The Qur’ānWith Sūrah Introductions and Appendices       Saheeh International Translation
The Qur’ānWith Sūrah Introductions and Appendices       Saheeh International Translation                   Edited by      ...
Published byMaktabah Booksellers and PublishersPO BOX 13976BirminghamB11 9DQUnited Kingdomwww.maktabah.netwww.quranproject...
CONTENTS PAGEIntroduction   .     .      .     .      .     .   .   .   .    5Editor’s Preface     .      .     .      .  ...
Sūrah 37: as-Sāffāt (Those Lined Up).     .   .   .   .   381Sūrah 38: Sād (Sād)     .     .      .    .   .   .   .   389...
Sūrah 81: at-Takweer (The Wrapping)        .     .   .   .   593Sūrah 82: al-Infitār (The Breaking Apart) .      .   .   ....
Appendices:     Introduction to the Study of the Qur’ān .   .     .      . 679     The Unique Qur’ānic Generation         ...
IntroductionThe Qur’ān is the word of the Ever-living God; it has been sent down to guide humanity forall times to come. N...
than anything, it is the only way to come nearer and closer to our Creator. It tells us of Him,of His attributes, of how H...
Editor’s PrefaceIn early 2007, a friend visited me at my home in Birmingham, UK. He was visually emotionaland asked if I c...
After explaining the importance of knowing the biography of the Prophet in order to deepenone’s understanding of the Qur’ā...
www.quranproject.orgThe website www.quranproject.org was setup to accompany the publication. Here readerswould be able to ...
10
Short Biography of Prophet MuhammadThe Prophet’s BirthMuhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, of the tribe of Qu...
proportioned. His companions would surround him, when he spoke they would listen at-tentively to his speech…”The First Rev...
Message of IslāmMost of the people of Makkah who had acclaimed him as the trustworthy (al-Amīn) andthe trustful (as-Sādiq)...
The opposition continued to harden and sharpen. It grew furious and ferocious. Thosewho joined the Prophet were tortured i...
Joy After SorrowIn quick succession, the Prophet had suffered the terrible loss of Khadījah, his intimateand beloved compa...
Plot to Murder the ProphetHence they hatched a conspiracy; one strong and well-connected young man was to benominated by e...
peared to be no place of refuge even outside it. So much so that when the Prophet       went to Tā’if, it offered no shelt...
The Jews and HypocritesIn the first year of his reign at Yathrib the Prophet made a solemn treaty with the Jewishtribes, w...
The army of Quraysh had advanced more than half-way to Yathrib before the Prophetset out. All three parties – the army of ...
in the field, stronger than ever, and thirsting for revenge for yesterday’s affair. On that in-formation, Abu Sufyan decid...
herents. The Prophet granted their request. But the judge, upon whose favor they hadcounted, condemned their fighting men ...
that the Sūrah entitled “The Conquest” (surah 48) was revealed. This truce proved, infact, to be the greatest victory that...
Truce Broken by QurayshIn the same year Quraysh broke the truce by attacking a tribe that was in alliance with theProphet ...
Declaration of ImmunityAlthough Makkah had been conquered and its people were now Muslims, the official or-der of the pilg...
…. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he     will ever be able to lead you as...
where the Prophet lay. Having ascertained the fact, kissed the dead-man’s forehead andwent back into the mosque. The peopl...
The Qur’ān Saheeh International Translation                27
Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah               www.quranproject.org                1: The Opening            __________________________...
Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah               www.quranproject.org                1: The Opening            __________________________...
Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah               www.quranproject.org                   2: The Cow               ________________________...
Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah               www.quranproject.org                   2: The Cow               ________________________...
Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah               www.quranproject.org                   2: The Cow               ________________________...
Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah               www.quranproject.org                   2: The Cow               ________________________...
Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah               www.quranproject.org                   2: The Cow               ________________________...
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  1. 1. The Qur’ānWith Sūrah Introductions and Appendices Saheeh International Translation
  2. 2. The Qur’ānWith Sūrah Introductions and Appendices Saheeh International Translation Edited by A.B. al-Mehri The Qur’ān Project www.quranproject.org
  3. 3. Published byMaktabah Booksellers and PublishersPO BOX 13976BirminghamB11 9DQUnited Kingdomwww.maktabah.netwww.quranproject.orgCover Design: H. JundiNo rights reserved. Any part of this publication may be reproduced in any language, stored in a retrievalsystem or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording orotherwise without the express permission of the Publisher, as long as no changes are made to the materi-al and notification is sent to the Publisher for their records. Offers are welcomed to assist publishing thisbook in other languages.British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication DataA Catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library2010 Maktabah Booksellers and PublishersSaheeh International TranslationISBN 978-0-9548665-4-9
  4. 4. CONTENTS PAGEIntroduction . . . . . . . . . 5Editor’s Preface . . . . . . . . 7Short Biography of Prophet Muhammad . . . . 11The Qur’ān: Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah (The Opening) . . . . . 28 Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah (The Cow) . . . . . 30 Sūrah 3: Ale-‘Imrān (Family of Imran) . . . . 59 Sūrah 4: an-Nisā’ (The Women) . . . . . 77 Sūrah 5: al-Mā’idah (The Table) . . . . . 96 Sūrah 6: al-An’ām (The Grazing Livesotck). . . . 110 Sūrah 7: al-A’rāf (The Elevations) . . . . . 126 Sūrah 8: al-Anfāl (The Spoils of War) . . . . 143 Sūrah 9: at-Tawbah (Repentance) . . . . . 154 Sūrah 10: Yūnus (Jonah) . . . . . . 170 Sūrah 11: Hūd (Hud) . . . . . . . 180 Sūrah 12: Yūsuf (Joseph) . . . . . . 190 Sūrah 13: ar-Ra’d (Thunder) . . . . . . 200 Sūrah 14: Ibrāheem (Abraham) . . . . . 205 Sūrah 15: al-Hijr (The Valley of Stone) . . . . 210 Sūrah 16: an-Nahl (The Bee) . . . . . . 216 Sūrah 17: al-Isrā’ (The Night Journey) . . . . 226 Sūrah 18: al-Kahf (The Cave) . . . . . . 235 Sūrah 19: Maryam (Mary) . . . . . . 244 Sūrah 20: Tā Hā (Ta Ha) . . . . . . 252 Sūrah 21: al-Anbiyā’ (The Prophets) . . . . . 262 Sūrah 22: al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) . . . . . 270 Sūrah 23: al-Mu’minūn (The Believers) . . . . 278 Sūrah 24: an-Nūr (Light) . . . . . . 285 Sūrah 25: al-Furqān (The Criterion) . . . . . 297 Sūrah 26: ash-Shu’arā’ (The Poets) . . . . . 303 Sūrah 27: an-Naml (The Ants) . . . . . 314 Sūrah 28: al-Qasas (The Story) . . . . . 321 Sūrah 29: al-‘Ankabūt (The Spider) . . . . . 330 Sūrah 30: ar-Rūm (The Romans) . . . . . 336 Sūrah 31: Luqmān (Luqman) . . . . . . 343 Sūrah 32: as-Sajdah (Prostration) . . . . . 347 Sūrah 33: al-Ahzāb (The Confederates) . . . . 350 Sūrah 34: Saba’ (The People of) Saba) . . . . 364 Sūrah 35: Fātir (The Creator) . . . . . . 370 Sūrah 36: Yā Seen (Ya Seen) . . . . . . 375
  5. 5. Sūrah 37: as-Sāffāt (Those Lined Up). . . . . 381Sūrah 38: Sād (Sād) . . . . . . . 389Sūrah 39: az-Zumar (The Groups) . . . . . 396Sūrah 40: Ghāfir (The Forgiver) . . . . . 403Sūrah 41: Fussilat (Presented In Detail) . . . . 410Sūrah 42: ash-Shūrā (Consultation) . . . . . 417Sūrah 43: az-Zukhruf (Ornaments) . . . . . 425Sūrah 44: ad-Dukhān (Smoke). . . . . . 432Sūrah 45: al-Jāthiyah (Kneeling) . . . . . 437Sūrah 46: al-Ahqāf (The Sand Dunes) . . . . 442Sūrah 47: Muhammad (Muhammad) . . . . . 447Sūrah 48: al-Fath (The Conquest) . . . . . 452Sūrah 49: al-Hujurāt (The Chambers) . . . . 460Sūrah 50: Qāf (Qaf) . . . . . . . 463Sūrah 51: adh-Dhāriyāt (The Scattering Winds) . . . 467Sūrah 52: at-Tūr (The Mount). . . . . . 471Sūrah 53: an-Najm (The Star) . . . . . . 475Sūrah 54: al-Qamar (The Moon) . . . . . 481Sūrah 55: ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful) . . . . 485Sūrah 56: al-Wāqi’ah (The Occurrence) . . . . 489Sūrah 57: al-Hadeed (Iron) . . . . . . 495Sūrah 58: al-Mujādilah (The Contention) . . . . 500Sūrah 59: al-Hashr (The Gathering) . . . . . 505Sūrah 60: al-Mumtahinah (The Woman Examined) . . 514Sūrah 61: as-Saff (Battle Formation) . . . . . 517Sūrah 62: al-Jumu’ah (Friday) . . . . . . 519Sūrah 63: al-Munāfiqūn (The Hypocrites) . . . . 522Sūrah 64: at-Taghābun (Deprivation) . . . . 527Sūrah 65: at-Talāq (Divorce) . . . . . . 531Sūrah 66: at-Tahreem (Prohibition) . . . . . 535Sūrah 67: al-Mulk (Dominion). . . . . . 539Sūrah 68: al-Qalam (The Pen) . . . . . . 543Sūrah 69: al-Hāqqah (The Manifest Reality). . . . 547Sūrah 70: al-Ma’ārij (The Ways of Ascent) . . . . 550Sūrah 71: Nūh (Noah) . . . . . . . 553Sūrah 72: al-Jinn (The Jinn) . . . . . . 556Sūrah 73: al-Muzzammil (The Enwrapped One) . . . 561Sūrah 74: al-Muddathir (The Cloaked One) . . . . 565Sūrah 75: al-Qiyāmah (The Resurrection) . . . . 570Sūrah 76: al-Insān (Man) . . . . . . 573Sūrah 77: al-Mursalāt (Those Sent Forth) . . . . 577Sūrah 78: an-Naba’ (The News) . . . . . 581Sūrah 79: an-Nāzi’āt (The Extractors) . . . . 585Sūrah 80: ‘Abasa (He Frowned) . . . . . 589
  6. 6. Sūrah 81: at-Takweer (The Wrapping) . . . . 593Sūrah 82: al-Infitār (The Breaking Apart) . . . . 596Sūrah 83: al-Mutaffifeen (Those Who Give Less) . . . 598Sūrah 84: al-Inshiqāq (The Splitting) . . . . . 601Sūrah 85: al-Burūj (The Great Stars) . . . . . 603Sūrah 86: at-Tāriq (That Which Comes At Night) . . . 605Sūrah 87: al-A’lā (The Most High) . . . . . 607Sūrah 88: al-Ghāshiyah (The Overwhelming) . . . 610Sūrah 89: al-Fajr (The Dawn) . . . . . . 612Sūrah 90: al-Balad (The City) . . . . . . 615Sūrah 91: ash-Shams (The Sun) . . . . . 617Sūrah 92: al-Layl (The Night) . . . . . . 619Sūrah 93: adh-Dhuhā (The Morning Brightness) . . . 621Sūrah 94: ash-Sharh (Expansion) . . . . . 623Sūrah 95: at-Teen (The Fig) . . . . . . 625Sūrah 96: al-‘Alaq (The Clinging Substance) . . . 627Sūrah 97: al-Qadr (The Decree) . . . . . 630Sūrah 98: al-Bayyinah (Clear Evidence) . . . . 632Sūrah 99: az-Zalzalah (The Earthquake) . . . . 634Sūrah 100: al-‘Aadiyāt (The Racers) . . . . . 636Sūrah 101: al-Qāri’ah (The Calamity) . . . . 638Sūrah 102: at-Takāthur (Competition in Increase) . . . 640Sūrah 103: al-‘Asr (Time) . . . . . . 642Sūrah 104: al-Humazah (The Scorner) . . . . 644Sūrah 105: al-Fīl (The Elephant) . . . . . 646Sūrah 106: al-Quraysh ((the tribe of) Quraysh) . . . 651Sūrah 107: al-Mā’ūn (Assistance) . . . . . 654Sūrah 108: al-Kawthar (Abundance) . . . . . 656Sūrah 109: al-Kāfirūn (The Disbelievers) . . . . 659Sūrah 110: an-Nasr (Victory) . . . . . . 662Sūrah 111: al-Masad (Fiber) . . . . . . 665Sūrah 112: al-Ikhlās (Purification) . . . . . 669Sūrah 113: al-Falaq (Daybreak) . . . . . 672Sūrah 114: an-Nās (Mankind) . . . . . . 672
