Magic and Envy

Chapter One

Hidden Powers in Existence

Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] created the universe and established laws to govern it. Everything in existence is subject to laws. Man has laws appropriate to his life in this world. All that serves man is also subject to laws so that these things give man the things he needs in life.

In this existence Allah has created things which act on your behalf and other things which you have to do yourself. The things which act on your behalf are those which are given to you cost-free, like the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, and the rain. All these things are given to you without any payment being asked of you. As for the things which you have to do yourself, they are the secondary causes of Allah in the earth. If you do them, you will get something. If you do not do them, you will not get anything.

For instance, if you cultivate the earth well and plant good seeds in it, it will give you an abundant crop. If you do not culti-vate it and leave it unplanted, it will not give you anything. If you search for the minerals inside the mountains and dig mines to extract them, they will give up their treasures. If you do not act, they do not give you anything. It is like that with all the means of life. You must activate them in order for them to give you some-thing. You must make use of the means to reach the gifts that are there.

These are the laws which govern human beings but there are other creatures which have different powers. For instance the jinn have different laws, suitable to their fiery nature; They can pene-trate through solid walls by the nature of their being. They can take on any shape they wish. They have different laws which


govern them; and the laws of things which are subject to them are those which were created for their sake.

The angels are created from light and they too have laws. They ascend to heaven and descend to earth by the command of their Lord. Allah [glory be to Him arid may He be exalted] has creat-ed laws of ascent and descent for them as well as laws governing the taking on of different forms and all the things that enable them to perform their duties.

In the case of empirical knowledge, the intellect can apply it as it likes to the material things of’ existence. Then the intellect can also investigate the secrets which Allah has placed in the earth; the way it does that is either by direct witnessing or in the laboratory. However, the intellect has to stop at the outward forms of material existence. Regarding what is beyond the physical, or in other words unseen things, we can only take knowledge from those who have experience of it.

The unseen is a sphere which Allah did not create subject to the human intellect. For instance the intellect cannot say anything about the world of the angels or give us a sensory picture of an angel. It cannot tell us what its form is or what its nature is or the laws that govern it or how it lives or anything else of that sort.

That is also the case with the jinn, both the righteous among them and the rebellious jinn who are the shaytans that revolt against Allah’s plan [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] The human intellect cannot provide us with a picture of them. Indeed, when Allah wants to give us a terrifying picture of the punishment of Jahannam (Hell) -and we seek refuge with Allah from it!

-He says about the Tree of Zaqqum, which is the food of the people of the Fire:

“It is a tree that emerges from the base of the Blazing Fire. Its fruit are like the heads of the shaytans.” (37: 64-65)

Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] used the image of the heads of the shaytans because none of us has seen them. If you were to bring a number of artists and ask them to


draw a picture of a shaytan, each of them would come up with a quite different picture from the others. He would draw the form which he imagines a shaytan to have. The imagination of one will not be the same as another in that respect but all will agree that the form of shaytan is both repulsive and frightening. By using the words,“the heads of shaytans” Allah paints for every man a picture which will make him terrified of the punishment of Jahannam. It provokes alarm in the hearts of all who read it so that fear of the punishment enters them. We seek refuge with Allah!

What is Unseen for Us

There are many things which are unseen for us, creatures and secrets which Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] has not acquainted us with nor made our intellects capable of encompassing. With regard to these things we have no choice but to take our knowledge of them from Allah Almighty who created them. He alone knows their laws. Allah calls our attention to that in His words:

“I did not let them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth nor the creation of themselves. ] would not take as assistants any who lead astray.” (18:51)

That is to say, both the creation of the, heavens and the earth and also the creation of mankind were hidden from our intellects. We should not, therefore, dispute anything which Allah Almighty tells us about the creation and how it took place because otherwise we would stray from the truth. When a man comes and tells us something about the laws of jinn and angels, or the creation of existence and man, which is contrary to what Allah Almighty has told us, we ask him to produce his proof. If it is just a matter of speculation or imagination, we completely ignore it. If he has some sort of physical evidence, we discuss it. The evidence in this case is certainly spurious and intended to mislead.


Some years ago, for instance, the University of California in America announced that it had found the “missing link” between man and ape and that it had physical evidence that man was descended from the apes. When asked for their evidence they said that it was a skull which they had come across in excavations: the skull of a man which had the jawbone of an ape. They said that they had also discovered the skull of an ape with a human jaw-bone. This was. the “missing link” which the world had been searching for to support Darwin’s theory that man is descended from the apes.

It soon came to light that the university had purchased these skulls from a archaeologist who had asked for ten million dollars for this “major discovery”. When the skulls were taken and sub-jected to detailed scientific investigation at the highest levels with the participation of a great number of scientists, they were discov-ered to be frauds. It was clear that the archaeologist in question had taken a human skull and the jawbone of an ape, and the skull of an ape and a human jawbone, and stuck them together using a very subtle technique which the, initial investigations undertaken by the University of California did not expose.

Such then was the physical evidence presented to prove a theo-ry which is contrary to what Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] tells us about creation. It was spurious evidence man-ufactured by a clever swindler in order to deceive humanity.

If only people’s intellects would adhere to what Allah Almighty has stated about things that are hidden from us, they would be spared much research which in the end will only lead to what Allah has told us anyway. All scientific research regarding what is beyond the material universe is nothing but speculation. It is not based on any real evidence and will not lead us to any real ‘knowl-edge.

Existence and Science

When Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] created the universe, He placed in it overt powers and hidden powers.


There are powers which we recognise and work with in the out-ward world: physical things which we see before us every day. We all share in sight and no one disagrees about the outward, percepti-ble world. But there are also hidden powers in existence. Those powers have their effects and have their role to play but we know nothing about them except what Allah wishes to show us.

To clarify what is meant by hidden powers we say that there is a difference between the actual existence of a thing and our per-ception of its existence. The thing might exist and might be around us and affect our lives without our being able to perceive its exis-tence. Indeed, sometimes we might deny its existence in spite of the fact that Allah Almighty has given us plenty of evidence that our lack of perception of the existence of something does not nec-essarily mean that it does not exist.

If we reflect on ordinary human life we find in it a thousand proofs that there can be a difference between the actual existence of a thing and knowledge of its existence. Indeed, all of human knowledge and the advances of human civilisation have arisen from our perceiving and making use of things whose existence was previously unknown.

Perhaps the easiest example to begin with is that of germs, organisms which are incredibly small and which enter a man’s body and cause him to become ill. His entire body goes out of bal-ance and his temperature rises. Specific symptoms appear such as spots, or the colour of his skin changes, and he feels pain. These changes happen because of a minuscule creature which has only recently been found to exist. The question which must be answered is whether these microbes and germs were only created recently or have existed since the creation of the universe. Of course they existed; it was just that their existence was not known about.

At a certain point Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalt-ed] revealed to us some of His knowledge and we were able to find out about these microbes. We discovered that Allah had creat-ed a life-cycle for them and that they multiply and reproduce and that it is possible to eliminate them by using certain medicines. Medical science began to fill books with information about these .


microbes and their life-cycles. But those germs and microbes certainly did not depend on our perception of them for their exis-tence. They had always existed and carried ‘out their role in cre-ation, and our not perceiving them did not in any way stop them from doing so.

