Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 142-157: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the fifteenth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 142-157. This passage centers around the changing of the qiblah and submitting to Allah’s commands and decrees. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَن قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا ۚ قُل لِّلَّـهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

The foolish ones of the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah which they were on?” Say, “The East and the West belong to Allah.” He guides whom He wishes to the straight path. [2:142]

سيقول الجهال وضعاف العقول من اليهود وأمثالهم، في سخرية واعتراض: ما الذي صرف هؤلاء المسلمين عن قبلتهم التي كانوا يُصَلُّون إلى جهتها أول الإسلام؛ وهي بيت المقدس قل لهم- أيها الرسول-: المشرق والمغرب وما بينهما ملك لله، فليست جهة من الجهات خارجة عن ملكه، يهدي مَن يشاء من عباده إلى طريق الهداية القويم. وفي هذا إشعار بأن الشأن كله لله في امتثال أوامره، فحيثما وَجَّهَنا تَوَجَّهْنا. ـ

142. The ignorant and weak-minded ones from the Jews and others like them will say out of ridicule and opposition, “What has turned these Muslims away from their qiblah which they used to face in prayer at the beginning of Islam?” And that qiblah was Jerusalem. Tell them – O Messenger -, “The East and the West and all that is in between are Allah’s kingdom.” So there isn’t any direction outside of His ownership. He guides whichever slaves of His He wishes to the straight path of guidance.

And this ayah contains an indication that the most important issue to Allah is obeying His commands, so whichever direction He turns us towards is the direction that we face.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّـهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And thus We have made made you a middle nation so that you may be witnesses over mankind, and the Messenger is a witness over you. And We only made the qiblah which you were on in order to know those who follow the Messenger from those who turn back on their heels. That is certainly difficult, except for those whom Allah has guided. And Allah would not let their faith be wasted. Allah is certainly kind and merciful to the people. [2:143]

وكما هديناكم- أيها المسلمون- إلى الطريق الصحيح في الدين، جعلناكم أمة خيارًا عدولا لتشهدوا على الأمم في الآخرة أن رسلهم بلَّغتهم رسالات ربهم، ويكون الرسول في الآخرة كذلك شهيدًا عليكم أنَّه بلَّغكم رسالة ربه. وما جعلنا- أيها الرسول- قبلة بيت المقدس التي كنت عليها، ثم صرفناك عنها إلى الكعبة بمكة، إلا ليظهر ما علمناه في الأزل؛ علما يتعلق به الثواب والعقاب لنميز مَن يتبعك ويطيعك ويستقبل معك حيث توجهت، ومَن هو ضعيف الإيمان فينقلب مرتدًا عن دينه لشكه ونفاقه. وإن هذه الحال التي هي تحول المسلم في صلاته من استقبال بيت المقدس إلى استقبال الكعبة لثقيلة شاقة إلا على الذين هداهم ومنّ عليهم بالإيمان والتقوى وما كان الله ليضيع إيمانكم به واتباعكم لرسوله، ويبطل صلاتكم إلى القبلة السابقة. إنه سبحانه وتعالى بالناس لرءوف رحيم.ـ

143. As We guided you – O Muslims – to the correct way of life, likewise We made you the best community so that in the hereafter you could bear witness over the other nations that their messengers conveyed the messages of their Lord, and in the hereafter the Messenger will likewise be a witness over you that he conveyed the message of his Lord to you. O Messenger, We only made the qiblah of Jerusalem which you used to face and then turned you away from towards the Ka’bah in Mecca in order to clearly display what We had already known for all eternity, so that reward and punishment would be connected to this clear display. That is so that We may distinguish those who follow and obey you and face whichever direction you turn along with you from those with weak faith who therefore turn away and leave the religion due to their doubts and nifaq. And this situation of the Muslims changing their prayer from facing towards Jerusalem to facing towards Mecca is certainly a heavy challenge, except for those whom Allah has guided and blessed with faith and taqwa. And Allah would not allow your faith in Him and your following of the Messenger to be wasted by making your prayers towards the previous qiblah invalid. He is certainly kind and merciful to the people.

