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Researcher’s Companion to Ghamidi’s Surah al-Baqarah (8-16)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I. Meaning & Morphology (الصرف و اللغة)

 1. ‘مَرَضٌ

The word ‘مَرَضٌ’ is generally used in the Qur’ān in two connotations: hypocrisy and jealousy. Here it is evident from the context that the latter sense is most appropriate. As the sūrah progresses, it will become evident that the Jews were very jealous of the fact that a Prophet (sws) had come from the Ismaelites and not from among them.

2. ‘شَيَاطِينِهِمْ

It is evident from the context that the word ‘شَيَاطِينِهِمْ’ connotes the leaders of the rejecters among the Jews. (See ref. 12)

3. ‘اشْتَرَوْا

The word ‘اشْتَرَوْا’ (they bought) in 2:15 is obviously used in the figurative sense. When we buy something, we actually give preference to it over the money that one uses for purchasing it. Thus, the meaning ‘to give preference to something’ is incorporated in the word, as is pointed out by Ghamidi in ref. 14. Consequently, Qurtubī, while referring to this usage says that it is used in the same way as ‘اِسْتَحَبُّوا’ is in: ‘الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى  فاسْتَحَبُّوا’ (41:1)1 .

II Syntax & Declensions (النحو و الاعراب)

 1. ‘مَنْ’ in ‘وَمِنْ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ

The word ‘مَنْ’ is used for both singular and plural entities. Here it is obvious that it is used for the latter.

2. ‘ال’ in ‘النَّاسِ

The ‘ال’ in ‘النَّاسِ’ is for ‘عِهد’. ‘النَّاسِ’ refers to those who rejected the Book of God in its entirety. So, the words ‘… وَمِنْ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ’ refer to one category of rejecters. Another category has already been referred to in verse 7 by the words ‘…إِنَّ الَّّّذِينَ كَفَرُوا’.

3. Relationship of ‘فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ

Verse 15 reads:

  اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِئُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ

 The expression ‘فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ’ can be related to ‘َيَمُدُّهُمْ’ or to ‘يَعْمَهُونَ’. If the former construction is preferred, ‘يَعْمَهُونَ’ would be ‘حَال’ and the meaning would be: ‘God increases them in their arrogance, such that they wander about’. If the latter construction is preferred, the meaning would be ‘God gives them respite and they wander in their arrogance’. The author has preferred the former construction, as has Farāhī2. Both give the same reason: ‘مَدَّ ه فِيهِ’ is a more commonly used expression.

III  Style & Eloquence (الاساليب و البلاغة)

 1. Subtle Choice of Words

Verse 9 reads:

يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلَّا أَنفُسَهُمْ

 While ‘يُخَادِعُونَ3 means to ‘to try to deceive, ‘يَخْدَعُونَ’ means ‘to deceive’. The former is used with God because man can only strive to deceive God: he can never succeed. Hence this usage is very apt. On the other hand, ‘يَخْدَعُونَ’, is appropriately used for ‘humans’ because one may succeed in deceiving them.

2. Tadmīn in ‘خَلَوْا إِلَى

The inappropriateness of the preposition with the verb in the expression ‘خَلَوْا إِلَى’ shows that the verb encompasses another verb within its meaning. Taking this aspect into consideration, the implied meaning is إِلَى شَيَاطِينِهِمْ ذَهَبُوْا وَ الْمُسْلِمِيْن مِنْ  خَلَوْا’. Farāhī points out the implied meaning with the words ‘ذَهَبُوْا اِلِيْهِمْ فَخَلَوْا مَعَهُمْ’.4  

IV. Exegesis and Explanation (الشرح و التفسير)

1. Verses 8-16

Most commentators opine that these verses refer to the hypocrites among the Muslims. Ghāmidī differs with them and says that they actually refer to a group among the Jews who wanted to adopt a policy of compromise. Like some of their counterparts, they had not opted to openly reject Islam; rather they wanted to strike some compromise between it and own their religion.

The basic reason why they cannot be called hypocrites is the following verse:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُوا كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُوا أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَا آمَنَ السُّفَهَاءُ

When it is said to them: ‘Accept faith as these people [before you] have accepted faith’, they [vainly] say: ‘Shall we accept faith as these fools accepted faith?’

Hypocrites feign to be Muslims while rejecting Islam in their hearts. On the other hand, this verse speaks of open rejection. People who openly reject Islam thus cannot be termed as hypocrites.






1. Qurtubi, Al-Jāmi‘ Li Ahkāmi’l-Qur’ān, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Dar Ahyā Al-Turāth Al-‘Arabī, 1952), p. 210

2. Farāhī, Hamīdu’l-Dīn, Tafsīr Nizāmu’l-Qur’ān/ Sūrah Baqarah, 1st ed. (Azam Garh: Dāi’rah Hamīdiyyah, 2000), p. 145

3. Writes Ibn Manzūr:

و العرب تقول خادعت فلانا اذا كنت تروم خدعه

Arabs say ‘خادعت فلانا’ when you want to imply that you intend to deceive someone. (Ibn Manzūr, Lisānu’l-‘Arab, 1st ed., vol. 8, (Beirut: Dār S~ādir, 1400 AH), p. 63)

4. Farāhī, Hamīdu’l-Dīn, Tafsīr Nizāmu’l-Qur’ān/ Sūrah Baqarah, 1st ed. (Azam Garh: Dāi’rah H~amīdiyyah, 2000), p. 143

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