Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 243-252: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-sixth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 243-252. This section recounts some stories of previous nations related to obeying Allah’s commands, fighting in Allah’s cause, and Allah’s great power and support for the believers. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَهُمْ أُلُوفٌ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ فَقَالَ لَهُمُ اللَّهُ مُوتُوا ثُمَّ أَحْيَاهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ

Haven’t you seen those who left their homes in the thousands fearing death? Allah said to them, “Die,” and then he brought them back to life. Allah is certainly full of bounty to mankind, however most people are not grateful.  [2:243]

ألم تعلم- أيها الرسول- قصة الذين فرُّوا من أرضهم ومنازلهم، وهم ألوف كثيرة؛ خشية الموت من الطاعون أو القتال، فقال لهم الله: موتوا، فماتوا دفعة واحدة عقوبة على فرارهم من قدر الله، ثم أحياهم الله تعالى بعد مدة؛ ليستوفوا آجالهم، وليتعظوا ويتوبوا؟ إن الله لذو فضل عظيم على الناس بنعمه الكثيرة، ولكن أكثر الناس لا يشكرون فضل الله عليهم.ـ

243. Do you – O Messenger – know the story of those who fled their homeland and their houses, numbering in the many thousands? They fled out of fear of a plague or war. Allah said to them, “Die”, so they all died at once as a punishment for fleeing from Allah’s decree. Then, after some period of time, Allah brought them back to life so they could complete the terms of their lives and so they could learn a lesson and repent. Allah is certainly full of tremendous bounty to mankind with the abundant blessings He gives, however many people are not grateful for the bounties that Allah gives them.

وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

And fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah is hearing and knowing. [2:244]

وقاتلوا- أيها المسلمون- الكفار لنصرة دين الله، واعلموا أن الله سميع لأقوالكم، عليم بنيَّاتكم وأعمالكم. ـ

244. And fight – O Muslims – the disbelievers in order to support Allah’s religion, and know that Allah hears your statements and knows your intentions and your actions.

مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

Who would give Allah a good loan so that He would multiply it many times over for him? It is Allah who withholds or gives, and you will be returned to Him. [2:245]

من ذا الذي ينفق في سبيل الله إنفاقًا حسنًا احتسابًا للأجر، فيضاعفه له أضعافا كثيرة لا تحصى من الثواب وحسن الجزاء؟ والله يقبض ويبسط، فأنفقوا ولا تبالوا؛ فإنه هو الرزاق، يُضيِّق على مَن يشاء من عباده في الرزق، ويوسعه على آخرين، له الحكمة البالغة في ذلك، وإليه وحده ترجعون بعد الموت، فيجازيكم على أعمالكم. ـ

245. Who would spend something good in Allah’s cause while hoping for a reward so that Allah would multiply it for him so many times over that you could not count the reward and good return? It is Allah who withholds and gives, so spend and do not worry, for He is the One who always provides. He constricts the provisions for whichever of His servants He wishes, and He expands the provisions for others, having far-reaching wisdom in what He does. And it is to Him alone that you will be returned after death so that He may repay you for your actions.

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ إِذْ قَالُوا لِنَبِيٍّ لَّهُمُ ابْعَثْ لَنَا مَلِكًا نُّقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَاتِلُوا ۖ قَالُوا وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَائِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ

Haven’t you seen the group of the Children of Israa’eel after Moosaa when they told a prophet of theirs, “Send a king for us – We will fight in Allah’s cause.” He said, “Is it possible that you would not fight if fighting was decreed for you?” They said, “Why wouldn’t we fight in Allah’s cause when we have been driven away from our homes and our children?” Then when fighting was decreed for them, they all turned away except for a few of them. And Allah knows the wrong-doers. [2:246]

ألم تعلم- أيها الرسول- قصة الأشراف والوجهاء من بني إسرائيل من بعد زمان موسى؛ حين طلبوا من نبيهم أن يولي عليهم ملكا، يجتمعون تحت قيادته، ويقاتلون أعداءهم في سبيل الله. قال لهم نبيهم: هل الأمر كما أتوقعه إنْ فُرِض عليكم القتال في سبيل الله أنكم لا تقاتلون؛ فإني أتوقع جبنكم وفراركم من القتال، قالوا مستنكرين توقع نبيهم: وأي مانع يمنعنا عن القتال في سبيل الله، وقد أَخْرَجَنَا عدوُّنا من ديارنا، وأبعدنا عن أولادنا بالقتل والأسر؟ فلما فرض الله عليهم القتال مع الملِك الذي عيَّنه لهم جَبُنوا وفرُّوا عن القتال، إلا قليلا منهم ثبتوا بفضل الله. والله عليم بالظالمين الناكثين عهودهم. ـ

246. Do you – O Messenger – know the story of the nobles and elites of the Children of Israa’eel after the time of Moosaa when they asked their prophet to appoint a king over them so that they would be united under his leadership and fight against their enemies in Allah’s cause? Their prophet asked them,”If things happen as you expect, would you possibly not fight if fighting were decreed for you? For I predict that you will be cowardly and flee from the fighting.” They rejected their prophet’s prediction by saying, “What would stop us from fighting for Allah’s cause when our enemies drove us our our homes and away from our children through war and taking captives?” Then when Allah decreed for them to fight alongside the king which He had appointed for them, they were cowardly and fled from the fighting – all except for a few of them who remained faithful by the grace of Allah. And Allah knows the wrong-doers who betray their covenants.

وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا ۚ قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Their prophet told them, “Allah has sent Talut as a king for you.” They said, “How can he have kingship over us when we are more deserving of kingship than him, and he was not given much wealth?” He said, “Allah has chosen him over you and increased him in knowledge and stature.” And Allah gives His authority to who He wishes, and Allah is magnificent, knowing. [2:247]

وقال لهم نبيهم: إن الله قد أرسل إليكم طالوت مَلِكًا إجابة لطلبكم، يقودكم لقتال عدوكم كما طلبتم. قال كبراء بني إسرائيل: كيف يكون طالوت مَلِكًا علينا، وهو لا يستحق ذلك؟ لأنه ليس من سبط الملوك، ولا من بيت النبوة، ولم يُعْط كثرة في الأموال يستعين بها في ملكه، فنحن أحق بالملك منه؛ لأننا من سبط الملوك ومن بيت النبوة. قال لهم نبيهم: إن الله اختاره عليكم وهو سبحانه أعلم بأمور عباده، وزاده سَعَة في العلم وقوة في الجسم ليجاهد العدو. والله مالك الملك يعطي ملكه مَن يشاء من عباده، والله واسع الفضل والعطاء، عليم بحقائق الأمور، لا يخفى عليه شيء. ـ

247. Their Prophet told them, “Allah has sent Talut to you as a king in response to your request. He will lead you in fighting against your enemies, just as you wanted.” The leaders of the Children of Israa’eel said, “How can Talut be a king over us when does not deserve it? For he is not from line of kings, nor is he from the house of prophethood, nor has he been given much wealth which would help him to be a king. We are more deserving to be king than him, for we come from the line of kings and the house of prophethood.” Their prophet told them, “Allah has chosen him over you and He knows best about His servants, and He has given him abundant knowledge and physical strength to fight against the enemy.” And Allah is the owner of all creation; He gives authority to whichever servants of His He wishes. And Allah is generous in His bounty and giving, and knows the true nature of things; nothing is hidden from Him.

وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ آيَةَ مُلْكِهِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ التَّابُوتُ فِيهِ سَكِينَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ آلُ مُوسَىٰ وَآلُ هَارُونَ تَحْمِلُهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

Their prophet said to them, “The sign of his kingship is that the tabut which holds peace from your Lord and the remnants of what Moosaa’s family and Harun’s family left will be given to you. The angels will carry it. This is certainly a sign for you if you are believers.” [2:248]

وقال لهم نبيهم: إن علامة ملكه أن يأتيكم الصندوق الذي فيه التوراة- وكان أعداؤهم قد انتزعوه منهم- فيه طمأنينة من ربكم تثبت قلوب المخلصين، وفيه بقية من بعض أشياء تركها آل موسى وآل هارون، مثل العصا وفُتات الألواح تحمله الملائكة. إن في ذلك لأعظم برهان لكم على اختيار طالوت ملكًا عليكم بأمر الله، إن كنتم مصدقين بالله ورسله. ـ

248. Their prophet told them, “The sign of his kingship is that he will bring you the box which holds the Tawrah” – for their enemies had taken it from them – “containing peace from your Lord to strengthen the hearts of the sincere believers. It also contains the remains of some things which the family of Moosaa and the family of Harun had left” such as the staff and pieces of the tablets, “the angels will carry it. This is certainly the greatest proof for you that Talut was chosen over you as a king by Allah’s command if you truly believe in Allah and His messengers.”

فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِالْجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنْهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَمَن لَّمْ يَطْعَمْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي إِلَّا مَنِ اغْتَرَفَ غُرْفَةً بِيَدِهِ ۚ فَشَرِبُوا مِنْهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُ هُوَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ قَالُوا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا الْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ ۚ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو اللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

Then when Talut went out with his soldiers, he said, “Allah will test you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is of me. Except for those who draw a scoop with his hand.” They then drank from it, except for a few of them. Then when he crossed it – he and those who believed alongside him – they said, “There is no power for us today against Jalut and his soldiers.” Those who thought they would meet their Lord said, “How often has a small group defeated a large group by Allah’s permission?” And Allah is with the steadfast ones. [2:249]

