The Quran

Commentaries for 2.114

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.114 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then He mentioned Tatus Ibn Asipanos al-Rumi, king of the Christians who destroyed Jerusalem, saying: (And who doth greater wrong) in his disbelief (than he who forbideth the approach to the sanctuaries of Allah) Jerusalem (lest His name should be mentioned therein) by declaring Allah's Oneness and calling to prayer, (and striveth for their ruin?) in the ruin of Jerusalem by throwing carrions in it. And this lasted until the reign of 'Umar. (As for such) for the Romans, (it was never meant that they should enter them) Jerusalem (except in fear) hiding from the believers for fear of being killed, for they would be killed if found. (Theirs in the world is ignominy) a chastisement in that their cities, Constantinople, Amorium ('Ammuriyyah) and Rome (Rumiyyah) would be ruined (and theirs in the Hereafter is an awful doom) more severe than the punishment they were subjected to in this world.
2.114 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Who does greater wrong than he who bars God's places of prostration?
In terms of allusion, He is asking, “Who does greater wrong than he who ruins the homeland of worship with appetites? Who does greater wrong than he who ruins the homeland of recognition with attachments? Who does greater wrong than he who ruins the homeland of contemplation by glancing at others?”
The homeland of worship is the soul of the renunciants, the homeland of recognition the heart of the recognizers, and the homeland of contemplation the secret core of the friends.
When someone keeps his soul away from appetites, the homeland of his worship flourishes and his name is written in the register of the renunciants. Thus Mālik Dīnār lingered in Basra for forty years and never ate or tasted the dates of Basra, dried or fresh, before he died. He was asked about that and he said, “The possessor of appetite is veiled from his Lord.”
When someone keeps his heart pure of attachment, the homeland of his recognition flourishes and he belongs to the ranks of the recognizers. Thus one of them said about Ibrāhīm Adham, “I was with Ibrāhīm Adham in a journey, and we were afflicted with hunger. After we settled in a mosque he brought out some sections of the Qur'an he had with him and said, 'Go and pawn these sections and bring us something to eat, for hunger has stricken us.' I went out, and someone came
forward to me in front of a fully laden mule. He was saying, 'The one I am seeking is a lightcomplexioned man called Ibrāhīm ibn Adham.'”
“I said, 'What do you desire from him?'
“He said, 'I am the slave of his father, and these things belong to him.' So I led him to him. He entered the mosque, put his head and hands on the ground and kissed him. Ibrāhīm said, 'Who are you?' He said, 'I am your father's slave. Your father has died, and I have with me 40,000 dinars, your inheritance from your father. I am your slave. Command me as you wish.'
“Ibrāhīm said, 'If you speak the truth, then you are free, for the sake of God. And what you have with you is all a gift to you. Leave us.
' After he left, he said, 'My Lord, I spoke to You about a loaf of bread, so You showered this world down upon me. By Your rightful due! Even if You make me die from hunger, I will not again undertake to seek anything.'”
When someone keeps his secret core pure of glancing at others, the homeland of his contemplation flourishes and he becomes one of the friends. Thus Abū Yazīd BasṬāmī turned the eyes of his aspiration completely away from all others, stuffed the ears of striving, and pulled the tongue of loss into the mouth of disappointment. He extracted the intrusion of the commanding soul, put himself in the ballista of meditation, shot himself into every valley, melted his body with the fire of jealousy in all the crucibles, and drove the horse of seeking into the space of every desert. With the tongue of solitariness he was saying,
“People are wishing for repose and comfort,
but I, O Exalted One, wish to encounter You empty.
*
“Each has a prayer-niche in some direction,
but SanāÌī's prayer-niche is Your street.” [DS 1004]
Abū Yazīd said, “When this claim appeared from my makeup, the Unity made me taste the blow of jealousy. He questioned me with awesomeness to show me how to come out of the furnace of testing. He said, 'Whose is the kingdom?' [40:16].
“I said, 'Yours, O Lord.'
