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Researcher’s Companion to Ghamidi’s Surah al-Baqarah (196-203)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I. Style & Eloquence (الاساليب و البلاغة)

1. The causative ‘إِنَّ

About the ellipses in the verse ‘َتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى’,  Ghamidi writes (note 12): ‘Those well versed with the subtleties of the Arabic language know that when the word ‘فَإِنَّ’ is used thus, it explains the reason for what has been stated earlier. Viewed thus, there is an ellipses of the word ‘التَّقْوَى’ after ‘تَزَوَّدُواْ’. No other interpretation of sentence construction is appropriate in any way.’

Other examples of the causative ‘إِنَّ’ are:


قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ (٢: ٩٧)

Tell them: ‘Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel [is in reality an enemy of God]’ because he [O Prophet!] has revealed it to your heart by the permission of God. (2:97)

وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (٢:٥)

Have fear of God because God is stern in retribution. (5:2)

يَاأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ قُمْ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا نِصْفَهُ أَوْ انْقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلْ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا  إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا إِنَّ لَكَ فِي اَلنَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلًا (٧٣ :١-٧)

O you enfolded in your shawl! stand [in prayer] by night, but not all night. Half the night, or even less or a little more and [in this prayer of yours] recite the Qur’an in a slow measured tone. Because soon We shall lay on you the burden of a heavy word [the burden of open warning]. Indeed, this rising by night is very suitable for the mind’s peace and the heart’s resolve and for the speech’s correctness. Because during the daytime you will be hard-pressed with [this task; so pray at this time] and remember the name of your Lord (73:1-7)

2. The Connotation of ‘فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُم

According to Ghamidi, the expression ‘فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُم’ connotes economic benefits in the Qur’an (notes 13).

Some examples of this usage are:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحِلُّواْ شَعَآئِرَ اللّهِ وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْيَ وَلاَ الْقَلآئِدَ وَلا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا (٢:٥)

Believers, do not violate the rites of God, or the sacred month, or the offerings or their ornaments, or those that repair to the Sacred House seeking God’s bounty and pleasure. (5:2)

وَجَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ آيَتَيْنِ فَمَحَوْنَا آيَةَ اللَّيْلِ وَجَعَلْنَا آيَةَ النَّهَارِ مُبْصِرَةً لِتَبْتَغُواْ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلِتَعْلَمُواْ عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ تَفْصِيلاً (١٢:١٧)

We made the night and the day twin marvels. We enshrouded the night with darkness and have light to the day, so that you might seek the bounty of your Lord and learn to count the seasons and the years. We have made all things manifestly plain to you. (17:12)

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاء عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاء بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا (٢٩:٤٨)

Muhammad is God’s Messenger. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. You see them worshipping on their knees, seeking the bounty of God and His good will. (48:29)

 لِلْفُقَرَاء الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ (٨:٥٩)

A share of the spoils shall also fall to the poor among the muhajirun who have been driven from their homes and their possessions, who seek God’s bounty and who help God and His Messenger. These are the true believers. (59:8)

II. Exegesis and Explanation (الشرح و التفسير)

1. Symbolism in Hajj

About the symbolism present in Hajj, Ghamidi writes (notes 18): ‘The rituals of the Hajj and the ‘Umrah are an enlivening symbolic manifestation of the revival of the pledge of slavery to the Almighty and of war with Satan’. While explaining this symbolism he writes1:

At the behest of Allah, His servants take time out from the pleasures and involvements of life and leave aside their goods and possessions, then proceed to the battlefield with the words ‘لَبَّيْك لَبَّيْك’ and just like warriors encamp in a valley.

The next day they reach an open field seeking the forgiveness of the Almighty, praying and beseeching Him to grant them success in this war and listening to the sermon of the imam.

Giving due consideration to the symbolism of waging war against Iblis they shorten and combine their prayers and then after a short stay on the way back reach their camps.

Afterwards they fling stones on Satan and symbolically offer themselves to God by sacrificing animals. They then shave their heads and to offer the rounds of vows come to the real place of worship and sacrifice.

