No warfare during the Pilgrimage Months -Warning against the hypocrites
Further instructions regarding Hajj -Invitation to complete submission to God (i.e. Islam);
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلاَ رَفَثَ وَلاَ فُسُوقَ وَلاَ جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ
197. "(The performance on the Hajj (Pilgrimage) is in months well-known, whosoever then undertakes (to perform) the Hajj therein, then let there be no intercourse, nor indulge in ungodliness, nor disputing in the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And make provision, but surely the best provision is the piety. So, have awe of Me, O' people of understanding."
"(The performance of) the Hajj (Pilgrimage) is in months well-known..."
In this verse, the Qur'an remarks that the rites of Pilgrimage (Hajj) should be fulfilled in certain months of the year not throughout it. The books of tradition, Qur'an commentary, and jurisprudence say that this great worship can be fulfilled only in Shawwal, Zil-Qa'dah, and during the first ten days of Zil-Hajjah, (a part of which relates exclusively to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth days of the month and another part of it can be performed during this whole length of time).
This part of the verse indicates that those who have made the performance of Pilgrimage (Hajj) obligatory for themselves, by putting on pilgrim's garb and engaging in the rites of Pilgrimage, should restrain themselves from enjoying even lawful sexual association and committing wickedness.
They must avoid obscene and vain debates or foul speech and all that appertains thereto, because the place is the site of worship, sincerity, and abandoning the material worldly pleasures.
It is an environment from where the spirit must gain strength and, separating from the world of material entirely, find way into the world of super material. This status should be in a manner that the relation of brotherhood and alliance can be tightened.
Then, it adds:
This is the first reward which is given to a good doer, because the happiness of a true believer is, in the first stage, to know that his Lord is aware of the good action that the one has done for His sake. This, by itself, is very delightful and delectable.
In this part of the verse the command unto the believers is due to making provision.
It is said that at the advent of Islam some people, particularly from Yemen, used to journey to Mecca on pilgrimage without sufficient provisions for their sustenance on the pretence that they trusted in Allah's help.
But Allah gives sustenance through natural ways and by ordinary means. So, in this section of the verse, the Qur'an enjoins upon the pilgrims to first make the necessary provisions for the whole journey and then, taking it with them, proceed.
By the way, the term 'making provision' may point to a spiritual aspect, meaning that besides this material provision there is another necessary provision which should be made and that is the provision of 'piety' and 'righteousness'.
This phrase contains a narrow hint to this fact that in the journey of Pilgrimage there are many instances for making spiritual provision which should not be neglected. In Mecca, the illustration of Islam, the lively scenes of the self-sacrifices of Abraham, the hero of theism, and some specific manifestation of the splendour of Allah are seen, the which that can be comprehended in no other place.
These who have a vigil spirit can gain spiritual provisions from this unique journey for their life in this world as well as the coming one.
Then, it concludes the verse by saying:
This final phrase addresses the possessors of mind and intellect telling them that they should be pious, because it is they who enjoy the utmost merits of this excellent educational process, while others only share a small portion of it.
لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبْتَغُواْ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّآلِّينَ
ثُمَّ أَفِيضُواْ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
198. "There shall be no sin for you to seek bounty from your Lord. Then when you hasten on (in multitude) from 'Arafat, remember Allah by the sacred Monument (Muzdalifah), remember Him He has guided you, although before that you were surely of those who went astray."
199. "Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, and seek forgiveness of Allah; verily Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
At the Age of Ignorance, people considered trading and taking passengers or baggage to different destinations during the Hajj season unlawful (haram) and a sin. They counted the Hajj performances of those who did such activities invalid.
At the season of Hajj, Muslims were naturally expecting to know whether the ordinances of that Age were still valid or they were worthless from the view of Islam. Then, the above verse was revealed telling them:
The verse under discussion announces the aforementioned ordinance of the time of ignorance, which counted bargain at the time of Hajj a sin, is incorrect. It proclaims that trade and the like activities are no problem during the season of Hajj, and it does not matter that people enjoy of the blessings of Allah and gain profit from their work and activities.
As Islamic literature indicates about the philosophies of Hajj, in addition to the ethical, political and cultural philosophies, this verse points to the philosophy of economics, too.
This idea says that the transportation of Muslims from different points of the world toward the Ka'bah and the formation of that great Islamic congress can be a good basis for a common movement due to economics in Islamic societies.
In this great meeting, before or after the rites of Hajj, the thoughtful Muslim minds in economics can assemble, and, with cooperation and association of each other, establish a firm foundation for the economics of the Islamic societies.
They can produce, by the help of correct commercial exchanges, for example, such a strong and fixed economy that they become independent and free from want from enemies and non-Muslims.
Therefore, these trades and commercial exchanges, themselves, are among the means of strengthening the Islamic nations against the enemies of Islam. The reason is that no nation will have complete independence without having a powerful economy.