Every drop of blood contains red cells and white cells and dozens of others forms of which we knew nothing until very recently. If you take a drop of water and place it under a micro-scope you will see in myriad forms of life which we did not per-ceive nor know anything about before. The same applies to many many other things in existence.

There are Signs in The Universe

What is true in the microscopic world is also true of outer space. New stars are discovered every day. Did these stars exist before their existence was discovered or did they come into exis-tence the moment that happened?

The same might be said of the resources inside the earth such as petroleum, iron, and other minerals. Did they come into exis-tence the moment we discovered them? Or die! we in fact discover their existence later than we should have done? We did not pay attention to what Allah Almighty told us in the Noble Qur’an -that there are treasures inside the earth. He says:

“To Him belongs everything in the heavens and every-thing in the earth and everything in between them and everything under the ground.” (20:5)

We should have looked, at His words, “everything under the ground,” and searched for the treasures hidden inside the earth sooner than we did! In order to make this matter clearer we say that all the possibili-ties of existence have existed from the beginning of creation, but Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] only revealed


them and use them for our development, progress, and civilisation.

Man did not manufacture the atmosphere nor add anything to it, but Allah Almighty placed in it the possibility of transmitting sound from one distant part of the earth to another over huge dis-tances. It became possible for someone to speak and for the whole world to hear him instantaneously. These possibilities were exploited by man when Allah willed him to discover how to do so. Even more than that, it became possible to use the special proper-ties of the atmosphere to transmit pictures so that when a man landed on the moon, we were able to see him at the very moment he landed while we were sitting in our homes.

The Perception of Existence

All these possibilities already existed and no one can claim to have added anything to the special properties of the atmosphere. However, we were ignorant of these things and did not know of their existence even though they were there.

The same applies to every new thing which science discovers for us. Science does not create new things. It simply reveals to us some of the special properties already innate in the universe which we did not know about before. Every discovery has its time. When its time comes, it is unveiled. Allah Almighty shows it to His cre-ation and they recognise it. If that discovery coincides with a researcher investigating the matter concerned, Allah will disclose it to him. If that is not the case, then the discovery will occur by what is sometimes called the law -of coincidence. But there is in reality no such thing as coincidence. Everything comes to fruition by the decree of Allah and according to His will. So the secrets of existence and the events that happen in it, great or small, are all by the permission and with the knowledge of Allah. Read the words of the Almighty:


“He possesses the keys of the Unseen. No one knows them except Him. He knows everything in the land and the sea. No leaffalls but that He knows it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and no wet thing and no dry thing, but that it is in a Clear Book.” (6:59)

If we want to understand the picture better, we should recall the words of Allah Almighty in Surat at-Takwir:

“But you shall not will except if Allah wills, the Lord of all the Worlds.” (81:29)

Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] used the words “you shall not will” in a general sense. He did not specify by that phrase one event rather than another. It refers to all that’ occurs in existence whatever form it takes. It is all by the will of Allah Almighty. When the will of Allah and man’s will come together, then the thing happens. If they do not come together, it does not happen. So everything in existence is absolutely subject to the will of Allah Almighty. Nothing exists which can be called coincidence because all the events of existence exist are in order and were recorded by Allah Almighty before He created the uni-verse. Indeed, all the events right up until the Day of Rising and beyond it are embraced by the knowledge of the Magnificent Creator of all existence.

The Forces of Existence are Many

From all of this it is quite clear that things which are hidden from us and which we cannot see actually do exist and carry out their appointed purposes in existence. When Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] tells us about things that are hidden from us, such as the angels for instance, then we must be certain of their existence even though we cannot see them. We cannot make visual perception of things our sole criterion for their existence when Allah Almighty has given us thousands of proofs, even with


the physical realm, of the existence of much that is hidden from our sight.

The angels, then, are among the forces of good which we can-not see in our daily lives but which carry out their duties in the most complete manner. As the Almighty says:

“They do not disobey Allah no matter what command He gives them; and they do all that they are commanded.” (66:6)

Similarly, there are other ‘powers in existence which desire evil for man. We do not see them nor recognise their existence but Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] has informed us about them as a mercy to us. He told us to seek refuge with Him from them. The shaytans are among those forces. The shaytans are rebellious jinn who reject the Revelations of Allah. There are righ-teous jinn and also disbelieving and rebellious jinn among the progeny of Iblis, as Allah says in Surat al-Jinn:

“Among us are there are righteous beings and among us are other than that. We follow many different paths.” (72:11)

The shaytans are the enemies of man and desire evil and not good for him. That is why they try to push him into doing what will harm him and not benefit him. But Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] created the shaytans from fire and He created man from earth. Earth, as we know, is dark and heavy and the shaytans take from the fire of their creation something which .gives them greater strength and power than man. For instance, they can see us but we cannot see them, as Allah Almighty informs us:

“He and his tribe see you from where you do not see them.” (7:27)


The shaytans have constant vision of us even though we cannot see them. We would not know of their existence if Allah Almighty had not informed us of it. How would we be protected from their evil if Allah had not Almighty taught us how to seek refuge from them? Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] desires to remove our fear that harm will befall us from these forces that we do not see but which see us, and He has assured us that He will protect us and guard us, He does not sleep nor does He overlook anything. He sustains existence, that is to say He supports it every second. He says:

“Allah. There is no god but Him, the Living, the All-Sustaining. Drowsiness does not overcome Him nor does sleep.” (2:255)

Allah Almighty further desires to increase our peace of mind and tells us that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and that therefore there is no creature in existence able to escape His will. Every creature is completely and utterly subject to the laws which the Creator made for it. It cannot rebel against them. That is so that we do not fear that any of Allah’s creatures will rebel and do anything for which their Creator has not given permission. He says:

“To Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth.” (2:255)

In this way He increases our peace of mind. We might think that someone might possess such power of intercession with Allah as would make him able to do what he wishes without His permis-sion so that he can do as he likes. Or someone might think that there was something in Allah’s creation, which cannot counted or enumerated, which might be hidden from His knowledge or might escape, even if only for a fraction of a second, from the absolute of power of Allah Almighty. So He says:


Who can intercede with Him except by His permis-sion? He knows what is before them and what is after them. But they do not encompass any knowledge of Him except what He wills.” (2:255)

Allah’s Concern

Allah wants people to know that they are protected by Allah’s concern as long as they obey Him and hold to Him even in the state when they have no power to defend themselves at all -while they are asleep. They should keep in mind that in the case of Allah Almighty, “Drowsiness does not overcome Him nor “does sleep.” That is why man can sleep soundly, safe and secure in the knowl-edge that the eye of Allah which never sleeps is protecting him; It is the power of Allah which is the source of all the capacities of everything else in existence. They are under His control and so people should have no fear that anything will harm them.

Just as Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] informs us about the shaytans who see us but whom we do not see, so He also informs us about two other hidden forces: magic and envy. If Allah had not told us about them, we would not have recognised them nor understood anything about them. However Allah has taught us about these two things and so we know how to guard ourselves from them by seeking refuge with Him from them.

Nothing in existence, no matter what the nature of its creation, has any power to bring harm or benefit to any other creature. No creature or genus should allow itself to be deluded into thinking that it has any intrinsic superiority or power. There is no force in existence that has any effectiveness whatsoever except that which Allah desires it to have.

