2:7 Disbelievers (2)

2:7 ​Allah has set a seal upon their hearts, and upon their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering. And for them is a great punishment.

Khatama means sealing something so that the sealed can’t be reached and nothing can enter  upon it.

Other words to describe heart (qalb): sadr and fu’ad.

Sealed hearts and hearings can’t absorb Allah’s word, understand and reflect on his ayah. 

Allah described the hearts of disbelievers in ten ways:

  1. Sealed (this ayah 2:7)
  2. In denial and puffed with pride (16:22)
  3. Filled with fanatic rage (48:26)
  4. Hard (39:22 and 2:74)
  5. Dead (6:122 and 6:36)
  6. Rusted (83:14)
  7. Sick (47:29)
  8. Narrow and constricted (6:125)
  9. Stamped (9:87 and  4:155)
  10. Turn away (9:127)

Again, Allah has the right to guide or misguide. But this doesn’t negate His attribute of being just. Allah doesn’t deprive anyone to the extend that he couldn’t perform his obligations. If He does deprived anyone, the obligations no longer applicable on him due to his inability. 

But being guided is never a condition for anyone to be obligated to perform anything.

Covered or blindfolded eyes can’t see the obvious signs.

Superiority of the Heart

Allah mentions heart before our other faculties due to its superiority against the others. The heart controls the body. 

“There is a lump of flesh in the body. When it is sound, the entire body is sound, and when it is corrupt, the entire body is corrupt – it is the heart”

When the heart commanded the body to disobey Allah, it will be stained. If he continues, his heart will be completely corrupted.

“A man may commit a sin and his heart becomes black. If he repents, his heart is polished.” Tirmizi

Muslim relates a hadith from Hudhayfa: “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, related two ahadith to us. I have seen one of them come true and am still waiting for the other. He related to us that the quality of trustworthiness had descended into the hearts of men. Then the Qur’an came down and they knew it from the Qur’an and they knew it from the Sunna. Then he related that trustworthiness would be removed, and he said, ‘A man will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a small scar. Then he will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a superficial blister, such as you see when an ember rolls onto someone’s foot and it blisters up.’

Then he took some pebbles and rolled them onto his foot. 

‘And people will continue to trade but practically no one will fulfil his trust, to such a point that it will be said, “There is a trustworthy man among the Banu so-and-so!” and until it will be said of a man, “How tough he is! How elegant! How intelligent!” when he does not have even a speck of belief in his heart.’ There was a time when I did not care whom I did business with. If he was a Muslim, his deen (religion) was sufficient assurance for me, and if he was a Christian or a Jew, his Muslim patron was sufficient assurance for me. Today I only do business with so-and-so and so-and-so among you.'”

The Quran simply states a law of nature: if one takes a biased view of something and deliberately nourishes prejudices against it in his mind, he can neither see any virtue in it, nor hear anything in its favor, nor open his heart to consider it dispassionately. It is like wearing glasses, you see what goes through the glasses not what it actually is in the reality.

This is the law of nature, which is Allah’s law, hence the act of sealing up of the hearts and the ears and the covering of the eyes has been attributed to Him.

Punishment for the Disbelievers

Adhab comes from a root word meaning imprisonment or prevention. A punished person is prevented from things which are comfortable and dear to him.

Azhim means great, intense, everlasting. (Punishment for kafirin).

But alim means painful. (Punishment for munafiqin which wil be explained in ayah 10).

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2:6 Disbelievers

​2:6 Certainly, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (O Muhammad) warn them, or do not warn them, they will not believe. 

After explaining the characteristics of those favored by Allah through His guidance from the Qur’an, Allah now explains the disbelievers. 

Disbelievers

Kafaru means disbelieved.

Kufr means disbelief, opposite of iman or belief.

Kufr also means ingratitude, which can be used for ingratitude towards Allah or mankind.

The root word is kafara meaning covering or hiding. Those who cover are called kuffar (e.g. the cultivators of land, they covered the seeds with earth, 57:20). The disbelievers are called kaafiruun.

Ad Dahhak said this refers to Abu Jahal and 6 people from his household.

Ibn Abbas said this refers to leaders of Medinan Jews e.g. Ka’ab ibn al Ashraf, Huyayy ibn al Akhtab etc.

Ar Rabi’ ibn Anas said it refers to the leaders of idolaters who were killed at Badr.

If we are accusing someone as a disbeliever, it is only allowed after his kufr is revealed from the Unseen after his death (people can change before death).

Indifference towards Warnings

Indzar means giving some knowledge and instill fear simultaneously. This is only used to warn someone against something they already know, but urgently.

