Note Number : 682This line has been justly admired for its terseness and comprehensiveness. Obligations: 'uqud the Arabic word implies so many things that a whole chapter of Commentary can be written on it. First, there are the divine obligations that arise from our spiritual nature and our relation to Allah. He created us and implanted in us the faculty of knowledge and foresight: besides the intuition and reason which He gave us. He made Nature responsive to our needs, and His Signs in Nature are so many lessons to us in our own inner life; He further sent Messengers and Teachers, for the guidance of our conduct in individual, social, and public life. All these gifts create corresponding obligations which we must fulfil. But in our own human and material life we undertake mutual obligations express and implied. We make a promise: we enter into a commercial or social contract; we enter into a contract of marriage: we must faithfuly fulfil all obligations in all these relationships. Our group or our State enters into a treaty; every individual in that group or State is bound to see that as far as lies in his power, such obligations are faithfully discharged. There are tacit obligations; living in civil society, we must respect its tacit conventions unless they are morally wrong, and in that case we must get out of such society. There are tacit obligations in the characters of host and guest, wayfarer of companion, employer or employed, etc., etc., which every man of Faith must discharge conscientiously. The man who deserts those who need him and goes to pray in a desert is a coward who disregards his obligations. All these obligations are inter-connected. Truth and fidelity are parts of religion in all relations of life. This verse is numbered separately from the succeeding verses.
Note Number : 683That is, the exceptions named not only in the Qur-an but in the Sunnah as well. See v. 3 below.
Note Number : 684Cf. v. 94-96. Hunting and the use of game are forbidden "while ye are hurumun," i.e., while ye are (1) in the Sacred Precincts, or (2) in the special pilgrim garb (ihram), as to which see n. 212, ii. 196. In most cases the two amount to the same thing. The Sacred Precincts are sanctuary both for man and beast.
Note Number : 685Allah's commands are not arbitrary. His Will is the perfect Archetype or Plan of the world. Everything He wills has regard to His Plan, in which are reflected His perfect wisdom and goodness.
Note Number : 686Cf. ii. 158, where Safa and Marwa are called "Symbols (sha'a'ir) of Allah". Here the Symbols are everything connected with the Pilgrimage, viz., (1) the places (like Safii and Marwa, or the Ka'ba or 'Arafat, etc.); (2) the rites and ceremonies prescribed; (3) prohibitions (such as that of hunting, etc.); (4) the times and seasons prescribed. There is spiritual and moral dimension in all these. See notes on ii. 158, ii. 194-200.
Note Number : 687The month of pilgrimage, or else, collectively, the four sacred months (ix. 36), viz., Rajab (7th). Zul-qa'dah (11th), Zul-hijjah (12th, the month of Pilgrimage), and Muharram (the first of the year). In all these months War was prohibited. Excepting Rajab the other three months are consecutive.
Note Number : 688The immunity from attack or interference extended to the animals brought as offerings for sacrifice and the garlands or fillets or distinguishing marks which gave them immunity. They were treated as sacred symbols. And of course every protection or immunity was enjoyed by the Pilgrims.
Note Number : 689This is the state opposite to that described in n. 684, i.e., when ye have left the Sacred Precincts, and have doffed the special pilgrim garb, showing your return to ordinary life.
Note Number : 690See n. 205 to ii. 191. In the sixth year of the Hijra the Pagans, by way of hatred and persecution of the Muslims, had prevented them from access to the Sacred Mosque. When the Muslims were re-established in Makkah, some of them wanted to retaliate. Passing from the immediate event to the general principle, we must not retaliate or return evil for evil. The hatred of the wicked does not justify hostility on our part. We have to help each other in righteousness and piety, not in perpetuating feuds of hatred and enmity. We may have to fight and put down evil, but never in a spirit of malice or hatred, but always in a spirit of justice and righteousness.
Note Number : 691Cf. ii. 173 and nn. 173 and 174. The prohibition of dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which other names than that of Allah have been invoked, has been there explained.
Note Number : 692If an animal dies by strangling, or by a violent blow, or a headlong fall, or by being gored to death, or by being attacked by a wild animal, the presumption is that it becomes carrion, as the life-blood is congealed before being taken out of the body. But the presumption can be rebutted. If the life-blood still flows and the solemn mode of slaughter (zabh in the name of Allah is carried out, it becomes lawful as food.
Note Number : 693This was also an idolatrous rite, different from that in which a sacrifice was devoted to a particular idol or a false god.
Note Number : 694Gambling of all kinds is forbidden; ii. 291. A sort of lottery or raffle practised by Pagan Arabs has been described in n. 241. Division of meat in this way is here forbidden, as it is a form of gambling.
Note Number : 697The previous verse was negative; it defined what was not lawful for food, viz., things gross, or disgusting, or dedicated to superstition. This verse is positive: it defines what is lawful, viz., all things that are good and pure.
Note Number : 698In the matter of the killing for meat, the general rule is that the name of Allah, the true God should be pronounced as a rite in order to call our attention to the fact that we do not take life thoughtlessly but solemnly for food, with the permission of Allah, to whom we render the life back. The question of hunting is then raised. How can this solemn rite be performed when we send forth trained hawks, trained hounds, or trained cheetahs or other animals trained for the chase? They must necessarily kill at some distance from their masters. Their game is legalised on these conditions: (1) that they are trained to kill, not merely for their own appetite, or out of mere wantonness, but for their master's food; the training implies that something of the solemnity which Allah has taught us in this matter goes into their action; and (2) we are to pronounce the name of Allah over the quarry; this is interpreted to mean that the Takbir should be pronounced when the hawk or dog, etc., is released to the quarry.
Note Number : 699The question is for food generally, such as is ordinarily "good and pure": in the matter of meat it should be killed with some sort of solemnity analogous to that of the Takbir. The rules of Islam in this respect being analogous to those of the People of the Book, there is no objection to mutual recognition, as opposed to meat killed by Pagans with superstitious rites. In this respect the Christian rule is the same: "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." (Acts, xv. 29). Notice the bracketing of fornication with things unlawful to eat.
