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Tafseer Al-Baqarah 2: 114-119 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:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَى فِي خَرَابِهَا أُوْلَئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَنْ يدخلوها إلا خَائِفِينَ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ • وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ • وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ كُلٌّ لَهُ قَانِتُونَ • بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ • وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ لَوْلاَ يُكَلِّمُنَا اللَّهُ أَوْ تَأْتِينَا آيَةٌ كَذَلِكَ قَالَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِثْلَ قَوْلِهِمْ تَشَابَهَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا الآياتِ لِقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ • إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلاَ تُسْأَلُ عَنْ أَصْحَابِ الْجَحِيمِ

"Who is more cruel than the one who prevents the mosques of Allah from His name being recited therein, and strives for their destruction? It was not for such men to enter them except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and for them there is a mighty punishment in the other world. To Allah belongs the East and the West. So, whichever way you turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. They say: "Allah has got a son." Pure is He. Nay, to Him belongs all that there is in the heavens and the earth. All stand obedient to Him. (He is the) Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decides a matter, He simply says to it: "Be", and it comes to be. Those who do not know say: "Why is it that Allah does not speak to us, nor does a sign come to us?" So spoke those before them as these people do. Their hearts resemble each other. We have indeed made the signs clear for the people who have certitude. Surely, We have sent you with the truth, as a bearer of good tidings, and a warner, and you will not be asked about the people of Hell." [Surah al-Baqarah: 114-119]


These ayat are connected to those Allah mentioned in the preceding ayat about those who used to say to the believers, "You are upon nothing". These were the Jews, Christians and Polytheists. When any of them took over the worship place of the other, they would prevent them from remembering Allah in these and strive to ruin them. Their reality in the time of the Prophet (saw) and before it shows the same. When the Jews took over the worship places of the others or when these were in their lands, they would prevent them from worship in these and seek to ruin them. This is what the Jews did with the Christians and vice-versa. This is also what the Polytheists did with the Messenger of Allah (saw) when the Sacred Masjid was in their control. They prevented the Messenger and his Companions from Umrah and from performing tawaf around it.


This matter is also a sensible and witnessed reality in our time. The wars waged by the Jews, Christians, Serbs, Hindus, and Russians against the Muslims in Palestine, Lebanon, Bosnia, India, Kashmir and Chechnya show how the disbelievers purposefully target the minarets, domes and masajid with missiles and other weapons, with hatred and intent.

 

Allah, the Exalted, elucidates the following in these ayat:

1. No one is more oppressive than the one who prevents mention of the word of truth in places of worship and seeks to destroy these, whether materially, by physically destroying them or neglecting them, or figuratively, by making them void of the call to Islam and spreading in them false calls.


((وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ)) "Who is more cruel...?" is a rhetorical question for rebuke, rebuking that anyone be worse than those described.


((وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ)) "Who is more cruel than the one who prevents the mosques of Allah..." that is, the most oppressive of preventers are those who prevent the masajid of Allah. This is on the style of His saying, ((وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ)) "Who is more cruel than the one who fabricates lies against Allah" [al-Saff: 7], that is, the most oppressive of fabricators are those who fabricate lies against Allah. Similarly, ((وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِندَهُ مِنَ اللّهِ)) "Who is more cruel than the one who conceals a witness he has from Allah" [al-Baqarah: 140], that is, the most oppressive of concealers are those who conceal a witness they have from Allah.


Thus, the expression "most cruel" in all these ayat is with respect to the subject matter mentioned in them.


2. ((أُوْلَئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَنْ يدخلوها إلا خَائِفِينَ)) "It was not for such men to enter them except in fear", that is, it was not for such people to enter the masajid in a state of security. This is a prohibition from their being allowed to enter in a state of security. Entering in a state of security means that they are in authority over them.


