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Surah Al Baqra Verses 191-200

191 And slay them wherever ye catch them and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. 205 206

192 But if they cease Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.

193 And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. 207 208

194 The prohibited month for the prohibited month and so for all things prohibited there is the law of equality. If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves. 209 210

195 And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good. 211

196 And complete the Hajj or `Umra in the service of Allah. But if ye are prevented (from completing it) send an offering for sacrifice such as ye may find and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving) (he should) in compensation either fast or feed the poor or offer sacrifice; and when ye are in peaceful conditions (again) if anyone wishes to continue the 'Umra on to the Hajj he must make an offering such as he can afford it he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah and know that Allah is strict in punishment. 212 213 214 215 216

197 For Hajj are the months well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein let there be no obscenity nor wickedness nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me O ye that are wise.! 217 218

198 It is no crime in you if ye seek of the bounty of your Lord (during Pilgrimage). Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument and celebrate His praises as He has directed you even though before this ye went astray. 219 220 221

199 Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude so to do and ask for Allah's forgiveness. For Allah is Oft Forgiving Most Merciful. 222

200 So when ye have accomplished your holy rites celebrate the praises of Allah as ye used to celebrate the praises of your fathers yea with far more heart and soul. There are men who say: "Our Lord! give us (thy bounties) in this world!" but they will have no portion in the hereafter. 223 224


Commentry:

205 This passage is illustrated by the events that happened at Hudaibiya in the sixth year of the Hijra, though it is not clear that it was revealed on that occasion. The Muslims were by this time a strong and influential community. Many of them were exiles from Mecca, where the Pagans had established an intolerant autocracy, persecuting Muslims, preventing them from visiting their homes, and even keeping them out by force from performing the Pilgrimage during the universally recognised period of truce. This was intolerance, oppression, and autocracy to the last degree, and the mere readiness of the Muslims to enforce their rights as Arab citizens resulted without bloodshed in an agreement which the Muslims faithfully observed. The Pagans, however, had no scruples in breaking faith, and it is unnecessary here to go into subsequent events. (2.191)

206 Suppress faith: in the narrower as well as the larger sense. If they want forcibly to prevent you from exercising your sacred rites, they have declared war on your religion, and it would be cowardice to ignore the challenge or to fail in rooting out the tyranny. (2.191)

207 Justice and faith. The Arabic word is Din, which is comprehensive. It implies the ideas of indebtedness, duty, obedience, judgment, justice, faith, religion, customary rites, etc. The clause means: "until there is Din for God." (2.193)

208 If the opposite party cease to persecute you, your hostility ends with them as a party, but it does not mean, that you become friends to oppression. Your fight is against wrong; there should be no rancour against men. (2.193)

209 Haram - prohibited, sacred. The month of Pilgrimage (Zul-hajj) was a sacred month, in which warfare was prohibited by Arab custom. The month preceding (Zul-qad) and the month following (Muharram) were included in the prohibition, and Muharram was specially called al-Haram. Possibly Muharram is meant in the first line, and the other months and other prohibited things in "all things prohibited". In Rajab, also, war was prohibited. If the pagan enemies of Islam broke that custom and made war in the prohibited months, the Muslims were free also to break that custom but only to the same extent as the other broke it. Similarly the territory of Mecca was sacred, in which war was prohibited. If the enemies of Islam broke that custom, the Muslims were free to do so to that extent. Any convention is useless if one party does not respect it. There must be a law of equality. Or perhaps the word reciprocity may express it better. (2.194)

210 At the same time the Muslims are commanded to exercise self-restraint as much as possible. Force is a dangerous weapon. It may have to be used for self-defence or self-preservation, but we must always remember that self-restraint is pleasing in the eyes of God. Even when we are fighting, it should be for a principle, not out of passion. (2.194)

211 Every fight requires the wherewithals for the fight, the "sinews of war". If the war is just and in the cause of God, all who have wealth must spend it freely. That may be their contribution to the Cause, in addition to their personal effort, or if for any reason they are unable to fight. If they hug their wealth, perhaps their own hands are helping in their own self destruction. Or if their wealth is being spent, not in the Cause of God, but in something which pleases their fancy, it may be that the advantage goes to the enemy, and they are by their action helping their own destruction. In all things, their standard should be, not selfishness, but the good of their brethren, for such good is pleasing to God. (2.195)

212 See ii. 158, n. 161. The Hajj is the complete pilgrimage, of which the chief rites are during the first ten days of the month of Zul-hajj. The umra is a less formal pilgrimage at any time of the year. In either case, the intending pilgrim commences by putting on a simple garment of unsewn cloth in two pieces when he is some distance yet from Mecca. The putting on of the pilgrim garb (ihram) is symbolical of his renouncing the vanities of the world. After this and until the end of the pilgrimage he must not wear other clothes, or ornaments, anoint his hair, use perfumes, hunt, or do other prohibited acts. The completion of the pilgrimage is symbolised by the shaving of the head for men, and the cutting off of a few locks of the hair of the head for women, the putting off of the ihram and the resumption of the ordinary dress. (2.196)

213 If any one is taken ill after putting on the ihram, so that he has to put on other clothes, or if he has trouble or skin disease in his head or insects in his hair, and he has to shave his head before completion, he should fast (three days, say the Commentators), or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice. (2.196)