Note Number : 700Islam is not exclusive. Social intercourse, including inter-marriage, is permitted with the People of the Book. A Muslim man may marry a woman from their ranks on the same terms as he would marry a Muslim woman, i.e., he must give her an economic and moral status, and must not be actuated merely by motives of lust or physical desire. A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man, because her Muslim status would be affected; the wife ordinarily takes the nationality and status given by her husband's law. Any man or woman, of any race or faith, may, on accepting Islam, freely marry any Muslim woman or man, provided it be from motives of purity and chastity and not of lewdness.
Note Number : 701As always, food, cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in life, are linked with our duty to Allah and faith in Him. Duty and faith are for our own benefit, here and in the Hereafter.
Note Number : 702These are the essentials of Wudhu, or ablutions preparatory to prayers, viz., (1) to bathe the whole face in water, and (2) both hands and arms to the elbows, with (3) a little rubbing of the head with water (as the head is usually protected and comparatively clean), and (4) the bathing of the feet to the ankles. In -addition, following the practice of the Prophet, it is usual first to wash the mouth, and the nose before proceeding with the face, etc.
Note Number : 703Cf. iv. 43 and n. 563. Ritual impurity arises from sex pollution.
Note Number : 704This is Tayammum, or wiping with clean sand or earth where water is not available. I take it that this substitute is permissible both for Wudhu and for a full bath, in the circumstances mentioned.
Note Number : 705There is a particular and a general meaning. The particular meaning refers to the solemn Pledge and Covenant taken by two groups of people at 'Aqaba, a valley near Mina, the first about fourteen months before the Hijra, and the second a little later. These were Pledges of fealty to the Messenger of Allah, comparable to the Covenant under Mount Sinai taken in the time of Moses (See 0. ii. 63 and n. 78). The general meaning has been explained in n. 682 to v. 1: man is under a spiritual obligation under an implied Covenant with Allah: Allah has given man reason, judgment, the higher faculties of the soul, and even the position of vicegerent on earth (ii. 30), and man is bound to serve Allah faithfully-and obey His Will. That obedience begins with cleanliness in bodily functions, food, etc. It goes on to cleanliness of mind and thought, and culminates in purity of motives in the inmost recesses of his heart and soul.
Note Number : 706Cf. iv. 135.
Note Number : 707To do justice and act righteously in a favourable or neutral atmosphere is meritorious enough, but the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who hate you or to whom you have an aversion. But no less is required of you by the higher moral law.
Note Number : 708In the life-time of the Prophet it happened again and again that the enemies of Islam stretched out their hands against him, his people, and his teaching. The odds were, from a worldy point of view, in their favour, but their hands were rendered inert and powerless because they were fighting against the truth of Allah. So does it happen always, now as it did then. True faith must take heart, and at the same time humbly recognise Allah's favour and mercy, and be grateful.
Note Number : 709Cf. ii. 63 and n. 78, "Moses... called for the elders of the people... and all the people answered together and said. 'All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.' " (Exod. xix, 7-8). This was under the towering height of Mount Sinai. The chieftains or elders or leaders of the people were selected, one from each of the twelve tribes (see ii. 60 and n. 73). For census purposes the names of the elders of the tribes are given in Num. i. 4-16: they are called "every one the head of the house of his fathers". Later, twelve other "heads of the Children of Israel" were selected to spy out the land of Canaan: their names are mentioned in Num. xiii. 1-16. See also, below, v. 20-26 and notes.
Note Number : 710Cf. ii. 245, n. 276. The phrase means "spending in the cause of Allah". Allah in His infinite grace looks upon this as a loan, for which He gives a recompense manifold.
Note Number : 711The path of rectitude: or the even way: see ii. 108. n. 109.
Note Number : 712Cursed them: that means that because of the breach of their Covenant, Allah withdrew His overflowing Grace from them. The withdrawal of Grace made their hearts grow hard in two ways: (1) they were no longer protected from the assaults of evil, and (2) they became impervious even to the message of forgiveness and mercy which is open to all Allah's creatures.
Note Number : 713Israel, when it lost Allah's grace as above, began to sin against truth and religion in three ways: (1) they began to misuse Scripture itself, by either taking words out of their right meaning, or applying them to things for which they were never meant; (2) in doing so, they conveniently forgot a part of the Message and purpose of Allah; and (3) they invented new deceits to support the old ones.
Note Number : 714Cf. ii. 109 and n. 110, where I have explained the different shades of meaning in the words for "forgiveness."
Note Number : 715The Christian Covenant may be taken to be the charge which Jesus gave to his disciples, and which the disciples accepted, to welcome Ahmad (Q. lxi. 6). Glimpses of this are to be found in the Gospel of St. John even as it exists now (John xv. 26. xvi. 7). It is those who call themselves "Christians" who reject this. True Christians have accepted it. The enmity between those who call themselves Christians and the Jews will continue till the Last Day. A) The change from the First Person in the beginning of the verse to the Third Person here illustrates the change from the personal relationship of the Covenant, to the impersonal operation of Justice at Judgment. Cf. xxxv. 9.
Note Number : 716Mubin: I wish I could translate by a simpler word than "perspicuous". But "plain" may mean unadorned, the opposite of beautiful, and this Book is among the most beautiful that it is the privilege of mankind to read. "Clear" would be right as far as it means "unambiguous, self-evident, not involved in mysteries of origin, history, or meaning, one which every one can understand as to the essentials necessary for him, without the intervention of priests or privileged persons". Mubin has all these meanings, but it suggests, besides, some quality of a shining light, by which we are able to make things clear, to distinguish the true from the false, This I think is suggested better by "perspicuous" than by the word "clear". Besides it is hardly good idiom to speak of "a clear Book."
Note Number : 717The most honoured of the prophets of Allah are but men. All power belongs to Allah, and not to any man. Allah's creation may take many forms, but because in any particular form it is different from what we see daily around us, it does not cease to be Creation, or to be subject to the power of Allah. No creature can be God.
Note Number : 718Sons of God: Cf. Job, xxxviii. 7; "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." In the 29th Psalm, 1st verse, the authorised Translation "O ye mighty" should apparently be "O ye sons of Elim". El being a name of God, Cf. also Genesis, vi. 2: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men." Beloved: Cf. Psalms, cxxvii, 2: "He giveth his beloved sleep." If used figuratively, these and like words refer to the love of Allah. Unfortunately, "son" used in a physical sense, or "beloved" in an exclusive sense as if Allah loved only the Jews, make a mockery of religion.