This ayah is not discouraging mukmin to invite everyone towards the straight path. It is just explaining the attribute of kafiruun i.e. they wont listen, so that the mukmin wont be disheartened when rejected.

All hearts are within Allah’s control. When someone stops listening (especially due to ego) Allah will cover his heart so it will be harder to listen next time. A man can stop listening as he has freewill as decreed by Allah. Allah has the right to cover his heart as also decreed by Allah.

Similarly, from many ahadith, whoever lets an evil act, a black dot will appear on his heart. If he does a good deed, a white dot will appear. This will go on until his heart is either black or white totally.

Wallahu alam.

2:5 Success for the Guided

2:5 ​Those are on guidance from their Lord. And those, they are the successful.

Those who fulfilled the criteria mentioned in the two ayah previously are those who have taqwa. They are those who shall obtain guidance through Qur’an (ayah 2).

The muttaqin receives guidance from their Lord. This again shows that Allah has the absolute power to influence our fate. This is in contrast to some people (e.g. the qadariyyah) who claimed that men are owner of their own fate, faith and creator of their own guidance.

Falah comes from root word falh meaning splitting or cleaving.
Tillage on earth when is was ploughed for cultivation is called filaaha.

The successful is the one who cuts through adversity until he reaches his goals.

Meaning success will only come after adversity.

Successful here means attain Paradise and avoided hellfire. True success is in the hereafter. This world is a test.

 Wallahu alam.

2:4 Traits of Taqwa (2)

​2:4 And those who believe in that which has been revealed to you (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before you, and they are certain of the Hereafter.

This is the continuation of characteristics of the muttaqin. This ayah covers all parts of time i.e. past, present and future.

Belief in the Scriptures

Muttaqin are those who believed that all heavenly scriptures are sent by Allah.

By decreeing this, Allah ordered us to believe in all of His prophets as well. Indirectly, Allah wants us to put away our nationalism, tribalism and prejudices in dealing with other nations especially in inviting them to the straight path. This sets a clear guidelines for Muslim’s stand and policies with regard to non Muslims.

Also implied here is that no more kitab will come after Quran as Allah didnt command us to believe in future revelations, unlike covenant of bani Israel.

Belief in all the scriptures are contrary to the Christians and Jewish doctrines. When they were invited to follow Qur’an, they said they only believed in what their forefathers believed.

Belief in the Hereafter

Muttaqin are yaqin (truly certain, having knowledge free of doubts) that the hereafter is true and coming.

Indirectly, this implied that:

  • the world is temporary
  • all our actions will be judged and we shall be rewarded or punished 
  • thus the criterion of our value system should be based on hereafter

Wallahu alam

2:3 Traits of Taqwa (1)

2:3 Those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them.

This ayah and the next explain the characteristics of the muttaqin.

This ayah covers spiritual and physical aspects of the religion i.e. the complete way of life. 

Belief in the Unseen is spiritual (belief and faith). Spending is the relationship between man and his society (economy/trade, good attitudes and cooperation). Prayers combined both spiritual and physical aspects of man with himself (discipline, self control and focus).

Belief in the unseen

The first trait of muttaqin is believing (muminuna means those who have peace/ have come to terms with) in the unseen/supernatural (ghaybiyyat). 

The unseen here means everything that the messenger reported which are beyond the scope of human intellect.

This refers to a spiritual trait.

One way belief in the unseen will increase our taqwa is that we know Allah is always aware and His angels are recording all of our deeds which will all be rewarded or punished later in the Hereafter. Thus the belief will help mankind to adhere to guidance from Allah and abstain from evil either to attain the Garden or to avoid the Hellfire.

The supernature of one thing depends on the knowledge or assumptions at the time or by whom  it is being referred to.

During the black plague, people referred to it as wrath of God i.e. supernatural. But when human knowledge developed, we know that the plague was caused by microorganisms carried by vectors which spread the symptoms of the disease thus it is no more supernatural. Similar to Allah, angels, the Hereafter etc, all is unseen, but when the Reckoning comes and men can see all of the ghaybiyyat mentioned in the Quran, we can no longer deny them but faith/belief after death is not beneficial if we denied them during lifetime i.e. during the period of test.

On another note, human still dont know why and how something happened at a specific place and time, and this is still supernatural. In Islam it is called qadawa qadar (matters preordained by Allah, Allah’s plan and execution) based on His attributes of qudrat wa iradah (able and freewill).

Establish Prayers

The second trait of muttaqin is yuqiiimuuna assolah meaning they develop/establish the solah (prayers).

This refers to a physical trait, in the relationship between individual and Allah.