  7. 7. Appendices: Introduction to the Study of the Qur’ān . . . . 679 The Unique Qur’ānic Generation . . . . 690 Preservation and Literary Challenge of the Qur’ān . . 695 Scientific Miracles of the Qur’ān; . . . . . 706 The Qur’ān on the Origin of the Universe . . . . 706 The Qur’ān on the ‘Big Bang Theory’ . . . . 707 The Qur’ān on the Expanding Universe . . . . 708 The Qur’ān on the Orbital Movement of the Sun and the Moon 709 The Qur’ān on Duality in Creation . . . . . 709 The Qur’ān on the Origin of Life in Water . . . . 712 The Qur’ān on Seas and Rivers . . . . . 712 Miracle of Iron . . . . . . . . 715 The Qur’ān on Mountains . . . . . . 717 The Qur’ān on Human Embryonic Development . . . 719 Scientists Acceptance of the Miracles of the Qur’ān . . 726 Miracles Performed . . . . . . . 729 Old and New Testament Prophecies of Muhammad. . 733 Women in Islām . . . . . . . 742 How do I become a Muslim? . . . . . 749 Short Guide to Ablution and Prayer . . . . 752 Frequently Asked Questions about Islām . . . 756 Brief Index of the Qur’ān . . . . . . 766
  8. 8. IntroductionThe Qur’ān is the word of the Ever-living God; it has been sent down to guide humanity forall times to come. No book can be like it. As you come to the Qur’ān, God speaks to you.To read the Qur’ān is to hear Him, converse with Him and to walk in His ways. It is the en-counter of life with the Life-giver. ‘God - there is no diety except Him, the Ever-living,the Sustainer of existence. He has sent down upon you the Book with in Truth ... as aguidance for the people ...’ (Qur’ān 3: 2-3).For those who heard it for the first time from the lips of the Prophet, the Qur’ān was a liv-ing reality. They had absolutely no doubt that, through him, God was speaking to them.Their hearts and minds were therefore seized by it. Their eyes overflowed with tears andtheir bodies shivered. They found each word of it deeply relevant to their concerns and ex-periences, and integrated it fully into their lives. They were completely transformed by itboth as individuals and as a nation - into a totally new, alive and life-giving entity. Those whograzed sheep, herded camels and traded petty merchandise became the leaders of mankind.New WorldAs we come to the Qur’ān, we come to a new world. Each Ayat [verse] is a sign of God –informing us of His infinite mercy, power and knowledge. No other venture in our lives canbe so momentous and crucial, so blissful and rewarding, as our journey to and through theQur’ān. It is a journey that will take us through the endless joys and riches of the words thatour Creator and Lord has sent to us and all mankind. Here we will find a world of untoldtreasures of knowledge and wisdom to guide us on the pathways of life, to mould ourthoughts and actions. In it we will find deep insights to enrich us and steer us along the rightcourse. From it you will receive a radiant light to illumine the deeper reaches of our soul.Here we will encounter profound emotions, a warmth to melt our hearts and bring tearsrunning down our cheeks.It is beyond man’s power to comprehend, or to describe, the greatness and importance ofwhat the Qur’ān holds for him. It is God’s greatest blessing for him. It is the fulfillment ofHis promise to Adam and his descendants: ‘when guidance comes to you from Me,whoever follows My guidance - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will theygrieve…’ (2: 38). It is the only weapon to help our frail existence as we struggle against theforces of evil and temptation in this world. It is the only means to overpower our fears andanxieties. It is the only ‘light’ (nur), as we grope in the darkness, with which to find our wayto success and salvation. It is the only healing (shifa’) for our inner sicknesses, as well as thesocial ills that may surround us. Its the constant reminder (dhikr) of our true nature and des-tiny, of our station, our duties, our rewards and our perils.God - the GreatestThe Qur’ān was brought down by the one who is powerful and trustworthy in the heavens –the angel Gabriel. Its first abode was the pure and sublime heart, the like of which no manhas never had - the heart of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be on him. More 5
  9. 9. than anything, it is the only way to come nearer and closer to our Creator. It tells us of Him,of His attributes, of how He rules over the cosmos and history, of how He relates Himselfto us, and how we should relate to Him and to ourselves.Most important is to remember is that what we read in the Qur’ān is the word of God whichHe has conveyed to us in a human language, only because of His mercy and care and provi-dence for us. ‘The Most-merciful, He has taught the Qur’ān’ (55: 1-2). ‘A mercy fromyour Lord’ (44: 6). The majesty of the Qur’ān, too, is so overpowering that no human beingcan truly comprehend it. So much so as God says, ‘If We had sent down this Qur’ānupon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear ofGod.’ (59: 21). This act of Divine mercy and majesty is enough to awe and overwhelm us, toinspire us to ever-greater heights of gratitude, yearning and endeavour to enter the world ofthe Qur’ān. Indeed, no treasure is more valuable and precious for us than the Qur’ān, asGod says of His generosity, ‘O mankind, there has to come to you instruction fromyour Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the be-lievers.’ (10:57).The outcome of our entire life depends on how we heed the call given by God. The journeyis therefore decisive for our existence, for mankind, for the future of human civilization. Ahundred new worlds lie in its verses. Whole centuries are involved in its moments. Know, inthat case that it is the Qur’ān, and only the Qur’ān, which can lead us towards success andglory in this-world and in the world-to-come.We finish by citing a poem;‘My mind ponders and contemplates,Dwelling on the reality of life,Yet nothing is as scary as the Realness of the Ever-Living.His closeness,His knowledge of my inner self,The insides tremble and frighten at this reality,I awake,Sometimes,I hear nothing except my heart beating,Beat after beat it beats,One thought is flowing in my mind,All that my mind and body desire at this moment,Is to stand,To stand before Him.This feeling I wouldn’t exchange for the world,To fall prostrate and praise Him, tell Him I love Him and am longing to meet Him.Life is a journey with many intended ambitions -Yet mine is simple……………to meet my Lord when I am closest to Him.’ 6
  10. 10. Editor’s PrefaceIn early 2007, a friend visited me at my home in Birmingham, UK. He was visually emotionaland asked if I could give him a translation of the Qur’ān in English. He explained that he had anon-Muslim work colleague who had been enthralled by the Qur’ān and that he, as a Muslim,felt ashamed he had not read it. So I gave him a spare translation I had and began to tell himsome basic facts he should know as a seeker of truth – The Qur’ān is a unique book for a multitude of reasons. To name a few: • It does not read in chronological order of revelation – - i.e. the first verse you read from Sūrah 1 is not that first verse revealed - nor the last verse from Sūrah 114 the very last verse of the Qur’ān. • The Qur’ān was revealed over 23 years to the Prophet Muhammad – - Sometimes a few Ayats at a time – (the first revelation began with five ayat, then seven, etc) - and at other times, Sūrahs (chapters) were revealed as a whole. (An Ayat is normally translated as ‘a verse’ - a more accurate linguistic translation would be ‘Sign’ [of God]) • The Archangel Gabriel, under instruction from God, informed the Prophet to ar- range the various Ayats into Sūrahs. • These Sūrah’s (chapters) can be divided into two types – - those revealed before the migration of the Muslim community – The Makkan Period - and those revealed after the migration – The Madinan period. - These Sūrahs would often include Ayats from both time periods • The significance of the two periods – - in Makkah the call to one God was new. The Believers were opposed, beaten and oppressed by the Makkans who were the main proponents of idol-worship in Arabia. The revelations in Makkah were regarding the Oneness of God, Paradise and Hellfire, the Day of Judgment etc. This was a period of many trials and tribulations for the Prophet Muhammad and the Believers. - in Madinah the Prophet was the leader of the Islāmic state. The revela- tions here centered on establishing the religion, engaging the enemies of God, social and legal rulings on marriage, divorce, inheritance, punish- ment, etc. - The challenges of both periods were different and the various Ayats reflect this. 7
  11. 11. After explaining the importance of knowing the biography of the Prophet in order to deepenone’s understanding of the Qur’ān, I began explaining how amazingly, the Qur’ān has been pre-served word for word in written and oral form for over fourteen hundred years – a feat un-matched by any other book, including the Old and New Testament. I then went on to mentionthe many scientific miracles contained in the Qur’ān and also the prophecies in the Bible aboutthe Prophet Muhammad. All this information I was relaying to my friend was scattered overmany books and not contained in a single publication that I could give him. It was at this stageit became evident to me that there was a need to publish a translation of the Qur’ān whichwould give its reader a complete and informed introduction to the miraculous book. And so,The Qur’ān Project was born.Work then began by first selecting the Saheeh International translation of the Qur’ān as thetranslation we would use in our print - it is in simple English and corresponds well to the sen-tence structure of the Arabic. There were two changes that were made to this translation – theword ‘Allah’ was replaced with ‘God’ and ‘Bismillah ir Rahman nir Raheem’ (at the beginningof the Sūrahs) was replaced by ‘In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Mer-ciful.’It was then decided to use M. Mawdudi’s Sūrah introductions from his commentary of theQur’ān, ‘Towards Understanding the Qur’ān’ (available online – www.quranproject.org). Thesehave been edited and abridged to include the most relevant information for a beginner. Thefollowing chapters were then selected to also be included: • Short Biography of the Prophet Muhammad • Introduction to the Study of the Qur’ān • The Unique Qur’ānic Generation • Preservation and Literary Challenge of the Qur’ān • Scientific Miracles of the Qur’ān; - The Qur’ān on the Origin of the Universe - The Qur’ān on the ‘Big Bang Theory’ - The Qur’ān on the Expanding Universe - The Qur’ān on the Orbital Movement of the Sun and the Moon - The Qur’ān on Duality in Creation - The Qur’ān on the Origin of Life in Water - The Qur’ān on Seas and Rivers - Miracle of Iron - The Qur’ān on Mountains - The Qur’ān on Human Embryonic Development - Scientists Acceptance of the Miracles of the Qur’ān • Miracles Performed • Old and New Testament Prophecy of Muhammad • Women in Islām • How do I become a Muslim? • Quick Guide to Ablution and Prayer • Frequently Asked Questions about Islām - Short Answers - 8
