The Quran

Commentaries for 2.85

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.85 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Yet ye it is who slay each other and drive out a party of your people from their homes, supporting one another against them by sin) contravention (and transgression) offence-(and if they came to you as captives) captives who belong to your religion (ye would ransom them) free them by paying a ransom to the enemy (-whereas their expulsion was itself unlawful for you) whereas their expulsion and killing were unlawful in the first place. (Believe ye in part of the Scripture) the part that stipulates freeing your captives from the enemy (and disbelieve ye in part thereof?) and leave the captives of your friends without ransoming them. It is also said that this verse means: do you believe in those parts of the scripture that suit your whim and disbelieve in those parts that do not? (And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world) by being killed or captured as slaves, (and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom. For Allah is not unaware) He is not reducing your punishment because (of what ye do) in terms of transgression; and it is also said: because of what they concealed.
2.85 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Then there you are killing one another, and expelling a party of you from their habitations, conspiring (tazzāharūna: the original ta’ has been assimilated with the zā’; a variant reading has it without [the assimilation, that is, tazāharūna]), assisting one another, against them in sin, in disobedience, and enmity, injustice, and if they come to you as captives (a variant reading [for usārā] has asrā), you ransom them (a variant reading [for tafdūhum] has tufādūhum), that is to say, you deliver them from captivity with money etc., and this [ransoming] was one of the things to which they were pledged; yet their expulsion was forbidden you (muharramun ‘alaykum ikhrājuhum is semantically connected to wa-tukhrijūna, ‘and expelling’, and the statement that comes in between is parenthetical, that is, [expulsion was forbidden you] in the same way that non-ransoming was forbidden you). Qurayza had allied themselves with the Aws, and the Nadīr with the Khazraj, but every member of an alliance would fight against a fellow ally, thus destroying each other’s homes and expelling one another, taking prisoners and then ransoming them. When they were asked: ‘Why do you fight them and then pay their ransom?’, they would reply, ‘Because we have been commanded to ransom’; and they would be asked, ‘So, why do you fight them then?’, to which they would say, ‘For fear that our allies be humiliated’; God, exalted, says: What, do you believe in part of the Book, that is, the part about ransom, and disbelieve in part?, namely, the part about renouncing fighting, expulsion and assistance [against one another]; What shall be the requital of those of you who do that, but degradation, disgrace and ignominy, in the life of this world: they were disgraced when Qurayza were slewn and the Nadīr were expelled to Syria, and ordered to pay the jizya; and on the Day of Resurrection to be returned to the most terrible of chastisement? And God is not heedless of what you do (ta‘malūna, or read ya‘malūna, ‘they do’).
2.85 Kashani - Kashani
Then there you are those very [ones], [those] who have fallen from the primordial nature and who are veiled from the original light of preparedness, killing yourselves, as a result of your succumbing to temptation and pursuit of caprice, and expelling a party of you from their habitations, their original eternal domiciles by tempting them, misguiding them and inciting them to the commission of acts of disobedience and the pursuit of caprice, conspiring against them, assisting one another against them, in sin, by committing lewd acts and acts of disobedience so that they might see you and follow suit, and enmity, and overbearingness against people so that your insolence might pass on to them, and in your binding them to the despicable acts of the bestial and predatorial faculties and your inciting them to such [acts] and your adorning these for them, as is the custom of the heretics among the Muslims of those who permit the impermissible and allege that they affirm the Oneness of God; and if they come to you as captives, shackled by the consequences of acts they have committed and the disgrace of their vile acts, you become regretful; and their intellect and the intellect of the offspring of their kind rebukes them for the shame and ignominy that has befallen them; you ransom them, with the words of wisdom, admonition and counsel that prove that the highest pleasures are the intellectual and spiritual ones; and that the consequence of following caprice and the soul and Satan is an evil one, and that to act like beasts and wild animals is reprehensible and base, so that they might then awaken by these [words] and rid themselves of the fetters of caprice for a little while, as we observe in the case of the foreign infidels who allege knowledge of God's Oneness, gnosis and wisdom together with those who follow them in this day and age; [yet their expulsion was forbidden you].
