life was taken on the Cross, that he died and was buried, that on the third day he rose in the body with his wounds intact, and walked about and conversed, and ate with his disciples, and was afterwards taken up bodily to heaven. This is necessary for the theological doctrine of blood sacrifice and vicarious atonement for sins, which is rejected by Islam. But some of the early Christian sects did not believe that Christ was killed on the Cross. The Basilidans believed that some one else was substituted for him. The Docetae held that Christ never had a real physical or natural body, but only an apparent or phantom body, and that his Crucifixion was only apparent, not real. The Marcionite Gospel (about A.D. 138) denied that Jesus was born, and merely said that he appeared in human form. The Gospel of St. Barnabas supported the theory of substitution on the Cross. The Quranic teaching is that Christ was not crucified nor killed by the Jews, notwithstanding certain apparent circumstances which produced that illusion in the minds of some of his enemies: that disputations, doubts, and conjectures on such matters are vain; and that he was taken up to Allah (see next verse and note).

بَلْ رَّفَعَهُ اللّٰهُ اِلَيۡهِ​ ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ عَزِيۡزًا حَكِيۡمًا‏  
( 158 )   Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.
This is the truth revealed by God. What is categorically asserted here is merely that the Jews did not succeed in killing the Messiah, but that God raised him unto Himself. The Qur'an furnishes no detailed information about the actual form of this 'raising'. It neither states categorically that God raised him from the earthly sphere to some place in heaven in both body and soul, nor that his body died on earth and his soul alone was raised to heaven. Hence neither of the two alternatives can be definitely affirmed nor denied on the basis of the Qur'an. If one reflects on the Qur'anic version of the event one gets the impression that, whatever the actual form of this 'raising', the event was of an extraordinary character. This extra ordinariness is evident from three things:

First, the Christians believed in the ascension of the Messiah in both body and soul, which was one of the reasons for large sections of people to believe in the godhead of Jesus. The Qur'an does not refute that idea but employs the same term, raf (i.e. 'ascension'), employed by the Christians. It is inconceivable that the Qur'an, which describes itself as the 'Clear Book', would employ an expression that might lend support to a misconception it seeks to repudiate.

Second, one might assume that either the ascension of the Messiah was of the kind that takes place at every person's death or that this 'ascension' meant merely the exaltation of a Prophet's position, like that of Idris: 'And We raised him to an exalted station' (Surah Maryam 19: 57). Had it been so, this idea would have been better expressed by a statement such as: And indeed they did not kill the Messiah; Allah delivered him from execution and caused him to die a natural death. The Jews had wanted to slight him but Allah granted him an exalted position.

Third, if this raf (exaltation, ascension) referred to in the verse: 'Allah raised him to Himself was of an ordinary kind, the statement which follows, namely that 'Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise', would seem altogether out of context. Such a statement is pertinent only in the context of an event which manifested, in a highly extraordinary manner, by the overwhelming power and wisdom of God.

The only Qur'anic argument that can be adduced to controvert this view is the verse in which the expression mutawaffika see (Surah Al 'Imran 3: 55))is employed. But as we have pointed out (see Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vol. I, (Surah 3, n. 51), this word can denote either God's taking a man unto Himself in soul or taking him unto Himself in both body and soul. Arguments based on the mere use of this word are not enough to repudiate the arguments we have already adduced. Some of those who insist on the physical death of Jesus support their argument by pointing out that there is no other example of the use of the word tawaffa for God's taking unto Himself a man in body as well as in soul. But this argument is not tenable since the ascension of Jesus was a unique event in human history and, therefore, the quest for another example of the use of this term in the same context is meaningless. What is worth exploring is whether or not the use of the word in such a sense is valid according to Arabic usage. If it is, we will have to say that the choice of this particular word lends support to belief in the ascension of Jesus.

If we reflect on this verse in the light of the assumption that Jesus died physically, it appears strange that the Qur'an does not employ those terms which would exclude signifying the simultaneous physical and spiritual ascension of Jesus. On the contrary, the Qur'an prefers a term which, since it is liable to both interpretations (i.e. it can mean both spiritual and physical ascension), lends support to belief in the physical ascension of Jesus, even though that notion was used as a basis to support the false belief in the godhead of Jesus.

Belief in the physical ascension of Jesus is further reinforced by those numerous traditions which mention the return of Jesus, son of Mary, to the world and his struggle against the Anti-Christ before the end of time. (For these traditions see our appendix to Surah 33.) These traditions quite definitively establish the second coming of Jesus. Now it is for anybody to judge which is more reasonable: Jesus' return to this world after his death, or his being alive somewhere in God's universe, and returning to this world at some point in time?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
There is difference of opinion as to the exact interpretation of this verse. The words are: The Jews did not kill Jesus, but Allah raised him up (rafa'u) to Himself. One school holds that Jesus did not die the usual human death, but still lives in the body in heaven, which is the generally accepted Muslim view.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The actual words are: بَلۡ رَّفَعَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَیۡہِ. This raising up has been explained by the Almighty in verse 55 of Surah Al-i ‘Imran: after giving death to Jesus (sws), He will lift him up to Himself. This means that after claiming his soul, his body too would be claimed so that his enemies were not able to mutilate it. Jesus (sws) was a Messenger of God and about the messengers this law has been stated in the Qur’an that they are protected by God and unless their mission is complete their enemies are not able to harm them. Similarly, their humiliation and disgrace is also not tolerated by God, and those who are bent upon doing this are given respite by Him till a certain time period and after that the messengers are necessarily protected from any harm these people may cause.

وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ اِلَّا لَيُـؤۡمِنَنَّ بِهٖ قَبۡلَ مَوۡتِهٖ​ۚ وَيَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ يَكُوۡنُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ شَهِيۡدًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 159 )   And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.
The death mentioned here could refer either to the death of Jesus or to the death of each and every person among 'the People of the Book'. The text lends itself to both meanings. We have adopted the first in our translation. If we accept the alternative meaning, the verse would mean: "There is no one among the People of the Book who, before his death, will not believe in Jesus.' The expression, 'People of the Book' here refers to the Jews and possibly even to the Christians. In the light of this latter meaning, the purpose of the verse would be to affirm that at the time when the physical death of Jesus takes place, all the living 'People of the Book' would have come to believe in him (i.e. in his prophethood). Alternatively, the verse would mean that the prophethood of Jesus will become manifest to every person among the People of the Book just before he dies so that they will believe in him, but at a time when believing would be of no avail. Both these views have been supported by several Companions, Successors and outstanding scholars of Qur'anic exegesis. The truth of the matter is best known to God alone.

This means that on the Day of Judgement Jesus will stand in the court of the Almighty and testify to the treatment meted out to him and to the message he brought. (For the nature of this testimony see (Surah al-Ma'idah 5: 109 ff.) below.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Before his death: Interpreters are not agreed as to the exact meaning. Those who hold that Jesus did not die refer the pronoun "his" to Jesus. They say that Jesus is still living in the body and that he will appear just before the Final Day, after the coming of the Mahdi, when the world will be purified of sin and unbelief. There will be a final death before the final Resurrection, but all will have believed before that final death. Others think that "his" is better referred to "none of the People of the Book", and that the emphatic form "must believe" (la-yu' minanna) denotes more a question of duty than of fact.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The actual words are: لَیُؤۡمِنَنَّ بِہٖ. The particle ل is for emphasis and oath and the word iman here means to be convinced of something. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi while explaining them writes:
… The only acceptable type of faith (iman) in religion is one which is based on conviction, attestation and acknowledgment – all three. Besides this, there is another type of faith which does not constitute conviction and attestation but is based on mere acknowledgement. This is the faith of the Hypocrites. Similarly, there is another type of faith which has conviction in it but it is devoid of the constituents of attestation and acknowledgement. This is the faith of the arrogant and the haughty. The truth is fully evident to them yet because of their arrogance and mischief they evade attesting to and acknowledging it, and try to hide this mischief of theirs under the veil of various excuses. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 421)
It should also be kept in mind that this sentence sounds warning and threat: in other words, today what the Prophet (sws) is trying to make them understand through the force of reasoning will materialize into reality in the near future; they should contemplate on what they will do at that time; they will have no option then but to accept it.

This sentence too sounds warning and threat the way the previous sentence did.

Verses 160-162 Punishment to Jews for their iniquities and Their only salvation is to become Muslims: 

فَبِظُلۡمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِيۡنَ هَادُوۡا حَرَّمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ طَيِّبٰتٍ اُحِلَّتۡ لَهُمۡ وَبِصَدِّهِمۡ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ كَثِيۡرًا ۙ‏ 
( 160 )   For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of Allah many [people],
After this parenthetical statement, the main discourse is once again resumed.

This may refer to the regulation mentioned in (Surah al-An'am 6: 146), that all beasts with claws, and the fat of both oxen and sheep, were prohibited to the Jews. It might also refer, however, to the highly elaborate set of prohibitions found in Judaic Law. To restrict the choice of alternatives in their life is indeed a kind of punishment for a people.

(For a fuller discussion see (Surah al-An'am 6).

The Jews, on the whole, are not satisfied with their own deviation from the path of God. They have become such inherent criminals that their brains and resources seem to be behind almost every movement which arises for the purpose of misleading and corrupting human beings. And whenever there arises a movement to call people to the Truth, the Jews are inclined to oppose it even though they are the bearers of the Scripture and inheritors of the message of the Prophets. Their latest contribution is Communism - an ideology which is the product of a Jewish brain and which has developed under Jewish leadership. It seems ironical that the professed followers of Moses and other Prophets should be prominent as the founders and promoters of an ideology which, for the first time in human history, is professedly based on a categorical denial of, and an undying hostility to God, and which openly strives to obliterate every form of godliness. The other movement which in modern times is second only to Communism in misleading people is the philosophy of Freud. It is a strange coincidence that Freud too was a Jew.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. vi. 146. The ceremonial law of the Jews forbade the eating of the flesh of the camel, rabbit and hare (Leviticus xi. 4-6), and the fat of oxen, sheep, and goats (Leviticus vii. 23), and was in other respects very strict.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
It is evident from verse 146 of Surah al-An‘am that all animals which have nails were forbidden to the Jews. Similarly, the fat of cows and goats was also forbidden to them. In the verse under discussion, the words used are: فَبِظُلۡمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا حَرَّمۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ طَیِّبٰتٍ اُحِلَّتۡ لَہُمۡ. The fact that the word فَبِظُلۡمٍ (because of iniquity) is mentioned at the beginning refers to the fact that these things were prohibited for the Jews because they were guilty of being unjust to their own souls, and not because God had in any way been unjust to them.