When Iblis rebelled, he falsely assumed that the nature of his own creation raised him above the will of His Creator. So when Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] asked him to prostrate to Adam, his reply was as has come in the Noble Qur’an:


“I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from clay.” (7:12)

And in another ayat, Iblis says:

“What! Me prostrate to one You have created out of clay?” (17:61)

In this instance Iblis took one of the elements of his creation which made him feel that he, was intrinsically superior to man. He forgot that what each creature is given does not come from itself. It is from the Almighty and therefore, just as it is subject in its for-mation to the will of Allah, so it is also subject to the commands of Allah. No matter what the creational nature of Iblis was, that did not give him any reason for disobeying the commands of Allah and ascribing his strength to himself. Doing that made him an unbeliever. Creatures can be deluded by blessing into thinking that the blessing they have been given makes them independent of the Giver of Blessing and that that blessing has been obtained by their own capabilities. In doing this they forget their Creator and rebel against Him who gave them the blessing.

This is the case with Qarun who said:

“He said, ‘I have only been given it on account of a knowledge I possess,” (18:78)

He forgot that all knowledge is from Allah and that when He gave it to him, the gift of it should have increased him in thankful-ness to Allah and obedience to His commands.

We have so far seen that there are hidden forces in existence which Allah [glory be to Him and may He be exalted] created and which are governed by laws of which we know nothing and of whose nature we do not know anything except what Allah Almighty has told us. However, in spite of our ignorance about them, these forces nevertheless exist and have effects. Allah Almighty has also called our attention to the fact that even if one


genus is by nature stronger than another, He is nonetheless able to subject it to a weaker one. We must now examine a number of important questions:

What is magic? Who are the people who practice it? What is its effect on man? Why did Allah Almighty send two angels to teach people magic?


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Fortitude and Prayer

Fortitude and Prayer will generate in you the power which is required to bear that burden of responsibility with which you have been entrusted.

Surah 2


Verse (153-162)

In this portion practical measures have been prescribed to enable the Muslims to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the leadership that had been entrusted to them for the promulgation of Guidance. Salat, Fast, Zakat, Haj and Jihad have been prescribed for the moral training of the Ummat. The Believers have been exhorted to obey authority, to be just, to fulfill pledges, to observe treaties, to spend wealth etc., in the way of Allah. Laws, rules and regulations have been laid down for their organization, cohesion and conduct of day-to-day life and for the solution of social, economic, political and international problems; on the other hand, drinking, gambling, lending money on interest etc., have been prohibited to keep the Ummat safe from disintegration. In between these, the basic articles of the Faith have been reiterated at suitable places, for these alone can enable and support one to stick to the Guidance. 153 – 251


O Believers, seek help with fortitude and Salat, for Allah is with those who show fortitude. 154 153 155 And do not say of those who are slain in the way of Allah, “they are dead.” In fact, they are alive but you do not perceive that life. We will surely put you to trial by involving you in fear and hunger and by causing loss of property, life and earnings. And give good tidings to those who remain steadfast in these trials: when a misfortune comes to them, they say, “We are Allah’s and we shall certainly return to Him,” 156 upon them; such are the people who are rightly guided. Their Lord will bestow great blessings and mercy 157

153 After their appointment to leadership, the Believers from hereon are given such instructions and directions as are essential for training and enabling them to discharge the duties of that position of responsibility. They are first of all warned that leadership is not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns. They will be confronted with difficulties, hardships, and trials at the very outset and will have to undergo untold sufferings and losses. But if they went Through all those ordeals with fortitude and proceeded on in the way of Allah, they would be blessed with countless blessings and rewards by Him.

154 That is, “Fortitude and Prayer will generate in you the power which is required to bear that burden of responsibility with which you have been entrusted. Fortitude will give you that patience and courage under the afflictions, privations and temptations which you are bound to encounter and that moral strength and endurance which will be sorely needed in Allah’s way, which is full of dangers. The Prayer will train you in discipline and other moral qualities which are essential for the right type of leadership.

155 It is forbidden to refer to those who are martyred for Allah’s sake as “dead” because the very word “death” and its thought are very discouraging, and kill the spirit of self-sacrifice and the urge to fight in the way of Allah. Instead, the Muslims are told to believe that those who fall martyrs in the way of Allah in fact enjoy eternal life. And this is a reality which revitalises and keeps alive the spirit of courage and valour.

156 These words are to be uttered merely with the tongue, but we whould believe sincerely from the core of our hearts that “We belong to Allah and to none else.” Thus, if anything is sacrificed in the way of Allah, if is spent rightly because it has gone to His service to Whom it really belonged.” “We shall certainly return to Him” :”We shall not live here for ever but shall have to leave this world one day. Thus, sooner or later we must die and go to Allah. It is, therefore, far better to fight in His way and lay down our lives for His sake than to pass our lives in self-seeking and self-worship and then die of some disease or accident.”

157 Hajj is pilgrimage to the Ka’bah during the fixed days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah and ‘Umrah is the voluntary visit to the Ka’bah in other than the Hajj days. Directions about Hajj and ‘Umrah are being given at this place because the Ka’bah had recently been made the qiblah and naturally questions and problems connected with it had arisen.


Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the emblems of Allah: it is, therefore, no sin for him, who performs Hajj or `Umrah to the House of AIIah, to run between the two hills; 158 any good with a willing heart. 159 and Allah knows and appreciates him who does

158 The running between Safa and Marwah (the two hills) near the Ka’bah was one of the rituals taught by Allah to Abraham in connection with Hajj. But afterwards when the people began to associate false gods with Allah, they built temples on Safa and Marwah and dedicated these to two idols, Asaf and Na’ilah, and went round them in reverence to them. When the Arabs embraced (slant, a question arose whether running between Safa and Marwah was one of the original rituals of Hajj or whether this had been invented by the worshippers of false gods and whether they would not be guilty of practising shirk by running between the two hills.

Besides this, a Tradition related by Hadrat ‘A’ishah says that the people of Madinah had an old aversion to running between Safa and Marwah even before they accepted Islam for they were devotees of Manat and did not worship Asaf and Na’ilah. Therefore, now when the Ka’bah was made the qiblah, Allah removed their misunderstanding concerning the running between Safa and Marwah and told them that this ritual had really been connected with Hajj ever since the time of the Prophet Abraham and was not the invention of the ignorant people after hire.

159 That is, it is far better to run between the two hills with a willing heart to please Allah than as a mere compliance with a Command from Him.


Indeed Allah curses, and the cursers, too, curse those who conceal the clear teachings and guidance We have sent down, after We have made these plain in the Book for the guidance of all mankind. 160 I, however, will forgive those of them who repent of it, mend their ways and make own what they were concealing: for I am very generous in accepting repentance and showing mercy.

160 The greatest crime of the Jewish scholars was that they had made the teachings of their Scriptures the monopoly of their rabbis and professional scribes. Not to speak of imparting these to the Gentiles, they did not teach them even to the common Jews. As a result, the Jews began to practise irreligious things because of their ignorance. Even then their rabbis did not do anything to reform and educate them. Instead of this, they went on, directly or indirectly, certifying every irreligious practice as legal merely for the sake of winning and retaining popularity. The Muslims are being forewarned that as leaders of the world they should propagate and spread the Guidance given to them and should not keep it back from the common people as the Jewish rabbis and scribes did.


