Posts tagged ‘Tafseer’

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 2-5:

Provided by Sajjad Khalfan

 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

 

We begin by discussing the benefits derived from reading the Holy Quran. We begin by one such benefit today as explained from Surah Al-Baqarah.

GUIDANCE FROM THE HOLY QURAN:

Guidance from the Holy Quran follows after Guidance from Allah (swt) as explained below.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 2-5:

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 2-5

{2} This Book, there is no doubt in it, (is) a guidance to those who guard (against evil).

{3} Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.

{4} And who believe in that which has been sent down to thee and that which was sent down before thee and they are sure of the hereafter.

{5} These are on a guidance from their Lord and these it is that shall be the successful ones.

QUR’AN: This Book, there is no doubt in it, (is) guidance to those who guard (against evil), those who believe in the unseen:

Those who guard against evil, or in other words, the pious ones, are the very people who believe. Piety or guarding oneself against evil, is not a special virtue of any particular group of the believers. It is not like doing good, being humble before God or purity of intention, which are counted as various grades of the faith. Piety, on the other hand, is a comprehensive virtue that runs through all the ranks of the true faith. It is for this reason that Allah has not reserved this adjective for any particular group of the believers.

The characteristics of piety, enumerated in these four verses, are five: Believing in the unseen, keeping up prayers, spending benevolently out of what Allah has given, believing in what Allah has revealed to His apostles, and being sure of the hereafter. The pious ones acquire these spiritual qualities by guidance from Allah, as Allah tells us in the next verse: “These are on guidance from their Lord.” They became pious and guarded themselves against evil because Allah had guided them to it. When they got that quality, the Qur’an became guidance for them: “This Book …(is) guidance to those who guard against evil.”

It clearly shows that there are two guidance, one before they became pious, the other after it. The first guidance made them pious; and thereupon Allah raised their status by the guidance of His Book.

The contrast is thus made clear between the pious ones on one hand and the disbeliever and the hypocrites (who are admonished in the next fifteen verses) on the other. The latter two groups are surrounded by two straying and two blindness. Their first straying causes their unbelief and hypocrisy, and the second one (which comes after their unbelief and hypocrisy) confirms their first error and strengthens it. Look at what Allah says about the disbeliever: Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing; and there is a covering over their eyes (2:7). Sealing their hearts has been ascribed to Allah, but the covering over their eyes was put by the disbeliever themselves. Likewise, Allah says about the hypocrites: There is a disease in their hearts, so Allah added to their disease (2:10). The first disease is attributed to the hypocrites themselves, and the second one to Allah. The same reality has been explained in many verses. For example: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! But He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors 2:;26); …but when they turned aside, Allah made their hearts turn aside (61:5).

In short, the pious ones are surrounded by two guidance, as the disbeliever and hypocrites fall between two errors.

The second guidance is by the Qur’an; therefore, the first one must have been before the Qur’an. They must have been guided by a healthy and unimpaired psychology. If a man’s nature is faultless and flawless, it cannot fail to see that it is dependent on something above it. Also, it realizes that every other thing, which it may perceive, imagine or understand, depends likewise on a thing outside the chain of dependent and needy things. Thus, it comes to believe that there must be a Being, unseen and un-perceptible through the senses, who is the beginning and end of every other thing. It also sees that the said Essential Being does not neglect even the smallest detail when it comes to creative perfection of His creatures. This makes him realize that the said Creator cannot leave the man to wander aimlessly hither and thither in his life; that He must have provided for him a guidance to lead him aright in his actions and morals. By this healthy reasoning, the man acquires the belief in One God, in the institution of prophet hood and in the Day of Resurrection. In this way, his faith in the fundamentals of religion becomes complete. That faith leads him to show his servitude before his Lord, and to use all that is in his power – wealth, prestige, knowledge, power, and any other excellence – to keep this faith alive and to convey it to others. Thus we come to the prayer and benevolent spending. The five virtues enumerated in these verses are such that a healthy nature unfailingly leads the man to them. Once a man reaches this stage, Allah bestows on him His another grace, that is, the guidance by the Qur’an.

The above-mentioned five qualities – correct belief and correct deeds – fall between two guidance, a preceding one and a following one.

This second guidance is based on the first one. This fact has been described in the following verses:

Allah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this world’s life and in the hereafter (14:27). 

0 you who believe! Fear Allah and believe in His apostle. He will give you two portions of His mercy, and make for you a light with which you will walk… (57:28). 

0 you who believe! If you help Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet (47:7).

*Tafseer from Al-Mizan*

Sura Ikhlas

commentary by Pooya/M.A.

Verse 1: 

“Say: He, Allah, is One.”

Commentary:

Ahad, one in being, is applied to Allah alone, and signifies the one; the sole; He who has ever been one and sole; or the indivisible; or He who has no second to share in His divinity, nor in His essence, nor in His attributes.

The spirit of the absolute unity of Allah is the foundation of the structure of the religion of Allah, Islam. This surah, which explains the unity (tawhid) of Allah, was revealed to give an idea of Godhead the Holy Prophet preached.

It begins with huwa (He) which refers to the known, known to all, but not identifying any one. Refer to the commentary of Fatihah: 1 and Baqarah: 255. In the Aryan creeds atma and brahma is one, therefore “I” (first person singular) is used by them to refer to the conception of the absolute.

