Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-253



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Verse 248:The story of Talut and Jalut
The Bani Isra'il used to have the legacy of a wooden chest (also identified as the Ark of the Covenant). Moses and other prophets of Bani Isra'il would keep this chest in the frontline of the battlefield. Its barakah (blessing, benediction) used to give them victory. When Jalut (خالوت : Goliath) overcame Bani: Isra'il,he took this chest away with him. When Allah Almighty willed the return of the chest, it so happened that the infidels were struck by some epidemic or calamity at places where they carried this chest. Five cities were turned desolate. Nonplussed, they loaded it on two bullocks and drove them off. Then, the angels took control of the bullocks and made it reach Talut's doorsteps. (Talut is the Qur'anic name of the king known in the Bible as Saul) When the Bani Isra'il saw this sign, they believed in the kingdom of Talut, who then mounted an attack on Jalut while the weather was very hot.

Verse 249: قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍ (He said: Allah is going to test you by a river).

The wisdom behind this test, as perceived by this humble commentator, appears to be as follows. Not difficult to imagine is the excitement created on such occasions but there are not many who would stay firm in their hour of trial. And should such a time come, the weakness shown by such people becomes contagious making others panic as well. Allah Almighty willed that such people be pruned out. This purpose was accomplished by this test, which is very appropriate, because steadfastness is necessary in fighting. So, being patient, when water is made available without asking in a stste of intense thirst, is a proof of steadfastness, and dashing for water is a proof of its absence. Later on comes the unusual: Those who drank too much water became mysteriously more incapacitated. This has appeared in Ruh al-Ma'ani on the authority of Ibn abi Hatim from Ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنه. Now the events and sayings mentioned in this story tell us that there were three kinds of people among them:  

(1)The weak in faith who failed to make the grade in their hour of trial.

(2) The perfect who fully succeeded in their trial but did feel concerned about how low they were in numbers.

(3)The most perfect who did not bother even about that.

Verse 252
[٢٥٢]تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ

These are the vgrses of kllah that We recite to you with all veracity, and certainly you are among the Messengers. (Verse 252)

Since the affirmation of the prophethood of the noble Messenger of Allah (SM) is also a major objective of the Holy Qur'an, it has been so asserted as and when the occasion warrants. That he is correctly reporting the event (in verses 246-251), while he neither learnt it from someone nor heard it anywhere nor saw it, is a miracle which is a sound proof of his prophethood. Verse 252 here (and verse 253 which follows) demonstrate this proof.

It is being said here that these verses in which this event has been mentioned 'are the verses of Allah that We recite to you with all veracity' and this proves that 'you are certainly among the Messengers.'

Verse 253
[٢٥٣]تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ ۗ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَـٰكِنِ اخْتَلَفُوا فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن كَفَرَ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُوا وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

Those are the messengers some of whom We have given excellence over some others. Among them there is he whom Allah spoke to, and some of them He raised steps higher. And We gave clear signs to 'IS;, the son of Maryam (Jesus, the son of Mary) and supported him with the Holy Spirit. And if Allah so willed, those succeeding him would have not fought against each other after clear signs had come to them. But they disagreed among themselves. So, there were some who believed and there were some who disbelieved and if Allah so willed, they would have not fought against each other. But Allah does what He intends. (Verse 253)


1.In Verse 253, beginning with تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ :('those are the Messengers'), the purpose is to give solace and comfort to the noble Prophet (SM) since the deniers refused to recognize his prophethood, inspite of the fact that it was conclusively proved, as has been stated in the verse 252: وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ (And certainly you are among the Messengers.) as well. This situatio~caused him pain. Therefore, Allah Almighty made him aware of the coming of other prophets too, in varying degrees of station, but universal belief was not witnessed in any of their communities some supported while some others opposed. However, this too has its wise considerations which may not necessarily be visible to everyone, but this much is important that one should generally believe that there is definitely a certain wisdom behind this.

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