The Quran

Commentaries for 2.284

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.284 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Unto Allah (belongeth) whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth) of created beings and marvels; He commands His servants with whatever He wills; (and whether ye make known what is in your minds) in your hearts; this refers to the discourse of the soul after the arousal of one's misgivings but before one divulges it (or hide it, Allah will bring you to account for it) Allah will requite you for it. The same applies to forgetfulness after one remembers, error after being right and coercion after exerting one's effort freely. (He will forgive whom He will) He will forgive the one who repents of all sins (and He will punish whom He will) He will punish the one who does not repent. (And Allah is Able to do all things) in terms of forgiveness and punishment.
2.284 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
To God belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Whether you show what is in your souls or you hide it, God will bring you to account for it.
To God belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth as ownership, origination, creation, and devising. He gave them existence from nonexistence, so He owns them with the ownership of exaltedness and powerfulness, not the ownership of gaining and earning. He does in them whatsoever He wills [3:40] and He decrees whatsoever He desires [5:1].
He is saying that everything in the heavens and the earths is owned by God, an ownership of existence-giving and exaltedness, not an ownership of earning and inheritance. It is the ownership of the Adamites that is gained by the ruling property of commerce and gift, or acquisition and inheritance. Hence the ruling property that establishes ownership makes the rightful due of what is owned necessary for them. As for God's ownership, it comes by way of bringing nonbeing into being, by creation after nonbeing, and by making new from the outset. Thus His ownership is not like anyone else's ownership, nor does anyone have any ruling property over Him in that. What He does with what He Himself created He does by reason of His own lordhood. From Him it is justice, not injustice. Injustice is when someone does something that is not his to do. But it is God's to do whatever He does because He is creator, enactor, and king. Majestic is His ruling power, tremendous His rank, exalted His magnificence, realized His word, and high His reality beyond the perception of intellects!
To God belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. He did not say this so that you would attach your heart to it and occupy yourself with it, but so that you would attach your heart to its creator and see its artisan. This is the same as He said: “Do not prostrate yourselves to the sun and the moon, but prostrate yourselves to God, who created them” [41:37]. When He created heaven and earth, He created them as the gazing place of the common people, so that they would look at the artisanry and from it reach the Artisan.
Say: “Gaze at that which is in the heavens and the earth” [10:101].
He gave the elect a higher rank. He invited them away from the gaze of taking heed to the gaze of reflective thought. He turned them away from artisanry to reflective thought. He said, “What, do they not ponder the Qur'an?” [4:82].
Then He made MuṣṬafā pass through the degree of the elect, gave him access to the reality of solitariness, and set him down in the center point of togetherness, so that his gaze would go beyond the artisanry and the attributes. He said to him, “Dost thou not see thy Lord?” [25:45].
First is the way station of the aware, second the level of the familiar, and third the degree of the friends and the near ones. When at first lightning flashed from the heaven of exaltedness, the servant came to awareness. Then a breeze blew from the garden of gentleness, and the servant found familiarity. Then he found a drink from the cup of friendship and became selfless of selfhood-everything came to be his.
Awareness is the state of the wage-earner, familiarity the attribute of the guest, and friendship the mark of the near ones. The wage-earners have wages, the guests have feasts, and the near ones
have mysteries. The wage of the wage-earner befits the wage-earner, the feast of the guest befits the host, and the one who is near is drowned in face-to-face vision.
Whether you show what is in your souls or you hide it, God will bring you to account for it. Great is the work of someone who has business with Him! Majestic is the rebuke of him whose rebuker is He! One must buy reckoning with one's spirit when the reckoner is He! The measure of this declaration was known by that chevalier of the Tariqah, Shiblī, who said, “O God, what would it matter if You placed all the sins of the world's folk on Shiblī's neck? Then, tomorrow in that place of seclusion, You would count out each sin for me, and my talk with You would be drawn out.”
I consider it unlawful to talk with otherswhenever I talk with You, I draw out my words.
His words “place of seclusion” alludes to the hadith of MuṣṬafā in which he said, “There is none of you to whom your Lord will not speak, without any spokesman between Him and you, nor any veil veiling Him.”
