The Quran

Commentaries for 2.158

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.158 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then mentions the believers' dislike of going between al-Safa and al-Marwah in front of the idols which were placed there, saying: (Lo! Al-Safa and al-Marwah) going around al-Safa and al-Marwah (are among the rites of Allah) among the rites of pilgrimage that Allah, Exalted is He, has commanded. (It is therefore no sin) one commits no transgression (for him who is on pilgrimage to the House or visiteth it, to go around them (as the pagan custom is). And he who doeth good of his own accord) and whoever performs extra works other than this obligation of going between al-Safa and al-Marwah, (Lo! Allah is Responsive) accepts such works, (Aware) of your intentions; it is also said that this means: Allah accepts the smallest of your works and His reward is abundant.
2.158 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Truly Safā and Marwa, two mountains near Mecca, are among the waymarks (sha‘ā’ir, plural of sha‘īra) of God, the [ritual] ceremonies of His religion, so whoever makes the Pilgrimage to the House, or the Visitation, that is, whoever prepares to perform the Pilgrimage [hajj] or the Visitation [‘umra]: the original sense of both terms [hajja and i‘tamara] is ‘to aim for’ and ‘to visit’, respectively; he would not be at fault, [it would not be] a sin, if he circumambulates them (the original tā’ [of yatatawwafa, ‘circumambulate’] has been assimilated with the tā’), by pacing quickly (sa‘y) between them seven times: this was revealed when the Muslims were averse to this [circumambulation], because the pagan Arabs used to circumambulate them, and there was an idol atop each mountain which they used to stroke. It is reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that this pacing [between the two] is not obligatory, based on the fact that when no sin can be incurred, the context implies free choice. Al-Shāfi‘ī and others, however, considered it to be a pillar [of the Pilgrimage rituals]. The Prophet made clear its obligatory aspect when he said that, ‘God has prescribed for you the pacing [sa‘y]’, as reported by al-Bayhaqī and others; and he [the Prophet] also said, ‘Begin with what God has begun’, meaning, al-Safā, as reported by Muslim; and whoever volunteers (tatawwa‘a: a variant reading is yattawa‘, the ta’ here being assimilated) good, that is, any good deed such as circumambulation or other, that is not obligatory on him; God is Grateful, for such a deed and rewards that person for it, Knowing, it.
2.158 Kashani - Kashani
Truly Ṣafā and Marwa, that is, truly the purity (ṣafāÌ) of the existence of the heart and the virtuousness (muruwwa) of the existence of the soul, are among the waymarks of God, among the heart-based milestones and rituals of His religion, [waymarks] such as certainty, satisfaction, sincere devotion, reliance and receptivity, such as the prayer, the fast, and all of the other devotions performed by the body; so whoever makes the Pilgrimage to the House, that is, [whoever] has attained the station of the Essential Unity and entered the Divine Presence by the total annihilation of his essence, or the Visitation, to the fire of the Presence by the affirmation of the unity of the attributes and by his annihilation in the lights of the self-disclosures of the Beauty and the Majesty, he would not be at fault, in that case, if he circumambulates them, that is, [if] he returns to the stations of both and comes and goes between them but not in their engendered existence, for that is indeed a fault and a sin, rather in the existence bestowed after annihilation upon [reaching the station of] stability; that is why He has precluded any [possibility of] fault [on the part of the one circumambulating], for in this [bestowed] existence, as opposed to the former [kind], there is ampleness; and whoever volunteers good, meaning, whoever gives good voluntarily in the way of teachings, compassion for creatures, [good] counsel, love for the good-doing folk who put things right, through the existence of the heart, and [whoever gives good voluntarily] in the way of manners, the acts of righteousness and piety, assisting the weak and the needy and securing kindnesses for them and for his dependants through the existence of the soul after the perfection of the wayfaring and subsistence after annihilation; then truly God is Grateful, thankful for his deeds by rewarding [him] with increase, Knowing, for these [deeds] are [performed] out of the free disposal over things [granted] through God, not through engenderment or affliction or indifference.
2.158 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Meaning of "it is not a sin'' in the Ayah
Imam Ahmad reported that `Urwah said that he asked `A'ishah about what Allah stated:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللَّهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا
(Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or `Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah).) "By Allah! It is not a sin if someone did not perform Tawaf around them.'' `A'ishah said, "Worst is that which you said, O my nephew! If this is the meaning of it, it should have read, `It is not a sin if one did not perform Tawaf around them.' Rather, the Ayah was revealed regarding the Ansar, who before Islam, used to assume Ihlal (or Ihram for Hajj) in the area of Mushallal for their idol Manat that they used to worship. Those who assumed Ihlal for Manat, used to hesitate to perform Tawaf (going) between Mounts As-Safa and Al-Marwah. So they (during the Islamic era) asked Allah's Messenger about it, saying, `O Messenger of Allah! During the time of Jahiliyyah, we used to hesitate to perform Tawaf between As-Safa and Al-Marwah.' Allah then revealed:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللَّهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا
(Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are of the symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or `Umrah of the House to perform the going (Tawaf) between them.)'' `A'ishah then said, " Allah's Messenger has made it the Sunnah to perform Tawaf between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah), and thus, no one should abandon performing Tawaf between them.'' This Hadith is reported in the Sahihayn.
