The Holy Qur'an

Commentary on a verse of the Holy Quran

FEBRUARY 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 Qaalallazeena Kafaroo le-Rosolehim la-Nukh- rejannakum Min Arzinaa Au la-Ta’oodunna Fee Millatena, Fa-Auhaa Elaihim Rabbohum la-Nohlekannaz-Zaalemeen. Wa la-Nuskenannakumul Arza Mim B’adehim, Zaaleka Leman Khaafa Maqaamee WaKhaafa Wa’eed. Wastaftahoo Wa Khaaba Kullo Jabbaarin Aneed.) And those who disbelieved said to their Messengers, ‘We will, surely, expel you from our land unless you return to our religion. ‘ Then their Lord sent unto them the revelation: ‘We will, surely, destroy the wrongdoers. And We shall, surely, make you dwell in the land after them. This is for him who fears to stand before My Tribunal and fears My warning.’ And they prayed for victory, and as a result thereof every haughty enemy of truth came to naught. (14:14-16) This verse contains a subtle reference to a deep-rooted desire of the opponents of God’s Messengers in all times. They ardently wish the Prophets to incline towards them a little and abstain from a wholesale denunciation of their beliefs that there may thus come about something like a compromise between the two parties. This desire of disbelievers has also been expressed in verse 69:10. But the THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS FEBRUARY 1985 Prophets always flatly refuse to agree to any such compromise and adhere unflinchingly to their principles, without deviating an hair’s breadth from them. It is after the disbelievers see that the Prophets accept no compromise that they launch a campaign of bitter persecu- tion against them and thus either seek to force them back into then- faith or compel them to leave their country, which includes extirpa- tion by any other means. This is how disbelievers have treated God’s Prophets throughout the ages—the same rejection of this offer by the Prophets and the same campaign of bitter persecution launched against the latter by their opponents. In the words: We -will surely destroy the wrongdoers, God has, as it were, turned the tables upon disbelievers. They had threatened the Prophets with expulsion from “our land” if they did not recant their faith. To this threat God replies by saying that, as the land is His and not theirs, so if it comes to dispossessing, it will be the wrongdoers who will be destroyed. The verse thus implies a prophecy of the ultimate destruction of the enemies of the Holy Prophet and of his triumphant return to Mecca. The Qur’an has used both the singular and the plural number for the first personal pronoun with reference to the Supreme Being. Where the Power and Majesty of God are meant to be expressed, the plural number is used; and where His Self-Sufficiency and in- dependence are intended to be emphasized or where the Power and Majesty of God are not meant to be stressed, the singular number is used. Or, as some Muslim divines have stated, where God intends to bring about a result through the agency of angels, the plural number is used; but where a work is to be performed through some special divine decree, the singular person is resorted to. The present verse combines both. The words: This is for him who fears to stand before My Tribunal and fears My warning, make it clear that the promises of victory and success are meant for only those who properly appreciate and realize the Majesty of God and His Power and who believe that God is the Master of the Day of Judgment and who fear lest their sins should bring upon them the punishment of God. Such a belief is a necessary condition for the fulfilment of the promises of God’s help. This shows that mere nominal acceptance of Islam is no surety for success and victory. The expression: And they prayed for victory, may apply both to FEBRUARY 1985 HOLY QUR’AN COMMENTARY the Prophets and their opponents. The praying of the Prophets for God’s help and victory, after they had been vouchsafed definite divine promises that they would succeed, in no way reflects on divine promises or on the Prophets’ belief in the divine origin of those pro- mises. In fact, the divine promise given to a Prophet about the final triumph of his cause does not mean that he should give up making necessary efforts for the success and triumph of his mission or soliciting divine assistance. On the contrary, it becomes all the more incumbent on a divine Messenger to do his best, lest, through some lapse on the part of some of his followers or a weakening of his own efforts, the final victory may be delayed. That Muslims are enjoined to pray for the assistance of God even after definite and positive divine promises of victory are given to them is clear from the Qur’an (3:195). Nor are these two things contradictory of each other. The Holy Prophet was given a clear promise of his triumphant return to Mecca (28:86), yet he continued to pray and work hard for the fulfil- ment of this divine promise. If, however, the words: they prayed for victory, be applied to disbelievers, they would mean that they sought by all means to win victory over the Prophets, but it was foolish on their part to try, for those who oppose the Prophets of God never meet with success. Their prayers are doomed to come to naught. THE NATURAL, MORAL & SPIRITUAL STATES OF MAN “The three states may be called the natural, moral and spiritual states of man. As the natural urges of a person become very dangerous when they are roused and often destroy the moral and spiritual qualities, they are described in God’s Holy Book as the self that incites to evil… If the natural state of a person is subjected to the control of the directions of divine law, it becomes his moral state and deeply affects his spirituality. That is why the Holy Quran has laid stress on the physical cleanliness and postures, and their regulation in relation to all worship and inner purity and spiritual humility. Reflection confirms that physical conditions deeply affect the soul… It has been observed that physical pros- tration in prayer induces humility in the soul. (The Teachings of Islam by the Promised Messiah, p.3)