214 When this was revealed, the city of Mecca was in the hands of the enemies of Islam, and the regulations about the fighting and the pilgrimage came together and were interconnected. But the revelation provides, as always, for the particular occasion, and also for normal conditions. Mecca soon passed out of the hands of the enemies of Islam. People sometimes came long distances to Mecca before the pilgrimage season began. Having performed the umra, they stayed on for the formal Hajj. In case the pilgrim had spent his money, he is shown what he can do, rich or poor, and yet hold his head high among his fellows, as having performed all rites as prescribed. (2.196)

215 For residents in Mecca the question does not arise. They are there every day, and there is no question of umra for them. (2.196)

216 This closes the section about the duties of fighting and introduces the connected question of pilgrimage in a sort of transition. Fighting is connected with fear, and while it is meritorious to obey God, we are warned that we must not allow our selfish passions to carry us away, because it is in such times of stress that our spirit is tested. Verse 195 ended with a benediction for those who do good. This verse ends with a warning to those who take advantage of God's cause to transgress the limits, for the punishment is equally sure. The next verse shows us the pitfalls we must avoid in a large concourse of people. (2.196)

217 The months well known: the months of Shawwal, Zul-qa'da, and Zul-hijja (up to the 10th or the 13th) are set apart for the rites of Hajj. That is to say, the first rites may begin as early as the beginning of Shawwal, with a definite approach to Mecca, but the chief rites are concentrated on the first ten days of Zul-hijja, and specially on the 8th, 9th and 10th of that month, when the concourse of pilgrims reaches its height. The chief rites may be briefly enumerated: (1) the wearing of the pilgrim garment (ihram) from certain points definitely fixed on all the roads to Mecca; after this the pilgrimage prohibitions come into operation and the pilgrim is dedicated to worship and prayer and the denial of vanities: (2) the going round the Ka'ba seven times (tawaf), typifying activity, with the kissing of the little Black Stone built into the wall, the symbol of concentration in the love of God; (3) After a short prayer at the Station of Abraham (Q. ii. 125), the pilgrim goes to the hills Safa and Marwa (Q. ii. 158), the symbols of patience and perserverance; (4) the great Sermon (Khutba) on the 7th of Zul-hijja, when the whole assembly listens to an exposition of the meaning of Hajj; (5) the visit on the eighth, of the whole body of pilgrims to the Valley of Mina (about six miles north of Mecca), where the pilgrims halt and stay the night, proceeding on the ninth to the plain and hill of Arafat, about five miles further north, which commemorates the reunion of Adam and Eve after their wanderings, and is also called the Mount of Mercy; (6) the tenth day, the Id Day, the day of Sacrifice, when the sacrifice is offered in the Valley of Mina, and the symbolic ceremony of casting seven stones at the Evil One is performed on the first occasion; it is continued on subsequent days; both rites are connected with the story of Abraham; this is the Id-ul-Adhha; note that the ceremony is symbolically connected with the rejection of evil in thought, word, and deed. This closes the Pilgrimage, but a stay of two or three days after this is recommended, and this is called Tashriq. (2.197)

218 It is recommended that pilgrims should come with provisions, so that they should not be compelled to resort to begging. But, as usual, our thought is directed at once from the physical to the spiritual. If provisions are required for a journey on earth, how much more important to provide for the final journey into the future world? The best of such provisions is right conduct, which is the same as the fear of God. (2.197)

219 Legitimate trade is allowed, in the interests both of the honest trader, who can thus meet his own expenses, and of the generality of pilgrims, who would otherwise be greatly inconvenienced for the necessaries of life. But the profit must be sought as from the "bounty of God". There should be no profiteering, or trade "tricks". Good honest trade is a form of service to the community, and therefore to God. (2.198)

220 About midway between Arafat and Mina (see n. 217 to ii. 197) is a place called Muzdalifa where the Holy Apostle offered up a long prayer. It has thus become a Sacred Monument and pilgrims are directed to follow that example on their return. A special reason for this is given in the note following. (2.198)

221 Certain arrogant tribes living in Mecca used not to go to Arafat with the crowd but to stop short at Muzdalifa. They are rebuked for their arrogance and told that they must perform all the rites like the rest of the pilgrims. There is equality in Islam. (2.198)

222 See the last note. Towards the end of the Pilgrimage the crowd is very great, and if any people loitered after Arafat, it would cause great confusion and inconvenience. The pace has therefore to be quick for every one, a very salutary regulation. Every member of the crowd must think of the comfort and convenience of the whole mass. (2.199)

223 After the Pilgrimage, in Pagan times, the pilgrims used to gather in assemblies in which the praises of ancestors were sung. As the whole of the pilgrimage rites were spiritualised in Islam, so this aftermath of the pilgrimage was also spiritualised. It was recommended for pilgrims to stay on two or three days after the pilgrimage, but they must use them in prayer and praise to God. See ii. 203 below. (2.200)

224 If you hasten to get all the good things of the world, and only think of them and pray for them, you would lose the higher things of the future. The proper Muslim attitude is neither to renounce this would nor to be so engrossed in it as to forget the spiritual future. (2.200)

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