Parables in the Quran / Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:26) – Mohammad Sobhanie

Shafaqna (International Shia News Agency)

Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:26)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie


Parables in the Quran


بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّـهُ بِهَـٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ ﴿٢٦﴾

Translation: Surely Allah is not ashamed to cite a parable of a mosquito or of something even more insignificant than this.

As for those who have faith, they know it is the truth from their Lord; and as for the faithless, they say: “What did Allah mean by this parable?”

Thereby (by that means; as a result of that) He leads many astray, and thereby He guides many; and He leads no one astray thereby except the transgressors.

Commentary: Parables are stories or examples that provide a moral or spiritual lesson. The Quran uses parables in a variety form to cover many themes.

Some parables in the Quran draw comparisons between two simple subjects, such as one’s choice of words and a tree’s fruits.  Good words are likened in the Quran to trees that produce delicious fruits in every season, in contrast to malicious words that are like trees with bitter fruits (14:24-27).

Parables are also used to explain complex topics, such as the virgin birth of Prophet Jesus (pbuh). When the Christians of Najaran claimed that Prophet Jesus was the son of God, the Quran compared the birth of Prophet Jesus with the creation of Prophet Adam by stating:

“Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was” (3:59).

The Prophet Adam (pbuh) was admittedly borne without any father or mother, but the Christian did not believe him to be a son of God. So someone’s birth without father does not prove that he is a son of God.

The Quran uses parables to elucidate the faulty logic and beliefs of non-believers.  Prior to the rise of Islam, the Bedouin tribes of Arabia worshiped idols and believed them to be gods. The Quran states an example that these false Gods can neither create a fly nor can they defend against a fly (22:73).

This example emphasized the inability of idols to defend against gnat in order to challenge the nonbelievers’ worship of these feeble creatures.

While rationale people can comprehend this parable, the proud and stubborn would ridicule it and question its intent.  The Quran replies that “Indeed Allah does not, for the sake of explanation, shy to illustrate an example of anything, whether it is that of a gnat or even something further (inferior) to that.”  (2:26)

Parables are an important aspect of the teachings of the Quran.  They guide open-minded individuals towards the truth but add to the stubbornness of those who deliberately reject divine guidance.


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