In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 213
In the previous ayaat, the love of the worldly life was identified as the reason for man’s deviation. The present ayaat point out another reason: disputing after witnessing clear signs. Since the creation of this world, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has been sending messengers to the people who presented to clear signs of the Creator. Yet the seekers of mundane benefits have been working against it to safeguard their material interests.
There was a time when all human beings belonged to one single community, sharing common religion and belief. Then differences appeared in temperaments, likes and dislikes and opinions. Consequently, contradicting beliefs emerged, making it impossible to distinguish the truth from falsehood. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent His prophets with Books and revelations for the guidance of mankind and to distinguish the truth from error. Some accepted the guidance and followed the path of the prophets ‘alayhim salaam and others rejected the truth and followed their desires instead.
Ibn Jareer reported that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “There were ten generations between Adam and Nuh [Noah], all of them on the religion of Truth. They later disputed so Allah sent the prophets as warners and bringers of glad tiding.”
At other places in the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And mankind was not but one community (united in religion), but (then) they differed. …” [Yunus 10: 19]
“Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” [al-Anbiya 21: 92]
– Notice that the reason they differed was not because they were given different messages, but it was their personal likes and dislikes. When people begin to interpret the Qur’an on their own that is how differences occur and people divide themselves into groups and sects. We should remember that there is only one Islam – and our guidance should be the Qur’an and Sunnah; personal desires should not be preferred. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to stick to the truth, aameen.
– When studying the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala one should keep his ego and personal opinions aside. This is the Book of Allah and we have no right to interpret it in our own way.
– The only way to ensure that we do not follow personal opinions or practice innovations is that we gain knowledge of the Deen. Many of us do not know the proper way of ablution and ghusl then how can our prayers be accepted? We fast on specified days on our own but skip the Sunnah fasts (fasting the 13th, 14th and 15th of each Islamic month or Mondays and Thursdays). We have to ask other people if such-and-such hadeeth or wazeefa is authentic. Why not dedicate some time to learning Deen and stop depending on other people?
The Guided Ones Follow the Book
“And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed…” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent the prophets with guidance to bring back the people to the Straight Path on which they were in the beginning. But despite having received the guidance and witnessing the clear signs, some followed it dutifully and others deviated due to their obstinacy and hostility.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، نَحْنُ أَوَّلُ النَّاسِ دُخُولًا الْجَنَّــةَ، بَيْدَ أَنَّهُم أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِنا وأُوتِينَاهُ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ، فَهَداَنا اللهُ لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقَّ بِإِذْنِهِ، فَهَذَا الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ فَهَدَانَا اللهُ لَهُ، فَالنَّاسُ لَنَا فِيهِ تَبَعٌ، فَغدًا لِلْيَهُودِ، وَبَعْدَ غَدٍ لِلنَّصَارَى
“We are the last (nation), but the first (foremost) on the Day of Resurrection. We are the first people to enter Paradise, although they (Jews and Christians) have been given the Book before us and we after them. Allah has guided us to the truth wherever they disputed over it. This is the day (Friday) that they disputed about, Allah guided us to it. So, the people follow us, as tomorrow is for the Jews and the day after is for the Christians.”
They disputed about the day of Congregation (Friday). The Jews made it Saturday while the Christians chose Sunday. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guided the Ummah of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to Friday. They also disputed about the true Qiblah. The Christians faced the east while the Jews faced Bayt Al-Maqdis. Allah guided the Ummah of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the true Qiblah (Ka’abah in Makkah). They also disputed about the prayer, as some of them bow down, but do not prostrate, while others prostrate, but do not bow down. Some of them pray while talking and some while walking. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guided the Ummah of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the truth. They also disputed about the fast; some of them fast during a part of the day, while others fast from certain types of foods. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guided the Ummah of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the truth. They also disputed about Ibraheem ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Jews said, “He was a Jew,” while the Christians considered him Christian. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an that he was a Haniyfan Musliman.
They also disputed about ‘Eesa ‘alayhi salaam. The Jews rejected him and accused his mother of a grave sin, while the Christians made him a god and the son of God. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made him by His Word and a spirit from (those He created) Him. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guided the Ummah of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the truth.
Notice that in the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…by His permission,” this is an important point that we must remember. Many times when doing da’wah [inviting people to Islam] we are harsh. We want people to accept right there and then, not understanding that hearts are within the Fingers of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. No one can guide a person unless Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wills it for him. We should also remember that to be guided one must have the desire.We cannot blame Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (we seek refuge from such an attitude) for misguiding people; people have to seek guidance.
‘A’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha narrates that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would wake up in the night and pray in the following words:
Another du’a that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us is:
We should memorize these du’as, stay in the company of the righteous and stay away from arguments, personal opinions and misguidance. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to hold fast to the Qur’an and Sunnah and help us live and die as sincere Muslims, aameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 213
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]