Note Number : 719This refrain in the last verse negatives the idea of sonship, and in this verse negatives the idea of an exclusive "Beloved". In both cases it means that Allah is independent of physical relationship or exclusive partiality,
Note Number : 720The six hundred years (in round figures) between Christ and Muhammad were truly the dark ages of the world. Religion was corrupted: the standard of morals fell low: many false systems and heresies arose; and there was a break in the succession of prophets until the advent of Muhammand.
Note Number : 721There was a long line of patriarchs and prophets before Moses, e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Ismail, Jacob, etc.
Note Number : 722From the slavery of Egypt the Children of Israel were made free and independent, and thus each man became as it were a king, if only he had obeyed Allah and followed the lead of Moses.
Note Number : 723Cf. Exod. xix. 5: "Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people." Israel was chosen to be the vehicle of Allah's message, the highest honour which any nation can receive.
Note Number : 724We now come to the events detailed in the 13th and 1th chapters of the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament. Read these as a Commentary, and examine a good map of the Sinai Peninsula, showing its connections with Egypt on the west, North-West Arabia on the east, and Palestine on the north-east. We may suppose that Israel crossed from Egypt into the Peninsula somewhere near the northern extremity of the Gulf of Suez. Moses organised and numbered the people, and instituted the Priesthood. They went south about 200 miles to Mount Sinai where the Torah was received. Then, perhaps a hundred and fifty miles north, was the desert of Paran, close to the southern borders of Canaan. From the camp there twelve men were sent to spy out the land, and they penetrated as far as Hebron, say about 150 miles north of their camp, about 20 miles south of the future Jerusalem. They saw a rich country, and brought from it pomegranates and figs and a bunch of grapes so heavy that it had to be carried by two men on a staff. They came back and reported that the land was rich, but the men there were too strong for them. The people of Israel had no courage and no faith, and Moses remonstrated with them.
Note Number : 725The people were not willing to follow the lead of Moses, and were not willing to fight for their "inheritance." In effect they said: "Turn out the enemy first, and then we shall enter into possession." In Allah's Law we must work and strive for what we wish to enjoy.
Note Number : 726Among those who returned after spying out the land were two men who had faith and courage. They were Joshua and Caleb. Joshua afterwards succeeded Moses in the leadership after 40 years. These two men pleaded for an immediate entry through the proper Gate, which I understand to mean, "after taking all due precautions and making all due preparations". Cf. ii.189 and n. 203. But of course, they said, they must put their trust in Allah for victory.
Note Number : 727The advice of Joshua and Caleb, and the proposals of Moses under divine instructions were unpalatable to the crowd, whose prejudices were further inflamed by the other ten men who had gone with Joshua and Caleb. They made an "evil report," and were frightened by the great stature of the Canaanites. The crowd was in open rebellion, was prepared to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb, and return to Egypt. Their reply to Moses was full of irony, insolence, blasphemy, and cowardice. In effect they said: "You talk of your God and all that: go with your God and fight there if you like: we shall sit here and watch."
Note Number : 728"Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation. "(Num. xiv. 5). According to the words in the Old Testament story, Allah said: "I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them." (Num. xiv. 12). Moses prayed and interceded. But as we are told here, (a spiritual touch not found in the Jewish story). Moses was careful to separate himself and his brother from the rebellion.
Note Number : 729The punishment of the rebellion of these stiff-necked people, rebellion that was repeated "these ten times" (Num. xiv. 22) and more, was that they were left to wander distractedly hither and thither through the wilderness for forty years. That generation was not to see the Holy Land. All those that were twenty years old and upwards were to die in the wilderness: "your carcasses shall fail in this wilderness." (Num. xiv. 29). Only those who were then children would reach the Promised land. And so it happened. From the desert of Paran they wandered south, north, and east for forty years. From the head of what is now the Gulf of 'Aqaba, they travelled north, keeping to the east side of the depression of which the Dead Sea and the river Jordan are portions. Forty years afterwards they crossed the Jordan opposite what is now Jericho, but by that time Moses, Aaron, and the whole of the elder generation had died.
Note Number : 730Literally; "recite to them in truth the story", etc. The point is that the story in Gen. iv. 1-15 is a bare narrative, not including the lessons now to be enforced. The Prophet is told now to supply the truth of the matter, the details that will enforce the lessons.
Note Number : 731The two sons of Adam were Habil (in the English Bible, Abel) and Qabil (in English, Cain). Cain was the elder, and Abel the younger,-the righteous and innocent one. Presuming on the right of the elder, Cain was puffed up with arrogance and jealousy, which led him to commit the crime of murder. Among the Christians, Cain was the type of the Jew as against Abel the Christian. The Jew tried to kill Jesus and exterminate the Christian. In the same way, as against Muhammad, the younger brother of the Semitic family, Cain was the type of the Old Testament and New Testament people, who tried to resist and kill Muhammad and put down his people.
Note Number : 732My sin as well as thine. "My sin" has been interpreted as "the sin against me, in that thou slayest me": in that case thy "sin" may mean either "thy crime in committing a murder." or "thy sin against thyself, for the crime causes real loss to thyself in the Hereafter." See the last clause of the next verse.
Note Number : 733Abel's speech is full of meaning. He is innocent and God-fearing. To the threat of death held out by the other, he returns a calm reply, aimed at reforming the other. "Surely," he pleads, "if your sacrifice was not accepted, there was something wrong in you, for Allah is just and accepts the sacrifice of the righteous. If this does not deter you, I am not going to retaliate, though there is as much power in me against you as you have against me. I fear my Maker, for I know He cherishes all His Creation. Let me warn you that you are doing wrong. I do not intend even to resist, but do you know what the consequences will be to you? You will be in torment."
Note Number : 734The innocent unselfish pleading of the younger brother had no effect, for the soul of the other was full of pride, selfishness and jealousy. He committed the murder, but in doing so, ruined his own self.