  12. 12. www.quranproject.orgThe website www.quranproject.org was setup to accompany the publication. Here readerswould be able to read it all online, download it, order their free copy, and go through the manyadditional sections including free online library, audio and video etc.Final NoteMany of those involved have been completely humbled by the opportunity given to them byGod to partake in this project. All praise and thanks are for Him and Him alone, the Lord ofthe Worlds. Often God uses diverse and numerous people for His work and this endeavor hasbeen no different. So many people have offered their time, help and services to this project andare too many to mention here. God knows every single one of them and we ask Him to acceptthis deed from us and make it as a means of achieving His love, mercy and ultimately Paradise –(ameen).All that is good and correct in this publication, and anyone who is subsequently guided, this isfrom God and a mercy from Him. Any mistakes and errors are from ourselves and we ask theforgiveness of God for them.‘O God, Creator of the heavens and the earth – Accept this deed from us and forgive for us forany shortcomings. Enter us and our families into the highest levels of Paradise and protect usfrom being touched by the Fire even for a moment. Our prayers, sacrifices, lives and death areall for You. Bless us with Your Love, the love of whom You Love and the love of deeds whichbring us closer to Your Love. O God, have mercy on us through the Qur’ān and make it for usa Light, Mercy and Guidance - Make the last part of our lives its best, the last deed the bestone, and the best day of our lives the Day we meet You.’ [ameen]A.B. al-MehriRabi’ al-Awwal, 1431 AHFebruary, 2010Birmingham, United Kingdom. 9
  13. 13. 10
  14. 14. Short Biography of Prophet MuhammadThe Prophet’s BirthMuhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, of the tribe of Quraysh, was bornin Makkah in the year 571 A.D. His father died before he was born, and he was protectedfirst by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and after his grandfather’s death, by his uncleAbu Talib.As a young boy he traveled with his uncle in the merchants’ caravan to Syria, and someyears later made the same journey in the service of a wealthy widow named Khadijah. Sofaithfully he conducted her business, and so excellent was the report of his behaviour,which she received from her old servant who had accompanied him, that she soon after-wards married her young agent; and the marriage proved a very happy one, though shewas fifteen years older than he was. Throughout the twenty-six years of their life togetherhe remained devoted to her; and after her death, when he took other wives he alwaysmentioned her with the greatest love and reverence. This marriage gave him rank amongthe notables of Makkah, while his conduct earned for him the title al-Amin, the “trust-worthy.”Physical DescriptionOne of the most comprehensive and detailed descriptions we have of the Prophet Mu-hammad came from a Bedouin woman who would take care of travelers who passed byher tent. The Prophet once stopped by her with his companions for food and rest. TheProphet asked her if they could buy some meat or dates from her but she could not findanything. The Prophet looked towards a sheep next to the tent. He asked her, “What iswrong with this sheep?” She replied, “The sheep is fatigued and is weaker than the othersheep.” The Prophet asked, “Does it milk?” She replied, “I swear by your mother and fa-ther, if I saw milk from it then I would milk it.” He then called the sheep and moved hishand over its udder; he pronounced the name of God and praised Him. Then he calledthe woman when the sheep steadied its feet and its udder filled. He asked for a large con-tainer and milked it until it was filled. The woman drank until full as did his companions.Then it was milked for a second time until the container was full and they left her andcontinued on their journey. After a short while, the husband of the Bedouin woman re-turned from herding goats. He saw the milk and said to his wife, “Where did you get thismilk from?” She replied, “I swear by God, a blessed man came to us today” He said,“Describe him to me.”She began; “I saw him to be a man of evident splendor. Fine in figure. His face hand-some. Slim in form. His head not too small, elegant and good looking. His eyes large andblack [and] his eye lids long. His voice deep. Very intelligent. His brows high and arched[and] his hair in plaits. His neck long and his beard thick. He gave an impression of digni-ty when silent and of high intelligence when he talked. His words were impressive and hisspeech decisive, not trivial nor trite. His ideas like pearls moving on their string. Heseemed the most splendid and fine looking man from a distance and the very best of allfrom close by. Medium in height, the eye not finding him too tall nor too short. A treebranch as it were between two others but he was the finest looking of the three. The best 11
  15. 15. proportioned. His companions would surround him, when he spoke they would listen at-tentively to his speech…”The First RevelationThe Makkans claimed descent from Abraham through Ishmail and tradition stated thattheir temple, the Ka`bah, had been built by Abraham for the worship of the One God. Itwas still called the House of God, but the chief objects of worship here were a number ofidols, which were called “daughters” of God and intercessors.It was the practice of the Prophet to retire often to a cave in the desert for meditation.His place of retreat was Hira, a cave in a mountain called the Mountain of Light not farfrom Makkah, and his chosen month was Ramadan, the month of heat. It was there onenight towards the end of this quiet month that the first revelation came to him when hewas forty years old.He heard a voice say: “Read!” He said: “I cannot read.” The voice again said: “Read!” Hesaid: “I cannot read.” A third time the voice, more terrible, commanded: “Read!” He said:“What can I read?” The voice said: “Recite in the name of your Lord who created Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.”The Vision of Cave HiraHe went out of the cave on to the hillside and heard the same awe-inspiring voice say: “OMuhammad! Thou art God’s messenger, and I am Gabriel.” Then he raised his eyes andsaw the angel standing in the sky above the horizon. And again the voice said: “O Mu-hammad! Thou art God’s messenger, and I am Gabriel.” Muhammad stood quite still,turning away his face from the brightness of the vision, but wherever he turned his face,there stood the angel confronting him. He remained thus a long while till at length theangel vanished, when he returned in great distress of mind to his wife Khadijah. She didher best to reassure him, saying that his conduct had been such that God would not let aharmful spirit come to him and that it was her hope that he was to become the Prophetof his people. On his return to Makkah she took him to her cousin Waraqa ibn Nawfal, avery old man, “who knew the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians,” who declared hisbelief that the heavenly messenger who came to Moses of old had come to Muhammad,and that he was chosen as the Prophet of his people. 12
  16. 16. Message of IslāmMost of the people of Makkah who had acclaimed him as the trustworthy (al-Amīn) andthe trustful (as-Sādiq) could not bring themselves to believe in him. Nor could most ofthe Jews and Christians who had for so long been living in expectation of his arrival. Notthat they doubted his truthfulness or integrity but they were not prepared to turn theirwhole established way of living upside down by submitting to his simple but radical mes-sage. He would tell them; When I recite the Qur’ān, I find the following clear instruction: God is He who has created you, and the heavens and the earth, He is your only Lord and Master. He is your only Lord and Master. Surrender your being and your lives totally to Him Alone, and worship and serve no one but Him. Let God be the Only God. The words I speak, He places in my mouth, and I speak on His authority, Obey me and forsake all false claimants to human obedience. Everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to God; no person has a right to be master of another per- son, to spread oppression and corruption on earth. An eternal life beyond awaits you; where you will meet God face to face, and your life will be judged; for that you must prepare.This simple message shook the very foundations of Makkan society as well as the se-venth-century world. That world, as today, lived under the yoke of many false gods, kingsand emperors, priests and monks, feudal lords and rich businessmen, soothsayers andspell-binders who claimed to know what others knew not, and who all lorded over hu-man being.The Prophet’s message challenged them all, exposed them all and threatened them all.His immediate opponents in Makkah could do no better than brand him unconvincinglyas a liar, a poet, soothsayer and a man possessed. But how could he who was illiterate, hewho had never composed a single verse, who has shown no inclination to lead people,suddenly have words flowing from his lips so full of wisdom and light, morally so uplift-ing, specifically so enlivening, so beautiful and powerful, that they began to change thehearts and minds and lives of the hearer? His detractors and opponents had no answer.When challenged to produce anything even remotely similar to the words Muhammadclaimed he was receiving from God, they could not match God’s words.Stages of The CallFirst privately, then publicly, the Prophet continued to proclaim his message. He himselfhad an intense, living relationship with God, totally committed to the message and mis-sion entrusted to him. Slowly and gradually, people came forward and embraced Islām.They came from all walks of life – chiefs and slaves, businessmen and artisans, men andwomen – most of them young. Some simply heard the Qur’ān, and that was enough totransform them. Some saw the Prophet, and were immediately captivated by the light ofmercy, generosity and humanity that was visible in his manner and morals, in his wordsand works and also in his face. 13