This directive of prohibition of interest is explicitly mentioned in Exodus (22:25-27) and in Leviticus (35:35-38).

وَّاَخۡذِهِمُ الرِّبٰوا وَقَدۡ نُهُوۡا عَنۡهُ وَاَكۡلِـهِمۡ اَمۡوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالۡبَاطِلِ​ ؕ وَاَعۡتَدۡنَـا لِلۡـكٰفِرِيۡنَ مِنۡهُمۡ عَذَابًا اَ لِيۡمًا
( 161 )   And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people's wealth unjustly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.
The Torah categorically lays down the injunction: 'And if you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him. If ever you take your neighbour's garment in pledge, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down; for that is his only covering, it is his mantle for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate' (Exodus 22: 25-7). This is one of several passages of the Torah which embody the prohibition of interest. The followers of the Torah, however, are most conspicuously engaged in transactions involving interest and have become notorious the world over for their meanness and hard-heartedness in monetary matters.

God has kept in store a painful punishment both in this world and in the Next for those Jews who have deviated from the course of true faith and sincere obedience to God, and are steeped in rejection of faith and rebellion against God. The severe punishment which has befallen the Jews in this world is unique and should serve as a lesson for all. Two thousand years have gone by and they have remained scattered all over the world and have been treated everywhere as outcasts. There has been no period during the last two millennia when they have not been looked on ignominiously and there is no part of the world where they are respected despite their enormous riches. What is more, this nation has been left dangling between life and death, unlike other nations which once appeared on the stage of history and then vanished. Their condemnation to this state of suspension makes them a lesson for all nations till the end of time. It marks the tragic fate that meets a people who, despite enjoying the guidance of the Book of God, dare to defy God. It would seem that their punishment in the Hereafter must be even more severe than in the present world. (For the questions which arise about the validity of our view, in spite of the establishment of the state of Israel, see Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vol. I, (Surah 3: 112, n. 90.)

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
This directive of prohibition of interest is explicitly mentioned in Exodus (22:25-27) and in Leviticus (35:35-38).

لٰـكِنِ الرّٰسِخُوۡنَ فِى الۡعِلۡمِ مِنۡهُمۡ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ يُـؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَيۡكَ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِكَ​ وَالۡمُقِيۡمِيۡنَ الصَّلٰوةَ​وَالۡمُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّكٰوةَ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ ؕ اُولٰٓـئِكَ سَنُؤۡتِيۡهِمۡ اَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا
( 162 )   But those firm in knowledge among them and the believers believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you. And the establishers of prayer [especially] and the givers of zakah and the believers in Allah and the Last Day - those We will give a great reward.
Those well acquainted with the true teachings of the Scriptures, and whose minds are free from prejudice, obduracy, blind imitation of their forefathers and bondage to animal desires, will be disposed to follow those teachings. Their attitude is bound to be altogether different from the general attitude of those Jews apparently immersed in unbelief and transgression. Such people realize, even at first glance, that the Qur'anic teaching is essentially the same as that of the previous Prophets, and hence feel no difficulty in affirming it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
First we have a general statement: that inspiration was sent to many Messengers, and the inspiration was of the same kind as that sent to the Prophet Muhammad, for Allah's Message is one. Note that what is spoken of here is Inspiration, not necessarily a Book. Every nation or group of people had a messenger: x. 47. Some of these messengers have been mentioned by name in the Qur'an, and some not: iv. 164.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The actual words are: وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ. The word الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ is coordinated to الۡمُؤۡتُوۡنَ; however, according to linguistic principle of ‘ala sabil al-ikhtisas (on the basis of specifying) or ‘ala sabil al-madh (on the basis of praise) is declined in the accusative. While referring to the eloquence found in this principle, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The effect this change in style casts on the listener is that this variation directs his attention to the word and with regard to the meaning the benefit reaped is that without adding a single letter by mere change of style the meaning of specifying or praising the entity under discussion is achieved. Thus for example, if the general style of والمقيمون الصَّلٰوۃَ had been adopted in this regard, the meaning would only have been “and those who are diligent in the prayer;” however, when after change of style the words وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ were said, the meaning was changed to “and especially those who are diligent in the prayer.” This change highly praised the believers and also brought out their special trait, and also highlighted the importance which the prayer has in the whole edifice of religion. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 425)

Ruku / Section 23 [Verses 163-171]
Verses 163-166 This Quran carries the same message as was sent to Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and Al-Qur'an's authenticity is verified by Allah Himself:

اِنَّاۤ اَوۡحَيۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ كَمَاۤ اَوۡحَيۡنَاۤ اِلٰى نُوۡحٍ وَّالنَّبِيّٖنَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖ​ ۚ وَاَوۡحَيۡنَاۤ اِلٰٓى اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَاِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ وَاِسۡحٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوۡبَ وَالۡاَسۡبَاطِ وَعِيۡسٰى وَاَيُّوۡبَ وَيُوۡنُسَ وَهٰرُوۡنَ وَسُلَيۡمٰنَ​ ۚ وَاٰتَيۡنَا دَاوٗدَ زَبُوۡرًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 163 )   Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms].
This emphasizes that Muhammad (peace be on him) did not introduce any innovations, and that his essential message was no different from the earlier revelations. What Muhammad (peace be on him) expounded was the same truth which had previously been expounded by the earlier Prophets in various parts of the world and at different periods of time. Wahy means 'to suggest; to put something into someone's heart; to communicate something in secrecy; to send a message'.

