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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
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 Surah Al-A'raf 7:26-31 [3/24]
  
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
يَـٰبَنِىٓO Children
ءَادَمَ(of) Adam!
قَدْVerily
أَنزَلْنَاWe have sent down
عَلَيْكُمْto you
لِبَاسًاclothing,
يُوَٲرِىit covers
سَوْءَٲتِكُمْyour shame
وَرِيشًا‌ۖand (as) an adornment.
وَلِبَاسُBut the clothing
ٱلتَّقْوَىٰ(of) [the] righteousness -
ذَٲلِكَthat
خَيْرٌ‌ۚ(is) best.
ذَٲلِكَThat
مِنْ(is) from
ءَايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ(the) Signs of Allah
لَعَلَّهُمْso that they may
يَذَّكَّرُونَremember.
﴿٢٦﴾
يَـٰبَنِىٓO Children
ءَادَمَ(of) Adam!
لَا(Let) not
يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُtempt you
ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ[the] Shaitaan
كَمَآas
أَخْرَجَhe drove out
أَبَوَيْكُمyour parents
مِّنَfrom
ٱلْجَنَّةِParadise,
يَنزِعُstripping
عَنْهُمَاfrom both of them
لِبَاسَهُمَاtheir clothing
لِيُرِيَهُمَاto show both of them
سَوْءَٲتِهِمَآ‌ۗtheir shame.
إِنَّهُۥIndeed, he
يَرَٮٰكُمْsees you -
هُوَhe
وَقَبِيلُهُۥand his tribe
مِنْfrom
حَيْثُwhere
لَاnot
تَرَوْنَهُمْ‌ۗyou see them.
إِنَّاIndeed,
جَعَلْنَاWe have made
ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَthe devils
أَوْلِيَآءَfriends
لِلَّذِينَof those who
لَا(do) not
يُؤْمِنُونَbelieve.
﴿٢٧﴾
وَإِذَاAnd when
فَعَلُواْthey do
فَـٰحِشَةًimmorality
قَالُواْthey say,
وَجَدْنَا`We found
عَلَيْهَآon it
ءَابَآءَنَاour forefathers
وَٱللَّهُand Allah
أَمَرَنَا(has) ordered us
بِهَا‌ۗof it.`
قُلْSay,
إِنَّ`Indeed,
ٱللَّهَAllah
لَا(does) not
يَأْمُرُorder
بِٱلْفَحْشَآءِ‌ۖimmorality.
أَتَقُولُونَDo you say
عَلَىabout
ٱللَّهِAllah
مَاwhat
لَا تَعْلَمُونَyou (do) not know?`
﴿٢٨﴾
قُلْSay,
أَمَرَ رَبِّى`My Lord has ordered
بِٱلْقِسْطِ‌ۖjustice
وَأَقِيمُواْand set
وُجُوهَكُمْyour faces
عِندَat
كُلِّevery
مَسْجِدٍmasjid
وَٱدْعُوهُand invoke Him
مُخْلِصِينَ(being) sincere
لَهُto Him
ٱلدِّينَ‌ۚ(in) the religion.
كَمَاAs
بَدَأَكُمْHe originated you
تَعُودُونَ(so) will you return.`
﴿٢٩﴾
فَرِيقًاA group
هَدَىٰHe guided
وَفَرِيقًاand a group
حَقَّdeserved -
عَلَيْهِمُ[on] they
ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةُ‌ۗthe astraying.
إِنَّهُمُIndeed, they
ٱتَّخَذُواْtake
ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَthe devils
أَوْلِيَآءَ(as) allies
مِن دُونِbesides
ٱللَّهِAllah
وَيَحْسَبُونَwhile they think
أَنَّهُمthat they
مُّهْتَدُونَ(are the) guided-ones.
﴿٣٠﴾
۞ يَـٰبَنِىٓO Children
ءَادَمَ(of) Adam!
خُذُواْTake
زِينَتَكُمْyour adornment
عِندَat
كُلِّevery
مَسْجِدٍmasjid,
وَكُلُواْand eat
وَٱشْرَبُواْand drink
وَلَاbut (do) not
تُسْرِفُوٓاْ‌ۚbe extravagant.
إِنَّهُۥIndeed, He
لَا(does) not
يُحِبُّlove
ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَthe extravagant ones.
﴿٣١﴾


