Seeking for an Excuses: Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:97-98) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:97-98)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Seeking for an Excuses
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٩٧﴾ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٩٨﴾
Translation:
2:97 Say, ‘Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel (should know that) it is he who has brought it (the Quran) down on your heart with the will of Allah, confirming what has been (revealed) before it and as a guidance and good news for the faithful.’
2:98 [Say,] ‘Whoever is an enemy of Allah, His angels and His apostles and Gabriel and Michael, [let him know that] Allah is the enemy of the faithless.’

Commentary: Ibn Suriya [Arabic: (ابن صوریا)] was a scholar of the scriptures. He, along with a group of Israelites who lived in Fadek [Arabic: (فدک)], met the Prophet (SAW) in Medina. In the meeting, Ibn Suriya asked the Prophet a few questions to assess the authenticity of the Prophet’s claim on his prophecy. Amongst his question was, “O Mohammad! How do you sleep? Because we have been told in our scriptures about the sleep of the foretold prophet?” The Prophet replied, “’My eyes sleep while my heart is awake.”
تَنامُ عَیْناى وَ قَلْبِى یَقْظان!
He confirmed the Prophet’s answer (see the appendix for a possible interpretation). Then, Ibn Suriya asked him about his Lord. Allah (SWT) then revealed Chapter 112, which reads:
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿١﴾ اللَّـهُ الصَّمَدُ ﴿٢﴾ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ﴿٣﴾ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ﴿٤﴾
Say, ‘He is Allah, the One & unique 2) Allah is He on Whom all depend. 3) He begets (produces) not, nor is He begotten (being produced). 4) And none is like Him.
Finally, Ibn Suriya said that they would believe in the Prophet if the Prophet named the angel of revelation. The Prophet replied “Gabriel (Jibreel)”.
Ibn Suriya replied, “Gabriel is our enemy; he brings the order of fighting, hardship and war, while the angel Michael (Mikail) brings comfort and happiness.” Ibn Suriya asserted that he would believe in the Prophet had Michael was the angel of revelation. After this point, the meeting ended on a sour note [Al-Mizan, vol.1 , P346, L20 and Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol.1, P360].
Ibn Suriya refused to believe in the Prophet’s prophecy on the pretext that the Prophet’s angel of revelation was Gabriel. The Quran criticizes Ibn Suriya’s decision using the following arguments: [Al-Mizan, Vol.1, P.345]:
First: Gabriel revealed the Qur’an to the heart of the Prophet with Allah’s permission [بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ], not by his own will. Therefore, even if Ibn Suriya felt animosity towards Gabriel, it should not have prevented him from believing in the Prophet.
Second: The Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) prophesied the traits and characteristics of the foretold prophet, which matched the Prophet’s personality and signs of prophecy [مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ]. If Ibn Suriya truly believed in the scriptures, then he should have believed in the Prophet, regardless of his personal feelings towards Gabriel.
Third: The Qur’an is the book of guidance and good news for the believers. Hence, Ibn Suriya’s decision should have been based on merits of the Quran, not his feelings!
Within this context, the verses of 2:97-98 were revealed:
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ …………﴿٩٧﴾
2:97 Say, ‘Whoever is an enemy of Gabrie,
…..فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٩٧﴾
2:97 …it is he who has brought it (the Quran) down on your heart with the will of Allah, confirming what has been [revealed] before it (the Quran) and as a guidance and good news for the faithful.

At the end, the verse warns that “Whoever is an enemy of Allah, His angels and His apostles and Gabriel and Michael” he is a disbeliever. Let it be known that “Allah is the enemy of disbelievers” [ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ].
مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٩٨﴾

Appendix: The Prophet (SAW) said that his heart was awake even in sleep. Here, heart implies the “spiritual heart”, which is the spirit and nonphysical dimensions of a human being. The phrase “his heart was awake even in sleep,” means that the Prophet was always cognizant of God’s noble and sublime status, even when his physical body was at rest. This is explained as follows:
Explanation-I: The Prophet (SAW) was in full control of his thoughts and mind, even in his sleep. For instance, he was free from false dreams.
For instance, the Prophet saw in his dream that he was going for the pilgrimage of Hajj when the city of Mecca was under control of the idolaters. The Prophet was so confident about his dream that he enthusiastically shared it with the Muslims of Medina, and asked them to join him for the pilgrimage of Hajj. The Prophet’s dream came true in the year of seventh Hijri (see commentary 2:23, Part-3).
Similarly, Prophet Ibrahim saw in his dream that he was sacrificing his son, Ismael. He was so confident of his dream that he shared it with his son. In turn, the son was so certain about his father’s dream that he replied to his father “O Father! Do whatever you have been commanded” [in your dream].
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿١٠٢﴾
37:102 When he (Ismael) was old enough to assist in his endeavor, he (Ibrahim) said, ‘My son! I see in dreams that I am sacrificing you. See what you think.’ He said, ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.’

Explanation-II: The Prophet (SAW) was cognizant of God’s noble status even when his physical body was resting. When a soul transcends to the nearness of Allah (SWT) to such an extent, like the soul of the Prophet (SAW), worldly needs – even natural human instincts such as sleep – cannot make him oblivious from the noble and sublime status of Allah (SWT).
This experience perhaps is like the experience of an individual who is with his friend. One does not need to remind himself that he is with his friend; that awareness come naturally. Similarly, the awareness of God’s presence comes naturally to the friends of Allah (SWT). The natural remembrance of God manifests itself in our daily prayers.
Friends of God are fully attentive and focused in their daily prayers as they sense the presence of God, similar to sensing the constant presence of a friend. However, our imagination tends to takes over during our daily prayers and we lose our focus and connection with Allah (SWT), because we do not see ourselves in the presence of God as genuine friends of God do.

Word-for-Word Translation:
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٩٧﴾ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٩٨﴾

2: 98 [قُلْ] say [مَن] whosoever [كَانَ] is [عَدُوًّا] enemy [لِّجِبْرِيلَ] to Gabriel [فَإِنَّهُ] for indeed he [نَزَّلَهُ] brought it [عَلَىٰ] to [قَلْبِكَ] your heart [بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ] by permission of Allah [مُصَدِّقًا] confirming [لِّمَا] what (came) [بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ] before it [وَهُدًى] and guidance [وَبُشْرَىٰ] and glad tidings [لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ] for the believers
2:99 [مَن] whoever [ كَانَ] is [عَدُوًّا] enemy [لِّلَّـهِ] to Allah [وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ] and His angels [وَرُسُلِهِ] and His Messengers [وَجِبْرِيلَ] and Gabriel [وَمِيكَالَ] and Michael [فَإِنَّ] then verily [اللَّـهَ] Allah [عَدُوٌّ] is enemy [لِّلْكَافِرِينَ] to the disbelievers

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