قَدْ نَرَىٰ تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۖ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا ۚ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ ۗ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۗ وَمَا اللَّـهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

We have seen you turning your face towards the sky, so We will certainly turn you towards a qiblah that you are pleased with. So turn your face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you are, turn your faces towards it. And those who have been given the scriptures surely know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. [2:144]

قد نرى تحوُّل وجهك- أيها الرسول- في جهة السماء، مرة بعد مرة؛ انتظارًا لنزول الوحي إليك في شأن القبلة، فلنصرفنك عن بيت المقدس إلى قبلة تحبها وترضاها، وهي وجهة المسجد الحرام بمكة، فولِّ وجهك إليها. وفي أي مكان كنتم- أيها المسلمون- وأردتم الصلاة فتوجهوا نحو المسجد الحرام. وإن الذين أعطاهم الله علم الكتاب من اليهود والنصارى لَيعلمون أن تحويلك إلى الكعبة هو الحق الثابت في كتبهم. وما الله بغافل عما يعمل هؤلاء المعترضون المشككون، وسيجازيهم على ذلك.ـ

144. We have seen you – O Messenger – turning your face towards the sky time after time, waiting for revelation to come down to you about the qiblah. So We will turn you from Jerusalem towards a qiblah that you love and are pleased with, which is towards al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. So turn your face towards it. Whatever place you are – O Muslims – and you want to pray, then face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. And those Jews and Christians to whom Allah gave knowledge of the scriptures certainly know that your reorientation towards the Ka’bah is the certain truth found in their scriptures. And Allah is not unaware of what these doubting resistant people do, and He will repay them accordingly.

وَلَئِنْ أَتَيْتَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ بِكُلِّ آيَةٍ مَّا تَبِعُوا قِبْلَتَكَ ۚ وَمَا أَنتَ بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَتَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا بَعْضُهُم بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَةَ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ إِنَّكَ إِذًا لَّمِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

And even if you brought every sign to those who were given the scriptures they would not follow your qiblah. And you are not a follower of their qiblah. And they are not followers of one another’s qiblahs. And if you were to follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you would surely be one of the wrong-doers. [2:145]

ولئن جئت- أيها الرسول- الذين أُعطوا التوراة والإنجيل بكل حجة وبرهان على أن توجُّهك إلى الكعبة في الصلاة هو الحق من عند الله، ما تبعوا قبلتك عنادًا واستكبارًا، وما أنت بتابع قبلتهم مرة أخرى، وما بعضهم بتابع قبلة بعض. ولئن اتبعت أهواءهم في شأن القبلة وغيرها بعد ما جاءك من العلم بأنك على الحق وهم على الباطل، إنك حينئذ لمن الظالمين لأنفسهم. وهذا خطاب لجميع الأمة وهو تهديد ووعيد لمن يتبع أهواء المخالفين لشريعة الإسلام.ـ

145. And even if you – O Messenger – were to bring those who were given the Tawrah and the Injeel every arguments and proof that turning your face towards the Ka’bah in prayer is the truth from Allah, they would not follow your qiblah out of stubbornness and pride. And you will not follow their qiblah again, nor will they follow one another’s qiblahs. And if you were to follow their desires – whether about the qiblah or other issues – after the knowledge that you are on the truth and they are on falsehood has come to you, then in that case you would surely be one of those who wrong themselves.

This speech is directed at the entire nation; it is a threat and warning to anyone who follows the desires of those who go against the Islamic Sharee’ah.

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنْهُمْ لَيَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Those who were given the scriptures recognize him just as they recognize their own children. And a group of them hide the truth even though they know. [2:146]

الذين أعطيناهم التوراة والإنجيل من أحبار اليهود وعلماء النصارى يعرفون أنَّ محمدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم رسول الله بأوصافه المذكورة في كتبهم، مثل معرفتهم بأبنائهم. وإن فريقًا منهم ليكتمون الحق وهم يعلمون صِدْقه، وثبوت أوصافه.ـ

146. Those Jewish Rabbis and Christian scholars who were given the Tawrah and the Injeel recognize that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger because of his characteristics which are mentioned in their scriptures. They recognize him just as their recognize their own children. And a group of them hide the truth even though they know it to be true and are certain of his characteristics.

الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ

The truth is from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt. [2:147]

الذي أنزل إليك- أيها النبي- هو الحق من ربك، فلا تكونن من الشاكين فيه. وهذ وإن كان خطابا للرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم فهو موجه للأمة.ـ

147. That which has been sent down to you – O Prophet – is the truth from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt it.

And this is directed to the entire nation, even if it is addressed to the Messenger.

وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّـهُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

And for each there is a direction which it faces. So race towards goodnesses. Wherever you may be, Allah will bring you together. Allah is certainly able to do all things. [2:148]

ولكل أمة من الأمم قبلة يتوجَّه إليها كل واحد منها في صلاته، فبادروا- أيها المؤمنون- متسابقين إلى فِعْل الأعمال الصالحة التي شرعها الله لكم في دين الإسلام. وسيجمعكم الله جميعا يوم القيامة من أي موضع كنتم فيه. إن الله على كل شيء قدير.ـ

148. And for each nation there is a qiblah which each one faces during their prayers. So hasten – O Muslims – in competition against one another to perform good deeds which Allah has legislated for you in the religion of Islam. Allah will gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection from whichever places you were. Allah is certainly able to do all things.

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ وَإِنَّهُ لَلْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۗ وَمَا اللَّـهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

And from wherever you set out, then turn your face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. It is certainly the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. [2:149]

ومن أي مكان خَرَجْتَ- أيها النبي- مسافرًا، وأردت الصلاة، فوجِّه وجهك نحو المسجد الحرام. وإنَّ توجُّهك إليه لهو الحق الثابت من ربك. وما الله بغافل عما تعملونه، وسيجازيكم على ذلك. ـ

149. And from whichever place you – O Messenger – set forth on a journey, when you want to perform the prayer then turn your face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. Turning your face towards it is surely the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do, so He will reward you accordingly for that.

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيْكُمْ حُجَّةٌ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِي وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

And from wherever you set out, then turn your face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you are, then turn your faces towards its direction so that the people will not have any argument against you, except for those of them who do wrong. So do not fear them but fear Me. And so that I may fulfill My blessing on you and so that you may be guided. [2:150]

ومن أى مكان خرجت- أيها النبي- فتوجَّه إلى المسجد الحرام، وحيثما كنتم- أيها المسلمون-، بأي قطر من أقطار الأرض فولُّوا وجوهكم نحو المسجد الحرام؛ لكي لا يكون للناس المخالفين لكم احتجاج عليكم بالمخاصمة والمجادلة، بعد هذا التوجه إليه، إلا أهل الظلم والعناد منهم، فسيظلُّون على جدالهم، فلا تخافوهم وخافوني بامتثال أمري، واجتناب نهيي؛ ولكي أتم نعمتي عليكم باختيار أكمل الشرائع لكم، ولعلكم تهتدون إلى الحق والصواب.ـ

150. And from whichever place you – O Messenger – set out, then face towards al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you – O believers – are, in whatever region of the world, then turn your faces towards al-Masjid al-Haram. That is so that those people who oppose you would not have any basis on which to argue and dispute against you after you have turned towards it, except for those obstinate and wrong-doing people, for they will continue to argue. So do not fear them, but fear Me by obeying My command and avoiding what I have prohibited, so that I may fulfill My blessing of selecting the best religious legislations for you, and so that you may be guided to the truth and what is right.

كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ

Likewise, We have sent a messenger from yourselves among you to recite Our ayaat to you and to purify you and to teach you the scripture and the wisdom and to teach you what you previously did not  know. [2:151]

كما أنعمنا عليكم باستقبال الكعبة أرسلنا فيكم رسولا منكم يتلو عليكم الآيات المبينة للحق من الباطل، ويطهركم من دنس الشرك وسوء الأخلاق، ويعلمكم الكتاب والسنة وأحكام الشريعة، ويعلمكم من أخبار الأنبياء، وقصص الأمم السابقة ما كنتم تجهلونه.ـ

151. Just as We have blessed you with facing towards the Ka’bah, We sent a messenger from yourselves among you to recite ayaat to you clearly distinguishing the truth from falsehood, and cleansing you of the filth of shirk and bad manners, and teaching you the scripture, the Sunnah and the religious rulings, and teaching you about the prophets and the stories of the previous nations which you used to not know.