يٰبَنِىۡۤ اٰدَمَ قَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكُمۡ لِبَاسًا يُّوَارِىۡ سَوۡاٰتِكُمۡ وَرِيۡشًا​ ؕ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقۡوٰى ۙ ذٰ لِكَ خَيۡرٌ​ ؕ ذٰ لِكَ مِنۡ اٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَذَّكَّرُوۡنَ‏  يٰبَنِىۡۤ اٰدَمَ لَا يَفۡتِنَـنَّكُمُ الشَّيۡطٰنُ كَمَاۤ اَخۡرَجَ اَبَوَيۡكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡجَـنَّةِ يَنۡزِعُ عَنۡهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوۡءاٰتِهِمَا ؕ اِنَّهٗ يَرٰٮكُمۡ هُوَ وَقَبِيۡلُهٗ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا تَرَوۡنَهُمۡ​ ؕ اِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا الشَّيٰطِيۡنَ اَوۡلِيَآءَ لِلَّذِيۡنَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ‏  وَاِذَا فَعَلُوۡا فَاحِشَةً قَالُوۡا وَجَدۡنَا عَلَيۡهَاۤ اٰبَآءَنَا وَاللّٰهُ اَمَرَنَا بِهَا​ ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يَاۡمُرُ بِالۡفَحۡشَآءِ​ ؕ اَتَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏  قُلۡ اَمَرَ رَبِّىۡ بِالۡقِسۡطِ​ وَاَقِيۡمُوۡا وُجُوۡهَكُمۡ عِنۡدَ كُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ وَّادۡعُوۡهُ مُخۡلِصِيۡنَ لَـهُ الدِّيۡنَ ​   ؕ كَمَا بَدَاَكُمۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡنَؕ‏   فَرِيۡقًا هَدٰى وَ فَرِيۡقًا حَقَّ عَلَيۡهِمُ الضَّلٰلَةُ ​ ؕ اِنَّهُمُ اتَّخَذُوا الشَّيٰطِيۡنَ اَوۡلِيَآءَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ وَيَحۡسَبُوۡنَ اَنَّهُمۡ مُّهۡتَدُوۡنَ‏   يٰبَنِىۡۤ اٰدَمَ خُذُوۡا زِيۡنَتَكُمۡ عِنۡدَ كُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ وَّكُلُوۡا وَاشۡرَبُوۡا وَلَا تُسۡرِفُوۡا​ ۚ اِنَّهٗ لَا يُحِبُّ الۡمُسۡرِفِيۡنَ‏ 
(7:26) 0 Children of Adam!15 Indeed We have sent down to you a garment which covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed. (7:27) Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you in the manner he deceived your parents out of Paradise, pulling off from them their clothing to reveal to them their shame. He and his host surely see you from whence you do not see them. We have made satans the guardians of those who do not believe. 16 (7:28) And when such people commit an indecent act they say: 'We found our fathers doing that, and Allah has enjoined it on us.17 Say: 'Surely Allah never enjoins any indecency.18 Do you say things regarding Allah that you do not know?' (7:29) Say to them (0 Muhammad): 'My Lord enjoins justice; and that you set your faces aright at the time of every Prayer; and that you call upon Him, exclusively dedicating your faith to Him. You shall return to Him as you were created.'19 (7:30) A party He has guided to the Right Way, and for another party straying is justly its due for they have taken satans, rather than Allah, as their guardians, even though they think that they are rightly-guided. (7:31) Children of Adam! Take your adornment at every time of Prayer;20 and eat and drink without going to excesses. For Allah does not like those who go to excess.21

15. By referring to an important aspect of Adam and Eve's story, the attention of the people of Arabia of those days was drawn to the evil influence of Satan upon their lives. Under Satan's influence they had begun to see dress merely as a shield of protection against the inclemencies of the weather and as a means of adornment. The basic purpose of dress to cover the private parts of the body - had receded into the background. People had no inhibition about the immodest exposure of the private parts of their body in public. To publicly take a bath absolutely naked, to attend to the call of nature on thoroughfares, were the order of the day. To crown it all, in the course of Pilgrimage they used to circumambulate around the Ka'bah in stark nakedness. Women even surpassed men in immodesty. In their view, the performance of religious rites in complete nudity was an act of religious merit.

Immodesty, however, was not an exclusive characteristic of the people of Arabia. Many nations indulged in it in the past, and many nations continue to indulge in it even now. Hence the message embodied in these verses is not directed just to the people of Arabia. It is rather directed to all men. Mankind, which is the progeny of Adam, is warned against this particular aspect of Satanic influence on their lives. When men show indifference to God's Guidance and turn away from the Message of the Prophets, they virtually place themselves at the mercy of Satan. For it is Satan who makes them abandon way's that are consistent with true human nature and who leads them to immodesty in the same way he did with Adam and Eve. Were man to reflect on this, it would become quite evident that when he is deprived of the guidance of the Prophets, he cannot even appreciate, let alone fulfil, the primary requirements of his true nature.

16. These verses bring into focus several important points.

First, that the need to cover oneself is not an artificial urge in man; rather it is an important dictate of human nature. Unlike animals, God did not provide man with the protective covering that He provided to animals. God rather endowed man with the natural instincts of modesty and bashfulness. Moreover, the private parts of the body are not only, related to sex, but also constitute 'sawat' that is, something the exposure of which is felt to be shameful. Also, God did not provide man with a natural covering in response to man's modesty and bashfulness, but has inspired in him see (verse 26)the urge to cover himself. This is in order that man might use his reason to understand the requirements of his nature, use the resources made available by God, and provide himself a dress.

