The Quran

Commentaries for 2.57

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.57 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And We caused the white cloud to overshadow you) in the wilderness (and sent down on you honey and quails) also in the wilderness, (Eat of the good things) of the lawful things (wherewith We have provided you) that We have given you and do not keep any provision for future days. Yet they did save food for future days-(They wronged us not) by saving food, (but they did wrong themselves) they harmed themselves.
2.57 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
And We shaded you with clouds.
This is an allusion to the Lord's gentleness and generosity. His loving kindness toward the servants is such that the Lord of the Worlds says, “O hapless child of Adam! Why do you not love Me? For I am worthy of love. Why do you not trade with Me? For I am munificent and bounteous. Why do you not engage in transactions with Me? For I am a bestower who is ample in bestowal. My mercy is not tight, nor do I hold back blessings from anyone.
“Look at what I did with the Children of Israel, how many blessings I poured down upon them, how much I caressed them in that empty desert! After they had turned away and disobeyed My command, I did not let them go to ruin. I commanded the mist to cast a shadow over them, I commanded the wind to place roasted birds in their hands, I commanded the clouds to rain down manna and honey on them, I commanded the pillar of light to give them brightness on the nights when there was no moon. When a child came into existence from its mother in that empty desert, it came into existence with the set of clothes that it needed. Then, as the child grew up, those clothes never became too old for it, nor did they become dirty. In the state of that person's life, the clothes were his ornament, and in the state of his death, his shroud. What blessing was there that I did not pour down upon them? In what manner did I fail to caress them? Yet they did not know My measure, nor did they show gratitude for the blessings.
“O hapless one! No one wants you the way I want you. When you come, no one will buy you the way I buy. When you sell yourself, others will buy only the faultless, but I buy the faulty. Others call out for the loyal, but I call out for the disloyal. If you come in old age, I will adorn the whole empire to honor you, and if you talk to Me in the fullness of youth, I will take you into My shelter tomorrow on the Day of Resurrection.”
People disobey for a lifetime, then return in shameWe say to them, “Welcome, be at ease, greetings!”
2.57 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And We made the cloud overshadow you, that is, We sheltered you with fine clouds from the heat of the sun while you were in the wilderness; and We sent down, in them [the clouds], upon you manna and quails — which are [respectively, a type of citrus known as] turunjabīn and the quail — and We said: ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for you’, and do not store any of it away, but they were not grateful for this favour and stored the food, and so they were deprived of it; And they did not wrong Us, in this, but themselves they wronged, since the evil consequences [of this] befell them.
2.57 Kashani - Kashani
And We made the clouds overshadow you, the clouds of the self-disclosure of the attributes, being the veils of the sun of the universally-consuming Essence, and We sent down upon you [manna and quails], in the way of states and tasting stations that combine sweetness with the purging of the depravities of the soul's character traits, such as reliance, satisfaction and the solace of wisdoms, gnosis and real knowledge, gathered upon you by the winds of mercy and the divine breaths in the wilderness of the attributes as you wayfare in it. 'Eat [of the good things We have provided for you'], that is, consume and receive these good things. And they did not wrong Us, they did not diminish what is due to Us or Our attributes by their veiling of themselves under the attributes of their souls; [but themselves they wronged]: they were diminishing what is due to their souls by their privation and loss. That is [the sense] of both interpretations. Even though the address is [expressed in] general [terms], it is specific to the 70 chosen ones.
2.57 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Shade, the Manna and the Quail
After Allah mentioned the calamities that He saved the Children of Israel from, He mentioned the favors that He granted them, saying,
وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ
And We shaded you with clouds. This A0yah mentions the white clouds that provided shade for the Children of Israel, protecting them from the sun s heat during their years of wandering. In the Hلad0th about the trials, An-Nasa0 i recorded Ibn Abba0s saying, Alla0h shaded the Children of Israel with clouds during the years of wandering. Ibn Abi Hلa0tim said, Narrations similar to that of Ibn Abba0s were reported from Ibn Umar, Ar-Rab0 bin Anas, Abu Mijlaz, Adل-Dلahلhلa0k, and As-Suddi. Al-Hلasan and Qata0dah said that,
وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ
(And We shaded you with clouds) "This happened when they were in the desert and the clouds shielded them from the sun.'' Ibn Jarir said that several scholars said that the type of cloud the Ayah mentioned, "was cooler and better than the type we know.''
