Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 1-20: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the first installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 1-20. See the series guide here for more information about the series, or click here for more information about the book itself.

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الم

Alif Lam Meem (2:1)

هذه الحروف وغيرها من الحروف المقطَّعة في أوائل السور فيها إشارة إلى إعجاز القرآن؛ فقد وقع به تحدي المشركين، فعجزوا عن معارضته، وهو مركَّب من هذه الحروف التي تتكون منها لغة العرب. فدَلَّ عجز العرب عن الإتيان بمثله- مع أنهم أفصح الناس- على أن القرآن وحي من الله.ـ

1) These letters and the other disconnected letters at the beginnings of surahs point to the miraculous inimitable nature of the Qur’an, for the Qur’an presented a challenge to the mushrikoon which they could not respond to, despite the fact that the Qur’an is built from the very same letters which make up the Arabic language. So the Arab’s inability to produce anything similar to the Qur’an, despite them being the most eloquent of people, shows that the Qur’an is revelation from Allah.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

That is the Book about which there is no doubt. It is a guidance for the muttaqoon (2:2)

ذلك القرآن هو الكتاب العظيم الذي لا شَكَّ أنه من عند الله، فلا يصح أن يرتاب فيه أحد لوضوحه، ينتفع به المتقون بالعلم النافع والعمل الصالح وهم الذين يخافون الله، ويتبعون أحكامه.ـ

2) That Qur’an is a tremendous book, and there is no doubt that it is from Allah. So, due to its clarity, it is not acceptable for anyone to have doubts about it. The muttaqoon benefit from it by way of beneficial knowledge and righteous actions, and the muttaqoon are those who fear Allah and follow His commandments.

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

Those who believe in the Unseen and establish the prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them (2:3)

وهم الذين يُصَدِّقون بالغيب الذي لا تدركه حواسُّهم ولا عقولهم وحدها؛ لأنه لا يُعْرف إلا بوحي الله إلى رسله، مثل الإيمان بالملائكة، والجنة، والنار، وغير ذلك مما أخبر الله به أو أخبر به رسوله، (والإيمان: كلمة جامعة للإقرار بالله وملائكته وكتبه ورسله واليوم الآخر والقدر خيره وشره، وتصديق الإقرار بالقول والعمل بالقلب واللسان والجوارح) وهم مع تصديقهم بالغيب يحافظون على أداء الصلاة في مواقيتها أداءً صحيحًا وَفْق ما شرع الله لنبيه محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، ومما أعطيناهم من المال يخرجون صدقة أموالهم الواجبة والمستحبة.ـ

3) They are those who believe in the unseen matters which neither their senses nor their intellects alone can grasp. That is because those are matters which can only be known by Allah’s revelation to His Messengers, such as belief in the Angels, belief in Jannah and the Hellfire, or other such things which Allah or His Messenger have informed us about. (al-Eemaan – belief – is a comprehensive term referring to the affirmative belief in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and al-Qadr, both the good of it and the bad, and then confirming that belief with one’s statements and actions in one’s heart, one’s tongue and one’s limbs.) Then in addition to their belief in the Unseen, they also carefully maintain their performance of the prayer in its proper times in the proper way according to what Allah legislated for His Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Then, out of the wealth We have given them, they spend charity out of their wealth, and this could be the mandated or optional type of charity.

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

And those who believe in what was sent down to you and in what was sent down before you, and they are certain of the hereafter. (2:4)

والذين يُصَدِّقون بما أُنزل إليك أيها الرسول من القرآن، وبما أنزل إليك من الحكمة، وهي السنة، وبكل ما أُنزل مِن قبلك على الرسل من كتب، كالتوراة والإنجيل وغيرهما، ويُصَدِّقون بدار الحياة بعد الموت وما فيها من الحساب والجزاء، تصديقا بقلوبهم يظهر على ألسنتهم وجوارحهم وخص يوم الآخرة؛ لأن الإيمان به من أعظم البواعث على فعل الطاعات، واجتناب المحرمات، ومحاسبة النفس.ـ

4) They are those who believe in the Qur’an that was sent down to you, O Messenger, as well as the Hikmah which was sent down to you, meaning the Sunnah, and also in all the Books which were sent down before you to the Messengers, such as the Tawrah, the Injeel and others. And they also belief in the realm of life after death and the reckoning and recompense it holds. This is a belief in their hearts that is clearly manifested on their tongues and their limbs. And the reason why the Last Day is mentioned specifically is because belief in it is one of the greatest motivating factors for performing acts of obedience, avoiding prohibited matters and holding oneself to account.

أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

These are the ones on guidance from their Lord, and these are the ones who are successful (2:5)

أصحاب هذه الصفات يسيرون على نور من ربهم وبتوفيق مِن خالقهم وهاديهم، وهم الفائزون الذين أدركوا ما طلبوا، ونَجَوا من شرِّ ما منه هربوا.ـ

5) The people who possess these traits will travel upon a light from their Lord and with assistance from their Creator and Guide. They are the successful ones who will reach their objective and be saved from the harm they were fleeing.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn them or don’t warn them; they will not believe (2:6)

إن الذين جحدوا ما أُنزل إليك من ربك استكبارًا وطغيانًا، لن يقع منهم الإيمان، سواء أخوَّفتهم وحذرتهم من عذاب الله، أم تركت ذلك؛ لإصرارهم على باطلهم.ـ

6) Those who reject what has been sent down to you from your Lord out of pride and transgression will never have eemaan. That is regardless of whether you attempt to strike fear in their hearts and warn them of Allah’s punishment or simply leave them as they are, due to their stubborn persistence in their falsehood.

خَتَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Allah has set a seal over their hearts and over their hearing, and there is a covering over their vision. And they will have a tremendous punishment. (2:7)

طبع الله على قلوب هؤلاء وعلى سمعهم، وجعل على أبصارهم غطاء؛ بسبب كفرهم وعنادهم مِن بعد ما تبيَّن لهم الحق، فلم يوفقهم للهدى، ولهم عذاب شديد في نار جهنم.ـ

7) Allah has placed a stamp over the hearts and hearing of these people and placed a cover over their vision. That is because of their disbelief and obstinacy after the truth has been made clear to them. So they will not come in line with the guidance, and they will have a severe punishment in the Hellfire.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّـهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ

And there are some people who say, “We believe in Allah and in the Last Day” though they are not believers. (2:8)

ومن الناس فريق يتردد متحيِّرًا بين المؤمنين والكافرين، وهم المنافقون الذين يقولون بألسنتهم: صدَّقْنَا بالله وباليوم الآخر، وهم في باطنهم كاذبون لم يؤمنوا.ـ

8) And there is a group of people who teeter confusedly between the believers and the disbelievers. They are the munafiqoon whose tongues say, “We believe in Allah and in the Last Day” though internally they deny them and do not believe.

يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلَّا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ

They try to fool Allah and those who believe but they fool none but themselves though they do not realize it (2:9)

يعتقدون بجهلهم أنهم يخادعون الله والذين آمنوا بإظهارهم الإيمان وإضمارهم الكفر، وما يخدعون إلا أنفسهم؛ لأن عاقبة خداعهم تعود عليهم. ومِن فرط جهلهم لا يُحِسُّون بذلك؛ لفساد قلوبهم.ـ

9) Due to their ignorance, they believe that they are fooling Allah and those who believe by outwardly displaying faith while concealing disbelief. However they fool none but themselves, for the end result of their deception comes back upon them. Because of their great ignorance they do not even suspect this, due to the corrupted nature of their hearts.

فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّـهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ

There is a sickness in their hearts, so Allah increased them in sickness. There will be a painful punishment for them because they used to lie. (2:10)

في قلوبهم شكٌّ وفساد فابْتُلوا بالمعاصي الموجبة لعقوبتهم، فزادهم الله شكًا، ولهم عقوبة موجعة بسبب كذبهم ونفاقهم.ـ

10) There is doubt and sickness in their hearts so they were tried with sins which would necessitate their punishment, so Allah then increased them in doubt. They will have an agonizing punishment because of their lying and hypocrisy.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ

When it is said to them, “Do not bring about corruption in the earth,” they say, “We are only rectifiers.” (2:11)

وإذا نُصحوا ليكفُّوا عن الإفساد في الأرض بالكفر والمعاصي، وإفشاء أسرار المؤمنين، وموالاة الكافرين، قالوا كذبًا وجدالا إنما نحن أهل الإصلاح.ـ

11) When they are given sincere counsel to withhold from causing corruption in the earth by disbelief, sins, spreading the secrets of the believers, and aligning themselves with the disbelievers, they lie and argue by responding, “We are only people of rectification!”

أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَشْعُرُونَ

Rather, it is they who are corrupters, but they do not perceive it. (2:12)

إنَّ هذا الذي يفعلونه ويزعمون أنه إصلاح هو عين الفساد، لكنهم بسبب جهلهم وعنادهم لا يُحِسُّون.ـ

12) The things they do while claiming to be setting things aright is the very definition of corruption. But because of their ignorance and obstinacy they do not realize this.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُوا كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُوا أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَا آمَنَ السُّفَهَاءُ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَاءُ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ

And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people believe,” they say, “Should we believe as the fools believe?” Rather, it is they who are the fools, though they do not know. (2:13)

وإذا قيل للمنافقين: آمِنُوا- مثل إيمان الصحابة، وهو الإيمان بالقلب واللسان والجوارح-، جادَلوا وقالوا: أَنُصَدِّق مثل تصديق ضعاف العقل والرأي، فنكون نحن وهم في السَّفَهِ سواء؟ فردَّ الله عليهم بأن السَّفَهَ مقصور عليهم، وهم لا يعلمون أن ما هم فيه هو الضلال والخسران.ـ

13) And when the munafiqoon are told, “believe like the belief of the Sahabah” – which is belief of the heart, tongue and limbs – they argue and say, “Should we believe like the belief of people with weak intellect and thinking, so that we would all be equal in foolishness?” So Allah responded to them by saying that this foolishness is specific to them, but they do not know that they are in a state of misguidance and loss.

وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْا إِلَىٰ شَيَاطِينِهِمْ قَالُوا إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِئُونَ

And when they meet those who believe they say, “We believe”, but when they are alone with their shaytaans they say, “We are with you. We were only mocking.” (2:14)

هؤلاء المنافقون إذا قابلوا المؤمنين قالوا: صدَّقنا بالإسلام مثلكم، وإذا انصرفوا وذهبوا إلى زعمائهم الكفرة المتمردين على الله أكَّدوا لهم أنهم على ملة الكفر لم يتركوها، وإنما كانوا يَسْتَخِفُّون بالمؤمنين، ويسخرون منهم.ـ

14) When these munafiqoon meet the believers they say, “We believe in Islam just like you.” But when they turn away and go to their disbelieving leaders who rebel against Allah then they make it clear to them that they are following the disbelieving way and have never left it; they were only making fun of the believers and mocking them.

اللَّـهُ يَسْتَهْزِئُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ

Allah mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression while they wander blindly (2:15)

الله يستهزئ بهم ويُمهلهم؛ ليزدادوا ضلالا وحَيْرة وترددًا، ويجازيهم على استهزائهم بالمؤمنين.ـ

15) Allah mocks them and lets them continue as they are so that they will increase in misguidance, confusion and uncertainty. And He will repay them for their mockery of the believers.

أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الضَّلَالَةَ بِالْهُدَىٰ فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ

Those are the ones who have bought misguidance for guidance, so their exchange has brought no profit, nor were they guided. (2:16)

أولئك المنافقون باعوا أنفسهم في صفقة خاسرة، فأخذوا الكفر، وتركوا الإيمان، فما كسبوا شيئًا، بل خَسِروا الهداية. وهذا هو الخسران المبين.ـ

16) These munafiqoon have sold themselves in a losing deal, for they have taken disbelief and left belief. So they will not gain anything. On the contrary, they have lost guidance, and that is a clear loss.

مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّـهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ

They are like one who lights a fire and then when it lit up what was around him Allah took away their light and left them in the darknesses unable to see. (2:17)

حال المنافقين الذين آمنوا- ظاهرًا لا باطنًا- برسالة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، ثم كفروا، فصاروا يتخبطون في ظلماتِ ضلالهم وهم لا يشعرون، ولا أمل لهم في الخروج منها، تُشْبه حالَ جماعة في ليلة مظلمة، وأوقد أحدهم نارًا عظيمة للدفء والإضاءة، فلما سطعت النار وأنارت ما حوله، انطفأت وأعتمت، فصار أصحابها في ظلمات لا يرون شيئًا، ولا يهتدون إلى طريق ولا مخرج.ـ

17) The condition of the munafiqoon who believed – outwardly though not internally – that Muhammad (ﷺ) is Allah’s Messenger but then disbelieved became like someone stumbling in the darknesses of their misguidance without even realizing it. And there is no hope for them to escape this darkness. Their situation resembles that of a group on a dark night, with one of them making a great fire to provide heat and light. While the fire was shining bright and lighting the surrounding area, it was extinguished and darkened. So they people around it found themselves in layers of darkness, unable to see anything, without any guidance to a path or way out.

صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ

Deaf, dumb and blind, so they will not return. (2:18)

هم صُمٌّ عن سماع الحق سماع تدبر، بُكْم عن النطق به، عُمْي عن إبصار نور الهداية؛ لذلك لا يستطيعون الرجوع إلى الإيمان الذي تركوه، واستعاضوا عنه بالضلال.ـ

18) They are deaf, unable to hear the truth with any contemplation; dumb, unable to speak the truth; and blind, unable to see the light of guidance. Because of that, they are unable to go back to the belief that they had left, and in return they were compensated with misguidance.

أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ

Or like a rainstorm from the sky containing darknesses, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears due to the thunderclaps out of fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers. (2:19)

أو تُشْبه حالُ فريق آخر من المنافقين يظهر لهم الحق تارة، ويشكون فيه تارة أخرى، حالَ جماعة يمشون في العراء، فينصب عليهم مطر شديد، تصاحبه ظلمات بعضها فوق بعض، مع قصف الرعد، ولمعان البرق، والصواعق المحرقة، التي تجعلهم من شدة الهول يضعون أصابعهم في آذانهم؛ خوفًا من الهلاك. والله تعالى محيط بالكافرين لا يفوتونه ولا يعجزونه.ـ

19) Or there is the condition of another group of the munafiqoon who sometimes see the truth clearly but are in doubt about it at other times. Their situation resembles that of a group of people who are traveling through barren land when a severe rain pours down on them, bringing with it multiple layers of darkness, one on top of the other, along with a bombardment of thunder and brightness of the lightning and stunning thunderclaps which make them put their fingers in their ears out sheer fright, afraid of being destroyed. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers; they are not able to escape or outrun Him.

يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَضَاءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْا فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُوا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

The lightning practically snatches their vision away. Whenever it lights things up for them they walk in it, but when darkness comes over them they stand still. And if Allah had wished He could have taken away their hearing and their vision. Allah is certainly able to do anything. (2:20)

يقارب البرق- من شدة لمعانه- أن يسلب أبصارهم، ومع ذلك فكلَّما أضاء لهم مشَوْا في ضوئه، وإذا ذهب أظلم الطريق عليهم فيقفون في أماكنهم. ولولا إمهال الله لهم لسلب سمعهم وأبصارهم، وهو قادر على ذلك في كل وقتٍ، إنه على كل شيء قدير.ـ

20) The lightning nearly takes away their sight due to how bright it is. Despite that, whenever it lights things up for them they walk in its light, but when the light goes away the path becomes dark to them so they stop in their places. And were it not for Allah granting them a repreive, He would take away their hearing and their vision, for He is able to do that at any time. He is certainly able to do anything.

[al-Tafsir al-Muyassar pg. 2-4]

See also: Central Themes of Surah al-Baqarah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Disconnected Letters Article Index

See also: Eemaan is Belief, Statements, and Actions: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: Guidance elevates and misguidance debases: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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