Second, man instinctively knows that the moral purpose behind the use of dress takes precedence over the physical purpose. Hence the idea that man should resort to dress in order to cover his private parts precedes the mention of dress as a means of providing protection and adornment to the human body. In this connection man is altogether different from animals, With regard to the latter, the natural covering that has been granted serves to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and also to beautify their bodies. However, that natural covering is altogether unrelated to the purpose of concealing their sexual organs. The exposure of those organs is not a matter of shame for them and hence their nature is altogether devoid of the urge to cover them. However, as men fell prey to Satanic influences, they developed a false and unhealthy notion about the function of dress. They were led to believe that the function of dress for human beings is no different from that for animals, viz., to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and to make them look attractive. As for concealing the private parts of the body, the importance of that function has been belittled. For men have been misled into believing that their private parts are, in fact, like other organs of their body. As in the case of animals, there is little need for human beings to conceal their sex organs.

Third, the Qur'an emphasizes that it is not enough for the dress to cover the private parts and to provide protection and adornment to the human body. Man's dress ought to be the dress of piety. This means that a man's dress ought to conceal his private parts. It should also render a man reasonably presentable - the dress being neither too shabby and cheap nor overly expensive and extravagant relative to his financial standing. Nor should dress smack of pride or hauteur, or reflect that pathological mental state in which men prefer characteristically feminine dresses and vice versa: or that the people belonging to one nation mimic people of other nations so as to resemble them, thereby becoming a living emblem of collective humiliation and abasement. The Qur'anic ideal can only be achieved by those who truly believe in the Prophets and sincerely try to follow God's Guidance. For as soon as man decides to reject God's Guidance, Satan assumes his patronage and by one means or another manages to lead him into error after error.

Fourth, the question of dress constitutes one of the numerous signs of God which is visible virtually throughout the world. When the facts mentioned above are carefully considered it will be quite clear as to why dress is an important sign of God.

17. This refers to the pre-islamic Arabian practice of circumambulating around the Ka'bah in stark nakedness. The people of those day's thought that nakedness during circumambulation had been enjoined by God.

18. The simple and succinct Qur'anic statement that 'Allah never enjoins any, indecency' (verse 29)stands as the overwhelming argument against many false beliefs that were entertained by the people of Arabia. For a fuller appreciation of this argument the following points should be kept in mind:

First, that the people of Arabia totally stripped themselves while performing certain religious rites under the mistaken notion that it had been so enjoined. But on the other hand they were agreed that nudity was a shameful thing so that no Arab of any standing could ever approve of appearing naked in any respectable assembly or market-place.

Second, notwithstanding their reservation about nudity, they strippeel themselves totally while performing certain religious rites on the ground that religion was from God. Hence there was nothing objectionable about performing a religious act in a state of nakedness for God had so enjoined them regarding the performance of that rite. Here the Qur'an confronts them with a clear question: How can they believe that God could order them to do something which involves nakedness and which they know to be inherently shameful? What is implied is that God could not command them to commit indecency, and if their religion contained elements of indecency then this is positive proof of its not being from God.

19. The verse seeks to suggest that God has nothing to do with their foolish rituals. So far as the religion truly prescribed by Him is concerned, its fundamental principles are the following:

( 1 ) That man should base his life on justice and righteousness.

(2) That man's worship should have the right orientation, i.e. that it should he directed to God alone and should be free of every trace of devotion to others than God, that man should reserve his absolute enthralment and bondage for the One True God alone. All these should have only one direction - the One that is truly worthy of worship.

(3) Man should invoke God alone to keep him rightly directed, to grant him help and succour, to favour him with protection and security. This should be done provided one's life is oriented to serving God. Invoking help from God would be ludicrous if man's life is based on unbelief, polytheism, disobedience to God, or serving a variety of gods other than the One True God. Such a prayer would amount to asking God's help in strengthening one in one's rebellion against Him.

(4) That man should have full conviction that in the same way as God caused him to he born in the world, He will also restore him to life after death and will make him stand before Himself so as to render an account of his life.

20. The word zina which occurs in this verse refers to full and proper dress. While performing Prayer people are required not only to cover the private parts of their body, but also to wear a dress that serves the two-fold purpose of covering and giving one a decent appearance.

The directive to pray in a proper and decent dress is aimed at refuting the misconception entertained by ignorant people down the ages that man should worship God either in a nude or semi-naked state, or at least have a shabby and unkempt appearance while worshipping. In this verse people are being told the opposite of this. At the time of worship they should not only be free from all kinds of nudity and indecency, but should also be in a decent dress.

21. God does not want to subject man to want and misery or starvation or to deprive him as such of the good things of this worldly life. On the contrary, it pleases Him that man should appear in good decent dress and enjoy the clean food provided for him by God. There is nothing sinful in that. As for sin, it consists in transgressing the bounds set by God. This transgression could be committed in both ways: by making the unlawful lawful, or by making the lawful unlawful.