يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا لاَ تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ ءَاذَوْا مُوسَي فَبَرَّأَهُ اللَّهُ مِمَّا قَالُوا وَكَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَجِيهاً
69. “O’ you who believe! Be not like those who hurt Moses (with a slander), but Allah cleared him of what they said, and he was well esteemed with Allah.”
Sometimes the godly leaders are hurt and accused from the side of believers.
Following the discussion about respecting the rank of the Prophet (S) and leaving any kind of hurt unto him mentioned in the previous verses, here the Qur’an, addressing the believers, says:
Among all divine prophets, who were hurt by people, the election of Moses (as) here is for the sake that those who hurt him among the Children of Israel are more than any other Divine prophet. Moreover, some of their hurts were similar to the hurts that the hypocrites caused unto the Prophet of Islam (S).
There are different ideas delivered by the commentators upon the objective meaning of hurting Moses (as) here, and that why the Qur’an has stated it ambiguously.
Therefore, there are various probable commentaries cited upon the holy verse, including:
1- According to a narration, once Moses and Aaron went upon a mountain where Aaron died. Rumourmongers of the Children of Israel attributed his death to Moses (as). Allah, the Almighty, made the fact of the matter manifest and made the Rumourmongers infamous.
2- As it was explained in upon the commentary of some verses of Surah Al-Qasas, No. 29, Korah plotted not to accept the law of Zakat, and that he might not pay the rights of the poor. So he planned that a bad woman would stand among the public and accuse Moses (as) saying that he had an unlawful relation with her.
By the grace of Allah, not only that plot failed but also the same woman attested to the virtue of Moses (as) and the Korah’s plan.
3- Some of Moses’ enemies once accused him (as) with sorcery, insanity, and attributing lies to Allah, but by means of some clear miracles Allah introduced him that he was free from them.
4- Some of the ignorant people of the Children of Israel accused Moses (as) that he had some bodily defects such as: leprosy, and the like, because when he wanted to wash himself he never stripped himself of clothing in front of others.
But one day, when he wanted to perform a total ablution in a corner far from people, he put his clothes on a piece of stone, then the stone moved and took Moses’ clothes with it and some of the Children of Israel saw his body that it had no defect.
5- One of other factors of the hurts to Moses (as) was the seeking pretext of the Children of Israel. Sometimes they asked him that he would show Allah to them. They said that they were not ready to enter Jerusalem and fight against ‘Amaliqah. They wanted him (as) to go there with his Lord and occupy it, then they would enter it.
But what is closer to the meaning of the verse is that the holy verse states a general and conclusive ordinance. The Children of Israel hurt Moses (as) in different ways.
They were some hurts that were not unlike to the hurts of some people of Medina unto the Prophet of Islam (S), such as spreading some false rumours, telling lies, and charging undue attributing unto the Prophet’s wife, the explanation of which was stated in the commentary of Surah An-Nur, No. 24, verses 11 to 20, and the fault-findings they had about the marriage of the Prophet (S) with Zaynab, or the troubles they made in his house, or at the time of impolitely calling him (S) that they caused them against the Prophet (S).
However, it can be understood from this holy verse that if a person is esteemed at the presence of Allah, and has a good position and rank with Him, He will defend him for the undue attributes that some wicked people charge him. You must be pure and protect your honour before Allah; He will also in turn manifest your purity, though the malicious persons may try to accuse you.
Similar to this meaning is recited in the story of Yusuf, the truthful, the pious, that how Allah exempted him from the great and dangerous accusation of Zulaykha.
Again, Mary’s baby attested to his mother’s chastity and stopped the tongue of malicious ones of the Children of Israel who wanted to accuse her.
This point also seems necessary to be mentioned that this statement was not only for the believers of the time of the Prophet (S). There may come into being some people after him who do some things that hurt his holy spirit.
For example, they belittle his religion, waste his efforts and endeavours, and forget what he left behind among Muslims. Such people are included in the content of this verse.
So, we recite in some traditions narrated from Ahlul Bayt (as) that those who hurt Ali (as) and his progeny are involved in this verse.1
يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلاً سَدِيدًا
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزاً عَظِيمًا
70. “O’ you who believe! Be in awe of Allah and speak you the right word,”
71. “He will adjust your works for you and will forgive you, your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, then indeed he has achieved a great success.”
If a person practically observes Allah in his behaviour He will solve other problems for him, because the key to salvation is piety and obeying both Allah and the Apostle.
