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Surah Al Baqra Verses 111-120

111 And they say: "None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful."

112 Nay whoever submits his whole self to Allah and is a doer of good he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear nor shall they grieve. 114 115

113 The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon"; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (to stand) upon." Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. 116

114 And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah Allah's name should be celebrated? Whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world and in the world to come an exceeding torment. 117

115 To Allah belong the East and the West; whithersoever ye turn there is the presence of Allah. For Allah is All-Pervading All-Knowing. 118

116 They say: "Allah hath begotten a son"; Glory be to Him. Nay to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth; everything renders worship to Him. 119

117 To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth; when He decreeth a matter He saith to it: "Be"; and it is. 120

118 Say those without knowledge: "Why speaketh not Allah unto Us? Or why cometh not unto Us a sign?" So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike. We have indeed made clear the signs unto any people who hold firmly to faith (in their hearts).

119 Verily We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner. But of thee no question shall be asked of Companions of the blazing fire.

120 Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: "The guidance of Allah that is the (only) guidance." Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee then wouldst thou find neither protector nor helper against Allah.


Commentry:

114 The word translated "self" is Wajh, a comprehensive Arabic word. It means (1) literally "face" but it may imply (2) countenance or favour, as in xcii. 20; (3) honour, glory, Presence as applied to God, as in ii. 115 and perhaps also in lv. 27; (4) cause, sake ("for the sake of") as in lxxvi 8; (5) the first part, the beginning as in iii. 71; (6) nature, inner being, essence, self, as in v. 111, xxviii 88, and perhaps also in lv. 27. Here I understand meaning 6; the face expresses the personality or the whole inner self of man. (2.112)

115 This phrase comes in aptly in its own context many times. In this Sura it occurs in 11, 38, 62, 112, 262, 274, and 277. It serves the same purpose as a refrain in a very well-arranged song, or a motif in Wagner's powerful music. (2.112)

116 It is a sure sign of ignorance and prejudice when you study the same book as another or a similar one and yet are absolutely intolerant of the meaning which the other draws from it. You should know better, but you speak like the ignorant. In this case the primary reference in the word "ignorant" may be to the Pagan Arabs. (2.113)

117 There were actually Pagans in Mecca who tried to shut out the Muslim Arabs from the Ka'ba, the universal place of Arab worship. The Pagans themselves called it the House of God. With what face could they exclude the Muslims, who wanted to worship the true God instead of worshipping idols? If these Pagans had succeeded, they would only have caused violent divisions among the Arabs and destroyed the sanctity and the very existence of the Ka'ba. (2.114)

118 The word translated "Presence" is Wajh, literally "face." - See note to ii. 112 above. (2.115)

119 It is a derogation from the glory of God - in fact it is blasphemy - to say that God begets sons, like a man or an animal. The Christian doctrine is here emphatically repudiated. If words have any meaning, it would mean an attribution of God of a material nature, and of the lower animal functions of sex. In a spiritual sense, we are all children of God. And all Creation celebrates His glory. Verse 117 should be read with this to complete the argument. (2.116)

120 The previous verse told us that everything in heaven and earth celebrates the glory of God. Lest anyone should think that the heavens and the earth were themselves primeval and eternal, we are now told that they themselves are creatures of God's will and design. Cf vi. 102, where the word bada'a is used as here for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and khalaqa is used for the creation of all things. Bada'a goes back to the very primal beginning, as far as we can conceive it. The materialists might say that primeval matter was eternal; other things, i.e., the forms and shapes as we see them now, were called into being at some time or other, and will perish. When they perish, they dissolve into primeval matter again, which stands as the base of all existence. We go further back. We say that if we postulate such primeval matter, it owes its origin itself to God Who is the final basis of existence, the Cause of all Causes. If this is conceded, we proceed to argue that the process of Creation is not then completed. "All things in the heavens and on the earth" are created by gradual processes. In "things" we include abstract as well as material things. We see the abstract things and ideas actually growing before us. But that also is God's creation, to which we can apply the word khalaqa, for in it is involved the idea of measuring, fitting it into a scheme of other things. Cf. liv. 49; also xxv. 59. Here comes in what we know as the process of evolution. On the other hand, the "amr" (=Command, Direction, Design) is a single thing, unrelated to Time, "like the twinkling of an eye" (liv. 50). Another word to note in this connection is ja'ala "making" which seems to imply new shapes and forms, new dispositions, as the making of the Signs of the Zodiac in the heavens, or the setting out of the sun and moon for light, or the establishment of the succession of day and night (xxv 61-62). A further process with regard to the soul is described in the word sawwa, bringing it to perfection (xci. 7) but this we shall discuss in its place. Fatara (xlii. 11) implies, like bada'a, the creating of a thing out of nothing and after no preexisting similitude, but perhaps fatara implies the creation of primeval matter to which further processes have to be applied later, as when one prepares dough but leaves the leavining to be done after. Badaa (without the 'ain), xxx. 27, implies beginning the process of creation; this is made further clear in xxxii. 7 where the beginning of the creation of pristine man from clay refers to his physical body, leaving the further processes of reproduction and the breathing in of the soul to be described in subsequent verses. Lastly, baraa is creation implying liberation from pre-existing matter or circumstance, e.g, man's body from clay (lix. 24) or a calamity from previously existing circumstances (lvii. 22). See also vi. 94, n. 916; vi. 98, n. 923; lix. 24, nn. 5405-6. (2.117)

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