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 Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:44-50 [7/16]
  
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
إِنَّآIndeed,
أَنزَلْنَاWe revealed
ٱلتَّوْرَٮٰةَthe Taurat
فِيهَاin it
هُدًى(was) Guidance
وَنُورٌ‌ۚand light;
يَحْكُمُjudged
بِهَاby it
ٱلنَّبِيُّونَthe Prophets,
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
أَسْلَمُواْhad submitted (to Allah)
لِلَّذِينَfor those who
هَادُواْwere Jews,
وَٱلرَّبَّـٰنِيُّونَand the Rabbis,
وَٱلْأَحْبَارُand the scholars,
بِمَاwith what
ٱسْتُحْفِظُواْthey were entrusted
مِنof
كِتَـٰبِ(the) Book
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
وَكَانُواْand they were
عَلَيْهِto it
شُهَدَآءَ‌ۚwitnesses.
فَلَاSo (do) not
تَخْشَوُاْfear
ٱلنَّاسَthe people
وَٱخْشَوْنِbut fear Me,
وَلَاand (do) not
تَشْتَرُواْsell
بِـَٔـايَـٰتِىMy Verses
ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً‌ۚ(for) a little price.
وَمَنAnd whoever
لَّمْ(does) not
يَحْكُمjudge
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah has revealed,
فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَthen those
هُمُ[they]
ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ(are) the disbelievers.
﴿٤٤﴾
وَكَتَبْنَاAnd We ordained
عَلَيْهِمْfor them
فِيهَآin it
أَنَّthat -
ٱلنَّفْسَthe life
بِٱلنَّفْسِfor the life,
وَٱلْعَيْنَand the eye
بِٱلْعَيْنِfor the eye,
وَٱلْأَنفَand the nose
بِٱلْأَنفِfor the nose,
وَٱلْأُذُنَand the ear
بِٱلْأُذُنِfor the ear,
وَٱلسِّنَّand the tooth
بِٱلسِّنِّfor the tooth,
وَٱلْجُرُوحَand (for) wounds
قِصَاصٌ‌ۚ(is) retribution.
فَمَنBut whoever
تَصَدَّقَ بِهِۦgives it (as) charity,
فَهُوَthen it is
كَفَّارَةٌan expiation
لَّهُۥ‌ۚfor him.
وَمَنAnd whoever
لَّمْ(does) not
يَحْكُمjudge
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah has revealed,
فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَthen those
هُمُ[they]
ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ(are) the wrongdoers.
﴿٤٥﴾
وَقَفَّيْنَاAnd We sent
عَلَىٰٓon
ءَاثَـٰرِهِمtheir footsteps
بِعِيسَىIsa,
ٱبْنِson
مَرْيَمَ(of) Maryam,
مُصَدِّقًاconfirming
لِّمَاwhat
بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ(was) before him
مِنَof
ٱلتَّوْرَٮٰةِ‌ۖthe Taurat,
وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُand We gave him
ٱلْإِنجِيلَthe Injeel,
فِيهِin it
هُدًى(was) Guidance
وَنُورٌand light
وَمُصَدِّقًاand confirming
لِّمَاwhat
بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ(was) before him
مِنَof
ٱلتَّوْرَٮٰةِthe Taurat
وَهُدًىand a Guidance
وَمَوْعِظَةًand an admonition