What, do you believe in part of the Book, that is, the Book of the Intellect and the Law in word and [by your own] affirmation, so that you affirm It and believe in its truth, namely, that the pursuit of caprice and the soul is reprehensible and necessarily brings about perdition, destruction and loss; and disbelieve in part, in deed and in [your failure to] act by it, so that you do not refrain from what It has prohibited you, namely, your deeming permissible and wholesome the violation of what is sancrosanct and that which is forbiddenḍ What then shall be the requital of those of you who do that, but degradation, disgrace and humiliation, in the life of this world; and on the Day of Resurrection, that is, upon separation, which is the minor resurrection, to be returned to the most terrible of chastisement, which is their chastisement through those dark miens that are deeply-embedded within their souls and their being consumed by the fires of these [miens], or [chastisement] by their being totally transfigured from their forms and the doubling of their afflictionḍ And God is not heedless of what you do, of your deeds, for He has kept count of them and registered them within your souls and recorded them against you, as He says: The Day when God will raise them, He will then inform them of what they did.
God has kept count of it, while they forgot it [Q. 58:6].
2.84-86 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Terms of the Covenant and their Breach of It
Allah criticized the Jews who lived in Al-Madinah during the time of the Messenger of Allah. They used to suffer, because of the armed conflicts between the tribes of Al-Madinah, Aws and Khazraj. Before Islam, the Aws and Khazraj worshipped idols, and many battles took place between them. There were three Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah at that time, Banu Qaynuqa` and Banu An-Nadir, the allies of the Khazraj, and Banu Qurayzah, who used to be the allies of the Aws. When war erupted between Aws and Khazraj, their Jewish allies would assist them. The Jew would kill his Arab enemy, and sometimes they also killed Jews who were the allies of the other Arab tribe, although the Jews were prohibited from killing each other according to clear religious texts in their Books. They would also drive each other from their homes and loot whatever furniture and money they could. When the war ended, the victorious Jews would release the prisoners from the defeated party, according to the rulings of the Tawrah. This is why Allah said,
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ
(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) Allah said,
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَآءِكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ مِّن دِيَـرِكُمْ
(And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings.) meaning, "Do not kill each other, nor expel one another from their homes, nor participate in fighting against them.'' Allah mentioned the word `your own' here, just as He said in another Ayah.
فَتُوبُواْ إِلَى بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ
(So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves, that will be better for you with your Creator) (2:54) because the followers of one religion are just like one soul. Also, the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَوَاصُلِهِمْ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الْجَسَدِ الْوَاحِدِ إِذَا اشْتَكى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالْحُمَّى وَالسَّهَر»
(The example of the believers in their kindness, mercy and sympathy to each other is the example of one body, when an organ of it falls ill, the rest of the body rushes to its aid in fever and sleeplessness.) Allah's statement,
ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ
(Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.) means, "You testified that you know of the covenant and that you were witnesses to it.''
ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ
(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes). Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ
(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes) "Allah mentioned what they were doing, and that in the Tawrah He had prohibited them from shedding each other's blood, and required them to free their prisoners. Now they were divided into two camps in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`, who were the allies of the Khazraj, and An-Nadir and Qurayzah, who were the allies of the Aws. When fighting erupted between Aws and Khazraj, Banu Qaynuqa` would fight along with the Khazraj, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would fight along with the Aws. Each Jewish camp would fight against their Jewish brethren from the other camp. They would shed each other's blood, although they had the Tawrah with them, and they knew their rights and dues. Meanwhile, the Aws and Khazraj were polytheists who worshipped idols. They did not know about Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection, Divine Books the lawful and prohibited. When the war would end, the Jews would ransom their prisoners and implement the Tawrah. Consequently, Banu Qaynuqa` would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Aws, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Khazraj. They would also ask for blood money. During these wars, they would kill whomever (Jews or Arabs) they could, while helping the polytheists against their brethren. Therefore, Allah reminded them of this when He said,
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ
(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) This Ayah means, `Do you ransom them according to the rulings of the Tawrah, yet kill them while the Tawrah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes The Tawrah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah in the worship against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world.' I was informed that the behavior of the Jews regarding the Aws and Khazraj was the reason behind revealing these Ayat.''
