Come to Truth Come to God. And then if they come to believe as you believe, they are on right guidance;

Surah of Quran Al Baqarah ayah 126 to 150

(2:136) Say: “We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and to

Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the descendants (of Jacob) and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and in what the other Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them,1 and we are those who submit to Allah.”

136. To make no distinction between the Prophets means not to hold some of them to he right and the others to be wrong, not to recognize some to have been the recipients of Divine revelation and the others not. All the Prophets sent by God invited men to the same Truth and to the same way. Hence for anyone who is really a lover of Truth it is necessary that he should recognize all of them to be its bearers. Those who believe in one particular Prophet and disbelieve in others do not, in fact, believe even in that particular Prophet in whom they, claim to believe, for they have not grasped the nature of that universal ‘Straight Way’ (al-Sirat al-Mustaqim) which was enunciated by Moses, Jesus and the other Prophets. When such people claim to follow a Prophet they, really mean that they do so out of deference to their fore fathers. Their religion in fact consists of bigoted ancestor-worship and blind imitation of inherited customs rather than sincere adherence to the directives of any Prophet of God.

(2:137) And then if they come to believe as you believe, they are on right guidance;

and if they turn away, then quite obviously they have merely fallen into opposition too the Truth. Allah will suffice you for protection against them. He is All-Hearing, All- Knowing.

(2:138) Say: “Take on Allah’s color.”132 And whose color is better than Allah’s? It is Him that we serve.

137. This verse can be translated in two ways. One of these is: ‘We have taken on Allah’s color.’ The other is: ‘Take on Allah’s color.’ On the eve of the advent of Christianity the Jews followed the practice of bathing everyone who embraced their religion. This ritual bath signified that all his previous sins had been washed away and that he had adopted a different color for his life. This practice was subsequently taken over by the Christians and is termed ‘baptism’. Not only converts but even newborn babies were baptized.

The Qur’anic remarks here refer to this institution. The Qur’an says in effect: ‘Of what use is this formal baptism? What really is worth doing is to adopt the color of God, and it is not water that gives one this color but actual service and devotion to God.’

(2:139) Say (O Prophet): “Will you then dispute with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord?138 Our deeds are for us and your deeds are for you. And it is Him that we serve exclusively.” 132

138. The one principle that the Prophet and his followers unreservedly stood for was that God alone should be served. Does that call for dispute and quarrel? If anyone, it is the Muslims who are entitled to quarrel with the Jews and Christians, for it is they rather than the Muslims who insist that others besides God should also be made objects of service and adoration.

An alternative translation of this portion could be: ‘Would you then dispute with us for the sake of Allah?’ In this case the meaning of the verse would be that if their dispute was sincere, it was easy to put an end to it by, agreeing to serve none but God.

139. They are told that everyone is responsible for his own conduct. If they have earmarked a part of their service and devotion to others than God, let them do so and see for themselves what it leads to. The Muslims did not want to keep them from error by force. As for themselves, they had consecrated their service, obedience and worship to God alone. If the Jews and Christians could bring themselves to recognize the right of the Muslims to do so, the dispute could automatically be brought to an end,

(2:140) Or do you claim that Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the descendants  (of Jacob) were “Jews” or “Christians?” Say: “Who has greater knowledge, you or Allah?” °

Who does greater wrong than he who conceals a testimony he has received from Allah?  Allah is not heedless of the things you do.“

140. This remark is addressed to the ignorant mass of Jews and Christians who sincerely believed that all the Prophets belonged to their religious denomination.

141. This remark is addressed to the Jewish and Christian theologians who were not unaware that Judaism and Christianity, with their existing characteristics, had emerged at a relatively late period in history.

They nevertheless considered Truth to be confined to their own religious sects. They also perpetuated the misunderstanding that man’s ultimate happiness and success lay in following the beliefs, institutions, and legal codes which had been developed by their jurists, theologians and mystics long after the Prophet of God had passed away. When these theologians were asked to which among their religious communities Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other Prophets belonged, they evaded a reply. This was because they could not state categorically that they belonged to their own sect. On the other hand, they could not reply explicitly in the negative, for such an admission would have undermined the very basis of their claim that Truth was confined to their fold.

