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Surah al-Baqarah (26-29)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَنْ يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلًا يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ  الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْخَاسِرُونَ (26-7)

كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ  هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (28-9)

[This is a similitude of Paradise1 and] Allah2 is not ashamed to cite the similitude of a mosquito or something even more inferior [in order to explain a reality]3. Then those who believe know that it is a truth from their Lord; and those who disbelieve say: ‘What does Allah mean by this similitude?’4 [In this way] He misleads many by it, and many He leads to the right path; and in reality He only misleads by it such5 rebellious6 who break7 Allah’s covenant after  making it, and who sever what Allah has directed to join8, and [in such a manner] do mischief on earth.9 It is these who are in loss [both in this world and in that to come]. (26-7)

[O People]10! How can you deny Allah11 whereas you were  dead and He gave you life; then it is He who gives death to you and it is He who will again bring you to life; and again to Him will you be returned12. It is He13 Who has created for you all things that are in the earth; then He turned to the sky14 and made seven skies and He is aware of all things. (28-9)



1. A reference to the preceding verses in which the delights and favours of Paradise are alluded to.

2. Verses 26-7 are a parenthetical sentence which interrupt the main discourse to aptly warn the Idolaters of Madīnah. They are warned not to follow the Jews by nourishing in themselves the attitude of foolishly and baselessly objecting to the similitudes of the Qur’ān. Such an attitude would only deprive them of the truth.

3. The actual Qur’ānic words are: ‘أَنْ يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا’.a مَثَلًا’ is the object (مَفْعُوْل) of the verb ‘يَضْرِبَ’ and ‘بَعُوضَةً’ is a permutative (بَدَل) of this object. The implication being that Paradise and its delights that have just been mentioned in the Qur’ān by way of similitudes and parables because such details can only be communicated to human beings in this manner. Hence, its addressees should try to grasp the reality which they convey and not entangle themselves in going after the realities of the gardens and rivers which these similitudes mention. When the Almighty intends to explain something, He even uses such trivial creations as flies and mosquitoes in such similitudes and examples. People who have regard for guidance and knowledge do not make fun of this.

4. The actual Qur’ānic words are: ‘مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلًا’. The word ‘مَثَلًا’ is an accusative of state (حَال) from the demonstrative pronoun ‘بِهَذَا’. The implication being that they make fun of the similitude by saying that it is strange that God can only find flies and mosquitoes to use them in similitudes.

5. This is a reference to the Jews. The subsequent verses mention their crimes that were responsible for depriving them of the truth.

6. The Arabic word used is ‘فَاسِقْ’. As a term of the Qur’ān, it means to deviate from obedience to disobedience and from the ma‘rūf (good) to the munkar (evil).

7. How the Jews would make this covenant and then break it, is discussed in great detail further down the sūrah.

8. This means to sever blood relations and fraternal ties. It is evident from the way this expression is used that wherever it occurs it signifies blood relations. The indefinite manner in which it is mentioned in the Qur’ān shows the high status which blood relationships occupy. In other words, this is such a known thing that without taking its name, a person understands what he is directed to not break but to join together.

9.The implication being that after breaking their covenant with God when they embark upon severing blood relationships, the result is anarchy and disorder because a stable and healthy society is based on the fear of the Almighty and sanctity of blood relationships.

10. From these verses, once again begins the call to accept faith that began by the words ‘اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمْ’ in verse 21.

11. The Qur’ānic words are ‘كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ’. The inquiry mentioned in them is to express negation and wonder. Here the word kufr does not imply rejecting the Almighty; on the contrary, it implies rejecting the Hereafter. Rejecting the Almighty is termed as rejection of the Hereafter because rejection of the Hereafter is in fact a rejection of all the higher attributes of the Almighty like Power, Providence, Knowledge and Wisdom. A person who believes in the Almighty without believing in these attributes is a person who actually does not believe in Him.

12. This is an argument which shows that the Hereafter is a possible reality. If the Almighty created man the first time – and in this manner actually gave him life from death – how is it impossible to create him a second time.

13. From here on to the end of the paragraph, an argument is cited which necessitates the Day of Judgement. The crux of this argument is that how can the Almighty whose Providence, Knowledge and Wisdom are borne witness to by the heavens and the earth leave human beings without taking an account of their deeds and not discriminate the fate of the righteous and the unrighteous. Hence, the Day of Judgement is certain to come.

14.The Qur’ānic words are ‘فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’. The verb ‘اسْتَوَى’ means ‘to stand up straight’ and the use of the preposition ‘إِلَى’ with it shows that the meaning of ‘directing attention’ is incorporated in the verb. ‘سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ’ is an accusative of state (حَال) from the accusative pronoun in ‘فَسَوَّاهُنَّ’. In other words, this is a portrayal of the Almighty directing His attention to fashion the skies. This is of course does not mean that the Almighty first stepped down, then sat and then stood up.

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