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me, and do not be ungrateful. [2:152]

أمر تعالى المؤمنين بذكره، ووعد عليه أفضل الجزاء، وهو الثناء في الملأ الأعلى على مَنْ ذكره، وخصوني- أيها المؤمنون- بالشكر قولا وعملا ولا تجحدوا نعمي عليكم.ـ

152. Allah commands the believers to remember Him and promises the best reward for that, which is that whoever remembers Him will be praised in the highest gathering. And single Me out – O believers – with gratitude, in both your statements and actions, and do not deny My blessings towards you.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

O you who believe, seek help through steadfastness and prayer. Allah is certainly with the steadfast ones. [2:153]

يا أيها المؤمنون اطلبوا العون من الله في كل أموركم: بالصبر على النوائب والمصائب، وترك المعاصي والذنوب، والصبر على الطاعات والقربات، والصلاة التي تطمئن بها النفس، وتنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر. إن الله مع الصابرين بعونه وتوفيقه وتسديده. وفي الآية: إثبات معيَّة الله الخاصة بالمؤمنين، المقتضية لما سلف ذكره؛ أما المعية العامة، المقتضية للعلم والإحاطة فهي لجميع الخلق.ـ

153. O you believers, seek Allah’s aid in all of your affairs by being steadfastly patient – steadfast in the face of difficulties and challenges, steadfast in leaving disobedience and sins, and steadfast in acts of obedience and devotion – and through the prayer which brings peace to one’s soul and forbids against immorality and wrongdoing. Allah is certainly with the steadfast ones by aiding them and enabling them to do what is right and good.

This ayah affirms Allah’s special “with-ness” towards the believers, which involves what what just mentioned. As for the general “with-ness”, this involves Allah’s knowledge and encompassing awareness and applies to all of the creation.

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ

And do not say about those who were killed in the path of Allah that they are dead. Rather, they are alive, but you do not perceived it. [2:154]

ولا تقولوا- أيها المؤمنون- فيمن يُقتلون مجاهدين في سبيل الله: هم أموات، بل هم أحياء حياة خاصة بهم في قبورهم، لا يعلم كيفيتها إلا الله- تعالى-، ولكنكم لا تُحسُّون بها. وفي هذا دليل على نعيم القبر.ـ

154. And do not say – O believers – about those who were killed while performing jihad in Allah’s path, “they are dead.” On the contrary, they are living a life reserved just for them in their graves. No one knows the specific details of this life except for Allah. That is so, however you do not perceive it.

And this ayah contains a proof of the reward experienced in the grave.

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

And We will surely test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth and self and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast ones. [2:155]

ولنختبرنكم بشيء يسير من الخوف، ومن الجوع، وبنقص من الأموال بتعسر الحصول عليها، أو ذهابها، ومن الأنفس: بالموت أو الشهادة في سبيل الله، وبنقص من ثمرات النخيل والأعناب والحبوب، بقلَّة ناتجها أو فسادها. وبشِّر- أيها النبي- الصابرين على هذا وأمثاله بما يفرحهم ويَسُرُّهم من حسن العاقبة في الدنيا والآخرة.ـ

155. And We will certainly test you with small amounts of fear; or of hunger; or with difficulty in obtaining wealth or loss of it; or in your own selves in the form of death or martyrdom in Allah’s path; or through loss of your produce of dates, grapes or grains – either by a small harvest or by them spoiling. But give good news – O Messenger – to the steadfast ones to cheer them up and console them in the face of these and similar challenges: good news of the final results in both this life and the next.

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

Those who, when trouble strikes, say, “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.” [2:156]

من صفة هؤلاء الصابرين أنهم إذا أصابهم شيء يكرهونه قالوا: إنَّا عبيد مملوكون لله، مدبَّرون بأمره وتصريفه، يفعل بنا ما يشاء، وإنا إليه راجعون بالموت، ثم بالبعث للحساب والجزاء.ـ

156. One characteristic of these steadfast ones is that when anything that they dislike happens to them, they say, “We are slaves under Allah’s ownership. He regulates and manages the world by His command, doing whatever He wishes with us. And We will return to Him in death and then in the resurrection for the reckoning and recompense.”

أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

Those ones will have their Lord’s prayers and mercy. And those ones are the guided ones. [2:157]

أولئك الصابرون لهم ثناء من ربهم ورحمة عظيمة منه سبحانه، وأولئك هم المهتدون إلى الرشاد.ـ

157. Those steadfast ones will receive praise from their Lord, as well as amazing mercy. And those ones are the ones who are guided to what is right.

[al-Tafsir al-Muyassar pages 22-24]

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: You will surely be tested: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: “Indeed to Allah we belong, and indeed to Him we will return”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: An Example of Reconciling Multiple Reports on the Reasons for Revelation: al-Suyooti

See also: Two Types of Allah’s “With-ness” in Context: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The two types of ‘with-ness’ of Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

2 thoughts on “Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 142-157: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

  1. Pingback: You will surely be tested: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: “Indeed to Allah we belong, and indeed to Him we will return”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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