Commentary for Verses 59-116

Al Baqarah:74

ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٲلِكَ فَهِىَ كَٱلۡحِجَارَةِ أَوۡ أَشَدُّ قَسۡوَةً۬‌ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ‌ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخۡرُجُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡمَآءُ‌ۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا يَہۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡيَةِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ

The sinner’s heart gets harder and harder. It is even harder than rocks, of which a beautiful poetical allegory is placed before us. In nature we think there is nothing harder than rocks. But there are rocks that weep voluntarily, like repentant hearts that come to Allah of their own accord: such are the rocks from which rivers and springs flow spontaneously, sometimes in small trickles,sometimes in big volumes. Then there are rocks which have to be split or dug into or blown up with dynamite, and underneath we find abundant waters, as in wells beneath rocky soil. Such are the hearts of a less degree of fineness, which yet melt into tears when some great blow or calamity calls the mind to higher things.



Al Baqarah:88

وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلۡفُۢ‌ۚ بَل لَّعَنَہُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُفۡرِهِمۡ فَقَلِيلاً۬ مَّا يُؤۡمِنُونَ

The root Kafara has many shades of meaning: (1) to deny Allah’s goodness, to be ungrateful,(2) to reject Faith, deny His revelation, (3) to blaspheme, to ascribe some limitation or attribute to Allah which is derogatory to His nature. In a translation, one shade or another must be put forward according to the context, but all are implied.



Al Baqarah:102

وَٱتَّبَعُواْ مَا تَتۡلُواْ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلۡكِ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ‌ۖ وَمَا ڪَفَرَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ ٱلسِّحۡرَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَڪَيۡنِ بِبَابِلَ هَـٰرُوتَ وَمَـٰرُوتَ‌ۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَآ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ فِتۡنَةٌ۬ فَلَا تَكۡفُرۡ‌ۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنۡهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِۦ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡمَرۡءِ وَزَوۡجِهِۦ‌ۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَآرِّينَ بِهِۦ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمۡ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمۡ‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمُواْ لَمَنِ ٱشۡتَرَٮٰهُ مَا لَهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنۡ خَلَـٰقٍ۬‌ۚ وَلَبِئۡسَ مَا شَرَوۡاْ بِهِۦۤ أَنفُسَهُمۡ‌ۚ لَوۡ ڪَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ

Harut and Marut lived in Babylon, a very ancient seat of science, especially the science of astronomy. The period may be supposed anywhere about the time the ancient Eastern Monarchies were strong and enlightened; probably even earlier, as Ma-ru-tu or Madruk was a deified hero afterwards worshipped as a god of magic in Babylon. Being good men, Harut and Marut of course dabbled in nothing evil, and their hands were certainly clean of fraud. But knowledge and the arts, if learned by evil men, can be applied to evil uses. The evil one’s, besides their fraudulent magic, also learn a little of this true science and applied it to evil uses. Harut and Marut did not withhold knowledge, yet never thought anyone without plainly warning them of the trial and temptation of knowledge in the hands of evil men. Being men of insight, they also saw the blasphemy that might rise to the lips of evil ones puffed with the science and warned them against it. Knowledge is indeed a trial or temptation; if we are warned, we know its dangers; if Allah has endowed us with free will, we must be free will, we must be free to choose between the benefit and the danger.

Al Baqarah:102

وَٱتَّبَعُواْ مَا تَتۡلُواْ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلۡكِ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ‌ۖ وَمَا ڪَفَرَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ ٱلسِّحۡرَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَڪَيۡنِ بِبَابِلَ هَـٰرُوتَ وَمَـٰرُوتَ‌ۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَآ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ فِتۡنَةٌ۬ فَلَا تَكۡفُرۡ‌ۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنۡهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِۦ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡمَرۡءِ وَزَوۡجِهِۦ‌ۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَآرِّينَ بِهِۦ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمۡ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمۡ‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمُواْ لَمَنِ ٱشۡتَرَٮٰهُ مَا لَهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنۡ خَلَـٰقٍ۬‌ۚ وَلَبِئۡسَ مَا شَرَوۡاْ بِهِۦۤ أَنفُسَهُمۡ‌ۚ لَوۡ ڪَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ

What the evil ones learnt from Harut and Marut, they turned to evil. When mixed with fraud and deception, it appeared as charms and spells and love potions. They did nothing but cause discord between the sexes, but of course their power was limited to the extent to which Allah permitted the evil to work, for His grace protected all who sought His guidance and repented and returned to Him. But apart from the harm that these false pretenders might do to others, the chief harm which they did was to their own souls. They sold themselves into slavery to the Evil, as is shown in the allegory of Goethe’s Faust. That allegory dealt with the individual soul. Here the tragedy is shown to occur not only to individuals but to whole groups of people, for example, the People of the Book.



Al Baqarah:104

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَقُولُواْ رَٲعِنَا وَقُولُواْ ٱنظُرۡنَا وَٱسۡمَعُواْ‌ۗ وَلِلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

The word disapproved is Ra’ina, which as used by the Muslims meant, ‘Please look at us, attend to us.’ But it was ridiculed by enemies by a little twist to suggest some insulting meaning. So an unambiguous word ‘Unzurna’, with the same meaning is suggested. The general lesson is that we must guard ourselves against the cynical trick of using words which sound complimentary to the ear but have a hidden barb in them. Not only must we be plain and honest in our words. We must respectfully hearken to the words of a Teacher whom we have addressed. Thoughtless people use vain words or put foolish questions and straightaway turn their minds to something else.



Al Baqarah:109

وَدَّ ڪَثِيرٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَوۡ يَرُدُّونَكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ إِيمَـٰنِكُمۡ كُفَّارًا حَسَدً۬ا مِّنۡ عِندِ أَنفُسِهِم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡحَقُّ‌ۖ فَٱعۡفُواْ وَٱصۡفَحُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمۡرِهِۦۤ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬

Three words are used in the Quran, with a meaning akin to ‘forgive’, but each was a different shade of meaning. ‘Afa (here translated “forgive”) means to forget, to obliterate from one’s mind. Safaha (here translated “overlook”) means to turn away from, to ignore, to treat a matter as if it did not affect one. Ghafara (which does not occur in this verse) means to cover up something as Allah does to our sins with His grace: this word is particularly appropriate in Allah’s attribute to Ghaffar, the One who forgives again and again.



Al Baqarah:114

وَمَنۡ أَظۡلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَـٰجِدَ ٱللَّهِ أَن يُذۡكَرَ فِيہَا ٱسۡمُهُ ۥ وَسَعَىٰ فِى خَرَابِهَآ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمۡ أَن يَدۡخُلُوهَآ إِلَّا خَآٮِٕفِينَ‌ۚ لَهُمۡ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا خِزۡىٌ۬ وَلَهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ۬

There were actually Pagans in Makkah who tried to shut out the Muslim Arabs from the Kaabah, the universal place of Arab worship. The Pagans themselves called it the House of Allah. With what face could they exclude the Muslims, who wanted to worship the true Allah instead of worshipping idols? If these Pagans had succeeded, they would only have caused violent divisions among the Arabs and destroyed the sanctity and the very existence of the Kaabah.
This verse, taken in a general sense, establishes the principle of freedom of worship in a public mosque or place dedicated to the worship of Allah. This is recognized in Muslim law.



Al Baqarah:115

وَلِلَّهِ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقُ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبُ‌ۚ فَأَيۡنَمَا تُوَلُّواْ فَثَمَّ وَجۡهُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَٲسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬

That is, you will face Allah which so ever direction you turn your face.



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