Yet, it is evident, of course that the commercial activities should be set in a position after the ethical and worshipping aspects of Hajj, not prior and dominative to it. Fortunately, pilgrims have enough time for this job both before and after the rites of Hajj.
Husham-ibn-Hakam said that he asked Imam al-Sadiq (as) about the reason that Allah enjoined people to circumambulate the House (Ka'bah) and perform Hajj.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) replied:
"Verily Allah has created human beings...and has enjoined them to do an action (Hajj) which contains the obedience of religion and is good for the affairs of their world.
He assigned that (at the time of Hajj), Muslims assemble from the east and west of the world in order to be acquainted with each other, and in order that every nation makes use (of the productions and) trades of other nations, and that the muleteers and cameleers make profit (in this journey by hiring out their vehicles to others), and that they become familiar with the effects (traditions) of the Prophet (S) (so that those traditions continue to survive by) remembering and not to be forgotten. If it were so that every nation spoke about only their own environment, and whatever there was therein, they would be destroyed and the cities would turn to ruin, and commercial profits would be wasted, and the traditions and signs of the Prophet (S) would be vanished. This is the philosophy of Hajj." 1
In this section of the verse, the Qur'an's command is due to this subject that after performing the rites that should be fulfilled in' Arafat, they must move to Mash'ar-ul-Haram (the Sacred Monument), which is located between Mina and' Arafat, and remember Him therein.
Here, the speech of the verse remarks that for thanksgiving and being grateful for the guidance of Allah, remember Him (s.w.t.) in Mash'ar-ul-Haram, a remembrance appropriate to the guidance that He has given you.
At that time, Muslims could realize well the value of this great blessing, viz. guidance, because they were not so far from the time that the inhabitants of Arabian Peninsula had gone astray totally, and could see how Allah had saved them from all those aberrations and misfortunes by leading them to the blessing of this pure divine religion, Islam.
It is said that 'Arafat is a land about 24 kilometers away from the center of Mecca where pilgrims halt from noon until evening on the ninth of Zil-Hajjah. The origin of this appellation has been differently described.
One of them is that when the harbinger of revelation, Gabriel, showed Abraham (as) the rites of Hajj therein, he (as) responded: "I recognized,", "I recognized" ('Araftu). But it is probable that this appellation points to another fact, too.
That land, from which the first steps of the performance of Hajj begins, is a very fitting place for the recognition of the Pure Essence of Allah. Verily, that spiritual attraction that man finds in him at the arrival of that indescribable land, is not comparable with that of any desert.
In 'Arafat, originally everywhere is the same, everything contains a harmony, all pilgrims behave alike in that desert.
They have relieved themselves from the noise of the cities and from the tumult and dazzling glare of the material world, busy contemplating therein, under the blue sky, in the clean fresh air clear from sin, where the harbinger of revelation has stretched wings, where accompanied with its breeze the murmur of Gabriel and the manly sound of Abraham (as) strengthened with the delightful voice of the Prophet of Islam (S) and the true believers of early Islam, are spiritually heard.
In this remindful land where as if a window had been opened to the supernatural world, not only man can be drowned in the emanation of gnosis of Allah and may follow the common praising murmur of the whole creation but also he might find himself inside his own ego, the which he has lost for a lifetime and has been looking for.
If so, he will also become gnostic to his own rank and will comprehend that he is not the one who works hard day and night and greedily pokes about here and there to earn a living and whatever more he obtains the less his thirst of greed is quenched. He finds out that there is another diamond-like nobility in his soul that he is, in fact, the same worthy existence.
Yes, this very land is called 'Arafat, the site of recognition. What an interesting and appropriate appellation!
The statements cited about the appellation used for Sacred Monument as 'Mash'ar-ul-Haram' denote that the place is a center for the 'mottoes of Hajj', and it is a sign for its great glorious divine concerning rites.
However, it must not be neglected that the Arabic term / mash'ar / is derived from / shu'ur / which means: 'sense, consciousness or awareness '.
In that exciting unique night, i.e., the night before the tenth of Zil-Hajjah, when the pilgrims, after passing their training course in, Arafat, have moved into Muzdalifah to spend a night long until after sunrise there, lying over the smooth sands under the starry sky, find themselves among a crowd which seems as a small pattern of the Great Resurrection in the Hereafter.
This shakening scene, with that pure serenity that the surroundings has, makes the pilgrims, being covered in those innocently plain clothes of 'Ihram, feel a special new spring of thought, understanding and awareness inside their own entity, so that, if they contemplate, they can clearly hear the fall of that consciousness in the depth of their hearts. That is why that venerable place is called 'Mash'ar'.
By this verse, the Providence has notified the privileges that the Quraish had considered for themselves. The Quraish used to call themselves 'Humus' (those who are firm in religion) and, counting themselves the off springs of Abraham and custodians of Ka'bah, imagined themselves superior to the people of other Arab tribes.
