The Quran

Commentaries for 2.116

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.116 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah mentions the claims of the Jews and Christians that Ezra and Jesus are the sons of Allah, saying: (And they) the Jews and Christians (say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a Son) Ezra and the Messiah (Jesus). (Be He glorified!) He is far exalted to have a son or partner (Nay) it is not as they say, (but whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth) of creation (is His) are His servants. (All are subservient unto Him) linked to Him by the bond of servitude and the declaration of His Oneness.
2.116 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
They say, “God has taken a son.” Glory be to Him! Rather, to Him belongs what is in the heavens and the earth; all are devoted to Him.
He is pure, without fault, incomparable, the one Lord-one in forbearance, one in loyalty, one in love. If the servant does harm, He does not cut off from him, for He is one in forbearance. If the servant inclines toward another, He does not so incline, because He is one in loyalty. If the servant
breaks the covenant, He does not break it, because He is one in love.
He is one in Essence, one in attributes, rid of causes, incomparable with obsequiousness, praised by all expressions, fitting for all allusions, the creator of time and the hours, the determiner of instants and moments. His artisanry has no defect, His determining no contrivance, His description no likeness. He is a determiner who has always been.
Powerful, Knowing, Alive, Desiring, Hearing, Seeing, clothed in majesty,
Hallowed beyond having an equal, transcending opinion and talk.
O Essence of perfection lacking nothing!
The effusion of generosity comes from Your hand alone.
He is a lord without associate or partner, a king without equal or need. His promise is no lie, His name is no metaphor. The door of withholding is shut and the door of His munificence open. He is a forgiver of sins, a caresser of the faulty. He knows without cause, He is able without artifice. He is alone without paucity, spreader of the creed, outside of number, artisan without toil, selfstanding until the Endless, hallowed beyond envy. His name is Subtle, Self-Standing, and SelfSufficient; He begets not, nor was He begotten, and equal to Him is none [112:2-4].
So much are You face-to-face in my heart, so much hidden from my eyes,
that your describer cannot describe Youin Your attributes You are as You are.
A renowned Lord, caring for His servants-ears are open to His name, hearts imprisoned by His message, tawḤīd-voicers fallen into His snare, yearners drunk with the love from His cup. He is the lovingly kind such that no one in the universe is like Him in loving kindness. The disobedient and destitute have hope in Him, and the poor are happy in the subsistence of His majesty.
Their domicile is at His threshold, their sitting in hope of union with Him, their being in bonds to His loyalty, their ease with His name, marks, and remembrance.
The two hundred spiritual worlds are the luster of His bounty,
the two hundred luminous worlds are from the light of His beauty.
Shaykh al-Islām Anṣārī said, “O God, for a while I delighted in remembering You-then I chose resurrection. Who is fitting for this work like me? Enough for me that I am worthy of Your companionship.
“O God, there is no heart aside from remembering You, no spirit aside from finding You.
How can one live without heart and spirit?
“O God, I have remained apart from the world's folk, for my eyes are empty of You and I see You face-to-face!”
“You are not empty of me, but I do not see Your face.
You are a spirit with me, but not seen by me.
“O good fortune of the heart and life of the spirit! O found without being perceived and face-to-face without being seen! Your remembrance is in the heart and on the tongue, Your love in the midst of secret core and spirit. Finding You is a day that comes forth suddenly by itself. He who finds
You busies himself with neither happiness nor grief. O Lord, complete for us the work that cannot be expressed! Finish for us the work with You that is hidden from the two worlds!”
The folk of wisdom have spoken of a marvelous intimation and a beautiful subtlety in the verse, “They say, 'God has taken a son.' Glory be to Him!” This subtlety is that God has made apparent a seed and set up a successor for everything in the world headed for annihilation. Thus its species will remain in the world and it will not totally cease to be. This is the universal motivation for the existence of the child-so the species may remain, the child may succeed its father, and descendants will not be cut off. Do you not see that the sun, the moon, the stars, and their likes have no way to annihilation in the redoublings of the days until the resurrection? Hence He did not make seeds for them or set up successors. In contrast, since the species of plants and the kinds of animals are annihilated during the days, it was imperative for them to have seeds and successors.
From here it is known that it is not fitting for God to take a child, and He has no use for a successor. He is a living one who subsists and an enactor who continues. The defect of annihilation has no way to Him, blight and disappearance have no place in His majesty, and the fault of defectiveness does not fit into His perfection. He always was and always will be. Why should He need a child? How should that be appropriate? Greatly exalted is God beyond that!
Then He added to the argument and said, “Rather, to Him belongs what is in the heavens and the earth; all are devoted to Him.” If a child is needed, it is needed to serve the father, to support and help him. Thus the Exalted Lord says, “He has made for you from your wives children and grandchildren” [16:72]. Also, a father is not complete in himself, nor can he do without helpers. He needs others to make up for his poverty and weakness. So, what need does the Lord of the Worlds have for children? He has neither poverty to be made up for by someone, nor incapacity to take help from someone. Along with His lack of needs, the heaven, the earth, and everything within them are His possession and kingdom. All are His slaves and servants. All serve Him and obey Him, whether willingly or unwillingly. He alludes to this with His words, “To God prostrate themselves all in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly” [13:15].