  17. 17. The opposition continued to harden and sharpen. It grew furious and ferocious. Thosewho joined the Prophet were tortured in innumerable ways; they were mocked, abused,beaten flogged, imprisoned and boycotted. Some were subjected to severe inhuman tor-tures; made to lie on burning coal fires until the melting body fat extinguished them, orwere dragged over burning sand and rocks. Yet such was the strength of their faith thatnone of them gave it up in the face of such trials and tribulation.The Flight to AbyssiniaHowever, as the persecutions became unbearable, the Prophet advised those who could,to migrate to Abyssinia. It turned out that there, the Christian king gave the Muslims fullprotection despite the pleading of the emissaries sent by the Quraysh chiefs. This was thefirst emigration of Islām.In the meantime, the Prophet and his Companions continued to nourish their souls andintellect and strengthen their character and resolve for the great task that lay ahead. Theymet regularly, especially at a house near the Ka’bāh called Dār al-Arqam, to read andstudy the Qur’ān, to worship and pray and to forge the tied of brotherhood.In MakkahYears passed and the people of Makkah would not give their allegiance to the Prophet’smessage nor showed any sign of any easing in their persecution. At the same time, theProphet lost his closest companion, his wife Khadījah, as well as his uncle Abu Tālib, hischief protector in the tribal world of Makkah. The Prophet now decided to carry hismessage to the people of the nearby town of Tā’if known for its wealth. In Tā’if, too, thetribal leaders mocked and ridiculed him and rejected his message. They also stirred uptheir slaves and youth to insult him, mock him and pelt stones at him. Thus he wasstoned until he bled and was driven out of Tā’if, and when God placed at his commandthe Angel of Mountains to crush the Valley of Tā’if if he so wished, he only prayed forthem to be guided. Such was the mercy and compassion of the one who is the ‘mercy forall the worlds.’This year is known by historians as the ‘Year of Sorrow’ due to the grief which theProphet suffered as a result of all these worldy setbacks. However, as the Qur’ān statesthat after hardship there is ease, the Prophet was to be blessed with an amazing journeyculminating with a meeting with Almighty God himself.One night the Prophet was awaken and taken, in the company of the Angel Gabriel, firstto Jerusalem. There he was met by all the Prophets, who gathered together behind him ashe prayed on the Rock at the centre of the site of Masjid Aqsa, the spot where the Domeof the Rock stands today. From the Rock, led by the Archangel, he ascended through theseven heavens and beyond. Thus he saw whatever God made him see, the heavenlyworlds which no human eye can see, and which were the focus of this message and mis-sion. It was also during this journey God ordained on the believers the five daily prayers. 14
  18. 18. Joy After SorrowIn quick succession, the Prophet had suffered the terrible loss of Khadījah, his intimateand beloved companion for 25 years, and of Abu Tālib, his guardian and protectoragainst the bloodthirsty Makkan foes, and encountered the worst ever rejection, humilia-tion and persecution at nearby Tā’if. As the Prophet reached the lowest point in his voca-tion, God bought him comfort and solace. On the one hand, spiritually, He took himduring the Night of Ascension to the Highest of Highs, realities and Divinities, face toface with the Unseen. And on the other, materially, he opened the hearts of the people ofYathrib to the message and mission of Prophet Muhammad.The message that Makkah and Tā’if rejected, found responsive hearts in Yathrib, a smalloasis about four hundred kilometres to the north of Makkah. Now known as Madīnahtunnabī (the city of the Prophet), or Madīnatun Munawwarah (the radiant city), it wasdestined to be the centre of the Divine light that was to spread to all parts of the worldfor all time to come.The Men of YathribSoon after Prophet Muhammad’s return from Tā’if and the Night Journey, at the time ofthe pilgrimage, six men from Yathrib embraced Islām. They delivered the message ofIslām to as many as they could, and at the time of the next pilgrimage in the year 621 CE,12 people came. They pledged themselves to the Prophet, that they would make no godbesides God, that they would neither steal nor commit fornication, nor slay their infants,nor utter slanders, nor disobey him in that which is right. The Prophet said; ‘If you fulfilthis pledge, then Paradise is yours.’ This time the Prophet sent Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr withthem to teach them the Qur’ān and Islām and to spread the message of Islām.More and more people over the course of a year – tribal leaders, men and women – be-came Muslims. At the time of the next pilgrimage, they decided to send a delegation tothe Prophet, make a pledge to him, and invited him and all Muslims in Makkah to Yathribas a sanctuary and as a base for spearding the Divine message of Islām. In all, 73 men andtwo women came. They met the Prophet at Aqabah. They pledged to protect the Prophetas they would protect their own women and children, and to fight against all men, redand black, even if their nobles were killed and they suffered the loss of all their posses-sions. When asked what would be their return if they fulfilled their pledge, the Prophetsaid; ‘Paradise.’ Thus the beginning was made, the foundations of the Islāmic society,state and civilization were set.The road was now open for the persecuted and tortured followers of the Prophet tocome to the Land of Islām, that was to be Madinah. Gradually most of the believersfound their way to Yathrib. Their Makkan foes could not bear to see the Muslims livingin peace. They knew the power of the Prophet’s message, they knew the strength of thosededicated believers who cared about nothing for the age-old Arab customs and ties ofkinship, and who if they had to, would fight for their faith. The Makkans sensed the dan-ger that the Muslims’ presence in Madinah posed for their northern trade caravan routes.They saw no other way to stop all this but to kill the Prophet. 15
  19. 19. Plot to Murder the ProphetHence they hatched a conspiracy; one strong and well-connected young man was to benominated by each clan, and all of them were to pounce upon and kill the Prophet onemorning as he came out of his house, so that his blood would be on all the clans’ hands.Thus, the Prophets’ clan would have to accept blood money in place of revenge. In-formed of the plot by the Angel Gabriel, and instructed to leave Makkah for Madinah,the Prophet went to Abu Bakr’s house to finalise the travel arrangements. Abu Bakr wasoverjoyed at having been chosen for the honour and blessing of being the Prophet’scompanion on this blessed, momentous, sacred and epoch-making journey. He offeredhis she-camel to the Prophet, but the Prophet insisted on paying its price.On the fateful night, as darkness fell, the youths selected by the Quraysh leaders to killthe Prophet surrounded his house. They decided to pounce on him when he came out ofhis house for the dawn prayer. Meanwhile, the Prophet handed over all the money left bythe Makkans with him for safe-keeping to Ali. Ali offered to lie in the Prophet’s bed. TheProphet slipped out of his house, threw a little dust in their direction, and walked past hisenemies, whose eyes were still on the house. He met Abu Bakr at his house, and theyboth travelled to a nearby cave. When the Quraysh realised that the Prophet had evadedthem, they were furious. They looked for him everywhere to no success and then an-nounced a reward of 100 she-camels for anybody who would bring them the Prophet,dead or alive. A tribal chief, Surāqah, sighted the Prophet and followed him, hoping toearn the reward. The Prophet, with bloodthirsty foes in pursuit and an uncertain futureahead of him in Madinah, told Surāqah; A day will soon come when Kisra’s golden brace-lets will be in Surāqah’s hands. Thereafter, Surāqah retreated, and the Prophet proceededtowards Madinah.Four stages of the Prophets life in MakkahThe Makkan period can be summarized in four stages: 1. The first stage began with his appointment as a Messenger and ended with the proclamation of Prophethood three years later. During this period the Message was given secretly to some selected persons only but the common people of Mak- kah were not aware of it. 2. The second stage lasted for two years after the proclamation of his Prophethood. It began with opposition by individuals: then by and by it took the shape of anta- gonism, ridicule, derision, accusation, abuse and false propaganda then gangs were formed to persecute those Muslims who were comparatively poor, weak and help- less. 3. The third stage lasted for about six years from the beginning of the persecution to the death of Abu Talib and Khadijah in the tenth year of Prophethood. During this period the persecution of the Muslims became so savage and brutal that many of them were forced to migrate to Abyssinia while social and economic boycott was applied against the remaining Believers. 4. The fourth stage lasted for about three years from the tenth to the thirteenth year of Prophethood. This was a period of hard trials and grievous sufferings for the Prophet and his followers. Life had become unendurable at Makkah and there ap- 16
  20. 20. peared to be no place of refuge even outside it. So much so that when the Prophet went to Tā’if, it offered no shelter or protection. Besides this, on the occasion of Hajj, he would appeal to each and every Arab clan to accept his invitation to Islām but was met with blank refusal from every quarter. At the same time, the people of Makkah were holding counsels to get rid of him by killing or imprisoning or banishing him from their city. It was at that most critical time that God opened for Islām the hearts of the People of Yathrib where he migrated at their invitation.The Hijrah (622 C.E.)This was al-Hijrah, the emigration – a small distance in space, a mighty leap in history, anevent that was to become a threshold in the shaping of the Islāmic Ummah. This is whythe Muslims date their calendar from Hijrah (emigration) and not from start of revelationor from the birth of the Prophet.In Qubah, 10 kilometres outside Madinah, the Prophet made his first stopover. Here hebuilt the first Masjid. Here he also made his first public address; ‘Spread peace amongyourselves, give away food to the needy, pray while people sleep – and you will enter Pa-radise, the house of peace.’Three days later, the Prophet entered Madinah. Men, women, children, the entire popu-lace came out on the streets and jubilantly welcomed him. Never was there a day of graterrejoicing and happiness. ‘The Prophet has come! The Prophet has come!’ sang the littlechildren.The first thing the Prophet did after arriving in Madinah was to weld the Muhājirs orEmigrants and the hosts, called the Ansār or Helpers into one brotherhood. Still todaythis brotherhood remains the hallmark of the Muslims. One person from the Emigrantswas made the brother of one from among the Helpers – creating a bond stronger thanblood. The Helpers offered to share equally all that they possessed with their new broth-ers.BrotherhoodSo, the Muslims were forged into a close-knit community of faith and brotherhood, andthe structure of their society was being built. The first structure was also raised. This wasthe Masjid, the building dedicated to the worship of One God – called Masjid al-Nabi,the Prophet’s Masjid. Since then the Masjid has also remained the hallmark of the Mus-lims’ collective and social life, the convenient space for the integration of the religiousand political dimension of Islām, a source of identification, a witness to Muslim existence.At the same time, steps were taken and required institutions built to integrate the entiresocial life around the centre and pivot of the worship of One God. For this purpose, fivedaily prayers in congregation were established. Ramadhān, fasting every day from dawn tosunset for an entire month, was also prescribed. Similarly, to establish ‘giving’ as the wayof life, Zakāh, a percentage of one’s wealth to be given in the way of God, was made ob-ligatory. 17
