July 31, 2015 by Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ayaat 84 – 86 the Terms of the Covenant and the Breach
Before the Prophet ﷺ migrated to Madina, the tribes of idol worshipers and Jews lived there. These tribes were the allies of one another; they had pledged that they will support their respective tribe whenever the war erupted between the tribes, this meant fighting against their own (Jew vs Jew) which was prohibited in their law.
There were two tribes of the idol worshipers: Aws and Khazraj, and three tribes of the Jews: Banu Qaynuqa’, Banu An-Nadeer and Banu Qurayzah.
Banu Qaynuqa’ and Banu An-Nadeer were the allies of the idol worshiping tribe Khazraj, while Banu Qurayzah was the ally of Aws.
When war erupted between Aws and Khazraj, their respective Jewish allies would assist them. In doing so, sometimes the Jews will kill their own Jewish brethren, drive them out of their homes, loot their belongings, and capture them as prisoners. When the war ended, they would get their imprisoned brethrens released according to the rulings of the Torah. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds them that they had testified to this covenant. It is not as if they were unaware of it or it was a new command. This is why He said,
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ
“Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest?” meaning you had taken a promise to not shed the blood of your people, expel them from their homes or help another party in fighting against your brother, but you went against the command. Later, when your brethren were captured you brought money to get them released stating you are acting on the Torah. You ransom them according to the rulings of the Torah, yet kill them (while helping the enemy) while the Torah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes. The Torah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in the worship, against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world. You implement the Torah sometimes and defy it at other times, although you believed in the Torah and knew what you were doing was wrong. Is it that you believe in part of the Scripture and reject some part for a worldly gain?
So, what should be the recompense for such people who believe in some part of the Book and reject the other? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that for them is disgrace in this life, and in the Hereafter severe punishment awaits them.
What about us? How committed are we to the commands of the Qur’an? Do we believe in some of the commands and reject the others?
Make a list of all the commands from ayah 1 till this ayah and note how many commands you follow and how many you have been ignoring. The first command that we learn is to establish prayer. Establishing prayer, as we learned, means praying it at its appointed time (not when my heart wills or work allows), praying it in congregation (for men), praying with proper ablution (leaving no part that is to be washed, dry), and in the way that Prophet ﷺ taught us. So, am I acting on this first command? Is there a share for the needy in my provision? Do I share whatever resources and skills I have with others, or am I stingy?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that He is not unaware of what we do. The punishment for defying the laws and commandments of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is in both the worlds. By giving more preference to the joys and paltry profits of this world we are being negligent of what awaits us in the Hereafter. We might find like-minded people in this world who deceive us into enjoying temporary pleasures of this world, but in the Hereafter there will be no helpers. Each soul will taste what it has earned. The torment will be eternal and there will be no refuge from it.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for His mercy, and to bless us wisdom with which we can make right decisions in our life, ameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 84-86