The Quran

Commentaries for 2.45

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.45 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And seek help in patience and prayer) in performing the obligations prescribed by Allah and abstaining from transgression; (for truly it), the prayer (is hard) heavy (save for the humble-minded,
2.45 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
And seek help in patience and the prayer, though it indeed is hard, except for the humble.
The command came to him, “O Master, tell your community to have patience in their affairs so that they may reach what they desire. 'Patience is the key to relief.'”
If someone does not have the patience of the Men, let him not come to the Men's playing field.
You have not the legs of men-don't put on men's clothing!
You have not the means of no means-don't brag of selflessness! [DS 491]
Once that paragon of the world stepped into this playing field, he was not left for one hour without sorrow and grief. If he sat for a while cross-legged, the address came, “Sit like a servant!” If once he put a ring on his finger, the whip of rebuke would come down: “What, did you reckon that We created you aimlessly?” [23:115]. If once he placed his foot on the ground boldly, the command would come, “Walk not in the earth exultantly” [17:37]. When the work reached the limit and he was being tried from every corner, he sighed and said, “No prophet whatsoever has been tormented as I have been tormented.”
The address came from the Exalted Presence, “O paragon! When someone's heart and spirit witness Me, will he complain of the burden of trial?” All the venom of grief in the treasuries of the Unseen was poured into one cup and placed in his hand, and then a curtain was lifted from his secret core: “O paragon! Drink all this venom while contemplating My beauty! And be patient with thy Lord's decree, for surely thou art in Our eyes [52:48].” The tongue of the state was saying,
“Were the Beloved's hand to pour poison for me, poison from His hand would be sweet.
“Though Your hand is fire, it is my bed of roses.
All that comes from You is sweet, whether healing or pain.”
Though it indeed is hard, except for the humble. Humbleness is a stipulation of the prayer. It is a mark of the servant's need. The humble in the prayer are praised by the Real and chosen among the creatures. Prosperous are the faithful, those who are humble in their prayers [23:1-2]. Humbleness in the prayer is both outward and inward.
The outward is that you keep your limbs within the
stipulations of courtesy. You do not look right and left. You keep your eyes on the spot of prostration while standing, on the feet while bowing, on the tip of the nose while prostrating, and on your side while bearing witness. God's Messenger said that looking around during the prayer is to give Iblis a portion of it. He also said, “When the servant stands to pray, he is before the eyes of the All-Merciful. When he looks around, God says, 'Child of Adam! At whom are you looking? Are you looking at someone better for you than I? Child of Adam! Look at Me, for I am better for you than the one at whom you are looking.'”
Inward humbleness is the fear of the heart, whether from remembrance and reflection or intoxication and gratitude. When God's Messenger prayed, his inward humbleness was such that everyone heard his heart's boiling, as has come in the report: “His breast used to boil like a cooking pot from weeping.”
One day the Messenger passed by a man in prayer whose hand was playing with his hair. He said, “If his heart had humbleness, his limbs would be humbled.” If this man's heart had fear, his hands would stay firm in the attribute of humbleness.
It has come in the traditions that in one of the battles, ʿAlī was struck by an arrow. The arrowhead was so stuck in his bone that as much as they tried, it could not be separated. They said, “Unless the flesh and skin is taken away and the bone broken, this arrowhead cannot be separated.” His elders and young ones said, “If this is the case, we must wait until he is praying, for we always see that in the devotions of the prayer it is as if he has no awareness of the world.”
They waited until he was finished with the obligatory acts and customs of the prayer and began with the supererogatory and additional acts. The physician came, opened up the flesh, broke the bone, and took out the arrowhead while ʿAlī remained as he was in the state of prayer. When he gave the greeting to complete the prayer, he said, “My pain has eased.”
They told him what had happened to him while he was unaware.
He said, “When I am in whispered prayer with God, the world might turn upside down, or they might strike me with swords and spears, but I would not be aware of the bodily pain because of the pleasure of the whispered prayer.”
This is not so strange, for the splendorous revelation reports that when the women of Egypt blamed Zulaykhā for being in love with Joseph, she wanted to make them pay for that blaming. She invited them, prepared a place for them, sat them down in order, and gave each of them a knife in the right hand and an orange in the left. Thus He says, “She gave each of them a knife.” Once they had settled down, she brought Joseph in his finery and told him to pass by them: “Go out to them!” When the women of Egypt saw Joseph with that beauty and perfection, he appeared magnificent to them: When they saw him, they admired him greatly [12:31]. They all cut their hands and, because of contemplating Joseph's beauty and gazing on his perfection, they were unaware of having cut them.
So we know that in reality the contemplation of God's majesty, beauty, exaltedness, and awesomeness by the heart and secret core of ʿAlī's spirit was greater than the contemplation of the created Joseph by the estranged women. They became selfless like that and were unaware of their own pain. If it happened that ʿAlī's flesh and skin were cut open and he was unaware of the pain, this is not strange or marvelous.