  21. 21. The Jews and HypocritesIn the first year of his reign at Yathrib the Prophet made a solemn treaty with the Jewishtribes, which secured to them rights of citizenship and full religious liberty in return fortheir support of the new state. But their idea of a Prophet was one who would give themdominion, not one who made the Jews who followed him, brothers of every Arab whomight happen to believe as they did. When they realised that they could not use theProphet for their own ends, they tried to shake his faith and his Mission and to seduce hisfollowers, behaviour in which they were encouraged secretly by some professing Muslimswho considered they had reason to resent the Prophet’s coming, since it robbed them oftheir local influence. In the Madinan Sūrahs there is frequent mention of these Jews andHypocrites.The First ExpeditionsThe Prophet’s first concern as ruler was to establish public worship and lay down theconstitution of the State: but he did not forget that Quraysh had sworn to make an end tohis religion, nor that he had received command to fight against them till they ceased frompersecution. After twelve months in Yathrib several small expeditions went out, led eitherby the Prophet himself or other migrants for the purpose of reconnoitering and of dis-suading other tribes from siding with Quraysh. One of the other purposes of those expe-ditions may have been to accustom the Makkan Muslims to engage with enemy forces.For thirteen years they had been strict pacifists, and it is clear, from several passages ofthe Qur’ān, that many of them disliked the idea of fighting and had to be inured to it.The Campaign of BadrIn the second year of the Hijrah (migration) the Makkan merchants’ caravan [which hadthe confiscated possessions of what the Muslims had left in Makkah] was returning fromSyria as usual by a road which passed not far from Yathrib. As its leader Abu Sufyan ap-proached the territory of Yathrib he heard of the Prophet’s plan to capture the caravan.At once he sent a camel-rider towards Makkah, who arrived in a worn-out state andshouted frantically from the valley to Quraysh to hasten to the rescue unless they wishedto lose both wealth and honour. A force of a thousand strong was soon on its way toYathrib: less, it would seem, with the hope of saving the caravan than with the idea ofpunishing the raiders, since the Prophet might have taken the caravan before the reliefforce started from Makkah.Did the Prophet ever intend to raid the caravan? In Ibn Hisham, in the account of theTabuk expedition, it is stated that the Prophet on that one occasion did not hide his realobjective. The caravan was the pretext in the campaign of Badr; the real objective was theMakkan army.He had received command to fight his persecutors, and with the promised of victory, hewas prepared to venture against any odds, as was well seen at Badr. But the Muslims, ill-equipped for war, would have despaired if they had known from the first instance thatthey were to face a well-armed force three times their number. 18
  22. 22. The army of Quraysh had advanced more than half-way to Yathrib before the Prophetset out. All three parties – the army of Quraysh, the Muslim army and the caravan – wereheading for the water of Badr. Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, heard from one ofhis scouts that the Muslims were near the water, and turned back to the coast-plain leav-ing the Muslims to meet the army of Quraysh by the well of Badr.Before the battle, the Prophet was prepared, still further to increase the odds against him.He gave leave to all the Ansār (natives of Yathrib) to return to their homes un-reproached, since their oath did not include the duty of fighting in the field; but the Ansārwere only hurt by the suggestion that they could possibly desert him at a time of danger.The battle went at first against the Muslims, but against the odds with a much weaker ar-my they were victorious.The victory of Badr gave the Prophet new prestige among the Arab tribes; but thence-forth there was the feud of blood between Quraysh and the Islāmic State in addition tothe old religious hatred. Those passages of the Qur’ān which refer to the battle of Badrgive warning of much greater struggles yet to come.In fact in the following year, an army of three thousand came from Makkah to destroyYathrib. The Prophet’s first idea was merely to defend the city, a plan of which Abdullahibn Ubayy, the leader of “the Hypocrites” (‘Muslims by name only’), strongly approved.But the men who had fought at Badr and believed that God would help them against anyodds thought it a shame that they should linger behind walls.The Battle on Mount UhudThe Prophet, approving of their faith and zeal, gave way to them, and set out with an ar-my of one thousand men toward Mt. Uhud, where the enemy were encamped. Abdullahibn Ubayy was much offended by the change of plan. He thought it unlikely that theProphet really meant to give battle in conditions so adverse to the Muslims, and was un-willing to take part in a mere demonstration designed to flatter the Muslims. So he with-drew with his men, a fourth or so of the army.Despite the heavy odds, the battle on Mt. Uhud would have been an even greater victorythan that at Badr for the Muslims but for the disobedience of a band of fifty archerswhom the Prophet set to guard a pass against the enemy cavalry. Seeing their comradesvictorious, these men left their post, fearing to lose their share of the spoils. The cavalryof Quraysh rode through the gap and fell on the exultant Muslims.The Prophet himself was wounded and the cry arose that he was slain, till someone rec-ognized him and shouted that he was still living; a shout to which the Muslims rallied.Gathering round the Prophet, they retreated, leaving many dead on the hillside.On the following day the Prophet again ventured forth with what remained of the army,with the intention that the Quraysh might hear that he was in the field and so might per-haps be deterred from attacking the city. The stratagem succeeded, thanks to the beha-viour of a friendly Bedouin, who met the Muslims and conversed with them and after-wards met the army of Quraysh. Questioned by Abu Sufyan, he said that Muhammad was 19
  23. 23. in the field, stronger than ever, and thirsting for revenge for yesterday’s affair. On that in-formation, Abu Sufyan decided to return to Makkah.Massacre of MuslimsThe reverse which they had suffered on Mt. Uhud lowered the prestige of the Muslimswith the Arab tribes and also with the Jews of Yathrib. Tribes which had inclined towardthe Muslims now inclined toward Quraysh. The Prophet’s followers were attacked andmurdered when they went abroad in little companies. Khubayb, one of his envoys, wascaptured by a desert tribe and sold to Quraysh, who tortured him to death in Makkahpublicly.Expulsion of Banu-NadheerThe Jews, despite their treaty, now hardly concealed their hostility. They even went so farin flattery of Quraysh as to declare the religion of the pagan Arabs superior to Islām. TheProphet was obliged to take punitive action against some of them. The tribe of Banu-Nadheer were besieged in their strong towers, subdued and forced to emigrate. The Hy-pocrites had sympathized with the Jews and secretly egged them on.The War of the TrenchIn the fifth year of the Hijrah the idolaters made a great effort to destroy Islām in the Warof the Clans or War of the Trench, as it is variously called; when Quraysh with all theirclans and the great desert tribe of Ghatafan with all their clans, an army of ten thousandmen rode against Al-Madinah (Yathrib). The Prophet (by the advice of Salman the Per-sian) caused a deep trench to be dug before the city, and himself led the work of diggingit.The army of the clans was stopped by the trench, a novelty in Arab warfare. It seemedimpassable for cavalry, which formed their strength. They camped in sight of it and dailyshowered their arrows on its defenders. While the Muslims were awaiting the assault,news came that Banū Quraythah, a Jewish tribe of Yathrib which had till then been loyal,had gone over to the enemy. The case seemed desperate. But the delay caused by thetrench had dampened the zeal of the clans, and one who was secretly a Muslim managedto sow distrust between Quraysh and their Jewish allies, so that both hesitated to act.Then came a bitter wind from the sea, which blew for three days and nights so terriblythat not a tent could be kept standing, not a fire lighted, not a pot boiled. The tribesmenwere in utter misery. At length, one night the leader of Quraysh decided that the tormentcould be borne no longer and gave the order to retire. When Ghatafan awoke next morn-ing they found Quraysh had gone and they too took up their baggage and retreated.Punishment of Banū QuraythahOn the day of the return from the trench the Prophet ordered war on the treacherousBanū Quraythah, who, conscious of their guilt, had already taken to their towers of re-fuge. After a siege of nearly a month they had to surrender unconditionally. They onlybegged that they might be judged by a member of the Arab tribe of which they were ad- 20