(2:141) Now, they were people who passed away. Theirs is what they earned, and yours is what you earn; you shall not be questioned concerning what they did.

(2:142) The block-headed will say: “What has turned them away from the direction they formerly observed in Prayer?”12 Say: “To Allah belong the East and the West; He guides whomsoever He wills onto a Straight Way.” “3

142. After his migration to Madina, the Prophet continued to pray in the direction of Jerusalem for between sixteen and seventeen months. Subsequently, he received the order to pray in the direction of the Kaabah. See (_verse 144 below)

143. This is the first answer to the objections of these ignorant people. Their narrow minds and limited vision led them to the undue attachment to such formalities as the direction and locale of Prayer. They presumably conceived God to be confined to a particular direction. In reply to their absurd objection the first thing which was explained was that all directions belong to God. Fixing any particular direction for Prayer does not mean that God is confined to that direction. All those who have been favored with God’s true guidance rise above such limitations of outlook so that it is easy for them to grasp the universal verities of religion. (See also (nn. 115 and 116 above.)

(2:143) And it is thus that We appointed you to be the community of the (wast) middle way so that you might be witnesses to all mankind and the Messenger might be a witness to you.l4

We appointed the direction which you formerly observed so that We might distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn on their heels.145 For it was indeed burdensome except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah will never leave your faith to waste. Allah is full of gentleness and mercy to mankind.

144. This constitutes the proclamation appointing the religious community (Ummah) consisting of the followers of Muhammad to religious guidance and leadership of the world.

‘ And it is thus’, which precedes this proclamation, contains two allusions. It alludes, in the first place, to that Divine Guidance which enabled the followers of Muhammad to know the Straight Way so that they could attain progress to the point of being proclaimed ‘the community of the middle way (or ‘the mid-most community’ or ‘the community justly

balanced’ – Ed.) In the second place there is an allusion to the change in the direction of Prayer from Jerusalem to the Kaabah. People of limited intelligence could see no significance in this change of direction although the substitution of Jerusalem by the Kaabah amounted to

the removal of the Children of Israel from their position of world leaders and their replacement by the Ummah of Muhammad (peace be on him).

The Arabic expression which we have translated as ‘the community of the middle way’ is too rich in meaning to find an adequate equivalent in any other language. It signifies that distinguished group of people which follows the path of justice and equity, of balance and moderation, a group which occupies a central position among the nations of the world so that its friendship with all is based on righteousness and justice and none receives its support in wrong and injustice.

The purpose of creating ‘the community of the middle way’, according to this Qur’anic verse, is to make it stand as witness ‘before all mankind and the Messenger might be a witness before you’. What this means is that when the whole of mankind is called to account, the Prophet, as God’s representative, will stand witness to the fact that he had communicated to the Muslims and had put into practice the teachings postulating sound beliefs, righteous conduct and a balanced system of life which he had received from on high.

The Muslims, acting on behalf of the Prophet after his return to the mercy of God, will he asked to bear the same witness before the rest of mankind and to say that they had spared no effort in either communicating to mankind what the Prophet had communicated to them, or in exemplifying in their own lives what the Prophet had, by his own conduct, translated into actual practice.

This position of standing witness before all mankind on behalf of God, which has been conferred on this community, amounts to its being invested with the leadership of all mankind. This is at once a great honor and a heavy responsibility. For what it actually

means is that just as the Prophet served as a living example of godliness and moral rectitude, of equity and fair play before the Muslim community, so is the Muslim community required to stand vis-a-vis the whole world. What is expected of this community is that it should be able to make known, both by word and deed, the meaning of godliness and righteousness, of equity and Fair play.