Those who are God conscious will always long for His attention and love, and this is attained in solah.

This trait is not limited to performing solah (both obligatory and optional) but includes perfecting the purification before performing solah, the lines, the congregation, the facilities for solah and actively urging the community towards performing solah.

Spend in God’s Way

The third trait of muttaqin is that they spend (in Allah’s cause) from what Allah provided them.

This is a physical trait, affecting relationship between individual and his community.

1. Allah stated “from what We provided”.

This is to teach us that all that we have are provided by Him, not from our own efforts.
Allah is the one who determined whether our efforts will be beneficial or otherwise based on His decreed sunnatullah, i.e. His laws of nature and sciences, and His iradah i.e. His freewill.

Furthermore even when all of our efforts are in line with sunnatullah to be successful, there are so many aspects which are out of our control but lie in the domain of Allah’s control.

2. Infaq means spend

Islam encourages wealth to be circulated. Assets which are left idle are liable for zakah, i.e. compulsory almsgiving, because the assets are supposed to be used for the benefit of all e.g. idle lands, minimum cash balance in bank etc.
Islam prohibits the accumulation of wealth by certain groups. This has caused injustice in society and made the economy susceptible to major downturn caused by small group of people or one industry.
This concept shouldnt be confused with consumerism, as Islam discouraged overspending and lavish lifestyle. Consume what we need, spend the rest in Allah’s way.

This world is only a stopover on our way to the hereafter. Eat when we are hungry and stop before we are full. Those who spent lavishly are siblings of shaytan.

In a smaller scale, we will be rewarded for our deeds in this world. Included is our spending in a good way e.g. to sustain the family, almsgiving, etc.

The wealth that we accumulate wont give us any good if we dont spend them because they will be bequeathed to our offsprings. The portion that we spent in Allah’s cause will be our eternal wealth as these will aid us in attaining salvation.

Wallahualam.

2:2 The book

2:2 That is the book, in which there is no doubt, guidance for the muttaqin.

Zaalika (that) is used instead of haaza (this) to show the elevated status of Quran. Furthermore, it refers to the complete Quran in the heavens as Quran was not yet completely revealed and writted down when this verse was revealed.

Kitaab (book) is used to show that Quran is to be written down.

Laa rayba fee hi (No doubt/suspicion/need in it) meaning no falsehood and contradictions. Later in this chapter, Allah challenged those who have doubts regarding Quran to produce similar chapter themselves.

Al Qur’an is one of Allah’s quality, thus it is not a creation and not subject to time.

This kitaab is the hudan (good guidance, clarification), as an answer to our plea in Al Fatihah requesting for guidance towards the straight path.

Giving admonition, directions and calling towards the truth are the duties of the messengers and the believers. However, it is entirely Allah’s right to choose who among His servants are to be guided by the admonitions, directions and calls.

Lil muttaqiin (for those who have taqwa). 

Al Qur’an is a guidance for all of mankind as stated many times in it. Allah mentions muttaqun (those who have taqwa) as it is a condition to be guided by Allah, as Allah has the right to choose whoever He wishes to be guided.

Pre-requisite to be guided is to have taqwa (piety, warding off evil, fear & love of God) i.e. those who protect themselves by abiding to Allah’s commands and restrictions.

Taqwa is one of the themes of this chapter. Next 3 sentences described .

This theme, ie taqwa, is apparent in al Baqarah eg “worship your Lord so you may attain taqwa”. Same goes for ayat on fasting, jihad etc.

Al Baqarah: Topics and Interconnections

From Tafhimul Quran:

Ayats 120.
These introductory verses declare the Quran to be the Book of guidance: enunciate the articles of the faith (belief) in Allah, prophethood and life-after-death; divide mankind into three main groups with regard to its acceptance or rejection, believers, disbelievers and hypocrites.

Ayats 21-29.
Allah invites mankind to accept the guidance voluntarily and to submit to Him, the Lord and the Creator of the universe, and to believe in the Quran, His guidance, and in the life-after-death.

Ayats 30-39.
The story of the appointment of Adam as Allah’s vicegerent on earth, of his life in the garden, of his falling a prey to the temptations of Satan, of his repentance and its acceptance, has been related to show to mankind (Adam’s offspring) that the only right thing for them is to accept and follow the guidance. This story also shows that the guidance of Islam is the same that was given to Adam and that it is the original religion of mankind.

Ayats 40-120.
In this portion invitation to the guidance has particularly been extended to the children of Israel and their past and present attitude has been criticized to show that the cause of their degradation was their deviation from the guidance.