The 'Psalms' embodied in the Bible are not the Psalms of David. The Biblical version contains many 'psalms' by others and they are ascribed to their actual authors. The 'psalms' which the Bible does ascribe to David do indeed contain the characteristic lustre of truth. The book called 'Proverbs', attributed to Solomon, contains a good deal of accretion, and the last two chapters, in particular, are undoubtedly spurious. A great many of these proverbs, however, do have a ring of truth and authenticity. Another book of the Bible is ascribed to Job. Even though it contains many gems of wisdom, it is difficult to believe that the book attributed to Job could in fact be his. For the portrayal of Job's character in that book is quite contrary to the wonderful patience for which he is applauded in the Qur'an and for which he is praised in the beginning of the Book of Job itself. The Book of Job, quite contrary to the Qur'anic portrayal of him, presents him as one who was so full of grievance and annoyance" with God throughout the entire period of his tribulation that his companions had to try hard to persuade him that God was not unjust. In fact Job is shown in the Bible as one whom even his companions failed to convince that God was just.

In addition to these, the Bible contains seventeen other books of the Israelite Prophets. The greater part of these seem to be authentic. In Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos and certain other books, in particular, one often encounters whole sections which stir and move one's soul. These sections without doubt have the lustre of Divine revelation. While going through them one is struck by the vehemence of moral admonition, the powerful opposition to polytheism, the forceful exposition of monotheism, and the strong denunciation of the moral corruption of the Israelites which characterize them. One inevitably senses that these books, the orations of Jesus embodied in the Gospels, and the glorious Qur'an are like springs which have arisen from one and the same Divine source.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. ii. 136 and iii. 84. The list here given is in three groups. (1) The first group, Abraham's family, is the same as in ii. 136, (where see the note) and in iii. 84. (2) Then we have the prophets Jesus, Job and Jonah, who symbolize patience and perseverance. (3) Then we have Aaron the priest and Solomon the King, both great figures, but each subordinate to another primary figure, viz., Moses (mentioned in the next verse) and David (mentioned at the end of this verse). David's distinction was the Psalms, some of which are still extant. Though their present form is different from the original and they do undoubtedly include Psalms not written by David, the collection contains much devotional poetry of a high order.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
The word زَبُوْر occurs in the verse as an indefinite noun. This is meant to highlight the exalted status of the Psalms among other divine books.

While explaining the nature of arrangement in which the names of the messengers are mentioned in this verse as well as the purpose of this comprehensive reference, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The arrangement from Noah (sws) to Jacob (sws) with the mention of his progeny occurs in chronological order; after that the arrangement is based on the attributes of the respective messengers. Jesus (sws), Job (sws), Jonah (sws) and Aaron (sws) possess broad similarity in the specific category of trials they went through and in the help of God they received. Solomon (sws) and David (sws) are both prophets and kings. The latter has been mentioned after the former to emphatically refer to the Psalms. Moses (sws) is mentioned at the very end because he and Muhammad (sws) have close similarity. This fact is alluded to both in the Qur’an and in the Hadith.
… The purpose of the Qur’an behind all this mention is that these are the prophets whose names and missions have also been mentioned in the Torah and this was the way in which the Almighty blessed His prophets with His revelations and words; the people of the Book are aware of all these prophets; where in this mention is there any reference of the fact that the Almighty revealed a Book to His prophet in such a manner that its sending down be witnessed by all? Indeed, God spoke to Moses (sws) the way one is spoken to. However, the Jews were not satisfied even by this; on this too, they raised the objection that unless God also speaks to them face to face how can they believe that He speaks to him? (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 431)

وَرُسُلًا قَدْ قَصَصْنَاهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَرُسُلًا لَّمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ ۚ وَكَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا
( 164 )   And [We sent] messengers about whom We have related [their stories] to you before and messengers about whom We have not related to you. And Allah spoke to Moses with [direct] speech.
Revelation in the case of other Prophets meant either that they heard a voice or received a message from an angel. The privileged treatment accorded to Moses was that God communicated with him directly. This communication was similar to one that takes place between two persons, as is fully illustrated by the conversation reported in (Surah Ta Ha 20: 11 ff). This unique privilege of Moses is mentioned in the Bible as well, and in much the same manner. It mentions that the Lord used to speak to Moses 'face to face, as a man speaks to his friend' (Exodus 33: 11).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim-ullah: the one to whom Allah spoke.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
This is a special distinction of Moses (sws). It is evident from this that the nature of conversation with him was different to that with other prophets. However, this conversation never took place face to face; it took place from behind a veil (مِنۡ وَّرَآءِ حِجَابٍ).

  رُّسُلًا مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّـهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا 
( 165 )   [We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.
It is emphasized that the essential function of all the Prophets was the same: to announce good tidings of salvation and felicity to those who believe in the teachings revealed by God and mend their conduct accordingly, and to warn those who persist in false beliefs and evil ways that they will have to face dire consequences.

