Freedom of Religions The Holy Qur'an

Commentary on a verse of the Holy Quran

JANUARY 1985 HOLY QUR’AN COMMENTARY In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful We praise Him and invoke His blessings on His Noble Prophet COMMENTARY ON VERSES OF THE HOLY QUR’AN “Wa Mann Azlamo Mimman Mana’a Masajidallahe An Yuzkara Feehasmohu Wa Sa’a Fee Kharabeha. Oulaaeka Maa Kaana Lahum An Yadkholuha Ilia Kha’efeen. Lahum Fid-Dunya Khizyun-Wa Lahum Fil Aakhirate Azaabun Azeem.” And who is more unjust than he who prohibits the name of Allah being glorified in Allah’s temples and seeks to ruin them? It was not proper for such men to enter therein except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world; and theirs shall be a great punishment, in the next. (2:115) This verse constitutes a strong indictment of those who carry their religious differences to such extremes that they do not even refrain from perpetrating outrages against the places of worship belonging to other creeds. They hinder people from worshipping God in their sacred places and even go so far as to destroy their temples. Such acts of violence are denounced here in strong terms and a lesson of tolerance and broad- THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS JANUARY 1985 is inculcated. The Qur’an recognizes for all men the free and unrestricted right to use their temples and declares that if anybody wishes to worship God in a place of worship, he should not be prevented from doing so; for a temple or a mosque is a place dedicated to. the worship of God and the person who prevents men from worshipping Him in it, in fact, contributes to its ruin and desolation. This is what Islam teaches about the respect for the places of worship, and yet it has come to be condemned as an intolerant religion. Islam is indeed the first and the only religion to in- culcate broad-mindedness and teach respect for the religious susceptibilities of all peoples; and the Holy Prophet was the first person who carried this great and noble principle into ac- tual practice. He allowed the Christians of Najran to hold their service in his own mosque, the celebrated Masjid-un-Nabi, when they came to have a religious discussion with him at Medina (Zurqani). It will be noted that the verse prescribes two punishments for those who prohibit others from glorifying the name of Allah in places of worship. One is disgrace in this world and the other is heavy punishment in the next. The punishment of disgrace is typical of the offense; for a person who first builds a temple or a mosque with the object that the name of God may be remembered in it and then proceeds to prevent people from worshipping Him therein, cannot but bring upon himself humiliation and disgrace in the eyes of the world. The words also contain a prophecy about the disbelievers of Mecca who prevented the Muslims from entering the Ka’ba. The prophecy was fulfilled when Mecca was taken and the infidels met with humiliation and disgrace. Finally, it may be noted that the verse should not be understood to mean that the Qur’an advocates the unqualified access for all sorts of persons to all places of worship without regard to circumstances. In fact, only those who wish to use them for the specific purpose of God’s worship and have no ulterior motive are allowed.