Note Number : 735Sau-at may mean "corpse", with a suggestion of nakedness and shame in two senses: (1) the sense of being exposed without burial, and (2) the sense of being insulted by being violently deprived by the unwarranted murder, of the soul which inhabited it,- the soul, too, of a brother.
Note Number : 736The thought at last came home to the murderer. It was dreadful indeed to slay any one-the more so as he was a brother, and an innocent righteous brother! But worse still, the murderer had not even the decency to bury the corpse, and of this simple duty he was reminded by a raven-a black bird usually held in contempt! His regret was on that account. That was no true repentance.
Note Number : 737The story of Cain is referred to in a few graphic details in order to tell the story of Israel. Israel rebelled against Allah, slew and insulted righteous men who did them no harm but on the contrary came in all humility. When Allah withdrew His favour from Israel because of its sins and bestowed it on brother nation, the jealousy of Israel plunged it deeper into sin. To kill or seek to kill an individual because he represents an ideal is to kill all who upold the ideal. On the other hand, to save an individual life in the same circumstances is to save a whole community. What could be stronger condemnation of individual assassination and revenge?
Note Number : 738For the double crime of treason against the State, combined with treason against Allah, as shown by overt crimes, four alternative punishments are mentioned, any one of which is to be applied according to the crime committed, viz., execution (cutting off of the head), crucifixion, maiming, or exile. These were features of the Criminal Law then and for centuries afterwards, except that tortures such as "hanging, drawing, and quartering" in English Law, and piercing of eyes and leaving the unfortunate victim exposed to a tropical sun, which was practised in Arabia, and all such tortures were abolished. In any case sincere repentance before it was too late was recognised as a ground for mercy.
Note Number : 739Understood to mean the right hand and the left foot.
Note Number : 740Taqwa here too might be translated "fear of Allah", but the very next clause shows that "fear of Allah" does not mean "fear" in the ordinary sense, which would make you avoid the object of fear. On the contrary the "fear of Allah" is the intense desire to avoid everything that is against His Will and Law. It is in fact duty to Allah, for we are told to seek ardently the means by which we may approach Him, and that can only be done by striving with might and main for His cause.
Note Number : 741"Prosper" in the real sense, for that is all that matters, as the life of this world is brief and fleeting, and of small account as against Eternity.
Note Number : 742Here we touch upon jurisprudence. The Canon Law jurists are not unanimous as to the value of the property stolen, which would involve the penalty of the cutting off of the hand. The majority hold that petty thefts are exempt from this punishment. The general opinion is that only one hand should be cut off for the first theft, on the principle that "if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee" (Matt. xviii. 8). Apparently in the age of Jesus thieves were crucified (Matt. xxvii. 38).
Note Number : 743Punishment really does not belong to mortals, but to Allah alone. Only, in order to keep civil society together, and protect innocent people from crime, certain principles are laid down on which people can build up their criminal law. But we must always remember that Allah not only punishes but forgives, and forgiveness is the attribute which is more prominently placed before us. It is not our wisdom that can really define the bounds of forgiveness or punishment, but His Will or Plan, which is the true standard of righteousness and justice.
Note Number : 744Two classes of men are meant, viz., the Hypocrites and the Jews. For both of them Al-Mustafa laboured earnestly and assiduously, and it must have been a cause of great grief and disappointment to him that some among them showed so much insincerity, cunning, and hardness of heart. These are types not yet extinct.
Note Number : 745There were men among the Jews who were eager to catch up any lie against the Prophet. They had their ears open even to tales from people who had never so much as come near to the Prophet. If we understand "for" instead of "to" before "others" (for the Arabic word would bear both meanings), the sense will be: They are keen listeners or spies for any lies they can catch; and they will act as spies for others (their Rabbis, etc.) who are in the background but to whom they carry false tales.
Note Number : 746Cf. v. 13. The addition of the words min badi here suggests the change of words from their right times as well as places. They did not deal honestly with their Law, and misapplied it, by distorting the meaning. Or it may be that as tale-bearers they distorted the meaning by misrepresenting the context.
Note Number : 747Devouring anything forbidden: both in a literal and in a figurative sense. In the figurative sense, it would be: the taking of usury or bribes, or taking undue advantage of people's weak position or their own fiduciary powers to add to their own wealth.
Note Number : 748Where it is merely a trick to catch out the unwary, a just man may honourably decline to interfere in a cause submitted to him, as also in a case where the parties are not honestly desirous of justice, but each hopes that some partiality will be shown to it.
Note Number : 749This is a searching question as to the motive of the Jews in bringing their cases for decision to the Prophet. They came either (1) to ridicule whatever he said, or (2) to deceive him as to facts and snatch a favourable decision which was against equity. If their own Law did not suit their selfish interests, they sometimes twisted it. But Muhammad was always inflexible in his justice.
Note Number : 750Guidance, with reference to conduct, light, with reference to insight into the higher realms of the faith.
Note Number : 751Rabbani may, I think, be rightly translated by the Jewish title of Rabbi for their learned men, Jewish learning is identified with Rabbinical literature. Ahbar is the plural of hibr or habr, by which we may understand Jewish Doctors of Law. Later the term was applied to those of other religions.
Note Number : 752They were living witnesses to the truth of Scripture, and could testify that they had made it known to the people: Cf. ii. 143, and iv. 135.
Note Number : 753Two charges are made, against the Jews: (1) that even the books which they had, they twisted in meaning, to suit their own purposes, because they feared men rather than Allah: (2) that what they had was but fragments of the original Law given to Moses, mixed up with a lot of semi-historical and legendary matter, and some fine poetry. The Taurat mentioned in the Qur-an is not the Old Testament as we have it: nor is it even the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament, containing the Law embedded in a great deal of semi-historical and legendary narrative). See Appendix 11, on the Taurat (printed at the end of this Sura).
Note Number : 754The retaliation is prescribed in three places in the Pentateuch, viz,. Exod. xxi, 23-25: Leviticus xxiv. 18-21, and Deut, xix. 21. The wording in the three quotations is different, but in none of them is found the additional rider for mercy, as here. Note that in Matt. v. 38. Jesus quotes the Old Law "eye for eye," etc,, and modifies it in the direction of forgiveness, but the Quranic injunction is more practical. Even where the injured one forgives, the State or Ruler is competent to take such action as is necessary for the preservation of law and order in Society. For crime has a bearing that goes beyond the interests of the person injured: the Community is affected: see Q. v. 32.