A nomad came and asked MuṣṬafā, “Who will take care of my account tomorrow?” The Messenger said, “God will take care of the servants' accounts.”
The nomad went back in happiness and joy and kept on saying, “So I am saved! When a generous man decides, he forgives.”
God will bring you to account for it. It has been said that this sentence is a tremendous admonishment for him who has brightness in his heart and familiarity in his secret core. Since he knows that tomorrow he will be called to account and interrogated about the why and the wherefore of his words and deeds, today he undertakes his own accounting of himself. He watches over his own movements and rests, words and deeds. This is why MuṣṬafā said, “Take an accounting of yourselves before you are brought to account, and prepare for the Greatest Exposure.”
2.284 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Whether you disclose, manifest, what is in your hearts or hide it, of evil and resolve for it, God shall take you to account for it, informing you of it on the Day of Resurrection. Then He will forgive whom He will, to forgive, and chastise whom He will, to chastise (both verbs are apocopated [fa-yaghfir, ‘he will forgive’, wa-yu‘adhdhib, ‘he will chastise’] if taken as the responses to the conditional, in tubdū, ‘if you proclaim’; but they may also be read with a final nominative inflection [yaghfiru, yu‘adhdhibu] in which case, it would [constitute a new clause and] follow on from an implicit fa-huwa, ‘then He’). And God has power over all things, including reckoning with you and requiting you.
2.284 Kashani - Kashani
To God belongs all that is in the heavens, that is, all that is in the spiritual world in its entirety, His esoteric aspects, His attributes and the covers of His Unseen and the treasure-troves of His generosity, and all that is in the earth, that is, all that is in the corporeal world in its entirety, His exoteric aspects, His names and His acts witness the two worlds witness while He is witness of all things. Whether you disclose what is in your souls, He witnesses it through His names and His exoteric aspects and knows it and requites you for it, and if you hide it, He witnesses through His attributes and His esoteric aspects and knows it and requites you for it, then He will forgive whom He wishes, on account of that person's affirmation of [His] Oneness and the power of his certainty and that his misdeeds had been accidental and had not taken deep roots in his essence. God's wish is based on His wisdom; and He will chastise whom He wishes, on account of that person's corrupt inner conviction and his harbouring of doubt or the misdeeds that have taken deep root in his soul. And God has power over all things, and hence has the power to both to forgive and to chastise.
2.284 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Would the Servants be Accountable for What They Conceal in Their Hearts
Allah states that His is the kingship of the heavens and earth and of what and whoever is on or between them, that He has perfect watch over them. No apparent matter or secret that the heart conceals is ever a secret to Him, however minor it is. Allah also states that He will hold His servants accountable for what they do and what they conceal in their hearts. In similar statements, Allah said,
قُلْ إِن تُخْفُواْ مَا فِى صُدُورِكُمْ أَوْ تُبْدُوهُ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
(Say (O Muhammad ): "Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is able to do all things) 3:29, and,
يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ وَأَخْفَى
(He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden.)
There are many other Ayat on this subject. In this Ayah 2:284, Allah states that He has knowledge of what the hearts conceal, and consequently, He will hold the creation accountable for whatever is in their hearts. This is why when this Ayah was revealed, it was hard on the Companions, since out of their strong faith and conviction, they were afraid that such reckoning would diminish their good deeds.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "When
لِّلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَـوتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَإِن تُبْدُواْ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ اللَّهُ فَيَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
(To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and whether you disclose what is in yourselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it. Then He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is able to do all things)
was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, it was very hard for the Companions of the Messenger. The Companions came to the Messenger and fell to their knees saying, `O Messenger of Allah! We were asked to perform what we can bear of deeds: the prayer, the fast, Jihad and charity. However, this Ayah was revealed to you, and we cannot bear it.' The Messenger of Allah said,
«أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَقُولُوا كَما قَالَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابَيْنِ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ: سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا؟ بَلْ قُولُوا: سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِير»
(Do you want to repeat what the People of the Two Scriptures before you said, that is, `We hear and we disobey' Rather, say, `We hear and we obey, and we seek Your forgiveness, O our Lord, and the Return is to You.)
When the people accepted this statement and their tongues recited it, Allah sent down afterwards,
ءَامَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَـئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
(The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do)the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers ـ and they say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).'')
