وَاعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُورًا
36. "And worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, and do good to the parents, and to the kindred, and the orphans and the needy, and the neighbour close to you, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the companion in a journey, and the way later, and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily Allah does not love the one who is proud, boastful."
In this verse, some different rights are spoken about. They are irrespective of the rights of Allah, and the Fights of people, and also some civilities of social life. On the whole, there are Ten Commandments mentioned in the verse.
1. The first theme therein is that it invites people to worship and servitude to Allah while they should abandon idolatry and infidelity. This godly manner is the root of all Islamic agenda. The act of following the lotion of Unity and theism, purifies the soul, clarifies the intention, strengthens the will, and tightens the decision for performing any right and useful action in the cause of Allah.
Since the verse is to state a series of Islamic rights, before referring to anything else, it points to the right of Allah upon people.
2- Then, it adds:
The right of parents is one of the subjects which has been repeatedly emphasized in the holy Qur'an. There are fewer matters that have been recommended so much in it. In four occurrences of the Qur'an this idea has been mentioned after the subject of Unity.
3. Next to that, it continues saying:
This subject is also one of the themes that has been emphasized abundantly in the Qur'an. It has sometimes been referred to as 'blood ties', and sometimes has been enjoined under the commandment of' doing good to the kindred '.
4. Then it pays to the rights of orphans, and encourages the believing people to doing good unto the 'orphans'. The reason of this emphasis is that, as a result of different incidents, there always exist some orphan children in every society that forgetting them not only spoils their condition but also puts the situation of the society in danger.
5. Next to that, the Holy Qur'an reminds us the 'rights' of the needy ones.
The reason of this remembrance is that: in every society there are usually some handicapped persons, some feeble ones, and the like of them that leaving them out is against all the principles of humanity.
6. After that, the verse recommends to doing good unto the neighbours who are near to us. It says:
7. The neighbours who are strangers to us are then recommended. It says:
The 'right of neighbourhood' is so important in Islam that Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) has stated about it thus: "The Messenger of Allah (S) instructed about them so much that we thought he might enjoin that they would inherit from each other."1
Another tradition denotes that one day it happened that the holy Prophet (S) three times said:
A person asked him (S) whom he meant, and the Prophet (S) said: "The person whose neighbour is not in security from his molestation." 2
8. After that, the Qur'an has recommended about those who are friends and companions. It says:
The Arabic phrase: /as-sahib-il-janb/, of course, has a larger scope of meaning than 'friend' and 'companion'. Thus, the verse conveys a general and inclusive command regarding to having good manner due to those who somehow connect with us irrespective of real friends, fellow-workmen, fellow-travellers, those who ask us for something, students, counsellors, and waiters.
9. Another group, whom are recommended about here, are those who will be in need, because of some reasons, when they are in journey and are far from their own home, although they may be rich in their own city. So, it says:
10. The final recommendation is about doing good unto the slaves. It says:
In fact, the above verse begins with the subject of the right of Allah and concludes with 'the rights of slaves’. Not only in this verse the slaves are recommended about, but also many other verses of the Qur'an are upon this matter
At the end, the verse warns us, saying:
الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبُخْلِ وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا
37. "Those who are niggardly and enjoin people to niggardliness and hide what Allah has given them out of His grace; and We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating chastisement."
This verse, in fact, is the continuation of the subject of the former verses which refers to the arrogant persons and haughty ones. Such persons not only refrain from doing good to human beings themselves, but also invite people to niggardliness. It says:
Moreover, they often try to conceal that which Allah has bestowed them out of His Grace lest people of their society expect something from them.
Then, the Qur'an states about the fate and the end of these persons as this:
Perhaps the key to the secret of mentioning the word 'the disbelievers' in this verse is that: 'niggardliness' often originates from infidelity, because the niggardly persons, indeed, have not a complete faith upon the endless merits of Allah unto the good-doers.
