Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(He hath ordained for you) He has chosen for you, O community of Muhammad (pbuh) (that religion) the religion of Islam (which He commended unto Noah) that which We revealed to Noah and commanded him to invite people to and to be upright in following it, (and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad)) in the Qur'an: We commanded you to call people to Islam and be upright in following it, (and that which We commended unto Abraham) and We choose Abraham for Islam and commanded him to call people to it and be upright in following it (and Moses and Jesus) likewise, (saying: Establish the religion) Allah commanded all the prophets to establish Religion and to be in agreement about Religion, (and be not divided therein) do not disagree regarding Religion. (Dreadful for the idolaters) Abu Jahl and his host (is that unto which thou callest them) of Allah's divine Oneness and the Qur'an. (Allah chooseth for Himself) for His religion (whom He will) this he who is born a Muslim and dies as a Muslim, (and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (towards Him)) and guides to His religion whoever turns to Him of the disbelievers.
He has prescribed for you as a religion that which He enjoined upon Noah — for he was the first of the prophets [sent] with a [Divine] Law — and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus [declaring], ‘Establish religion and do not be divided in it’: this is what has been prescribed and enjoined upon [those mentioned above], and what has been revealed to Muhammad (s), and it is the affirmation of [God’s] Oneness. Dreadful is for the idolaters that to which you summon them, in the way of affirming the Oneness [of God]. God chooses for it, for the [task of] affirming [His] Oneness, whomever He will, and He guides to it whomever turns penitently, [whomever] applies himself to obedience of Him.
(He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you,) Allah mentions the first Messenger who was sent after Adam, that is, Nuh, peace be upon them, and the last of them is Muhammad. Then He mentions those who came in between them who were the Messengers of strong will, namely Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa bin Maryam. This Ayah mentions all five, just as they are also mentioned in the Ayah in Surat Al-Ahzab, where Allah says:
(And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you, and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and `Isa son of Maryam.) (33:7). The Message which all the Messengers brought was to worship Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, as Allah says:
(We Prophets are brothers and our religion is one.) In other words, the common bond between them is that Allah Alone is to be worshipped, with no partner or associate, even though their laws and ways may differ, as Allah says.
لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَـجاً
(To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way) (5:48). Allah says here:
(saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.) meaning, Allah enjoined all the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all) to be as one and He forbade them to differ and be divided. t
(Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills, and guides unto Himself who turns to Him in repentance.) means, He is the One Who decrees guidance for those who deserve it, and decrees misguidance for those who prefer it to the right path. Allah says here;
(And they divided not till after knowledge had come to them,) means, their opposition to the truth arose after it had come to them and proof had been established against them. Nothing made them resist in this manner except their transgression and stubbornness.
(And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord for an appointed term,) means, were it not for the fact that Allah had already decreed that He would delay the reckoning of His servants until the Day of Resurrection, the punishment would have been hastened for them in this world.
(And verily, those who were made to inherit the Scripture after them,) means, the later generation which came after the earlier generation which had rejected the truth.
لَفِى شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ مُرِيبٍ
(are in grave doubt concerning it. ) means, they do not have any firm conviction in matters of religion; they merely imitate their forefathers, without any evidence or proof. So they are very confused and doubtful.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here the same thing as already mentioned in the first verse has been further elaborated. It clearly states that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) is not the founder of any new religion, nor was any of the Prophets a founder of a separate religion, but it has been one and the same Religion which all the Prophets have been presenting from Allah from the very beginning, and the same is being presented by Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). In this regard, the first name mentioned is of the Prophet Noah, who was the first Prophet after the Flood. After him the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) has been mentioned, who is the last of the Prophets; then the Prophet Abraham has been mentioned, whom the Arabs acknowledged as their guide, and last of all, the Prophets Moses and Jesus have been mentioned to whom the Jews and the Christians attribute their religions. This does not mean that only these five Prophets had been enjoined this Religion, but what is meant to be said is that all the Prophets who came to this world, brought one and the same Religion and the names of the five illustrious Prophets have been mentioned only as examples through whom the world received the most well known codes of Divine Law.
As this verse throws important light on Din (Religion) and its aim, it is necessary that we should study it to understand it well.
Lexically, the word shara'a in shara'a !a kum (ordained for you) means to make the way. As a term it implies appointing a way, a code and a rule. Accordingly, in Arabic the words tashri' ` and shari'at and shari' arc understood as the synonyms of legislation and law and law giver respectively. This Divine legislation, in fact, is the natural and logical result of the fundamental truths which have been stated in verses l, 9 and 10 above: that Allah alone is the Owner of everything in the Universe, and He alone is man's real Guardian and it is for Him to judge the disputes that arise between human beings. Now, when Allah alone is the Owner and Guardian and Ruler, inevitably He alone is entitled to make the code of law for man and it is His responsibility that He should give this code of law to man. So, He has carried out His responsibility like this.