((أُوْلَئِكَ)) "For such men [ulaa'ik]" is a demonstrative pronoun pointing to those mentioned in the previous ayah, those who prevent the remembrance of Allah in places of worship and strive for their ruin. However, the text is general and consideration is for the generality of the expression not the specificity of the cause of revelation. Hence, it includes everyone who prevents mention of Allah in masajid and strives to ruin them.


Thus, the meaning is: O believers, it is prohibited for you to allow those who prevent the mention of Allah in masajid and strive for their ruin to have authority over them.


The prohibition here is definitive, by the indication of, ((لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ)) "...for them there is disgrace in this world, and for them there is a mighty punishment in the other world." Further, this prohibition, ((أُوْلَئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَنْ يدخلوها)) "It was not for such men to enter them except in fear" is on the same style as His saying, ((وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ)) "It is not for you to harm the Messenger of Allah" [al-Ahzab: 53], that is, it is prohibited for you to harm the Messenger of Allah (saw). The same is the case with His saying, ((وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ)) "It is not for a believer, male or female, when Allah and His Messenger decide a matter, that they have any choice in the matter." [al-Ahzab: 36], that is, it is prohibited for every believing man and woman to disobey a matter decided by Allah and His Messenger (saw).


3. ((لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ)) "...for them there is disgrace in this world, and for them there is a mighty punishment in the other world." This is mention of the punishment of those who prevent the mention of Allah in masajid. Their punishment is disgrace in this world, that is, humiliation, shame and exposing of their evil and the making apparent of the disease of their hearts - as He (swt) says, ((أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَن لَّن يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ أَضْغَانَهُمْ)) "Or do those in whose hearts is a disease think that Allah will not expose their grudges?" [Muhammad: 29] - and in the Hereafter is a severe, immense torment.


4. Allah, the Exalted, has made the entire Earth a place of prayer and pure -«فأيما رجل أدركته الصلاة فليصلّ حيث كان» "Any man whom the time of prayer reaches, then let him pray wherever he is" (Agreed upon). Thus, if the houses of Allah are destroyed by those described in the previous ayat and prayer in them is made impossible, then let each person pray wherever he is and let him direct his face towards the Sacred Masjid whichever direction it be in, for all directions are Allah's; He is their owner and creator.


So if the direction of the Sacred Masjid is towards the East, let him pray in that direction and if it is West, then in that direction, and if any other, then towards that. In all these cases, he will be directing himself towards Allah, the Exalted.


((وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ)) "To Allah belongs the East and the West...", that is, Allah is the owner and creator of all directions. The East and West are mentioned here to indicate upon all directions from which the Sun rises on the horizon and is seen by the eye. It rises in the East from multiple points according to the seasons of the year. That direction from the first point to the last on the Eastern horizon is "the East", likewise the West.


It is mentioned elsewhere, ((رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ الْمَغْرِبَيْنِ)) "Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests" [al-Rahman: 17]. Here, the "two Easts" are the first point from where the Sun rises and the last, according to the seasons of the year. That is, the beginning of the places where the Sun rises and its end, through the year. Likewise the "two Wests".


Similarly, we find, ((فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ)) "I take oath by the Lord of the Easts and the Wests" [al-Ma'arij: 40]. The "Easts" here are the points of the rising of the Sun from the East as per the seasons of the year and likewise the "Wests".


All of these - "East and West", "two Easts and two Wests" and "Easts and Wests" are mentioned as a metonymy [kinaya] for Allah, the Exalted, being the owner and creator of all directions and He, the Exalted, is encompassing in mercy, knowledgeable of what benefits His slaves - ((إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ)) "Indeed, Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing."


