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Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah: Verses 101-103 From the Book, Introduction to the Tafseer of the Quran, by the Ameer of Hizb ut Tahrir, the eminent jurist and statesman, Sheikh Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah: (Translated)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

((وَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِمَا مَعَهُمْ نَبَذَ فَرِيقٌ مِنْ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ كَأَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ))

"And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah (i.e. Muhammad) confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know!)" [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:101]

وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَى مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّى يَقُولاَ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلاَ تَكْفُرْ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ وَمَا هُمْ بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلاَ يَنفَعُهُمْ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنْ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

"They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Suleiman. Suleiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).'' And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's leave. 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 bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew." [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:102]

((وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَمَثُوبَةٌ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ))

"And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!" [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:103]

Allah (swt) clarifies in these verses the following:

1- The Jews opposed the Messenger of Allah (saw) and they challenged him with the Torah in which they questioned him from the Torah, asking the Messenger (saw) about the soul, the people of the cave and Zhul-Qarnain. The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to answer them by what Allah (swt) has revealed to him from the Quran. Moreover, the Messenger (saw) used to expose the ways they would twist and distort, such as their distortion of the stoning of the adulterer and the distortion of the description of the Messenger (saw) that came in the Torah, which was the revelation of Messenger of Allah (saw) confirming what was indicating by the Torah. Once they found that the outcome of the challenge using the Torah was not how they wished, they turned away from it and discarded it behind their backs (كَأَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ) as if they don't know, i.e. their rejection of the Torah was from those who do not believe in it and did not know the truth that came with it, including the description of the Messenger of Allah (saw). This indicates the extreme reluctance to accept what was in the Torah of the signs of the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (saw). They were reluctant with awareness!

When they failed to show their opposition to the Messenger of Allah (saw) with the Torah, they began looking for other issues in sources other than the Torah to challenge the Prophet (saw) with.

2- When Allah (swt) revealed to His Messenger that Suleiman was a Prophet,

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَى وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا

"We have sent Thee inspiration, As we sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Suleiman, and to David we gave the Psalms." [Surah An Nisaa' 4:163]

The Jews stated that Suleiman was a magician and he was not a prophet; then they collected the books that the magicians wrote with the help of the Shayateen at the time of Suleiman (as). They were spread between their hands in Madinah and they said that these are the books that Suleiman judged by. They followed them and they made these books the material with which to argue with the Messenger of Allah (saw)

(وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَى مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ)

"And they followed that which the Shayateen recited at the time of Suleiman."

(مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ) ; what the Shayateen recited or what they whispered to the magicians to write in their books,

(يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا) "inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception" [Surah Al-Ana'm 6:112.]

The Shayateen before Islam used to listen to the heavens and mix with it several kinds of lies and reveal it to their associates. RasulAllah (saw) said,

فَيَسْتَخْبِرُ بَعْضُ أَهْلِ السَّمَاوَاتِ بَعْضًا حَتَّى يَبْلُغَ الْخَبَرُ هَذِهِ السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا فَتَخْطَفُ الْجِنُّ السَّمْعَ فَيَقْذِفُونَ إِلَى أَوْلِيَائِهِمْ وَيُرْمَوْنَ بِهِ فَمَا جَاءُوا بِهِ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فَهُوَ حَقٌّ وَلَكِنَّهُمْ يَقْرِفُونَ فِيهِ وَيَزِيدُونَ

"Then the dwellers of heavens seek information from them until this information reaches the heaven of the world. In this process of transmission the Jinn snatches what he manages to overhear and he carries it to his associates. And when the angels see the Jinn they attack them with meteors. If they narrate only which they manage to snatch that is correct, but they embellish it with lies and make additions to it."

The Jinn have been forbidden from eavesdropping after Islam, (وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ فَمَنْ يَسْتَمِعْ الآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَابًا رَصَدًا)

"We used, indeed, to sit there In (hidden) stations, to (steal) a hearing; but any who listen Now will find a flaming Fire watching Him In ambush." [Surah Al-Jin 72: 9]

As for (عَلَى مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَان) it means at the time of Suleiman (as).

3- These magician's books were written in two ways:

• First: Whispers of the Shayateen of magic.

• Second: What was taught by the angels of Harut and Marut to the people; Allah (swt) sent them in Babylon, teaching the people of magic and warning them not to practice it. They informed the people that they both are a Fitna and a test for them

(وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّى يَقُولاَ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلاَ تَكْفُرْ)

"but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).'' And Allah (swt) revealed in this land the good and the evil to test his slaves, evil and good; (وَنَبْلُوكُمْ بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً) "and we test you by evil and by good by way of trial." [Surah Al-Anbiya 21: 35]

And the teaching of magic to people was as a test for them; the one who learns magic and practices it will be Kafireen, and the one who doesn't believe nor practice it will be safe (إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلاَ تَكْفُرْ), "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us)."

