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Surah Al Baqra Verses 131-140

131 Behold! his Lord said to him: "Bow (thy will to me)" He said: "I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the universe."

132 And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob; "O my sons! Allah hath chosen the faith for you; then die not except in the faith of Islam."

133 Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold he said to his sons: "What will ye worship after me?" They said: "We shall worship thy Allah and the Allah of thy fathers of Abraham Isma`il and Isaac the one (true) Allah to Him we bow (in Islam)." 131 132

134 That was a People that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did and ye of what ye do! of their merits there is no question in your case! 133

135 They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the religion of Abraham the true and he joined not gods with Allah." 134

136 Say ye: "We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham Isma`il Isaac Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam)."

137 So if they believe as ye believe they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them and He is the All-Hearing the All- Knowing. 136

138 (Our religion is) the baptism of Allah; and who can baptize better than Allah? and it is He whom we worship. 137

139 Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that we are sincere (in our faith) in Him?

140 Or do ye say that Abraham Isma`il Isaac Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do! 138


Commentry:

131 The whole of the Children of Israel are called to witness one of their slogans, that they worshipped "the God of their fathers." The idea in their minds got narrowed down to that of a tribal God. But they are reminded that their ancestors had the principle of Islam in them - the worship of the One True and Universal God. The death-bed scene is described in Jewish tradition. (2.133)

132 "Fathers" means ancestors, and include uncles, grand-uncles, as well as direct ascendants. (2.133)

133 I have made a free paraphrase of what would read literally: "Ye shall not be asked about what they used to do." On the Day of Judgment each soul would have to answer for its own deeds: it cannot claim merit from others, nor be answerable for the crimes or sins of others. Here the argument is: if the Jews or Christians claim the merits of Father Abraham and the Patriarchs or of Jesus, we cannot follow them. Because there were righteous men in the past, it cannot help us unless we are ourselves righteous. The doctrine of personal responsibility is a cardinal feature of Islam. (2.134)

134 Hanif: inclined to right opinion, orthodox (in the literal meaning of the Greed words), firm in faith, sound and well-balanced, true. Perhaps the last word, True, sums up most of the other shades. (2.135)

136 We are thus in the true line of those who follow the one and indivisible Message of the One God, wherever delivered. If others narrow it or corrupt it, it is they who have left the faith and created a division or schism. But God sees and knows all. And He will protect His own, and His support will be infinitely more precious than the support which men can give. (2.137)

137 Sibgat: baptism: the root-meaning implies a dye or colour; apparently the Arab Christians mixed a dye or colour in the baptismal water, signifying that the baptized person got a new colour in life. We do not believe that it is necessary to be baptized to be saved. Our higher baptism is the "Baptism" of God, by which we take on a colour (sumbolically) of God, and absorb His goodness in us. (2.138)

138 The alternative is with the question in the last verse. Do you dispute with us although we worship the same God as you and claim that ours is the same religion as that of your ancestors? Or do you really assert that Abraham and his son and his sons' sons, who founded the Tribes long before Moses, followed your Jewish religion as you know it? History of course proves that claim absurd. If the Christians claim that these Patriarchs knew of and followed the teaching of Jesus, the claim is still more absurd, - except in the sense of Islam that God's teaching is one in all ages. (2.140)

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