Al-Baqarah · Juz 1 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 78 – 82

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Ayaat 78-79 – the One who does not know the Book is not Literate

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said that among the People of the Book are those who have no knowledge of what is in the Book, and base their religion on false statements, wishes or hopes.


Explaining the word amani [أَمَانِىَّ] Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “It is just a false statement that they utter with their tongues.”  Therefore, the word Amani mentioned here refers to lying and falsehood. “…they are only assuming…” means that they have false ideas about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Today, only a few Muslims bother to study their religion properly. What most of us practice, is what was passed on to us by our forefathers. We have based our religion on false statements, wishes and hopes. Some of us believe, just because we are Muslims – the new chosen ones – we are definitely going to enter Jannah. Some believe reciting a specific Surah a certain number of times equals to reciting the entire Qur’an, and that is enough. No need to recite the entire Mushaf from cover to cover. Some of us regularly recite the Qur’an without understanding its exegesis and we believe, we know what’s in the Qur’an.

Point to Reflect: Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala calls those who do not have the knowledge of the Book: ummyyeen – the illiterate. Then what about us? With our fancy titles and degrees, and no knowledge of the Qur’an or only knowing a few Surahs are we really the literate ones?


Our jobs and our degrees will not save us in the Hereafter. We have no knowledge of what the Qur’an says or what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala expects from us, then how can we be successful in both the worlds? Without having the knowledge, we cannot save ourselves from what displeases Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If we have displeased Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and we do not even know how to seek repentance, then how do we expect salvation in the Hereafter?

Learn the Qur’an (not just how to read, but also understand it) and teach it to others. Do not live your life on false hopes. 

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…woe to those who write the scripture with their own hands, then say, ‘This is from Allah.” This addresses the Rabbis who altered the Book of Allah and wrote another book by their own hands and then said, “This is from Allah.” When someone seeking to do evil came to them, they would take out the distorted book that proved his being in the right and would give their fatwa. To give an opinion according to the seeker’s desire, they would charge a ‘price’. This was their business. They were not honest with their job and the Book of Allah. therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.”

Why were the Rabbis able to exploit their religion? It was because the common people had no knowledge of the Book. It is like today, Muslims believe that the only person capable of reading and understanding the Book is the Imam at the Masjid. We do not study the Qur’an ourselves, mess up our lives and then blame the religion. What is stopping us from studying the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not put a condition that only the one who works in the Masjid should read the Qur’an? If we don’t gain knowledge about the religious matters and the Qur’an, anyone can trick us. Do not allow yourself to be fooled due to your ignorance of the Book.

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur’an) that He revealed to His Prophet (ﷺ) is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young. Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, ‘This book is from Allah,’ so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn’t the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them? By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.” This hadeeth was also collected by Bukhari.

Hasan Al-Basri said, “The little amount here means this life and all that it contains,” meaning that by deceiving people or giving them an opinion according to their desire and for a monetary gain is only temporary. For how long can one enjoy a haram earning? Eventually, we all have to die. How are we going to face Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala with our lies and deception?

Ayaat 80-82 – We will get what we earn


Despite doing all the wrong things, the Jews claimed that the Fire will not touch them except for a few days. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala refutes their statement by asking if they have taken a covenant with Him that He will never break. The ayah proclaims: If you had a promise from Allah for that, then Allah will never break His promise. However, such promise never existed. Rather, what you say, about Allah, you have no knowledge of and you thus utter a lie about Him.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, the matter is not as they have wished and hoped it to be. Rather, whoever does an evil deed and abides purposefully in his error, coming on the Day of Resurrection with no good deeds, only evil deeds, then he will be among the people of the Fire. On the other hand, those who believe in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and perform the righteous deeds conforming with the Islamic law, then such people will be among the people of Paradise. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from the punishment of the grave, and the punishment of the Fire, and make us and our loved ones among the people of Jannah, ameen.

When Small Sins gather, they bring about destruction

In the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…and his sin has encompassed him,” the scholars have said that these are the sins that a person commits without seeking repentance and correcting his ways. When the sins accumulate and the person does not stop committing evil finally destruction takes over him.

Imam Ahmad recorded ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

إِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحَقَّرَاتِ الذُّنُوبِ فَإِنَّهُنَّ يَجْتَمِعْنَ عَلَى الرَّجُلِ حَتّى يُهْلِكْنَه

“Beware of the belittled sins, because they gather on a person until they destroy him.”

He then said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ gave them an example,

كَمَثَلٍ قَوْمٍ نَزَلُوا بِأَرْضِ فَلَاةٍ، فَحَضَرَ صَنِيعُ الْقَوْمِ فَجَعَلَ الرَّجُلُ يَنْطَلِقُ فَيَجِيءُ بِالْعُودِ وَالرَّجُلُ يَجِيءُ بِالْعُودِ، حَتّى جَمَعُوا سَوَادًا وَأَجَّجُوا نَارًا فَأَنْضَجُوا مَا قَذَفُوا فِيهَا

“This is the example of people who set up camp on a flat land, and then their servants came. One of them collected some wood and another man collected some wood until they collected a great deal. They then started a fire and cooked what they put on it.”

We should, therefore, really be conscious of our actions and immediately repent as soon as we realize our mistake. We should continue to seek forgiveness for the sins that we know and those that we do not know, forgiveness for the sins that we committed intentionally and those that were committed unintentionally. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us sincere repentance, ameen.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 78-82

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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