Hence, they stayed to avoid joining the other pilgrims in proceeding to the plain of Arafat under the pretext that it was out of the limits of Mecca, though they knew that it was among the rites of Hajj and a part of the creed of Abraham.
In the above verse, the Qur'an tells Muslims that they all must halt in one place ('Arafat) and from there all should go towards Mash'ar from which they totally move to Mina. Thus, that wrong privilege of the Quraish passed off.
It adds that they ought to avoid those wrong ideas of the age of ignorance and seek forgiveness of Allah because Hajj, or Islam, does not recognize any such distinctions and had already leveled every such difference and distinction. Then, it remarks that Allah is forgiving and merciful.
In addition to the aforementioned descriptions about the Pilgrimage, cited in the commentary upon verse No.196 under the title of 'The Rites of Pilgrimage', there are some detailed explanations given at the beginning of an English translation of the Qur'an, by S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, which are exactly adopted here, as follows:
"It is incumbent on every Muslim who has the necessary means to do it, to visit, on Pilgrimage, the Holy Mosque, the Ka'bah, in Mecca once in his life. The carrying out of this ordinance is subject to the condition that the individual has the means to do it. The main conditions are:
1. The individual must be a major and not a minor.
2. He must have the means to meet the expense of the journey, without detriment to his ability to continue his business or the means of his living.
3. The health of the individual should permit the journey.
4. There should be no risk of life in the journey. (For exact details refer to 'Fiqh')
The essential formality of Hajj is the Ehram, i.e., the male should remove his stitched clothes and get himself wrapped with two pieces of unstitched, clean cloth, one covering his body from his neck to his loins and another from his waist to his feet. A female should wrap these two pieces over and above her usual clothes.
The Ehram cloth should have been lawfully acquired and it should not be silken or transparent.
The moment the individual puts on the Ehram, i.e., the garb of a Pilgrim, (i.e., a Hajj), he becomes responding exclusively to the call of the Lord which was issued to mankind through the great Prophet Abraham: -
Putting on the Ehram, the pilgrim in response to the call of the Lord issued through Abraham, calls: -
'Labbaik, Allahomma Labbaik!', La Sharika laka Labbaik'
Yes, here I am O' Lord, here I am. There is no partner for thee. Yes, here I am.
'Innal-Hamd laka wan-Ne'mata laka', Wal Mulka laka Labbaik',
Verily, the Praise and the bounties are Thine. And the Dominion is Thine. Yes, I am here, O Lord! "
The above mentioned response of Hajj is cited in the aforementioned book. But the exact words that they actually recite now are as follows: Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk! Labbayka la Sharika Laka Labbayk! Innal-Hamda wan-Ni'mata Laka wal-Mulk, la Sharika Laka Labbayk!
It is worth noting that the call of the Lord to mankind, issued through Abraham thousands of years ago has been made to ring and resound into the ears of men through Islam and today the Holy House of the Lord, the Ka'bah, is visited regularly and punctually every year on the fixed dates in the month of Zilhaj, the last month of the Islamic Calendar year.
After putting on the Ehram, the Haji or the pilgrim has to do the following: -
1. "Tawaf, i.e., circumambulation), i.e., going seven times round the Ka'bah.
2. After the' 'Tawaf' is completed, a prayer (salat) of two Rak'ats, like that of the Morning Prayers, must be performed.
3. After the prayer, the pilgrim has to cut the nails (or the hair). These formalities are performed immediately as the pilgrim arrives in the city of Mecca for the pilgrimage and this is called 'Umrah and the cutting of the nails (or the hair) is called 'Taqseer'. This could be performed from the first of the lunar month Shawwal to the 8th of Zilhaj.
On the 8th Zilhaj the pilgrim should put on the Ehram.
On the 9th Zilhaj the pilgrim should go to the plain of Arafat and stay there until sunset.
After (the sunset the pilgrim should proceed to the place called Mashar and stay there at night.
On the morning of l0th Zilhaj the pilgrim should go to the plain of Mina, offer sacrifice and effect the Taqseer' (shaving his head clean).
After this, the pilgrim should put off the Ehram but must remain in Mina for two or three nights.
During the day the pilgrim goes to Mecca to perform 'Tawaf and offer two Rak'at prayer.
After completing the 'Tawaf the pilgrim should perform the Sa'i between the two hillocks, Safa and Marwa.
After completing the Sa'i, the pilgrim should conclude the performance by repeating the 'Tawaf called the 'Tawaf-i-Nisa'.
(Caution: -Be it known -the above note about the performance of Hajj, is only a bare skeleton just to give an idea of pilgrimage in Shia'ism -For the exact details one should refer to 'Fiqh').
This completes the pilgrimage and the Hajj now returns to Mecca. After the Hajj, the pilgrim proceeds to Medina to visit the shrine of the Holy Prophet (S) and the graves of the Four Holy Imams (as) in the Cemetery 'Jannatul-Baqi' viz.
