Awaiting For Divine Messenger – Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:75-77) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:75-77)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Awaiting For Divine Messenger
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُوا لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَامَ اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٧٥﴾ وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ قَالُوا أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَاجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٧٦﴾ أَوَلَا يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ﴿٧٧﴾
Translation:
2:75 Do you (believers) covet that they (the Children of Israel who lived in Medina at the time of the Prophet) would believe in your religion, though a party of them hear the word of Allah [the Taurat (Torah)] and then they distort it after they had understood it, and they knew [what they were doing]?
2:76 When they meet the faithful, they say, ‘We believe,’ and when they are alone with one another, they say, ‘Do you inform them (believers) of what Allah has revealed to you (the advent of the Holy Prophet, his traits and characteristics), so that they (believers) may argue with you therewith before your Lord? Do you not exercise your reason?’
2:77 Do they not know that Allah knows whatever they hide and whatever they disclose.

Commentary: Before the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, descendants of the Children of Israel settled down near Medina [Arabic: (المدینه)] and were awaiting for the arrival of the last messenger (SAW). The awaiting prophet for the descendants of the Children of Israel was a source of hope and aspiration. For instance, whenever they had a dispute with the Bedouins of Arabia, they would pray for victory over them with the help of the awaiting prophet.
The Prophet’s traits and characteristics were prophesied in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel). Hence, when the Prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina, the Children of Israel recognized him as one who recognizes his children. Unexpectedly, a majority of them deliberately denied his credentials and sometimes allied themselves with idolaters instead. Nevertheless, a few individuals, like Abdullah ibn Salam [Arabic 🙁 عبدالله بن سلام)], acknowledged the Holy Prophet (SAW) and accepted Islam.
Within this context, the verse 2:75 poses a rhetorical question as to whether the Prophet and the Muslims of Medina should have entertained the hope that the Israelites would welcome the Prophet, embrace his teachings and actively participate in propagation of his message. This, despite the fact that a group of them [Arabic: (فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ)] historically had either concealed or distorted knowingly the Word of God after they understood it.
أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُوا لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَامَ اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٧٥﴾
2:75 Do you (believers) covet that they (the Children of Israel who lived in Medina at the time of the Prophet) would believe in your religion, though a party of them hear the word of Allah [the Taurat (Torah)] and then they distort it after they had understood it, and they knew [what they were doing]?
The open-minded Israelites sometimes sympathized with the Muslims [Arabic: (وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا)] and in their private conversations shared with the Muslims their Biblical prophecies regarding the advent of Prophet Mohammad (SAW). This provoked the Israelites’ elites, causing anger and criticism. They reprimanded their brethren for disclosing biblical facts that they were trying to keep concealed from the Muslims. The elites argued that Muslims might evidence the disclosed verses against them before their Lord.
وَإِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ قَالُوا أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَاجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٧٦﴾
2:76 When they (the open-minded Israelites) meet the faithful, they say, ‘We believe’. And when they (the Israelites) are alone with one another, they say, ‘Do you inform them (believers) of what Allah has revealed to you (about the advent of the Holy Prophet, his traits and characteristics in Torah), so that they (believers) may argue with you therewith before your Lord? Do you not exercise your reason?’
The Israelites had the misconception that whatever is hidden from others would be hidden from God as well! The verse 2:77 refutes that ideology and asserts that Allah knows what one conceals and discloses.
أَوَلَا يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ﴿٧٧﴾
2:77 Do they not know that Allah knows whatever they hide and whatever they disclose.
True Awaiting: Why did the Children of Israel withdraw their support from the Prophet after many years of waiting for his arrival? After all, they were praying for the coming of the Prophet in order to gain victory over the disbelievers. In addition, his book, traits, and characteristics were in agreement with their sacred books. What was the root cause of their aversion from the Prophet? The answer to this question might help Muslims today to avoid repeating the same mistake. Was it their moral blindness or conflicts of interest with the Words of God?

Although the immediate argument applies to the Children of Israel in Medina, the more general arguments applies to Muslims in particular. Very often, we conceal the truth and historical evidence to either advance or protect our ego, self-interest, ideology, identity, etc. Do we not realize that nothing is hidden from Allah (SWT) and concealing the truth would be used against us on the Day of Judgment?

Word-for-Word Translation:
2:75 Do you covet (أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ) that (أَن) they will believe (يُؤْمِنُوا) in you (لَكُمْ) while indeed (وَقَدْ) used to (كَانَ) a group (فَرِيقٌ) of them (مِّنْهُمْ) hear (يَسْمَعُونَ) the words of Allah (كَلَامَ اللَّـهِ) then (ثُمَّ) they change it (يُحَرِّفُونَهُ) after (مِن بَعْدِ) what (مَا) they understood it (عَقَلُوهُ) and they (وَهُمْ) know (يَعْلَمُونَ)
2:76 and when (وَإِذَا) they meet (لَقُوا) those who (الَّذِينَ) believe (آمَنُوا) they say (قَالُوا) we believe (آمَنَّا) but when (وَإِذَا) meet privately (خَلَا) some of them (بَعْضُهُمْ) with (إِلَىٰ) some others (بَعْضٍ) they say (قَالُوا) shall you tell them (أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم) what (بِمَا) revealed (disclosed) Allah (فَتَحَ اللَّـهُ) to you (عَلَيْكُمْ) so that they argue with you (لِيُحَاجُّوكُم) therewith (بِهِ) before (عِندَ) your Lord (رَبِّكُمْ) do not then (أَفَلَا) you understand (تَعْقِلُونَ)
2:77 Do not (أَوَلَا) they know (يَعْلَمُونَ) that (أَنَّ) Aallh (اللَّـهَ) knows (يَعْلَمُ) what (مَا) they conceal (يُسِرُّونَ) and what (وَمَا) they reveal (يُعْلِنُونَ).

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