Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:208-210)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Submission Together to God
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ ﴿٢٠٨﴾ فَإِن زَلَلْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْكُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٢٠٩﴾ هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي ظُلَلٍ مِّنَ الْغَمَامِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ ۚ وَإِلَى اللَّـهِ تُرْجَعُ الْأُمُورُ ﴿٢١٠﴾
2:208 O you who believe[d]! Enter into submission/Islam together (completely), and (do) not follow footsteps (of) the Shaitaan. Indeed, he (is) for you an enemy open.
2:209 But if you deviate after clear proofs have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
2:210 Do they await but that Allah should come to them in covers of clouds and the angels [as well] and the matter is [then] decided? And to Allah [all] matters are returned.
Commentary: The aforementioned verses invite the believers (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا) collectively (كَافَّةً) to enter into submission (ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ) and refrain from following the footsteps of Shaitaan (وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ) since he is a clear enemy to them (إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ).
The Arabic word “al-ssilmi” [Arabic: (السِّلْمِ)] means submission. A similar meaning is true for “al-islām” [Arabic: (الاسلام)] and “al-taslīm” [Arabic: (التسلیم)] [Al-Mizan, Vol.2, P.152]. Also, it connotes peace. For instance, (قومٌ سِلْمٌ) means a peaceful nation or a nation who evades war. Or the phrase (اِنّی سِلْمٌ لِمَنْ سالَمَکُمْ وَ حَرْبٌ لِمَنْ حارَبَکُم) means, “I am at peace with anyone who is at peace with you, and I am at war with anyone who is at war with you.”
Shaykh Tabarsi (شیخ طبرسی) in Majma’ al‐Bayan (مجمع البیان) offered three plausible interpretations of the phrase “enter into submission” (ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ), which are as follows:
- Submission into the religion of Islam
- Submission to the decree and commands of Allah (see, for instance, Al-Ahzab 33:36)
- Submission to the guardianship (ولایت) of Allah (SWT), the Prophet and the infallible Imams (Al-Ma’idah 5:55).
He also mentioned the word “kāffatan” [Arabic: (كَافَّةً)] could be interpreted either as “together, collectively” or “completely”. Therefore, the phrase (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً) could have one of the two following meanings:
- O! you who believe, enter into submission/Islam together …
- O! you who believe, enter into submission/Islam completely…
The latter meaning of “kāffatan” [Arabic: (كَافَّةً)] is based on a narrative that a group of Jews came to the Prophet (SAWA) and asked him if they could read the Jewish scripture (Torah) in their daily prayer and practice some of their Jewish traditions such as following the law of the Sabbath. The aforementioned verses were revealed and asked them to submit entirely to the religion of Islam [Tafseer–e–Namoona, Vol.2, P.83].
The verse 2:209 states that after these clear divine warnings (مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْكُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ), no one should have any excuse to follow the footsteps of Shaitaan. If one deviates from the path of submission (فَإِن زَلَلْتُم), after these clear warnings, he will surely face the consequences of his actions. Indeed, Allah (SWT) is Exalted in Might and Wisdom.
. فَإِن زَلَلْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْكُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٢٠٩﴾
2:209 But if you deviate after clear proofs have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wisdom.
The word (الْبَيِّنَاتُ) means clear reasons and that includes both logic and reasons and also whatever is explained through the divine revelation and miracles to the people.
The next verse (2:210) asks the Prophet a hypothetical question: what is the purpose of those who insist on following the footsteps of the Shaitaan after these clear divine warnings (مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْكُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ)? Except that they are waiting for Allah’s destructive command (هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ اللَّـهُ) and for His angels (وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ) to cast shadows of divine punishment over them like a shadow of a white cloud (فِي ظُلَلٍ مِّنَ الْغَمَامِ). Then, their fate to be concluded, once for all, with the divine punishment (وَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ)? Surely, to God are all matters ultimately referred, and whatever He decrees it happens (وَإِلَى اللَّـهِ تُرْجَعُ الْأُمُورُ).
Note that (أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ اللَّـهُ) literally means “Allah comes to them”, but it implies “Allah’s punishment comes to them”.
The phrase (فِي ظُلَلٍ مِّنَ الْغَمَامِ) literally means “in the shade of white clouds” and it implies that the torment of God suddenly cast shadows over them like a white cloud [Tafseer–e–Namoona, Vol.2, P.87].
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّـهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا ﴿٣٦﴾
33:36 It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّـهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
5:55 Your guardian is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed – those who establish prayer and give zakah, and they bow [in worship].
2:208 [يَا أَيُّهَا] O You [الَّذِينَ] who [آمَنُوا] believe [ادْخُلُوا] Enter [فِي] in [السِّلْمِ] submission [كَافَّةً] all together [وَلَا] and don not [تَتَّبِعُوا] follow [خُطُوَاتِ] footsteps [الشَّيْطَانِ ] of the Shaitaan [إِنَّهُ] indeed, he is [لَكُمْ] for you [عَدُوٌّ] an enemy [مُّبِينٌ] clear.
2:209 [فَإِن] Then if [زَلَلْتُم] you slip [مِّن] from [بَعْدِ] after [مَا] what [جَاءَتْكُمُ] came to you [الْبَيِّنَاتُ] from the clear proofs [فَاعْلَمُوا] then know [أَنَّ] that [اللَّـهَ] Allah [عَزِيزٌ] is All-Mighty [حَكِيمٌ] All-Wise
2:210 [هَلْ] Are [يَنظُرُونَ] they waiting [إِلَّا] except [أَن] that [يَأْتِيَهُمُ] come to them [اللَّـهُ] Allah [فِي] in [ظُلَلٍ] the shadows [مِّنَ] of [الْغَمَامِ] clouds [وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ] and the angels [وَقُضِيَ] and is decreed [الْأَمْرُ] the matter? [وَإِلَى] And to [اللَّـهِ] Allah [تُرْجَعُ] returns [الْأُمُورُ] all the matters