In another narration, Imam Az-Zuhri reported that `Urwah said: Later on I (`Urwah) told Abu Bakr bin `Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham (of `A'ishah's statement) and he said, "I have not heard of such information. However, I heard learned men saying that all the people, except those whom `A'ishah mentioned, said, `Our Tawaf between these two hills is a practice of Jahiliyyah. ' Some others among the Ansar said, `We were commanded to perform Tawaf of the Ka`bah, but not between As-Safa and Al-Marwah.' So Allah revealed:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللَّهِ
(Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are of the symbols of Allah.)'' Abu Bakr bin `Abdur-Rahman then said, "It seems that this verse was revealed concerning the two groups.'' Al-Bukhari collected a similar narration by Anas.
Ash-Sha`bi said, "Isaf (an idol) was on As-Safa while Na'ilah (an idol) was on Al-Marwah, and they used to touch (or kiss) them. After Islam came, they were hesitant about performing Tawaf between them. Thereafter, the Ayah (2:158 above) was revealed.''
The Wisdom behind legislating Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah
Muslim recorded a long Hadith in his Sahih from Jabir, in which Allah's Messenger finished the Tawaf around the House, and then went back to the Rukn (pillar, i.e., the Black Stone) and kissed it. He then went out from the door near As-Safa while reciting:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللَّهِ
(Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are of the symbols of Allah.) The Prophet then said, (I start with what Allah has commanded me to start with meaning start the Sa`i (i.e., fast walking) from the As-Safa). In another narration of An-Nasa'i, the Prophet said, (Start with what Allah has started with (i.e., As-Safa).)
Imam Ahmad reported that Habibah bint Abu Tajrah said, "I saw Allah's Messenger performing Tawaf between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, while the people were in front of him and he was behind them walking in Sa`i. I saw his garment twisted around his knees because of the fast walking in Sa`i (he was performing) and he was reciting:
«اسْعَوْا فَإِنَّ اللهَ كَتَبَ عَلَيْكُمُ السَّعْي».
(Perform Sa`i, for Allah has prescribed Sa`i on you.)'''
This Hadith was used as a proof for the fact that Sa`i is a Rukn of Hajj. It was also said that Sa`i is Wajib, and not a Rukn of Hajj and that if one does not perform it by mistake or by intention, he could expiate the shortcoming with Damm. Allah has stated that Tawaf between As-Safa and Al-Marwah is among the symbols of Allah, meaning, among the acts that Allah legislated during the Hajj for Prophet Ibrahim.
Earlier we mentioned the Hadith by Ibn `Abbas that the origin of Tawaf comes from the Tawaf of Hajar (Prophet Ibrahim's wife), between As-Safa and Al-Marwah seeking water for her son (Isma`il) Ibrahim had left them in Makkah, where there was no habitation for her. When Hajar feared that her son would die, she stood up and begged Allah for His help and kept going back and forth in that blessed area between As-Safa and Al-Marwah. She was humble, fearful, frightened and meek before Allah. Allah answered her prayers, relieved her of her loneliness, ended her dilemma and made the well of Zamzam bring forth its water for her, which is:
«طَعَامُ طُعْمٍ،وَشِفَاءُ سُقْم»
(A tasty (or nutritional) food and a remedy for the illness.)
Therefore, whoever performs Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah should remember his meekness, humbleness and need for Allah to guide his heart, lead his affairs to success and forgive his sins. He should also want Allah to eliminate his shortcomings and errors and to guide him to the straight path. He should ask Allah to keep him firm on this path until he meets death, and to change his situation from that of sin and errors to that of perfection and being forgiven, --- the same providence which was provided to Hajar.
Allah then states:
وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا
(And whoever does good voluntarily.)
It was said that the Ayah describes performing Tawaf more than seven times, it was also said that it refers to voluntary `Umrah or Hajj. It was also said that it means volunteering to do good works in general, as Ar-Razi has stated. The third opinion was attributed to Al-Hasan Al-Basri. Allah knows best.
Allah states:
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ
(...then verily, Allah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower.) meaning, Allah's reward is immense for the little deed, and He knows about the sufficiency of the reward. Hence, He will not award insufficient rewards to anyone. Indeed:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَـعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِن لَّدُنْهُ أَجْراً عَظِيماً
(Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.) (4:40)
2.158 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Hajj is pilgrimage to the Ka'bah during the fixed days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah and 'Umrah is the voluntary visit to the Ka'bah in other than the Hajj days. Directions about Hajj and 'Umrah are being given at this place because the Ka'bah had recently been made the giblah and naturally questions and problems connected with it had arisen.