Those who adopted the way of kufr (disbelief) 161 and died as disbelievers, are accursed of Allah and of angels and of all mankind: they shall remain accursed for ever. Their punishment shall not be lightened, nor shall they be reprieved.

161 The literal meaning of the word kufr is “to conceal”. By and by it came to be used for the concealment of the Truth and then for its rejection, as the antonym of imam n.

Iman means to believe, to accept and to admit, and kufr means to disbelieve, to reject and to oppose. According to the Qur’an, one shall be guilty of kufr.

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Al-Imran: Verse [102-120]

The Muslims have been instructed to learn lessons from the history of the people of the Book and also to guard themselves against their machinations, and to prepare and train themselves to establish virtue and eradicate evil. 102 – 120

Surah 3

‘Al Imran

Verse: 102-120


O Believers,

fear Allah as He should be feared and see that you do not die save as true Muslims 82 Hold fast together to Allah’s cord 83 and let nothing divide you. Remember the favour of Allah upon you, when you were enemies to one another, then He united your hearts, and by His grace, you became like brothers, and you were on the brink of the abyss of Fire and He rescued you from it. 84 Thus does Allah make His signs clear to you so that you may find the right path to true success by these. 85

82 That is, “Be loyal and obedient to Allah up to your last breath.”

83 “Allah’s cord” is the way of life prescribed by Him. It is a “cord” because it keeps intact the relations of the Believers with Allah and also binds and unites them into a community. “Hold fast together to Allah’s cord” implies that the Muslims should give the greatest importance to Allah’s Way, and should make it the centre of all their interests, and exert their utmost to establish it and co-operate with one another for its service. When and if they let loose this cord and deviate from its basic principles, they would inevitably suffer from disunity and would be divided into sections and sub-sections, like the communities of the former Prophets. As a consequence of this, they would mat with disgrace both in this world and in the Next.

84 This refers to that horrible state of the Arabs from which they were rescued by Islam. Before Islam, their clans were divided into hostile camps, who went to war for frivolous reasons. Human life had lost its sanctity and people were killed without any pangs of conscience. The fire of enmity would have burnt to ashes all the Arabs, if blessed Islam had not rescued them from it. This blessing had appeared in a tangible form at Al-Madinah at the time of the revelation of these verses. The two clans-Aus and Khazrajwho had been enemies for years and had been involved in bitter feuds and bloody battles, became brethren after they embraced Islam. Not only this: they also showed that spirit of sacrifice for the rehabilitation of the refugees from Makkah that has no parallel in history.

85 That is to say, “If you have eyes to see, you can yourselves judge whether your welfare lies in holding fast to Allah’s way or in discarding it and reverting to the old ways of ignorance, and whether your wellwishers are Allah and His Messenger or the Jews and the hypocrites and the polytheists who are trying to revert you to your former condition.


There should always be among you some people who invite to what is good and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong: They alone will attain true success. And do not be like those, who became divided into sects and got involved in differences of opinion even after receiving clear teachings. 86 Those (who have caused divisions), shall suffer a terrible punishment on the Day, when the faces (of some) will be brightened with joy and those of others shall be blackened with gloom. (It will be said to those,) whose faces shall be blackened, “Did you adopt the way of disbelief after receiving Faith? Well, then taste the torment for showing gross ingratitude towards it.” As regards those, whose faces will be brightened, they will enjoy Allah’s mercy and abide therein for ever. These are Allah’s Revelations, which We are reciting to you in all Truth, for Allah does not will to be unjust 87 to the people of the world. All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah, and to Allah are all the matters presented.

86 This refers to those communities which received the Guidance and clear teachings from the Messengers of Allah but after some time discarded the basic principles of the Guidance and divided themselves into different sects on the basis of irrelevant and minor side-issues and were involved in useless and meaningless squabbles. They became so engrossed in these things that they totally forgot the mission which Allah had entrusted to them and lost interest even in the basic principles on which, in fact, depends the real success of humanity.

87 As Allah, does not will to be unjust to the people of the world, He is showing them Guidance and warning them before-hand of those things of which they shall have ultimately to render an account. Thus, those who follow the crooked ways even after this and do not return to the Right Way are doing injustice to themselves


Now you are the best community which has been raised up for the guidance of mankind:88 you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. Had these people of the Book 89 also believed, it would have surely been better for them. Though there are among them some believers, yet most of them are transgressors. Anyhow they can do no harm to you: the worst they can do is to inflict a trifling hurt on you. If they fight with you, they will turn their backs on you, and shall not get any help from anywhere. Disgrace and humiliation have been stamped upon them wherever they may be except in the case when they get refuge under the favour of Allah or under the patronage of other people. 90 They have incurred the wrath of Allah; therefore misery and humiliation have been stamped upon them. This is because they rejected the Revelations of Allah and killed His Prophets without any just cause; this is the consequence of their disobedience and their transgression.

88 This is the same declaration that has been’ made in Al-Baqarah (v. 143). The followers of the Holy Prophet are being reminded that they have been appointed to the leadership of the world from which the children of Israel had been deposed on account of their incompetence. The Muslims have been appointed to that office because they possess those moral qualities which are essential for just leadership. These are to establish virtue and to eradicate evil practically and believe that there is no god other than Allah to put into practice the implication of this belief. They should, therefore, understand the responsibilities of the work which had been entrusted to them and avoid the errors into which their predecessors had fallen. (Please refer also to E. N. 123-144 of Al-Baqarah).

89 Here the Jews are “The people of the Book. ”

90 That is, “The little security that they enjoy anywhere in the world has not been won by themselves but has been the result of the help and kindness of others. They have been getting this either from some Muslim states in the name of Allah or from some non-Muslim states for other reasons.” And if sometimes they have succeeded in gaining even some political power, they have not accomplished this through their own efforts but have owed it to others.


Yet all the people of the Book are not alike: there are among them some who are steadfastly on the right path; who recite the Revelations of Allah at night and fall prostrate before Him; who believe in AIlah and the Last Day; who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and remain earnestly engaged in good works; these are the righteous people, and whatever good they do, they will not be denied the just reward for it, for Allah knows full well the pious people. As for those who have adopted the way of disbelief, neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them against Allah; they deserve Hell, and there they shall abide for ever. Whatever they are spending in this worldly life may be likened to the wind that brings frost in it and smites and destroys totally the tillage of those who have been unjust to themselves; 91 Allah has not done any injustice to them but in fact they themselves are doing injustice to themselves.

91 In this similitude, “tillage” stands for human life, for one sows in it deeds or misdeeds which one shall have to harvest in the Next World. The “wind” refers to the superficial and hypocritical show of charity that impels the unbelievers to spend their wealth in charity and public works. And “frost” refers to the lack of faith and willingness to obey the Divine Law in its right spirit, which makes void the acts and deeds of one’s life. By this similitude, Allah teaches this lesson; just as air is very useful for the growth of crops but it also destroys these if there is frost in it: in the same way charity helps nourish the harvest that is to be reaped in the Next World but it destroys the same, if it is poisoned with unbelief. It is obvious that Allah is the Master of man as well as of the wealth that he possesses and of the kingdom in which he is acting. Now, if this slave of Allah does not acknowledge the Sovereignty of his Master or unlawfully sets up other objects of worship and does not obey His Law in his exploitation of His wealth and kingdom, he shall be guilty of a crime. Therefore, he will not be entitled to any reward for his charity, but shall be prosecuted for his unlawful exploitation. The charity of such a man maybe likened to the charity of a servant who steals a sum of money from the treasure of his master and spends it as he likes.


