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Wednesday, 22 November 2017
 

Surat Al-Mai’da -5- Medinian –Ayats 120 – Section – Three – Verses 18-30

 

And (both) the Jews and the Christians say:”We are the sons of God, and His beloved ones”. Say:” why then does He punish you for your sins?” Nay, you are but human beings of those He has created, He forgives whom He wills/pleases, and He punishes whom He wills/pleases. And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; and to Him is the return of all/final goal. (18)

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُمْ بِذُنُوبِكُمْ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بَشَرٌ مِمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (18)

O’ people of the Book/Scripture! (Jews and Christians)- Now has come to you Our Messenger/ Apostle [Muhammad PPBUH], making things clear, after a break in (the series of) Our Apostles, lest you say:”There came to us no bringer of glad tidings and no Warner (from evil)”. But now has come to you a bringer of glad tidings and a Warner (from evil). And God is Able to do all things/has power over all things. (19)    

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَى فَتْرَةٍ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا جَاءَنَا مِنْ بَشِيرٍ وَلَا نَذِيرٍ فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَشِيرٌ وَنَذِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (19)

And (remember) when Moses said to his people: “O’ my people! Call in Remembrance the favor of God to you, when He made/produced Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples, (cosmos of mankind and jinn). (20)  

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَاءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُلُوكًا وَآَتَاكُمْ مَا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ (20)

“O’ my people! Enter the wholly land, which God has assigned to you, and do not turn back ignominiously {in fight}; for then you will be returned as losers, an overthrown to your own ruin. (21) 

يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَى أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنْقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ (21)

They said:”O’ Moses! In this land (Holy Land) are a people of exceeding strength (omnipotent’s/ giants), and we shall never enter it until they leave it; if –once- they leave it we shall enter” (22) 

قَالُوا يَا مُوسَى إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ وَإِنَّا لَنْ نَدْخُلَهَا حَتَّى يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِنْ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِنَّا دَاخِلُونَ (22)

But among (their) God-fearing men were two on whom God had bestowed His Grace (Joshua and Caleb) said:”assault them at the (proper) gate; when once you are in, victory will be yours; and put your trust in God, if you have Faith –believers indeed. (23)

قَالَ رَجُلَانِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا ادْخُلُوا عَلَيْهِمُ الْبَابَ فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمُوهُ فَإِنَّكُمْ غَالِبُونَ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (23)

They said:”O’ Moses! We shall never enter it as long as they (remain) are there. So, go and your Lord and fight you two, (while that) we are sitting right here (and watch). 24

قَالُوا يَا مُوسَى إِنَّا لَنْ نَدْخُلَهَا أَبَدًا مَا دَامُوا فِيهَا فَاذْهَبْ أَنْتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلَا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ (24)

He (Moses) said:”O’ my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother, so separate us from this rebellious and disobedient people” (25)

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ إِلَّا نَفْسِي وَأَخِي فَافْرُقْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (25)

God said:”Therefore, it (this holy land) will be forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So do not be sorrowful over those rebellious and disobedient people” 26

قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً يَتِيهُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (26)

And (O’ Muhammad PPBUH] recite to them (the Jews) the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam (Abel and Cain). Behold! They each presented a sacrifice (to God), it was accepted from one, but not from the other. The latter said to the former:”I will surely kill you”. The former said:”Verily, God accepts the sacrifice of those who are righteous and pious”. (27) 

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آَدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الْآَخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ (27)

“If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me; I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you; for I fear God, the Lord and the Cherisher of the worlds (mankind, Jinn and all that exists”. (28)

لَئِنْ بَسَطْتَ إِلَيَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِي مَا أَنَا بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِيَ إِلَيْكَ لِأَقْتُلَكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ (28)

“Verily, I intend to you draw all my sins on your-self as well as your sins, then you will be one of the dwellers and companions of the Fire; and that is the recompense/reward of the wrong doers/ the transgressors. (29) 

إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِي وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ (29)

So, the (selfish) soul of the other (Latter one) encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became (himself) one of the losers. (30) 

فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (30)

 

