Section 34, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2
تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللّهُ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَـكِنِ اخْتَلَفُواْ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن كَفَرَ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُواْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ
253. "These are the Messengers We have made some of whom excel the others; of them are some to whom Allah has spoken, and some of them He has raised in degrees. And We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear Signs, and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. And had Allah willed, those who came after them would not have fought (one another) after the clear Signs had come to them; but they differed. So, of them (there were) some who believed and some who disbelieved. Yet, had Allah willed, they would not have fought (one another); but Allah does whatever He wills."
In this verse some particular privileges of a few prophets are referred to. For instance, as the following separate verse indicates, Moses (as) talked to Allah, and it was the Will of Allah to choose him for that purpose; as the Qur'an says:
So, the verse under discussion says:
In this regard, the holy Prophet of Islam (S) had some more privileges than other prophets before him, such as; being 'the seal of the prophets', the immunity of his Book (the Qur'an) from distortion, and being entitled as 'a Mercy unto the worlds'. This is the word of Allah:
Or, Abraham (as) and Noah (as) received the best regards from the side of Allah. Or, as the above verse says, that Jesus (as) was strengthened with the Holy Spirit. It says:
By the way, it is also mentioned in this Verse that if Allah willed, He could stop the opposition and fighting between people who came after those prophets and set them in one peaceful way. But Allah's way of treatment is that people be free and wilful in order that they be able to accept or reject a proper path by their own choice.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لاَّ بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلاَ خُلَّةٌ وَلاَ شَفَاعَةٌ وَالْكَافِرُونَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
254. " O' you who have Faith! spend (in alms) of that which We have provided for you, before there comes a day wherein shall be no bargaining, neither friendship, nor intercession; and the infidels -they are the unjust."
This verse is rendered as a warning to the believers, telling them to give alms and not to lose the respite they have in this life. They are recommended to provide some fitting provisions thereby for their certain journey; the next life, the Hereafter. It says:
On the Resurrection Day, there will be neither any bargain to buy the means of felicity and security against one's infidelity, nor any friend or intercessor to make their infidelity invalid.
They are deprived from intercession in that world because they were the cause of deprivation for others in this world. For example, a miser person not only is unjust to himself, since he extinguishes the light of generosity inside his self and wastes his situation in the Hereafter, but also practically proves inequity against others when he ignores the Divine commandments.
اللّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَاء وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَلاَ يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
255. "Allah! there is no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-Subsisting (the Sustainer of all things); slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep; to Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, while they comprehend nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His Kursi (knowledge) extends over the heavens and the earth; and preserving them both tires Him not; and, He is the Highest, the Greatest."
Upon the importance and excellence of this verse, the only holy tradition narrated from the holy Prophet (S), explained in the following, is enough.
Once, the Messenger of Allah (S) asked Ubayy-ibn-Ka'b which verse of the verses of the Qur'an was the most important one, and he answered the verse saying:
Then the Messenger of Allah (S) touched his chest as a sign of favour and told him
"May your knowledge be wholesome to you. By the One in Whose hand is Muhammad's soul, this verse has two tongues and two lips which glorify the Lord below the Divine throne of authority," 3
Another tradition narrated from Imam Baqir (as) says:
"The one who recites Ayat-ul-Kursi once, Allah will remove one thousand unbecoming things from his worldly unbecoming affairs, the easiest of which is poverty, and one thousand unbecoming things from his (affairs) in the Hereafter, the easiest one among which is the pain of grave," 4
The verse begins with the Pure Essence of Allah and continues with the subject of Unity, Asma'-ul-Husna, and His attributes. It says:
"Allah" is the particular appellation for God Which means the Essence that includes all the attributes of Divine Perfection, Glory, and Beauty.
Then, it adds two other attributes of Allah, saying that He is the Lord Who is Alive forever and is self-subsisting so that all other creatures in the universe depend on Him. It says:
It is evident that life for Allah is the real life, because His life is the same as His Essence, His Knowledge, and His Power. It is not like that of living creatures whose lives are casual and after a length of time they die.
