Tafseer of Surah al-Baqarah: vs. 148-173




Shaykh Muhammad al-Amîn ash-Shanqîti



148) For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allaah will bring you together. Truly, Allaah is able to do all things.

149) And from wheresoever you start forth, turn your face in the direction of the Holy Mosque. This is indeed the truth from your Lord. And Allaah is not unaware of what you do.

150) And from wheresoever you start forth, turn your face in the direction of the Holy Mosque, and wheresoever you are turn your faces towards it (when you pray) so that men may have no argument against you except those of them who are wrong-doers. So fear them not but fear Me! So that I may complete My Blessings upon you and that you may be guided.

151) Similarly (to complete My Blessings on you) We have sent among you a Messenger from amongst you, reciting to you Our verses and sanctifying you, and teaching you the Book and wisdom, and teaching you that which you used not to know.

152) Therefore remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never be ungrateful.

153) O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly! Allaah is with the patient.

154) And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allaah, "they are dead." Nay they are living, but you perceive it not.

155) And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger and loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient.

156) Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return."

157) They are those on whom are the blessings from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are rightly guided.


(ins) The saying of the Exalted,"do not say of those who are killed in the Way of Allaah: 'they are dead.' Nay they are living": The literal sense of this verse shows that the Martyrs are alive and not dead. But Allaah has said in another verse, concerning one who is far superior to the Martyrs (SAW),


"Indeed you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die." (39:30)


The reply to this is that the Martyrs die with the death of this world and therefore their wealth is inherited and their wives can marry again by consensus of the Muslims. This is the death, with respect to this world, that Allaah informed His Messenger (SAW) that he would die.

It is established in the Saheeh of Bukhaaree from his Companion Abu Bakr that when he (SAW) died, Abu Bakr said, "may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, by Allaah, Allaah will not combine for you two deaths, as for the death that Allaah has written for you then you have died." And he said, "the one who used to worship Muhammad then Muhammad has died," and he derived evidence from the Qur`aan and all of the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) returned to him.[40]

As for the life that Allaah has affirmed for the Martyrs in the Qur`aan and the life of the Messenger (SAW) that has been affirmed in the hadeeth that his soul returns to the body in order to reply to the greetings sent to him, then both of these are lives of the Barzakh, and not comprehensible to the people of this world (i.e. those who have not died).

With respect to the Martyrs, Allaah has said, "but you perceive it not." And the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) has explained that


"their souls are placed in the bellies of green birds which have lanterns suspended for them from the Throne of Allaah. They roam around in Paradise wherever they desire, then return to these lanterns."

[Saheeh Muslim no. 1887] They are blessed in this way.

As for what is established from him (SAW) that no one sends salaam upon him except that Allaah returns his soul to his body so that he may return the salaam, and that Allaah has appointed Angels to convey to him the greetings of his nation, then this life is also not understood by the people of the world. This is because it is established for him despite the fact that his noble soul is in the highest place in Paradise, above the souls of the Martyrs, and the way that this pure soul which is in the highest place of Paradise connects with this noble body which is not eaten (or decayed) by the earth is also not understood by the creation and known only to Allaah.

Just as Allaah said concerning this type of life "but you perceive it not" so if this life was of the type that the people of this world could understand then as-Siddeeq (RA) would never have said that he (SAW) had died, and his burial would not have been permissible and neither appointing a Khaleefah after him, and neither would the killing of Uthmaan (RA) or the differences that arose amongst his Companions have occurred. And neither would what took place with Aa`ishah have occurred and they would all have asked him (SAW) concerning the rulings of things about which they differed after him such as the inheritance of the grandfather and the brothers and the likes.

So when the Qur`aan makes clear that the Martyrs are alive with the saying of the Exalted, "nay they are alive"and the Qur`aan also makes clear that the reality of this live cannot be understood by the people of this world with His saying, "but you perceive it not" and the Prophet (SAW) establishes that he is alive in the grave, hearing the greetings and replying to them and that his Companions who buried him could not comprehend this life then we come to know that the remaining people of this world also cannot comprehend this. This will be understood with more ease when one considers the state of the one who is asleep for he opposes the actions of the one awake in almost all aspects, including the fact that he experiences dreams which can be understood. Allaah knows best.

Al-Allaamah ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, says in 'Kitaab ar-Ruh,'

"It is known by necessity that his (SAW) body is fresh and preserved in the earth for his Companions asked him,


'how does our salaah upon you reach you after you have died?' to which he replied, 'indeed Allaah has made it forbidden for the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets.'