Note Number : 755This is not part of the Mosaic Law, but the teaching of Jesus and of Muhammad. Notice how the teaching of Jesus is gradually introduced as leading up to the Qur-an.
Note Number : 756The seeming repetitions at the end of verses 47, 48 and 50 are not real repetitions. The significant words in the three cases are: Unbelievers, wrong-doers, and rebellious; and each fits the context. If the Jews tamper with their books they are Unbelievers; if they give false judgments, they are wrong-doers. If the Christians follow not their light, they are rebellious.
Note Number : 757Guidance and light: see n. 750 above. For the meaning of the Gospel (Injil), see Appendix III, "On the Injil", (printed at the end of this Sura).
Note Number : 758See n. 756 above.
Note Number : 759After the corruption of the older revelations, the Qur-an comes with a twofold purpose: (1) to confirm the true and original Message, and (2) to guard it, or act as a check to its interpretation. The Arabic word Muhaimin is very comprehensive in meaning. It means one who safeguards, watches over, stands witness, preserves, and upholds. The Qur-an safeguards "the Book", for it has preserved within it the teachings of all the former Books. It watches over these Books in the sense that it will not let their true teachings to be lost. It supports and upholds these Books in the sense that it corroborates the Word of Allah which has remained intact in them. It stands a witness because it bears testimony to the Word of Allah contained in these Books and helps to sort it out from the interpretations and commentaries of the people which were mixed with it: what is confirmed by the Qur-an is the Word of Allah and what is against it is that of the people.
Note Number : 760Law: shir'at = rules of practical conduct. Open Way: Minhaj = The guidance of the Prophet in all aspects of life.
Note Number : 761By origin mankind were a single people or nation: iv. 1, and ii. 213. That being so Allah could have kept us all alike, with one language, one kind of disposition, and one set of physical conditions (including climate) to live in. But in His wisdom, He gives us diversity in these things, not only at any given time, but in different periods and ages. This tests our capacity for Unity (Wahdaniyat) still more, and accentuates the need of Unity and Islam.
Note Number : 762Men are wont to make conflicting claims regarding Allah, the ultimate destiny of man, and other questions of vital importance. No matter how vehement and eloquent the proponents of false doctrines might be, their efforts will prove fruitless and it will be indisputably clear on the Day of Judgment as to who entertained false notions and who cherished the truth.
Note Number : 763The Days of Ignorance were the days of tribalism, feuds and selfish accentuation of differences in man. Those days are really not yet over. It is the mission of Islam to take us away from that false mental attitude, towards the true attitude of Unity. If our Faith is certain (and not merely a matter of words), Allah will guide us to that Unity.
Note Number : 764That is, look not to them for help and comfort. They are more likely to combine against you than to help you. And this happened more than once in the lifetime of the Prophet, and in after-ages again and again. He who associates with them and shares their counsels must be counted as of them. The trimmer loses whichever way the wheel of fortune turns.
Note Number : 765Cf. ii. 10.
Note Number : 766The Hypocrites, while matters were doubtful, pretended to be with Muslims, but were in league with their enemies. When matters came to a decision and Allah granted victory to Islam, their position was awkward. They were not only disowned by the Muslims, but the Muslims could well say in reproach to their enemies: "Are these the men who swore friendship for you? What was their friendship worth to you? Where are they now?"
Note Number : 767As "most men are rebellious" (v. 49), it is inevitable that there should be apostates even from such a religion of reason and common-sense as Islam. But here is a warning to the Muslim body that they should not repeat the history of the Jews, and become so self-satisfied or arrogant as to depart from the spirit of Allah's teaching. If they do, the loss will be their own. Allah's bounty is not confined to one group or section of humanity. He can always raise up people who will follow the true spirit of Islam. That spirit is defined in two ways: first in general terms; they will love Allah and Allah will love them; and secondly, by specific signs; amongst the Brethren, their attitude will be that of humility, but to wrong-doers they will offer no mealy-mouthed compromises; they will always strive and fight for truth and right; they will know no fear, either physical, or that more insidious form, which says; "What will people say if we act thus? They are too great in mind to be haunted by any such thought. For, as the next verse says, their friends are Allah, His Prophet, and His people, the people who judge rightly, without fear or favour.
Note Number : 768It is not right that we should be in intimate association with those to whom religion is either a subject of mockery or at best is nothing but a plaything. They may be amused, or they may have other motives for encouraging you. But your association with them will sap the earnestness of your Faith, and make you cynical and insincere.
Note Number : 769There is the most biting irony in this and the next verse, You People of the Book! Do you hate us because we believe in Allah and not only our scripture, but yours also? Perhaps you hate us because we obey and you are in rebellion against Allah! Why hate us? There are worse things than our obedience and our Faith. Shall I tell you some of them? Our test will be: what treatment Allah meted out to the things I mention. Who were the people who incurred the curse of Allah? (See Deut. xi. 28, and xxviii. 15-68: and numerous passages like Hosea viii. 14, and ix- 1). Who provoked Allah's wrath? (See numerous passages like Deut. i. 34: Matt. iii. 7). Who forsook Allah, and worshipped evil? (See Jeremiah, xvi. 11-13). That is your record. Is that why you hate us?'
Note Number : 770For apes see Q. ii. 65. For men possessed by devils, and the devils being sent into swine, see Matt. viii. 28-32.
Note Number : 771Eating of things forbidden: may be construed in a literal or a figurative sense. From its juxtaposition with sin and hatred, it is better to construe it in a figurative sense, as referring to their fraudulent misappropriations of other people's property or trust property. "Eating" is used in v. 66 below in the general sense of enjoyment and happiness.
Note Number : 772Cf. v. 12. and ii. 245, for a "beautiful loan to Allah", and iii. 181, for the blasphemous taunt, "Then Allah is poor!" It is another form of the taunt to say, "Then Allah's hands are tied up. He is close-fisted. He does not give!" This blasphemy is repudiated. On the contrary, boundless is Allah's bounty, and He gives, as it were, with both hands outstretched,-a figure of speech for unbounded liberality.