Following the discussions about the rumourmongers and the foulmouthed ones mentioned formerly, this verse issues an order which, in fact, is the remedy of this great social pain.
The Arabic word /sadid/ is derived from /sadd/ with the sense of ‘firm’ and ‘unchangeable’ which adapts with the truth, and reality. It is a statement which is similar to a strong dam, stands against the waves of corruption and falsehood.
Then, if some of the commentators have rendered it into ‘right’, and some others into ‘free from false and idle talk’ or ‘outward being adapted with inward’ or the like, all are meant in the above inclusive meaning.
In the next holy verse, the conclusion of ‘the right word’ has been stated as follows:
In fact, piety is the basis of the improvement of the speech and it is the origin of the right word, and the right word is one of the factors of the deed improvement, and deed improvement is the cause of forgiveness of sins, since:
The scholars of ethics have said:
“The tongue is the most blissful part of the body.”
It is the most effective means of obedience, guidance, and improvement; and in the meantime it is counted as the most dangerous and the most sinful limb of the body, so much so that there may appear about thirty sins from this little limb.
The holy Prophet of Islam (S) in a tradition has said:
“The faith of a servant (of Allah) does not truly straighten unless his heart straightens, and his heart does not straighten unless his tongue straightens.”3
It is interesting that in another tradition Imam Sajjad (as) has said:
“Every morning everyone’s tongue inquires after other limbs’ health and says:
‘How are you?’
and all of them in reply to the tongue’s affection answer:
‘We are fine, if you let’.
Then they add:
‘By Allah! Be careful of us! Verily we will both get reward because of you and will be punished because of you’.”4
There are a lot of traditions in this regard all of which denote the extraordinary importance of the function of the tongue and that its improvement causes the improvement of ethics and purification of the carnal soul.
That is why we recite in a tradition:
“The Messenger of Allah (S) did not sit on his pulpit but he recited this verse:
Then, at the end of the verse, the holy Qur’an adds:
What a salvation and success is better than this that one’s deeds become purified, his sins be forgiven, and he becomes acceptable before Allah.
اِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الأَمَانَةَ عَلَي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الاِنسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوماً جَهُولاً
72. “Verily We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were afraid thereof; and man undertook it, verily he is unjust, ignorant.”
Man is superior to the heavens and the earth. He is trusty with Allah in the world of existence.
This noble verse completes the important issues which are referred to in this Surah concerning: faith, righteous deed, Holy war, donation, modesty, discipline, and ethics. It shows that man has such a very worthy position that can be the bearer of the Divine messengership.
So, if he becomes ignorant to his own values he will be unjust to himself and, consequently, he will fall into the lowest point.
At first, the holy verse refers to the greatest and the most important privilege of man over the whole world of creation, where it says:
But these significant great and huge beings of the world of creation refused to bear this trust and announced that they were unable and were afraid to bear it.
The verse continues saying:
It is evident that their refusal was not because of arrogance, as we recite about the refusal of Satan in the prostration for Adam:
but their refusal was derived from fear accompanied with humility and veneration.
But, in this circumstance, man, this wonder of the world of creation, came forth and undertook the trust:
Alas! From the beginning he was unjust to himself, and he did not recognize his value and did not perform what was eligible for bearing that trust:
The great commentators of Islam have discussed a lot about this verse, and tried very much to make the fact of ‘trust’ manifest. They have delivered different views the best of which, based on the content of the verse, have been chosen as follows:
Fundamentally, there are five points in this expressive verse on which we must emphasize:
1- What is the purpose of ‘trust’, the divine trust?
2- What does ‘We offered unto the heavens and the earth and the mountains’ mean?
3- Why and how did these great things refuse to bear this ‘trust’?
4- How did man bear this ‘trust’?
5- Why and how was he ‘unjust’ and ‘ignorant’?
Concerning ‘the trust’ there have been mentioned different commentaries.
Among them are: ‘The purpose of ‘trust’ here is the ‘Divine love (wilayah)’ and the perfection of the attribute of worship which can be required by the way of knowledge and righteous deed.
1- The objective meaning is the attribute of authority and free will which causes man to be privileged from other living creatures.
2- The objective meaning is ‘man’s wisdom’ which is the common basis of duty and criterion for reward and punishment.
3- The objective meaning is the limbs of man’s body. The eye is a ‘trust’ of Allah which must not be applied in the path of sin. The ear, the hands and feet, and the tongue are some other trusts which are obligatory to be protected not to commit sins thereby.