Then they return to their camps again and in the next two or three days fling stones on Satan in the manner they had done earlier.

Viewed thus, the Ihram worn in Hajj and ‘Umrah symbolizes the fact that a believer has withdrawn from the amusement, attractions and involvements of this world and like a monk wearing two unstitched robes, bare-headed and to some extent bare-footed too has resolved to reach the presence of the Almighty.

The ‘Talbiyah’ is the answer to the call made by Abraham (sws) while standing on a rock after he had re-built the House of God2. This call has now reached the nooks and corners of this world and the servants of God while acknowledging His favours and affirming belief in His  Tawhid  respond  to it by saying: ‘اَللّهُمَّ لَبَّيْك  لَبَّيْك’.

The rounds of ‘Tawaf’ are the rounds of vow. This is an ancient tradition of the Abrahamic religion. According to this tradition, animals which were to be sacrificed or devoted to the place of worship were made to walk to and fro in front of it and in front of the altar. It is these rounds which have been referred at various places by the translators of the Torah as the ‘wave offering’ and ‘presenting someone’:

You are to bring the Levites before the LORD, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. Aaron is to present the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the LORD. After the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, use the one for a sin offering to the LORD and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the LORD. In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine. After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of Meeting. They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. (Numbers 8:10-16)

In the Arabic translations of the Bible, the words used for this are ‘تُرَدِّدُهُمْ لِلْرَبِّ’ and ‘إمَامَ الرَّبِّ’ which point to this underlying reason.

The Istilam of the Hajari Aswad symbolizes the revival of the pledge. In it, a person while symbolizing this stone to be the hand of the Almighty, places his own hand in His and in accordance with the ancient tradition about covenant and pledges by kissing it revives his pledge with the Almighty that after accepting Islam he has surrendered his life and wealth to Him in return for Paradise.

Sa‘i is in fact the Tawaf of the place where Ishmael (sws) was offered for sacrifice. Abraham (sws) while standing on the hill of Safa had observed this place of sacrifice and then to fulfill the command of Allah had briskly walked towards the hill of Marwah. In the Bible, this incident is narrated in the following words:

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’ (Genesis 22:4-5)

Consequently, the Tawaf of Safa and Marwah are the rounds of vow which are first made before the Ka‘bah and then on the place of worship. It is evident from the Torah that just as they were made before sacrificing an animal they were also made after sacrificing it while holding a part of the slaughtered animal in the hands:

After you take the breast of the ram for Aaron’s ordination, wave it before the LORD as a wave offering, and it will be your share. (Exodus 29:26)

‘Arafat is a surrogate for the Ka‘bah where the warriors gather to battle against Satan, seeking forgiveness for their sins and praying to God to grant them success in this war.

Muzdalifah is the place where the army stops and spends the night and the warriors once again pray and beseech the Lord when they get up in the morning on their way to the battlefield.

Rami symbolizes cursing Iblis and waging war against him. This ritual is undertaken with the determination that a believer would not be happy with anything less than the defeat of Iblis. It is known that this eternal enemy of man is persistent in implanting evil suggestions in the minds of people. However, if resistance is offered in return, his onslaught decreases gradually. Doing Rami for three days first at the bigger Jamarat and then at the smaller ones symbolizes this very resistance.

Animal sacrifice symbolizes that one is willing to sacrifice one’s life for the Almighty and shaving the head symbolizes that the sacrifice has been presented and a person with the mark of obedience and eternal servitude to the Almighty can now return to his home. Shaving the head is an ancient tradition of the religion of Abraham (sws). Consequently, this law has been stated in the Torah that a person who has been offered and devoted to God should not shave his head until the days of the vow are complete:

During this entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the Lord is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long. (Numbers 5:6)

Now this is the law for the Nazirite when the period of his separation is over. He is to be brought to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting … then at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that he dedicated. He is to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering. (Numbers 6:13, 18)





1. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, “The Rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah”, (Tr. Shehzad Saleem), Monthly Renaissance 14 (January 2004), pp.

2. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-Azim, vol., 3, p. 216

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