The Quran

Commentaries for 2.27

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.27 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Those who break the covenant of Allah) regarding this Prophet (pbuh) (after ratifying it), after sanctioning, confirming and vouchsafing it (and sever that which Allah hath ordered) of oaths and kinsfolk relations (to be joined) to Muhammad, (and (who) make mischief in the earth) by preventing people from the Religion of Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an: (Those are they who are the losers), the duped in that they lose both this world and the Hereafter.
2.27 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Those such as, He has described, break the covenant of God, the contract He made with them in the [revealed] Books to belief in Muhammad (s), after its solemn binding, after it has been confirmed with them, and such as cut what God has commanded should be joined, of belief in the Prophet, of kinship and other matters (an [in the phrase an yūsala, ‘that it be joined’] substitutes for the pronoun [suffixed] in bihi [of the preceding words mā amara Llāhu bihi, ‘that which God has commanded’]); and such as do corruption in the land, by way of their transgressing and impeding faith, they, the ones thus described, shall be the losers, since, they shall end up in the Fire, made everlasting for them.
2.27 Kashani - Kashani
Those such as break the covenant of God after its solemn binding: this is what is alluded to in His statement: And when your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify against themselves, 'Am I not your Lordḍ', they said, 'Yea, indeed …' [Q. 7:172]. It is mentioned in a ḥadīth that God, exalted be He, stroked Adam's back with His hand and brought forth his seed from him like particles, [to the end of] the ḥadīth. God's hand is the holiest intellect and the first spirit which is the spirit of the world that is referred to as the right-hand of the Compassionate; Adam is the universal reasoning soul which is itself the heart of the world; His stroking of his back constitutes the effect of the intellect upon it [the soul] and its illuminating of it by His light through the spiritual joining; His bringing forth of his seed from him constitutes the bringing into existence of the individual partial souls that had been inside it in potentiality and bringing them out in actuality; God's covenant with them where He says, 'Am I not your Lordḍ', is the depositing of the knowledge of [His] Oneness in their essences; the binding of that covenant is the propping up of the proofs of His Oneness in their intellects and His obligating them to that knowledge, making it a binding aspect of their essences, so that upon their disengagement from the attributes of the soul and the coverings of the body such [knowledge] would [immediately] become clear to them and the most manifest and obvious of things would be disclosed to them, namely, their having been made to testify against themselves, since such knowledge would at that instance become necessary. Their response to that [question] with 'Yea, indeed', constitutes their essential acceptance of that [truth]. Their breaking of that covenant is their total engrossment in the carnal pleasures and the trappings of the physical world and their enslavement by their desires and lusts such that they become veiled by these from [the knowledge of] God's Oneness and His worship. [and such as cut what God has commanded should be joined]: their 'cutting of what God has commanded should be joined' is their turning away from the joining with the Holy Spirit, the highest points of origin [of motion] and the heavenly spirits who are the High Council [cf.
[Q. 37:8] and the inhabitants of the Divine Presence from among those of the realm of the Divine attributes (jabarūt) and the angelic realm (malakūt) who keep company with them in essence and in attribute, being the ones whose nearness they should in reality seek and their manifest ties of kinship which they have been commanded to cement in reality, [turning away instead] by orienting themselves towards the lower world and by their love of dark and corrupted substances and their adoration of and their being smitten by vile and transient matters, which is why the Prophet said: 'Verily God loves exalted and noble matters and dislikes inanities, for the viler the thing demanded by the soul the further it is from the noble world:
'People in love with things come in all shapes and sizes, but those most excused [for such love] are those who have none'.
[and such as do corruption in the land - they shall be the losers] The explanation of 'doing corruption in the land' has already been given; as for the 'great loss' [of the losers], that is the forsaking of the permanent luminous substance in exchange for the transient dark [substance].
2.26-27 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, and some Companions said; "When Allah gave these two examples of the hypocrites'' meaning Allah's statements,
مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً
(Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire), and,
أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ
(Or like a rainstorm from the sky), "The hypocrites said, `Allah's far more exalted than for Him to make such examples.' So Allah revealed these Ayat (2:26-27) up to:
هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ
(Who are the losers)''. Sa`id said that Qatadah said, "Allah does not shy away from the truth when He mentions a matter as a parable, whether this matter is significant or not. When Allah mentioned the flies and the spider in His Book, the people of misguidance said, `Why did Allah mention these things.' So Allah revealed;
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا
(Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it).''