“He said, 'Whose is the free choice?' “I said, “Yours, O God.'
“When He saw and knew my weakness and need, He was aware that my attributes had reached His attributes. He said, 'O Abū Yazīd! Now that you have come to have nothing, you have everything. Now that you have come to have no tongue and no spirit, you have tongue and spirit.'”
Other than this tongue we have another tongue,
other than hell and paradise, we have another place.
Men of free lineage live with another spirittheir pure substance has another source.
“Then He gave me a tongue of self-sufficient gentleness, a heart of light, and an eye of divine artisanry such that if I speak, I speak with His assistance. I walk with His strength, I see with His light, I take with His power, and I sit in His session: 'I am his hearing and he hears through Me, his eyesight and he sees through Me.'
“When I reached this station, my tongue became the tongue of tawḤīd and my spirit the spirit of disengagement.
I do not speak for myself, nor do I come back to myself. In reality the speaker is He, and I am a spokesman in the midst.” This is what the Unity said: 'Thou didst not throw when thou threwest, but God threw' [8:17].”
“I am his hand and he takes through Me” is this, if you have recognition.
The outside of both worlds is the inside of my heartmy place is one step beyond the created world.
Tribulation lies only in the makeup of my water and clay.
What was before water and clay? That is what I will be.
2.114 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And who does greater evil — that is, none does more evil — than he who bars God’s places of worship, so that His Name be not invoked in them, in prayer and praise, and strives to ruin them?, through destruction and impeding people from them: this was revealed to inform of the Byzantines’ destruction of the Holy House [sc. Jerusalem], or [it was revealed] when the idolaters barred the Prophet (s) from entering Mecca in the year of the battle of Hudaybiyya; such men might never enter them, save in fear (illā khā’ifīna is a predicate, also functioning as a command, that is to say, ‘Frighten them by threats of waging war against them, so that not one of them shall enter it feeling secure’); for them in this world is degradation, debasement through being killed, taken captive and forced to pay the jizya; and in the Hereafter a mighty chastisement, namely, the Fire.
2.114 Kashani - Kashani
And who is more unjust, that is, who receives less of what is due to him and is worse off in his share, than he who bars God's places of worship, that is, the prostration places of God, namely, the hearts, in which He can be known and where the prostration is performed through essence-annihilation, so that His Name be not invoked in them, [His] special [Name] that is the Greatest Name for He only discloses Himself with that Name in the heart, this being the self-disclosure of the Essence with the totality of the attributes; or It is that Name of His that is specified by every one of these [attributes], in other words, the perfection that befits the preparedness which It entails; and strives to ruin themḍ, to sully them with cold fanaticism and with the triumph and mastery of desires over them and the prevention of the folk of these [mosques] who possess the preparedness above such [desires] by means of confusion and turmoil and the incitement of seditions that are the concomitants of the mutual attraction between the faculties of the soul and satanic motives and illusions; such men might never enter them, save in fear, [nor] arrive at them, [save in fear], in other words, [save] broken by the self-disclosure of the Truth in them; for them in this world there is degradation, that is, disgrace and humiliation because of the manifestation of the falsehood of their religion and their beliefs, which will be nullified by the religion of the Truth, and by their vanquishing and their distress and their having been overpowered; and in the Hereafter there shall be a mighty chastisement, which is that they will be veiled from the Truth by their [false] religion.