1. The Second Holy Imam Hasan Ibne Ali Al-Mujtaba.
2. The Fourth Holy Imam Ali ibnul Husain Az-Zainul'abideen.
3. The Fifth Holy Imam Muhammad ibne Ali Al-Baqir.
4. The Sixth Holy Imam Ja'far ibne Muhammad As-Sadiq.
The Mausoleums over graves of the above Holy ones have been demolished and the pilgrims are not allowed by the Saudi Rule to offer any prayers like Fatiha or the recitation of any salutation to the Holy Souls.
Every sincere Muslim loyal to the Holy family of the Holy Prophet (S); the Ahlul-Bait (as), particularly the Shi'as, feel for the ruined condition of the holy graves and the unwarranted and unreasonable ban on the recitation of either the Holy Qur'an or offering any salutation to the Holy Souls, and earnestly prays to God for the restoration of the freedom to offer the Salutation etc., on the Holy Shrines as it was before, and for the removal of the Un-Islamic ban.
"Verily, the First House made for mankind is the one at Mecca, Blessed and Guidance for the worlds." "In it are clear signs; the standing place of Abraham; and whoever entereth it is secure; and (purely) for God, is incumbent upon mankind, the pilgrimage to the House, for those who can afford to journey thither; And whosoever denieth then Verily, God is Self-sufficiently independent of the Worlds." (3: 95, 96)
'The pilgrimage' is performed in the known months; so whosoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be then no foul speech nor abusing nor disputing in the pilgrimage, and whatever good you do, God knoweth it and maketh provision. 'Verily the best of provision is the piety of oneself and fear Me, O' men of understanding '.
There is no blame on you in seeking bounty from your Lord, so when ye hasten on from Arafat then remember God near the Holy Mash'ar, Monument, and remember Him as He hath guided you, though before that ye were certainly of those gone astray.
So when ye have performed your devotions, then laud God as ye lauded your fathers, rather a greater lauding. But there are some people who say, 'Our Lord give us in this world, and they shall have no portion in the hereafter.
"Then march ye on from whence the other people march on and seek pardon of God; verily God is Forgiving, Merciful.
In the case of Ehram for Hajj, the repetition of the Talbiah should stop at noon on the day of 'Arafat. The Hajj during Ehram should abstain from the following: -
1. Hunting or helping in any form and utilizing a hunted animal
2 All sexual enjoyments, even witnessing a marriage contract.
3. Any deliberate action causing discharge of sperm.
4. Use of any incense or perfume.
5. Any kind of mischief or uttering a lie, or falsehood.
6. Any kind of dispute or quarrel particularly it is associated with any kind of swearing by God.
7. Killing even any insect on the body.
8. Removal of hair on the body, by any means.
9. Covering the head and the top of the foot. The head should not be even submerged in the water.
10. Sheltering under moving shelters, like umbrellas, hooded cars or carts or aeroplanes. No harm in remaining inside stationary shelters like rooms etc.
11. Cutting of nails, trees, plants and herbs.
12. Use of cosmetics decorations and ornaments.
13. Wearing of weapons unless necessary.
14. Rubbing or scratching the body. (RF.)
Wear the Ehram after one of the daily compulsory prayers.
Recite Talbiah when wearing the Ehram.
Take off the Ehram when the 'Umrah is over, but no shaving to be done.
Remove hair before wearing the Ehram.
Take the Gusle Ehram and Wudu for prayers.
After completing the Say of 'Umrah cut hair or nails.
There are two Tawafs: -
(as) For 'Umrah
(b) In Zilhaj.
At Mina on the 10th.
Stone the three Satans.
Shave head and offer the sacrifice.
After giving the sacrifice come out of Ehram.
On the 11th and 12th also perform the other rites and stoning at Mina.
For the exact details do consult 'Fiqh' books.
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ
وِمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
أُولَـئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْ وَاللّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
200. "When you have performed your (holy) rites, then remember Allah, as you remember your forefathers or even with more intense remembrance. And there are some men who say: 'Our Lord! give us in this world', they shall have no portion in the world to come."
201. "But there are some who say: 'Our Lord! want us good in this world and good in the world to come, and save us from the torment of the Fire '. "
202. "These shall have a portion of what they have earned; and Allah is quick in reckoning."
It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (as) that in the Age of Ignorance when the performance of Hajj ended there usually formed a meeting of people where they used to boast about the fanciful honours that they had owned from their ancestors. They used to explain their stories in detail.
The Qur'an says that after finishing the rites of Hajj remember Allah, and speak about Him and His endless blessings in that large gathering. This remembrance of the Lord might be, at least, with the same enthusiasm and affection that you had in your boastings and glory towards your ancestors in the Age of Ignorance, though this one should be even more intense than the former one.