A Parable about the Life of This World
Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi reported that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas commented on this Ayah (2:26); "This is an example that Allah has given for the life of this world. The mosquito lives as long as it needs food, but when it gets fat, it dies. This is also the example of people whom Allah mentioned in the Qur'an: when they acquire (and collect the delights of) the life of this world, Allah then takes them away.'' Afterwards, he recited,
فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ
(So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of every (pleasant) thing) (6:44)
In this Ayah (2:26) Allah stated that He does not shy away or hesitate in making an example or parable of anything, whether the example involves a significant or an insignificant matter.
Allah's statement,
فَمَا فَوْقَهَا
(Or so much more when it is bigger than it) Fama fawqaha means, something bigger than the mosquito, which is one of the most insignificant and tiniest of creatures. Muslim narrated that Aishah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يُشَاكُ شَوكَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا إِلَّا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ بِهَا دَرَجَةٌ، وَمُحِيَتْ عَنْهُ بِهَا خَطِيئَة»
(No Muslim is harmed by a thorn, Fama fawqaha (or something larger), but a good deed will be written for him and an evil deed will be erased from his record.)
So Allah has informed us that there is no matter that is too small that is exempt from being used as an example, even if it was as insignificant as a mosquito or a spider. Allah said,
يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُواْ لَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَن يَخْلُقُواْ ذُبَاباً وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُواْ لَهُ وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئاً لاَّ يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ
(O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): Verily, those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought.) (22:73),
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْلِيَآءَ كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتاً وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ
(The likeness of those who take (false deities as) Awliya' (protectors, helpers) other than Allah is the likeness of a spider who builds (for itself) a house; but verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider's house ـ if they but knew.) (29:41), and,
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِى السَّمَآءِ - تُؤْتِى أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ - وَمَثلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الاٌّرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ - يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِى الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِى الاٌّخِرَةِ وَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ الظَّـلِمِينَ وَيَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ
(See you not how Allah sets forth a parable A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord, and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember. And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth, having no stability. Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in life of this world (i.e. they will keep on worshipping Allah alone and none else), and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers) to go astray those and Allah does what He wills.) (14:24-27). Allah said,
ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً عَبْدًا مَّمْلُوكًا لاَّ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى شَىْءٍ
(Allah puts forward the example of (two men ـ a believer and a disbeliever); a servant under the possession of another, he has no power of any sort) (16:75). He then said,
وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً رَّجُلَيْنِ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَبْكَمُ لاَ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى شَىْءٍ وَهُوَ كَلٌّ عَلَى مَوْلاهُ أَيْنَمَا يُوَجِّههُّ لاَ يَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى هُوَ وَمَن يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ
(And Allah puts forward (another) example of two men, one of them dumb, who has no power over anything, and he is a burden on his master; whichever way he directs him, he brings no good. Is such a man equal to one who commands justice) (16:76). Also, Allah said,
ضَرَبَ لَكُمْ مَّثَلاً مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ هَلْ لَّكُمْ مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ مِّن شُرَكَآءَ فِى مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ
(He sets forth for you a parable from your own selves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your servants) to share as equals in the wealth we have bestowed on you) (30:28).
Mujahid commented on Allah's statement,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا
(Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger than it.) "The believers believe in these parables, whether they involve large matters or small, because they know that they are the truth from their Lord, and Allah guides the believers by these parables.''
In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and other people among the Companions said,
يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا
(By it He misleads many), "Meaning the hypocrites. Allah guides the believers with these parables, and the straying of the hypocrites increases when they reject the parables that Allah mentioned for them which they know are true. This is how Allah misleads them.''