[Saheeh. Reported by Abu Daawood no. 1047]

So if his body was not to be in his grave then he would not have answered in this way. It is also authentically reported from him that he said,


'Indeed Allaah has appointed angels to roam the earth conveying to me the greetings from my Ummah."

[Saheeh, an-Nasaa`ee (2/43)]

It is authentic from him that he once came with Abu Bakr and Umar [into the Mosque] and said, "we shall be raised up like this on the Day of Ressurection." [da`eef, ibn Maajah (no.99)] This despite the certain fact that his noble soul is in the highest place in Paradise amongst the souls of the Prophets.

It is also authentically reported from him that he saw Musaa (AS) praying in his grave on the night of Israa and that he also saw him in the sixth or seventh heaven. [Saheeh Muslim] So the soul was there but at the same time connected to the body in the grave. Therefore there is no contradiction between the soul of the Prophet (SAW) connecting with his body in order to respond to the salaam sent to him while still being in the highest place of Paradise because the nature of the souls is not the same as the nature of the bodies."

This discussion proves that the reality of the life of the Barzakh is not comprehensible to the people of this world. Allaah knows best.


158) Indeed as-Safaa and al-Marwaa are two of the Symbols of Allaah so it is not a sin on he who performs Hajj or Umrah to the House to perform the circuit between them. And whosoever does good voluntarily then indeed Allaah is the All-Recogniser, the All-Knower.

159) Indeed those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance which We have sent down after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by the cursors.

160) Except those who repent and do righteous deeds and openly declare (the truth), these I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.

161) Indeed those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers, it is they upon whom is the Curse of Allaah and of the angels and of the whole of mankind.

162) They will abide therein (Hellfire) forever, their punishment will neither be lightened nor will their be reprieve.

163) And your God is One, none has the right to be worshipped but He, The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.


The saying of the Exalted,"they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by the cursors": There is no explanation here as to who these cursors are, but this is indicated in His saying after this,


"It is they upon whom is the Curse of Allaah and of the angels and of the whole of mankind."



164) Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the rain which Allaah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving creatures of all kinds that He scatters therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the heaven and the earth, are indeed Signs for people of understanding.

165) And of mankind are those who take for worship others besides Allaah as rivals. They love them as they love Allaah but those who believe love Allaah more (than anything else). If only those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allaah and that Allaah is Severe in punishment.

166) When those who were followed disown those who followed them, and they see the torment, then all their aims will be cut off from them.

167) And those who followed say: If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we disown them as they have disowned us. Thus Allaah will show them their deeds as regrets for them. And they will never get out of the Fire.


The saying of the Exalted,"Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth.": There is no mention here as to the reason why they are Signs but this is explained in other places such as His sayings,


"Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how We made it and adorned it and that there are no rifts in it? And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth. An insight and reminder for every slave turning to Allaah." (50:6-8)

"Who has created the seven heavens one above another, you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Beneficent. Then look again: Can you see any rifts? Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out. And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the devils and We have prepared for them the torment of the blazing fire." (67: 3-5)

"He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the paths thereof and eat of His provisions and to Him will be the resurrection." (67:15)


The saying of the Exalted, "and the alternation of the night and day": There is no explanation here as to why there alternation is a Sign but this is mentioned in other verses such as His saying,


"Say: 'Tell me! If Allaah made the night continuous for you till the Day of Judgement, who is a god besides Allaah who could bring you light? Will you not then hear?' Say: 'Tell me! If Allaah made the day continuous for you till the Day of Judgement who is a god besides Allaah who could bring you night wherein you rest? Will you then not see?'" (28:71-72)


The saying of the Exalted, "and in the veering of the winds and clouds which are held between the heaven and the earth": There is no explanation here as to how they are held and how they veer but this is explained in other places such as His sayings,


"And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings going before His Mercy (rain). Till when they have driven a heavy-laden cloud, We drive it to a land that is dead, then We cause rain to descend thereon. Then We produce every kind of fruit therewith. Similarly We shall raise up the dead so that you may take heed." (5:57)

"See you not how Allaah drives the clouds gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap of layers, and you see the rain coming forth from between them." (24:43)


The saying of the Exalted,"if only those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment": The meaning of those who do wrong in this verse is the disbelievers as is explained by Allaah with His words, "and they will never get out of the Fire." (2:167) This is also proven by the saying of Luqmaan to his son,


