Reverence of the Prophet (SAW):

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:104-105)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Reverence of the Prophet (SAW)
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقُولُوا رَاعِنَا وَقُولُوا انظُرْنَا وَاسْمَعُوا ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿١٠٤﴾ مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴿١٠٥﴾
Translation:
2:104: O you who have faith! Do not say Ra‘ina, but say Unzurna, and listen! And there is a painful punishment for the faithless.
2:105 Neither the faithless from among the People of the Book nor the idolaters like that any good be showered on you from your Lord; but Allah singles out for His mercy whomever He wishes, and Allah is dispenser of a mighty grace.

Commentary: In the era of the Prophet (SAW), there were no electronic recording devices; hence, the Prophet’s companions had to memorize verses of the Quran and the Prophet’s points of wisdom as he spoke; this was not an easy task for everyone. Therefore, the Prophet’s companions occasionally told him, “Ra’ina” [Arabic 🙁 رَاعِنَا)], as he was speaking. This suggested to the Prophet to either pause or slow down the pace of his speech so the Prophet’s companions could memorize his words and learn what he was saying by heart.

The word “Ra’ina” [Arabic 🙁 رَاعِنَا)] means, “being thoughtful and considerate of us” in the native language of the Arabian Peninsula, whereas it was a word of profane and foul language in the dialect of the descendants of the children of Israel who lived in Medina.

A group of hypocrites exploited the difference in meaning of “Ra’ina” and, in the same way as the believers, addressed the Prophet with the word “Ra’ina”. They pretended that they meant, “O! Prophet be considerate of us.” But in reality, they were defaming and insulting the Prophet.

To avert the appearance of any disrespect and insult to the noble personality and character of the Holy Prophet, Allah (SWT) commanded believers to use the word “Unzurna” [Arabic: (انظُرْنَا)] instead, which has the same connotation as “Ra’ina” [Arabic 🙁 رَاعِنَا)]: “Please be considerate of us”.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقُولُوا رَاعِنَا وَقُولُوا انظُرْنَا….. ﴿١٠٤﴾
2:104: O you who have faith! Do not say Ra‘ina, but say Unzurna,

The verse continues and says, “Listen and be aware!” Disrespect to the Holy Prophet is blasphemy [كُفْرِ], and a painful punishment awaits disbelievers [وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ]:
…. وَاسْمَعُوا ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿١٠٤﴾
2:104: …..and listen! And there is a painful punishment for the faithless.

The next verse reveals the idolaters [الْمُشْرِكِينَ] and a group of disbelievers from the People of the Book [الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ] cherish a heart of malice towards the believers and wish no prosperity whatsoever ever reaches them. But Allah (SWT) is dispenser of a mighty grace and He showers His mercy to whom He pleases:

مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴿١٠٥﴾
2:105 Neither the faithless from among the People of the Book nor the idolaters like that any good be showered on you from your Lord; but Allah singles out for His mercy whomever He wishes, and Allah is dispenser of a mighty grace.

Appendix:
The word “ra’ina” [Arabic 🙁 رَاعِنَا)] comes from the word “arra’a” [Arabic: (الرعى)], which means, “to give respite”. In the dialect of the descendants of the Children of Israel, the same word comes from the word “ar-ra’unah” [Arabic: (الرعونه)], which means “foolishness”. Hence, the word [Arabic 🙁 رَاعِنَا)] for native people of Arabia meant, “Wait for us” and in the dialect of the Children of Israel meant, “Make fool[s] of us”, [Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol. 1, P. 384]

Word-for-Word Translation:
2:104 [يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ] O you who [آمَنُوا] believe [لَا] do not [تَقُولُوا] say (to Prophet) [رَاعِنَا] Ra’ina [وَقُولُوا] but say [انظُرْنَا] please look upon us [وَاسْمَعُوا] and listen [وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ] and for disbelievers is [عَذَابٌ] torment [أَلِيمٌ] painful
2:105 [مَّا] do not [ يَوَدُّ] like [الَّذِينَ] those who [كَفَرُوا] disbelieve [مِنْ] among [أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ] the People of the Scriptures [وَلَا] nor [الْمُشْرِكِينَ] polytheists [أَن] that [يُنَزَّلَ] should be sent down [عَلَيْكُم] upon you [مِّنْ خَيْرٍ] any good [مِّنْ] from [رَّبِّكُمْ] your Lord [وَاللَّـهُ] but Allah [يَخْتَصُّ] chooses [بِرَحْمَتِهِ] for His Mercy [مَن] whom [يَشَاءُ] He wills [ وَاللَّـهُ] and Allah [ذُو] is owner of [الْفَضْلِ] Bounty [الْعَظِيمِ] Great

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