Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 23

The Speeches of Yuwsha [Joshua] and Kalib [Caleb]

Two God-fearing persons hearing the remarks made by the Bani Israel gave them some good counsel by saying, “Why are you so scared of death much before it has come? Just take a few steps. The gate of the city of Bayt-ul-Muqadas is not far. Take heart and make your move. Only this much of your action, we believe will become the cause of your victory.

Once you enter the gate of Bayt-ul-Muqadas, you will overcome the enemy who would run in defeat. These two persons mentioned in this ayah were among the twelve chiefs sent by Musa aalyhi salaam to go and find out what kind of people Amalkites were. Their names were Yuwsha ibn Noon and Kalib ibn Yuqeena.

Allah said,

قَالَ رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا

“Two men of those who feared (Allah and) on whom Allah had bestowed His grace said..”

Describing their characteristics, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that they were those who feared. Who did they fear? They feared only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. When He has commanded to do something then there’s no choice they must enter the city.

Now this is a quality that every Muslim must develop in himself. We don’t have any choice other than submission when it comes to the commands of Allah. The fear of Allah is more than anyone else’s fear. It is His fear that made Yuwsha and Kalib fearless of Amalkites. They had just come out of slavery and tyranny of Pharaoh and now they were being commanded to fight these people who were strong and mighty like giants. It was natural to have fear, but the fear didn’t stop them from honoring the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

No one can without Allah’s will and permission bring the least benefit to anyone, nor cause any harm – and when only one Being is deserving of being feared, and that is already determined, then, there remains no need to re-determine it.

Another characteristic that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes here is the grace and honor they were blessed with. What grace and honor was this? The taqwa of Allah and piety. He saved them from saying anything negative. This is also a blessing.

Any excellence that one has is nothing other than a blessing and favor of Allah, otherwise there were 10 other chiefs as well. They had strength and authority yet they slipped. This tells us that real guidance does not depend on one’s strength of inward and outward faculties or his effort or deed. Instead, it is a reward from Allah. However, to become deserving of this reward both efforts and deeds are a condition.

These two men said to their people,

ادْخُلُواْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْبَابَ فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمُوهُ فَإِنَّكُمْ غَـلِبُونَ

“Assault them through the gate, for when you are in, victory will be yours.”

They advised their people to enter the city without informing anyone of their arrival. If a notification is sent that they are coming then the enemy would have come prepared as well. Therefore, they said, just enter and victory will be yours.

وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُواْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

“And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.”

If you rely on and trust in Allah, follow His command and obey His Messenger, then Allah will give you victory over your enemies and will give you triumph and dominance over them. Thus, you will conquer the city that Allah has promised you.

LESSONS:

– This ayah tells us what real tawakkal is. Tawakkal includes four things: true trust on Allah [having aitemad in our heart], holding on to Allah [by making du’a], thinking positive about Allah [not doubting Allah] and adopting means to accomplish the task [making an effort].

–  In a huge group of people there are only a few who are rightly guided or have some intellect and do things with consciousness.

– Of the great blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the fear of Allah [taqwa]. Blessings are not just children, money, fame but taqwa as well. How does one acquire taqwa of Allah? By acquiring knowledge. In Surah Fatir ayah 28, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Only those fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge.”

– Tawwakal is that one makes the effort and then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will come for his help.

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