God's purpose in sending the Prophets was to establish His plea against mankind. God did not want criminals to have any basis on which to plead that their actions were done in ignorance. Prophets were therefore sent to all parts of the world, and many Scriptures were revealed. These Prophets communicated knowledge of the Truth to large sections of people, and left behind Scriptures which have guided human beings in all ages. If anyone falls a prey to error, in spite of all this, the blame does not lie with God or the Prophets. The blame lies rather with those who have spurned God's message even after having received it, and with those who knew the Truth but failed to enlighten others.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Every prophet proclaims Allah's goodness to the righteous and forgiveness to those who repent, (good news), and the Wrath to come for those who reject Faith and live in iniquity (warning). Their mission of warning is a prelude and complement to their mission of good news. No one can then say that he or she did not know.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
Here the Almighty has cited the reason for which the messengers were sent and the need which required their advent: they come as warners and as bearers of glad tidings in order to awaken people from their slumber of ignorance and indifference, and the reason for sending them was to present another evidence – after the evidence of knowledge and reason – which highlighted the truth to such an extent that none was left with an excuse to deny it.

لَّـٰكِنِ اللَّـهُ يَشْهَدُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكَ ۖ أَنزَلَهُ بِعِلْمِهِ ۖ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يَشْهَدُونَ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّـهِ شَهِيدًا 
( 166 )   But Allah bears witness to that which He has revealed to you. He has sent it down with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness [as well]. And sufficient is Allah as Witness.
Inspiration, though it is clothed in human language, and shaped to the personality of the inspired one, proceeds from the knowledge of Allah.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
This sentence has begun with the particle of emendation (istidrak). This emendation is on the overall meaning of previous verses.

Ie., witness to the fact that this is from God; He has revealed it with His knowledge. Hence it is pure and unadulterated in every sense; there is no possibility of any role or interference in it of Satan’s suggestions or one’s own desires.

The Qur’an has stated this to assure the Prophet (sws). However, it is also a proof of the veracity of divine revelation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… The argument cited above to prove the veracity of divine revelation is historical in nature. In other words, by judging the Qur’an and the Prophet (sws) on the criteria of history of the prophets and of the revelation that came to them, the status of the Qur’an and the Prophet (sws) is ascertained. Now a new argument is stated which by nature is an internal one. It means that a prophet hears, understands and evaluates the testimony of God and the angels in His inner self to such an extent that there remains no doubt in him about the veracity of the revelations which come to him. Such testimony is not procured by any non-prophet. For this reason, there is a world of difference between the inspiration of a prophet and a non-prophet. It is possible that what a person considers to be a divine inspiration is actually an inspiration from his own self or from Satan. However, the source from which a revelation which comes to a prophet, the force with which it comes and the patronage and testimony with which it comes from God and His angels is in itself such a manifest proof of its veracity that there remains no doubt in it. It is this aspect of the veracity of revelation because of which if the whole wide world refutes a prophet, even then his confidence is not shaken. His real life and vitality lies in his inner self where He finds himself in companionship with God and Gabriel. 
(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 433)

Verses 167-171 Believe in this authentic revelation if you want to attain felicity and Stop saying "Trinity" Allah is the One and Only Deity:

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ قَدْ ضَلُّوا ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا 
( 167 )   Indeed, those who disbelieve and avert [people] from the way of Allah have certainly gone far astray.
  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَظَلَمُوا لَمْ يَكُنِ اللَّـهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ طَرِيقًا 
( 168 )   Indeed, those who disbelieve and commit wrong [or injustice] - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a path.
  إِلَّا طَرِيقَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ يَسِيرًا 
( 169 )   Except the path of Hell; they will abide therein forever. And that, for Allah, is [always] easy.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Easy-not in the sense that Allah takes any pleasure in any of His creatures going astray. The contrary is the case: for Allah's Grace recognizes all good in us to such an extent that it is compared to gratitude in iv. 147: see n. 653. We must understand easy in the sense that Allah is Supreme in knowledge and power; if any forces of rebellion foolishly think that they can evade punishment, they are mistaken. Punishment comes as a matter of course. It is not a matter of difficulty or exertion on the part of Allah.

 يٰۤـاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَكُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ بِالۡحَـقِّ مِنۡ رَّبِّكُمۡ فَاٰمِنُوۡا خَيۡرًا لَّـكُمۡ​ ؕ وَاِنۡ تَكۡفُرُوۡا فَاِنَّ لِلّٰهِ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ​ ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ عَلِيۡمًا حَكِيۡمًا‏ 
(170 )   O Mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve - then indeed, to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. And ever is Allah Knowing and Wise.
By disobeying one cannot hurt the Lord of the heavens and the earth. One can only hurt one's own self.

They are being told that their Lord was not at all unaware of the wickedness in which they indulged, nor did He lack the capacity to deal severely with those who only violated His commands.

 يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّـهُ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّـهِ وَكِيلًا 
( 171 )   O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
The expression 'People of the Book' refers here to the Christians and the word ghuluw denotes the tendency to exceed the limits of propriety in support of something. The fault of the Jews was that they had exceeded the limits of propriety in rejecting and opposing Jesus, whereas the crime of the Christians was that they had gone beyond the proper limits in their love for and devotion to Jesus.