2.114 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Of the Most Unjust are Those Who prevent People from the Masjids and strive for their Ruin
The Quraysh idolators are those who hindered the people from the Masjids of Allah and wanted to destroy them. Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn Zayd said that Allah's statement,
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَـجِدَ اللَّهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَى فِى خَرَابِهَآ
(And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah's Name be mentioned (i.e. prayers and invocations) in Allah's Masjids and strive for their ruin) is about the Quraysh idolators who prevented the Prophet from entering Makkah from Al-Hudaybiyyah, until he slaughtered the Hadi (animal for sacrifice) at Dhi-Tuwa. He then agreed to a peace treaty with the idolators and said to them, (No one before has ever prevented people from entering the House. One would even see the killer of his father and brother, but would not prevent him (from entering the House of Allah).) They said, "Whoever killed our fathers at Badr, shall never enter it while there is one of us alive.'' Allah's statement,
وَسَعَى فِى خَرَابِهَآ
(and strive for their ruin) means those who prevent whoever maintain the Masjids with Allah's remembrance and who visit Allah's House to perform Hajj and `Umrah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Quraysh prevented the Prophet from praying at the Ka`bah in Al-Masjid Al-Haram, so Allah revealed,
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَـجِدَ اللَّهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ
(And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah's Name be mentioned (i.e. prayers and invocations) in Allah's Masjids)''
After Allah chastised the Jews and Christians, He also criticized the idolators who expelled the Messenger of Allah and his Companions from Makkah, preventing them from praying in Al-Masjid Al-Haram, which they kept exclusively for their idols and polytheism. Allah said,
وَمَا لَهُمْ أَلاَّ يُعَذِّبَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُواْ أَوْلِيَآءَهُ إِنْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُ إِلاَّ الْمُتَّقُونَ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
(And why should not Allah punish them while they hinder (men) from Al-Masjid Al-Haram, and they are not its guardians None can be its guardians except Al-Muttaqun (the pious), but most of them know not.) (8:34)
مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُواْ مَسَاجِدَ الله شَـهِدِينَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ أُوْلَـئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَـلُهُمْ وَفِى النَّارِ هُمْ خَـلِدُونَ - إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَـجِدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَوةَ وَءاتَى الزَّكَوةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ فَعَسَى أُوْلَـئِكَ أَن يَكُونُواْ مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ
(It is not for the Mushrikin (polytheists), to maintain the Masjids of Allah while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide. The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; perform the Salah, and give the Zakah and fear none but Allah. It is they who are on true guidance.) (9:17-18)
and,
هُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَصَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْهَدْىَ مَعْكُوفاً أَن يَبْلُغَ مَحِلَّهُ وَلَوْلاَ رِجَالٌ مُّؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَآءٌ مُّؤْمِنَـتٌ لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَن تَطَئُوهُمْ فَتُصِيبَكمْ مِّنْهُمْ مَّعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ لِّيُدْخِلَ اللَّهُ فِى رَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ لَوْ تَزَيَّلُواْ لَعَذَّبْنَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
(They are the ones who disbelieved and hindered you from Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) and detained the sacrificial animals, from reaching their place of sacrifice. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His mercy whom He wills ـ if they (the believers and the disbelievers) had been apart, We verily, would have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment) (48:25). Therefore, Allah said here,
إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَـجِدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَوةَ وَءاتَى الزَّكَوةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ
(The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; perform the Salah, and give the Zakah and fear none but Allah). Therefore, if those believers who follow the virtues mentioned in the Ayah were prevented from attending the Masjid, then what cause for destruction is worse than this Maintaining the Masjids not only means beautifying them, but it involves remembering Allah, establishing His Shari`ah in the Masjids and purifying them from the filth of Shirk.
The Good News that Islam shall prevail
Allah said next,
أُوْلَـئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَن يَدْخُلُوهَآ إِلاَّ خَآئِفِينَ
(It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah's Masjids) except in fear).
This Ayah means, "Do not allow them - the disbelievers - to enter the Masjids, except to satisfy the terms of an armistice or a treaty.'' When the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah in 9 H, he commanded that someone announce at Mina, "After the current year, no idolators shall perform Hajj, and no naked persons shall perform Tawaf around the House, except for those who have a treaty. In this case, the treaty will be carried to the end of its term.'' This Ayah supports the Ayah,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلاَ يَقْرَبُواْ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَـذَا
(O you who believe! (in Allah's Oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad )! Verily, the Mushrikun (idolators) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) after this year) (9:28).