This verse also teaches us that greatness and honour is true under the shadow of relation with Allah, not boasting for the vain honours of forefathers,
After that, the Qur'an makes the situation of people clear, and points out the standard of thought and understanding of people. There are some groups of people who do not look for anything but the material interest for themselves, and do not seek from Allah but for the same. They say:
These people do not seek for any share of spiritualities, here in this life. They will not have any share of them in Hereafter, either. In the coming eternal world, where all need everything of that kind, they will have nought, and no portion of the good things of the next world will be given them.
The second group is those whose thoughts are not limited to the material life alone. They seek for both the good things of the life of this world, as the primary stage of the spiritual development towards perfection, and the felicity of the next world.
So, this verse defines, in fact, the logic of Islam due to the material subjects and spiritual subjects. It condemns those who are drowned only in material ties as well as those who have no regard and attention to the worldly life.
They also ask Him to save them from the painful chastisement of the coming world, saying thus:
It is obvious that the term / hasanah /, which means 'goodness', has a vast meaning in the verse so that it includes all the material and spiritual merits. But, in some traditions, it is narrated that the Prophet (S), in answer to the question that what the goodness of this world and the world to come was, said:
"He who has been bestowed a thankful heart, a busy praising tongue, and a pious wife who helps him in his affairs of this world and the next, then, surely, he has been given the good of this world and the good of the coming world, and will be kept off from the torment of Fire." 2
Evidently, this meaning is among the kind of commenting on a general concept upon a specific one, and pointing to the clear examples rather than to be exclusive to these particular ones.
Following the foregoing ideas, in this verse it says that these two groups of people will enjoy of what they have obtained, both those who seek Allah for only the things of this life and those who demand Him the good of this life and the next. Neither of them are deprived from what they seek for, but each group will be confined to their own demands.
Allah will reckon the account of all people in the Hereafter in a short time without interfering one person's account with that of another person.
It has been narrated from Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) who said:
"Verily Allah will reckon the human beings in a single whole time similar to (the way) that He provides them sustenance wholly in a time." 3
So, the Qur'an says:
In his verse, the question of speediness of reckoning from the side of Allah has been pointed out.
وَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ لِمَنِ اتَّقَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
203. "Celebrate the praise of Allah during the appointed days (Dhul-Hijjah 11,12,13), but whoever hastens off within two days, it will be no sin on him, and whoso tarries (there), on him (also) there will be no sin, (this is) for him who guards (against evil). Then be in awe of Allah, and know that unto Him you shall be (all) gathered."
This verse, following to the explanation of the remembrance of Allah at the conclusion of the performance of the rites of Pilgrimage, defines the process of it and that they, instead of vain boastings of the Age of Ignorance, must specifically remember Allah in a few days the minimum of which is two days.
These days, based on the frame of reference of the former verses, are the days after the Feast of Sacrifice which naturally are the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of the month. In the terminology of traditions, these days are called 'the days of Tashriq'.
As this appellation denotes, these days are the time when the mind and spirit of a person can be delighted under the light of the performance of those splendid religious rites.
In the Islamic literature, it is recommended that after the fifteen daily prayers, (the first of which is the noon prayer on the Feast of Sacrifice and its final one is the morning prayer on the thirteenth day of the month), the following inspiring phrases be recited; the Arabic transliteration of which are pronounced thus:
"Allahu akbar , Allahu akbar, la 'ilaha 'illallahu wallahu akbar , Allahu akbar , wa lillahil hamd, Allahu akbaru ala ma hadana, Allahu akbaru ala ma razaqna min bahimatil-'an'am, wal-hamdu lillahi ala ma 'ablana "
"Allah is great, Allah is great. There is no God save Allah. Allah is great. Allah is great and all praise is due to Allah. Allah is great in that He has guided us. Allah is great in that He has granted us animals for sustenance, and all praise is due to Allah for what He has destined for us."
This part of the verse which says: "it will be no sin on him" may point to the choice of either two or three days in remembrance of Allah. Then, this clause means that there is no sin upon the one who chooses either of them. (And, the primary apparent meaning of the phrase is this very one.)
Also, these words may be rendered to the negation of sin absolutely for the pilgrims of the Sacred House.
According to this interpretation, after the performance of the rites of Hajj, having been done faithfully and with full attention and sincerity, which ends with the above mentioned holy phrases, all the signs of former sins and their evil remaining consequences upon the heart and soul of pilgrims will be wiped out.
It is at this time that the pilgrims, with clean souls and free from the burden of sins, leave that great site, i.e., that moral training land. The commentators have taken the term /li-man-it-taqa/, "(this is) for him who guards (against evil)", as an attestation to this recent mentioned meaning.
At the end of the verse, it advises us that we mortals should be in awe of Allah and be aware that our path is unto Him and we all will be mustered when our deeds, whether good or evil, will be reckoned and we will be rewarded for them.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ
وَإِذَا تَوَلَّى سَعَى فِي الأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيِهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ وَاللّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الفَسَادَ
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللّهَ أَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالإِثْمِ فَحَسْبُهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
204. "And among people is he whose speech in the life of this world causes you to wonder, and he calls on Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries."