O Believers, do not take into your confidence any other than the people of your own community for they never miss any opportunity of exploiting any weakness of yours 92 They desire that which is harmful to you; their malice has become apparent from what they say, but what they conceal in their hearts is yet far worse. We have made clear to you the signs thereof, and if you are wise, (you will be very cautious in your relations with them.) As for you, you love them but they do not love you, even though you believe in all the revealed Books. 93 When they meet you, they say, “We also believe (in. your Prophet and in your Book”), but when they go aside, they bite their finger-tips in their rage against you.- Say to them, “Perish in your rage: Allah knows even that which is hidden in the hearts.” They grieve if you are blessed with some good and rejoice if an evil befalls you. But their crafty schemes cannot harm you at all, if you show fortitude and fear Allah in whatever you do. Allah encircles whatever they are doing.

92 Here Allah warns the Muslims to guard against the hypocritical attitude of the Jews who lived in the suburbs of Al-Madinah. The two clans, Aus and Khazraj, had been on friendly terms with them from very ancient times and kept sincere relations with them even after embracing Islam. In contrast to this, the Jews, who had turned into the enemies of the Holy Prophet and his mission, could not be friendly with anyone who had joined the new Movement.

Accordingly, they kept up an outward show of friendship with the Ansar but in their heart of hearts they had become their bitter enemies. They, however, . exploited this outward friendship and tried to sow seeds of dissension and create chaos in the Muslim Community. They also tried to draw out secrets from the Muslims and pass them on to their enemies. That is why Allah has warned the Muslims that they should not take such people into their confidence.

93 That is, “It is strange that the Jews, who themselves are guilty of rejecting your Book, whereas you believe in their Book, the Torah, along with your Book, the Qur’an, should have a grievance against you. There is no reason why they should complain against you: on the other hand, you have a cogent grievance against them for their disbelief in your Book.”


The Muslims have been instructed to learn lessons from the history of the people of the Book and also to guard themselves against their machinations, and to prepare and train themselves to establish virtue and eradicate evil. 102 – 120

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‘Al Imran: Verse 64-82

In these verses the people of the Book, the Jews, have been invited to give up their sinister ways and accept the divine Guidance. At the same time the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their malicious intentions, erroneous ways and absurd objections. 66 – 101

Surah 3

‘Al Imran



Say, 56 “O people of the Book! Come to what is common between us and you, 57 that we worship none but Allah; that we associate nothing with Him and that none of us shall make as our Lord any other than Allah.” If they reject your invitation, then tell them plainly, “Bear witness that we are Muslims (who worship and surrender to Allah alone).”

56 From here begins the third discourse. Its subject-matter clearly shows that it was revealed in the period intervening the battles of Badr and Uhd. The contents of the three discourses are so closely interlinked that there is no incoherence anywhere between them. That is why some commentators have been misled to believe that this also formed part of the discourse addressed to the Najran deputation. But the tone of the discourse commencing from here clearly shows that it was addressed to the Jews.

57 That is, “Join us in the creed which we have accepted and which you also cannot reject as false, for it is confirmed and supported by the teachings of your own Scriptures


O people. of the Book, why do you argue with us about Abraham (as to whether he was a Jew or a Christian? You know that) the Torah and the Gospel were sent down long after him. Why do you not, then, understand even this? 58 You have had enough arguments

58 That is, “Your Judaism and Christianity came into existence long after the revelation of the Torah and the Gospel, whereas Abraham (God’s peace be upon him) had passed away long before those Books were sent down. Now, even a man of ordinary common sense can easily understand that the religion of Abraham could in no sense be Judaism or Christianity. Thus, if Abraham was on the right way and had obtained salvation, as you also believe, then it becomes abundantly clear that one need not follow Judaism or Christianity to be on the Right Way and to obtain salvation.” (Also see E.N. 135 and 141, Al-Baqarah.)


You have had enough arguments about things of which you had some knowledge: why should you now argue about that also of which you know nothing at all? Allah knows, but you know nothing. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Muslim, sound in the Faith, 59 and he was not of those who set up partners with Allah. Surely only those people who follow Abraham are entitled to claim a relationship with Him. Now this Prophet and the Believers are better entitled to this relationship: Allah is the Protector of only those who are Believers.

59 The Arabic word (hanif) stands for a person who chooses to follow one particular way after rejecting all other ways. We have conveyed this meaning by “a Muslim, sound in the Faith.”


(O Believers,) a party of the people of the Book longs to lead you astray, somehow or other; whereas they mislead none except themselves, but they do not perceive it. O people of the Book, why do you deny Allah’s Signs, which you yourselves are witnessing? 60 conceal the Truth knowingly? O people of the Book, why do you confound the Truth with falsehood and conceal the Truth knowingly?

60 There may be another rendering of this sentence: “You yourselves testify these.” But in neither case is the sense of the passage affected.

The fact is that the pious life of the Holy Prophet and the marvelous effects which his precepts and example were producing on the lives of his Companions, and the high and sublime teachings of the Qur’an, were all such clear Signs of God that no one, who was familiar with the lives of the Prophets and with the nature of the heavenly Scriptures, could possibly doubt or deny his Prophethood.

Thus, in fact, many a people of the Book (especially the learned among them) had realized that Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) was the same Prophet whose coming had been foretold by the former Prophets. So much so, that they were at times completely overpowered by the force of the plain Truth, and would unwittingly admit and confirm that the teachings of the Holy Prophet were true.

That is why, the Qur’an accuses them time and again of obduracy and deliberate rejection of the Truth after seeing clear Signs of God and being fully convinced of it in their hearts.


Another party of the people of the Book says to one another, “Profess in the morning what has been sent down to the Believers and reject it in the evening: it may be that, by this device, they will turn back from their Faith.” 61 They also say, “Do not follow any except the one who follows your own religion.”

O Prophet, say to them, “In fact the real guidance is the guidance of Allah: (It is His Will) that He may bless one with the same that He once bestowed upon you, or He may provide others with a strong argument against you to put it before your Lord.”

O Prophet, say to them, “Bounty and Grace belong to Allah and He may bestow these upon any one He wills, 61a is All Embracing, 62 All-knowing: 63 He chooses for His favour whom He wills and His grace is boundless.”

61 This was one of those tricks which the leaders and the rabbis of the Jews, living in the suburbs of Al-Madinah used to play in order to weaken the force of the Islamic Movement.

They feigned an interest in Islam only to detach some of the Muslims by some subtle arrangements. Their object was to dishearten the Muslims and create doubts among the masses about teachings of the Holy Prophet.

For this purpose they began to send people to AI-Madinah to profess Islam openly and then become apostates and proclaim everywhere that they had come out of Islam because they had witnessed such and such evils among the Muslims and their Prophet.

61a They were stirred to play this wicked game by their envy of Islam and bias in favour of the religion of their fore-fathers. They have been rebuked, as if to say,

“God is not bound by your prejudices, but He bestows His Guidance on anyone He wills, and He has by His grace blessed the Muslims with the same Guidance that was once bestowed upon you.

