Tafseer of Surah al-Baqarah: vs. 92-120




Shaykh Muhammad al-Amîn ash-Shanqîti




92) And indeed Moses came to you with clear proofs, yet you worshipped the calf after he left, and you were wrongdoers.

93) And (remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying): "Hold firmly to what We have given you and hear (Our commands)." They said: "We have heard and disobeyed." And their hearts absorbed (the worship of) the calf because of their disbelief. Say: "Evil indeed is that which your faith enjoins you to if you are believers."

94) Say to them: "If the home of the hereafter is exclusively for you and not for others of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.

95) But they will never long for death because of what their hands have done. And Allaah is All-Aware of the wrongdoers.

96) And indeed you will find them the greediest of mankind for life (even more so) than those who ascribe partners to Allaah. Every one of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such a life will not save him a little from the Punishment. And Allaah Sees all that they do.


The saying of the Exalted, "and indeed Moses came to you with clear proofs": There is no explanation here as to what these clear proofs were, but this is explained in other verses, such as His sayings,


"And We sent on them: the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, and the blood as (a succession) of clear signs." (7:133)

"Then Moses threw his stick and behold! It was a serpent manifest! And he drew out his hand and behold! It was white (with radiance) for the beholders." (7:107)

"Then We inspired Moses (saying): 'Strike the sea with your stick.' And it parted." (26:63)


And other such verses.

The saying of the Exalted, "and hold firmly to what We have given you and hear (Our commands)": Some of the scholars said: the meaning of hear (in this context) is to 'respond to and accept.' Just as one says, 'hear and obey' meaning 'respond to and obey.' And just as one says (in prayer): 'Allaah has heard the one who praised Him' meaning 'Allaah has responded to the supplication of the one who praised Him.' This opinion is born testimony to by His saying,


"The saying of the believers, when they are called to Allaah and His Messenger, to judge between them is that they say: 'We hear and obey.'" (24:51)


This is the opinion of the majority of scholars.

It is also said: the meaning of His saying 'and hear' is hear with your ears (and do not ignore the revelation) and do not prevent others from hearing. This aspect of the meaning is proven by the fact that some of the disbelievers used to prevent hearing, fearing that the words of the Prophets be heard as occurs in His sayings concerning Nuh and the people of our Prophet (SAW),


"And indeed! Each time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers in their ears, covered themselves up in their garments and persisted (in their rejection) and puffed themselves up with pride." (71:7)

"And the disbelievers say: 'do not listen to this Qur'aan, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may be overcome.'" (41:26)

"And when Our verses are recited to them, you will notice a denial on the faces of the disbelievers! They are nearly ready to attack with violence those who recite Our verses to them." (22:72)

"They said: 'We have heard and disobeyed'" (4:46)


Because the hearing that does not negate disobedience is the hearing by the ears without responding to what is heard.

The saying of the Exalted,"every one of them wishes that he be given a life of a thousand years": The meaning of the verse is that every one of the mentioned people hope to be given a life-span of a thousand years, but even this space of time will not make them escape the Punishment.

There are two explanations given for the 'law (if)' that occurs in His saying, 'given a life (law yu`ammir)':

  1. the opinion of the majority that it is a .
  2. Some of the scholars said that the law is placed here is a conditional statement but the answer to this condition is absent, and the full sentence is: 'if they were given a life of a thousand years then this would be the most beloved thing to them.' And removing the answer to law in this way is something that occurs (a number of times) in the Qur'aan and in the language of the Arabs. So in the Qur'aan we have His saying,


"Nay! If (law) you knew with a certain knowledge." (102:5)


Meaning that if you knew with certain knowledge then you would not concern yourselves with mutual rivalry in gaining the wealth of this world. And His saying,


"And if (law) there had been a Qur'aan with which the mountains could be moved, or the earth could be cloven asunder, or the dead could be made to speak." (13:31)


Meaning 'it would have been this one' or 'you would still have disbelieved in ar-Rahmaan.'

And in the language of the Arabs is the saying of the poet, And I swear that if ( law) his messenger brought us something Except for you, but we do not find one who can reject you. Meaning that if his messenger had brought us anything save you we would have rejected it.

So when you understand the meaning of this verse then know that Allaah has further clarified this meaning in another place, explaining that were man to live his full life-span and then his life was to come to an end and the Punishment come to him, then this life of his that has passed would be of no avail to him whatsoever. This in His saying,


"Do you not see that if We let them enjoy (life) for some years. And afterwards comes to them that (Punishment) which they had been promised! All of that which they used to enjoy shall be of no avail to them." (26:205-207)


So this is one of the greatest verses in removing the deep rooted illness of excessive hope (in Allaah's Mercy that would make one lazy in performing good actions) may Allaah make us and the believers able to stay away from it's evil.


