In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 285 – 286
We have reached the end of the longest Surah of the Qur’an – Al-Baqarah. The last two ayaat of this Surah have great virtue. About them the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
مَنْ قَرَأَ بِالْآيَتَيْنِ مِنْ آخِرِ سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ فِي لَيْلَةٍ، كَفَتَاه
“Whoever recites the last two ayaat in Surah Al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice for him.” [Bukhari]
Muslim recorded that ‘Abdullah said, “When the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went on the Isra journey, he ascended to the Sidrah Al-Muntaha in the sixth heaven, where whatever ascends from the earth ends at, and whatever descends from above it ends at. The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was then given three things: the five prayers, the last ayaat in Surah Al-Baqarah and forgiveness for whoever did not associate anything or anyone with Allah from his Ummah.”
Earlier we mentioned the hadeeth regarding the virtues of Surah Al-Fatihah from Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu which stated, “While the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was with Jibreel ‘alayhi salaam, he heard a noise from above. Jibreel lifted his sight to the sky and said, ‘This is a door that was opened just now in heaven, and it was never opened before.’ An angel came down through the door to the Prophet and said, ‘Receive the good news of two lights that you have been given and which no Prophet before you was given: the Opener of the Book (Al-Fatihah) and the last ayaat in Surah Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but you will be granted its benefit.’” [This hadeeth was collected by Muslim and An-Nasa’i, and this is the wording collected by An-Nasa’i.]
Surah Al-Baqarah ends with the similar words that were stated in the beginning of this Surah. In the start of the Surah, we learned that only those who are the Muttaqeen [pious] will receive guidance from this Book (the Qur’an). The ayaat that followed described the profile of the pious – they are those who belief in the Unseen, in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, in His Angels, in His Messengers, in the Day of Judgment and in His Books. They establish prayers (i.e. not only offer prayers themselves at their appointed times but also encourage their fellow Muslims to offer them) and share the provision that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has provided them with. They believe in the Book revealed to Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (i.e. the Qur’an) and in the previous Scriptures as they were revealed to their messengers (i.e. the Torah and Gospel).
In these ayaat, there is a reinforcement of the same belief. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala affirms that the believers believe that Allah is the One and Only and the Sustainer. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him and there is no Lord except Him. The believers also believe in all of Allah’s prophets and messengers, in the Books revealed from heaven to the messengers and prophets, who are indeed the servants of Allah. The believers do not differentiate between any of the prophets, such as, believing in some of them and rejecting others. Rather, all of Allah’s prophets and messengers are, to the believers, truthful, righteous, and they were each guided to the path of righteousness. Later on, the Law of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Final Prophet and Messenger from Allah, abrogated all the laws of the prophets before him. So the Last Hour will commence while Muhammad’s Law remains the only valid Law, and a group of his Ummah will always be on the path of truth, apparent and dominant.
Unlike the previous nations who refused to obey their prophets, the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when they hear a command from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala say, “We hear and we obey.” The word atana [أَطَعْنَا] is from the root Ta-wau-ayn and it means “to obey.”
It means that we have heard the statement of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, our Lord, and comprehended and implemented it, and adhered to its implications. Their obedience to their Lord does not make them haughty but they seek forgiveness for whatever shortcomings they may have. Such is the profile of a believer. He believes in the Unseen and all that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has commanded him to believe in; he adheres to His commands yet he does not consider his deeds sufficient. Therefore, he seeks forgiveness. The phrase, “(We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord,” contains a plea and supplication for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and kindness. The word gufranaka [غُفْرَانَكَ] is from the root ghayn-fa-ra and it means “to protect, cover or hide.”
The word yukaliffu [يُكَلِّفُ] is from the root kaf-lam-fa and it means “to take pains.” The word wus-aha [وُسْعَهَا] is from the root wau-seen-ayn and it means “to be ample.”
When a believer calls to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone with sincerity, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responds to his calling. He says, “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope,” meaning He does not ask a soul what is beyond its ability. This only demonstrates Allah’s kindness, compassion, and generosity towards His creation. This ayah abrogated the previous ayah that worried the Companions where it was said, “And whether you disclose what is in yourselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it.”
This indicates that although Allah will question His servants and judge them, He will only punish for what one is able to protect himself from. As for what one cannot protect himself from, such as what one says to himself – or passing thoughts – they will not be punished for that. We should state here that to dislike the evil thoughts that cross one’s mind is a part of faith.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says next that a person gets the reward for what good he is done and is punished for the evil that he commits. We have a choice to speak good or hurt others. We are not accountable for what is done involuntarily or what crosses our minds, but the things that we do with complete attention and intention will have the consequences. Therefore, we should reflect on our actions and see where we stand.
The truthful servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala supplicate, “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error…” The word tuakhidhna [تُؤَاخِذْنَا] is from the root hamza-kha-dhal and it means “to take in one’s hand or to take captive.” The word naseena [نَّسِينَا] is from the root noon-seen-ya and it means “to forsake, forget or neglect.” The word akhtana [أَخْطَأْنَا] is from the root kha-Ta-hamza and it means “to do wrong or commit a mistake.”
It means that if we forget an obligation, fall into a prohibition, or made an error in ignorance then please overlook our mistake and forgive us. The servants ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to not burden them like He burdened the previous nations. Ibn Katheer commented that it means even if we are able to perform them, do not require us to perform the difficult deeds as You required the previous nation. You sent Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a mercy to mankind to free them of their burdens and made religion easy.
The believers further say, “Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear.” The word isran [إِصْرًا] is from the root hamza-saad-ra and it means “to burden or commit a sin.” The burden here means the obligations, hardships and afflictions one faces in religion. What a mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala it is that He recorded these words in the Qur’an for us to recite and free ourselves from hardships and afflictions!
“Pardon us and grant us forgiveness.” The word wa-ufu [وَاعْفُ] is from the root ayn-fa-wau and it means “to forgive.”
The ayah means that pardon what is between You and us regarding what You know of our shortcomings and errors, and forgive us for our shortcomings in dealing with your other servants. Do not expose our errors and evil deeds. “Have mercy on us…” in what will come thereafter. Do not allow us fall into another error. they say those who commit error need three things: Allah’s forgiveness for what is between Him and them, that He conceal these errors from His other servants, and thus does not expose them before the servants, and that He grants them immunity from further error.
We acknowledge that He is our Maula [Patron, Supporter, and Protector]. It is He in Whom we put our trust, and His help is sought for each and every type of problem. There is no power or strength except from Him. We ask Him for victory over those who rejected His religion, denied His Oneness, refused the Message of Your Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, worshiped other than Him and associated others in His worship. Give us victory and make us prevail above them in this and the Hereafter.
Ibn Jareer recorded from Abu Ishaq that whenever M’uadh radhiAllahu ‘anhu would finish reciting this Surah, he would say “Aameen” at the end. These last two ayaat are du’a therefore, we too should make it a habit of saying “Aameen [O Allah! Accept it]” after reciting them.
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