You must understand it well that your wily tricks will not succeed in snatching away that Guidance from them nor in changing it into misguidance but only in providing a strong argument against you before your Lord.”

By this, Allah willed to see whether they would give up their prejudice and accept the Guidance which had been given to another (Muhammad) or whether they would persist in their envy and reject it and provide the Muslims with a strong argument against themselves before their Lord that they rejected the Truth merely because of their prejudice and obduracy.

62 The Arabic word “wase” (All-embracing) generally occurs on three occasions in the Qur’an:

(1)When a community of people is warned of their narrow-mindedness and told that Allah is not narrowminded like them;

(2) When one is rebuked for miserliness and stinginess and is told that Allah is generous and not miserly like him:

(3) When people believe Allah to be finite because of the limitations of their own imagination, they are told that Allah is Infinite and Limitless. (Also see E.N. 116, Al-Baqarah.)

63 That is, “Allah knows full well Who deserves honour and excellence.”


There is among the people of the Book such a person who will return to you intact a heap of gold entrusted to him by you. But there is among them also such a one who will not return even a single dinar entrusted to him by you unless you demand it with importunity. They justify their immoral behaviour, saying, “We are not to be called to account for our behaviour towards the unlettered (gentiles).” 64 Obviously, this is a falsehood of their own which they deliberately . ascribe to Allah, knowing well that He has never permitted such a thing. Well, will they not be called to account? Nay, Allah loves only such pious people who fulfil their Covenant and abstain from evil. As for those who barter away their Covenant with Allah and their own oaths for a paltry profit; they shall have no share in the Hereafter; Allah will not speak to them nor even look at them nor cleanse them of sins on the Day of Resurrectien. 65 There is, on the other hand, a painful punishment in store for them.

64 That is, “They were required to be fair only in their dealings with the Jews, and there was no harm in usurping the property of a non-Jew.”

This belief was not confined to the ignorant Jewish masses, but their whole religious system was so moulded as to allow differentiation between Israelites and non-Israelites in their dealings. Their moral code disallowed a certain treatment towards the Israelites but allowed the same towards a non-Israelite; one and the same thing was right for an Israelite but the same thing was wrong for a non-Israelite.

For instance, the Bible says:

“At the end of every seven years…every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it…”, but “Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again.” (Deut. 15: 1-3).

At another place the law about usury has been laid down like this:

“Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury.” (Deut. 23: 20).

“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die.” (Deut. 24: 7).

65 Although they were guilty of the blackest sins, yet they had taken it for granted that they would rise as the favourites of God on the Day of Resurrection and they alone would receive His blessings and favours, for they would be rescued from the consequences of the sins they committed in this world by the intercession of their saints in the Next World, but the fact is that they will be dealt with on that Day in quite a different manner.


There are among them some people, who, in reading the Book, twist their tongues in a way to make you think that what they read is a part of the Book, whereas, in fact it is not a part of the Book. 66 They also assert, “What we are reading is from Allah,” when in fact it is not from Allah. They knowingly ascribe the lie to Allah.

66 Taken figuratively. the Arabic Text may also imply that they turn away from the right meaning of the Book or twist the words out of Context and pervert the meaning. But the real meaning of the Text is this: while reading the Book, they twist with their tongues certain words or sentences that are against their self interest or self-invented religious beliefs or theories. Thus they change the meanings so as to mislead people into mental errors or false judgments or wrong religious beliefs.

It is an irony that some people sometimes treat the Qur’an itself in the same way. For instance, those people who believe in the Holy Prophet to be superhuman twist verse 110 of chapter XVIII with their tongues and read it. The first and correct reading means,

“Say, (O Prophet), I also am a man like yourselves,” while the second reading perverts the meaning thus:

“Say, (O prophet), indeed’ l am not a man like yourselves. ”


No man, to whom Allah gives the Book and sound judgment and Prophethood, would say thereafter to the people, “Be worshippers of me instead of Allah.” He will surely say, “Be true Rabbanis 67 in accordance with the teachings of the Book you read and teach. He will never enjoin you to make the angels or the Prophets your lords is it conceivable that a Prophet should enjoin you to adopt disbelief, after you have surrendered to Allah?” 68

67 Rabbani (rabbi) was the title of a religious functionary who guided the religious affairs of the Jews, established worship and expounded law.

68 These two verses are a comprehensive refutation of all the wrong things that different people have ascribed to their Prophets and entered into their Books in order to make an angel or a Prophet a god and an object of worship.

Here a fundamental formula has been laid down:

anything that teaches the worship of anyone other than Allah and raises a servant of God to the high pedestal of Godhead can never be the teaching of any Messenger of God:

therefore the very existence of such a thing in any book should be taken as a clear proof of its being a later insertion by some misguided people.

Hence the claim “to be the son of God and equal with God,” could never have been made by Jesus himself, but by some misguided followers of his.


Remember, Allah made this Covenant with His Messengers: “Now that We have given you the Book and Wisdom, you are hereby bound to believe in and help a Messenger, 69 who comes to you afterwards, confirming the teachings you already possess.” After this, He asked, “Do you confirm this and take up the heavy responsibility of your Covenant with Me?” They said, “Yes, we confirm.” Then Allah said, “Very well, bear witness to this and I also bear witness with you. Now whosoever breaks the Covenant after this, he shall be a transgressor.” 70

69 It implies this: “You people of the Book are bound by the Covenant of your own Prophets to believe in and help Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) for we entered into a compact with every Prophet to the effect that they (and their followers by implication) must help every Prophet sent by Us for the preaching and the establishment of the way of life for which they had been appointed. Therefore you should not have any prejudice against him, nor consider religion as your own monopoly; you should not oppose the Truth but come under the banner of anyone who raises it for this purpose. It is interesting to note that according to Palmer (The Koran), “the Talmudic sources confirm that God assembled all past, present, and future Prophets on Mount Sinai and entered into the compact mentioned in the text.” In this connection it should also be clearly understood that this compact was taken from every Prophet before the advent of Hadrat Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him); therefore every Prophet informed his followers about the Prophet coming after him and told them to follow him. But there is no mention in the Qur’an or in the Traditions that any such compact was taken from the Holy Prophet: nor did he inform his followers about the coming of any Prophet after him and believing in him. On the contrary, he categorically declared that he was the last in the line of Prophets.

70 This implies that the people of the Book were breaking their covenant with Allah by rejecting Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace be upon him) and opposing his mission; they were disregarding that covenant which their Prophets had made with Allah.

Hence they were perverted transgressors who had gone beyond the limits imposed by Allah.


In these verses the people of the Book, the Jews, have been invited to give up their sinister ways and accept the divine Guidance. At the same time the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their malicious intentions, erroneous ways and absurd objections. 66 – 101

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(They did not forbid one another from the Munkar which they committed…) (5:79).

When He will inflict punishment, those very leaders and guides whom they followed in the world will disown them. But punishment they shall get and all their bonds shall be cut off. Then those who followed them will say, “Would that we were given another chance to return to the world: then we will disown them just as they have disowned us today.