لِّلْمُتَّقِينَfor the God conscious.
﴿٤٦﴾
وَلْيَحْكُمْAnd let judge
أَهْلُ(the) People
ٱلْإِنجِيلِ(of) the Injeel
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah has revealed
فِيهِ‌ۚin it.
وَمَنAnd whoever
لَّمْ(does) not
يَحْكُمjudge
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah revealed
فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَthen those
هُمُ[they] (are)
ٱلْفَـٰسِقُونَthe defiantly disobedient.
﴿٤٧﴾
وَأَنزَلْنَآAnd We revealed
إِلَيْكَto you
ٱلْكِتَـٰبَthe Book
بِٱلْحَقِّin [the] truth,
مُصَدِّقًاconfirming
لِّمَاwhat
بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ(was) before it
مِنَof
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِthe Book
وَمُهَيْمِنًاand a guardian
عَلَيْهِ‌ۖover it.
فَٱحْكُمSo judge
بَيْنَهُمbetween them
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖAllah has revealed
وَلَاand (do) not
تَتَّبِعْfollow
أَهْوَآءَهُمْtheir vain desires
عَمَّاwhen
جَآءَكَhas come to you
مِنَof
ٱلْحَقِّ‌ۚthe truth.
لِكُلٍّFor each
جَعَلْنَاWe have made
مِنكُمْfor you
شِرْعَةًa law
وَمِنْهَاجًا‌ۚand a clear way.
وَلَوْAnd if
شَآءَ ٱللَّهُAllah (had) willed
لَجَعَلَكُمْHe (would have) made you
أُمَّةً وَٲحِدَةًone community
وَلَـٰكِن[and] but
لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْto test you
فِىin
مَآwhat
ءَاتَـٰكُمْ‌ۖHe (has) given you,
فَٱسْتَبِقُواْso race
ٱلْخَيْرَٲتِ‌ۚ(to) the good.
إِلَىTo
ٱللَّهِAllah
مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًاyou will all return,
فَيُنَبِّئُكُمthen He will inform you
بِمَاof what
كُنتُمْyou were
فِيهِconcerning it
تَخْتَلِفُونَdiffering.
﴿٤٨﴾
وَأَنِAnd that
ٱحْكُمyou judge
بَيْنَهُمbetween them
بِمَآby what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah (has) revealed
وَلَاand (do) not
تَتَّبِعْfollow
أَهْوَآءَهُمْtheir vain desires
وَٱحْذَرْهُمْand beware of them
أَنlest
يَفْتِنُوكَthey tempt you away
عَنۢfrom
بَعْضِsome
مَآ(of) what
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah has revealed
إِلَيْكَ‌ۖto you.
فَإِنAnd if
تَوَلَّوْاْthey turn away
فَٱعْلَمْthen know that
أَنَّمَاonly
يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُAllah intends
أَنto
يُصِيبَهُمafflict them
بِبَعْضِfor some
ذُنُوبِهِمْ‌ۗ(of) their sins.
وَإِنَّAnd indeed,
كَثِيرًاmany
مِّنَof
ٱلنَّاسِthe people
لَفَـٰسِقُونَ(are) defiantly disobedient.
﴿٤٩﴾
أَفَحُكْمَIs it then the judgment
ٱلْجَـٰهِلِيَّةِof [the] ignorance
يَبْغُونَ‌ۚthey seek?
وَمَنْAnd who (is)
أَحْسَنُbetter
مِنَthan
ٱللَّهِAllah
حُكْمًا(in) judgment
لِّقَوْمٍfor a people
يُوقِنُونَ(who) firmly believe.
﴿٥٠﴾


اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَا التَّوۡرٰٮةَ فِيۡهَا هُدًى وَّنُوۡرٌ​ ۚ يَحۡكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّوۡنَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَسۡلَمُوۡا لِلَّذِيۡنَ هَادُوۡا وَ الرَّبَّانِيُّوۡنَ وَالۡاَحۡبَارُ بِمَا اسۡتُحۡفِظُوۡا مِنۡ كِتٰبِ اللّٰهِ وَكَانُوۡا عَلَيۡهِ شُهَدَآءَ​​ ۚ فَلَا تَخۡشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخۡشَوۡنِ وَلَا تَشۡتَرُوۡا بِاٰيٰتِىۡ ثَمَنًا قَلِيۡلًا​ ؕ وَمَنۡ لَّمۡ يَحۡكُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡكٰفِرُوۡنَ‏   وَكَتَبۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ فِيۡهَاۤ اَنَّ النَّفۡسَ بِالنَّفۡسِۙ وَالۡعَيۡنَ بِالۡعَيۡنِ وَالۡاَنۡفَ بِالۡاَنۡفِ وَالۡاُذُنَ بِالۡاُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّۙ وَالۡجُرُوۡحَ قِصَاصٌ​ؕ فَمَنۡ تَصَدَّقَ بِهٖ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهٗ ​ؕ وَمَنۡ لَّمۡ يَحۡكُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ‏  وَقَفَّيۡنَا عَلٰٓى اٰثَارِهِمۡ بِعِيۡسَى ابۡنِ مَرۡيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰٮةِ​ وَاٰتَيۡنٰهُ الۡاِنۡجِيۡلَ فِيۡهِ هُدًى وَّنُوۡرٌ ۙ وَّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰٮةِ وَهُدًى وَّمَوۡعِظَةً لِّـلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ ؕ‏  وَلۡيَحۡكُمۡ اَهۡلُ الۡاِنۡجِيۡلِ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ فِيۡهِ​ؕ وَمَنۡ لَّمۡ يَحۡكُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡفٰسِقُوۡنَ‏  وَاَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ الۡكِتٰبَ بِالۡحَـقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ الۡكِتٰبِ وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِ​ فَاحۡكُمۡ بَيۡنَهُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعۡ اَهۡوَآءَهُمۡ عَمَّا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الۡحَـقِّ​ؕ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلۡنَا مِنۡكُمۡ شِرۡعَةً وَّمِنۡهَاجًا ​ؕ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰهُ لَجَـعَلَـكُمۡ اُمَّةً وَّاحِدَةً وَّلٰـكِنۡ لِّيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ فِىۡ مَاۤ اٰتٰٮكُمۡ فَاسۡتَبِقُوا الۡخَـيۡـرٰتِ​ؕ اِلَى اللّٰهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ جَمِيۡعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمۡ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ فِيۡهِ تَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَۙ‏   وَاَنِ احۡكُمۡ بَيۡنَهُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعۡ اَهۡوَآءَهُمۡ وَاحۡذَرۡهُمۡ اَنۡ يَّفۡتِنُوۡكَ عَنۡۢ بَعۡضِ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ اِلَيۡكَ​ؕ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاعۡلَمۡ اَنَّمَا يُرِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ اَنۡ يُّصِيۡبَهُمۡ بِبَـعۡضِ ذُنُوۡبِهِمۡ​ؕ وَاِنَّ كَثِيۡرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ لَفٰسِقُوۡنَ‏  اَفَحُكۡمَ الۡجَـاهِلِيَّةِ يَـبۡغُوۡنَ​ؕ وَمَنۡ اَحۡسَنُ مِنَ اللّٰهِ حُكۡمًا لِّـقَوۡمٍ يُّوۡقِنُوۡنَ‏ 
(5:44) Surely We revealed the Torah, wherein there is guidance and light. Thereby did Prophets - who had submitted themselves (to Allah) - judge for the Judaized folk;72 and so did the scholars and jurists.73 They judged by the Book of Allah for they had been entrusted to keep it, and bear witness to it. So (O Jews!) do not fear men but fear Me, and do not barter away My signs for a trivial gain. Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are indeed the unbelievers. (5:45) And therein We had ordained for them: 'A life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and for all wounds, like for like.74 But whosoever forgoes it by way of charity, it will be for him an expiation.75 Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are indeed the wrong-doers. (5:46) And We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, after those Prophets, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah. And We gave him the Gospel, wherein is guidance and light, and which confirms the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah,76 and a guidance and admonition for the God-fearing. (5:47) Let the followers of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein, and those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are the transgressors.77 (5:48) Then We revealed the Book to you (O Muhammad!) with Truth, confirming whatever of the Book was revealed before,78 and protecting and guarding over it.79 Judge, then, in the affairs of men in accordance with the Law that Allah has revealed, and do not follow their desires in disregard of the Truth which has come to you. For each of you We have appointed a Law and a way of life.80 And had Allah so willed, He would surely have made you one single community; instead, (He gave each of you a Law and a way of life) in order to test you by what He gave you. Vie, then, one with another in good works. Unto Allah is the return of all of you; and He will then make you understand the truth concerning the matters on which you disagreed.81 (5:49) Therefore, judge bet-ween them (O Muhammad!)82 by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their desires, and beware lest they tempt you away from anything of what Allah has revealed to you. And if they turn away, then know well that Allah has indeed decided to afflict them for some of their sins. For surely many of them are transgressors. (5:50) (If they turn away from the Law of Allah) do they desire judgement according to the Law of Ignorance?83 But for those who have certainty of belief whose judgement can be better than Allah's?