So, when it says that their punishment is "a humiliating chastisement ", it is for the reason that they may see the retribution of 'arrogance' and 'self-admiration' through this way.
وَالَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ رِئَـاء النَّاسِ وَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلاَ بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَمَن يَكُنِ الشَّيْطَانُ لَهُ قَرِينًا فَسَاء قِرِينًا
38. "And (the arrogant ones are) those who spend their wealth to be seen by people and neither believe in Allah nor in the Last Day; and anyone whose companion be Satan, (what) an evil companion then he is!"
Sometimes Satan whispers and tempts something from a long distance into some persons, and sometimes it does it from a short distance. The believers usually flee from the temptations of Satan, but sometimes Satan becomes as a constant friend and companion of some people. It may approach them very nigh, and in a manner that Surah Al-Zukhruf, No.43, verse 36 refers to. It states:
1. Both to abandon giving charity and to give charity hypocritically are bad. In the previous verse, niggardliness was blamed, and here in the above verse, hypocritical remittals are remonstrated.
2. Hypocrisy is the sign of the lack of true faith in Allah and the Hereafter. A hypocrite relies on people, and then he is deprived from the full reward in the Hereafter.
3. The goal of giving charity is not only satiating the hungry, since this aim can be gained by hypocrisy either. So, the aim of giving charity is also the spiritual growth of the giver of charity.
وَمَاذَا عَلَيْهِمْ لَوْ آمَنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَأَنفَقُواْ مِمَّا رَزَقَهُمُ اللّهُ وَكَانَ اللّهُ بِهِم عَلِيمًا
39. "And what (harm) would it have done them if they had believed in Allah and the Last Day, and spent in charity of what Allah had provided them with? And Allah is ever aware of them."
In this verse, as an expression of sympathy and regret for the state of this group, it says that what would happen to them if they returned from this deviated-path and believed in Allah and the Last Day?
They could also spend a part of the bounties that Allah had given them to the servants of Allah with a sincere intention and through a pure thought. By this way, they would earn the felicity and happiness of this world and the next world both.
However, Allah is aware of their intentions and deeds, and He will give them an appropriate reward and retribution accordingly.
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِن لَّدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
40. "Verily Allah does not do injustice even of the weight of an atom, and if there he a good deed He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward."
This verse, addressing the faithless and niggardly persons, whose status was introduced in the former verses, says:
The Arabic term /Ẓarrah/ originally means very small ant which is not seen easily; but, gradually it has been applied for every small thing. Accordingly, nowadays, 'atom', which is any of the smallest particles of an element, is also called /Ẓarrah/.
And, in view of the fact that the Arabic word /miṣqal/ means 'weight', the Qur'anic phrase /miṣqala Ẓarratin/ means 'the weight of an extraordinary small thing'.
Then, the verse adds that: not only Allah does not do injustice, but also:
The root of injustice is usually either ignorance, or fear, or need, or greed, etc, but Allah, Who is the Self-Sufficient, Omniscient, and Glorified, does not do injustice. Moreover, Allah has enjoined people to equity and goodness Himself, then how does He do injustice? Yet, His reward is manifold: (ten-fold, hundred-fold, or more).
فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَى هَـؤُلاء شَهِيدًا
41. "How will it be, then, when We bring from every people a witness and We bring you a witness over those (witnesses)?"
The content of this verse, which refers to the Messenger of Allah, as a witness over the Ummah, has also occurred in some other verses of the Qur'an (such as: Surah Al-Baqarah, No.2, verse 143, Surah An-Nahl, No.16, verse 89, and Surah Al-Hajj, No.22, verse 78).
Whenever Ibn-Mas'ud recited this verse to the Prophet (S), the tears of the Messenger of Allah (S) would shed. (Narrated from Sahih-i-Bukhari, Tarmathi, and Nisa'i in Tafsir-ul-Kabir by Fakhr-i-Razi and Tafsir-i-Maraqi)
Allah does not need, of course, to bring any witnesses, but human beings are in a condition that the more they feel the presence of witnesses, the more effective it is for strengthening their training and their piety.
