Sura Al-Maidah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-73

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Is it not that the Holy Prophet (SM) carried out the mission of Jihad against Jews and Christians, and others, those who did not believe in him and in the Book of Allah revealed to him, even fought against them on battlefields? What justification would remain for that? And if, for a human being to be a true believer acceptable with  Allah, having faith only in Allah and the Last Day should be taken as sufficient, why then, would Iblis (Satan)be cursed? Did he not believe in Allah? Or, was he a denier of the Last Day? Was he not the one who, even in his fit of anger, by saying: الى يوم يبعثون (Till the Day, the [dead] are raised - 34:79), confirmed his faith in the Last Day?

The truth of the matter is that this error is the product of the notion that religion can be given as a gift on a silver plate as done in marriages. Seen in modern and international context, religion can be used to develop bonds of relationship with other nations although, the Holy Qur'an has said very openly and clearly that we should have our relations with non-Muslims based on tolerance, sympathy, favour, charity, mercy and things like that, but this should be done by ensuring that the limits of religion are not crossed and that its frontiers remain fully guarded.

If, in the verse under reference, let us suppose, there was no mention of the faith in prophethood, then, other verses quoted above which command it emphatically, would have been sufficient. But, a closer look at this verse itself will show a distinct hint towards belief in prophethood because, in the terminology of the Qur'an, only that 'Iman bill (belief in Allah) is valid, in which there is belief in everything told by Allah. The Qur'an has made its terminology very clear in the following words:

فَإِنْ آمَنُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُم بِهِ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا

So, if they (the Companions) believe in the like of what you the Prophet (SM) believe in, they have certainly found the right path - 2:137

It means that the kind of 'Iman the noble Sahabah had is the only 'Iman which deserves to be called 'Iman bil-lah. And it is obvious that 'Iman bir-rasul was a great pillar of the edifice of their 'Iman. Therefore, the words: من امن بالله (whoever believes in Allah) are inclusive of the belief in the Messenger of Allah.

Verses 70 - 71
[٧٠]لَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ رُسُلًا ۖ كُلَّمَا جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَىٰ أَنفُسُهُمْ فَرِيقًا كَذَّبُوا وَفَرِيقًا يَقْتُلُونَ

[٧١]وَحَسِبُوا أَلَّا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ فَعَمُوا وَصَمُّوا ثُمَّ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ عَمُوا وَصَمُّوا كَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ

Certainly We took a pledge from the Bani Isra'il and sent Messengers to them. Whenever a Messenger came to them with what did not meet their desires, they falsified some and started killing others. [70] And they thought that no harm would follow. Therefore, they turned blind and deaf. Then, Allah accepted their repentance, but again they turned blind and deaf, many of them. And Allah is watchful of what they do. [71]

Commentary
This is an account of how the Bani Isra'il kept breaking the pledge taken from them. As said in verse 70, whenever their Messenger brought a command which did not suit their fancy, they would break their pledge and go about betraying Allah to the limit that they would falsify His Messengers, even kill some of them. They were commanded 'to believe in Allah and act righteously.' But, this was what they did in response. As for the other part of the command 'Belief in the Last Day' their behaviour was equally reckless. After having committed acts so oppressive, they became totally carefree as if they would not have to pay for what they had done and as if the consequences of their injustice and rebellion will never come out in the open. Under this false impression, they became totally blind and deaf to Divine signs and words. They went on doing what should have not been done. So much so that they killed some prophets and put some others behind bars. Finally, Almighty Allah imposed on them the mastery of Nebuchadnezzar (King of Babylonia, 605-562 B.C., who took them as slaves to Babylon old Testament, book of Daniel). When, after a long time, they were sent back to Jerusalem from Babylon through help from some Persian kings who secured their release from disgrace under Nebuchadnezzar they repented and turned to making amends. Allah relented and accepted their repentance. But, with the passage of some time, they went back to their old practices which made them so blind and deaf once again that they dared killing Sayyidna Zakariyah (Zechariah) and Sayyidna Yahya (John) and were all set to kill Sayyidna 'Isa (Jesus ). (Tafsir Usmani - Notes).

Verses 72 - 76
[٧٢]لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ۖ وَقَالَ الْمَسِيحُ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ

[٧٣]لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلَاثَةٍ ۘ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَـٰهٍ إِلَّا إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُوا عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

[٧٤]أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

[٧٥]مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

[٧٦]قُلْ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا ۚ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

Surely, they became disbelievers who said, "Allah is exactly the Masih son of Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)" while the Masih had said, "O children of Isra'il, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." The fact is, whoever ascribes any partner to Allah, to him Allah has prohibited the Jannah (the Paradise) and their shelter is the Fire. And for the unjust there are no supporters. [72] Surely, they became disbelievers who said, "Allah is the third of the three" while there is no god but One God. And if they do not desist from what they say, a painful punishment shall certainly befall the disbelievers among them. [73] Why then do they not turn to Allah in repentance and seek His forgiveness when Allah is most forgiving, very merciful?[74]

The Masih , son of Maryam, is no more than a Messenger. There have been messengers before him. And his mother is very truthful. Look how We explain signs to them, then see how far they are turned away. [75]

Say, "Do you worship, besides Allah, what has no power to do you harm or bring you benefit?" And Allah is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.[76]

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