Ayats 121-141.
The Jews have been exhorted to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who had come with the same guidance and who was a descendant and follower of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) whom they highly honored as their ancestor, and professed to follow as a prophet. The story of building of the Kaabah by him has been mentioned because it was going to be made the qiblah of the Muslim community.

Ayats 142-152.
In this portion, the declaration of the change of qiblah from the Temple (Jerusalem) to the Kaabah (Makkah) has been made as a symbol of the change of leadership from the children of Israel to the Muslim community, which has also been fore-warned to guard against those transgressions against the guidance that had led to the deposition of the Jews.

Ayats 153-251.
In this portion practical measures have been prescribed to enable the Muslims to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the leadership that had been entrusted to them for the promulgation of guidance. Salat, fasting, Zakat, Hajj and Jihad have been prescribed for the moral training of the ummat (Muslim community). The believers have been exhorted to obey authority, to be just, to fulfill pledges, to observe treaties, to spend wealth etc. in the Way of Allah. Laws, rules and regulations have been laid down for their organization, cohesion and conduct of daily life and for the solution of social, economic, political and international problems. On the other hand, drinking, gambling, lending money on interest etc. have been prohibited to keep the ummat safe from disintegration. In between these, the basic articles of the faith have been reiterated at suitable places, for these alone can enable and support one to stick to the guidance.

Ayats 252-260.
These verses serve as an introduction to the prohibition of lending money on interest. The true conception of Allah, revelation, and life-after-death have been emphasized to keep alive the sense of accountability. The stories of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and of the one who woke up after a sleep of hundred years have been related to show that Allah is All-Powerful and is able to raise the dead and call them to account. The believers, therefore, should keep this fact in view and refrain from taking interest on money.

Ayats 261-283.
The earlier theme has been resumed and the believers have been exhorted to spend in the Way of Allah in order to please Him alone. In contrast to this, they have been warned against the evils of lending money on interest. Instructions have also been given for the honest conduct of day-to-day business transactions.

Ayats 284-286.
The basic articles of the faith have been recapitulated here at the end of the Surah, just as they were enunciated at its beginning. Then the Surah ends with a prayer which the Muslim community needed very much at that time when they were encountering untold hardships in the propagation of the guidance.

 

Allah knows best.

Muqaddimah Al Baqarah

The reason for Al Baqarah’s revelation was to teach the mukmin (believers) how to lead mankind after hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah). Among the themes are guidance, taqwa (faith), belief, sacrifices and knowledge.

Guidance/ Covenant

One of the main theme of this chapter is guidance/ covenant.

Whoever accepts the guidance and adhere to the covenant will gain leadership of mankind e.g. Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Dawud (David) etc. This happened to the Muslim after hijrah.

To adhere to the covenant, one must have taqwa, belief in the unseen, etc.

Some people pretended to hold onto it i.e. munafiq (hypocrites). Some prefers chaos and corruptions i.e. fasiq (disobedients, miscreants). Some rejected it ie kuffar (disbelievers).

The instruction to change qiblah (direction in prayers) signifies the change of leadership from Jews to Muslim.

Also included in this surah are the details of muslim covenant (eg jihad, riba, fast etc), parables, etc.


Al
Baqarahs Virtues

House which al Baqarah was recited in it wont be harmed by devils (Hadith from Tirmizi, An Nasaie, Hakim, Ad Darimi, At Tabrani, Ibn Hibban).

Al Baqarah and Ali Imran will intercede for their people during reckoning (Ibn Majah, Muslim, Ahmad).

Contains basic concepts and many rulings. Rasulullah once appointed a younger commander because he remembers and practise Al Baqarah.

Fully madani (revealed after hijrah ie migration), among first to be sent down after hijrah and last revealed ayat. Also said that most are madani, some are makki (revealed before hijrah).

Also the longest surah.

1:7 Conclusion for Al Fatihah

1:7 …Who did not incur Your wrath, who are not astray.

Allah’s wrath falls upon those who knew the truth but rejected it anyway in arrogance. This was explained in Al Baqarah with the Jews during the time of God’s revelation from Musa (Moses) to Muhammad as an example.

E.g. 

2:61 & 3:112 “they brought down anger from Allah upon themselves.”

48:6 “Allah is angry with them.”

In a hadith, Sadaqa (alms giving) extinguishes Lord’s anger.

As for those who are astray or missing the target, they are explained further in surah Ali Imran, on the characteristics of the Christians. Also in surah Al Maidah (5:77) “were misguided and misguided many others and are far from the right way.”

So in Al Fatihah, we praised God with His power and attributes, admitted our dependence on Him and pleaded for the blessed path. 

Dear God, guide us to the blessed path..

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