فلما خرج طالوت بجنوده لقتال العمالقة قال لهم: إن الله ممتحنكم على الصبر بنهر أمامكم تعبرونه؛ ليتميَّز المؤمن من المنافق، فمن شرب منكم من ماء النهر فليس مني، ولا يصلح للجهاد معي، ومن لم يذق الماء فإنه مني؛ لأنه مطيع لأمري وصالح للجهاد، إلا مَن ترخَّص واغترف غُرْفة واحدة بيده فلا لوم عليه. فلما وصلوا إلى النهر انكبوا على الماء، وأفرطوا في الشرب منه، إلا عددًا قليلا منهم صبروا على العطش والحر، واكتفوا بغُرْفة اليد، وحينئذ تخلف العصاة. ولما عبر طالوت النهر هو والقلة المؤمنة معه- وهم ثلاثمائة وبضعة عشر رجلا لملاقاة العدو، ورأوا كثرة عدوهم وعدَّتهم، قالوا: لا قدرة لنا اليوم بجالوت وجنوده الأشداء، فأجاب الذين يوقنون بلقاء الله، يُذَكِّرون إخوانهم بالله وقدرته قائلين: كم من جماعة قليلة مؤمنة صابرة، غلبت بإذن الله وأمره جماعة كثيرة كافرة باغية. والله مع الصابرين بتوفيقه ونصره، وحسن مثوبته. ـ

249. Then when Talut went out with his soldiers to fight the giants, he told them, “Allah will test your steadfastness with the river ahead of you that you will cross in order to set the believers apart from the pretenders. Whoever of you drinks the river’s water does not belong to me and is not fit to make jihad alongside me. And whoever does not taste the water belongs to me, for he obeys my command and is fit for jihad. However, there is an exception for whoever takes a single scoop of water with his hand and there is no shame on him.” So when they arrived at the river, they turned their attention to the water and drank it in abundance – all except for a small number of them who were steadfast in the face of thirst and heat and were content with a single handful. From this point, the disobedient ones stayed behind. When Talut crossed the river – he and a small group of nearly 320 believing men alongside him – to face the enemy and they saw the great number of their enemies, they said, “We have no power at all today against Jalut and his soldiers.” Those who were certain they would meet their Lord responded by reminding their brothers about Allah and His power, saying, “How often has a small group of steadfast believers defeated a large group of wicked disbelievers by Allah’s permission and command?” And Allah is with the steadfast ones by granting them success, support and good rewards.

وَلَمَّا بَرَزُوا لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

And when they went forward to Jalut and his soldiers, they said, “Our Lord, pour out steadfastness on us and fortify our feet and support us against the disbelieving people.” [2:250]

ولما ظهروا لجالوت وجنوده، ورأوا الخطر رأي العين، فزعوا إلى الله بالدعاء والضراعة قائلين: ربنا أنزل على قلوبنا صبرًا عظيمًا، وثبت أقدامنا، واجعلها راسخة في قتال العدو، لا تفر مِن هول الحرب، وانصرنا بعونك وتأييدك على القوم الكافرين. ـ

250. And when they went forward to Jalut and his soldiers and saw the dangerous situation with their own eyes, they sought refuge with Allah in du’a and submission, saying, “Our Lord, send great steadfastness down on our hearts, sturdy our feet and make them firm in fighting the enemy so that we do not flee from the terrors of battles, and support us with Your aid and empowerment against the disbelieving people.”

فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُودُ جَالُوتَ وَآتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُ مِمَّا يَشَاءُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّفَسَدَتِ الْأَرْضُ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

Then they defeated them by Allah’s permission and Dawud killed Jalut and Allah gave him kingship, wisdom and taught him what He wished. And if Allah did not drive back some people through others, the earth would be ruined. But Allah is full of bounty to the created beings. [2:251]

فهزموهم بإذن الله، وقتل داود- عليه السلام- جالوتَ قائدَ الجبابرة، وأعطى الله عز وجل داود بعد ذلك الملك والنبوة في بني إسرائيل، وعَلَّمه مما يشاء من العلوم. ولولا أن يدفع الله ببعض الناس- وهم أهل الطاعة له والإيمان به- بعضًا، وهم أهل المعصية لله والشرك به، لفسدت الأرض بغلبة الكفر، وتمكُّن الطغيان، وأهل المعاصي، ولكن الله ذو فضل على المخلوقين جميعًا. ـ

251. Then they defeated them by Allah’s permission. And Dawud killed Jalut, the leader of the giants. Following that, Allah gave Dawud kingship and prophethood among the Children of Israa’eel, and He taught him whatever knowledge He wanted him to know. And if Allah did not use some people – those being the people who obey Him and believe in Him – to drive back others – those being the people who disobey Allah and worship others alongside Him -, then the earth would be ruined by being overrun with disbelief and being ruled by oppressive and disobedient people. But Allah is full of bounty to all of the created beings.

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ

These are the ayaat of Allah. We recite them to you in truth. And you are certainly one of the messengers. [2:252]

تلك حجج الله وبراهينه، نقصُّها عليك- أيها النبي- بالصدق، وإنك لمن المرسلين الصادقين. ـ

252. These are Allah’s poofs and evidences. We relay them to you – O Prophet – truthfully. And you are certainly one of the true messengers.

[al-Tafsir al-Muyassar pg 39-41]

Explore more excerpts from this work with our al-Tafsir al-Muyassar Translation Index

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