2.116 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And they, the Jews and the Christians, and those that claim that the angels are God’s daughters, say (read wa-qālū or [simply] qālū) ‘God has taken to Himself a son’; God says: Glory be to Him!, as a way of exalting Himself above this; Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth, as possessions, creatures and servants, and this sovereignty contradicts having a child, and is expressed by [the particle] mā, ‘all that’, in order to include all [creation] that is not rational; all obey His will, submitting to that which is required from each one of them: here the emphasis is on rational beings.
2.116 Kashani - Kashani
And they say, 'God has taken to Himself a son', meaning that He brought into existence an existentiator independent by his own essence and specified to the exclusion of Him. Glory be to Him!, we declare His transcending of that any other than Him can be something, let along be similar to Him. Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth, that is, to Him belong the world of spirits and bodies, being His esoteric and exoteric aspects [respectively], similar to when you say that He possesses essence, countenance and attributes and the like; all obey His will, existing by His existence, acting by His act, non-existing in their own essences: that is the ultimate in obedience and in fulfilling what is due to Him, since He is absolute existence, so that without Him nothing exists. Existences that are designated by His attributes and His names, distinguished as they are by their very entification [sc. being entities] - that which is a contingent and nonexistent quality - are not Him, if considered on the basis of reason - which would classify these as [having true] existence. For quiddity that has no existence is not a thing externally but, in terms of the intellect and intelligibles, constitutes His inner aspect (bāṭinuhu); in reality that [quiddity] is nothing but Him and so anything other than Him cannot exist to then be [His] son, in other words, a caused or created thing or whatever else you wish to call it.
2.116-117 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Refuting the Claim that Allah has begotten a Son
This and the following Ayat refute the Christians, may Allah curse them, and their like among the Jews and the Arab idolators, who claimed that the angels are Allah's daughters. Allah refuted all of them in their claim that He had begotten a son. Allah said,
(Glory is to Him.)
meaning, He is holier and more perfect than such claim;
بَل لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ
(Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth,) meaning, the truth is not as the disbelievers claimed, rather, Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and earth and whatever and whoever is in, on and between them. Allah is the Supreme Authority in the heavens and earth, and He is the Creator, Provider and Sustainer Who decides all the affairs of the creation as He wills. All creatures are Allah's servants and are owned by Him. Therefore, how could one of them be His son The son of any being is born out of two comparable beings. Allah has no equal or rival sharing His grace and greatness, so how can He have a son when He has no wife Allah said,
بَدِيعُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَّهُ صَـحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ وهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
(He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife He created all things and He is the Knower of everything) (6:101).
وَقَالُواْ اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَـنُ وَلَداً - لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئاً إِدّاً - تَكَادُ السَّمَـوَتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الاٌّرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدّاً - أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَـنِ وَلَداً - وَمَا يَنبَغِى لِلرَّحْمَـنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَداً - إِن كُلُّ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ إِلاَّ آتِى الرَّحْمَـنِ عَبْداً - لَّقَدْ أَحْصَـهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدّاً - وَكُلُّهُمْ ءَاتِيهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ فَرْداً
(And they say: "The Most Gracious (Allah) has begotten a son (offspring or children).'' Indeed you have brought forth (said) a terrible evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins. That they ascribe a son (or offspring or children) to the Most Gracious (Allah). But it is not suitable for (the majesty of) the Most Gracious (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring or children). There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious (Allah) as a servant. Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting. And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender)) (19:88-95), and,
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ - اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ - لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ - وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ
(Say: "He is Allah (the) One, Allah the Samad (the Self- Sufficent, upon whom all depend), He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable to Him.'') (112).
In these Ayat, Allah stated that He is the Supreme Master Whom there is no equal or rival, everything and everyone was created by Him, so how can He have a son from among them This is why, in the Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Prophet said,
«قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: كَذّبَنِي ابْنُ آدَمَ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذلِكَ، وَشَتَمَنِي وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذلِكَ، فَأَمَّا تَكْذِيبُهُ إِيَّايَ فَيَزْعُمُ أَنِّي لَا أَقْدِرُ أَنْ أُعِيدَهُ كَمَا كَانَ، وَأَمَّا شَتْمُهُ إِيَّايَ فَقَوْلُهُ لِي وَلَدًا فَسُبْحَانِي أَنْ أَتَّخِذَ صَاحِبَةً أَوْ وَلَدًا»
(Allah said, `The son of Adam has denied Me, and that is not his right. He has insulted Me, and that is not his right. As for the denial of Me, he claimed that I am unable to bring him back as he used to be (resurrect him). As for his insulting Me, he claimed that I have a son. All praise is due to Me, it is unbefitting that I should have a wife or a son.')
This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari.