4- The objective meaning is the deposits that people take from each other, as well as fulfilling the promise.
5- The objective meaning is ‘gnosis of Allah’.
6- The objective meaning is obligations and Divine duties such as: prayer, fasting, and Hajj.
But with a little care, it makes the fact clear that these different commentaries are not contradictory with each other, and some of them can be contracted into some others. Some of them refer to a small part of the subject, while some others encompass the whole matter.
In order to find an inclusive answer, we must look at ‘man’ and see what does he have that the heavens, the earth, and the mountains have not it?
Man is a being that has an extraordinary talent by which he can be the complete extension of Allah’s viceroy. By earning knowledge, purification of the carnal soul, and accomplishments he can obtain the climax of honour and go high above the angels.
This talent is accompanied with free will and authority; that is, he has begun this way from the beginning and paved it by himself and with his authority towards infinity.
The heavens, the earth and the mountains have also a kind of gnosis of Allah that they are busy mentioning the remembrance and glorification of Allah (s.w.t.) and they are humble and do prostrate before His greatness, but all of these acts are innate, genetic, and compelling. That is why there is not a development in them.
The only being whose both ascension and descent are unlimited, and that can climb towards the top of perfection and do all of these things by his will and authority, is man. And this is that very trust of Allah that all beings refused to bear it, but man came forth and undertook it alone.
So, we see that the next verse has divided men into three groups: believers, disbelievers, and hypocrites.
Therefore, it must be said in a short sentence: the Divine trust is that very potentiality of infinite perfection accompanied with will and authority so that he may reach to the rank of a perfect and sincere servant of Allah by means of accepting the love (wilayat) of Allah.
Why has this issue been rendered into ‘trust’ while our existence and all what we have are the ‘trust’ of Allah?
This matter is for the importance of this great privilege of man; else other merits are also the deposits of Allah that, in comparison with it, have a less importance.
Here, this trust can be referred to with another sense and said that ‘the Divine trust’ is engagement and undertaking responsibility.
In other words, this holy verse states some facts about man that man’s intellect has not found them yet. But that which is understood from the apparent of the verse is that Allah has bestowed some particular specialties and privileges on man that none of the beings in the heavens and the earth has them.
These privileges are the trusts of Allah which bring forth some responsibilities for man. But many of human beings have been treacherous in this trust and have applied it in a path opposite to the command of Allah.
The intellect and the man’s will, which must be used alongside the path of knowing the truth and choosing it so that it can be the cause of his development and perfection, has been applied in some false ways, and it has resulted to the expansion of injustice and cruelty so far that the man’s behaviour has been counted as an ‘ignorant’ action.
Some Islamic narrations cited by the Ahlul Bayt (as) have rendered this trust as the acceptance of the love (wilayat) of Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) and his progeny.
It is for the sake that the love of prophets and the Imams is a strong ray of that general love (wilayat) of Allah, and reaching the rank of worshipping servitude and paving the path of development is not possible save by accepting the love of the friends of Allah.
When Ali-ibn-Mus-ar-Rida (as) was asked about the commentary of the offering the trust mentioned in this verse, he said:
“The trust is the mastership (Wilayah). Whoever claims it without truth has disbelieved (and has gone out from the realm of the Muslims).”7
In another tradition we read that when Imam Sadiq (as) was asked about the commentary of this verse, he said:
“The trust is the mastership, and the man (who has been qualified as ‘unjust’ and ‘ignorant’) is the possessor of a great deal of sins and is a hypocrite…”8
Another tradition indicates that when the time of prayer approached, the body of Hadrat Ali (as) began trembling, and he said:
“It is the time of prayer. Prayer is the trust of Allah which the heavens and the mountains refused to bear.”9
Addressing Ahlul Bayt (as), we recite in Jami‘ah-yi-Kabirah, the supplication:
“You are the protected trust!”
Ibn-Shahr’ashub, and Muhammad-ibn-Ya‘qub Kulayni have narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) who said:
“The purpose of ‘trust’ is the love (wilayat) of Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as).”10
Ali-ibn-’Ibrahim from Qum writes in his
“Trust is Imamate and enjoinment and prohibition.
