Al-Maidah · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 98 – 99

Allah’s Punishment is Severe, Messenger’s Duty is Only to Convey

In ayah 98, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

اعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

The word iqab is from the root letters ayn-qaf-ba and it means retribution that comes as a result of consequences of sins.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, know that your Lord, Who has perfect knowledge of whatever is in the heavens and earth, and Who is never unaware of your deeds – public or secret – is severe in punishment for those who disobey and defy Him. He also pardons the sins of those who obey and repent to Him, more Merciful than to punish them for the sins that they repented from.

LESSONS:

– We learn about the obligation of gaining knowledge of Deen so that we know what we are supposed to do and what we cannot do.

– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is severe in retribution for the one who abandons His commands or goes against them.

– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is forgiving towards those who seek repentance and forgiveness.

– A person should remain in between fear and hope. Knowing that Allah is severe in punishment develops fear in him. Knowing that Allah is Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful we should have hope in Him. Often we forget the first part and only remember that Allah is Oft-Forgiving.

In Surah Hijr ayah 49 and 50, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “[O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I Who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.”

If we know something then we cannot go against the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And if unintentionally or by mistake we do something wrong then we should immediately repent and hope that He will forgive us.

Ayah 99

In ayah 99, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

مَّا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلاَّ الْبَلَـغُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ

“The Messenger’s duty is but to convey. And Allah knows all that you reveal and all that you conceal.”

This is a warning from Allah for His servants. The duty of the Messenger is only to convey the Message whoever obeys him gets the reward from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and whoever denies him will receive punishment for his decision.

The obedience of those who accept Allah’s Message never escapes His knowledge, just as in the case of those who disobey and defy His Message. He knows what we do, what we demonstrate physically, announce and utter with our tongue, and what we hide in our heart, be it of faith, disbelief, certainty, doubt or hypocrisy.

He Who is so capable, then nothing that the hearts conceal, nor any of the apparent acts of the souls in the heavens and earth could escape His knowledge. In His Hand, alone, is the reward and punishment, and He is worthy to be feared, obeyed and never disobeyed.

LESSONS:

– The duty of the conveyor is only to convey the message. He is not required to force the people to accept the commands. What you do and don’t do, only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is going to hold you for that. Sometimes when there is a message that needs to be conveyed we become harsh towards people, and take an offense when they are not listening to us. Yes, our message should be effective enough for people to open up their hearts towards it but we cannot force them to follow what we tell them to do. Only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has the authority to hold people accountable.

– The conveyor’s responsibility is to convey and the recipient’s responsibility is to accept it.

– The Messengers don’t know what people hold in their hearts. They don’t know about the unseen. Only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what is in the hearts of people.

– People should not oppose the conveyor because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is watching us.

– Since Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what words we utter and what thoughts or feelings we hold inside us, we should be fearful of Him. In Surah Qaf Ayah 16, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”

We will be put into different situations and will be tested, we should know that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is watching us.

[SOURCE: Tafseer Ibn Katheer and Tafseer Lecture of Taimiyyah Zuberi]

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