Ahad signifies the unity of His essence. He is free from compositeness. According to Imam Ali bin Husayn Zaynal Abidin samad refers to the supreme being that continues, or continues for ever, or is everlasting, or is the creator of everything of whom nothing is independent, or is dependent on no person or thing but all persons or things are dependent on Him, therefore the eternally besought by all. He cannot be described or defined as one void of any excellence, or any excellence void of Him, He is infinite.

Verse 2:

Surah al-Iklaas, ayah 2:

Allah, the Eternal

Commentary:

Many meanings are mentioned for /samad/ in Islamic narrations, commentaries, and lexicons.

Raqib cites in Mufradat that ‘Samad means a Lord; one to whom reference is made in matters of importance’. Some others have said that ‘samad’ means ‘something whose inside is not hollow, but it is full’.

It also means ‘a Lord’,when applied for Allah, because affairs are dependent upon Him. ‘Samad’ signifies one who is high or elevated in the utmost highness, and a Lord to whom one resigns himself, has recourse to, or is in need of, or One above Whom there is no one, or One Who continues, after His creatures have perished.

Imam Husain (a.s) in a tradition, has stated five meanings for ‘samad’:

1. A Lord Whose Lordship has attained its utmost point or degree.

2. An Essence and Being that continues or continues for ever or is everlasting.

3. The Existence that has not a hollow inside.

4. The One Who takes no nourishment, food or drink.

5. One Who does not sleep. (5)

A tradition from Imam Ali-ibn-al Hosain (p.b.u.h.) says: ‘Samad’ is One Who has no partner and it is not difficult for Him to protect things, and nothing is hidden from Him. (6)

The term ‘samad’ has such a vast meaning that we cannot mention them, completely, or in other ,words, the names or the attributes, mentioned to describe its nature, cannot be translated to covey the exact sense to the fullest meaning of the terms.

A tradition denotes that the citizens of Basrah wrote a letter to Imam Husain (a.s) and asked him the meaning of /samad/.

He replied: In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful: Then do not plunge in vain talk about the Qur’an and do not dispute about it and do not speak about it when you do not know (it). Verily, I heard from my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, who said: ‘The person who talks about the Qur’an without knowing (it), his abode will be in fire’. Allah, Himself, has rendered ‘samad’ to mean: ‘He begets not, nor is He begotten’, ‘And there is none like unto Him’… . Yes, Allah is ‘samad’ Who is not from anything and is not in anything or on anything; He is the Creator of everything and all are from Him by His Power; what He has created to perish will perish at His Will, and what He has created to remain will remain in His Knowledge. This is Allah; al – Samad (7)

Verse 3

He begets not, nor is He begotten

Commentary:

In this verse, it rejects the idea of the Christians, the Jews, and the pagan Arabs who declared that Allah had a child or is a father. Different from this is the statement of those who believe in Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Christians know ‘Jesus’ as the son of God. The Jews believe ‘Ezra’ (‘Uzair) was the son of God: The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the Truth!, (Sura Taubah, No. 9, verse 30).

The Arab pagans believed that angels were the daughters of Allah: …And they falsely having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters…, (Sura An’am, No. 6, Verse 100).

It Is understood from some of the Islamic narrations that ‘begets’, in the verse under discussion, has a broader meaning. It negates any material and delicate things emerging from Him, or He, the Sacred Essence, emerging from any material and delicate thing.

In the above mentioned letter of Imam Hosain (p.b.u.h.), to the people of Basrah, about the commentary of the term /samad/, he commented on the current verse, saying: /lam yalid/, i.e. there emitted nothing from Him-neither material things nor a child, nor other things that emit from creatures, nor a delicate thing like a soul.

Nothing appears in Him, such as sleep, imagination, grief, sadness, happiness, laughter, tears, fear and hope, courage and discouragement, hunger and satiety.

Allah is more exalted than that something should emit from Him, or that He begets something material or delicate, nor is He begotten from something material or delicate…Similar to a living creature coming out from another one, or a plant from the earth, water from a spring,fruits from trees, nor the like, emitting delicate things from their sources, such as visionfrom the eye, hearing from the ears, smelling from the nose, tasting from the mouth, speech from the tongue, knowledge and understanding from the heart (insight and soul), and particles of fire from stone…. (8)

According to this tradition, ‘begets’ conveys a vast meaning, so that it may envelop any emitting things of any kind from anything else, and this is, in fact, the second meaning of the verse whose first and apparent meaning was the meaning that was mentioned in the beginning. Besides, the second meaning, with the anology of the first meaning, is quite adaptable and understandable; since, if Allah has no children, it is because He is aloof from the qualities of material. This meaning is also right for other qualities of matter.

Verse 4

“And none is like Him.”

Commentary:

The term / kufw / originally means ‘equal from the point of position and rank’, then, it is used for any similarity.

Considering this verse, the Holy Essence of Allah is free from all qualities or obstacles that creatures have, and free from all defects and limitations. This is ‘Unity of Attributes’ that corresponds with Unity of Number ‘.

Therefore, He is One in Essence, in attributes, and in deeds; and He is unique in every aspect.

Amir-al-Mo’mineen Ali (a) has said: “…no change can take place in Him and no lessening, diminishing, dwindling, decay and dissipation of His Mighty and Glory is possible, that He is not begotten from anyone nor does He beget anyone. ..He has no peer and no equal. He can destroy things created by Himself in such a way that they will cease to exist and disappear into nothingness…”. [16]

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