These noble Ayat criticized the Jews for implementing the Tawrah sometimes and defying it at other times, although they believed in the Tawrah and knew what they were doing was wrong. This is why they should not be trusted to preserve or convey the Tawrah. Further, they should not be believed when it comes to the description of the Messenger of Allah, his coming, his expulsion from his land, and his Hijrah, and the rest of the information that the previous Prophets informed them about him, all of which they hid. The Jews, may they suffer the curse of Allah, hid all of these facts among themselves, and this is why Allah said,
فَمَا جَزَآءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْىٌ فِي الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا
(Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world), because they defied Allah's Law and commandments,
وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الّعَذَابِ
(And on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment) as punishment for defying the Book of Allah that they had.
وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَأُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الْحَيَوةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالاٌّخِرَةِ
(And Allah is not unaware of what you do. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter) meaning, they prefer this life to the Hereafter. Therefore,
فَلاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ
(Their torment shall not be lightened) not even for an hour,
وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
(Nor shall they be helped), and they shall find no helper who will save them from the eternal torment they will suffer, nor shall they find any to grant them refuge from it.
2.84-86 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
As a concrete example of this may be cited the strange conduct of the different clans of the Jews, who lived in the neighbourhood of Madinah. Before the migration of the Holy Prophet, they had entered into alliances with the neighbouring Arab clans, Aus and Khazraj. When one Arab clan went to war with the other clan, their respective Jewish allies also went to war against each other. Thus Jews waged war upon Jews, whereas this was clearly against the teachings of their Scriptures which they knowingly violated. But when the Jews of one clan fell into the hands of the other clan as prisoners of war, they would redeem them after taking ransom for them. When they were questioned about this inhuman trade of their own brethren, they tried to justify it, saying that it was allowed by the Scriptures. It is strange that they forgot the same Scriptures which they brazenfacedly violated by going to war against each other. Thus on the one hand, they accepted that part of the Scriptures which allowed ransom for prisoners and, on the other hand, rejected that part which prohibited war against their own brethren in faith.
2.85 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And when We made a covenant with the children of Israel: “You shall not worship any other than God; and be good to parents and the near of kin; and to orphans and to the needy; and speak well to men; and observe the prayer and pay the alms” then you turned away; all but a few of you rejecting. And when We made a covenant with you: “Shed no blood among you nor turn out your own people from your homes.” Then you confirmed it and you bore witness. Then there you are killing one another and expelling a party of you from their habitations conspiring against them in sin and enmity and if they come to you as captives you ransom them; yet their expulsion was forbidden you. What do you believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in partḍ And if they come to you as captives you ransom them that is “Just as you protect their rights by ransoming them so must you restrain your hands from them and forswear expelling them from their homelands. When you uphold some of what has been made obligatory for you what keeps you from doing the rest of what you have been commanded to doḍ Do you not know that whoever picks and chooses in what he has been commanded so that he believes in some parts and disbelieves in others has the reward for his deeds nullified because of what he has neglectedḍ” What shall be the requital of those of you who do that but degradation in the life of this world; and on the Day of Resurrection to be returned to the most terrible of chastisementḍ And God is not heedless of what you do. That is they thought that what they did would benefit them but in the hereafter it will be disclosed to them that everything that they did when it was combined with what was damaging and stripped of sincerity and devotion was not accepted from them. The captives are of different types. The rescue of the captive drowning in the sea of whim hawā is to be directed to guidance. The ransom of the captive who remains in the hands of whisperings wasāwis is to show him the way to certainty by the glimmers of proofs.
Through this you will rescue him from doubt and questioning and take him out of the darknesses of blind imitation taqlīd. The redemption of the captive you find shackled to his random thoughts and enslaved by the clamor of his lower self is to direct him to the witnessing of favors. [This is done] by his absolving himself of acknowledging any power in a created thing or something other [than God]. The redemption of the captive you find tied to his error is to advise him to renounce it and to aid him in restraining himself from it. The redemption of the captive you find shackled to his [human] attributes is to direct him toward the Real in what will release him from the fetter of all that has come into being kawn. The captives you find in the grip of the Real let them know that there is no redemption for such captives no retaliation for their dead and no deliverance for their bond. [For aspirants on the path] there is no escape from them no way to them no stratagem other than them no comfort with anything but them and no rejecting their decree.