The Quran

Commentaries for 2.188

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.188 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
The following was revealed about 'Abdan Ibn Ashwa' [al-Hadrami] and Imra' al-Qays [Ibn 'Abis]: (And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity) through oppression, theft, usurpation, perjury, and other forbidden means, (nor seek by it to gain the hearing of the judges that you may knowingly devour a portion of the property of others wrongfully) through perjury; Imra' al-Qays admitted taking the money when this verse was revealed.
2.188 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Consume not your goods between you, that is to say, do not let one consume the goods of the other, in deception, that which is illicit according to the Law, such as theft and extortion; and, do not, proffer them, the regulation of these [goods] or any bribes, to the judges, that you may consume, as a result of any arbitration, a portion of other people’s goods, embroiled, in sin while you are aware, that you are in error.
2.188 Kashani - Kashani
And do not consume your goods, your gnoses and the knowledge that you have acquired, among yourselves in deception, [that is] through the vain passions and pleasures of the soul by the actualisation of the objects of its desires and the acquisition of its sensory and imaginal goals in the use of these [goods]; and proffer them, so that they are sent to [to the judges] to the arbiters of the evil-commanding souls, that you may consume a portion of the goods [of other people], of the spiritual faculties, in sin, that is, out of injustice as you expend these [goods] in [pursuit of] the delights of the ego-centric faculties, while you are aware, that this is a sin and a misuse of a thing.
2.188 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Bribery is prohibited and is a Sin
`Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This (Ayah 2:188) is about the indebted person when there is no evidence of the loan. So he denies taking the loan and the case goes to the authorities, even though he knows that it is not his money and that he is a sinner, consuming what is not allowed for him.'' This opinion was also reported from Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayan and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. They all stated, "Do not dispute when you know that you are being unjust.''
The Judge's Ruling does not allow the Prohibited or prohibit the Lawful
It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Umm Salamah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«أَلَا إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ، وَإِنَّمَا يَأْتِينِي الْخَصْمُ، فَلَعَلَّ بَعْضَكُمْ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَلْحَنَ بِحُجَّتِهِ مِنْ بَعْضٍ فَأَقْضِيَ لَهُ، فَمَنْ قَضَيْتُ لَهُ بِحَقِّ مُسْلِمٍ فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ قِطْعَةٌ مِنْ نَارٍ، فَلْيَحْمِلْهَا أَوْ لِيَذَرْهَا»
(I am only human! You people present your cases to me, and as some of you may be more eloquent and persuasive in presenting his argument, I might issue a judgment in his benefit. So, if I give a Muslim's right to another, I am really giving him a piece of fire; so he should not take it.)
The Ayah and the Hadith prove that the judgment of the authorities in any case does not change the reality of the truth. Hence, the ruling does not allow what is in fact prohibited or prohibit what is in fact allowed. It is only applicable in that case. So if the ruling agrees with the truth, then there is no harm in this case. Otherwise, the judge will acquire his reward, while the cheater will acquire the evil burden.
This is why Allah said:
وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَلَكُمْ بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتُدْلُواْ بِهَآ إِلَى الْحُكَّامِ لِتَأْكُلُواْ فَرِيقًا مِّنْ أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ بِالإِثْمِ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
(And eat up not one another's property unjustly, nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.) meaning, `While you know the falsehood of what you claim. ' Qatadah said, "O son of Adam! Know that the judge's ruling does not allow you what is prohibited or prohibit you from what is allowed. The judge only rules according to his best judgment and according to the testimony of the witnesses. The judge is only human and is bound to make mistakes. Know that if the judge erroneously rules in some one's favor, then that person will still encounter the dispute when the disputing parties meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection. Then, the unjust person will be judged swiftly and precisely with that which will surpass whatever he acquired by the erroneous judgment he received in the life of this world.''
2.188 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This verse has two aspects: One should not try to seize the property of another by bribing the judges, and one should not go to the court of law to seize the property of another through specious arguments. It is just possible that the judge might decide, on the basis of available evidence, in favour of the transgressor, but it does not mean that the property has thereby really become lawful for him. The Holy Prophet warned such people. saying, `'After all I am a human being. It is just possible that in a case brought before me, one better versed in the art of talking than his opponent might persuade me to decide the case in his favour. But let it be understood that anything gained in this way from a brother will, in fact, mean the acquiring of a piece of Hell for himself in spite of my decree in his favour."
2.188 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Consume not your goods between you in deception and proffer them to the judges that you may consume a portion of other people's goods in sin while you are aware. When you turn to created beings to judge matters know that God is watching over you and His knowledge encompasses you. So situate yourself with shyness before the Real سبحانه. Created beings know externals ẓawāhir but the Real سبحانه وتعالى is the One who governs the innermost secrets of hearts sarāÌir.
2.188 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity…) [2:188]. Said Muqatil ibn Hayyan: “This verse was revealed about Imra' al-Qays ibn 'Abis al-Kindi and 'Abdan ibn Ashu' al-Hadrami. It so happened that these two men came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, with a dispute regarding a piece of land. Imra' al-Qays had the land and 'Abdan was reclaiming it. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse, and the land was given to 'Abdan without a judgment pronouncement”.