4- Allah (swt) exonerated his Prophet Suleiman (as) from the lying and defamation of the Jews. Suleiman (as) wasn't a Kafir, and it is elaborated that he was neither a magician nor a believer of witchcraft and thus he is not a Kafir. He is the prophet of Allah (as) (وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ) "And Suleiman did not disbelieve" i.e. he was not a magician nor a believer in witchcraft to be a Kafir! This significance was appointed because the Jews accused Suleiman (as) that he was a magician: - "Ibn Jareer narrated from Shaher bin Hawshab that he said; the Jews said, "Look at Muhammad he is mixing the truth with the falsehood, he mentions Suleiman with the prophets, but he was a magician and used to ride the wind." Therefore, Allah (swt) answered them and said; (وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ) "And Suleiman did not disbelieve" i.e. he was not a Magician, but the metaphorical use of Kafir in this verse indicates the one who believes in magic and practices it, will be Kafir, according to the language of the Arabs, as we mentioned.

Thus, Suleiman did not became a Kaffir, but the Shayateen were Kafireen

وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّى يَقُولاَ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلاَ تَكْفُرْ

"Suleiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).''

5- The magic is displaying something in a way other than its reality, illusion, and this sense is coming from the verse (سَحَرُوا أَعْيُنَ النَّاسِ) "They bewitched the eyes of the people." [Surah Al-Araef 7:116]. (يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَى) "then behold their ropes and their rods -so it seemed to him on account of their magic - begin to be in lively motion!" [Surah Taha 20: 66] which mean the reality of the stick remains a stick, but for the onlooker it appears as a snake by illusion.

It was stated by Al-Jwahri in the book The Language (al- Lugha): the magic is the spellbinding and everything that can be spellbound easily and exactly is magic; for example, when you perform magic in front of a boy, it means that you have tricked him. The magic was mentioned in the collection of the Arabs in the sense of the torment and severity in bewildering and lying, about

which the poet said,

أعوذ بربي من النافثات من عضة العاضة المُعِضة

I seek refuge in my Lord from the sorcery From the torment of the tormentor
The magic, in the sense of concealment, was used by Arabs as well; whereas, the magician is performing with secrecy. As for, what is the magic, they are skills that enable the magician to deceive the eyes of the people to see things as an illusion, other than reality. However, the reality does not change, in the sense that it does not nullify the reality; for example, if someone grabbed the snake that appears from the stick, he will confirm that it is a stick. So when the magicians threw their rods they were seen as sticks. However, they bewitched the eyes of the people so as to make them appear as snakes. And when Moses (as) threw his stick, the magicians saw that it became a real snake. It was not a stick for it then swallowed up their rods, overturning the reality. They realized that this is not magic because magic does not nullify the reality. Therefore, they realized that it was not magic, rather it is Haq from the Lord of the Worlds as was said by Moses (as) and they believed strongly.

6- And (وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ) "They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic)" and

(وَلَكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْر) "but the Shayatin disbelieved, teaching men magic" shows that the magic is reciting the words of Kufr. This means that the magic is a skill being executed by using the words of Kufr in its procedures or determinations. Other than this is not what is called magic as mentioned in this Ayah. Such as making matters appear as other than their reality, using trickery -such as fast hands or the like - or employing speech which is not kufr to give an illusion to the people, making things appear as they are not - as some charlatans do, including circles of elders. This is not the magic as mentioned in the Ayah.

7- The punishment of the performer of magic, as we have clarified, is death for it is the punishment of the Murtad (apostate). He is a Kafir as previously mentioned. The Companions (ra) have punished the magician by death. Hafsa, the mother of believers, (ra) ordered the killing of a sorceress once it was confirmed that she performed magic.

As for what was narrated that Uthman (ra) objected to what Hafsa did; that objection was because she did that without his permission as a Khalifah of the Muslims. However, he did not deny the ruling of death for the magician. Similarly, in the time of Umar (ra) he killed the magician, i.e. it is the consensus of the companions over the ruling because it was a significant matter that happened in front of them without any denial. Ahmad narrated from Sufiyan from the son of Muawiya, uncle of Al-Ahnaaf bin Qays that he said, "We received a letter from Umar a year before his death to kill every magician, male or female."

As for what we have mentioned about some of the handiwork that endangers people if it is not clear to them, such as the trickery of some elders; the punishment is discretionary punishment "Ta'zeer" depending on how much harm they have done to those they deceived. It is known that the discretionary punishment in Islam could reach killing, depending on the type of the committed crime.

But the difference between the killing of "Hudood" and the killing of "Ta'zeer" is that in the first case, the killed is Murtad (Apostate from Islam). We do not pray over him and he is not to be buried in the Muslims' cemeteries. The second case is a Muslim but he is either Fasiq or Fajir depending on the type of the crime and there is prayer over him and he should be buried in the Muslims' cemeteries.

8- (فَلاَ تَكْفُرْ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ وَمَا هُمْ بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ) "So disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).' And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's leave."

Allah (swt) clarifies in this Ayah that those who learn magic and practice it are able to effect those who they act upon from the people, such as creating problems between them and their spouses which leads to divorce or separation. Allah (swt) shows an important Aqeedah matter to remove what may enter the minds of people, that the magician has the ability of Allah or he can do things against the Will of Allah.