Note Number : 773Their jealousy-because Al-Mustafa is chosen for Allah's Message-is so great that it only confirms and strengthens their rebellion and blasphemy.
Note Number : 774Cf. v. 14. where the eternal warring of the Christian sects, among themselves and against the Jews, is referred to. The reference is to the whole of the People of the Book, Jews and Christians-their internal squabbles and their external disputes, quarrels, and wars.
Note Number : 775The argument of the whole verse may be thus stated. The Jews blaspheme and mock, and because of their jealousy, the more they are taught, the more obstinate they become in their rebellion. But what good will it do to them? Their selfishness and spite sow quarrels among themselves, which will not be healed till the Day of Judgment. When they stir up wars, especially against the innocent, Allah's Mercy is poured down like a flood of water to extinguish them. But their wickedness continues to devise ever new mischief. And Allah loves not mischief or those who do mischief.
Note Number : 776To eat (akala) is a very comprehensive word, and denotes enjoyment generally, physical, social, mental and moral, and spiritual. "To eat what is forbidden" in verses 62 and 63 referred to taking unlawful profit, from usury or trust funds or in other ways. Here "eating" would seem to mean receiving satisfaction or happiness in this life as well as in the life to come. "From above them" may refer to heavenly or spiritual satifaction, and "from below their feet" to earthly satisfaction. But it is better to take the words as a general idiom, and understand "satisfaction or happiness from every side."
Note Number : 777Muhammad had many difficulties to contend with, many enemies and dangers to avoid. Hismission must be fulfilled. And he must-as he did-go forward and proclaim that Message and fulfil his mission, trusting to Allah for protection, and unconcerned if people who had lost all sense of right rejected it or threatened him.
Note Number : 778In v. 26, Moses was told not to sorrow over a rebellious people. Here Muhammad is told not to sorrow over people without Faith. The second situation is even more trying than the first. Rebellion may be a passing phase. Want of faith is an attitude of mind that is well-nigh hopeless. Yet the Prophet patiently reasoned with them and bore their taunts and insults. If, the argument runs, you do not believe in anything, even in the things that you may be expected to believe in, how can you receive in Faith Allah's Message that has come in another form? In fact your jealousy adds to your obstinacy and unbelief.
Note Number : 779Here, as in Sura Al-Baqarah (ii. 62), the Qur-an underscores the importance of true and genuine faith, which is to be judged by a sincere belief in Allah and man's accountability to Him backed by a righteous conduct rather than by mere forms or labels. At both the places it repudiates the false claims of the People of the Book that they had a special relationship with Allah for they were the children of Abraham; that they were a chosen people with special privileges, and no matter what they did, their high status would remain unaffected. Here this false notion is refuted and the People of the Book are being reminded that it is through sincere belief and righteous conduct rather than pretentious claims that man can win his Lord's pleasure and achieve ultimate success. The verse does not purport to lay down an exhaustive list of the articles of faith. Nor does it seek to spell out the essentials of a genuine belief in Allah, which has no meaning unless it is accompanied by belief in His Prophets for it is through their agency alone that we know Allah's Will and can abide by it in our practical lives. This is especially true of His final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be on him) whose message is universal, and not confined to any particular group or section of humanity. Belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be on him) is thus an integral part and a logical corollary of belief in Allah. Moreover, it is also an essential test of genuineness of such belief. This becomes clear when the verse is read in conjunction with other relevant verses of the Qur-an. See, for instance, iv. 170, v. 15, 19, vii. 157, 158, xxi. 107, xxv. I, xxxiii, 40, lxi. 6. See also ii. 40, iii. 31-32, iv. 150-151.
Note Number : 780Cf. ii. 87, and n. 91.
Note Number : 781That is, they turned away their eyes from Allah's Signs and they turned a deaf ear to Allah's Message.
Note Number : 782Cf. Matt. iv. 10, where Christ rebukes Satan for desiring the worship of other than Allah: John xx. 17, where Christ says to Mary Magdalene, "Go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God." Cf. also Luke xviii. 19, where Christ rebukes a certain ruler for calling him Good Master: "Why callest thou me good? None is good, save One, that is, Allah." In Mark xii. 25 Jesus says: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord."
Note Number : 783She never claimed that she was a mother of God, or that her son was God. She was a pious virtuous woman.
Note Number : 784Note how logically the argument has led up from Jewish back-slidings and want of faith, to blasphemies associated with the names of Jesus and Mary, and in the following verses to the worship of senseless stocks and stones. Allah is One; His Message is one; yet how people's perversity transforms truth into falsehood, religion into superstition!
Note Number : 785Excess, as opposed to moderation and reason, is the simplest test by which a hypocrite or a selfish man who "trades" on religion, is known from a sincere, pious, and truly religious man. Excess means that truth is sometimes concealed or trampled upon, that the fashions of ancestors or contemporaries are copied or overdone, and Allah's name is dishonoured by blasphemies or the setting up of false gods or fetishes, or that good (or even bad) men are deified and worshipped. The true path is the even path, the path of rectitude. (Cf. ii. 108, and v. 12).
Note Number : 786The Psalms of David have several passages of imprecations against the wicked. Cf- Psalms cix 17-18; lxxviii. 21-22 ("Therefore the Lord heard this and was wroth; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation"); Psalms lxix. 22-28, and Psalms v. 10.
Note Number : 787Cf. Matt- xxiii, 33 ("Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?); also Matt. xii. 34.
Note Number : 788There are bad men in every community, but if leaders connive at the misdeeds of the commonalty,-and even worse, if leaders themsevles share in the misdeeds, as happened with the Pharisees and Scribes against whom Jesus spoke out, then that community is doomed.
Note Number : 789The meaning is not that they merely call themselves Christians, but that they were such sincere Christians that they appreciated Muslim virtues, as did the Abyssinians to whom Muslim refugees went during the persecution in Makkah.
Note Number : 790Qissis: I have translated as "devoted to learning," following the Commentators. it seems to be a foreign word, possibly Abyssinian rather than Syriac, as the reference seems to be to the Abyssinian Christians. Their real devotion to learning and the renunciation of the world by the Monastic Orders are contrasted with the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Pharisees and Scribes.