2.45 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Seek help, ask for assistance in your affairs, in patience, by restraining the soul in the face of that which it dislikes; and prayer. The singling out of this for mention is a way of emphasising its great importance; in one hadīth, [it is stated], ‘When something bothered the Prophet (s), he would immediately resort to prayer’; it is said that the address here is to the Jews: when greed and desire for leadership became impediments to their faith, they were enjoined to forbearance, which constituted fasting and prayer, since, the former stems from lust and the latter yields humility and negates pride. For it, prayer, is grievous, burdensome, except to the humble, those that are at peace in obedience,
2.45 Kashani - Kashani
Seek help, ask for assistance and aid from the One who has the power, since you have no power over your own acts, in [exercising] patience, over the acts that are done to you that you hate, your constraint and your intentions so that you might arrive at the station of satisfaction, and [performing] prayer, which is when the heart is present to receive the self-disclosures of the attributes. For indeed it, indeed self-examination, that is, the presence of the heart, is grievous, burdensome and heavy, except for the humble, whose hearts are broken and pliant enough to receive the lights of the subtle self-disclosures and the take-over of the assaults the self-disclosures of the overwhelming [divine] power, those who are certain that they are in the presence of their Lord, that is, the presence of the attributes indicated by the Lord in the state of His encounter;
2.45-46 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Support that comes with Patience and Prayer
Allah commanded His servants to use patience and prayer to acquire the good of this life and the Hereafter. Muqatil bin Hayan said that this Ayah means, "Utilize patience and the obligatory prayer in seeking the Hereafter. As for patience (here), they say that it means fasting.'' There are similar texts reported from Mujahid. Al-Qurtubi and other scholars commented, "This is why Ramadan is called the month of patience,'' as is mentioned in the Hadith literature. It was also said that `patience' in the Ayah means, refraining from evil, and this is why `patience' was mentioned along with practicing acts of worship, especially and foremost, the prayer. Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "There are two types of patience: good patience when the disaster strikes, and a better patience while avoiding the prohibitions of Allah.'' Ibn Abi Hatim said that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported to have said similarly.
Allah then said,
(And As-Salah (the prayer).)
The prayer is one of the best means of assistance for firmly adhering to Allah's orders, just as Allah said;
اتْلُ مَا أُوْحِىَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَوةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ
(Recite (O Muhammad ) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur'an), and perform As-Salah. Verily, As-Salah (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha' (i.e. great sins of every kind), and Al-Munkar and the remembrance of (praising) of (you by) Allah is greater indeed) (29:45).
The personal pronoun in the Ayah,
وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ
(And truly, it is extremely heavy and hard) refers to prayer, as Mujahid is reported to have said, and it was also the choice of Ibn Jarir. It is possible that the pronoun might be referring to the advice - to observe patience and the prayer - mentioned in the same Ayah. Similarly, Allah said about Qarun (Korah),
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْعِلْمَ وَيْلَكُمْ ثَوَابُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً وَلاَ يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ الصَّـبِرُونَ
(But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: "Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this, none shall attain except As-Sabirun (the patient).'') (28:80).
Also, Allah said,
وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ - وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ
(The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient ـ and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter and) in this world.) (41:34-35) meaning, this advice is only implemented by those who are patient and the fortunate. In any case, Allah's statement here means, prayer is `heavy and burdensome',
إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَـشِعِينَ
(except for Al-Khashi`in.)
Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "They (Al-Khashi`in) are those who believe in what Allah has revealed.''
Allah's statement,
الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعُونَ
(They are those who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.) continues the subject that was started in the previous Ayah. Therefore, the prayer, or the advice to observe it is heavy,
إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَـشِعِينَالَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ
(except for Al-Khashi`in. (They are those) who are certain (Yazunnuna) that they are going to meet their Lord,) meaning, they know that they will be gathered and face their Lord on the Day of Resurrection,
وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعُونَ
(and that unto Him they are going to return.) meaning, their affairs are all subject to His will and He justly decides what He wills. Since they are certain that they will be returned to Allah and be reckoned, it is easy for them to perform the acts of obedience and refrain from the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement;
يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـقُوا رَبِّهِمْ
(Yazunnuna that they are going to meet their Lord)
Ibn Jarir said; "The Arabs call certainty as well as doubt, Zann. There are similar instances in the Arabic language where a subject as well as its opposite share the same name. For instance, Allah said,
وَرَأَى الْمُجْرِمُونَ النَّارَ فَظَنُّواْ أَنَّهُمْ مُّوَاقِعُوهَا
(And the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), shall see the Fire and Zannu (apprehend) that they have to fall therein)''(18:53).
It is recorded in the Sahih that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will say to a servant, "Have I not allowed you to marry, honored you, made the horses and camels subservient to you and allowed you to become a chief and a master'' He will say, "Yes.'' Allah will say, "Did you have Zann (think) that you will meet Me'' He will say, "No.'' Allah will say, "This Day, I will forget you, just as you forgot Me.'' If Allah wills, we will further elaborate on this subject when we explain Allah's statement,
نَسُواْ اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ
(They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them) (9:67).
