Deep Knowledge of Religion Strengthens Emaan
The previous ayaat referred to the Jews who adhered to their disbelief and obstinately continued practicing what was blame-worthy. The present ayah now cites those who were, no doubt, from among the People of the Book, but, when the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam came with his mission and they found in him, fully and unmistakably, all qualities the Last among Prophet aalyhi salaam was supposed to have according to the prophecies of their Scripture, they believed in him – like Abdullah ibn Salam, Usayd and Tha’labah, radhiAllahu anhum. The words of praise in this ayah are these blessed souls.
لَّـكِنِ الرَّاسِخُونَ فِى الْعِلْمِ مِنْهُمْ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ
“But those among them who are well-grounded in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you…”
Among the Jews there were some who were firm in the religion and full of beneficial knowledge. They didn’t study religion casually, but researched and pondered upon the lessons. They then accepted the truth that Qur’an brought and reverted to Islam.
Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu said, “This Ayah was revealed concerning Abdullah bin Salam, Tha`labah bin Sa`yah, Zayd bin Sa`yah and Asad bin `Ubayd who embraced Islam and believed what Allah sent Muhammad with.”
Describing their qualities Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
وَالْمُقِيمِينَ الصَّلَوةَ وَالْمُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَوةَ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ
“…..and those who perform the Salah, and give Zakah and believe in Allah and in the Last Day…”
After emaan the best action one can perform is Salah and not just performing it but establishing it regularly. They give Zakah. This could be referring to the obligatory charity due on one’s wealth and property, or those who purify themselves, or both. Allah knows best. They believe that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, believe in Resurrection after death and the reward or punishment for the good or evil deeds.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends this ayah by saying,
أُوْلَـئِكَ سَنُؤْتِيهِمْ أَجْراً عَظِيماً
“It is they to whom We shall give a great reward.”
– Through this ayah, we learn about the justice of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He doesn’t generalize. After talking about the crimes of unjust Jews, He talks about those among the Jews who understood the message of Qur’an and submitted. This is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s High position that He mentions good and evil both.
– We learn that minimal knowledge is not sufficient. Studying religion in depth is what is required. Studying is not enough, applying the knowledge and then firmly adhering to that knowledge is critical. Ilm comes before emaan. To nourish our emaan we must learn and know.
– Mere recitation of the Qur’an doesn’t suffices, we must study its tafseer and refer other authentic sources such as Sunnah and ahadeeth. Once we have gained knowledge about the Qur’an we should acquire Uloom-ul-Fiqh and study Shari’ah matters. Whatever knowledge we acquire, we should not forget the root. Root of Islam is Qur’an and its subjects are its various branches. We can’t water the branches while ignoring the roots. Therefore, our connection with Qur’an i.e. the roots is critical. Whatever knowledge we acquire, we should refer back to Qur’an. We must study what does the Qur’an say about a matter.