Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:108)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
أَمْ تُرِيدُونَ أَن تَسْأَلُوا رَسُولَكُمْ كَمَا سُئِلَ مُوسَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ وَمَن يَتَبَدَّلِ الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ ﴿١٠٨﴾
2:108: Or do you want to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before (i.e. show us the Lord)? Whoever exchanges faith for disbelief, verily, he has strayed from the right path.
Commentary: Allah (SWT) has affirmed the divine mission of the Prophet (SAW) with the evidence of manifested signs and miracles. Amongst them are the Prophet (SAW) praiseworthy personality and the holy Quran, his noble and everlasting miracle.
Nevertheless, the idolaters of Mecca were looking for baseless excuses to trade faith to God and His messenger with disbelief [(يَتَبَدَّلِ الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ)]. For instance, they denied the Prophet’s mission with pretexts such as: he is not accompanied with an angle; he was neither wealthy nor he had a splendid garden, etc. [Chapter Al-Furgan 25:7-9 & Al-Isra, 17:90-96]
After the migration of the Prophet (SAW) to Medina, a group of novice Muslims continued to ask him for irrational and unjustified requests. The verse forbids believers from doing this, and it says: “Or do you want to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before (i.e. show us the Lord)?”
أَمْ تُرِيدُونَ أَن تَسْأَلُوا رَسُولَكُمْ كَمَا سُئِلَ مُوسَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ …….﴿١٠٨﴾
At the end the verse declares, those who are looking for a pretext to trade faith for disbelief have indeed strayed from the paths of logic and reason.
…… ۗ وَمَن يَتَبَدَّلِ الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ ﴿١٠٨﴾
2:108: ….. Whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has strayed from the right path.
An instance of an Irrational Request to Prophet Musa (AS) by the Israelites: Allah (SWT) called Prophet Musa to Mount Sinai1 so that he may receive the law of Tawrat (Torah). He took seventy witnesses from the Children of Israel2 on this journey3. During their stay, Allah (SWT) inscribed the divine tablets of law4 to Prophet Musa (AS), while his companions somehow witnessed this revelation of the divine words.
After witnessing this historical moment, the Children of Israel, instead of unequivocally believing in Prophet Musa (AS), said with arrogance, “O Musa, we will not believe [that] you [received the tablets of law from God] until we see Allah visibly.” This is an example of blatantly irrational demand!
وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَا مُوسَىٰ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ نَرَى اللَّـهَ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْكُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
2:55 When you argued with Moses, saying that you were not going to believe him unless you could see God with your own eyes, the swift wind struck you and you could do nothing but watch.
اللَّهُمَّ أَحْسِنْ عَاقِبَتَنَا فِي الْأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا وَأَجِرْنَا مِنْ خِزْيِ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابِ الْآخِرَة
Chapter Al-Furgan 25:7-9:
وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَـٰذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ ۙ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا ﴿٧﴾ أَوْ يُلْقَىٰ إِلَيْهِ كَنزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا …﴿٨﴾
25:7-9 They say, “Why does this Messenger eat food, and walk in the streets? Why has not an angel been sent to him so that they could preach the message together? Why has a treasure not been laid out for him or a garden from which he could eat been given to him.”
2:108 [أَمْ] or [تُرِيدُونَ] do you want [أَن] that [تَسْأَلُوا] you ask [رَسُولَكُمْ] your messenger [كَمَا] as [سُئِلَ] was asked [مُوسَىٰ] Moses [مِن قَبْلُ] before; [وَمَن] and whose [يَتَبَدَّلِ] changes [الْكُفْرَ] disbelief [بِالْإِيمَانِ] for faith [فَقَدْ] verily [ضَلَّ] he went astray from [سَوَاءَ] the even (straight) [السَّبِيلِ] way