5. Allah then informs us that those mentioned in the previous ayah - the Jews, Christians and Polytheists - say that Allah has taken a son. The Jews say, ((عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللّهِ)) "Uzair is the son of Allah" and the Christians say, ((الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللّهِ)) "The Messiah is the son of Allah" [al-Tawba: 30] and the Polytheists say that the angels are the daughters of Allah. ((فَاسْتَفْتِهِمْ أَلِرَبِّكَ الْبَنَاتُ وَلَهُمُ الْبَنُونَ * أَمْ خَلَقْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةَ إِنَاثًا وَهُمْ شَاهِدُونَ * أَلَا إِنَّهُم مِّنْ إِفْكِهِمْ لَيَقُولُونَ * وَلَدَ اللَّهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ * أَصْطَفَى الْبَنَاتِ عَلَى الْبَنِينَ * مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ * أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ)) "So ask them, "Does your Lord have daughters while they have sons?" Or, had We created angels as females while they were witnessing? Beware! They are the ones who, by way of a lie of theirs, (have the audacity to) say, "Allah has children" - and they are absolute liars. Is it that Allah has chosen daughters (for Himself) instead of sons? What is the matter with you? How (arbitrarily) do you judge? Then, is it that you do not think about it?" [al-Saffaat: 149-155]


Allah then informs us that He is Transcendent and Exalted above their lies and that He is the owner of the heavens and the earth and everyone and everything therein. All are submitted and obedient to Him.


((بَلْ)) "Nay [bal]" is for transition, that is, for invalidating their false claim that Allah has a son.


The use of ((مَا)) ‘ma', which lexically is for the non-rational beings, in His saying, ((بَلْ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ)) "Nay, to Him belongs all that there is in the heavens and the earth", is to indicate that the status of all created things in the heavens and earth, in particular those they claim are the sons of Allah, is the status of inanimate objects. Nay, it is ever lower with respect to the greatness of Allah. There is a vast difference between Allah and His creation. They understood that the son, normally, is of the genus of the father and the matter here is not so. Rather, the matter here is of Creator and created. This, then, is a metonymical [kinaya] expression for the foolishness of the beliefs of those who said about created things that they are the sons of the Creator.


((كُلٌّ لَهُ قَانِتُونَ)) "All stand obedient to Him" - the tanween in ((كُلٌّ)) ‘kullun' (all) is in substitution for the omitted annexed phrase, that is, all that is in the heavens and earth and all that they make as sons for Allah...all of these are obedient and submitted to Allah, the Exalted. As for the believer, his obedience and submission is apparent. As for the disbeliever, there are multiple positions narrated about the manner of their submission, the most correct of which is what was related from Mujahid that the submission of the disbeliever is the prostration of his shadow whilst he is unwilling, like with the saying of Allah, ((وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَظِلالُهُم بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالآصَالِ)) "To Allah prostrate all in the heavens and earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows, by morn and by evening." [al-Ra'd: 15]


6. Allah, the Exalted, is the originator of the heavens and earth. Origination [ibda'] is to bring something into existence that has no precedent. That is, He is their Creator, and no matter is too difficult for him. When He intends a thing, it occurs as He intends it.
((بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ)) "He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth." ‘Badee' [lit. origination] here is in meaning of mubdi' [originator] by the morphological substitution of muf'il to fa'eel, as with the substitution of mu'lim [pain-causing] to aleem [painful].


((وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا)) "When He decides a matter", that is, when he intends a matter, as with His saying, ((إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ)) "His matter when He intends a thing is but that He says to it, ‘Be!' and it is." [Yasin: 82] ((كُنْ فَيَكُونُ)) "‘Be' and it is" is a metonymy for the immediate occurrence of whatever Allah intends as He intends it.


7. Allah (swt) informs us that ((الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ)) "those who do not know", those mentioned in the previous ayah, ((كَذَلِكَ قَالَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِثْلَ قَوْلِهِمْ)) "So spoke those before them as these people do", that is, the polytheist Arabs who had sought the like of the signs sent to earlier peoples. ((وَقَالُواْ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الأَرْضِ يَنبُوعًا)) "They said, "We shall never believe in you unless you cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth."' [al-Isra: 90] ((فَلْيَأْتِنَا بِآيَةٍ كَمَا أُرْسِلَ الأَوَّلُونَ)) "So, let him bring a sign to us, as the earlier ones were sent with." [al-Anbiya': 5] ((لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ نَرَى رَبَّنَا)) "Why the angels are not sent down to us or why do we not see our Lord?" [al-Furqan: 21]