Therefore, Allah (swt) clarifies in this Ayah that nothing happens in His Dominion without his permission, against his will, and this is the meaning of the Will of Allah. Then nothing happens in the Dominion of Allah against His (swt) Will i.e. everything that happens is with His permission or his will or voluntarily (swt) (وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ) "But you shall not will except As Allah wills,- the Cherisher of the worlds." [Surah At-Takweer 81:29.] But that does not mean that it is with His consent because Allah (swt) does not accept the Kufr and the sin;

(إِنْ تَكْفُرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنْكُمْ وَلاَ يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ) "If you reject (Allah), truly Allah has no need of you; but He likes not Kufr from His servants" [Surah Az-Zumar 39:7.] This term has this meaning as we understood from the extrapolation of the texts, and His permission or His Will can't be explained from the literal linguistic meaning of permission or willing, which means allowing or requesting things or satisfaction, but it is interpreted in terms of Terminology, as is known by the people of language or the people of Fiqh or the people of Usool or any of the other Uloom (fields of knowledge.

And (بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ) "With the permission of Allah" has significant and great meaning at this point, because what appears in the actions of sorcerers in front of people in terms of illusion and seeing some things that they may imagine that they are creating as Allah (swt) creates or are doing things that Allah (swt) cannot revoke. So, Allah stressed that nothing happens but with His authorization, i.e. not against His Will but within His Will in this sense, and Allah (swt) can revoke their magic, and nothing happens in His Dominion against of His Will.

And here someone may say, "So why does Allah not invalidate their magic?!"

Allah (swt) clarifies the good from evil; and He clarifies to us that He rewards the goodness and punishes the evil. He then lets us know that Allah can make us one nation on either good or bad; (وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلاَ يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ)

"if your Lord had so willed, He could have made Mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute." [Surah Hud 11:118]. But Allah (swt) from wisdom He knows, left us to choose what we want from the evil or good and we will be recompensed over them accordingly, and some enter Paradise and some enter Hell;

(وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَآتَيْنَا كُلَّ نَفْسٍ هُدَاهَا وَلَكِنْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ مِنِّي لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنْ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ) "If we had so willed, we could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the word from me will come True, I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together." [Surah as-Sajdah 32:13]

Therefore, there is no place to question why Allah (swt) did not invalidate the evil of the sources. Or why Allah (swt) didn't lead us to do the good in everything that He ordered us to do. Or why Allah (swt) did not stop us from doing the evil and do only the good.... Allah (swt) clarifies to us the good from the evil, and He left us to choose, and that is the wisdom of Allah Almighty; (لاَ يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ) "He cannot be questioned for His acts, but They will be questioned (for theirs)". [Surah Al- Anbiya 21: 23]

However, in all cases we must believe that nothing happens against his Almighty in the Kingdom of Allah, but with His Permission and His Will.

9- (وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنْ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَق) "And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter." This means that all magic is evil; this is a description to what they learnt of magic, (يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ) and this description is significant and clear that what they are learning harms them and doesn't benefit them, because magic is evil and does harm without benefit.

And Allah (swt) clarifies that the one that practices the magic, as we have describe it, does not have any chance of the afterlife because he is an unbeliever of Allah and His signs.

(اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ) means purchased, and it has been used here meaning of a metaphor which means he took it as a career for himself.

(وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنْ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ) "And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter" is in the meaning of the prohibition on the practice of magic.

(وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ)

"And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew." It is evil that they are sold themselves to magic, and they subject themselves for the punishment of Allah, and they wasted against the fire of hell (مَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ) "He would have no share in the Hereafter."

(لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ) "if they but knew" which means that if they benefit from what they learned! Because the one who knows and doesn't benefit from it, he as if he does not know. Therefore the one who know that the magic consequences are dire and still practices it; he is as if he does not know, and this is a significant argument in the subject, SubhanAllah the Almighty!

The Messenger of Allah (saw) sought refuge with Allah from the non beneficial knowledge,

أعوذ بالله من علم لا ينفع، وقلب لا يخشع، وعين لا تدمع

"O Allah! I seek refuge in you from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied." [Muslim]. This use is a significant argument in the subject, as we said, and it is in different place in the book of Allah and it is used in other indications,

(أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا فَإِنَّهَا لاَ تَعْمَى الأَبْصَارُ وَلَكِنْ تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ)

"Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are In their breasts." [Al- Haj 20:46]

(إِلاَّ دُعَآءً وَنِدَآءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْىٌ فَهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ)

"nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are devoid of wisdom." [Surah Al-Baqra 2:171]

The one who does not benefit from his ears, as if he does not hear.

And the one who does not benefit from his eyesight, as if he cannot see.

And the one that he does not benefit from his tongue as if he does not speak.

And the one who does not benefit from his mind as if he does not make sense.

And the one who does not benefit from his knowledge as if he does not know.


(وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَمَثُوبَةٌ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ) "And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!" which means that if they believe and obeyed and left the magic it was better for them (لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ) "if they but know," which means that if they were benefiting from what they knew about the severe consequences of magic in terms of the damage that they are doing against the people in this world, and in terms of punishment is Hell in the Afterlife.

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