Surah Al-Baqarah ( Verses 21-25 ) interpretation by Allameh Tababaei

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ2:21

الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الأَرْضَ فِرَاشاً وَالسَّمَاء بِنَاء وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ فَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ2:22

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُواْ شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ2:23

فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَلَن تَفْعَلُواْ فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ2:24

وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِين آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقًا قَالُواْ هَذَا الَّذِي رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَابِهًا وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ2:25

2:21O men! worship your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil).

2:22Who made the earth a bed (resting place) and the sky a structure; and (Who) sends down rain from the heaven, thereby brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up equals to Allah while you know.

2:23And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.

2:24But if you do (it) not – and never shall you do (it) – then be on guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; it is prepared for the unbelievers.

2:25And convey good news to those who believe and do good deeds that for them are gardens in which rivers flow; whenever they shall be given a portion of the fruit thereof, they shall say: “This is what was given to us before;” and they shall be given the like of it, and they shall have pure mates in them; and in them they shall abide.

Commentary

QUR’AN: O men! worship your Lord… may guard (against evil):

The preceding nineteen verses have described the positions of the three groups category-wise: The pious ones who are on the guidance from their Lord; the disbelievers whose hearts and ears have been sealed and who have their eyes covered; and the hypocrites in whose hearts there is disease so Allah added to their disease and they are deaf, dumb and blind.

In this background, Allah calls the men to be His good servants, to worship Him and to join, not the disbelievers and the hypocrites, but the pious ones, those who guard themselves against evil. This context shows that the clause, “so that you may guard (against evil)”, is governed by the verb “worship” – you should worship Allah to join those who guard against evil, who are pious. It may also be governed by the verb, “created” – Allah created you in order that you may guard yourselves against evil.

QUR’AN: Who made the earth a bed… do not set up equals to Allah while you know: “al-Andad” is plural of an-nidd (alike, equal, peer). The phrase, “while you know”, is unconditional, and grammatically it is circumstantial phrase of “do not set up”; these two factors lend extra-ordinary force to the prohibition of setting up equals to Allah. The sentence shows that a man who bas even a little knowledge should not ascribe any equal or partner to Allah; he should know that it is Allah Who has created him and those before him and arranged and managed this system in the creation for their sustenance and survival.

QUR’AN: And if you are in doubt… then produce a chapter like it…: It is a challenge which human beings and jinn can never meet. This challenge has been offered to demonstrate the miracle of the Qur’an, to show that it is a Book sent down by Allah, there is no doubt in it; that it bas been revealed as an everlasting miracle that will remain alive till the end of the world. This challenge has repeatedly been given in the QUR’AN: –

Say: “If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur’an, they could not bring the like of it, even though some of them were aiders of the others” (17:88). Or, do they say: “He has forged it?” Say: “Then bring ten chapters like it forged and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful” (11:13).

This context shows that the pronoun “it” in “like it” refers to “that which We have revealed to Our servant”, that is, the Qur’an. It is a challenge to them to bring a like of the Qur’an in its inimitable style and meaning.

The word “min mithlihi”(translated here as “like it”) may also be rendered as “from like him.” In that case it will be a challenge to bring a like of the Qur’an written by someone like the Holy Prophet. This Qur’an has been brought by a person who was never taught by any teacher, who had not learnt these valuable and marvellous truths from any human being, nor had he taken this most eloquent style from any mortal. If the disbelievers thought that such a man can write such a Book, then let them bring its like from some such illiterate man. In this light, the verse would have the same import as the following one:

Say: “If Allah had desired (otherwise) I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have taught it to you; indeed I have lived a lifetime among you before it; do you not then understand?” (10:16) Both explanations have been given in some traditions.

Obviously, this and the other challenging verses dare the antagonists to bring, if they can, like of even the shortest chapter of the Qur’an – say, the Chapter of al-Kawthar or al-‘Asr.

A strange exegesis has been written by someone that “like it” means like this Chapter, The Cow, in which this verse occurs. This explanation is totally devoid of good literary taste. Those who disbelieved in the Qur’an, rejected the whole Book as being forged against Allah. What purpose could be served by challenging them to bring a Chapter like that of The Cow? Such a challenge would, in final analysis, mean this: If you are in doubt the short Chapter of al-Kawthar or al-Ikhlas, then bring a like of the largest Chapter of The Cow. Absurd, isn’t it!

QUR’AN: And if you are in doubt… then produce a chapter like it.: It is a challenge which human beings and jinn can never meet. This challenge has been offered to demonstrate the miracle of the Qur’an, to show that it is a book sent down by Allah, there is no doubt in it; that it has been revealed as an everlasting miracle that will remain alive till the end of the world. This challenge has repeatedly been given in the QUR’AN:

Say: “If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur’an, they could not bring the like of it, even then some of them were aiders of the others” (17:88) . Or do they say he has forged it? Say: Then bring ten chapters like it forged and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful” (11:13). This context shows that the pronoun “it” in “like it” refers to that which we have receive We have revealed to Our servant”, that is the Qur’an. It is a challenge to them to bring a like of the Qur’an in its imitable style and meaning.

The word “min mithlihi” (translated here as “like it”) may also be rendered as “from like him.” In that case it will be a challenge to bring a like of the Qur’an as written by someone like the Holy Prophet. This Qur’an has been by a person who was never taught by any teacher, who had not learned these valuable and marvelous truths from any human being, nor had he taken this most eloquent style from any mortal. If the disbeliever thought that such a man can write such a book then let them bring its like from such illiterate man. In this light the verse would have the same import as the following one:

Say: “If Allah had desired (otherwise) I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have taught it to you; indeed I have lived a lifetime among you before it; do you not then understand?” (10:16)

Both explanations have been given in some traditions.

Obviously, this and the other challenging verses dare the antagonists to bring, if they can, like of even the shortest chapter of the Qur’an – say, the chapter of al-Kawthar or al-‘Asr.

A strange exegesis has been written by someone that “like it” means like this Chapter, The Cow, in which this verse occurs. The explanation is totally devoid of good literary taste. Those who disbelieved in the Qur’an, rejected the whole Book as being forged against Allah. What purpose could be served by challenging them to bring a Chapter like that of The Cow? Such a challenge would, in final analysis, mean this: If you are in doubt the short Chapter of al-Kawthar or al-Ikhlas, then bring a like of the largest chapter of The Cow. Absurd, isn’t it!

 

BY: ALLAMAH MUHAMMAD HUSSEIN TABATABAI

 

Source: Almizan.org

 

www.Shafaqna.com

 

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