Sura Al-Maidah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-69

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After that, it was said that the people the Prophet of Islam is dealing with are contumacious people as they refuse to benefit from the open and clear words of the Qur'an revealed to him, instead of which, their disbelief in and denial of the truth keeps getting more hardened. So, it is to keep Muslims safe from their evil designs that Allah has caused differences to crop up within their own sects because of which they would neither dare fight an open war nor would any conspiracy by them succeed. The failure to wage an open war has been mentioned in : كُلَّمَا أَوْقَدُوا نَارًا لِّلْحَرْبِ أَطْفَأَهَا اللَّهُ (Whenever they lit the flames of war, Allah puts it out) while the failure to hatch sinster conspiracies has been pointed out in: يَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا (And they run about on the earth spreading mischief).

Full obedience to the Divine Commands brings
Blessings in This World Too

In verse 65, the Jews have been admonished that the people of the Torah and Injil have not derived any benefit from the guidance given therein nor from the teachings of the blessed prophets. Once involved in worldly greed, they ignored what was not to be ignored. As a result, they ran into straightened circumstances right here in this world as well. But, if they were to take to the ways of faith and godliness even now, Allah could forgive them their past sins and admit them to Gardens full of bliss.

How are Divine Commands carried out in Full?
Mentioned in verse 66 which begins with the words: ولو انهم اقاموا التوراة, (And if they had upheld the Torah ...), are some details of the same faith and godliness for which worldly blessings have been promised in the previous verse (65). The detail is that they should, uphold the Torah, the Injil and the Holy Qur'an revealed after them. The word used here does not refer to 'acting in accordance with these books'. Instead of that, the word placed here is 'Iqamah' which means to establish, and to make something stand upright and straight. It signifies that their teachings can be carried out fully and correctly only when there is no increase or decrease or shortcoming in them. What is meant to stand straight must stand perfectly straight established, not tilting.

The essence of the verse is that if the Jews were to believe in the guidance of the Torah, the Injil and the Qur'an, even today, and carry out their instructions fully, without failing to act properly, nor opting for excess and transgression by equating self-innovated things with established religion, then, they shall deserve the promised blessings of the Hereafter, and the doors of sustenance will be thrown open for them in the present world as well. It will come from above and it will come from beneath. 'Above' and 'beneath,' as obvious, mean sustenance which will be available easily and constantly. (Tafsir-Kabir).

It will be noticed that the earlier verse (65)promised blessings only in the Hereafter. The present verse (66) extends the promise to cover worldly comforts as well. The reason for this may perhaps be that the Jews had taken to malpractices, particularly the practice of altering and distorting Scriptures because of their taste for the temporal and their insatiable greed for money. This became their main hurdle which had stopped them from obeying the Qur'an and the Prophet of Islam despite that they had seen very clear signs of their veracity. They were scared at the idea that by becoming Muslims, their leadership role in the community will be all over. Also gone will be the offerings and gifts which they received as religious high-priests. It was to remove this kind of doubt or apprehension that Almighty Allah promised to them that if they take to believing truly and acting righteously, nothing will be decreased from their worldly wealth and comfort which would, rather, be increased.

Answer to a Doubt
Details given above also show that this particular promise was made to Jews who were present during the time of the Holy Prophet (SM) and were his direct addressees. If they had obeyed the command given to them, they would have had all sorts of blessings in the mortal world as well. So, those who took to the message of faith and good deed, they had these blessings in full like Najashi (Negus) the King of Ethiopea and Sayyidna 'Ahdullah ibn Salam رضي الله عنه. However,it is not necessary that for one who abides by faith and good deed, sustenance will be extended as a rule and, vice versa, for one who does not, sustenance will be straightened as a rule. The reason is that, at this place, the purpose is not to describe a general rule. This is a promise made to a particular group under particular conditions.

However, as far as the standard or general rule regarding faith and good deeds is concerned, the promise of the blessing of good and pure life is universal but, that could either take the form of extended means of sustenance, or means which are outwardly constricted, as it has been with the blessed prophets and men of Allah not all of whom had extended sustenance all the time, but they all did have the purest of the pure life.

Justice was served when in the last verse (67), it was also added that the evil doings of Jews mentioned in the text do not apply to all Jews. Among them there were moderate people, people who were on the right path. But, the majority was evil doing. 'People on the right path' denotes people who were first Jews and Christians, then believed in the Qur'an and the Holy Prophet (SM) and entered the fold of Islam.

Emphasis on Tablkh and Comfort for the Prophet (SM),
In the present verses as well as throughout the previous two sections, there has been a continued description of the crookedness, waywardness, obstinacy and anti-Islam mechanizations of Jews and Christians. One natural effect it could have on the Holy Prophet (SM) was that he, being hurnan, could feel disappointed or compelled by circumstances and, as a result of which, the process of Tabligh or the very mission of prophethood might slow down or left lacking somewhere. The second effect could be that in the event he elected to devote single-mindedly to his call and mission as a prophet without caring for any hostility, enmity, harm or hurt, there was every likelihood that it could result in the worst of hardships at the hands of his adversaries. Therefore, in the last verse (67),the Holy Prophet (SM) was, on the one hand, emphatically commanded to convey everything revealed to him by Allah, all of it, without any hesitation, to the people. That someone likes or dislikes it, takes or rejects it, should no worry him in his mission. Then, on the other hand, by giving the Holy Prophet (SM) the good news that all those disbelievers will be unable to bring any harm to him in his mission as a prophet for Allah will Himself protect him.

The sentence: 'وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ :'And if you do not, then, you have not conveyed His message [at all]' in this verse is worth pondering. This address to the Holy Prophet (SM) here means that if he failed to convey even one Divine command to the Muslim Ummah, he would not find himself absolved of the responsibility of prophethood. This was the reason why the Holy Prophet (SM) strived with his full courage and serength all his life to fulfill this heavy obligation placed on his shoulders. Muslims are familiar with the renowned Khutbah of the Holy Prophet (SM) during his Last Hajj, the great address which was not only the Constitution of Islam but also the last will and testament of an elementally lenient and merciful prophet who was far more affectionate and caring than a father and mother could ever be.

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