It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَا أَحَدَ أَصْبَرُ عَلَى أَذًى سَمِعَهُ مِنَ اللهِ: إِنَّهُمْ يَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ وَلَدًا وَهُوَ يَرْزُقُهُمْ وَيُعَافِيهِم»
(No one is more patient when hearing an insult than Allah. They attribute a son to Him, yet He still gives them sustanence and health.)
Everything is within Allah's Grasp
Allah said,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(all are Qanitun to Him).
Ibn Abi Hatim said that Abu Sa`id Al-Ashaj informed them that Asbat informed them from Mutarrif, from `Atiyah, from Ibn `Abbas who said that,
(Qantin) (2:238) means, they pray to Him. `Ikrimah and Abu Malik also said that,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(and all are Qanitun to Him.) means, bound to Him in servitude to Him. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Qanitun is sincerity. Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(all are Qanitun to Him.) means, "Standing up - before Him - on the Day of Resurrection.'' Also, As-Suddi said that,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(and all are Qanitun to Him.) means, "Obedient on the Day of Resurrection.'' Khasif said that Mujahid said that,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(and all are Qanitun to Him. ) means, "Obedient. He says, `Be a human' and he becomes a human.'' He also said, "(Allah says,) `Be a donkey' and it becomes a donkey.'' Also, Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that,
كُلٌّ لَّهُ قَـنِتُونَ
(and all are Qanitun to Him.) means, obedient. Mujahid also said, "The obedience of the disbeliever occurs when his shadow prostrates, while he hates that.'' Mujahid's statement, which Ibn Jarir preferred, combines all the meanings, and that is that Qunut means obedience and submission to Allah. There are two categories of Qunut: legislated and destined, for Allah said,
وَللَّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَظِلَـلُهُم بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالاٌّصَالِ
(And unto Allah (alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the (late) afternoons) (13:15).
The Meaning of Badi`
Allah said,
بَدِيعُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ
(The Badi` (Originator) of the heavens and the earth.) which means, He created them when nothing resembling them existed. Mujahid and As-Suddi said that this is the linguistic meaning, for all new matters are called Bid`ah. Muslim recorded the Messenger of Allah saying,
«فَإِنَّ كُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَة»
(...every innovation (in religion) is a Bid`ah.)
There are two types of Bid`ah, religious, as mentioned in the Hadith:
«فَإِنَّ كُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَة»
(...every innovation is a Bid`ah and every Bid`ah is heresy.)
And there is a linguistic Bid`ah, such as the statement of the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab when he gathered the Muslims to pray the Tarawih prayer in congregation (which was also an earlier practice of the Prophet ) and said, "What a good Bid`ah this is.''
Ibn Jarir said, "Thus the meaning of the Ayat (2:116-117) becomes, `Allah is far more glorious than to have had a son, for He is the Owner of everything that is in the heavens and earth. All testify to His Oneness and to their submissiveness to Him. He is their Creator and Maker. Without created precedence, He shaped the creatures in their current shapes. Allah also bears witness to His servants that Jesus, who some claimed to be Allah's son, is among those who testify to His Oneness. Allah stated that He created the heavens and earth out of nothing and without precedent. Likewise, He created Jesus, the Messiah, with His power and without a father.'' This explanation from Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy upon him, is very good and correct.
Allah said,
وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
(When He decrees a matter, He only says to it : "Be! ـ and it is.) thus, demonstrating His perfectly complete ability and tremendous authority; if He decides a matter, He merely orders it to, `Be' and it comes into existence. Similarly, Allah said,
إِنَّمَآ أَمْرُهُ إِذَآ أَرَادَ شَيْئاً أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
(Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be! ـ and it is.) (36:82),
إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَىْءٍ إِذَآ أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
(Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: "Be! ـ and it is.) (16:40) and,
وَمَآ أَمْرُنَآ إِلاَّ وَحِدَةٌ كَلَمْحٍ بِالْبَصَرِ
(And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye) (54:50)
So Allah informed us that He created Jesus by merely saying, "Be!'' and he was, as Allah willed:
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ ءَادَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
(Verily, the likeness of `Isa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be! ـ and he was) (3:59).
2.116 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And they say “God has taken to Himself a son”; Glory be to Him! He deceived them when He did not bring them to naught right away. Instead He made their continued delusion a longer respite. They spoke a grave calumny ʿaẓīm al-firya against God and devised an astonishing argument ʿajīb al-mirya in their description of God and attribution of a son to Him. How can there be a son when He is singular in [His] essence dhātḍ There is no delimitation of His essence and no carnal desire possible in His attributes ṣifāt. Nay to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth; all obey His will. That is nothing-from the traces of things or things themselveshas come into being kawn without the traces of the created constitution khilqa calling out to it and the testimonial witnessings of the original nature fiṬra speaking clearly from it. Every silent thing is [in fact] speaking and is a proof and a witness to His سبحانه oneness.
2.116 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son…) [2:116]. This was revealed about the Jews who said: “Ezra is the son of Allah”, and the Christians of Najran who said: “Christ is the son of Allah”, and also the Arab idolaters who said: “The angels are Allah’s daughters”.