Furthermore. just as the Prophet had been entrusted with the heavy responsibility of conveying to the Muslims the guidance which he had received. in a like manner a heavy responsibility has been laid on the Muslims to communicate this guidance to all mankind. If the Muslims fail to establish before God that they did their duty in conveying to mankind the guidance they had received through the Prophet they will be taken to task seriously and their honorable position as the leaders of the whole world, far from being of any help to them, will spell their disaster. They will be held responsible along with the protagonists of evil for all the errors of belief and conduct which have spread during their term of leadership.

They will have to face the grim question: What were they doing when the world was convulsed by storms of transgression, injustice, and error?

145. One purpose of this change in the direction of Prayer was to find out who was blinkered by irrational prejudices and chained by chauvinistic attachment to land and blood,

and who, having liberated himself from those bonds, was capable of rising to the heights and grasping the Truth.

On the one hand were the Arabs who were steeped in their national and racial arrogance.

For them, taking Jerusalem as the direction of their Prayer (as originally practiced by the Prophet) was too hard a blow to their national vanity to be accepted with equanimity.

On the other hand, the Jews were essentially no different. They, too, were obsessed with racial pride so that it was difficult for them to accept any other than the direction of Prayer which they had inherited from the past. How could the people whose hearts were full of such idols respond to the call of the Messenger of God? Hence, God saw to it that the worshippers of such idols were distinguished from the genuine worshippers of God by first fixing Jerusalem as the direction of Prayer. This was bound to alienate all those who had worshipped the idol of Arabians. Later, the fixing of the Kaabah as the direction of Prayer led to the alienation of those who were engrossed in the worship of the idol of Israel. Thus there were left with the Prophet only, those who truly worshipped none but the One True God.

(2:144) We see you oft turning your face towards the sky; now We are turning you   To the direction that will satisfy you. Turn your face towards the Holy Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your faces towards it in Prayer.“

Those who have been granted the Scripture certainly know that this (injunction to change the direction of Prayer) is right and is from their Lord. Allah is not heedless of what they do.

146. This is the injunction concerning the change in the direction of Prayer and was revealed in Rajab or Sha’ban. 2 A.H. According to a Tradition in the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d (a book), the Prophet was at the house of Bishr b. Bara’b. Ma’rur where he had been invited to a meal. When the time of Duhar prayer came, the Prophet rose to lead it. He had completed two rak’ahs and was in the third when this verse was suddenly revealed. Soon after the revelation of this verse everybody, following the leadership of the Prophet, turned the direction of Prayer away from Jerusalem to the Ka’bah. A public proclamation of the new order was then made through out Madina and in the suburbs. Bara’ b. ‘Azib (companion of Prophet)says that at one place the announcement was heard by people while they were in the state of ruku’ (kneeling).

On bearing this order they immediately turned their faces towards the Ka’bah. Anas b. Malik says that the news of the announcement reached Banu Salamah the next day while the morning Prayer was in progress. People had completed one rak’ah when they heard the announcement about the change of direction and the entire congregation immediately faced the new gqiblah. (See Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, vol. 1, pp. 241 f. – Ed.)

It ought to be noted that Jerusalem is to the north of Madina while the Ka’bah is to the south.

In order to change direction during congregational Prayer it would have been necessary for the leader of the Prayer to walk several steps beyond what was originally the last row of worshippers. The people in the congregation, too, would have been forced not only to make a right about-turn but also to walk a little to straighten their rows. We find specific mention of this in certain Traditions.

The words, ‘We see you oft turning your face to the heaven’, and ‘Now We are turning your face to the direction that shall satisfy you’, show clearly that even before the revelation of this injunction the Prophet was expecting something of this nature. He had begun to feel, with the termination of the era of Israelite leadership, that the time had come for the central position of Jerusalem to cease and a return to the original center of the Abrahamic mission to commence.

The ‘Holy Mosque’ refers to the sanctuary invested with holiness and sanctity; the sanctuary in the centre of which the Ka’bah is located.

To turn one’s face in the direction of the Ka’bah does not mean that wherever a man might be he should turn to the Ka’bah with absolute accuracy.