72.Here the verse tells the Jews that all the Prophets were muslims (submitters to God) whereas the Jews had deviated from islam (submission to God), and true to their chauvinistic sectarianism, were content with remaining merely 'Jews'.

73.Rabbani = religious scholars, theologians. Ahbar = religious jurists.

74. Cf. Exodus 21: 23-5.

75. Whoever forgoes his right of retaliation does a good deed which will atone for many of his sins. The same is confirmed by a tradition of the Prophet (peace be on him) in which he said: 'Whoever receives an injury on his body, then pardons (the inflictor of the injury), his sins are atoned for to the measure of his pardoning.' (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, pp. 316, 329 - Ed.)

76.The Messiah did not expound a new religion. That very religion which had been the religion of all the Prophets was also his religion, and it is towards that religion that he called people. He believed in the true teachings of the Torah which were extant in his time, and the Gospels (Injil) confirm this (see, for example, Matthew 5: 17-18). The Qur'an repeatedly stresses the fundamental fact that none of the Prophets of God, no matter in which part of the world they appeared, denied the Prophets who had preceded them. On the contrary, each Prophet confirmed the message of his predecessors and sought to promote the mission which was the sacred legacy of them all. God did not reveal any of the Books in order to repudiate the previous ones; each confirmed and supported the preceding ones.

77. Here three judgements are issued against those who do not judge in accordance with the Law revealed by God. The first is that they are kafir (unbelievers); the second, that they are zalim (wrong-doers); and the third, that they are fasiq (transgressors). This clearly means that one who, in disregard of God's commandments and of the Laws revealed by Him, pronounces judgements according to man-made laws (whether made by himself or by others) is guilty of three major offences. First, his act amounts to rejecting the commandment of God, and this rejection is equivalent to kufr (infidelity, unbelief). Second, his act is contrary to justice, for only the laws made by God are in complete accord with the dictates of justice. Any judgement in contravention of God's injunctions amounts, therefore, to committing injustice (zulm). Third, when he enforces either his own or anyone else's law in disregard of the Laws of his Lord he steps out of the fold of subjection and obedience, and this constitutes fisq (transgression).

Kufr, zulm and fisq are essential elements in deviation from God's commandments. One finds them wherever there is deviation from the commandment of God. There is variation in the degree of deviation and hence in the degree of these three offences. Whoever passes judgement on something in opposition to an injunction of God, believing that injunction to be false, and holds either his own or anyone else's judgement to be sound, is an unbeliever (kafir), wrong-doer (zalim) and transgressor (fasiq). A man who is convinced that the injunctions of God are right but makes judgements contrary to them in practice is not an unbeliever in the sense that he ceases to remain a member of the Islamic community, but he is guilty of adulterating his faith by blending it with kufr, zulm and fisq. In the same manner, those who deviate from the injunctions of God in all matters are unbelievers, wrong-doers and transgressors. For those who are obedient in some respects and disobedient in others, the blending of faith and submission to God with the opposite attributes of unbelief, wrong-doing and transgression in their lives will be exactly in proportion to the mixture of their obedience to and their deviation from God's commands.

Some commentators have attempted to restrict the application of these verses to the People of the Book alone. The verses, however, hardly lend themselves to such a restrictive interpretation. The best answer to such a restrictive interpretation has been given by the Companion Hudhayfah. When someone told him that these verses related merely to the Israelites, meaning that the unbelievers, wrong-doers and transgressors were only the Jews who passed judgement contrary to the injunctions revealed by God, Hudhayfah remarked: 'What good brothers these Israelites are to you! Whatever is bitter goes to them; whatever is sweet comes to you. Nay, by God, you will follow their way, your steps following theirs.'

78. This points to a fact of major significance. It could also have been said that the Qur'an confirms all those parts of the earlier divine books which are still extant in their true and original form. But the sense has been conveyed by employing the word 'the Book' rather than 'the previous Books'. This expression reveals that the Qur'an and all those Books sent down by God at various times and in different languages in reality constitute one and the same Book. Their Author is one and the same; their aim and purpose are the same; their teaching is the same; and the knowledge which they seek to impart to mankind is the same. The difference between these Books lies in their modes of expression, and this was necessarily so since they were addressed to different audiences. It is, therefore, not merely that these divine books support rather than contradict each other but that they are actually different editions of one and the same book - 'the Book'.