97) Say: "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel," for indeed he has revealed it (the Qur'aan) to your heart by the Permission of Allaah, confirming what came before it and a guidance and glad tidings for the believers.

98) "Whoever is an enemy to Allaah, His Angels, His Messengers, Gabriel and Michael, then verily, Allaah is an enemy to the disbelievers."

99) And indeed We have sent down to you manifest signs, and none disbelieve in them save the rebellious.

100) Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them cast it aside? Nay! But most of them do not believe.

101) And when there came to them a Messenger from Allaah confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allaah behind their backs as if they did not know!


The saying of the Exalted,"Say: 'Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel' for indeed he has revealed it to your heart by the Permission of Allaah": The literal meaning of this verse is that Gabriel placed the Qur`aan in the heart of the Prophet (SAW) without his hearing it's recitation and similar to this in meaning is His saying,


"And truly this is a revelation from the Lord of the Universe. Which the Trustworthy Spirit revealed upon your heart, that you may be one of the warners." (26:192-194)


But it is explained in other places that the meaning of this is that the Angel recited the revelation to him so that he may hear it, and then it's meanings would settle in his heart - this is the correct understanding of it's being revealed upon his (SAW) heart. This in His sayings,


"Move not your tongue in haste concerning (the Qur'aan). It is for Us to collect it and spread it's recitation. And when We have recited it to you then follow it's recitation. Then it is for Us to explain it." (75:16-19)




"And be not in haste with the Qur'aan before it's revelation is completed to you, and say: 'My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.'" (20:114)


The saying of the Exalted, "is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party amongst them cast it aside": It is mentioned in this verse that whenever the Jews made a covenant a party from amongst them would cast it aside, and it is made clear in another place that the Messenger of Allaah is the one with whom the covenant was made and that they broke their covenant with him after every time that they made it. This is in His saying,


"Indeed, the worst creature in the Sight of Allaah are those who disbelieve so they shall not believe. They are those with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time and they do not fear Allaah." (8:55-56)


And Allaah makes clear in another verse that all of them, save a few, are treacherous and deceitful. This in saying, "and you will not cease to discover deceit in them save a few of them." (5:13)

The saying of the Exalted, "and when there came to them a Messenger from Allaah confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allaah behind their backs": It is mentioned in this noble verse that many of the Jews threw away the Book of Allaah behind their backs and did not believe in it. It is clarified in another place that those who did not believe in the Book of Allaah were in the majority, this in His saying,


"And had the People of the Book believed, it would have been better for them; amongst them are some who have believed, but most of them are disobedient rebels."



102) They followed what the satans gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Solomon. Solomon did not disbelieve, but the satans disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two Angels, Harut and Marut. But neither of these two taught anyone (such things) till they had said: "We are only as a trial, so disbelieve not." And from these (Angels) people learn that which would cause separation between a man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by the Permission of Allaah. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how evil indeed was that for which they sold their own-selves, if they but knew.

103) And if they had believed, and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allaah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!

104) O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger) 'Raa`ina' (an insult) but say 'Undhurna' (make us to understand) and listen. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment.

105) Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Book nor the polytheists like that there should be sent down to you any good from your Lord. But Allaah chooses for His Mercy whom He Wills. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

106) Whatever verse (or revelation) We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in it's place) a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allaah is able to do all things?

107) Know you not that it is Allaah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and earth? And besides Allaah you have neither a protector nor helper.

108) Or do you want to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before. And he who changes faith for disbelief, indeed he has gone astray from the plain road.

109) Many of the People of the Book wish that they could turn you away to disbelief, out of envy from their own-selves, even, after the truth has become clear to them. But forgive and overlook, till Allaah brings about His Command. Indeed, Allaah is Able to do all things.