It would obviously be extremely difficult for everyone to comply with such an order. Hence the order is to turn one’s face in the direction of the Ka’bah rather than to the Ka’bah itself. According to the Qur’an, we are required to find out the direction of the Ka’bah as accurately as possible. We are not required, however, to locate it with absolute precision. We may pray in the direction which appears correct as a result of our enquiry. However, if a man is either at a place where it is difficult to determine the direction of the Ka’bah or if he is in a position where it is difficult to maintain the correct direction (e.g. when travelling on a train, a boat, or an aero plane), he may pray in the direction which seems correct, or in whatever direction it is possible for him to face. If he then comes to know the correct direction while he is in the state of Prayer he should turn his face in that direction.

(2:145) And yet no matter what proofs you bring before the People of the Book they will not follow your direction of Prayer; nor will you follow their direction of Prayer.

None is prepared to follow the other’s direction of Prayer. Were you to follow their desires in disregard of the knowledge which has come to you, you will surely be reckoned among the wrong-doers.“2

147. The purpose of this verse is to ask the Prophet not to be disturbed by the controversy and remonstrance to which some people had re-sorted as a result of this change in the direction of Prayer. It was difficult to convince those people by argument since they suffered from prejudices and intransigence and were unwilling to abandon their traditional qiblah. It was also impossible for the matter to be resolved by adopting the qiblah of any of the contending groups; there were various groups and they were not agreed in respect of the qiblah. If the qiblah of one group had been adopted this would have satisfied only that group. As for the rest, their remonstrating would persist. Furthermore, and more basic in this connection, was the fact that as a Prophet Muhammad ought neither to be concerned to please people nor haggle with them in order to arrive at compromised solutions. On the contrary, the mission of a Prophet is to adhere firmly, to the knowledge vouchsafed to him by God regardless of all opposition.

To deviate from that knowledge to please others is tantamount to offending the prophetic mission and is inconsistent with the gratitude that the Prophet ought to feel for having been favored with the position of world leadership.

(2:146) Those to whom We have given the Scripture recognize the place (towards

which one must turn in Prayer) as fully as they recognize their own sons,148 this even though a group of them knowingly conceals the Truth.

148. ‘To recognize something as well as one recognizes one’s sons’ is an Arabic idiom. It is used with regard to things which one knows without the least shadow of a doubt. The Jewish and Christian scholars were well aware that the Kaabah had been constructed by Abraham and that Jerusalem had been built by Solomon some thirteen hundred years after that, and that in his time it was made the qiblah. This is an unquestionable historical fact and they knew it to be so.

(2:147) This is a definite Truth from your Lord; be not, then, among the doubters.

(2:148) everyone has a direction towards which he turns; so excel one another in good works.“42 Allah will bring you all together wherever you might be, for nothing is beyond His power.

149. There is a subtle gap between this sentence and the next, a gap which the reader can fill with just a little reflection. The idea conveyed here is that anyone who prays will, after all, have to turn his face in some direction. But what is of real significance is not the turning of one’s face in some specific direction but one’s an orientation to righteousness for the sake of which one performs the ritual Prayer. A man’s real concern should be moral excellence rather than controversies regarding such formal regulations as the direction of Prayer.

(2:149) From whosesoever, you might come forth turn your face towards the Holy Mosque; for that indeed is the Truth from your Lord, and Allah is not heedless of what you do.

(2:150) From where-so ever, you come forth turn your faces towards the Holy Mosque, and whosesoever you may be, turn your faces towards it in Prayer so that none may have an argument against you, unless they are those immersed in wrong-doing. Do not fear them, but fear only Me so that I may complete My favor upon you; perhaps you will be guided to the Right Way.12

150. The followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were asked to follow the order to turn towards the Kaabah, and to do so strictly, since any lapse in this matter on their part would give their opponents a weapon to use against them in their polemics. They would be able to hold Muslims up to ridicule on the grounds that they had violated what they themselves claimed to be from their Lord.

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Categorized as quran

By Tariq Saleem

I am a student of Quran and keen to make dawah for inviting peoples to save there selves from hellfire. This life is very short then the eternal life after death every body has to think about it and do some research to walk on a true path.

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