What is meant by sending the 'command' to Mary is that God ordered Mary's womb to become impregnated without coming into contact with sperm. In the beginning the Christians were told that this was the secret of the fatherless birth of Jesus. Later on, under the misleading influence of Greek philosophy, they equated this with the 'Logos', which was subsequently interpreted as the Divine attribute of speech. The next step in this connection was the development of the notion that this Divine attribute entered into the womb of Mary and assumed the physical form of Jesus. Thus there developed among the Christians the false doctrine of the godhead of Jesus, and the false notion that out of His attributes God caused that of speech to appear in the form of Jesus.

Here Jesus himself is called 'a spirit from God'. The same idea is also expressed elsewhere in the Qur'an: 'And We supported him with the spirit of holiness' (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 87).The import of both verses is that God endowed Jesus with a pure, impeccable soul. He was therefore an embodiment of truth, veracity, righteousness, and excellence. This is what the Christians had been told about Christ. But they exceeded the proper limits of veneration for Jesus. The 'spirit from God' became the 'spirit of God', and the 'spirit of holiness' was interpreted to mean God's own Spirit which became incarnate in Jesus. Thus, along with God and Jesus, there developed the third person of God - the Holy Ghost. It was this unjustified exaggeration which led the Christians to even greater error. Ironically, however, Matthew contains the statement that: 'But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.' (The Bible, Authorized version, p. 771.)

The followers of Christ are urged to acknowledge God as the only God and to believe in the prophethood of all the Prophets, and that Jesus was one of them. This was the teaching of Christ and a basic truth which his followers ought to recognize.

They are urged to abandon the trinitarian doctrine, regardless of the form in which it was found. The fact is that the Christians subscribe simultaneously to the unity and the trinity of God. The statements of Jesus on this question in the Gospels, however, are so categorical that no Christian can easily justify anything but the clear, straightforward doctrine that God is One and that there is no god but He. The Christians, therefore, find it impossible to deny that monotheism is the very core of true religion. But the original confusion that in Jesus the Word of God became flesh, that the Spirit of God was incarnate in him, led them to believe in the godhead of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost along with that of God. This gratuitous commitment gave rise to an insoluble riddle: how to combine monotheism with the notion of trinity. For over eighteen centuries Christian theologians have grappled with this self-created riddle. The concept of the trinity is capable of such a myriad of interpretations that literally dozens of sects have arisen as a result of its ambiguity. And it has been largely responsible for the various Christian churches indulging in mutual excommunication. Moreover, it is logically impossible to maintain belief in trinity without impairing belief in One God. This problem has arisen because of the extravagance in which the Christians have indulged. The easiest course to get out of the morass is to give up the innovated belief in the godhead of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledge God as the Only God, and accept Jesus as His Messenger rather than as God's partner in godhead.

This is the refutation of the fourth extravagance in which the Christians have indulged. Even if the reports embodied in the New Testament are considered authentic, the most that can be inferred from them (particularly those embodied in the first three Gospels) is that Jesus likened the relationship between God and His servants to that between a father and his children, and that he used to employ the term 'father' as a metaphor for God. But in this respect Jesus was not unique. From very ancient times the Israelites had employed the term 'father' for God. The Old Testament is full of examples of this usage. Jesus obviously employed this expression in conformity with the literary usage of his people. Moreover, he characterized God not merely as his own father but as the father of all men. Nevertheless, the Christians exceeded all reasonable limits when they declared Jesus to be the only begotten son of God. Their strange doctrine on this question is that since Jesus is an incarnation, an embodiment of the Word and Spirit of God, he is therefore the only son of God, who was sent to the earth in order to expiate the sins of humanity through his crucifixion. The Christians hold this to be their basic doctrine even though they cannot produce one shred of evidence from the statements of Jesus himself. This doctrine was a later product of their fancies, an outcome of the extravagance in which they indulged as a result of their impression of the awe-inspiring personality of their Prophet.

God does not repudiate here the doctrine of expiation, for this is not an independent doctrine but a corollary of recognizing Jesus as the son of God, and is a mystical and philosophical answer to the query as to why the only begotten son of God died an accursed death on the cross. The doctrine of expiation automatically falls apart by repudiating the dogma that Jesus was the son of God and by dispelling the misapprehension that he was crucified.

This strongly emphasizes that the true relationship between God and His creatures is one between the Lord and His slave. This repudiates the idea that the relationship which exists is one between a father and his offspring.

God is Himself sufficiently powerful to govern His dominion and has no need of a son to assist Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Just as a foolish servant may go wrong by excess of zeal for his master, so in religion people's excesses may lead them to blasphemy or a spirit the very opposite of religion. The Jewish excesses in the direction of formalism, racialism, exclusiveness, and rejection of Christ Jesus have been denounced in many places. Here the Christian attitude is condemned, which raises Jesus to an equality with Allah: in some cases venerates Mary almost to idolatry: attributes a physical son to Allah: and invents the doctrine of the Trinity, opposed to all reason, which according to the Athanasian Creed, unless a man believes, he is doomed to hell for ever. Let our Muslims also beware lest they fall into excesses either in doctrine or in formalism.

Christ often watched and prayed, as a humble worshiper of Allah; and his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane was full of human dignity, suffering, and self- humiliation (see Matt. xxvi. 36-45).

