Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-162



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The duty of spreading the Islamic Knowledge
Verse 159 above stated that concealing from people clear signs and guidance revealed by Allah Almighty is a terrible crime which earns the curse of Allah Almighty Himself, as well a s that of His entire creation. Let us point out to some injunctions that issue forth from this verse:

1.It is forbidden to conceal knowledge which must be disclosed and disseminated widely. The Holy Prophet (SM) said:

"Anyone who is asked about something (of religion) which he knows would, in the event that he conceals it, be brought forth by Allah on the Doomsday harnessed with a rein of fire." (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and 'Amr ibn al-'As and reported by Ibn Majah Qurtubi)

According to the fuqaha' (Muslim jurists), this warning applies to a person who is the only one available in a given situation. If there are other knowledgeable persons present, he has the option of suggesting that the issue may be discussed with a n 'Zlim who knows. (Qurtubi and Jassas).

2. Another very important rule that emerges from here is that one who himself does not possess the sound knowledge of religious injunctions and rulings should not try to explain them.

3. The third rule we find out is that answers to religious questions which are intricate, deeply invohed and way beyond the comprehension level of common people should not be offered before them lest they fall a prey to some misunderstanding. This will not be considered as 'concealment of knowledge' since what is not allowed is the concealment of clear guidance given in the Qur'an and Sunnah which it is rather necessary to disclose and disseminate widely. The expression من البيت والهدي "of clear signs and guidance" in this verse releases a strong suggestion to this effect. It was about such questions that the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud had said: 'If you recite ahadith which people do not understand fully, you will be throwing them into a nest of discord.' (Qurtububi).

As reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه has said: 'Disclose to the common people only that much of knowledge as they have the capacity to understand. Do you want them to deny Allah and His Messenger?' For, anything beyond their comprehension would breed doubts in their minds and the possibility is there that they may refuse to accept it.

This leads us to the rule that it is the responsibility of an 'Zlim,a religious scholar or a guide, to talk to people after he has assessed their ability to receive what is to be communicated. Such questions should not be brought up before a person who is likely to fall in error or misunderstanding. It is for this reason that Muslim jurists, while discussing such questions in writing, conclude with a standard warning tag of هذا مما يعرف ولا يعرف  which means that the question under discussion is sensitive, thkrefore, a scholar should limit it to his comprehension and refrain from broadcasting it in public. It is reported that the Holy Prophet (SM) has said:

"Do not withhold wisdom from those who deserve it, for if you do so, you will be unjust to them; and do not place it before those who do not deserve it, for if you do so, you will be unjust to it."

In view of these details, Imam al-Qurtubi has deduced the ruling that an infidel who appears in polemics against Muslims or a hefesiarch (mubtadi) who, being a combination of the heretic and the schismatic, invites people to his misleading ideas should not be initiated into the Islamic disciplines unless it is absolutely ascertained that such teaching would correct his thinking.

Similarly, the executive authority of a time should not be given rulings which they could misuse to unleash a reign of terror over their citizens. Similarly again, the 'leaves' (rukhsah) given in religious injunctions and the stratagems (hilah, plural: biyal) should not be brought forth in public unnecessarily lest people get used to being 'excuse-seekers' while acting upon the injunctions of the faith. (Qurqubi).

The hadith is equal to the Qur'an by implication The blessed Companion Abu Hurayrah, as reported in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari,has said: 'If this verse of the Qur'an were not there, I would have not related a single hadith before you.' The verse referred to here is the present verse which carries the warning of curse on concealment of knowledge. Some other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, have been reported to have used similar words while narrating Hadith.

These narrations tell us that in the view of the blessed Companions, the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (SM) enjoys some privileges mentioned in relation to the Qur'an. It may be noted that the verse in question warns those who may conceal what has been revealed in the Holy Qur'an; it does not mention Hadith as such. But, the blessed Companions ruled that the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (SM) was covered under this reference to the Qur'an and that is why they thought that concealing the hadith would also put them under this warning.

The evil consequences of some sins The exact words of the Holy Qur'an in وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ :'And curse them those who curse', as obvious, have not identified those who do that. Commentators Mujahid and 'Ikrimah have said that this absence of specification suggests that they are cursed by every thing and every living being, so much so, that all animals and insects join in since their misdeeds hurt all created life forms. This is supported by a hadith

from he blessed Companion, Bara ibn 'Azib where the Holy Prophet (SM) has been reported to have said that the word al-la'inun ('those who curse') refers to all animal life that moves on the earth. (Qurtubi quoting Ibn Majah)

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