This is what the polytheist Arabs said to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and these sayings of theirs were similar to what previous disbelieving people said to their prophets, in asking for signs as a pre-condition for their believing. Thamud asked Salih (as) for a sign, ((مَا أَنتَ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُنَا فَأْتِ بِآيَةٍ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ * قَالَ هَذِهِ نَاقَةٌ لَّهَا شِرْبٌ وَلَكُمْ شِرْبُ يَوْمٍ مَّعْلُومٍ)) "You are nothing but a human like us. So, bring a sign if you are one of the truthful." He said, "This is a she-camel. She has a share of water, and you have a share of water on a specified day." [al-Shua'ra: 154-155] Fir'awn and his people asked Musa (as) for signs, ((وَلَمَّا وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّجْزُ قَالُواْ يَا مُوسَى ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ بِمَا عَهِدَ عِندَكَ لَئِن كَشَفْتَ عَنَّا الرِّجْزَ لَنُؤْمِنَنَّ لَكَ)) "Whenever a scourge befell them, they said, "O Mūsā, pray for us to your Lord by the covenant He has made with you. If you remove the scourge from us, we will truly believe in you..." [al-A'raf: 134] Thus the polytheists said as those before them did. Their hearts resembled one another in their putting conditions of signs for their belief. But when signs were sent they still refused to believe - ((وَأَقْسَمُواْ بِاللّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِن جَاءتْهُمْ آيَةٌ لَّيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا قُلْ إِنَّمَا الآيَاتُ عِندَ اللّهِ وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءتْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ)) "They have sworn forceful oaths by Allah that if a sign comes to them, they will surely believe in it. Say, "Signs are in Allah's power alone." What will make you realize that even when they (the signs) come, they will not believe?" [al-An'am: 109]


Allah, the Exalted, then ends the ayah with, "We have indeed made the signs clear for the people who have certitude", that is, for those who seek signs for the purpose of sincerely establishing the truth, certainty and belief. For such, Allah makes the signs clear. This is a rebuttal against the polytheist Arabs of Makkah, who sought miracles from the Messenger of Allah (saw). So Allah makes clear for them that if you want signs in order to sincerely believe then We have already sent such signs and made them clear, namely, the Book of Allah which the Messenger (saw) came with, as affirmed by the next ayah.


8. Allah addresses His Messenger (saw) elucidating that He sent him with the Noble Qur'an, the miracle which challenged the Arabs to bring the like of it. In this is a rebuttal against their saying, ((لَوْلاَ يُكَلِّمُنَا اللَّهُ أَوْ تَأْتِينَا آيَةٌ)) "Why is it that Allah does not speak to us, nor does a sign come to us?" For had they truly wanted a sign in order to believe then here it is - this Miraculous Book - so reflect on its ayat. If they do this, it will become apparent to them that it is not the speech of a man, but rather the speech of Allah.


Allah then informs His Messenger (saw) that he has been sent with the Noble Qur'an as a giver of glad-tidings to the believers of the pleasure of Allah and Jannah, and as a warner to the disbelievers of Allah's wrath and the Fire. So whoever disbelieves after this, he will not harm Allah or His Messenger (saw) in the least, and the Messenger (saw) will not be held accountable for their disbelief, as the messenger is only tasked with passing the message and warning - ((إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلاَ تُسْأَلُ عَنْ أَصْحَابِ الْجَحِيمِ)) "Surely, We have sent you with the truth, as a bearer of good tidings, and a warner, and you will not be asked about the people of Hell."


((إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ)) "We have sent you with the truth", that is, the Qur'an, as with His saying, ((بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي أَمْرٍ مَّرِيجٍ)) "Nay, the rejected the truth when it came to them, so they are in a confused state." [Qaf: 5]

 

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