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Surah Al Baqra Verses 91-100

91 When it is said to them: "believe in what Allah hath sent down" they say "We believe in what was sent down to us"; yet they reject all besides even if it be truth confirming what is with them. Say: "Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by if ye did indeed believe?" 96

92 There came to you Moses with clear (Signs); yet ye worshipped the Calf (even) after that and ye did behave wrongfully.

93 And remember We took your Covenant and We raised above you (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai) (saying): "Hold firmly to what We have given you and hearken (to the Law)"; they said: "We hear and we disobey"; and they had to drink into their hearts (of the taint) of the calf because of their faithlessness. Say: "Vile indeed are the behests of your faith if ye have any faith!" 97 98 99

94 Say: "If the last Home with Allah be for you specially and not for anyone else then seek ye for death if ye are sincere."

95 But they will never seek for death on account of the (sins) which their hands have sent on before them. And Allah is well acquainted with the wrong-doers. 100

96 Thou wilt indeed find them of all people most greedy of life even more than the idolaters; each one of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years; but the grant of such life will not save him from (due) punishment for Allah sees well all that they do.

97 Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will a confirmation of what went before and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe. 101

98 Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and apostles to Gabriel and Michael Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject faith.

99 We have sent down to thee manifest signs (ayat); and none reject them but those who are perverse.

100 Is it not (the case) that every time they make a Covenant some party among them throw it aside? - Nay most of them are faithless.


Commentry:

96 Even the race argument is often flimsy and hollow pretext. Did not the Jews reject Prophets of their own race who told them unpleasant truths? And do not other nations do likewise? The real trouble is selfishness, narrowness, a mean dislike of anything which runs counter to habits, cutoms or inclinations. (2.91)

97 Cf. the introductory words of ii. 63 which are the same as the introductory words here but the argument is developed in a different direction in the two places. In ii. 63, after they are reminded of the solemn Covenant under the towering height of Mount Sinai they are told how they broke the Covenant in after ages. Here, after they are reminded of the same solemn Covenant, they are told that even then they never meant to observe it. Their thought is expressed in biting words of sarcasm. They said in words: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do" But they said in their hearts: "We shall disobey". (2.93)

98 What they should have said was: "We hear and we obey" this is the attitude of the true men of Faith (ii. 285). (2.93)

99 After the Commandments and the Law had been given at Mount Sinai, and the people had solemnly given their Covenant, Moses went up to the Mount, and in his absence, the people made the golden calf. When Moses returned, his anger waxed hot. "He took the Calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it." (Exod. xxxii. 20). This incident is interpreted in the Qur-an allegorically. The Calf is the symbol of disobedience, rebellion, want of faith. It was like a taint of poison. Their punishment was to swallow the taint of poison which they had themselves produced. They swallowed it not into their stomachs, but into their hearts, their very being. They had to mortify and humble themselves in the sight of God, as was shown in another allegory based on the Jewish narrative (see ii. 54 and note, above). (2.93)

100 The phrase "What their hands have sent on before them" frequently occurs in the Qur-an. Here, and in many places, it refers to sins. In such passages as lxxviii. 40, or lxxxi. 14, it is implied that both good and bad deeds go before us to the judgement seat of God before we do ourselves. In ii. 110, it is the good that goes before us. Our deeds are personified. They are witnesses for or against us, and they always go before us. Their good or bad influence begins to operate before we even know it. This is more general than the New Testament idea in the First Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, v. 24: "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." (2.95)

101 A party of the Jews in the time of Muhammad ridiculed the Muslim belief that Gabriel brought down revelations to Muhammad Mustafa. Michael was called in their books "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people": (Daniel xiii. 1). The vision of Gabriel inspired fear (Daniel, viii. 16-17). But this pretence - that Michael was their friend and Gabriel their enemy - was merely a manifestation of their unbelief in angels, apostles, and God Himself; and such unbelief could not win the love of God. In any case it was disingenuous to say that they believed in one angel and not in another. Muhammad's inspiration was through visions of Gabriel. Muhammad had been helped to the highest spiritual light, and the message which he delivered and his spotless integrity and exemplary life were manifest Signs which every one could understand except those who were obstinate and perverse. Besides, the verses of the Qur-an were in themselves reasonable and clear. (2.97)

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