"O my son! Do not associate partners with Allaah for indeed shirk is a great wrong." (31:13)


And His sayings,


"The disbelievers are the wrongdoers."(2:254)

"And do not call upon other than Allaah - those who can neither benefit you or harm you, and were you to do so then certainly you would be from those who do wrong." (10:106)


The saying of the Exalted,"when those who were followed disown those who followed them": This verse points to the argumentation that shall occur amongst the denizens of Hellfire which is detailed in other places such as His saying,


"But if you were to see when the wrong-doers will be made to stand before their Lord, how they will cast the blame upon one another! Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: 'Had it not been for you, we certainly would have been believers!' And those who were arrogant shall say to those who were deemed weak: 'Did we keep you back from guidance after it had come to you? Nay but you were disobedient.' Those who were deemed weak shall say to those were arrogant: 'Nay but it was your plotting by night and day, when you ordered us to disbelieve in Allaah set up rivals to Him!' And each of them will conceal their own regrets (for disobeying Allaah) when they behold the torment. And We shall put iron collars round the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they requited aught except for what they used to do?" (34: 31-33)



168) O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Indeed he is to you an open enemy

169) Satan commands you only to that which is evil and sinful and that you say against Allaah what you know not

170) When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah has sent down." They say: "Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following." What! Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?

171) The example of those who disbelieve is like that of him who shouts to the (flock of sheep) that hear nothing but calls and cries. They are deaf, dumb and blind so they do not understand.

172) O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with and be grateful to Allaah if it is indeed He Whom you worship.

173) He has forbidden you only the dead animals and blood and the flesh of swine and that which is slaughtered for other than the sake of Allaah. But if one who is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin upon him. Truly Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


The saying of the Exalted,"and follow not the footsteps of Satan": There is no mention as to the resulting harm that would follow from following his footsteps but this is explained in Surah an-Nur with His words,


"And whosoever follows the footsteps of Satan then indeed he commands to indecent actions and evil." (24:21)


[It is not possible to encompass one of Iblees's evils let alone all of them. Since the evil of Iblees is of six types and Iblees remains behind the son of Adam until he gets him to do at least one of these evils:

  1. The evil of disbelief and polytheism and enmity to Allaah and His Messenger (SAW). If he gains this from the son of Adam his moaning finds relief and he rests from his ordeal with this man. Further this is the first thing Iblees desires from the worshipper, if Iblees gains this, he makes this person part of his army, one of his soldiers and he appoints him as a deputy or agent against other human beings.
  2. If he despairs of enticing him with this first evil, and if this is person is of those for whom it is written that he be Muslim in his mothers womb then Iblees tries the second class of evil. This is bid'ah (innovation). Iblees loves innovation more than debauchery and disobedience, this because the harm of innovation lies in the essence of the religion. Moreover, it is an unrepentable sin (because the person doing it believes that it is good and as such will not repent from it) and is against the call of the messengers and is a call to a message different from the one conveyed by the Messenger (SAW). Innovation is the gateway to disbelief and polytheism, therefore is Iblees gains the performance of innovation from a person and makes him from the People of Innovation then he also become one of his agents.
  3. If Iblees fails and is unable to trap the servant at this class, and if this person is from thosewho were granted the gift of the Sunnah from Allaah and hatred of the People of Innovation and Error he proceeds to the third class of evil. This is the class of major sins in all their various forms. Iblees is very covetous of letting a person fall into major sin, especially if he is a scholar who commands a following. Iblees is very covetous of that, so that he may repel the people from the scholar and spread his sins and disobedience amongst the people. He uses some people as his agents to spread this persons sins amongst people under the false pretexts that this will help them get closer to Allaah. But in fact this person is the deputy of Iblees without knowing it. For those who would like abomination to be spread amongst the believers there is a great torment in this life and in the Hereafter especially if they take charge of spreading about enormities, not out of advice, but by obeying Iblees and being his agent. All this is to repel people from the scholar and from his benefit. Furthermore the sins of this person, even if they reach the sky, are less to Allaah than the sins of those who like to spread his sins about. The scholars' sins are wrongdoing to himself. If he seeks forgiveness from Allaah and repents, Allaah will accept his repentance and He will change his evil deeds to good ones. However the sin of those who spread about abominations are doing wrong to the believers by looking for their mistakes and by intending to expose them. Allaah is in close observation and He Knows about this escapade. Nothing hidden in the chest or soul is hidden to Allaah.
  4. If Iblees is unable to snare the servant at this class he move on to the fourth class. This is the class of minor sins. These sins may ruin a person if they accumulate. This is why the Messenger (SAW) said: "be aware of the minor sins, because the simile of the minor sins is like the people who went to a desert." Then he (SAW) mentioned that each one of them brought a stick of wood until they had kindled a huge fire. The person continues taking the matter of minor sins lightly until he considers them inconsequential. Therefore a person who commits major sins but fears their condition is in a better state than he is.
  5. If the servant has prevented Iblees from trapping him at this level, he moves to the fifth class. This is the class of making the person occupied with the permissible things that bring about no reward or punishment. However the punishment of this level is caused by passing the reward missed by being occupied with these deeds.
  6. If the servant has kept Iblees from succeeding at this level Iblees transfers him to the sixth class. This is the class of making the person occupied with deeds of less reward to keep virtue away from him and to keep him away from attaining the reward of the better deed. Therefore he entices him to do a good action with less reward if that includes leaving a better action. Very few people are aware of this because if a person feels a string urge to some kind of obedience he does not doubt that it is true obedience and that he is getting closer to Allaah. He never thinks that this call is from Iblees because he believes that Iblees never calls one to good and therefore thinks that this call is from Allaah. Actually he is excused because he never knew that Iblees would call one to seventy doors of good deeds either to get him to one door of evil or to let a better deed pass.