When they did that, Allah abrogated the Ayah 2:284 and sent down the Ayah,
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا
(Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. "Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error.'') until the end.''
Muslim recorded it with the wording; "When they did that, Allah abrogated it 2:284 and sent down,
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا
(Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. "Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error''.)
Allah said, `I shall (accept your supplication),'
رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَآ إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا
("Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians)'')
Allah said, `I shall (accept your supplication),'
رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ
("Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. '')
Allah said, `I shall (accept your supplication),'
وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَآ أَنتَ مَوْلَـنَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَـفِرِينَ
("Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Mawla (Supporter and Protector) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.'')
Allah said, `I shall.'''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Mujahid said, "I saw Ibn `Abbas and said to him, `O Abu Abbas! I was with Ibn `Umar, and he read this Ayah and cried.' He asked, `Which Ayah' I said,
وَإِن تُبْدُواْ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ
`(And whether you disclose what is in yourselves or conceal it.)'
Ibn `Abbas said, `When this Ayah was revealed, it was very hard on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah and worried them tremendously. They said: O Messenger of Allah! We know that we would be punished according to our statements and our actions, but as for what occurs in our hearts, we do not control what is in them.' The Messenger of Allah said,
«قُولُوا: سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا»
(Say, `We hear and we obey.') They said, `We hear and we obey.' Thereafter, this Ayah abrogated the previous Ayah,
ءَامَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ
(The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah), until,
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ
(Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.)
Therefore, they were pardoned what happens in their hearts, and were held accountable only for their actions.'''
The Group recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّ اللهَ تَجَاوَزَ لِي عَنْ أُمَّتِي مَا حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسَهَا مَالَمْ تَكَلَّمْ أَوْ تَعْمَل»
(Allah has pardoned my Ummah for what they say to themselves, as long as they do not utter it or act on it.)
The Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«قَالَ اللهُ: إِذَا هَمَّ عَبْدِي بِسَيِّئَةٍ فَلَا تَكْتُبُوهَا عَلَيهِ، فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا فَاكْتُبُوهَا سَيِّئَةً، وَإِذَا هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا فَاكْتُبُوهَا حَسَنَةً، فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا فَاكْتُبُوهَا عَشْرًا»
(Allah said (to His angels), "If My servant intends to commit an evil deed, do not record it as such for him, and if he commits it, write it for him as one evil deed. If he intends to perform a good deed, but did not perform it, then write it for him as one good deed, and if he performs it, write it for him as ten good deeds.'')
2.284 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In the concluding portion of the Surah, the basic creeds of Islam have been stated just as they were stated at its beginning. Therefore it will be useful to compare verses 284-285 with vv, 1-4.
This is the first article of Faith. The acceptance of the fact that Allah is the Master of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, leaves no alternative for man but to submit to Him.
In this sentence two more articles of Faith have been stated. First, every person is individually responsible and accountable to Allah for his actions. Second, the Sovereign, to whom man is accountable for his actions, has full knowledge of what is hidden and what is open; He even knows those intentions and thoughts that are hidden in the heart.
It means that Allah is the absolute Sovereign and not a constitutional ruler. His powers are not bound by any law so as to force Him to act in accordance with it. He is the sole Master and has full authority to punish anyone or to forgive anyone He wills.
2.284 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Whether you disclose what is in your hearts or hide it God shall take you to account yuḥāsibkum for it. Then He will forgive whom He wishes and chastise whom He wishes. And God has power over all things. [That is] whether you disclose what is in your hearts in deep intuitions maʿānī or pretensions daʿāwā. It is said that whether you disclose what is in your hearts [refers to] intentions and wishes al-quṣūd wa-l-raghāÌib and various needs and requests funūn al-ḥawāÌiḥ wa-l-maṬālib. It is said that what you disclose is worship ʿibāda and what you hide is desire irāda. It is said that what you hide are thoughts khaṬarāt and what you disclose are your states of rest and movement sakanāt wa-l-ḥarakāt. It is said that the allusion is to perpetual observation istidāmat al-murāqaba and holding fast to the accounting muḥāsaba so that you will not be heedless for a moment not even for a breath.