Allah is completely different from His creatures from the point of life, as verse 58 from Surah Al-Furqan. No.25 says:
Then, to indicate that neither drowsiness, nor deep sleep seizes Him and never He stops managing the world, it continues saying:
The Arabic term /sanah/ 'slumber' is the sleep which appears first in the eyes, but when it becomes deeper and reaches the mind, it is termed in Arabic /naum/ 'sleep'. This verse, pointing to the latter state, means that the governance of the Absolutely Bountiful, Allah, is perpetual and never ceases, even for a moment.
Then, it refers to the absolute ownership of Allah, saying:
This is the fifth attributes from the attributes of Allah mentioned here. Formerly, four other attributes of Allah were referred to: Oneness of Allah, the Everliving, the Self -subsisting, and that He never sleeps.
It is quite clear that this attribute, that everything belongs to Allah, has a great training effect in human beings.
When they know that whatever they have does not really belong to themselves and it is temporarily handed over them as a deposit to use for a short time, they will surely avoid of transgressing others' rights.
These people, with this cognition, will certainly withdraw committing such wrong actions as colonization, hoarding, greed, miserliness, and the like.
For the sixth attribute, it says:
In fact, by a positive interrogation with a negative sense, it says that no person can intercede at His presence but by His leave.
Intercession was discussed fairly vastly when commenting on verse 48, Surah Al-Baqarah No.1, in vol. part 1, pp. 174-177,
Referring to the seventh attribute, it says:
Therefore, whatever is in the expose of time and place is entirely manifest in His Knowledge. That is why everything, even intercession, depends upon His command.
In stating His eighth attribute, this fact is pointed out that He has let others know only a small part of His knowledge that has been advisable and proper for them. It says:
Thus, the limited knowledge of others is a beam of the light of His unlimited knowledge.
So, two other points is also understood from the above phrase. The first is that no creature has cognition from his own and all human cognizances are from the source of Allah.
The second is that Allah may award a part of some concealed knowledge and some hidden secrets to those He pleases.
His ninthly and tenthly attributes are stated thus:
Then, power and sovereignty of Allah encompass the totality of the heavens and the earth, and His Knowledge (Kursi) encompasses all of these expansions wholly, so that nothing is out of His dominion and authority.
It is, even, understood from some of the Islamic traditions that the expansion of Kursi is very larger than the heavens and the earth. For example, in a tradition Imam Sadiq (as) has said:
"Heavens and earth, comparing Kursi, is like a ring in the midst of a desert; and Kursi, in comparison with 'Arsh, is like a ring in the midst of a desert." 5
It is true, of course, that science has not discovered the secret of this meaning yet.
Describing His eleventh and twelfth attributes, it says:
The Lord, Who is the Highest and the Infinite, is able to do everything so that nothing is difficult for Him. Never has He tired of managing the world of existence. Never He remains neglectful, unaware and feeble of it. His Knowledge involves all things because He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent.
It is worthy to note that, in spite of what is popular, the verse entitled 'Ayat-ul-Kursi is this very single verse alone.
لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
256. "There is no compulsion in religion. Truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error. Therefore, whoever rejects false deities ((taghut) and believes in Allah, has grasped the firmest handle, that shall never break; and Allah is All-Hearing, All-knowing."
There was a man from Medina by the name of Abu-Haseen who had two sons. Some of the Christian merchants, who used to import merchandise from abroad into Medina, invited those two lads to Christianity whenever they met them in Medina. Those two young men were seriously affected by them, too.
Abu-Haseen became very inconvenient from that condition. He went to the Prophet (S) and, informing him the matter, requested him to bring those children back to their own religion. He asked whether he could bring them forcefully to Islam. Then, the verse was revealed and manifested this fact that there is no compulsion in accepting the religion.