205. "And when he turns back, he strives to cause mischief on the earth, and to destroy the tilth and the stock. But Allah does not love mischief."
206. "And when it is said to him, 'Fear Allah', pride drives him towards sin. So Hell shall be sufficient for him and it is an evil abode indeed. "
These verses were revealed about a man by the name of 'Ukhnos-ibn-Shariq. He was a handsome man and of attractive speech. He pretended to the friendship of the Prophet (S) and showed himself a Muslim.
Whenever he went to the Prophet (S), he expressed his Faith to him and, though he was a hypocrite, he took an oath that he loved the Prophet (S) and had believed in God. The Messenger of Allah spoke with him warmly and treated him with his kindness and affection.
When there came a conflict between the Prophet (S) and the members of the Thaqif Tribe, that man took Muslims by surprise and killed their beasts. He burnt their farming crops.
Some other commentators have said that he passed by a farm belonging to Muslims and set its agricultural crops on fire. He hamstringed their beasts, too, and, thereby, made his hidden hypocrisy manifest. Then, the above verses were revealed.
As mentioned in the occasion of revelation, the verse points to the hypocrisy of some mischief makers and warns the Messenger of Allah (S) against them. It says:
There are some people who, with their smooth tongue, express Faith and indulge in plausible talk with many oaths. But, the same persons are the most harmful enemies and hostile ones against Islam; and, hiddenly they stir up quarrels and cause all sorts of mischief: they spoil the crops of the farms, strive to waste and defame the believing men and the religion of the Truth.
Allah uncovers their tricks and makes their interiors manifest for His Messenger that they try in the path of making mischief. If they were true in their statements, they would not cast mischief and destruction, because everybody knows that Allah does not love mischief.
There may come forth this question that why the Prophet (S) treated such people kindly. The reason was for that he was commissioned to accept the statements of all people as long as they did not show the contrary status. And such should be that, of course.
Some commentators have said that the purpose of the phrase /wa'iŎa tawalla/ "And when he turns back', at the beginning of the second verse may have been in the sense of 'government', since the term /tawalla/ derived from the root /wilayat/ means government.
Taking this consideration, the commentary of this verse is such: when the hypocrites take the government in their control, they begin making mischief and destruction and stretching oppression and transgression amongst people.
Then as the result of the spread of oppression and cruelty, the cities and societies turn to ruin and the lives and properties of people will be in danger. These wicked people are so that when they are prohibited from doing disgrace, their fanaticism and obstinacy will be excited, then, they not only do not hearken to the advices of the benevolent advisers but, with their own specific pride, increase their wickedness and evil actions. Such people cannot be controlled save with the Fire of Hell.
In fact, this verse is a hint to one of other characteristics of hypocrites which is a stable zeal and a harsh pride and obstinacy that drive them to the limits of the greatest evil:
In contrast to this group, there are the believing people who, under the government of Faith, are apart from this hideous and dangerous quality.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْرِي نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ رَؤُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ
207. "And among people is he who sells his self to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants."
Ibn-i-Abil-Hadeed, one of the scholars of the Sunni schools who lived in the seventh century A.H., has cited in his famous book, Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balagha (the Explanation of the statements of Imam' Ali (as), that the commentators totally had said that the above verse was revealed about and in the praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib after that he readily slept in the bed of the Prophet (S) on the night known as Laylat-ul-Mabit. 4 This idea is in wide scale famous so that none can deny it but a pagan or a crazy one.
The explanation of the event precisely is such that the pagans of Mecca decided to elect one person from each tribe to kill the Prophet Muhammad (S) all together in order to prevent the rise of Bani-Hashim tribe in vengeance for his bloodshed.
They thought, in that way, they could be free from the Prophet's Call. But the Prophet (S) became aware of their hostile plot before it was too late. Then, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) accepted readily to sleep in the Prophet's bed so that he (S) could get out of Mecca safely.
As soon as Ali (as) slept in that bed instead of the holy Prophet (S), the Providence questioned His two dear angels, Gabriel and Michael, which of them was ready to be devoted to the other, but neither of them was ready to do that. So, the Lord told them to watch then how' Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) was ready to devote his soul for the Messenger of Allah (S).
Many of the Muslim scholars have confessed to the above fact. The Late 'Allamah Amini has mentioned the names of such scholars in his famous hook: Al-Qadir, vol. 2, p. 48, including Musnad-i-Imam Ahmad Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 348.
It is cited in Atyab-ul.Bayan Fi Tafsir-il Qur'an that the book called Qayat-ul-Maram has narrated twenty traditions, nine of which are through the Sunnite scholars and eleven of them are narrated through Shi'ah scholars, denoting that the verse under discussion was revealed on the virtue of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) on Laylat-ul-Mabit i.e. the night when he (as) slept in the Prophet's bed and the Messenger of Allah (S) migrated to Medina. 5
One of the hooks written in the third century A.H. entitled: Tarikh-i- Tabari, vol. 2, p. 373 has explained the description of the event of Laylat-ul-Mabit, the night in which' Ali (as) slept in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (S). This event is also explained in Tarikh-i- Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 39.