It was also said that this Ayah (2:114) carries the good news for the Muslims from Allah that He will allow them to take over Al-Masjid Al-Haram and all the Masjids and disgrace the idolators. Soon after, the Ayah indicated, no idolator shall enter the House, except out of fear of being seized or killed, unless he embraces Islam. Allah fulfilled this promise and later decreed that idolators not be allowed to enter Al-Masjid Al-Haram. The Messenger of Allah stated that no two religions should remain in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Jews and Christians should be expelled from it, all praise is due to Allah. All of these rulings ensure maintaining the honor of Al-Masjid Al-Haram and purifying the area where Allah sent His Messenger to warn and bring good news to all of mankind, may Allah's peace and blessings be on him.
This Ayah also described the disgrace that the disbelievers earn in this life, and that the punishment comes in a form comparable to the deed. Just as they prevented the believers from entering Al-Masjid Al-Haram, they were prevented from entering it in turn. Just as they expelled the believers from Makkah, they were in turn expelled from Makkah,
وَلَهُمْ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
(and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter) because they breached the sanctity of the House and brought filth to it by erecting idols all around it, invoking other than Allah and performing Tawaf around it while naked, etc.
Here it is worth mentioning the Hadith about seeking refuge from disgrace in this life and the torment of the Hereafter. Imam Ahmad recorded that Busr bin Artah said that the Messenger of Allah used to supplicate,
«اللَّهُمَّ أَحْسِنْ عَاقِبَتَنَا فِي الْأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا وَأَجِرْنَا مِنْ خِزْيِ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابِ الْآخِرَة»
(O Allah! Make our end better in all affairs, and save us from disgrace in this life and the torment of the Hereafter.)
This Hadith is Hasan.
2.114 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, the places of worship should not be in the hands of such transgressors, who become their trustees, but under the management of those who possess power and fear Allah. This arrangement will prevent the wicked people from doing any mischief there for fear of retribution. It also implied that the disbelievers of Makkah had quite unjustly prevented their own brethren (who had embraced Islam) from entering the Ka'bah which they themselves called the "House of Allah".
2.114 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And who does greater evil than he who bars God's places of worship so that His name be not invoked in them and strives to ruin themḍ; such men might never enter them save in fear; for this world is degradation for them; and in the hereafter a mighty chastisement. [Here] the allusion is to the one who does evil one who ruins the homelands awṬān of worship with [his] carnal passions shahawāt-and the homelands of worship are the selves of the worshipers nufūs al-ʿābidīn. He ruins the homelands of knowledge with [his] desires and attachments ʿalāqāt-and the homelands of knowledge are the hearts of those with deep knowledge qulūb al-ʿārifīn. He destroys the homelands of love with [his] worldly concerns and familiar comforts musākanāt-and [the homelands of love] are the spirits of the ecstatics arwāḥ al-wājidīn. He ruins the homelands of witnessing by paying attention to [his own] attempts to draw near qurubāt [rather than turning to God Himself] and [the homelands of witnessing] are the innermost selves of those who declare oneness asrār al-muwaḥḥidīn. For them in this world is degradation; and in the hereafter a mighty chastisement. For the people of allusion the degradation of this world is the ignominy of the veil and the punishment of the hereafter is being held back in degrees.
2.114 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And who doth greater wrong than he who forbiddeth the approach to the sanctuaries of Allah lest His name should be mentioned therein…) [2:114]. This was revealed about Titus the Roman and his Christian army. When the latter invaded the Children of Israel, they killed their soldiers, enslaved their women and children, burned the Torah, sacked Jerusalem and then threw carrions in it. This is the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbas according to the narration of al-Kalbi. Qatadah and al-Suddi said: “This refers to Bukhtunassar and his army who conquered the Jews and destroyed Jerusalem. They were helped in this by the Roman Christians”. And Ibn ‘Abbas said, according to the narration of ‘Ata’: “This verse was revealed about the idolaters of Mecca who prevented the Muslims from mentioning Allah in the Sacred Mosque”.