As the verses of the Qur'an indicate, there are many sorts of witnesses in the Hereafter; among them are:
the prophets: the above verse, 4 the immaculate Imams:
the time: A tradition says that: every day the time addresses man by saying:
and the limbs of the body:
And, again, we should be aware that the day of Resurrection is the Day on which the witnesses will stand forth:
1. Prophets are some examples for people in the world and the witnesses over them in the Hereafter.
2. It is Allah's way of treatment that the prophet of every nation be a witness over that nation. After the departure of the Prophet (S) there should be someone with the same qualities of the Prophet (S) (the immaculate Imams) to be witness over people. Imam Sadiq (as) in a tradition said:
"In any Age an Imam from us, Ahlul-Bayt, is a witness over people, and the Messenger of Allah is a witness over us" 11
يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَعَصَوُاْ الرَّسُولَ لَوْ تُسَوَّى بِهِمُ الأَرْضُ وَلاَ يَكْتُمُونَ اللّهَ حَدِيثًا
42. "On that Day will those who disbelieve and disobey the Messenger wish that the earth were levelled with them, and they will not hide any word from Allah."
On the Day of Judgement, before standing these witnesses up, the disobedient infidels deny their committing sins and corruptions in the world and try to find a way to escape. They would say:
But, in hereafter when the witnesses say the facts, there will exist no room for them to deny. So, they will desire that the earth were levelled with them.
1. Disobedience to the governmental commands of the holy Prophet (S) is considered in a row with disbelief in Allah.
2. The Day of Resurrection is the day of regret and desire.
3. On the Day of Judgement, there will remain nothing concealed.
In some verses of the Qur'an, the regretful wishes of the sinners are pointed out, as follows:
I wish I were soil. I wish I were covered inside the soil! I wish I would not have made friend with so and so! I wish I contemplated in the world! I wish I had been vanished by that very death. And some other phrases like that.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَارَى حَتَّىَ تَعْلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلاَ جُنُبًا إِلاَّ عَابِرِي سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىَ تَغْتَسِلُواْ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاء أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّن الْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاء فَلَمْ تَجِدُواْ مَاء فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا
43. "O' you who have Faith! do not approach prayer when you are intoxicated, until you know what you say, nor when you are polluted - unless you be passing through - until you wash yourselves. And if you are ill or on a journey, or one of you come from privy or you have touched the women and you cannot find water, then betake yourselves to pure earth then wipe your faces and your hands; verily Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving."
The following Islamic legal ordinances can be extracted from the above-mentioned verse:
1. Canonical prayers are invalid when the person is intoxicated. The holy verse says:
The reason of it, of course, is clear, because 'prayer' is the talk and invocation of the servant with Allah and the action must be performed in an utmost conscious state.
2. The prayer is invalid for the person who is in ritual impurity. So, the Qur'an says that you should not approach prayer when you are polluted:
Next to that, it has stated an exception for this ordinance. It says:
In this state establishing prayer is permissible on the condition of dry ablution, which will be dealt with in the following.
3. The words refer to the allowance of establishing prayer or passing through a mosque after performing a legal bathing, which has been stated by saying:
Through the next phrase, all religious aspects of dry ablution are stated. At first, it points to the situation in which water is harmful for the health of the body.
Then, it continues saying:
And, when in this situation, there is not water for ablution:
In this condition, you must have recourse to dust:
In the next sentence, it has stated the style of having recourse to dust. It says:
At the end of the verse, the Qur'an points to this fact that this ordinance is a kind of facilitation and discount for you, since:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ نَصِيبًا مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ يَشْتَرُونَ الضَّلاَلَةَ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن تَضِلُّواْ السَّبِيلَ
44. "Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Book? They buy error and desire that you should also go astray from the way."
