Surah Al-Baqarah ( Verses 26-27 ) interpretation by Allameh Tababaei

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلاً يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَاسِقِينَ2:26

الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ2:27

2:26Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable (that of) a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: “What is it that Allah means by this parable?” He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it, but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors.

2:27Who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land; these it is that are the losers.


QUR’AN: Surely Allah is not ashamed…:

Gnat or mosquito is one of the smallest animals perceptible by naked eyes. These two verses run parallel to verses 19 – 21 of ch. 13:Is then hewho knows that what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the truth like unto him who is blind? Only those possessed of understanding shall bear in mind, those who fulfil the promise of Allah and do not break the covenant, and those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined, and fear Allah and fear the evil reckoning.

The verse clearly shows that there is a straying, a blindness, which afflicts the man as a result of his evil deeds; it is different from that initial straying and blindness which the man opts for by his own free will. Look at the sentence, “but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors.” They transgressed first, and it was only then that Allah made them go astray.

Guidance and misguidance are two comprehensive words; they encompass every felicity and infelicity that comes from Allah to His good and wicked servants respectively. As Allah describes in the Qur’an, He makes His good servants live a happy life, strengthens them with the spirit of faith, bring them out of the darkness into the light, and gives them a light by which they walk among the people; He has taken them under His protection and guardianship, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve, He is with them, answers them when they call on Him, and remembers them when they remember Him; and the angels come down to them with good news of eternal peace.

Diametrically opposed to it is the condition of evil-doers. Allah causes them to err, takes them out of the light into the darkness, sets a seal upon their hearts and hearings, and a covering over their eyes He alters their faces turning them on their backs; places chains on their necks and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft, and makes a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, then He covers them over so that they cannot see; He appoints for them the Satans to become their associates, and they turn them away from the right path while they think that they are guided aright; those Satans make their misdeeds to seem good to them and they are their guardians; Allah leads them on by steps from whence they perceive not; and yet He respites them, but His plan is firm; He makes a plan for them and leaves them alone in their rebellion, blindly wandering on.

These are some examples of the conditions of the two groups. On deeper consideration, it appears that man, in this world, lives two lives: there is this life which may be seen and perceived by all, and there is another life hidden behind this one; that hidden life is either good or bad – depending on his faith and deeds. Man will become aware of that hidden life when the veil of secrecy will be removed after death. Then he will see himself in his true form.

Further, it appears from the Qur’anic verses that man has had a spiritual life before the life of this world; and he shall have another life after this one. In other words, man has been given three lives – this life in this world is the second one, there was one preceding it and there will be another following. The condition of the third life shall be determined by that of this second life – which, in its turn, is governed by the first one.

Many exegetes have explained away the verses about the first life; they say that it is only a literary style, which presents imaginary pictures as real facts. And as for the verses concerning the life hereafter, they too are misrepresented as allegories and metaphors. But both types of verses are too clear in this meaning to allow such misinterpretations.

We shall explain the verses about the first life under ch. 7. As for the life hereafter, many verses show that the same good or bad deeds which man commits in this life, shall be returned to him, as their own reward or punishment, on the day of requital. Allah has mentioned this fact in many verses: …and do not make excuses today; You shall be recompensed only what you did (66:7); then every soul shall be paid back in full what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly (2:281); then be on guard against the fire of which men and stones are fuel (2:24); Then let him summon his council We too would summon the tormentors (of the hell) (96:17-18); On the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil… (3:30); they eat nothing but fire intotheir bellies… (2 A74);… surely they only swallow fire into their bellies… (4:10). There are many verses of the same import.

Then there is the verse 50:22, which by itself is enough to convince one of this principle: Certainly you were heedless, Of it, but now We have removed from you your veil, so your sight today is sharp. The words, “you were heedless of it % indicate that there was something present in this world, to which the guilty one has not paid any attention; “removed from you your veil” means that, but for that veil, he could have seen that reality even in-this worldly life. What the man would see on the Day of Resurrection was present even in this earthly life; otherwise, it would not be logical to say that previously you were inattentive to it, or that it was hidden from your eyes, but now that the cover has been removed, you may see it clearly.

There is no allegory or metaphor in these verses. Try to explain in plain Arabic the principle which we have mentioned just now. You will not find a more explicit way than the one used in these verses. Then, how can they be explained away as allegories ?

The divine talk here points at two realities:-

First: Recompense: What a man will get in hereafter -reward or punishment, paradise or hell – shall be in recompense of the good or evil he would have done in this life.

Second: Embodiment of the deeds: Many verses indicate that the good or evil deeds themselves turn into their own pleasant or unpleasant recompense. (Or, that the recompense is an inseparable concomitant of the deeds themselves.) It is hidden from our eyes in this life, but we shall see it clearly on the day of reckoning.

These realities are not really two. But we had to explain it in this way to bring it nearer to the minds. The Qur’ân too says that it uses similitude to make people understand.

QUR’AN: but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors:

“al -Fisq”= transgression, sinfulness). It is the Qur’ân that, first of all, used this word in its now prevalent

meaning. It is derived from fasaqati ‘t-tamrah the date broke out of its outer rind). That is why it has been further explained by the words, “who break the covenant of

Allâh after its confiirrnation” – a thing must be whole before it is broken. Also the transgressors are described at the end of the verse as the losers – one must be owning a thing before he can

lose it. Allâh further says: Surely the losers are they who have lost themselves and their people on the resurrection day (42:45). All these expressions show how appropriate the adjective,

“al-fasiqin”(the transgressors) is in this context. You should never think that the adjectives used by Allâh in His book for His good servants (like “those who are near to Allâh”, “the sincere ones”, “the humble ones”, “the good ones”, “the purified ones” etc.) or for the evil ones (like “the unjust”, “the transgressors”, “the losers”, “those who go astray”, etc.) are cheap epithets, or that they ausas literary embellishment. Each adjective has its own significance; each points to a particular stage in man’s spiritual journey. Each has its own characteristics, and gives rise- to its especial effects and consequences. On physical level, every age has its own characteristics and powers, which cannot be found before or after that age; likewise, on spiritual plane, every attribute has its own special effects.

BY: Allameh Muhammad Hussein Tabatabai




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