[The saying of the Exalted, " Say not (to the Messenger) 'Raa`ina' but say 'Undhurna' and listen.": This is because the Muslims used to say, 'Raa`ina (attend to us) O Messenger of Allaah' but this word had a vile meaning in the language of the Jews. So when the Jews heard this word coming from the Muslims they said amongst themselves, 'we had used to abuse the Messenger secretly, now we can do so openly!' So they used to come to him (SAW) and say, 'O Muhammad, Raa`ina' and smirk at each other. Sa`d bin Mu`aadh heard them say this and realised their intent for he understood their language, so he said to the Jews, 'if I hear any one of you say this again to the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) I will smite his neck.' They replied, 'but do you not also say it?' So Allaah revealed this verse so that the Jews would not be able to find a way to abuse the Messenger of Allaah (SAW).] [34] The saying of the Exalted,"or do you want to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before": There is no explanation here as to what Moses was asked before but this is explained in another place with His saying,


"The People of the Book ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed they asked Moses for even greater than this when they said: 'Show us Allaah in public.'" (4:153)


The saying of the Exalted,"but forgive and overlook, till Allaah brings about His Command (Amr)": This verse concerns the People of the Book as is clear from the context. As for the Amr in His saying then some of the scholars said that it is the singular to commands ( al-Awaamir), and others said that it is the singular to matters ( al-Umoor).

So according to the first opinion that it means command - i.e. the opposite of prohibition - then the command mentioned here is clarified in His saying,


"Fight against those who do not believe in Allaah nor the Last Day nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger and those who do not acknowledge the Religion of Truth among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves humiliated." (9:29)


And according to the second opinion that it means matter then this refers to what Allaah made clear in a number of verses that show what befell the Jews such as killing and banishment such as in His saying,


"It is He Who drove out the disbelievers amongst the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out. And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allaah! But Allaah's torment reached them from a place whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes (to see). And had it not been that Allaah decreed exile for them, He would certainly have punished them in this world, and in the Hereafter theirs shall be the torment of the Fire." (59:2-3) [35]


And the verse under discussion is not abrogated according to the correct opinion.


110) And establish the prayers, and give the Zakat and whatever good that you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allaah. Indeed, Allaah Sees all that you do.

111) And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." These are their own vain desires. Say: "Bring your proof if you are truthful."

112) Yes, but whosoever submits his face to Allaah and works righteous deeds then his reward is with his Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

113) The Jews say that the Christians have nothing to stand on; and the Christians say that the Jews have nothing to stand on; though they both recite the (same) Scripture. Like unto their word was said by those who have no knowledge. Allaah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.

114) And who is more unjust then those who forbid that the Name of Allaah be glorified and mentioned in Allaah's Mosques and seek to destroy them? It was not fitting that such people should themselves enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter.


The saying of the Exalted,"and who is more unjust than those who forbid that the Name of Allaah be glorified and mentioned in Allaah's Mosques and seek to destroy them": Some of the scholars said that this was revealed when the polytheists prevented the Prophet (SAW) from entering the Inviolable House (Ka`bah) during the Umrah of al-Hudabiyya in the sixth year of Hijra. So based upon this opinion, the 'seeking to destroy them' is to be taken metaphorically, i.e. they sought to destroy the mosques by preventing worship in them. This opinion is clarified and born testimony to by His saying,


"They are the ones who disbelieved and hindered you from the Sacred Mosque." (48:25)


Some of the scholars said: that the 'seeking to destroy them' which is mentioned is actual, and the verse was revealed with regards to the one who tried to destroy the Bait al-Maqdis and he is Bakhtansar or someone else. This opinion is clarified and born testimony to by His saying,


"Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the Mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands." (17:7) [36]


(ins) It is also understood from this verse that there is no one who is more unjust then the one who forbids this in the Mosques of Allaah but there are other verses from which the opposite could be understood such as His sayings,


"Who is more unjust then the one who lies against Allaah."(39:32)

"Who is more unjust then the one to whom the Signs of his Lord are mentioned." (18:57)


And other such verses. There are a number of ways to reconcile these verses:

  1. That each injustice is specifically with regards to what it is linked to, i.e. that those who forbid from the Mosques are the most unjust of those who forbid and that from those who lie there is none who is more unjust than those who do so against Allaah etc. Therefore when each of these injustices are considered looking to what they are linked to any problems in understanding these verses are removed.
  2. That specifying each injustice in this way is done taking into consideration of the past, meaning that since no one in the past has gone to the extent of the injustice that these people have done in similar things it has been ruled that they are the most unjust of those that have traversed their path before them. For example no one has prevented from the Mosques in the past to the extent that they did and no one invented lies against Allaah in the past to the extent that they did.

The claim of Abu Hayyaan that negating the fact that there is none more unjust does not necessarily negate that there are others as unjust. As such none of those who have been declared to be the most unjust exceed one another in injustice because they are all equivalent with regards to injustice i.e. there is none more unjust than those who prevent from the Mosques of Allaah and those who invent a lie against Allaah and those who deny the Signs of Allaah. This is similar to the one who says, "there is no one who is a better legal jurist then so and so, and so and so."



