The Majesty of God’s House: Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:125) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:125)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

The Majesty of God’s House
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ ﴿١٢٥﴾

 

Translation: 2:125 And [remember] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].”

Commentary: The House of Ka’bah is the first house of worship that was built by Prophet Adam (AS) [(إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ) Al-i-Imran, 3:96]. It is a backbone and pillar of the Islamic nation at large [(جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِّلنَّاسِ), Al-Ma’ida 5:97].

Every year, Muslims from all over the world congregate for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj [مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ]; Hajj is a season of spiritual retreat and revitalization of the soul, as well as an opportunity for the diverse nations within Islam to close their rifts and become a strong and united nation. Thus, God ordained His House [(بَيْتِيَ)] to be kept pure [(طَهِّرَا)] and a safe place [وَأَمْنًا] for mankind.

The precinct of the House of Ka’bah is sacred and it is a place of peace, tranquility and safety for mankind [(وَأَمْنًا)]. Even a perpetrator, under the circumstances which has been spelled out in books of Islamic jurisprudence, is immune from persecution and facing the Islamic codes of penalty. Nevertheless, he could be forced to leave the sacred Masjed, for instance, by depriving him from food and water.

The verse continues and commands Muslims to take a place of prayer on the standing place of Ibrahim:
…….وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى …..﴿١٢٥﴾
“And take for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Ibrahim”.

The standing-place of Ibrahim is located in front of the door of the Ka’bah, where footprint of Ibrahim (A.S) is imprinted on stone and is on display. Hajj pilgrims offer a two-rakat prayer [Arabic: (رکعت)] behind the standing place of Ibrahim after their completion of tawaf [Arabic:( طواف)]. Tawaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage and is defined as going around the Ka’bah in a counterclockwise direction.

It has been narrated that Ibrahim (A.S) built the walls of the Ka’bah to the maximum height that his hands could reach. After that, he placed a stone under his feet. The footprint of Ibrahim miraculously appeared on this stone while Ibrahim (A.S) was standing on it to raise the wall of the Ka’aba. According the Al-Mizan, the original stone was buried underground beneath the current position [Al-Mizan, Vol.3, Page 546].

At the end, the verse mentions that Allah (SWT) made a covenant with Ibrahim and Ismael to purify His House [(بَيْتِيَ)] for those who make Tawaf of Ka’bah [لِلطَّائِفِينَ], for those who make it a retreat [وَالْعَاكِفِينَ] and for those who worship and bow [وَالرُّكَّعِ] and prostrate [السُّجُودِ] to Him. It is worth noticing that Allah (SWT) calls the Ka’bah as “His House”. This emphasizes the sacredness of the Ka’bah.

اللَّهُمَّ أَحْسِنْ عَاقِبَتَنَا فِي الْأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا وَأَجِرْنَا مِنْ خِزْيِ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابِ الْآخِرَة
Appendix:
[مَثَابَة] means a resort (a destination frequented by people), a place of congregation and earning rewards.
[المصلی] is a deverbal noun and means a place of prayer and invocations. It is derived form (الصلواة) which means to pray and invoke.

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٩٦﴾
وسائل الشيعة / ج‏12 / 109 / 76 – باب استحباب استقبال القبلة في كل مجلس ….. ص : 109
15784- 3- وَ رَوَى الشَّيْخُ بَهَاءُ الدِّينِ فِي مِفْتَاحِ الْفَلَاحِ قَالَ رُوِيَ عَنْ أَئِمَّتِنَا ع‏ خَيْرُ الْمَجَالِسِ‏ مَا اسْتُقْبِلَ‏ بِهِ‏ الْقِبْلَةُ.
كافي (ط – دار الحديث) / ج‏8 / 149 / 23 – باب فضل النظر إلى الكعبة ….. ص : 146
عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، قَالَ: «النَّظَرُ إِلَى‏ الْكَعْبَةِ عِبَادَةٌ، وَ النَّظَرُ إِلَى الْوَالِدَيْنِ عِبَادَةٌ، وَ النَّظَرُ إِلَى الْإِمَامِ عِبَادَةٌ».

Word-for-Word Translation:
2:125 [وَإِذْ] and (remember) when [جَعَلْنَا] We made [الْبَيْتَ] the House Ka’bah [مَثَابَةً] a resort [لِّلنَّاسِ] for mankind [وَأَمْنًا] and safety [وَاتَّخِذُوا] and take [مِن مَّقَامِ] place of standing [إِبْرَاهِيمَ] (of) Ibrahim [مُصَلًّى] a place of prayer [وَعَهِدْنَا] and we made covenant [إِلَىٰ] with [إِبْرَاهِيمَ] Ibrahim [وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ] and Ismael [أَن] that [طَهِّرَا] they purify [بَيْتِيَ] My House (Ka’bah) [لِلطَّائِفِينَ] for those who circumambulate it [وَالْعَاكِفِينَ] and those who stay for Itikaf (spiritual retreat) [وَالرُّكَّعِ] and those who bow down [السُّجُودِ] and prostrate.

 

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