2.41-46 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Paltry gains": worldly gains for the sake of which these people discarded the commandments and precepts of Allah. As a matter of fact, even the whole wealth of the world put together is worthless, if it is gained in exchange for Allah's Guidance.
Such were the conditions when the Holy Prophet upon whom be peace) presented himself as a Prophet and began to invite the people to Islam; naturally the illiterate Arabs turned to the Jews for guidance in this matter, and said: "You are the followers of a Prophet and possess a Book, so tell us what you think of this man and his teachings, who claims to be a Prophet." This question was repeatedly asked of the Jews by the people of Makkah, and when the Holy Prophet came to Madinah, here also many people visited the Jewish scholars again and again to ask them the same question. But their scholars never gave them the right answer. For they could not say that the doctrine of Tauhid that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) was preaching was wrong, nor that the knowledge which he imparted about the Prophets, scriptures, angels, and the Hereafter was wrong, nor that there was something wrong about the moral principles that he taught. They were neither ready to admit in plain words the righteousness of the teachings of the Holy Prophet; nor had they the courage to refute it openly; nor were they willing to profess the Truth candidly. Instead, they devised a subtle strategy to oppose it: they created one suspicion or the other about the Holy Prophet, his followers and his mission; they would concoct allegations against him and his followers and make false propaganda against them or raise frivolous objections so as to involve them in useless discussions. That is why they have been warned not to conceal the truth by covering it with falsehood, nor suppress it by spreading suspicions and by raising silly objections, nor mix it up with falsehood.
The Salat and the Zakat have always formed the essential elements of the revealed religion (Islam). Like all other Prophets, the Israelite Prophets also had strictly enjoined these, but by and by the Jews became wholly neglectful of them. They gave up the performance of Salat in congregation and the majority of the people did not even offer it individually. Instead of paying Zakat, they started charging interest on money.
That is, "If you face some difficulties in following the righteous way, sabr and Salat will help remove the difficulties and strengthen you to walk the way easily." Lexically, sabr means to check and tie, but in usage it stands for patience, perseverance, endurance and fortitude. The Qur'an uses this word to express that fortitude, that moral strength, that firmness of purpose and decision, that determination, moral discipline and self-control which enable a person to proceed with patience and courage in the face of afflictions, privations and temptations on the way he chooses in accordance with the dictates of his conscience. What the Qur'an means to stress is that the Muslims should develop this moral quality in themselves and should observe the Salat regularly to reinforce it from without.
Salat is a hard task" only for the one who is disobedient to Allah and does not believe in the Hereafter. But it is a joyful duty for the one who is willingly and happily obedient to Allah and who believes that one day he will have therein. It is expected that this will lead you on to the paths of virtue and piety." But even after that you forsook the Covenant: nevertheless Allah did not withhold His grace and mercy from you; otherwise you would have been utterly ruined long before this.
2.45 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Seek help in patience and prayer. For it is grievous except to the humble While patience ṣabr weans the lower self from familiar things maÌlūfāt prayer turns one's attention to the pursuit of intimate communications muwāṣalāt. Patience indicates fleeing from anything other [than God] and prayer indicates perpetual standing in the presence of the unseen. Seeking help by these means takes a great deal of rigor unless the Real discloses Himself to one's heart for in the transmitted tradition [it says] “Truly when God most high discloses Himself to something it becomes humble to Him.” When the Real discloses Himself He lightens and makes easy what creatures must take on. This is [true] because assuming responsibility for acts of obedience is a religious obligation taklīf that is a burden whereas the disclosure [of God happens] by witnessings and through realization taḥqīq and ends in communion tamām al-wuṣla and perpetual nearness dawām al-zulfa. It is said “Seek help through Me for patience with Me and seek help from Me to preserve for you your prayer for Me so that the incoming wāridāt unveilings and awe will not overwhelm you so much that you will be unable to serve [Me].” Surely it is a great blessing from the Real that He decreases the onslaughts of ecstatic finding saṬawāt al-wujūd upon the heart at the time of unveiling; [thus] the servant is able to perform the acts of separation. There are several kinds of patience all of them praiseworthy. There is patience in God patience for God patience through God and patience with God. There is only one type of patience which is not praiseworthy and that is the type of patience which keeps one from God. Patience is beautiful in all abodes except in resisting you for then it is blameworthy.
2.45 Tustari - Al-Tustari
Seek help in patience and prayer…When asked about these words Sahl said:Patience here [means] fasting, while prayer [means] the bond (waṣla) of gnosis (maʿrifa). He whose prayer — this being his bond [with God] — is sound, will be exempt from accusation (tuhma) before God; for interrogation (suʾāl) is a form of accusation, but with this bond there remains no interrogation. Do you not take note of His words [in the second part of this verse], It is hard indeed, except for the humble?
2.45 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Seek help in patience and prayer…) [2:45]. According to most people of knowledge, this verse is an address to the people of the Book, even though it is also a stance of propriety for all the servants. One scholar said: “With this address, Allah has reverted to addressing the Muslims”. But the first opinion is more correct.