  24. 24. herents. The Prophet granted their request. But the judge, upon whose favor they hadcounted, condemned their fighting men to death, their women and children to slavery.Early in the sixth year of the Hijrah the Prophet led a campaign against the Bani al-Mustaliq, a tribe who were preparing to attack the Muslims.Al-HudaybiyahIn the same year the Prophet had a vision in which he found himself entering the holyplace at Makkah unopposed, therefore he determined to attempt the pilgrimage. Attiredas pilgrims, and taking with them the customary offerings, a company of fourteen hun-dred men journeyed to Makkah. As they drew near the holy valley they were met by afriend from the city, who warned the Prophet that Quraysh had put on their leopards-skins (the badge of valour) and had sworn to prevent his entering the sanctuary; their ca-valry was on the road before him. On that, the Prophet ordered a detour through moun-tain gorges and the Muslims were tired out when they came down at last into the valley ofMakkah and encamped at a spot called Al-Hudaybiyah; from here he tried to open nego-tiations with Quraysh, to explain that he came only as a pilgrim.The first messenger he sent towards the city was maltreated and his camel hamstrung. Hereturned without delivering his message. Quraysh on their side sent an envoy which wasthreatening in manner, and very arrogant. Another of their envoys was too familiar andhad to be reminded: sternly of the respect due to the Prophet. It was he who, on his re-turn to the city, said: “I have seen Caesar and Chosroes in their pomp, but never have Iseen a man honoured as Muhammad is honoured by his comrades.”The Prophet sought some messenger who would impose respect. Uthman was finallychosen because of his kinship with the powerful Umayyad family. While the Muslimswere awaiting his return the news came that he had been murdered. It was then that theProphet, sitting under a tree in Al-Hudaybiyah, took an oath from all his comrades thatthey would stand or fall together. After a while, however, it became known that Uthmanhad not been murdered. A troop which came out from the city to molest the Muslims intheir camp was captured before they could do any hurt and brought before the Prophet,who forgave them on their promise to renounce hostility.Truce of Al-HudaybiyahThen proper envoys came from Quraysh. After some negotiation, the truce of Al-Hudaybiyah was signed. For ten years there were to be no hostilities between the parties.The Prophet was to return to Madinah without visiting the Ka’bāh, but in the followingyear he might perform the pilgrimage with his comrades, Quraysh promising to evacuateMakkah for three days to allow of his doing so. Deserters from Quraysh to the Muslimsduring the period of the truce were to be returned; not so deserters from the Muslims toQuraysh. Any tribe or clan who wished to share in, the treaty as allies of the Prophetmight do so, and any tribe or clan who wished to share in the treaty as allies of Qurayshmight do so.There was dismay among the Muslims at these terms. They asked one another: “Where isthe victory that we were promised?” It was during the return journey from al-Hudaybiyah 21
  25. 25. that the Sūrah entitled “The Conquest” (surah 48) was revealed. This truce proved, infact, to be the greatest victory that the Muslims had till then achieved. War had been abarrier between them and the idolaters, but now both parties met and talked together,and the religion spread more rapidly. In the two years which elapsed between the signingof the truce and the fall of Makkah the number of reverts was greater than the total num-ber of all previous reverts. The Prophet traveled to Al-Hudaybiyah with 1400 men. Twoyears later, when the Makkans broke the truce, he marched against them with an army of10,000.The Campaign of KhaybarIn the seventh year after the Hijrah, the Prophet led a campaign against Khaybar, thestronghold of the Jewish tribes in North Arabia, which had become a hornets’ nest of hisenemies. The forts of Khaybar were reduced one by one, and the Jews of Khaybar be-came thenceforth tenants of the Muslims until the expulsion of the Jews from Arabia inthe ‘Caliphate of Umar.’ On the day when the last fort surrendered Ja’far son of Abu Ta-lib, the Prophet’s first cousin, arrived with all who remained of the Muslims who had fledto Abyssinia to escape from persecution in the early days.They had been absent from Arabia for fifteen years. It was at Khaybar that a Jewess pre-pared for the Prophet poisoned meat, of which he only tasted a morsel without swallow-ing it, and then warned his comrades that it was poisoned. One Muslim, who had alreadyswallowed a mouthful, died immediately, and the Prophet himself, from the mere taste ofit, derived the illness which eventually caused his death. The woman who had cooked themeat was brought before him. When she said that she had done it on account of the hu-miliation of her people, he forgave her.Pilgrimage to MakkahIn following year the Prophet’s vision was fulfilled: he visited the holy place at Makkahunopposed. In accordance with the terms of the truce the idolaters evacuated the city,and from the surrounding heights watched the procedure of the Muslims. At the end ofthe stipulated three days the chiefs of Quraysh sent a reminder to the Prophet that thetime was up. He then withdrew, and the idolaters reoccupied the city.Mu’tah ExpeditionIn the eighth year of the Hijrah, hearing that the Byzantine emperor was gathering a forcein Syria for the destruction of Islām, the Prophet sent three thousand men to Syria underthe command of his freed slave Zayd. The campaign was unsuccessful except that it im-pressed the Syrians with a notion of the reckless valour of the Muslims. The three thou-sand did not hesitate to join battle with a hundred thousand. When all the three leadersappointed by the Prophet had been killed, the survivors under the command of Khalidibn al-Walid, who, by his strategy and courage, managed to preserve a remnant and returnwith them to Madinah. 22
  26. 26. Truce Broken by QurayshIn the same year Quraysh broke the truce by attacking a tribe that was in alliance with theProphet and massacring them even in the sanctuary at Makkah. Afterwards they wereafraid because of what they had done. They sent Abu Sufyan to Madinah to ask for theexisting treaty to be renewed and, its term prolonged. They hoped that he would arrivebefore the tidings of the massacre. But a messenger from the injured tribe had been be-fore him, and his embassy was fruitless.Conquest of MakkahThen the Prophet summoned all the Muslims capable of bearing arms and marched toMakkah. The Quraysh were overawed. Their cavalry put up a show of defence before thetown, but were routed without bloodshed; and the Prophet entered his native city onhorseback with his head humbled before God as conqueror. The inhabitants expectedvengeance for their past misdeeds. The Prophet proclaimed a general amnesty. Only afew known criminals were proscribed, and most of those were in the end forgiven. Intheir relief and surprise, the whole population of Makkah hastened to swear allegiance.The Prophet caused all the idols which were in the sanctuary to be destroyed, saying:“Truth has come; darkness has vanished away;” and the Muslim call to prayer was heardin Makkah.Battle of HunaynIn the same year there was an angry gathering of pagan tribes eager to regain the Ka’bāh.The Prophet led twelve thousand men against them. At Hunayn, in a deep ravine, histroops were ambushed by the enemy and almost put to flight. It was with difficulty thatthey were rallied to the Prophet and his bodyguard of faithful comrades who alone stoodfirm. But the victory, when it came, was complete and the booty enormous, for many ofthe hostile tribes had brought out with them everything that they possessed.Conquest of Tā’ifThe tribe of Thaqif was among the enemy at Hunayn. After that victory their city of Tā’ifwas besieged by the Muslims, and finally reduced. Then the Prophet appointed a gover-nor of Makkah, and himself returned to Madinah to the boundless joy of the Ansār, whohad feared lest, now that he had regained his native city, he might forsake them and makeMakkah the capital.The Tabuk ExpeditionIn the ninth year of the Hijrah, hearing that an army was again being mustered in Syria,the Prophet called on all the Muslims to support him in a great campaign. The far dis-tance, the hot season, the fact that it was harvest time and the prestige of the enemycaused many to excuse themselves and many more to stay behind without excuse. Thosedefaulters are denounced in the Qur’ān. But the campaign ended peacefully. The armyadvanced to Tabuk, on the confines of Syria, and then learnt that the enemy had not yetgathered. 23
  27. 27. Declaration of ImmunityAlthough Makkah had been conquered and its people were now Muslims, the official or-der of the pilgrimage had not been changed; the pagan Arabs performing it in their man-ner, and the Muslims in their manner. It was only after the pilgrims’ caravan had left Ma-dinah in the ninth year of the Hijrah, when Islām was dominant in North Arabia, that theDeclaration of Immunity, as it is called, was revealed (Surah 9). The Prophet sent a copyof it by messenger to Abu Bakr, leader of the pilgrimage, with the instruction that Ali wasto read it to the multitudes at Makkah. Its declaration was that after that year, Muslimsonly were to make the pilgrimage, exception being made for such of the idolaters as had atreaty with the Muslims and had never broken their treaty nor supported anyone againstthem. Such were to enjoy the privileges of their treaty for the term thereof, but whentheir treaty expired they would be as other idolaters. That proclamation marks the end ofidol-worship in Arabia.The Year of DeputationsThe ninth year of the Hijrah is called the Year of Deputations, because from all parts ofArabia deputations came to Madinah to swear allegiance to the Prophet and to hear theQur’ān. The Prophet had become, in fact, the Ruler of Arabia, but his way of life re-mained as simple as before. He personally controlled every detail of organization, judgedevery case and was accessible to every suppliant. In the last ten years he destroyed idolatryin Arabia; raised women from the status of a cattle to legal equity with men; effectuallystopped the drunkenness and immorality which had till then disgraced the Arabs; mademen in love with faith, sincerity and honest dealing; transformed tribes who had been forcenturies content with ignorance into a people with the greatest thirst for knowledge; andfor the first time in history made universal human brotherhood a fact and principle ofcommon law. And his support and guide in all that work was the Qur’ān.The Farewell PilgrimageIn the tenth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet Muhammad went to Makkah as a pilgrim forthe last time – his “pilgrimage of farewell” as it is called – when from Mt. ‘Arafat hepreached to an enormous throng of pilgrims. He reminded them of all the duties Islāmenjoined upon them, and that they would one day have to meet their Lord, who wouldjudge each one of them according to his work. He said: “O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Re- member that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity…. 24
  28. 28. …. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. It is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be un- chaste... O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God (The One Creator of the Universe), perform your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakāh) of your wealth. Perform Hajj if you can afford to. All mankind are from Adam and Eve - an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves. Remember, one day you will appear before God (The Creator) and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. O People, no prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of God (the Qur’ān) and my Sunnah (practices), if you fol- low them you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”Illness and Death of the ProphetIt was during that last pilgrimage that the Sūrah entitled ‘Victory’ (surah 110) was re-vealed, which he received as an announcement of approaching death. Soon after his re-turn to Madinah he fell ill. The tidings of his illness caused dismay throughout Arabia andanguish to the folk of Madinah, Makkah and Tā’if, the hometowns. At early dawn on thelast day of his earthly life he came out from his room beside the masjid at Madinah andjoined the public prayer, which Abu Bakr had been leading since his illness. And therewas great relief among the people, who supposed him well again.When, later in the day, the rumour grew that he was dead. Umar threatened those whospread the rumour with dire punishment, declaring it a crime to think that the Messengerof God could die. He was storming at the people in that strain when Abu Bakr came intothe mosque and overheard him. Abu Bakr went to the chamber of his daughter Aisha, 25