The previous verse, 'Ayat-ul-Kursi, infect, was a collection of Unity and the Attributes of Allah, Beauty and Glory, which make up the foundation of the religion. This meaning is acceptable in all stages with reasonable proofs. That is why embracing the faith needs not any compulsion or force, and in this verse, it says:
This verse is a serious answer to those who imagine that Islam applies obligation and has developed and spread through the force of sword and martial power.
Then, as a conclusion of the previous verse, it adds:
And, at the end of the verse it continues saying:
This concluding phrase is a hint to the fact that the problem of belief and disbelief is not something that can be fulfilled by mere pretence, because Allah hears the words of all entirely, whether they state openly or they speak privately and hiddenly.
اللّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّوُرِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
257. "Allah is the Guardian of those who have faith; He brings them out of darkness into light; and those who reject faith, their guardians are false-deities, (taghut), who bring them out of light into darkness; they are the inhabitants of the Fire wherein shall they abide forever. "
With reference to the state of belief and disbelief, which was mentioned in the previous verse, here, in this verse, it distinguishes the situation of believers and disbelievers from the point of leader and guardian. It says:
So it is under the favour of this guardianship and leadership, that:
Then it adds:
It is for this reason that:
Abraham's argument against Nimrod -Illustration of how the dead are again raised by Allah -Abraham directed to an experiment to see how Allah raises the dead.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَآجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رِبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِـي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِـي وَأُمِيتُ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
258. "Have you not seen him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingship? When Abraham said: 'My Lord is He Who gives life, and causes to die.' He said: 'I (too) give life and cause to die.' Abraham said: 'Verily, Allah brings the sun from the East; so you bring it from the West', whereupon the one who disbelieved was confounded. And Allah does not guide the unjust people."
It is said in history and the Islamic narrations that it happened that Nimrod (Namrood), the king of Babylon, disputed with Abraham (as) about the Lord.
Abraham (as) said that his Lord is He Who gives life and causes to die.
In response, Nimrod said that he, too, gave life and caused to die. Then, he ordered to fetch two prisoners and let one of them go and commanded his men to kill the other,
When Abraham (as) saw the wrong concept of Nimrod from giving life and causing death and how he tried to prevail over others and impose his false whims, he (as) immediately told him that Allah raises the sun from the East, so if he claimed that he governed the world of existence and everything was under his order and power, as he claimed, he would bring the sun up from the West.
At that time Nimrod astonished and could say nothing save keeping silent.
أَوْ كَالَّذِي مَرَّ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىَ يُحْيِـي هَـَذِهِ اللّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا فَأَمَاتَهُ اللّهُ مِئَةَ عَامٍ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِئَةَ عَامٍ فَانظُرْ إِلَى طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ وَانظُرْ إِلَى حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَانظُرْ إِلَى العِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًا فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
259. "Or like him (Ezra) who passed by a town and it had fallen on its roofs, he said: 'How shall Allah bring this to life again after its death?' So Allah made him die a hundred years, then He raised him up and said: 'How long have you tarried? ' He said, ' (Perhaps) I have tarried a day or a part of a day.' He said: ' Nay, you have tarried (thus) a hundred years. But look at your food and your drink -they show no effect of age; and look at your ass; and that We may make of you a sign for people; and look at the bones, how We assembled them together and then clothed them with flesh! So, when it became clear to him, he said: 'I know that Allah is All-Powerful over all things."
The previous verse stated the dispute of Abraham (as) with Nimrod around the subject of Unity. That statement, indeed, was guidance through logical reasoning. Now, this holy verse speaks about Resurrection, wherein guidance is accomplished through illustration of some sensible things.
Some Islamic narrations and books denote that the name of the man referred to in this verse has been 'Uzayr (Ezra). They also said that he must be a prophet whom, as the verse indicates, Allah has spoken to.
1. Illustration is the best way of reasoning.
2. It is appropriate to die one hundred years to recognize one important point.
3. Increase your knowledge by experience, inquiring, and so on, although you know the fact.
4. We should take new lessons from old ruined towns and ancient civilizations, too, and ask questions.
5. Everybody will be raised with the same feature the one has at the time of death.
6. The past of time, however much long may be, does not affect on the Might of Allah.
7. With Allah's Will, the firm bones rot, but fresh food, which becomes rotten in a short time, remains one hundred years fresh.
