Friday, June 19, 2009

Surah Al Baqarah Ayahs 38-42

In the previous couple of ayahs, Allah (SWT) had accepted Adam (AS)’s repentance for the mistake of eating from the forbidden tree. We are all prone to making mistakes but what matters is the sincere attitude one has afterwards of trying to improve.

We now proceed to ayah 38, “We said, ‘Go down from here, all of you. Then, should some guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.” Allah has promised that He will guide those on earth, and this is by means of Prophets and the Holy Books. Obviously, we have no direct contact with Prophets in this day and age, but we do have the Ulama, or the scholars. They have the knowledge, and can guide us Islamically. The way to know which kind of Ulama is right is by making sure he represents the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through his sunnah. Those who choose to follow this guidance shall not be in fear or grieve. A question that arises is how can there be no fear and grief in people? Even the Prophet (SAW) went through so much grief throughout his life. The fact of the matter is that Allah (SWT) gives difficulties to people in this life, especially those He loves, so that they become closer to Him. There are two ways one can get closer to Allah;

i) through good deeds
ii) by having “sabr” or patience.

Difficulties allow one to practice their patience. The fear and grief spoken about in this ayah refers to the fear and grief everyone will experience in the Hereafter, when they will be held accountable for their deeds. There will be so much fear in everyone who are about to get their results of getting into heaven or hell, except those who have no doubt in Allah (SWT) and follow His guidance.

On the other hand, ayah 39 continues, “As for those people who disbelieve, and deny Our signs, they are the people of the Fire- they shall be there forever.”

For the next dozens of ayahs, the “Bani Israel”, or the Children of Israel are addressed. These were people who spread mischief and corruption on earth. They never fulfilled their covenant with Allah. From ayahs 40-108, the crimes that they have committed are mentioned, and their charges for it. Also, Allah (SWT) talks about the consequences of those He favors and those He does not in these ayahs. After reading these instances and examples of what they did, we have to try and avoid their misdeeds, rather than just think that the ayahs are just being addressed to them and not us.

The term “Israel” literally means “the servant of Allah”. Apart from this, it is also the second name of Yaqub (AS). There are only two prophets who have more than one name. One is Yaqub (AS) and the other is Muhammad (SAW).

So Allah (SWT) addresses the Children of Israel, “O Children of Israel, remember My blessing that I conferred upon you, and fulfill the covenant with Me, so I fulfill you covenant, and have awe of Me alone.”

Allah challenges these people, and He does so by some requests of them. Firstly, it is to remember the blessings He has bestowed upon them. Previously, Allah (SWT) had mentioned many of His blessings on all people. In these ayahs, however, Allah particularly reminds the Bani Israel the blessings He had bestowed on their community. The next request is to fulfill the covenant. This covenant actually refers to an agreement made by the Bani Israel previously; that they would worship Allah, follow His messengers, fast and give sadaqah. In return, Allah had promised them Jannah. But these people had forgotten any such agreement.

The next couple of lines continue as such, “And have faith in what I have revealed, confirming what is already with you, and do not be the first to deny it, nor take a paltry price for My signs. And fear Me alone. And do not confound truth with falsehood, and do not hide the truth when you know.”

Allah asks the Bani Israel to believe in His signs, and not deny it. This is because if they are the first to deny it then the generations following will also deny the signs, and all the sin for that will go to the ancestors. Allah also asks them not to hide the ayahs of the Quran, or His signs, for a “paltry price”, or something worthless. The Torah had verses in it that said that there are more messengers yet to come, but the scholars would hide these verses. The reason behind this is that they wanted their own fame, not someone after them. This is a very small price for hiding the truth. Allah also tells them not to hide the truth with a lie.

Basically all of these ayahs are for the Bani Israel to believe in Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the Last Messenger, which they didn’t. They denied the fact, and hid the ayahs from the Torah which proved this. The few ayahs after this are about the advice given to the Children of Israel, which we can also take much benefit from. They will be discussed in the next entry, inshaAllah.

May Allah give us the tawfiq to recognize His signs and may He strengthen our Iman. Ameen.