The evidence upon the fact that it is Imamate is the word of Allah, the Glorious, the Almighty, to the Imams (as) where the Qur’an says:
Thus, the trust is Imamate which Allah offered unto the heavens and the earth and the mountains and they refused to bear it so that they would claim or usurp it from its owner and they were afraid to do so, then man bore it…”
Muhammad-ibn-Hassan Saffar in his book entitled Basa’ir-ud-Darajat narrates from Imam Baqir (as) who about this verse said:
“The trust is mastership (wilayah)…”
Upon the rank of Ali (as) Ibn-i-Shahr’ashub, narrating from Abibakr Shirazi, cited in the book entitled Nuzul-i-Qur’an, narrated from Muhammad Hanafiyyah from Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) who in a detailed tradition said that the purpose of ‘the trust’ is mastership (wilayah).
There are also some other narrations in all of which ‘the trust’ has been rendered as the mastership (Wilayah) of Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as). You may refer to the commentaries of Burhan, Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, As-Safi, Majma‘ul-Bayan, and other books of tradition.
Upon the acceptance of the Divine trust, it must be said that this acceptance has not been a ceremonial and conventional acceptance, but it is a genetic acceptance according to the level of talent.
The only question that remains here is about man’s being unjust and ignorant.
Is ‘man’ being qualified by these two attributes, which apparently are as his reprimand and reproach, for his accepting this trust? Certainly the answer of this question is negative, since the acceptance of this trust is the greatest honour and privilege of man.
How is it possible that for the sake of the acceptance of such an important and high position he would be blamed? Or these qualifications are for the forgetfulness of most men and that they are unjust to themselves because of the lack of awareness of man’s rank, the very thing that began in Adam’s generation by Cain and his followers, and has also been continuing until now.
The man whom is called from the top of ‘Arsh, the progeny of Adam on whose head was put on the crown of Allah’s honour:
the men who are the vicegerents of Allah on the earth:
the man who was the ‘angels’ teacher and was made prostrated by the angels of the heaven. How much must he be ‘unjust’ and ‘ignorant’ that he forsakes these great splendid values and, making him captive of this world, stands in the row of Satans and falls into the lowest point of Hell?
Yes, accepting this deviated line, that unfortunately has had many followers since the beginning, is the best reason that man is unjust and ignorant. However, we must confess that this man, who is apparently very little, is one of the wonders of the world of creation, who has been able to carry the burden of the trust that the heavens and the earth were unable to bear, if he does not forget his rank.
لِيُعَذِّبَ اللَّهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَالْمُشْرِكَاتِ وَيَتُوبَ اللَّهُ عَلَي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَحِيماً
73. “So Allah punishes the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the polytheist-men and the polytheist-women and Allah turns in mercy to the believer-men and the believer-women, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
The trust of Allah causes man to be responsible. He who protects the trust will receive the Divine Mercy, and he who proves treacherous will be punished.
This verse, in fact, states the cause of offering this trust to man. It states this fact that, after bearing this great Divine trust, the members of human beings are divided into three groups: the hypocrites, the polytheists, and the believers.
However, the letter ‘L’ at the beginning of the Qur’anic word /liyu‘aŏŏiba/ is as the sign of the purpose of something which is mentioned for the statement of the end of something.
Thus, the concept of the verse is: the end of the carrying this trust was that a group paved the path of hypocrisy and another group took the path of polytheism and, as the result of being treacherous in the trust of Allah, then they will encounter His punishment, while a group, who believe, for being faithful to this trust and that they do perform their duty concerning it, will be involved in the Mercy of Allah.
By the way, the application of /yatub/ (turns in mercy) for the believers (instead of reward) may be for this fact that the most fear of the believers is for the faults they may have committed, so it gives them certainty and rest that their faults will be forgiven.
Or it is for the sake that the repentance of Allah unto the servants is His turning to mercy, and we know that all merits and rewards have lied in the term /rahmat/ (mercy).
O Lord! Appoint us among those who have sincerely accepted the trust of Yours, and have eagerly protected it by fulfilling their duties about it.
- 1. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, Vol. 4, P. 308
- 2. Surah Hud, No. 11, verse 114
- 3. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, Vol. 17, P. 78
- 4. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, Vol. 71, P. 278
- 5. Al-Mizan, Vol. 16, P. 376
- 6. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 34
- 7. The Commentary of Burhan, Vol. 3, P. 341
- 8. Ibid
- 9. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, the commentary
- 10. Kafi, the commentary of Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, Burhan, and Safi, under the verse
- 11. Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, verse 58
- 12. Surah ’Isra’, No. 17, verse 70
- 13. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 30