Note Number : 791In pleasures that are good and lawful the crime is excess. There is no merit merely in abstention or asceticism, though the humility or unselfishness that may go with asceticism may have its value. In v. 82, Christian monks are praised for particular virtues, though here and elsewhere monasticism is disapproved of. Use Allah's gifts of all kinds with gratitude, but excess is not approved of by Allah.
Note Number : 792Vows of penance or abstention may sometimes be futile, or even stand in the way of really good or virtuous act. See ii. 224-226, and notes. The general principles established are: (1) take no futile oaths; (2) use not Allah's name, literally or in intention, to fetter yourself against doing a lawful or good act: (3) keep to your solemn oaths to the utmost of your ability; (4) where you are unable to do so, expiate your failure by feeding or clothing the poor, or obtaining some one's freedom, or if you have not the means, by fasting. This is from a spiritual aspect.
Note Number : 793Cf. ii. 219, and notes 240 and 241.
Note Number : 794Cf. v. 3. The stones there referred to were stone altars or stone columns on which oil was poured for consecration, or slabs on which meat was sacrificed to idols. Any idolatrous or superstitious practices are here condemned. The ansab were objects of worship, and were common in Arabia before Islam. See Renan, "History of Israel", Chapter iv, and Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum. Part 1. p. 154: Illustrations Nos. 123 and 123 bis are Phoenician columns of that kind, found in Malta.
Note Number : 795Cf. v. 3. The arrows there referred to were used for the division of meat by a sort of lottery or rate. But arrows were also used for divination, i.e., for ascertaining lucky or unlucky moments, or learning the wishes of the heathen gods, as to whether men should undertake certain actions or not. All superstitions are condemned.
Note Number : 796We are asked to obey the commands of Allah (which are always reasonable), instead of following superstitions (which are irrational), or seeking undue stimulation in intoxicants or undue advantage in gambling. To some there may be temporary excitement or pleasure in these, but that is not the way either of prosperity or piety.
Note Number : 797Cf. v. 67. Both the worldly and the spiritual aspects of loss are pointed out. Can Allah's Message do more?
Note Number : 798There is a subtle symphony in what appears at first sight to be a triple repetition. The relation of such simple regulations as those of food, or game, or the reverence due to a sacred place or sacred institution, has to be explained vis-a-vis man's higher duties. Baidhawi is right in classifying such duties under three heads; those due to Allah, those due from a man to himself (his self-respect), and those due to other creatures of Allah. Or perhaps all duties have this threefold aspect. The first may be called Believing or Faith; the second, Guarding ourselves from evil, or Conscience: and the third, doing good or Righteousness. But the simplest physical rules, e.g., those about eating, cleanliness, etc., if they are good, refer also to the higher aspects. If we eat bad food, we hurt ourselves, we cause offence to our neighbours, and we disobey Allah. If we have faith and righteousness, are we likely to be wanting in conscience? If we have conscience and faith, are we likely to fail in righteousness? If we have conscience and righteousness, what can be their foundation but faith? All three manifest themselves in a willing obedience to Allah, and love for Him. We realise His love in loving and doing good to His creatures, and our love for Him is meaningless without such good.
Note Number : 799Literally, "know" Cf. iii. 166, and iii, 154, n. 467. Game is forbidden in the Sacred Precincts.
Note Number : 800See v. 1, and n. 684. The pilgrim garb, Ihram, has been explained in n. 212, ii. 196.
Note Number : 801Intentional breach will be prevented, if possible, by previous action. If in some case the preventive action is not effective, the penalty is prescribed. The penalty is in three alternatives: an equivalent animal should be brought to the Ka'ba for sacrifice; if so, the meat would be distributed to the poor; or the poor must be fed, with grain or money, according to the value of the animal if one had been sacrificed: or the offender must fast as many days as the number of the poor who would have been fed under the second alternative. Probably the last alternative would only be open if the offender is too poor to afford the first or second, but on this point Commentators are not agreed. The "equivalent animal" in the first alternative would be a domestic animal of similar value or weight in meat or of similar shape (e.g., goat to antelope), as adjudged by two just men on the spot. The alternatives about the penalty and its remission ("Allah forgives what is past") or exaction explain the last two lines of the verse: being "Exalted and Lord of Retribution", Allah can remit or regulate according to His just laws.
Note Number : 802Water-game: i.e., game found in water, e.g., fish, etc. "Water" includes sea, river, lake, pond, etc.
Note Number : 803The Sacred or Prohibited Months are explained in n. 209. ii. 194, and n. 687, v. 2.
Note Number : 804See v. 2 and n. 688.
Note Number : 805All sorts of people from all parts of the earth gather during the Pilgrimage. They must not think that they are strangers, that nobody knows them, and that they may behave as they like. It is the House of Allah, and He has supreme knowledge of all things, of all thoughts, and all motives. As the next verse says, while He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. He is also strict in enforcing respect for His ordinances.
Note Number : 806Cf. ii. 204. People often judge by quantity rather than quality. They are dazzled by numbers: their hearts are captured by what they see everywhere around them. But the man of understanding and discrimination judges by a different standard. He knows that good and bad things are not to be lumped together, and carefully chooses the best, which may be the scarcest, and avoids the bad, though evil may meet him at every step.
Note Number : 807Many secrets are wisely hidden from us. If the future were known to us, we need not necessarily be happy. In many cases we should be miserable. If the inner meaning of some of the things we see before our eyes were disclosed to us, it might cause a lot of mischief. Allah's Message, in so far as it is necessary for shaping our conduct, is plain and open to us. But there are many things too deep for us to understand, either individually or collectively. It would be foolish to pry into them, as some people tried to do in the time of the Prophet. Where a matter is mentioned in the Qur-an, we can reverently ask for its meaning. That is not forbidden. But we should never pass the bounds of (1) our own capacity to understand, (2) the time and occasion when we ask questions, and (3) the part of the Universal Plan which it is Allah's purpose to reveal to us.
Note Number : 808For example, the merely fractious questions asked of Moses by the Jews: ii. 68- 71. They showed that they had no faith. When foolish questions are asked, and there is no answer, it also shakes the faith of the foolish ones.