  29. 29. where the Prophet lay. Having ascertained the fact, kissed the dead-man’s forehead andwent back into the mosque. The people were still listening to Umar, who was saying thatthe rumour was a wicked lie, that the Prophet who was all in all to them could not bedead. Abu Bakr went up to Umar and tried to stop him by a whispered word. Then, find-ing he would pay no heed, Abu Bakr called to the people, who, recognizing his voice, leftUmar and came crowding round him. He first gave praise to God, and then said: “Opeople! Lo! As for him who worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. But as for himwho worships God, God is Alive and dies not.” He then recited the verse of the Qur’ān: “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm God at all; but God will reward the grateful.” Qur’ān 3:144“And,” says the narrator: an eye-witness, “it was as if the people had not known that sucha verse had been revealed till Abu Bakr recited it.” And another witness tells how Umarused to say: when “I heard Abu Bakr recite that verse my feet were cut from beneath meand I fell to the ground, for I knew that God’s messenger was dead, May God bless him!”The final messeneger sent to humanity died at the age of 63 years old in the 10th year ofthe Hijrah (migration) – 632 A.D.Such is Prophet Muhammad. According to every standard by which human greatness canbe measured he was matchless; no person was ever greater. Source: A.B. al-Mehri. Edited from following sources – - M. Pickthall, Introduction – The Glorious Qur’ān, - K. Murrad, Who is Muhammad? - M. Mawdudi, Tafhim al-Qur’ān 26
  30. 30. The Qur’ān Saheeh International Translation 27
  31. 31. Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah www.quranproject.org 1: The Opening _________________________________________________________ Sūrah 1: al-FātihahPeriod of RevelationIt is one of the very earliest Revelations to the Prophet. As a matter of fact we learn from authentic Ha-dith (traditions) that it was the first complete Sūrah which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Beforethis only a few verses were revealed which form parts of Sūrah Alaq, Nun, Muzzammil and Muddathir.ThemeThis Sūrah is in fact a prayer which God has taught to all those who want to make a study of His Book.It has been placed at the very beginning of the Book to teach this lesson to the reader: if you sincerelywant to benefit from the Qur’ān, you should offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.This preface is meant to create a strong desire in the heart of the reader to seek guidance from the Lordof the Universe, who alone can grant it. Thus al-Fātihah indirectly teaches that the best thing for a man isto pray for guidance to the straight path, to study the Qur’ān with the mental attitude of a seeker-after-truth and to recognize the fact that the Lord of the Universe is the source of all knowledge. He should,therefore, begin the study of the Qur’ān with a prayer to him for guidance.From this theme, it becomes clear that the real relation between al-Fātihah and the Qur’ān is not that ofan introduction to a book but that of a prayer and its answer. Al-Fātihah is the prayer from the servantand the Qur’ān is the answer from the the Master to his prayer. The servant prays to God to show himguidance and the Master places the whole of the Qur’ān before him in answer to his prayer, as if to say,“This is the Guidance you begged from Me.” 28
  32. 32. Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah www.quranproject.org 1: The Opening _________________________________________________________ Sūrah 1: al-Fātihah11. In the name of God,2 the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.32. [All] praise is [due] to God, Lord4 of the worlds –3. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,4. Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.55. It is You we worship and You we ask for help.6. Guide us to the straight path –7. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.1 Al-Fātihah: The Opening (of the Qur’ān). Note: Sūrah titles are not an integral part of the Qur’ān.A distinguishing word in a particular sūrah or a word defining its subject matter often became acommon means of identification among the Prophets companions and later scholars. Althoughsome names, such as al-Fātihah, were used by the Prophet in reference to a particular sūrah, theywere not specifically designated by him as titles.2 God, Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, the Eternaland Absolute, to whom alone all worship is due.3 Ar-Rahmān and ar-Raheem are two names of God derived from the word “rahmāh” (mercy). InArabic grammar both are intensive forms of “merciful” (i.e., extremely merciful). A complimentaryand comprehensive meaning is intended by using both together.Rahmān is used only to describe God, while raheem might be used to describe a person as well. TheProphet was described in the Qur’ān as raheem. Rahmān is above the human level (i.e., intenselymerciful). Since one usually understands intensity to be something of short duration, God de-scribes Himself also as raheem (i.e., continually merciful).Rahmān also carries a wider meaning - merciful to all creation. Justice is a part of this mercy. Ra-heem includes the concept of speciality - especially and specifically merciful to the believers. For-giveness is a part of this mercy. (See al-Qurtubī’s al-Jāmi’u li Ahkāmil-Qur’ān, pp.103-107.)However we will incorporate the translation henceforth, ‘In the Name of God, the Most Compas-sionate, the Most Merciful’4 When referring to God, the Arabic term “rabb” (translated as “Lord”) includes all of the follow-ing meanings: “owner, master, ruler, controller, sustainer, provider, guardian and caretaker.”5 i.e., repayment and compensation for whatever was earned of good or evil during life on thisearth. 29
  33. 33. Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah www.quranproject.org 2: The Cow _________________________________________________________ Sūrah 2: al-BaqarahSequenceThough it is a Madani Sūrah, it follows naturally a Makki Sūrah Al-Fātihah, which ended with the prayer:“Show us the straight way.” It begins with the answer to that prayer, “This is the Book (that) . . . isguidance.” The greater part of Al-Baqarah was revealed during the first two years of the Prophet’s life atMadinah. The smaller part which was revealed at a later period has been included in this Sūrah because itscontents are closely related to those dealt with in this Sūrah.Historical BackgroundIn order to understand the meaning of this Sūrah, we should know its historical background: 1. At Makkah the Qur’ān generally addressed the polytheist Quraysh who were ignorant of Islām, but at Madinah it was also concerned with the Jews who were acquainted with the creed of the Oneness of God, Prophethood, Revelation, the Hereafter and Angels. They also professed to believe in the law which was revealed by God to their Prophet Moses, and in principle, their way was the same (Islām) that was being taught by Prophet Muhammad. But they had strayed away from it during the centuries of degeneration and had adopted many un-Islāmic creeds, rites and customs of which there was no mention and for which there was no sanction in the Torah. Not only this: they had tampered with the Torah by inserting their own explanations and interpretations into its text. They had distorted even that part of the Word of God which had remained intact in their Scriptures and taken out of it the real spirit of true religion and were now clinging to a lifeless frame of rituals. Consequently their beliefs, their morals and their conduct had gone to the lowest depths of degene- ration. The pity is that they were not only satisfied with their condition but loved to cling to it. Be- sides this, they had no intention or inclination to accept any kind of reform. So they became bitter enemies of those who came to teach them the Right Way and did their worst to defeat every such effort. Though they were originally Muslims, they had swerved from the real Islām and made inno- vations and alterations in it and had fallen victims to hair splitting and sectarianism. They had for- gotten and forsaken God and begun to serve material wealth. So much so that they had even given up their original name “Muslim” and adopted the name “Jew” instead, and made religion the sole monopoly of the children of Israel. This was their religious condition when the Prophet went to Madinah and invited the Jews to the true religion. That is why more than one third of this Sūrah has been addressed to the children of Israel. A critical review of their history, their moral degeneration and their religious perversions has been made. Side by side with this, the high standard of morality and the fundamental principles of the pure religion have been put forward in order to bring out clearly the nature of the degeneration of the community of a prophet when it goes astray and to draw clear lines of demarcation between real piety and formalism, and the essentials and non- essentials of the true religion. 2. At Makkah, Islām was mainly concerned with the propagation of its fundamental principles and the moral training of its followers. But after the migration of the Prophet to Madinah, where Muslims had come to settle from all over Arabia and where a tiny Islāmic State had been set up with the help of the Ansār (local supporters), naturally the Qur’ān had to turn its attention to the social, cultural, economic, political and legal problems as well. This accounts for the difference between the themes of the Sūrahs revealed at Makkah and those at Madinah. Accordingly about half of this Sūrah deals with those principles and regulations which are essential for the integration and solidarity of a community and for the solution of its problems. 30