The running between Safa and Marwah (the two hills) near the Ka'bah was one of the rituals taught by Allah to Abraham in connection with Hajj. But afterwards when the people began to associate false gods with Allah, they built temples on Safa and Marwah and dedicated these to two idols, Asaf and Na'ilah, and went round them in reverence to them. When the Arabs embraced (slant, a question arose whether running between Safa and Marwah was one of the original rituals of Hajj or whether this had been invented by the worshippers of false gods and whether they would not be guilty of practising shirk by running between the two hills.
Besides this, a Tradition related by Hadrat 'A'ishah says that the people of Madinah had an old aversion to running between Safa and Marwah even before they accepted Islam for they were devotees of Manat and did not worship Asaf and Na'ilah. Therefore, now when the Ka'bah was made the qiblah, Allah removed their misunderstanding concerning the running between Safa and Marwah and told them that this ritual had really been connected with Hajj ever since the time of the Prophet Abraham and was not the invention of the ignorant people after hire.
That is, it is far better to run between the two hills with a willing heart to please Allah than as a mere compliance with a Command from Him.
2.158 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Truly ṣafā and Marwa are among the symbols of God These sites and relics tilka al-mashāhidu wa-l-rusūm these ruins and remains wa-tilka al-aṬlālu wa-l-ruqūm are extolled and visited. One sets out for them because they are the ruins of the lovers where the vestiges [still] gleam: The passions of houses belong to those who have lived in them. There is no concern or joy in the house itself. Truly the earth of their path even the dust of their footprints has tremendous value for the lovers. Even the smallest bit of dust that falls upon the edges of their path is more precious than the most fragrant musk: And that is only because Umayma walked beside it in a group [of women] trailing a garment. so whoever makes the pilgrimage to the House or the visitation he would not be at fault if he circumambulates them; and whoever volunteers good God is Grateful Knowing. ṣafā and Marwa were favored by being close to the House. The running between the two became part of the law just as the circumambulation became part of the law for the House. Just as the circumambulation is one of the main rites of the pilgrimage so is the running. The neighbor is honored for the sake of the neighbor.
2.158 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Lo! (the mountains) As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the indications of Allah...) [2:158]. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> Abu ‘Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Faqih> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz> Mus‘ab ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Zubayri> Malik> Hisham> his father> ‘A’ishah who said: “This verse was revealed about the Helpers. They used to make a pilgrimage to Manat which was close to Qudayd. They also used to avoid going between al-Safa and al-Marwah. When Islam came, they asked Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, about this, and Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. This is narrated by Bukhari from ‘Abd Allah ibn Yusuf from Malik. Abu Bakr al-Tamimi informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz [al-Asfahani]> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl al-‘Askari> Yahya and ‘Abd al-Rahman> Hisham> his father> ‘A’ishah who said: “This verse was revealed about a group of people from the Helpers. Before Islam, they used to make pilgrimage to Manat and were forbidden from going between al-Safa and al-Marwah. When they went to pilgrimage with Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, they mentioned this to him. And so Allah revealed this verse”. This is narrated by Muslim from the report of Abu Bakr> Ibn Abi Shaybah> Abu Usamah> Hisham> his father> ‘A’ishah. Said Anas ibn Malik: “We disliked going in between al-Safa and al-Marwah, because they were the shrines of Quraysh in the pre-Islamic period, and so we abandoned them in Islam. Then Allah revealed this verse”. Said ‘Umar ibn Hubshi: “I asked Ibn ‘Umar about this verse and he said: ‘Go to Ibn ‘Abbas and ask him’. The latter said: ‘There was on al-Safa an idol in the form of a man called Isaf, and on al-Marwah an idol in the form of a woman called Na’ilah. The people of the Book claimed that these two had committed adultery in the Ka’bah and as a punishment Allah turned them into two stones which were placed on al-Safa and al-Marwah so that people can take heed. But after a long time had passed, they were worshipped instead of Allah, exalted is He. Whenever the people of the pre-Islamic period went in between them, they stroked the two idols. When Islam came and the idols were destroyed, the Muslims disliked going between al-Safa and al-Marwah because of these two idols. And as a response, Allah revealed this verse’ ”. Said al-Suddi: “In the pre-Islamic period, the devils used to emit noises at night between al-Safa and al-Marwah between which idols were placed. When Islam emerged, the Muslims said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! We will not go in between al-Safa and al-Marwah, for this is a practice of idolatry which we used to do in the pre-Islamic period’. As a response, Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Mansur Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Bazzaz informed us> Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Sinan> Hamid ibn Muhammad ibn Shu‘ayb> Muhammad ibn Bakkar> Isma‘il ibn Zakariyya> ‘Asim> Anas ibn Malik who said: “They used to refrain from going in between al-Safa and al-Marwah, both of which were of the rites of the pre-Islamic period. We used to shy away from going in between them. Then Allah, exalted is He, revealed: Lo! (the mountains) As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the indications of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House (of Allah) or visiteth it, to go around them...)”. This is narrated by Bukhari from the report of Ahmad ibn Muhammad> ‘Asim.