Note Number : 809A number of Arab Pagan superstitions are referred to. The Pagan mind, not understanding the hidden secrets of nature, attributed certain phenomena to divine anger and were assailed by superstitious fears which haunted their lives. If a she-camel or other female domestic animal had a large number of young, she (or one of her offspring) had her ear slit and she was dedicated to a god: such an animal was a bahira. On return in safety from a journey, or on recovery from an illness a she-camel was similarly dedicated and let loose for free pasture: she was called a saiba. Where an animal bore twins, certain sacrifices or dedications were made to idols: an animal so dedicated was a wasila. A stallion-camel dedicated to the gods by certain rites was a ham. The particular examples lead to the general truth: that superstition is due to ignorance, and is degrading to men and dishonouring to Allah.
Note Number : 810Cf. ii. 170. Where a Messenger of Truth comes to teach us the better way, it is foolish to say: "What our ancestors did is good enough for us."
Note Number : 811The unity of the one Judge will do perfect justice to each one's conduct, however different in form it may have appeared in this world.
Note Number : 812Ordinarily this oath should be decisive, and the matter must rest here. But if it gets known that the oath was false, other evidence may be taken as in the next verse.
Note Number : 813Istahaqqa = Deserved having something (good or evil) attributed to one; hence the alternative meanings: (1) committed or was guilty (of a sin): (2) had or claimed a lawful right (to property). The procedure was followed in an actual case in the Prophet's life-time. A man from Madinah died abroad, having made over his goods, to two friends, to be delivered to his designated heirs in Madinah. They, however, kept back a valuable silver cup. When this was found out, oaths were taken from those who knew, and justice was done.
Note Number : 814A scene of the Day of Reckoning is put before us in graphic words, showing the responsibility and the limitations of the Prophets of Allah, sent to preach His Message to men, with special reference to the Message of Jesus. The Messengers are sent to preach the Truth. What fantastic forms the Message takes in men's reactions to it was beyond their knowledge, at the time, and beyond their responsibility.
Note Number : 815In a solemn scene before the Court of Judgment, Jesus is asked to recount all the mercies and favours shown to him, so that his followers should become ashamed of their ingratitude in corrupting that Message, when they could have done so much in profiting by its purity and spiritual truth. This argument continues to the end of the Sura.
Note Number : 816Cf. ii. 87, and iii. 62, n. 401.
Note Number : 817Cf. iii. 46, and n. 388.
Note Number : 818Cf. iii. 48.
Note Number : 820Note how the words "by My leave" are repeated with each miracle to emphasize the fact that they arose, not out of the power or will of Jesus, but by the leave and will and power of Allah, who is supreme over Jesus as He is over all other mortals.
Note Number : 821The Jews were seeking to take the life of Jesus long before their final attempt to crucify him: see Luke iv. 28-29. Their attempt to crucify him was also foiled, according to the teaching we have received: Q. iv. 157.
Note Number : 822According to Luke (xi. 15), when Christ performed the miracle of casting out devils, the Jews said he did it through the chief of the devils. i.e., they accused him of black magic. No such miracle of casting out devils is mentioned in the Qur-an. But Moses, Jesus. and Muhammad were all accused of magic and sorcery, by those who could find no other explanation of Allah's power.
Note Number : 823"Thou" refers to Jesus, who is being addressed by his Disciples. Cf. iii. 52.
Note Number : 824Before or after Muhammad's life on this earth, all who bowed to Allah's Will were Muslims, and their religion is Islam. Cf. iii, 52, and n. 392.
Note Number : 825The request of the Disciples savours a little of (1) want of faith, (2) too much attention to physical food, and (3) a childish desire for miracles or Signs. All these three can be proved from the Canonical Gospels. (1) Simon Peter, quite early in the story, asked Jesus to depart from him, as he (Simon) was a sinful man (Luke v. 8). The same Peter afterwards denied his Master three times shamelessly when the Master was in the power of his enemies. And one of the Disciples (Judas) actually betrayed Jesus. (2) Even in the Canonical Gospels, so many of the miracles are concerned with food and drink, e.g., the turning of the water into wine (John, ii, 1-11); the conversion of five loaves and two small fishes into food for 5,000 men (John vi. 5-13), this being the only miracle recorded in all the four Gospels; the miraculous number of fishes caught for food (Luke V. 4-11); the cursing of the fig tree because it had no fruit (Matt. xxi. 18-19); the allegory of eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood (John vi. 53-57). (3) Because the Samaritans would not receive Jesus into their village, the Disciples James and John wanted a fire to come down from heaven and consume them (Luke ix. 54).
Note Number : 826The words of the Prayer seem to suggest the Last Supper. Cf. also the vision of Peter in "The Acts of the Apostles." x. 9-16.
Note Number : 827As in Islam, so in Christ's Prayer, sustenance should be taken for both physical and spiritual strength, especially the latter. "Give us this day our daily bread" seems the rendering of a literalist whose attention was fixed too much on bread.
Note Number : 828It is a wicked generation that asks for Signs and Miracles. Usually they are not vouchsafed. But where they are, the responsibility of those who ask for them is increased. If, after that, they reject faith, invent lies, and go after false gods or false ideals, their penalty will be worse than that of other people. How this works out practically among those who call themselves Christians is exemplified in such books as the late Mr. W.T. Stead's "If Christ Came to Chicago?"
Note Number : 829Jesus disclaims here any knowledge of the sort of things that are attributed to him by those who take his name. The worship of Mary, though repudiated by the Protestants, was widely spread in the earlier churches, both in the East and the West.
Note Number : 831Jesus here acknowledges that he was mortal, and that his knowledge was limited like that of a mortal.
Note Number : 832A Master can justly punish His servants for disobedience: no one can say Him nay, for He is high above all. But if He chooses to forgive. He in His wisdom sees things that we mortals cannot see. This is the limit of intercession that men of God can make on behalf of sinners.
Note Number : 833Fauz = Felicity, happiness, achievement, salvation, the attainment or fulfilment of desires. What a beautiful definition of salvation or the end of life!-that we should win Allah's good pleasure and that we should reach the stage at which His good pleasure is all-in-all to us.