115) And to Allaah belong the East and the West, so wheresoever you turn yourselves to face there is the Face of Allaah. Indeed! Allaah is All-Sufficient, All-Knowing.

116) And they (the Jews and Christians) say: "Allaah has begotten a son." Glory be to Him! Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all surrender in obedience to Him.

117) The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says: "Be!" - and it is.

118) And those who have no knowledge say: "Why does Allaah not speak to us (directly) or why does a sign not come to us?" So said the people before them, words of similar import. Their hearts are alike, We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.

119) Indeed, We have sent you with the Truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a Warner. And you will not asked about the denizens of the Blazing Fire.

120) Never will the Jews or the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily the Guidance of Allaah that is the (true) guidance." And if you were to follow their desires after what you have received of Knowledge, then you would have against Allaah neither any protector nor any helper.


[The saying of the Exalted,"so wheresoever you turn yourselves to face there is the Face of Allaah": Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim bin Sallaam said in his book, 'an-Naasikh wal-Mansukh': 'from ibn Abbaas who said:


the first thing that was abrogated for us in the Qur`aan, and Allaah knows best, was the matter of the Qiblah. Allaah said, "to Allaah belongs the East and the West, so wheresoever you turn to face there is the Face of Allaah."So the Messenger of Allaah faced Jerusalem and prayed in the direction of the Bait al-Maqdis and (opted) not to pray towards the Ancient House (Ka`bah). Then Allaah turned him towards His Ancient House and thereby abrogated the verse with the verse,"from whencesoever you depart, face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wheresoever you are face towards it."' [37].

Mujaahid said concerning the verse, "wheresoever you turn yourselves to face there is the Face of Allaah," 'wheresoever you are then you have the Qiblah to face which is the Ka`bah.'.

Ibn Jareer (at-Tabaree) said, 'others said:


rather this verse was revealed before facing the Ka`bah was made obligatory, it was revealed to teach His Prophet (SAW) and his companions that they could face anywhere they liked in their prayers because they would not be turning their faces in that direction except that He was in that direction because to Him belong the East and the West and because He is in everyplace.'

If he means by his saying, 'He is in everyplace' that His Knowledge is in everyplace then he is correct for His Knowledge encompasses everything. As for His Exalted Person then it is not confined to any part of His creation, Allaah be Exalted and far removed from that! [38][39]

The saying of the Exalted, "and they say: 'Allaah has begotten a son'": This son which they think that Allaah has, may they be cursed, is detailed in other verses such as His Sayings,


"And the Jews say that Ezra is the son of Allaah, and the Christians say that the Messiah is the son of Allaah. That is only a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. The Curse of Allaah be on them, how they are deluded from the truth!" (9:30)

"And they assign daughters to Allaah! Glorified be He above what they associate with Him!" (16:57)


(ins) The saying of the Exalted, "and We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty": The literal sense of this verse shows that the clarification of the signs is only for those who believe with certainty but there are other verses that show that the clarification is general for the whole of mankind such as His sayings,


"Likewise Allaah makes plain His signs for mankind so that they may fear." "This is a clarification for mankind." (3:138)


The reconciliation between these verses lies in the fact that the benefit in this clarification is only for those who believe with certainty and therefore they have been specifically mentioned in this verse because those who do not gain any benefit from the clarification it is as if the signs have not been clarified to them at all. This is like His sayings,


"You are only a warner to those who fear it"(79:45)

"You only warn those who follow the Reminder."(36:11)


This despite that fact that he (SAW) is a warner to the whole of mankind, the black and red while in these verses the warning has been specified to these two types of people because it is only they who gain benefit from the warning.


{34} 'Mu'aalim at-Tanzeel' (1/132)
{35} The historical context of this verse refers to the Jews of Bani Nadir at the time of the Prophet (SAW)
{37} Shaykh Muqbil bin Haadee declares the narration to be authentic according to the requirements of Bukhaaree and Muslim. [Tafseer ibn Katheer with the notes of Shaykh Muqbil pg. 277] The meaning of 'Face (Wajh)' in the above verse has been understood to refer to the prayer direction because in the language of the Arabs, Wajh can mean, 'face, knowledge, or direction.' Allaah knows best.
{38} It should be known that ibn Jareer was merely quoting this from others and not expressing his own opinion. In fact his own opinion is in total accordance with what ibn Katheer mentions and the belief of our Salaf, that Allaah is not everywhere, rather He is outside of His creation, Above His Throne.
{39} Tafseer of ibn Katheer.



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