Refusal to Repent – Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:58-59) / By: Mohammad Sobhanie

SHARE

Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:58-59)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Refusal to Repent

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا ادْخُلُوا هَـٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ رَغَدًا وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ نَّغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطَايَاكُمْ ۚ وَسَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿٥٨﴾ فَبَدَّلَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا قَوْلًا غَيْرَ الَّذِي قِيلَ لَهُمْ فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾

Translation: And when We (Allah) said (to the Children of Israel), “Enter this town and eat thereof freely whencesoever you wish; [but] enter while prostrating at the gate and say ‘‘Hittatun” [O! Allah, Relieve us of the burden of our sins]. So that We may forgive your iniquities and add to the rewards of the righteous ones.”
But the transgressors changed the word with other than what they were told. So We sent down on the transgressors a plague from the sky because they infringed (Our command) repeatedly.
Commentary: After forty years of roving in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula, the Children of Israel, under the leadership of Yusha-ibn-Nun (Joshua), eventually defeated the Amalekites and entered Jericho and other nearby cities. This victory brought the Israelites access to urban amenities and enjoyment of the Holy Land’s delightful foods.
In the hours of triumph and glory, Allah (SWT) directed the Children of Israel to implore for divine forgiveness by saying the word “hittatun” [Arabic: (وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ)] as they entered through the gate of city with humility [Arabic: (وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا)]. The word “hittatun” is a plea for divine forgiveness. Allah (SWT) promised to accept their prayers in His mercy: His mercy forgives sinners’ iniquities, and increases the rewards of the righteous ones.
However, some of the Israelites refused to utter the word “hittatun” properly and instead said a different word mockingly. Thus, open defiance and infringement upon the command of Allah (SWT) [Arabic: (بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ)] was eventually brought down upon the transgressors [Arabic: (الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا)] in the form of divine torment from the heaven [Arabic: (رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ)]:
فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
So We sent down on the transgressors a plague from the sky because they infringed (Our command) repeatedly.
A more general lesson may be drawn from this verse; divine punishment awaits those who change the word of Allah (SWT) and nature of His creation, “Ftrat” [Arabic: (فطرت)], to some other form than the original presentation.
Appendix_1: The word of “Qaryah” [Arabic: (قریه)] today is used for a village, whereas the Qur’an uses it for any place that people are gathered to live in, whether it is a city, town, or village. In here, it refers to a town in the Holy Land [Arabic: (الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ)].
Note, the above verses (2:58-59) may be compared with verses 7:161-162. In verse 2:58, we have “enter the town” [Arabic: (ادْخُلُوا هَـٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ)] and in 7:161 we have “dwell in this town” [Arabic: (اسْكُنُوا هَـٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ)]. Also, in verse 2:59 we have:
فَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
So We sent down on the transgressors a plague from the sky because they infringed (Our command) repeatedly,
Whereas in verse 7:162 we have:
فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَظْلِمُونَ ﴿١٦٢﴾
So We sent against them a plague from the sky because of the transgression they used to commit.
Appendix_2: The Arabic word “Rijz” [Arabic: (رِجْزًا)] means torment. Nevertheless, some translate it to plague. This may be due to a narration that the Prophet (SAW) said that preceding nations were punished with a plague.
قال النّبيّ- صلى اللّه عليه و آله‏- في الطّاعون‏: إِنَّهُ رِجْزٌ عُذِّبَ بِهِ بَعْضُ الْأُمَمِ ‏ الّذين‏ قَبْلَکُمْ ‏.
The word, “Rijz”, also means defilement, as in verse Al-Anfal 8:11
وَيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمْ رِجْزَ الشَّيْطَانِ
To repel from you the defilement of Satan

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here