214. In the state of consecration (ihram) the husband and wife are required to refrain not only from sexual intercourse but also from lascivious conversation (and, for that matter, from any act which either stems from or is likely to stimulate sexual desire - Ed).
215. Even though all sinful acts are evil, the sinfulness of such acts is aggravated when they are committed in the state of consecration (ihram).
216. In this state it is not even permitted to rebuke one's servant.
217. In the pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance it was considered an act of gross worldliness for anyone to carry provisions while on the Pilgrimage. A pious man was expected to go to the House of God without any worldly goods. This misconception is removed here and it is pointed out that abstention from carrying provisions is not necessarily an act of righteousness. True righteousness lies in the fear of God, in abstaining from violating His commands, and in leading a pure and decent life. If a pilgrim's conduct is not good and he resorts to wickedness the mere fact of not carrying provisions, thus parading his detachment from worldly goods, will do him no good. For his wickedness he will suffer humiliation both in the sight of God and man, and his action will be a desecration of the religious duty for which he undertook the journey. On the other hand, if a person's heart is full of the fear of God, and his moral conduct is good, he will be exalted by God and will be held in high esteem by human beings on his return from the Pilgrimage, regardless of the amount of provisions he carried.
218. This was another misconception entertained by the pre-Islamic Arabs. They considered it objectionable to do anything relating to one's livelihood during the Pilgrimage. In their view earning one's living was an act of pure worldliness and hence it was bad to indulge in it while engaged in the performance of a religious duty. The Qur'an refutes this and expounds the view that if a person strives to earn his living while observing fully the laws of God his action is tantamount to seeking God's grace and bounty. See( 62: 10 - Ed.)It is no sin if a man sets out to seek God's good pleasure and during the same journey tries to combine that purpose with the quest for permissible worldly benefits.
219. The Muslims were asked to give up all those polytheistic and pagan practices that had arisen among the Arabs during the Age of Ignorance and which ran alongside the worship of God thereby adulterating the latter. They were required to consecrate their worship and adoration to God alone according to the guidance He had now revealed through the Prophet.
220. Since the time of Abraham and Ishmael the recognized practice of the
Arabs with regard to Hajj was that on the 9th, Dhu al-Hijjah, they went from
Mina to 'Arafat, returning on the morning of the 10th to stay at Muzdalifah.
Later, as the priestly monopoly of the Quraysh became well established, they
claimed that it was below their dignity to go to 'Arafat with the ordinary people
of Arabia. As a mark of what they called their distinction, they went to Muzdalifah
only (without going to 'Arafat) and returned from there, leaving it to the commoners
to go to 'Arafat. Subsequently Banu Khuza'ah, Banu Kananah and those tribes
which were linked by marriage with the Quraysh acquired the same privilege.
Eventually, the status of the tribes allied to the Quraysh came to be considered
higher than that of the ordinary Arabs, and these tribes too abandoned the practice
of going to 'Arafat.
It is this pride and vainglory which the present verse seeks to undermine. It is addressed to the Quraysh and the tribes associated with them either through marriage or alliance, and to all those who might be inclined to claim for themselves special privileges and distinctions in the future. Such people are asked to go to the place to which all others go, to stay with them, to return with them and to seek pardon from God for the fact that they violated the way of Abraham.
221. After the Hajj the Arabs used to hold rallies at Mind. At these rallies
people from different tribes proudly narrated the achievements of their forefathers
and indulged in much extravagant self-praise. Here they are asked to renounce
all such things and devote the time which they formerly spent on trivialities
to remembering and celebrating God.
Dhikr refers to the remembrance of God at Mina.
222 Whether a person returned on the 12th or on the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah from Mina to Makka during the day of tashriq (i.e. from the 10th to 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah) was immaterial. What was of real importance was not the number of days spent at Mina but the intensity of one's devotion to God during the period of one's stay.
223. Such a person tends to claim again and again that he was merely a well-wisher and was simply striving to uphold what is true and right, and to promote the welfare of the people rather than doing things for the sake of personal aggrandizement.
224. The words aladd al-khisam mean 'the most fierce in enmity'. This would apply to someone who concentrates all his energies on opposing truth, and who resorts to whatever falsehood, dishonesty, treachery and breach of faith he thinks necessary to achieve his ends.
225. The expression idha tawalla can be translated in two ways. First, in the manner of our translation of the text. It can also be translated to make the verse mean that when such people return from sweet and apparently genuine talk, they engage in arrogant and destructive action.
226. God demands that man should submit, without reservation, the whole of his being to His will. Man's outlook, intellectual pursuits, behaviour, interaction with other people and modes of endeavour should all be completely subordinate to Islam. God does not accept the splitting up of human life into separate compartments, some governed by the teachings of Islam and others exempt.
227. The point is that God has enormous power and knows well how to punish criminals.
228. These words are indicative of an important fact. Man's test lies in
showing whether he accepts reality even though he cannot perceive it directly
through his senses; and whether, after having accepted it, he has the required
moral stamina to obey God even though he is endowed with the capacity to disobey
Him. In sending the Prophets, in revealing the Scriptures, indeed, even in performing
miracles, God has always taken care to leave scope for testing man's power of
judgement and his moral stamina. He has never disclosed reality to such a degree
that man would be inevitably compelled to accept it. For if that were done,
nothing would remain to be tested and the very idea of man's success or failure
would be meaningless.
It is pointed out, therefore, that people should not keep waiting for God and the angels - the devoted servants of His realm - to appear before them. If that were to happen, it would mark the end of everything and there would be no occasion left for man to decide anything. To believe and to bow in submission and obedience to God are of value only so long as the reality is presented in such a way as to make its rejection possible.
For, if the Truth were to be fully disclosed and if men were to see with their own eyes God on His Throne of Majesty with the entire universe acting according to His command, what would be the worth of their faith and obedience? If all these things were physically observable not even the most stubborn unbelievers and the worst sinners would dare either to disbelieve or disobey. Acceptance of faith and obedience has value only as long as there remains a veil over reality. The moment when reality is totally unveiled would mark the end of the period granted to man to decide, and of the testing period for him. It would, in fact, be the Day of Judgement.