79. In Arabic, haymana, yuhayminu, hayamanah signify 'to protect, to witness, to keep trust, to back and to support'. The expression 'haymana al-rajul al-shay' means that the man protected and guarded the thing. Likewise, 'haymana al-ta'ir 'alafirdkhih' means that the bird took its young ones under the protection of its wings. Once 'Umar said to the people: 'Inni da'in fa hayminu' ('I am praying; support me by saying amen'). To say that the Qur'an is muhaymin of al-kitab means that it preserves all the true teachings of the earlier divine books; that it has secured them from loss. The Qur'an also confirms those Books in that the contents of the Qur'an testify to the truth of those parts which are indeed from God. The Qur'an is, further, a witness over those Books in the sense that, with its help, the elements which embody true revelations from God can be distinguished from the accretions which have corrupted them. Whatever in these Books accords with the Qur'an is from God, and whatever is not in conformity with it is from human beings.

80. This is a parenthetical phrase, the purpose of which is to elucidate a question which is likely to arise in the mind of the reader who has read the above section and might feel uneasy. The question is: Why do the religious laws propounded by the various Prophets differ in matters of detail even though the Prophets and their Books preach one and the same religion (din) and even confirm and support each other? Why is it that in regard to the prescribed forms of worship, the regulations concerning what is permitted and what is prohibited, and the detailed legal regulations governing the social and collective life, there is some disagreement among the various laws propounded by the different Prophets and the divine Books?

81. This constitutes a detailed answer to the above question (see n. 80). It consists of the following points:

(1) It is a mistake to think that variations in religious laws result from a difference of source. It is God Himself Who altered the legal prescriptions to suit different nations at different times and in different circumstances.

(2) It was indeed possible, by divising one legal code for all human beings, for all men to have been made into one nation (ummah). But one of the many benevolent considerations keeping the religious laws of various Prophets different from one another was that God wanted this difference to become a means of testing people. Those who understand true religion, who have grasped its spirit and essence, and who are aware of the true importance of the different legal prescriptions, always recognize the Truth and accept it whatever its form. They have no hesitation in accepting the new ordinances of God in place of the old ones, in contrast to those who are not conversant with the spirit of true religion and who seem to identify it with a specific body of legal minutiae. Such people have overlaid God-given principles with their own legal deductions, and have sub sequently fossilized this entire amalgam, seeking to preserve it in its entirety. They have grown so attached to it that, in order to preserve it, they spurn every directive which subsequently comes to them from God. In order to distinguish the people of the first category from those of the second God made the legal prescriptions of the various Prophets vary.

(3) The real purpose of all the divine religious laws is the attainment of goodness and righteousness. This purpose can be achieved only when a man obeys whatever commandment he receives from God at a particular time. The proper mode of conduct for people who keep their eyes fixed on this true purpose is to strive for God's good pleasure rather than quarrel about differences in the legal prescriptions of the various Prophets.

(4) The differences which have arisen because of the unjustified rigidity, prejudice, obduracy and erroneous attitudes of the human mind can be finally settled neither in the debating hall nor on the battlefield. The final judgement will be made by God Himself. Then the reality of everything will be fully uncovered, and it will be clear how much truth and falsehood underlay the squabbles which whole lives were wasted over.

82. Following this parenthetical clause, the previous subject is resumed.

83. The word jahiliyah (literally 'ignorance') is used as an antonym to Islam. Islam is the way of 'ilm (true knowledge), since it is God Himself Who has shown this way, and His knowledge embraces everything. In contrast is the way that diverges from Islam - the path of Ignorance (jahiliyah). The pre-Islamic period in Arabia is designated as jahiliyah because this was the era when human beings derived their norms from either superstitious beliefs, conjectures and imagination or from their desires. Whenever such an attitude is adopted, it is bound to be designated as Ignorance. The appellation 'jahiliyah' will apply to every aspect of life which is developed in disregard of the knowledge made available by God, based only on man's partial knowledge blended with imagination, superstitious fancies, conjectures and desires.