وَيَهْدِي بِهِ
(And He guides thereby) meaning, with the parables,
كَثِيراً
(many) from among the people of faith and conviction. Allah adds guidance to their guidance, and faith to their faith, because they firmly believe in what they know to be true, that is, the parables that Allah has mentioned. This is guidance that Allah grants them;
وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَـسِقِينَ
(And He misleads thereby only the Fasiqin (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah)), meaning, the hypocrites. The Arabs say that the date has Fasaqat, when it comes out of its skin, and they call the mouse a Fuwaysiqah, because it leaves its den to cause mischief. The Two Sahihs recorded `A'ishah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,
«خَمْسٌ فَوَاسِقُ يُقْتَلْنَ فِي الْحِلِّ وَالْحَرَمِ: الغُرَابُ وَالْحِدَأَةُ وَالْعَقْرَبُ وَالْفَأْرَةُ وَالْكَلْبُ الْعَقُور»
(Five animals are Fawasiq, and they must be killed during Ihram and otherwise: the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the mouse and the rabid dog.) eFasiq, includes the disbeliever and the disobedient. However, the Fisq of the disbeliever is worse, and this is the type of Fasiq that the Ayah is describing here, because Allah described them as,
الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَـقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الاٌّرْضِ أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ
(Those who break Allah's covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.)
These are the characteristics of the disbelievers and they contradict the qualities of the believers. Similarly, Allah said in Surat Ar-Ra`d,
أَفَمَن يَعْلَمُ أَنَّمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَبِّكَ الْحَقُّ كَمَنْ هُوَ أَعْمَى إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُواْ الأَلْبَـبِ - الَّذِينَ يُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ يِنقُضُونَ الْمِيثَـقَ - وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوءَ الحِسَابِ
(Shall he then, who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad ) from your Lord is the truth, be like him who is blind But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed. Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and break not the Mithaq (bond, treaty, covenant). And those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship), and fear their Lord, and dread the terrible reckoning.) (13:19-21)) until,
وَالَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَـقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ
(And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah's mercy), and for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell).) (13:25)
The covenant that these deviant people broke is Allah's covenant with His creation, that is, to obey Him and avoid the sins that He prohibited. This covenant was reiterated in Allah's Books and by the words of His Messengers. Ignoring this covenant constitutes breaking it. It was said that the Ayah (2:27) is about the disbelievers and the hypocrites among the People of the Book. In this case, the covenant that they broke is the pledge that Allah took from them in the Tawrah to follow Muhammad when he is sent as a Prophet, and to believe in him, and in what he was sent with. Breaking Allah's covenant in this case occured when the People of the Book rejected the Prophet after they knew the truth about him, and they hid this truth from people, even though they swore to Allah that they would do otherwise. Allah informed us that they threw the covenant behind their backs and sold it for a miserable price.
It was also reported that the Ayah (2:27) refers to all disbelievers, idol worshippers and hypocrites. Allah took their pledge to believe in His Oneness, showing them the signs that testify to His Lordship. He also took a covenant from them to obey His commands and refrain from His prohibitions, knowing that His Messengers would bring proofs and miracles that none among the creation could ever produce. These miracles testified to the truth of Allah's Messengers. The covenant was broken when the disbelievers denied what was proven to them to be authentic and rejected Allah's Prophets and Books, although they knew that they were the truth. This Tafsir was reported from Muqatil bin Hayyan, and it is very good. It is also the view that Az-Zamakhshari held.
Allah's statement next,
وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ
(And sever what Allah has ordered to be joined) is in reference to keeping the relations with the relatives, as Qatadah asserted. This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُواْ أَرْحَامَكُمْ
(Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship) (47:22)
Ibn Jarir At-Tabari preferred this opinion. However, it has been said that the meaning of the Ayah (2:27) here is more general. Hence, everything that Allah has commanded to nurture, and the people severed, is included in its meaning.
The Meaning of `Loss
Muqatil bin Hayyan commented on Allah's statement,
أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ
(It is they who are the losers) "In the Hereafter.'' Similarly, Allah said,
أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ
(On them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah's mercy), and for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell)) (13:25).
Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Every characteristic that Allah describes those other than the people of Islam - such as being losers - then it refers to disbelief. However, when they are attributed to the people of Islam, then these terms refer to sin.'' Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement,
أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ
(It is they who are the losers,) "`Losers is plural for loser, this word refers to whoever decreased his own share of Allah's mercy by disobeying Him, just as the merchant loses in his trade by sustaining capital loss. Such is the case with the hypocrite and the disbeliever who lose their share of the mercy that Allah has in store for His servants on the Day of Resurrection. And that is when the disbeliever and the hypocrite most desperately need Allah's mercy.''
2.26-27 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here an objection has been answered without making mention of it. The objection was that if the Qur'an had been the Book of Allah, it would not have adduced illustrations from such insignificant things as gnats, spiders, ants, bees, etc.
Those people who do not want to understand the Reality and do not seek the Truth, get entangled in the words of such similitudes, draw wrong conclusions and go astray from the Truth on account of their own perversion. On the contrary, the seekers-after-truth, who are possessed of insight, ponder over the wisdom contained in them and are convinced that these sublime things can only be from Allah.
"Fasiq ": disobedient, the one who transgresses the bounds set by Allah.
The edicts or instructions issued by a sovereign to his subjects are called 'ahd according to the Arabic idiom, because they are obligatory on them. In this verse the word 'ahd has been used in the same sense. Allah's `ahd is His standing command to mankind to submit to Him, to obey Him and worship Him alone. The ratification of the same refers to the covenant to which the while of mankind agreed at the creation of Adam: it was that they would submit to Allah. (For further details, please refer to Al-A'raf, VII: 172).
That is, these people break off the relations which Allah has enjoined to be established and upon the establishment and strength of which depends man's individual and collective well-being. This concise sentence is so vast in meaning that it covers the whole of the moral world, ranging from relations between two persons to international relations. "Breaking off relations" not only implies violation of human relations but it also implies abuse of relations in any way, because the result will be the same if and when these relations are not observed rightly and. properly. The Qur'an, therefore, abhors not only their violation but also their abuse as it causes chaos, conflict and disorder in the world.
In these sentences the full definition of fasiq has been given: he is one who breaks off or vitiates relations between man and Allah or between man and man, and thus produces chaos on the earth.  "
2.27 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Those who break the covenant with God after its solemn binding and who cut what God has commanded to be joined; and who do corruption in the land-they shall be the losers. In this the allusion is to the state of one who has traveled the way of spiritual desire irāda then returned to what ordinary people have. Although he claimed to be willing to abandon his lower self he proved insincere when things became serious. He gave up allusions to reality ishārāt al-ḥaqīqa for concessions to the sharīʿa rukhaṣ al-sharīʿa. Just as the return of one who travels the way with his [outward] self nafs is not praiseworthy so long as a dirham remains in his bag so the return of one who seeks with his heart qalb is not pleasing so long as a breath nafas remains in his spirit rūḥ: Verily those who have died to the religion of whims find the decree of death a sweet watering place. And who cut what God has commanded to be joined: The cords of the Real are joined through the cutting of the cords with creation. The joining of what belongs to Him is not completed without cutting what belongs to you. When the matter is the reverse it is the opposite. Among that which the servant has been commanded to join is the protection of the sacred relationship of the people of this path. One expends sincere concern to achieve [this joining] rather than offering favors. [The servants' outward] efforts of concern are dedicated mawqūfa to connecting the cords of this path and arranging its conditions while their hearts are directed maṣrūfa in expectation of the guardianship of God most high for His people. The corruption of this path in the land [happens] when [elders on the path] do not pay attention to the small details of the affairs [of those less advanced on the path]. They make themselves too busy to guide an aspirant murīd with their words and too busy to sharpen the aim of a seeker qāṣid with their concerned efforts. This is some of what they neglect that displeases the Real سبحانه. Part of breaching the covenant [happens] when your innermost self turns away from witnessing Him for even a moment. Part of the cutting off of what you have been commanded to join [takes place] when even a breath appears of your worldly concerns at any moment [causing you to not] uphold His right. Part of your corruption in the land is any hour which passes you in which you do not see Him. Surely that is the manifest loss the grave trial and the vast calamity.