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Suratul Baqarah: Verses 118 − 119

(١١٨)وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَعلَمُونَ لَوۡلَا يُكَلِّمُنَا ٱللَّهُ أَوۡ تَأۡتِينَآ ءَايَةٌ۬‌ۗ كَذَٲلِكَ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبلِهِم مِّثلَ قَوۡلِهِمۡ‌ۘ تَشَـٰبَهَتۡ قُلُوبُهُمۡ‌ۗ قَدۡ بَيَّنَّا ٱلأَيَـٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يُوقِنُونَ

(١١٩) إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلنَـٰكَ بِٱلحَقِّ بَشِيرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَا تُسـأَلُ عَنۡ أَصحَـٰبِ ٱلجَحِيمِ

And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us?” Even thus said those before them, the like of what they say; their hearts are all alike. Indeed We have made the signs clear for a people who are sure (118).

Surely, We have sent you with the truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and you shall not be questioned as to the companions of the flaming fire (119).

Commentary

Qur’an: And those who have no knowledge say: It refers to the polytheists and the unbelievers other than the People of the Book. It is set in contrast with the verse 113:

And the Jews say, “The Christians do not follow anything (good)”, and the Christians say, “The Jews do not follow anything (good)', while they recite the Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like to what they say.

In this verse, the People of the Book were joined to the polytheists and unbelievers of Arabia; and the verse under discussion joins those polytheists and unbelievers to the People of the Book: “And those who have no knowledge say: '

Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us?' Even thus said those before them (i.e., the People of the Book, including the Jews) the like of what they say”, because the Jews had disputed with their prophet, Musa (a.s.) and demanded from him the like of what these pagans say.

The People of the Book and the pagans of Arabia are alike in their way of thinking; the former say the like of what the latter say, and vice versa: their hearts are all alike.

Qur’an: Indeed We have made the signs clear for a people who are sure: It is the rebuttal of the demand of those who have no knowledge. The signs they are demanding have already come to them, already been made clear to them. But they cannot benefit from them because only those who are sure of those signs may get their benefit.

As for these people who have no knowledge, their hearts are submerged into ignorance, sick with the disease of prejudice and envy. That is why they have lost the ability to benefit from the signs sent by Allah.

The above explanation makes it clear why they have been described as “those who have no knowledge”.

After exposing the falsity of their demand, Allah directs His speech to the Apostle, declaring in clear terms that he has surely been sent by Allah “with the truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner”. The verse was meant to bring comfort to the Prophet's heart and to make him realize that these adver­saries were the people of the Fire, and they would not come to the path of guidance.

Qur’an: and you shall not be questioned as the companions of the flaming fire: Its import is similar to that of the verse: Surely those who disbelieve alike is to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe (2:6).

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