In this verse, Allah addresses the holy Prophet (S) and, in an astonishing tone, says: whether he has not seen that group of people who were given a portion of the Book in order to be guided and guide others. But instead of obtaining guidance and felicity by it for themselves and others, they buy aberration not only for themselves but also they wish you went astray. It says:
Thus, as a result of their bad intentions, they changed what they had I as a means of guidance for themselves and for others into a means of misleading and being misled. The reason of that manner was that they never went after the truth, but they looked all the things with the dark glasses of hypocrisy, jealousy, and materiality.
وَاللّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِأَعْدَائِكُمْ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَلِيًّا وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ نَصِيرًا
45. "And Allah knows well your enemies; and Allah is sufficient as a Guardian, and Allah is sufficient as a Helper."
In this verse, it says that they show themselves in the form of friends, but they are your real enemies. It is in the case that Allah knows your enemies well.
What enmity is higher than that they are opposite your happiness and guidance. They always pursue their own evil aims to be practised, every time in a shape. They sometimes come nigh with a tongue of benevolence, and sometimes by the way of ill-speaking.
Yet, you should never be afraid of their hostility, because you are not alone:
مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ وَرَاعِنَا لَيًّا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْنًا فِي الدِّينِ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَكِن لَّعَنَهُمُ اللّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً
46. "Some of those who are Jews change the words from their places and say: "We heard and disobeyed", and (impolitely tell the Messenger) do hear, but as one that never hears, and 'Infatuate us! ' distorting (the word) with their tongues and taunting about religion, and if they had said: 'We heard and we obeyed, hear you and respite us' it would have been better for them, and more upright, but Allah cursed them for their disbelief, so they do not believe; save a few."
The application of the phrases / sami'na wa 'asayna / in the Arabic language means something like Persian proverb which says: 'You may say but we do not follow'.
The Muslims of the time of the Prophet of Islam (S) used to tell him the Arabic phrase /ra'ina/. By this word they meant to say that he would pay attention to them and protect them. But the Jews perverted this word to a disgrace meaning.
When the word is taken from the Arabic root /ra'a/, it means 'to consider, to observe', but when it is taken from the root /ra'unat/, and pronounced /ra'inna/, it means: 'make of us foolish'. By twisting their tongues, the Jews used to both defame the Muslims and mock Islam.
In the previous verse, too, their hostility and that they intended to mislead the Muslims through their apostasy and infidelity, was pointed out. It was because of these hostilities and missing the light of guidance that they were cursed by Allah.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ آمِنُواْ بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهًا فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهَا أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّا أَصْحَابَ السَّبْتِ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللّهِ مَفْعُولاً
47. "O' you who have been given the Scripture! believe in what We have revealed, confirming that which is ( already) with you, before We destroy countenances and turn them towards their backs, or curse them as We cursed the people of Sabbath (the violating Jews), and the Command of Allah is ever-executed."
The words saying "…before We destroy countenances and turn them towards their backs....." may refer to the purpose of changing the feature of hearts and nature of safe and sound intellects from the path of felicity.
This status may come forth as a result of their obstinacy and arrogance against the Divine verses. Instead of going one step forward, they retrogress some steps backward, and their spiritual human features and intellects will be abolished.
Perhaps, it refers to the outward change of faces to their backs and transformation of the features, or change of shapes in the Hereafter.
There were some disobedient Jews who violated the Command of Allah (s.w.t.) upon the prohibition of fishing on Saturdays and, by a legal trick, they did fishing. So, they incurred the wrath of Allah, and their faces transformed into the shape of monkeys.
1. The general framework of the programs of all Divine prophets are alike. Therefore, in the style of invitation and propagation, others' opinions and their common rights should be respected.
2. Islam invites the followers of other religions to the religion of Allah, too.
3. The scientific figures and those who are cognizant are more responsible, and are especially addressed by the religion of Allah.