Ibn-i-Abil-Hadeed expresses in Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 73 that Mu'awiyah paid four thousand Dirhams in order that it would be said by people that the above holy verse was revealed upon the virtue of Ibn-i-Muljim.
Some of the books from both Sunni and Shi'ah schools, which have vividly considered the revelation of this verse upon the virtue of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), are as follows:
'Ihya'-u-'Ulum-id-Din, vol. 3, p.238 by Qazali; Tathkirat-ul-Khawas, by Sebt-ibn-Jauzi Hanafi; As-Sirat-un-Nabawiyyah Ibn-i-Husham, vol. 2, p. 291, by Ibn-i-Husham; As-Sirat-ul-Halabiyyah, vol. 2, p. 29, printed in Maktabat-ut- Tijariyat-ul-Kubra, Egypt, by Halabi; Al-Fusul-ul- Muhimmah, by Ibn-i-Sabbaq Maliki.
1- Sometimes it happens that an evil person says something which seems wonderful: "And among people is he whose speech... causes you to wonder..."6 ; but, in comparison with that, a true believer does something that causes the world to wonder:
2- The most profitable bargain is the one that a person sells his best property, his soul, to Allah, his Creator. Such a bargain is done neither for Paradise nor for being safe from the Fire of Hell, but it is merely performed for gaining His pleasure:
3- This is important that a person ventures his self and puts his soul in danger on the way of Allah by going forward towards the danger with no fear of it, whether the one confronts that danger or not. Regarding to the occasion of revelation, the praise is for the one who exposes his soul in the process of sale although there happens no adventure.
4- The love and affection of Allah is the best reward. Allah has ordinarily assigned a definite reward for every action in the Qur'an, but in this verse, instead of expressing any sorts of reward, it simply says Allah is affectionate:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
فَإِن زَلَلْتُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْكُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
208. "O' you who have Faith! enter you all into submission (to Allah in being in peace), and follow not the footsteps of Satan, for he is a manifest foe for you."
209. "But if you slip after clear arguments have come to you, then know that Allah is the Mighty, the Wise."
It is narrated from Akramah that this verse was revealed about the Jews who had converted to Islam, such as: 'Abdullah-ibn-Salam, Thabat-ibn-Salam, Ibn-i-Yamin, Asad and Asid (the sons of Ka'b), Shu'bat-ibn-Amr, Bahira-Rahib, Sa'id-ibn-Amr, and Ghays-ibn-Zayd.
They went to the Messenger of Allah (S) and asked him to allow them to glorify Saturday and recite the Torah; and, similar to the custom in the Age of Ignorance, to avoid consuming the milk and meat of camel. 7
The worldly peace is possible only under the Shadow of Faith. The Qur'anic words /silm/ and /salam/ in lexicon mean 'peace' and 'quietness'. So, this verse invites all the believes to peace, and in view of the fact that it addresses the believers, the verse means that peace can come into existence only with the existence of Faith.
Thus, war and anxiety cannot be removed only by relying on mere human made rules and laws based on material affairs. Then, it is only by the use of the spiritual power of Faith that human beings, in spite of all their differences, can live peacefully and in fellowship together when they, consequently, may form a worldly government.
It is evident that material affair such as: language, race, wealth, geographical region, and social classes are totally the origin of separation and dispersion. They cannot provide the real worldly peace which needs a firm circle of connection between the hearts of human beings in the world.
This linking circle is only Faith in Allah which is beyond those differences. Therefore, a certain worldly peace without Faith is impossible; the same manner that the inner peace and tranquility in the unity of a person and in his spiritual environment, without having a true Faith, is impossible.
As it was formerly mentioned, the Satanic temptations and deviations usually come forth gradually and, according to the meanings of the Qur'an, each of them is counted as the following of a step of Satan. 8
Here, this fact is stated again that deviation from the right and following the stimuli of enmity, hypocrisy, fighting and blood-shedding usually begin from slight and simple stages. Believing people should be aware of their advent in order to stop them.
There is a proverb common among Arab people which say: Verily, a destructive fight begins with a slap.
The enmity of Satan against human kind is not something hidden or unknown. Satan has decided and sworn to behave inimically towards man since the beginning of the creation of Adam, and does his best to settle this enmity among the human race. Yet, as it has been described before, this opposition and hostility cannot harm the true believers but it is a secret alongside the path of spiritual development.
The path is clear; the program is clear; and the destination is also clear; so, there is no room for falling for the temptations of Satan. Yet, if you deviate from the straight path and go astray while you have all of these clear reasons in hand, it will be your own fault.
Thus, do know that Allah is both 'Mighty', so that no one can flee from His justice and 'Wise' so that He judges nothing unjustly.