2. Al-Baqarah

(The Cow)

Verse 163-177


Your Deity is Allah alone: there is no deity save the All-Beneficent and All-Merciful Allah. (If they want a sign for the perception of this Reality) surety there are countless signs for those who use their common sense; 162 they can see alternation of the night and day, in the ships that sail the ocean laden with cargoes beneficial to mankind, and in the rain-water which Allah sends down from the sky and thereby gives life to the earth after its death and spreads over it all kinds of animate creatures, in the blowing of the winds and in the clouds which obediently wait for orders between the sky and the earth. (In spite of such clear signs of the Oneness of Allah), there are people who set up equals and rivals with Allah 163 the Believers adore Allah most ardently. 164 and adore them with the adoration due to Allah . whereas Would that these transgressors could realize now what they will realize, when they will see the chastisement before them that power and authority wholly belong to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment! When He will inflict punishment, those very leaders and guides whom they followed in the world will disown them. But punishment they shall get and all their bonds shall be cut off. Then those who followed them will say, “Would that we were given another chance to return to the world: then we will disown them just as they have disowned us today.” 165 Thus will Allah bring before them the deeds they did in the world in such a manner as to make them wring their hands in regret but they shall be unable to come out of the Fire.

163 They set up equals……”: they ascribe some of the exclusive qualities and powers of Allah to others and render all or some of His exclusive rights to false gods. For instance, though Allah alone has control over all the forces of nature and has the power to fulfil all the needs of His creatures and to hear their prayers and requests, and although He alone knows all that is open or hidden, yet they invoke others for help or attribute all or some of these powers and qualities to others than Allah and thus set up compeers to rank with Him. Again it is the exclusive right of Allah that His subjects should acknowledge Him as the Supreme Authority, bow down their heads before Him and fear Him alone in open and secret. But as they render all or some rights to others than Allah, they set up compeers with Him. Then, Allah alone is entitled to prescribe what is lawful and what is unlawful, what is clean and what is unclean. He alone has the authority to define the rights and duties of His subjects, lay down commands and prohibitions for them, etc. Therefore those who arrogate to themselves any of these rights shall be guilty of shirk. Again, He alone deserves to be acknowledged as the Sovereign and, as His subjects, the people should consider His Commandments to be final and turn to Him for guidance; therefore those who ascribe any of these rights to others than Allah, set up compeers with Him; likewise those institutions or persons who claim to possess any of these qualities or rights or assume to themselves any of these qualities or rights or demand that others should accede these to them, set themselves as compeers with Allah, whether or not they put forward formal claims to Godhead.

164 Belief in Allah demands that one should prefer His Will to one’s own will or to that of others, and cherish His love so dearly as to be ready to sacrifice all other affections for its sake.

165 This helpless end of the ring-leaders and misguiders and their followers has been specially mentioned here to warn the Muslims to be very careful in selecting and electing their leaders and guides. The former communities weal astray because they followed wrong leaders and evil guides. The Muslims should, therefore, learn a lesson from their end and discriminate between leaders and misleaders and should not follow the latter.


O people, eat of what is lawful and clean in the earth and do not follow the ways of Satan, 166 for he is your avowed enemy. He enjoins you to commit vice and indecency and induces you to attribute to Allah’s name things you do not know to be from Him. 167

166 They have been told to break all those restrictions which superstition and ignorance had imposed upon articles of food and drink.

167 That is, “Satan makes people believe that these superstitious customs and restrictions upon food and drink are a part of religion and have been enjoined by Allah, although there is no authority to show that they are from Him.”


When it is said to them, “Follow the Commands that Allah has sent down,” they reply, “We will follow only what we found our forefathers practising. 168 Well, will they go on following their forefathers even though they did not use common sense and did not find the right way? The mental condition of those who rejected the way of Allah may be likened to that of the cattle whom the shepherd calls but they hear nothing except the sound of shouts and cries. 169 They are deaf, they are dumb, they are blind; therefore they do not understand anything.

168 The only authority they have for their superstitious practices is that these have been the customs of their forefathers, and the foolish followers consider this a good authority.

169 This parable has two aspects:

(1) That these people are like those herds of cattle which merely hear the call and cry of the drovers and move about at the sound of their call without understanding the meaning of their words.

(2) That preaching before them is like preaching to the cattle which only hear the sounds but do not comprehend the meaning and the implication of the words that are spoken to them. The words used are comprehensive and cover both the aspects.


O Believers, if you are true worshippers of Allah alone, eat without hesitation of the good and clean things wherewith We have provided you and be grateful to Allah. 170 Allah has only forbidden you to eat what dies of itself, and blood and swine flesh and what has been consecrated to any other name than of Allah. 171 But one will incur no sin if, forced by absolute necessity, he eats of any of these forbidden things, provided he has no intention of transgressing the law and does not take more than what is absolutely indispensable: for Allah is very Forgiving and very Merciful.172

170 The Believers are enjoined to break all sorts of unnecessary, improper and unlawful restrictions imposed by the pundits, the priests, the rabbis, the clergies, the forefathers, etc. For if they really believe in Allah, as they profess, they should abstain from eating only what Allah has forbidden and eat, without any hesitation, only what Allah has declared lawful.

According to a Tradition of the Holy Prophet,

“One who offers the Salat in the way we offer, turns his face towards the qiblah to which we turn our face, and eats what we have slaughtered, is a Muslim.”

Therefore if one has any scruples regarding the eating of those things which Allah has declared lawful, he has not as yet become a true Muslim, even if he offers the Salat, turning his face towards the Ka`bah. He should give up the prejudices and superstitions of ignorance if he really and sincerely has become a Muslim. For the very observance of old traditions and customs is a proof that he is still imbued with the poison of ignorance.

171 This applies both to the flesh of the animal which is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah and to the food which is offered as a vow to any other than Allah. As a matter of fact, everything whether animal, corn, or another eatable:, actually belongs to Allah and is given by Him; therefore it should be offered as charity, or as vow, only in His name as a mark of gratitude to Him. If it is offered in any other name it means that one regards it also, instead of Allah, or along with Allah, as supreme, and the bestower of favours and blessings.

172 In this verse, permission for the use of an unclean thing has been given on three conditions:

(1) It must be really a case of extremity. For instance, if one is dying of hunger or thirst or if one’s life is in danger because of some disease and there is nothing available except an unclean thing, one is permitted to take it.

(2) One should not cherish any desire in one’s heart to break the law of Allah.

(3) One should not take even a bit more than what is absolutely necessary. For example, if in a certain case, a few bits or drops of an unclean thing can save life, then nothing more than this absolute minimum should be taken.


Indeed those, who conceal the Commands that Allah has sent down in His Book and barter them away for paltry worldly gains, fill their bellies with fire. 173 He regard them as pure; 174 Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will “a there is a painful torment for them. They are the people who have bartered away Guidance for error and Allah’s pardon for His punishment. How audacious they are: they are ready even to endure the fire of Hell. This was inspite of the fact that Allah had sent down the Book with the Truth but the people who sought differences in the Book swerved far away from the Truth in their disputes.

173 These were their learned people, who, in spite of possessing the knowledge of the Divine Book, kept it back from the common people, and were responsible for all the superstitions, false customs and unnecessary restrictions which were prevalent among them and which gave birth to new codes of law. Besides this, they were also guilty of another crime. They did not utter a word against the evil practices which began to spread as a result of that ignorance which had been deliberately created among them. Not only this: the majority of them considered this sorry condition to be advantageous to themselves and so let the Commandments of Allah remain hidden from the people.