The disdainful and the arrogant are the crew of Satan, who will be gathered together before the Supreme Throne for punishment.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
Although the address is general, it is evident from subsequent verses that it is directed towards the People of the Book, in particular the Christians.

The word غُلُو when used in relation to religion means “to enhance the status and weight of some part of religion far beyond what is correct and required.” Here the reference is to the excesses committed by the Chritians as a result of which they completely distorted their religion. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Jesus (sws) was God’s servant and messenger. They made him the son of God and then elevated him to the status of divinity. Mary (sws) was his mother. They regarded her, God forbid, to be the mother of God. Gabriel is God’s servant and angel. He was given the status of one of the three and made part of the concept of the holy trinity. Jesus (sws) urged them to safeguard themselves from the riches and luxuries of both this world and the next. As a result of this directive, they fashioned out the whole system of monasticism. In other words, because of this غُلُو no aspect of religion remained in its original form and place. Everything at the bottom was elevated to the top and everything at the top was relegated to the bottom. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 435).
The evil of غُلُو arises in religion by not giving due regard to this attitude. If only those things are ascribed to God which He Himself has said, then such an evil never arises.

Ie., Jesus (sws) was God’s word kun and a spirit from Him which was blown the way it was blown in Adam and Eve. How can Jesus (sws) be given the status of God on account of this?

This refers to the Christian dogma of trinity. It is an innovation of Saint Paul. As per this dogma, the father, the son and the holy ghost share Godhead. However, it has been interpreted in such a way that claim to belief in monotheism is also upheld.

Ie., when God alone is sufficient to oversee His creation and their affairs, then from where does the option of associating some others in Godhead arise?

In order to understand the true meaning of this, readers should keep in mind the verse: لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِیۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has elaborated it. He writes:
One of the primary reasons for being inflicted with غُلُو is arrogance. If people who accept and acknowledge a thing or a person are unaware of the bounds and limits or do not have the tendency to follow these bounds and limits, they are bent upon and desirous of proving the superiority of that thing or person on all the rest. Then they begin elevating and exalting them to the extent that they are able to satisfy their arrogance by making sure that no other entity can pose a threat or challenge this superiority. The Christians were confronted with this trial. When they accepted Jesus (sws), they could not confine themselves to accepting him as a creature and messenger of God. They reckoned that there were many creatures and messengers of God. If Jesus (sws) too was a creature and messenger of God, then what distinction did he have from the rest? The manifest arrogance found in this argumentation pushed them to go to unreasonable lengths to prove that he was God’s associate. 
(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 437)

Ruku / Section 24 [Verses 172-176]
Verses 172-173 Jesus was a Prophet and worshiper of Allah:

 لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْدًا لِّلَّـهِ وَلَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ۚ وَمَن يَسْتَنكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيْهِ جَمِيعًا
( 172 )   Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant - He will gather them to Himself all together.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The disdainful and the arrogant are the crew of Satan, who will be gathered together before the Supreme Throne for punishment.

The disdainful and the arrogant are the crew of Satan, who will be gathered together before the Supreme Throne for punishment.

  فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَيُوَفِّيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدُهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْتَنكَفُوا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فَيُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا 
( 173 )   And as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards and grant them extra from His bounty. But as for those who disdained and were arrogant, He will punish them with a painful punishment, and they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or helper.
Verses 174-175 Mankind is asked to believe in the message of Al-Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُّبِينًا 
( 174 )   O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light.
  فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِهِ فَسَيُدْخِلُهُمْ فِي رَحْمَةٍ مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلٍ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَيْهِ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا 
( 175 )   So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him - He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path.
Though verse 176 also deals with the family laws contained in verses 1 - 35, it has been added as a supplement at the end of this Surah because it was revealed long after Sürah An-Nisa' was being recited as a complete Surah.:

يَسْتَفْتُونَكَ قُلِ اللَّـهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِي الْكَلَالَةِ ۚ إِنِ امْرُؤٌ هَلَكَ لَيْسَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَهُ أُخْتٌ فَلَهَا نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ ۚ وَهُوَ يَرِثُهَا إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهَا وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِن كَانَتَا اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُمَا الثُّلُثَانِ مِمَّا تَرَكَ ۚ وَإِن كَانُوا إِخْوَةً رِّجَالًا وَنِسَاءً فَلِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنثَيَيْنِ ۗ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ أَن تَضِلُّوا ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ 
( 176 )   They request from you a [legal] ruling. Say, "Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs]." If a man dies, leaving no child but [only] a sister, she will have half of what he left. And he inherits from her if she [dies and] has no child. But if there are two sisters [or more], they will have two-thirds of what he left. If there are both brothers and sisters, the male will have the share of two females. Allah makes clear to you [His law], lest you go astray. And Allah is Knowing of all things.
This verse was revealed long after the revelation of the rest of this surah. According to certain traditions, this verse was the very last Qur'anic verse to be revealed. (For these traditions, see Ibn Kathir's comments on this verse - Ed.) Even if this is disputed, it shows at least that this verse was revealed in 9 A.H., whereas the Muslims had been reciting the present surah, al-Nisa, for quite some time before that. It was for this reason that this verse was not included among the verses relating to inheritance mentioned at the beginning of the surah, but was attached to it at the end as an appendix.