4. When confronting the obstinate ones, the means of threat must be used.
5. In order that the threat be affected, the kinds of its concrete and applicable examples should be mentioned.
6. The wrath of Allah upon all of the obstinate persons, during the history of the world, is an Allah's way of treatment.
7. The command of Allah is always certain.
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا
48. "Verily Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whom He Pleases; and whoever associate (aught) with Allah, has indeed devised a great sin."
More than two hundred times the word 'polytheism' has been mentioned in the Qur'an where tending towards other than Allah (idolatry, hypocrisy, non-godly beliefs, materialism, and so on) has been criticized.
The content of this verse has also been repeated in this very Surah, verse 116; and in fact repetition can be a cause of guidance. However, polytheism will not be forgiven because it is an exodus from the process of right. It is also departing from the line of Allah and joining other than Him.
If, even a pagan leaves out paganism and sincerely repents, Allah will forgive him. It is cited in Surah Az-Zumar, No.39, verse 53 that surely Allah forgives the faults altogether, therefore do not despair of His (Mercy. Then, it is appropriate for everyone to return to Him by repenting and asking forgiveness.
It is narrated from Imam Amirul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) who said that the mentioned verse, to me, is the most (encouraging) beloved one among the verses of the Qur'an.
Since no one knows to whom the wisely grace of Allah will be granted, there will remain no room for pride and boldness in anyone to (commit sin. The following factors pave the way of forgiveness:
1) Repentance, 2) to do goodness, 3) to avoid the great sins, 4) intercession, and, 5) the Divine pardon (which is pointed out in this verse)
1. Polytheism is the worst form of sins and it is a barrier against the Divine forgiveness.
2. Forgiveness of the faults relates to the Wisely Will of Allah.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يُزَكُّونَ أَنفُسَهُمْ بَلِ اللّهُ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاء وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً
49. "Have you not seen those who consider themselves pure? Nay! Allah purifies whom He pleases, and they shall not be wronged even the hair of a date-stone."
In some other verses of the Qur'an, self-praise and considering oneself faultless, chosen, and excellent are also blamed. Surah An-Najm, No.53, Verse 32, for example, says:
Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) in one of his sermons, speaking .about the signs of the pious ones, points out:
" ...whenever they are praised, they awe ..."
Therefore, that self-praise, which originates from pride, self -admiration and humiliating others, is forbidden, while praising Allah and worshipping Him is a great value. By the way, the divine retributions of people are the fruit of the evil deeds and they are not from the side of Allah.
انظُرْ كَيفَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ الكَذِبَ وَكَفَى بِهِ إِثْمًا مُّبِينًا
50. "See how they forge a lie against Allah! And it is sufficient as a manifest sin."
The Jews considered themselves a superior race and also the children and the beloved of the Lord. This self-admiration is the greatest calumny unto Allah, because He has not appointed anyone as His child, and all human beings are equal before Him. It is in the case that, to Him, the only privilege is Faith and piety.
In belie, besides the existence of lie, there are also the sin of accusation, persecution, injustice, and desecration.
Belie upon Allah nullifies fasting, too. Imam Baqir (as) also said:
"...Telling lie is worse than drinking wine."
Yet, belie is graver than telling a lie, either.
- 1. 'Amali, by Sadugh, p. 4208 (Persian translation) & Tafsir-ul-'Amthal, vol. 3, p. 204
- 2. Ibid
- 3. Surah Al.Hajj, No.22, verse 17
- 4. The verse under discussion
- 5. Surah Al-Baqarah, No.2, verse 143
- 6. Surah Qaf, No.50, verse 21
- 7. Surah Az-Zilzal, No.99, verse 4
- 8. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, 11. 112
- 9. Surah An-Nur, No.24, verse 24
- 10. Surah Al-Mu'min (Qafir), No.40, verse 51
- 11. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 1, p. 399
- 12. Surah Al-'An'am, No.6, verse 23