8. The exposition of Allah's Power is for guiding and leading people.
9. Allah has brought a scene of the Hereafter in this world. The verse says:
10. The Resurrection is a resurrection of the body, because if it were a mere spiritual resurrection, the statement of bone, dead and grave would not come forth.
11. A handful of a thing is a sample of a ton of that thing.
12. The dead returning to life again is also admissible in this very world and before that the final Resurrection Day happens.
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِـي الْمَوْتَى قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قَالَ بَلَى وَلَـكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي قَالَ فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَلَى كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًا ثُمَّ ادْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِينَكَ سَعْيًا وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
260. And when Abraham said: ' My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead ', He said: 'Do you not believe?' 'Yes', said Abraham, 'but to make my heart at ease.' He said: 'Take four of the birds. Then make them to incline unto you and (cutting them into pieces) place a part of them on each mountain, and thereafter, call them. They will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is the Mighty, the Wise.
This unique matchless claim is narrated but from the only man of significance in history who after the Messenger of Allah said:
"If the curtains be removed, there will be added nothing to my certitude." 6
But, other people wholly like to see what they were told, or what they believe, in their objective state. For example, everybody likes to see how sugar is produced and obtained from sugar-beet or sugar-cane although they know that sugar is originally from it.
Concerning the above verse, it is cited in some books that: once Abraham (as) was walking on the bank of a sea when he saw a corpse of a man over the sands there. The corpse was half in the water and half on the land so that both the animals in the sea and the birds and animals on the land could feed from it.
Abraham thought himself if this condition happened for a man whose little bits of body were distributed among other living creatures, how could these bits be gathered together and raise on the Resurrection Day? So, he (as) invoked Allah:
1. We should attempt to elevate the standard of our faith and belief in ourselves as much as we reach the limit of certainty.
2. Intuition and vision appears only for those who have paved some length of the path of knowledge, faith, and reasoning.
3. The call of the saints and Apostles of Allah can affect even on the particles in the world:
4. Resurrection is a bodily resurrection, because, on the Day of Judgement, the return of the soul will be unto the very particles of the body.
5. Since the goal is reaching the certitude, the accomplishment is done by Abraham (as) himself. (He killed four different birds, mixed their meat with together and divided it upon several mountains.)
6. For the purpose of a deep instruction, applying art and demonstration is necessary.
However, we must always beware of the fact:
مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّئَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاء وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
261. "The likeness of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn) that grows seven ears, (with) a hundred grains in every ear. And Allah multiplies (in abundance) for whom He wills; and Allah is All-Embracing, All- Knowing."
Enjoining others to giving charity and prohibition from immoderation and extravagance are the best way to solving the problem of the difference of social classes. On the other hand, the appearance and spread of usury is the origin and motive of social classes to be created.
That may be why that the necessity of giving charity and prohibition of usury are stated beside each other in the Qur'an.7
By the way, it should be noted it is not so that any grain of corn planted in any land does grow seven ears with a hundred grains. But, the grain should be safe, the land should be susceptible, the time must be appropriate, and the preparation and protection should be complete.
1. Applying the natural phenomena will never become out of fashion at any time. They are always comprehensible for all people in any age and in any acceptable conditions.
2. Encouragement and promise of reward are often the most intensive motives for individuals to move forward.
3. The grace of Allah is unlimited.
4. That charity is worthy which is given in the way of Allah.
5. The praise of the Qur'an is upon those who spend in charity as a habit in their current life. The Arabic term /yunfiquna/ (spend their property), which is mentioned in this verse, refers to an action done continually.
6. The best example is that example which has external reality.
7. If spending one's property can be multiplied as much as seven hundred times then what about those who give their lives in charity for the sake of Allah?