There is disagreement about the meaning of the word kalalah. According to some scholars, it means one who dies leaving neither issue nor father nor grandfather. According to others, it refers to those who die without issue (regardless of whether succeeded by either father or grand father). On this question 'Umar remained undecided up to the last. But the majority of jurists accept the opinion of Abu Bakr that the former meaning is correct. The Qur'an also seems to support this, for here the sister of the kalalah has been apportioned half of the inheritance whereas, had his father been alive, the sister would not have inherited from him at all. (For relevant traditions on the subject see the commentary on this verse by Ibn Kathir. For legal discussion on the question see the commentaries of Jassas and Qurtubi - Ed.)

The apportioned shares in inheritance mentioned here are those of brothers and sisters, whether related through both parents or through a common father only. Abu Bakr gave this interpretation in one of his pronouncements and none of the Companions expressed any dissent. This view is, therefore, considered to be supported by consensus (ijma').

This means that if there is no other legal heir the brother will receive the entire inheritance. In the presence of other heirs (such as husband), the brother will receive all the residual inheritance after the other heirs have received their apportioned shares.

The same also applies to more than two sisters.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This verse supplements the rule of inheritance of the estate of a deceased person who has left as heir neither a descendant nor an ascendant. We shall call such a person A, who may be either a male or a female. In iv. 12 (second half), A's case was considered where he had left uterine brothers or sisters. Here A's case is considered where he has left brothers and or sisters by the father's side, whether the mother was the same or not. "Brothers" and "sisters" in this verse must be construed to be such brothers and sisters.

For the sake of clearness, I have expanded the terse language of the original in the translation. Let me explain it more concretely in this note. A, and "brother" and "sister" being strictly defined as above, we proceed to consider how A's inheritance would be divided. If A left a widow or widower, the widow's or widower's share would first be calculated as in the first half of iv. 12; if A left no spouse, this calculation would not be necessary. Then if A left a single "sister," she would have a half share, the remaining half (in so for as it, or a part of it, does not fall to a spouse, if any) going to remoter heirs: if a single "brother," he would have the whole (subject to the spouse's right if there is a spouse); if more than one "brother," they divide the whole (subject to etc.). If A left two or more "sisters," they get between them two-thirds, subject to the spouse's right, if any. If A left a "brother" and "sister," or "brothers" and "sisters," they divide on the basis that each "brother's" share is twice that of the "sister" (subject to, etc.). In all cases debts, funeral expenses, and legacies (to the amount allowed) have priority as in n. 522.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's Explanation:
Research on the word kalalah has already been mentioned in the explanation of verses 11 and 12 of this surah. From here begins the answer to the fourth and last question. It arose about the shares of the brothers and sisters in the absence of children. Though a hint of an answer to this question was also found in verses 11 and 12, but when people could not understand it and they posed this question, the Qur’an answered it with full clarity.

The verse begins with the words: قُلِ اللّٰہُ یُفۡتِیۡکُمۡ فِی الۡکَلٰلَۃِ (God enjoins you about your kalalah relatives. These words are of the same style and pattern as یُوۡصِیۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ فِیۡۤ اَوۡلَادِکُمۡ (God enjoins you about your children). In the latter case, the directive is about the children as the heirs of a deceased while in the former case, the pronouncement is about کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives as the heirs of a deceased. The article ال (alif lam) defines the word کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) in this verse, which testifies to the fact that the question concerns some specific relations among the کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives and the answer shows that these specific relations are the deceased’s brothers and sisters. Verse 12 of Surah al-Nisa’ has already empowered a person to bequeath a part of his legacy in favour of کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives like uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Here, a particular case is mentioned after the general directive. Considering this, the correct meaning of the verse is: “Say, God gives you a pronouncement about brothers and sisters among the kalalah relatives.”

The actual words are: اِنِ امۡرُؤٌا ہَلَکَ لَیۡسَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ. They merely impose a condition which must be fulfilled if the brothers and sisters are to receive a share in a legacy. Just as in the verse فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ وَرِثَہٗۤ اَبَوٰہُ (and if he does not have children, and his parents are his heirs), a condition is imposed that if the deceased is childless and only his parents are his heirs, then they shall receive such and such shares. Similarly, in the given verse, a condition is stated that if a person dies childless, and he has brothers and sisters, then their share is such and such. Also evident from the condition in the verse is that brothers and sisters are heirs of a deceased, only in case he dies childless. If he leaves children, then they do not have any share in his legacy except if a deceased makes a bequest in their favour according to the general directive mentioned in verse 12 of Surah al-Nisa’.

The shares of brothers and sisters stated here are the same as those of the children stated earlier. Also, the style found in the verse وَاِنۡ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَۃً رِّجَالًا وَّنِسَآءً فَلِلذَّکَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ الۡاُنۡثَیَیۡنِ (and if there are many brothers and sisters, then the share of each male shall be equal to that of two females’) bears witness to the fact that these shares also shall be given after the parents and the spouses are handed over their shares. The relevant arguments are presented in the explanation of verse 11 of this surah. Hence, if the deceased only has sisters, then two-thirds or one half (whatever the case may be) of the share meant for the brothers and sisters shall be given to the sister or sisters.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah An-Nisa' 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 |
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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