This cannot be known except by a light from Allaah, a light that He instils in the heart of the servant. The source of this type of knowledge lies in following the way of the Messenger (SAW) and taking care of the levels of deeds with Allaah, the deeds of His favoured ones, the deeds more pleasing to Him and those more beneficial to the servant. No one has this type of knowledge except the inheritors of the Messenger (SAW), his deputies in the Muslim nation and his successors on earth. In addition, most of the creation is screened from this. This call does not come to the hearts but Allaah gives His favour to whomsoever He Wills from amongst His worshippers.

If the servant prevents Iblees from trapping him at any of these six levels he empowers his party of jinn and human beings with different kinds of harm: imputing disbelief to him, calling him misguided and an innovator, warning people against him, and intending to weaken him and disturb his heart. Iblees, by using this method, tries to confuse this persons thinking and tries to prevent people from benefiting from him. Therefore Iblees expends his utmost efforts to empower the defenders of falsehood from human beings and from the jinn against him. Then the believer is at war until death, whenever he gives up or falters he is hurt or taken captive. Hence the believer is in Jihaad until he meets with Allaah.] [41]

The saying of the Exalted,"and that you say against Allaah what you know not": There is no mention here as to what they said against Allaah without any knowledge but this is detailed in other places that they said: Allaah has forbidden the she-camel whose milk is only for the idols and the she-camel let loose to freely pasture for their goods not being allowed to carry anything. And that Allaah has sons and that He has partners, far Exalted and Above is He from that! This is His sayings,


"Allaah has not instituted things like a Baheerah[42], or a Saa'iba [43] or a Waseelah [44] or a Haam[45]. But those who disbelieve invent lies against Allaah and most of them have no understanding." (5:103)

"Indeed lost are they who have killed their children from folly, without knowledge and have made forbidden that which Allaah provided for them, inventing a lie against Allaah." (6:140)

"Say: 'have you considered what provision Allaah has sent down for you, how you have made of it lawful and unlawful?' Say: 'Has Allaah permitted you, or do you invent a lie concerning Allaah?'" (10:59)

"And say not that which your tongues concoct, the lie: 'This is lawful and this is forbidden' so as to invent lies against Allaah. Indeed those who invent lies against Allaah will never prosper." (16:116)

"Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him!" (10:18)

"And they say: 'Allaah has begotten a son!' Glory be to Him!" (2:116)


All of these verses describe in detail the sort of lies that were concocted by the disbelievers and referred to in general terms by the above verse.


{40} Saheeh Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans 5/523 no.733]
{41}'Tafseer al-Qayyim' of Imaam ibn al-Qayyim. Taken from 'al-Hijrah' magazine with some slight modifications.
{42} A she-camel whose milk was spared for the idols and nobody was allowed to milk it.
{43} A she-camel let loose to freely pasture for their false gods and nothing was allowed to be carried on it.
{44} A she-camel set free because it gave birth to a female on the first two occasions.
{45} A stallion-camel freed from work after it had finished a number of copulations assigned for it.



Source: http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?id=270&category=28




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