  34. 34. Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah www.quranproject.org 2: The Cow _________________________________________________________After the migration to Madinah, the struggle between Islām and Kufr (disbelief) had also entered a newphase. Before this the Believers, who propagated Islām among their own clans and tribes, had to face its op-ponents at their own risk. But the conditions had changed at Madinah, where Muslims from all parts of Ara-bia had come and settled as one community, and had established an independent city state. Here it became astruggle for the survival of the Community itself, for the whole of non-Muslim Arabia was bent upon andunited in crushing it totally. Hence the following instructions, upon which depended not only its success butits very survival, were revealed in this Sūrah: a. The Community should work with the utmost zeal to propagate its ideology and win over to its side the greatest possible number of people. b. It should so expose its opponents as to leave no room for doubt in the mind of any sensible person that they were adhering to an absolutely wrong position. c. It should infuse in its members (the majority of whom were homeless and indigent and surrounded on all sides by enemies) that courage and fortitude which is so indispensable to their very existence in the adverse circumstances in which they were struggling and to prepare them to face these bold- ly. d. It should also keep them ready and prepared to meet any armed menace, which might come from any side to suppress and crush their ideology, and to oppose it tooth and nail without minding the overwhelming numerical strength and the material resources of its enemies. e. It should also create in them that courage which is needed for the eradication of evil ways and for the establishment of the Islāmic Way instead. That is why God has revealed in this Sūrah such in- structions as may help achieve all the above mentioned objects.At the time of the revelation of Al-Baqarah, all sorts of hypocrites had begun to appear. God has, therefore,briefly pointed out their characteristics here. Afterwards when their evil characteristics and mischievousdeeds became manifest, God sent detailed instructions about them.Theme: GuidanceThis Sūrah is an invitation to the Divine Guidance and all the stories, incidents etc., revolve around this cen-tral theme. As this Sūrah has particularly been addressed to the Jews, many historical events have been citedfrom their own traditions to admonish and advise them that their own good lies in accepting the Guidancerevealed to the Prophet. They should, therefore, be the first to accept it because it was basically the same thatwas revealed to Prophet Moses. 31
  35. 35. Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah www.quranproject.org 2: The Cow _________________________________________________________ Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah6 7. God has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, vision is a veil.12 And for them is a great the Most Merciful punishment.1. Alif, Lām, Meem.7 8. And of the people are some who say, “We believe in God and the Last Day,”2. This is the Book about which there is but they are not believers. no doubt, a guidance for those con- scious of God8 - 9. They [think to] deceive God and those who believe, but they deceive not ex-3. Who believe in the unseen, establish cept themselves and perceive [it] not. prayer,9 and spend out of what We10 have provided for them, 10. In their hearts is disease, so God has increased their disease;13 and for them4. And who believe in what has been re- is a painful punishment because they vealed to you, [O Muhammad], and [habitually] used to lie. what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. 11. And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they5. Those are upon [right] guidance from say, “We are but reformers.” their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. 12. Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.6. Indeed, those who disbelieve11 - it is all the same for them whether you warn 13. And when it is said to them, “Believe as them or do not warn them - they will the people have believed,” they say, not believe. “Should we believe as the foolish have believed?” Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it]6 Al-Baqarah: The Cow. The name is taken from not.the story in verses 67-73.7 These are among the fourteen opening letterswhich occur in various combinations at the be- 14. And when they meet those who be-ginning of twenty-nine sūrahs in the Qur’ān. Al- lieve, they say, “We believe”; but whenthough there has been much speculation as to they are alone with their evil ones, theytheir meaning, it was not, in fact, revealed by God say, “Indeed, we are with you; we wereto anyone and is known only to Him. only mockers.”8 Literally, “those who have taqwā,” i.e., who havepiety, righteousness, fear and love of God, and 15. [But] God mocks them and prolongswho take great care to avoid His displeasure. them in their transgression [while] they9 At its proper times and according to its speci- wander blindly.fied conditions.10 It is to be noted that the reference of God toHimself as “We” in many Qur’ānic verses is nec-essarily understood in the Arabic language to 12 A covering preventing them from discerningdenote grandeur and power, as apposed to the guidance. This condition is a direct result of theirmore intimate singular form “I” used in specific arrogance and persistence in sin.instances. 13 The “disease” mentioned here includes doubt,11 Literally, “cover” or “conceal” (faith or truth). hypocrisy, arrogance and disbelief. 32
  36. 36. Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah www.quranproject.org 2: The Cow _________________________________________________________16. Those are the ones who have pur- 22. [He] who made for you the earth a bed chased error [in exchange] for guidance, [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and so their transaction has brought no sent down from the sky, rain and profit, nor were they guided. brought forth thereby fruits as provi- sion for you. So do not attribute to17. Their example is that of one who kin- God equals while you know [that there dled a fire, but when it illuminated what is nothing similar to Him]. was around him, God took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they 23. And if you are in doubt about what We could not see. have sent down [i.e., the Qur’ān] upon Our Servant [i.e., Prophet Muhammad],18. Deaf, dumb and blind - so they will not then produce a sūrah the like thereof return [to the right path]. and call upon your witnesses [i.e., sup- porters] other than God, if you should19. Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky be truthful. within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their 24. But if you do not - and you will never ears against the thunderclaps in dread be able to - then fear the Fire, whose of death. But God is encompassing14 of fuel is men and stones, prepared for the the disbelievers. disbelievers.20. The lightning almost snatches away 25. And give good tidings to those who their sight. Every time it lights [the way] believe and do righteous deeds that for them, they walk therein; but when they will have gardens [in Paradise] be- darkness comes over them, they stand neath which rivers flow. Whenever they [still]. And if God had willed, He could are provided with a provision of fruit have taken away their hearing and their therefrom, they will say, “This is what sight. Indeed, God is over all things we were provided with before.” And it competent. is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and21. O mankind, worship your Lord, who they will abide therein eternally. created you and those before you, that you may become righteous – 26. Indeed, God is not timid to present an example - that of a mosquito or what is smaller15 than it. And those who have14 God states in the Qur’ān that He has certain believed know that it is the truth fromattributes such as hearing, sight, hands, face, mer- their Lord. But as for those who disbe-cy, anger, coming, encompassing, being above the lieve, they say, “What did God intendThrone, etc. Yet, He has disassociated Himself by this as an example?” He misleadsfrom the limitations of human attributes or hu- many thereby and guides many thereby.man imagination. Correct Islāmic belief requires And He misleads not except the de-faith in the existence of these attributes as God fiantly disobedient,has described them without applying to them anyallegorical meanings or attempting to explain howa certain quality could be (while this is known 27. Who break the covenant of God afteronly to God) and without comparing them to contracting it and sever that which Godcreation or denying that He would have such aquality. His attributes are befitting to Him alone,and “There is nothing like unto Him.” (42:11) 15 Literally, “above it,” i.e., greater in smallness. 33
  37. 37. Sūrah 2: al-Baqarah www.quranproject.org 2: The Cow _________________________________________________________ has ordered to be joined and cause cor- 34. And [mention] when We said to the ruption on earth. It is those who are angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so the losers. they prostrated, except for Iblees.18 He refused and was arrogant and became28. How can you disbelieve in God when of the disbelievers. you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, 35. And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and then He will bring you [back] to life, your wife, in Paradise and eat there- and then to Him you will be returned. from in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach29. It is He who created for you all of that this tree, lest you be among the wrong- which is on the earth. Then He directed doers.” Himself16 to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them sev- 36. But Satan caused them to slip out of it en heavens, and He is Knowing of all and removed them from that [condi- things. tion] in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, [all of you], as enemies30. And [mention, O Muhammad], when to one another, and you will have upon your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I the earth a place of settlement and pro- will make upon the earth a successive vision for a time.” authority.”17 They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption 37. Then Adam received from his Lord therein and sheds blood, while we dec- [some] words,19 and He accepted his lare Your praise and sanctify You?” He repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the [God] said, “Indeed, I know that which Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. you do not know.” 38. We said, “Go down from it, all of you.31. And He taught Adam the names - all of And when guidance comes to you from them. Then He showed them to the Me, whoever follows My guidance - angels and said, “Inform Me of the there will be no fear concerning them, names of these, if you are truthful.” nor will they grieve.32. They said, “Exalted are You; we have 39. And those who disbelieve and deny no knowledge except what You have Our signs - those will be companions taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the of the Fire; they will abide therein eter- Knowing, the Wise.” nally.”33. He said, “O Adam, inform them of 40. O Children of Israel, remember My their names.” And when he had in- favor which I have bestowed upon you formed them of their names, He said, and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that “Did I not tell you that I know the un- seen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and 18 The proper name of Satan, who was not an what you have concealed.” angel but from the jinn, as stated in 18:50. Done in obedience to God, this prostration was one of16See footnote to 2:19. respect, not worship.17Khalīfah: successor, or generations of man, one 19 God taught Adam words of repentance thatfollowing another. would be acceptable to Him. 34

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