COMMENTARY:
(Verse 18)- Sons of God: see Job xxxviii.7 [when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy]. Also in 29th Psalm, 1st verse, the authorized translation “O ye mighty” should apparently be “O ye sons of Elim”, El being a name of God. Also in Genesis, VI, and Z: “the sons of God saw the daughters of men”.                                                                                                                                              Beloved: In Psalms cxxvii. 2: “He giveth his beloved sleep”. If used figuratively, these and like words refer to the love of God. Unfortunately, “son” used in a physical sense, or “Beloved” in an exclusive sense as if God loved only the Jews, make a mockery of religion.                                                                                           This refrain in the last verse negatives the idea of son ship, and in this verse negatives the idea of an exclusive “Beloved”. In both cases it means that God is independent of physical relationship or exclusive partiality.
(Verse 19)- The six hundred years –in round figures- between Christ and Muhammad [PPBUH] were truly the dark ages of the world. Religion was corrupted; the standard of morals fell low; many false systems and heresies arose; and there was a break in the succession of Apostles until advent of Muhammad [PPBUH]. 
(Verse 20)- (a) History tells that there was a long line of Patriarchs and Prophets before Moses, e.g. Ibrahim, Isaac, Ismail, Jacob, etc.  (b) From the slavery of Egypt the Children of Israel were made free and independent, and thus each man became as if it were a king, if only he obeyed God and followed the lead of Moses. (c) In the Exod. xix. 5: “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall a peculiar treasure unto me above all people”. Israel was chosen to be the vehicle of God’s Message, the highest honor which any nation can receive.
(Verse 21)- We now come to the events detailed in the 13th and 14th chapters of the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament. Read these as a Commentary, and examine a good map of the Sinai Peninsula, showing its connections with Egypt on the west. North West Arabia on the east, and Palestine on the North-East. We may suppose that Israel crossed from Egypt into the Peninsula somewhere near the northern extremity of the Gulf of Suez. Moses organized and numbered the people, and instituted the Priesthood. They went south about 200 miles to the Mount of Sinai where the Law was received. Then perhaps a hundred and fifty miles north was the desert of Paran, close to the southern borders of Canaan. From the camp there twelve men were sent to spy out the land and they penetrated as far as Hebron –say about 150 miles north of their camp- about 20 miles south of the future Jerusalem. They saw a rich country, and brought from it pomegranates and figs and a bunch of grapes so heavy that it had to be carried by two men on a staff. They came back and reported that the land was rich, but the men there were too strong for them. The people of Israel had no courage and no faith, and Moses remonstrated with them. 
(Verse 22)- The people were not willing to follow the lead of Moses, and were not willing to fight for their “inheritance”. In effect they said: “turn out the enemy first, and then we shall enter into possession”. In god’s Law we must work and strive for what we wish to enjoy.
(Verse 23)- Among those who returned after spying out the land were two men who had faith and courage. They were Joshua and Caleb. Joshua afterwards succeeded Moses in the leadership after 40 years. These two men pleaded for an immediate entry through the proper Gate, which I understand to mean; “after taking due precautions and making all due preparations”. See Surat Al-Bagara 2- verse 189. But of course, they said, they must put their trust in God for victory.
(Verse 24)- The advice of Joshua and Caleb, and the proposals of Moses under divine instructions were unpalatable to the crowd, whose prejudices were further inflamed by the other ten men who had gone with Joshua and Caleb. They made an {evil report}, and were frightened by the great stature of the Canaanites. The crowd was in an open rebellion, was prepared to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb, and return to Egypt. Their reply to Moses was full of irony, insolence, blasphemy, and cowardice. In effect they said:”You talk of your God and all that: go with your God and fight there if you like; we shall sit here and watch”.
(Verse 25)- In Num. xiv. 5: “Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation”.  According to the words in the Old Testament story, God said:”I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them”- Num. xiv. 12. Moses prayed and interceded. But as we are told here (a spiritual touch not found in the Jewish story), Moses was careful to separate himself and his brother from the rebellion.
(Verse 26)- The punishment of the rebellious of these stiff-necked people, rebellion that was repeated “These ten times”-(Num. xiv. 22) and more, was that they were left to wander distractedly hither and thither through the wilderness for forty years. That generation was not to see the Holy Land. All those who were twenty years old and upwards were to die in the wilderness: “your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness”- (Num. xiv. 29). Only those who were then children would reach the Promised Land. And so it happened. From the desert of Paran they wandered south, north, and east for forty years. From the head of what is now the Gulf of Aqaba, they travelled north, keeping to the east side of the depression of which the Dead Sea and the river of Jordan are portions. Forty years afterwards they crossed the Jordan opposite what is now Jericho, but by that time Moses, Aaron, and the whole of the elder generation had died.
(Illustration verses 27-43)- The jealousy of Cain against Abel, which led to the murder of innocent Abel, is the type of the jealousy between the People of the Book and their younger brethren in Islam. Jealousy leads to envy and murder. Such crimes against individuals are often crimes against whole peoples. There are men who are ready to catch up every lie told against a just man. The just man should not grieve, for that is their way.
(Verses 27-28)- (a) literally, “Recite to them in truth the story” etc. The point is that the story in (Gen. Iv.i.15) is a bare narrative, not including the lessons now to be enforced. The Apostle is told now to supply the truth of the matter, the details that will enforce the lessons. (b) The two sons of Adam were Habil (in the English Bible Abel), and Qabil (in English, Cain), Cain was the elder, and Abel was the younger –the righteous and innocent one. Presuming on the right of the elder, Cain was puffed up with arrogance and jealousy, which led him to commit the crime of murder. Among the Christians Cain was the type of the Jew as against Abel the Christian. The Jew tried to kill Jesus and exterminate the Christian. In the same way, as against Muhammad [PPBUH], the younger brother of the Semitic family, Cain was the type of the Old Testament and New Testament people, who tried to resist and kill Muhammad [PPBUH] and put down his people.
(Verse 29)-(a) My sin as well as your sins:  There are two possible interpretations: (1) The obvious one is that the unjust murderer not only carried on himself the burden of his own sin, but also the burden of his victim’s sins. The victim –in suffering a wrong or injustice- is forgiven his own sins, and the wrongdoer –having being warned- aggravates his own sin. (2) “My sin” has also been interpreted as “the sin against me, in that you killed me”: in that case “your sin” may mean either “your crime in committing a murder”, or “your sin against yourself, for the crime causes real loss to yourself in the Hereafter”. (b) Abel’s speech is full of meaning. He is innocent and God-fearing. To the threat of death held out by the other, he returns a calm reply, aimed at reforming the other. “Surely” he pleads, “if your sacrifice was not accepted, there was something wrong in you, for God is just and accepts the sacrifice of the righteous. If this does not deter you, I am not going to retaliate, though there is as much power in me against you as you have against me. I fear my Maker, for I know He cherishes all His Creation. Let me warn you that you are doing wrong. I do not intend even to resist, but do you know what the consequences will be to you? You will be in spiritual torment”.
(Verse 30)- The innocent unselfish pleading of the younger brother had no effect, for the soul of the other was full of pride, selfishness, and jealousy. He committed the murder, but in doing so, ruined his own self.