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,
وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ
And sent down on you Al-Manna, The manna used to descend to them to the trees, and they used to eat whatever they wished of it. Also, Qata0dah said, The manna, which was whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, used to rain down on the Children of Israel, just as the snow falls, from dawn until sunrise. One of them would collect enough for that particular day, for if it remained more than that, it would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, one would collect enough for the sixth and the seventh day, which was the Sabbath during which one would not leave home to seek his livelihood, or for anything else. All this occurred in the wilderness. The type of manna that we know provides sufficient food when eaten alone, because it is nutritious and sweet. When manna is mixed with water, it becomes a sweet drink. It also changes composition when mixed with other types of food. However, this is not the only type. The evidence to this fact is that Al-Bukha0ri narrated, that Sa 0d bin Zayd said that the Messenger of Alla0h said,
«الْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن»
(Kam'ah (truffles) is a type of manna, and its liquid is a remedy for the eyes.)
This Hadith was also collected by Imam Ahmad. The group of Hadith compilers, with the exception of Abu Dawud, also collected it, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Hasan Sahih. At-Tirmidhi recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,
«الْعَجْوَةُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَفِيهَا شِفَاءٌ مِنَ السُّمِّ وَالْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن»
(The `Ajwah (pressed, dried date) is from Paradise and it cures poison, Al-Kam'ah (truffles) is a form of manna, and its liquid heals the eye.'') At-Tirmidhi is the only one of them who recorded this Hadith.
As for the quail (Salwa) in question, `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The (Salwa) is a bird that looks like the quail.'' This is the same opinion reported from Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, `Ikrimah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, may Allah have mercy upon them. Also, `Ikrimah said that the Salwa is a bird in Paradise about the size of a sparrow. Qatadah said "The Salwa is a bird that is similar to a sparrow. During that time, an Israelite could catch as many quails as was sufficient for that particular day, otherwise the meat would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, he would collect what is enough for the sixth and the seventh day, the Sabbath, during which one was not allowed to depart his home to seek anything.''
Allah said,
كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ
(Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,) (7:160) this form of command is a simple order of allowance, guiding to what is good. Allah said,
وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
(And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves) means, `We commanded them to eat from what We gave them, and to perform the acts of worship (but they rebelled).' This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,
كُلُواْ مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لَهُ
(Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him) (34:15).
Yet, the Children of Israel rebelled, disbelieved and committed injustice against themselves, even though they saw the clear signs, tremendous miracles and extraordinary events.
The Virtue of Muhammad's Companions over the Companions of all Other Prophets
Here it is important to point out the virtue of Muhammad's Companions over the companions of the other Prophets. This includes firmness in the religion, patience and the lack of arrogance, may Allah be pleased with them. Although the Companions accompanied the Prophet in his travels and battles, such as during the battle of Tabuk, in intense heat and hardship, they did not ask for a miracle, though this was easy for the Prophet by Allah's leave. And when the Companions became hungry, they merely asked the Prophet - to invoke Allah - for an increase in the amount of food. They collected whatever food they had and brought it to the Prophet, and he asked Allah to bless it, told each of them to take some food, and they filled every pot they had. Also, when they needed rain, the Prophet asked Allah to send down rain, and a rain cloud came. They drank, gave water to their camels and filled their water skins. When they looked around, they found that the cloud had only rained on their camp. This is the best example of those who were willing to accept Allah's decision and follow the Messenger of Allah.
2.57 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "We sheltered you with clouds when you entered the Sinai Peninsula and had no place of shelter from the heat of the sun." One should remember that the Israelites had emigrated in large numbers from Egypt and had no place in the Sinai Peninsula to hide their heads, not to speak of houses and tents. Had Allah not kept the sky cloudy for a long time, they would have perished by the scorching heat of the desert sun.
Manna and salva were the natural relief provisions supplied by Allah to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. Manna fell on the ground like dew-drops and salva flew in thousands like quails. There was such a plenty of these provisions that a whole nation lived on them for forty years and was never confronted with starvation or famine. In modern times even a well developed and resourceful country fords it extremely difficult to make adequate food arrangements for a few hundred thousand emigrants if they happen to enter it suddenly and unexpectedly. (For details refer to Exodus, 16; Numbers, 11:7-9, 31-32; Joshua, 5:12).
2.57 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And We made the cloud overshadow you; and We sent down upon you manna and quails: “Eat of the good things We have provided for you”; And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves. When He banished them to the desolate regions of exile He desired only to shade them ẓallalahum and to cover them jallalahum with sufficient clothing. He freed them aghnāhum from the trouble of having to work for themselves favoring them by providing them tawallāhum with what they needed. Their hair and nails did not continue growing their clothes did not become dirty and the rays of the sun did not beat down on them. This is His way with someone when He has come between him and his free choice. What He سبحانه chooses for him will be better for him than what he chooses for himself.