Another interpretation of the verse says: this verse indicates that the Holy Prophet (S) through this revelation was informed of what will happen to those who joined the ranks of Islam for some interest of their own or other.
It is clearly stated in this verse that those who backslide after adopting the faith, may not foolishly imagine that their going astray is going to affect in the least, the cause of God or would cause any inconvenience to the cause of those who believe in God.
Those who go astray need not be arrogant as to imagine that they will defeat God's Power or Wisdom. The loss will be of those who go astray and not in the least of anybody else.
هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ اللّهُ فِي ظُلَلٍ مِّنَ الْغَمَامِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةُ وَقُضِيَ الأَمْرُ وَإِلَى اللّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأمُورُ
210. "Are they waiting for aught but Allah should come to them in the shadows of clouds, with the angels? The matter has (already) been decided; and to Allah is the reversion of all affairs."
In this verse Prophet Muhammad (S) is addressed, where the Lord, following the previous subject, remarks whether all these available signs and clear evidences and ordinances are not enough to protect people from deviation and being safe from the grips of their obvious foe, (Satan).
Do the followers of Satan's command, besides having all those clear signs, expect that Allah accompanied with the angels, should come unto them in canopies 9 of cloud and yield them some evidences more clear than the present ones?
This is impossible, because Allah is not substance. Suppose this impossible happening becomes possible, what is the use of it when it is not needed?
It is in the case that the whole matter is decreed and determined, and nothing has remained undone.
And the destination of everything is to Allah, thus the end of all affairs is unto Him.
Therefore, the apparently interrogative sentence at the beginning of the verse, in meaning, is a negative question which means such a thing cannot happen. (This is besides that, as we said, the occurrence of this impossible action is not necessary, because all the means of guidance have sufficiently been provided for the human race).
So, according to this interpretation, there is nothing hidden in the meaning of the verse; and, therefore, the words of it have exactly and totally been commented on.
But, some of commentators have not taken the Initial sentence of the verse as a positive interrogation with a negative sense. They have considered it a kind of warning against the sinners and those who follow the temptations of Satan, (a threat causing worldly punishment or the punishment of the world to come). In this case, the meaning of the verse will be as follows:
Are such people, with those unbecoming deeds and behaviour of theirs, awaiting for the command of Allah and His angels (of wrath) to come upon them for their punishment and put them in the chastisement of this world or the coming world, and put an end to their affairs? Of course, their deeds have no fruit for them but this very mentioned one indeed.
It is also worthy to note the explanation by al-'Allamah as-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at- Tabataba'i in Al-Mizan , vol. 3, pp. 152, 153 (English version), about the verse under discussion where it says:
It is self-evident truth, which is also proved by the Qur'an and the sunnah, that attributes of the body cannot be used for Allah, nor can He be described with adjectives of transient things. No such word, phrase of sentence can be used for Him which implies transience, need, deficiency or want.
Allah says: Nothing whatsoever (is there) like the like of Him.10; and Allah is He Who is Self-sufficient11; Allah is the Creator of everything.12 There are numerous such verses; and all of them are confirmed and decisive ones to which the ambiguous verses should be referred.
It is these confirmed verses which guide us towards the correct interpretation of the ambiguous ones. If any verse apparently attributes to Allah and action or a characteristic of transient things, then it must be referred to the confirmed verses and interpreted in a way which is not below His dignity nor opposed to His beautiful names.
Now here is a verse which attributes the action of 'coming' to Allah. A few other verses also have used this word for Him. And comes your Lord with the angels arrayed in ranks13; then came upon them Allah from whence they did not expect14; so Allah came upon their structure from the foundations15.
In all such verses, it is necessary to interpret them with such meaning which are worthy of Divine sublimity. We may give them the meaning of, let us say, sending His chastisement upon them or surrounding them with His power of wrath.
Accordingly, the meaning of 'Allah should come to them' in this verse shall be: 'Allah should surround them with His power for enforcing His decree on them'.
- 1. Wasa’il-ush-Shi'ah, vol. 11, p. 14
- 2. Majma' ul-Bayan, vol. 2, p. 298
- 3. Ibid
- 4. Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balagha, vol. 13, p. 262, Egypt Edition, 1961
- 5. Atyab-ul-Bayan, vol. 2, p. 386
- 6. The Qur'an, 2: 204
- 7. Qur'an-il-Hakim, Persian translation, by Muhammad Khajawi, p. 263
- 8. The Qur'an, 2: 168; 6: 142; 24:21
- 9. The term /zulal/ is the plural form of /zullah/ meaning: 'awning, sun-shade, canopy, tent... or whatever that produces shade'. Thus, the phrase /zulalin min-al-qamam/ means: 'canopies or clouds'
- 10. 42:11
- 11. 35:15
- 12. 39:62
- 13. 89:22
- 14. 59:2
- 15. 16:26