174 These were their learned people, who, in spite of possessing the knowledge of the Divine Book, kept it back from the common people, and were responsible for all the superstitions, false customs and unnecessary restrictions which were prevalent among them and which gave birth to new codes of law. Besides this, they were also guilty of another crime. They did not utter a word against the evil practices which began to spread as a result of that ignorance which had been deliberately created among them. Not only this: the majority of them considered this sorry condition to be advantageous to themselves and so let the Commandments of Allah remain hidden from the people.


It is no virtue. That you turn your faces towards the east or the west, 175 but virtue is that one should sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish the Salat and pay the Zakat. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people and such are the pious.

175 In order to show the futility of excessive emphasis on external religious forms, it has been pointed out, as an instance, that there is no real virtue in the mere act of turning faces to the east or to the west in prayer. For the mere performance of some religious rites or formalities or show of piety is not real virtue which may have any importance or value with Allah.

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1. Surah Al Fatihah (The Opening)

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.1 Praise is only for Allah,2 the Lord of the Universe,3 the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful,4 the Master of the Day of Judgment.5

••• •••• •••••• ••••••

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an

1. Surah Al Fatihah (The Opening)


This Surah is named Al-Fatihah because of its subject-matter. Fatihah is that which opens a subject or a book or any other thing. In other words, Al-Fatihah is a sort of preface.

Period of Revelation

It is one of the very earliest Revelations to the Holy Prophet. As a matter of fact, we learn from authentic Traditions that it was the first complete Surah which was revealed to Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him). Before this, only a few miscellaneous verses were revealed which form parts of `Alaq, Muzzammil, Muddaththir, etc.


This Surah is in fact a prayer which Allah has taught to all those who want to make a study of His book. It has been placed at the very beginning of the book to teach this lesson to the reader: if you sincerely want to benefit from the Quran, you should offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.

This preface is meant to create a strong desire in the heart of the reader to seek guidance from the Lord of the Universe, Who alone can grant it. Thus Al-Fatihah indirectly teaches that the best thing for a man is to pray for guidance to the straight path, to study the Quran with the mental attitude of a seeker- after-truth and to recognize the fact that the Lord of the Universe is the source of all knowledge. He should, therefore, begin the study of the
Quran with a prayer to him for guidance.

From this theme, it becomes clear that the real relation between Al-Fatihah and the Quran is not that of an introduction to a book but that of a prayer and its answer. Al-Fatihah is the prayer from the servant and the Quran is the answer from the Master to his prayer. The servant prays to Allah to show him guidance and the Master places
the whole of the Quran before him in answer to his prayer, as if to say, “This is the Guidance you begged from Me.”


In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.1 Praise is only for Allah,2 the Lord of the Universe,3 the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful,4 the Master of the Day of Judgment.5

1 Islamic culture requires a man to commence everything with the name of Allah. If this is done consciously and sincerely, it will surely produce three good results. First, it will keep him away from evil, because the very name of Allah will impel him to consider whether he is justified in associating His name with a wrong deed or an evil intention. Secondly, the very mention of the name of Allah will create in him the right attitude of mind and direct him to the right direction. Thirdly,he will receive Allah’s help and blessing and will be protected from the temptations of Satan, for Allah turns to a man when he turns to Him.

2 It has been stated in the Introduction to this Surah that AI-Fatihah is a prayer. It begins with the praise of Allah to Whom it is addressed in order to teach us the right way of making a supplication. We should not put forward our request bluntly and abruptly without an appropriate introduction. The right way is to acknowledge the excellences and the favors and the high position of the One to Whom we address our prayer. That is why we begin our prayer with the praise of Allah, for He is the perfection of all excellences and is also our Benefactor. We pay homage to Allah to show that we sincerely acknowledge His excellences and also are grateful to Him for His countless favours. It should also be noted that not only Praise is for Allah but also Praise is only for Allah. This distinction is very important because it cuts at the root of the worship of any of His creation. As none of them is worthy of praise, none is worthy of worship. No man, no angel, no prophet, no so-called god, no star, no idol, in short. none of His creation inherently possesses any good quality. If one has any, it is given by Allah. Hence the Creator of these qualities alone deserves devotion, worship, gratitude, and none of His creation.

3 The word Rab which has been translated into `Lord’ stands for (a) Master and Owner, (b) Sustainer, Provider and Guardian, (c) Sovereign, Ruler, Administrator and Organizer. Allah is the Lord of the Universe in all these senses.

4 Although the Arabic word Rahman itself is in the superlative form and denotes the attributes of beneficence and mercy in the highest degree, even this word fails to express the boundless extent of these attributes of Allah. Hence another word Rahim of the same root has been added to make up for the deficiency.

5 After saying that Allah is Beneficent and Merciful, it has immediately been added that He is the Master of the Day of Judgment, so that the qualities of mercy and kindness might not mislead anyone into forgetting that on that Day He will gather together all human beings from the first to the last and require each and every one to give an account of all of one’s acts to Him. A Muslim should, therefore, always keep in view the fact that Allah is not only Merciful, but He is also Just. He has, however, full authority to pardon or punish anyone He pleases, for He has complete power over everything. Therefore we should have full conviction that it lies absolutely in His power to make our end happy or sorrowful.


Thee alone we worship6 and to Thee alone we pray for help.7 Show us the straight way,8 the way of those whom Thou hast blessed;9 who have not incurred Thy wrath, nor gone astray.10

6 The Arabic word ibadat is used in three senses: (a)worship and devotion, (b) submission and obedience, (c) subjection and servitude. Here it implies all the three, that is, We are Thy worshipers, Thy
subjects and Thy slaves and We keep these relations with Thee and Thee alone and “We make none else the object of our worship in all the three senses.”

7 It means, We ask for Thy help because we know that Thou art the Lord of the whole Universe and Thou hast all powers and Thou art the Master of every thing. Therefore we turn to Thee for help for the
fulfillment of our needs and requirements.

8 That is, “Show us that way which may lead us aright in every walk of life and keep us absolutely free from errors and evil consequences and bring us success in the end.” , This is the request which the
servant of Allah makes to Him when he begins the study of the Qur’an. He prays to Him to guide him in every walk of life and save him from the labyrinths of doubt and uncertainty, which result from the lack of
true knowledge. The servant also requests the Master to show him the right and the straight way of life from among the many by-paths and crooked ways.

9 The straight way for which we are praying is the way which has always been followed by the people favored by Thee and which has always brought Thy favors and blessings.

10 This is to show that the favored people are not those who go astray and incur the wrath of Allah, though apparently they might be enjoying the transitory good things of life. The really favored people are
those who receive blessings on account of their righteous living. From this it also becomes clear that by favors are meant those real and permanent rewards, which result from righteous living and from winning the pleasure of Allah, and not those transitory good things of life which have been enjoyed even by the tyrants and worshipers of mammon and which are being enjoyed even today by all sorts of evildoers who have gone astray from the straight way.

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Tale of an untutored boatman and a prideful grammarian.

The humorous tale of an untutored boatman and a prideful grammarian.

The grammarian asks the boatman if he knows Arabic grammar (a science that facilitates understanding the Qur’an). No? Well then, half your life is wasted! When the boat begins sinking in a whirlpool, the boatman asks if the grammarian knows how to swim. No? Then your whole life is wasted! (Masnavi 1: 2835-40).

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