Then the words min-ad-din (of the nature of din) denote that the way appointed by Allah is legislation pertaining to din. If the explanation of the word din that we have given in E.N. 3 of Surah Zumar above, is kept in view, there can be no difficulty in understanding that din means nothing but acknowledging the sovereignty and leadership of someone and obeying his commands. And when this word is used in the meaning of the way, it implies the way which man must regard as obligatory for himself to follow and the one appointing it as the one whom he ought to obey. On this basis, calling God-appointed Way as legislation pertaining to din clearly means that it is not merely recommendatory in nature or a mere counsel, but it is a law enjoined by the Master, which must necessarily be obeyed by the servants and disobedience of which is tantamount to rebellion, and the one who does not obey it, in fact, denies Allah's being the Sovereign and Ruler and his own position of a servant.
Then, it has been said that this legislation which pertains to din is the same as was enjoined on Noah. Abraham and Moses (peace be upon them all) and the same now has been enjoined on Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). This contains several points:
(1) That Allah did not send this legislation of His directly to every man, but appointed Whenever He deemed proper and necessary a person as His Messenger and consigned the legislation w him;
(2) that this legislation has been the same from the beginning: it did not so happen that in one age one particular din was appointed for a nation, and in another age another and contradictory din was sent for another nation. Allah did not send many dins but on every occasion He sent one and the same din;
(3) that it is an essential part of this din to acknowledge the apostleship of those men through whom the legislation has been sent and the Revelation in which the legislation has been couched, besides acknowledging the Sovereignty of Allah; and it is the demand of reason and logic too, that it should be a necessary part of it, for a man cannot obey this legislation at all unless he is satisfied that it is authentically from Allah.
Then it has been said that the Prophets were given this legislation pertaining to din ", with the express instruction: "Aqim-ud-din "; "Establish this din", or "Keep this din established," as variously translated by Shah Waliullah, Shah Rafi'uddin and Shah `Abdul Qadir. Both these translations are correct, for iqamat means both to establish and to keep established, and the Prophets were appointed to perform both the functions. Their first duty was to establish this din wherever it was not established, and the second that they should keep it established after they had established it, or had found it already established in a place. Obviously, a thing can be kept established only when it has already been established, otherwise the primary requirement would be to establish it first, and then make continuous effort to keep it established.
Here, two questions arise : First, what is the meaning of establishing the din? Second, what is din itself, which we have been enjoined to establish and then keep it established? Let us try to understand these questions well.
The word iqamat (to establish) when used in respect of a material or physical object implies causing it to rise from the sitting or lying positions or assembling the scattered parts of a thing and raising it up high. But when iqamat is used in respect of a thing which is not material but spiritual in nature it does not merely imply preaching it, but also acting according to it as best as one can, introducing it and enforcing it practically. For example, when we say that so and-so established his rule, it does not mean that he invited others to his government but that he subdued the people of the land and organized the different departments of the government in a way that the administration of the country began to function according to his orders. Similarly, when we say that courts have been established in the country, it means that judges have been appointed to do justice and they ate hearing the cases and giving judgments, and not that hymns in praise of justice arc being sung and the people being impressed. Likewise, when the Qur'an enjoins the establishment of the Prayer (Salat), it does not imply that one should merely preach and exhort others to the Prayer but that one should not only perform it oneself, observing all its conditions, but should also strive to make arrangement so that it becomes a' regular practice among the believers. There should be mosques, there should be arrangements for offering the Prayer collectively and for the Friday congregational Prayer, and for making calls to the Prayer punctually; there should be the Imams to lead the Prayers and the scholars to give sermons, and the people should visit the mosques regularly and punctually and make offering the Prayer an essential part of their daily routine. After this explanation, there should remain no difficulty in understanding that when the Prophets were enjoined to establish the din and to keep it established, it did not simply mean that they. should practice it themselves and not even this that they should preach it to others so that the people may accept its truth, but also that when the people have accepted it, steps should be taken to introduce and enforce the entire din practically among them so that they may start living according to it for ever afterwards. No doubt preaching is the primary necessary stage of this work without which there can be no second stage, but every intelligent person can himself see that in this Command preaching has not been made the object, but the real object is to establish the din and keep it established. Preaching is certainly a means to the end but not the end in itself, but nobody can say that it was the only and foremost object of the mission of the Prophets.
Now, Iet us take the second question. When some people saw that the din which has been enjoined to be established is common among all the Prophets, and their shari'ahs have been different, as Allah Himself says: "We appointed for each community among you a law and a way of life", they formed the view that inevitably this din did not imply the shari' ah commandments, rules and regulations but only the acceptance of Tauhid, the Hereafter and the Book and the Prophethood and performance of certain acts of devotion to Allah, or at the most, it included some of the major moral principles which have been common to all the shari ahs. But this is a superficial view, which has been formed after having a cursory glance over the unity of religion and the difference of the shari'ahs. This is, however, a dangerous view, which if not corrected in time, may well lead to the separation between din (religion) and shari'ahs (law). It was this very view in, which St. Paul was involved, who presented the doctrine of the din (religion) without shari'ah (law), and corrupted the community of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). For, if shari'ah (law) is something separate from din (religion) and the command is only for establishing the din and not the shari'ah, inevitably the Muslims also, like the Christians, would regard the shari ah as unimportant and overlook its establishment as not being the real object by itself, and would remain content with only beliefs and a few important moral principles. Instead of determining the meaning of din from such speculations, Iet us turn to the Qur'an itself and see whether the din which we have. been enjoined here to establish unplies the beliefs and a few important moral principles only, or the shari'ah values and commandments as well. When we explore the Qur'an we find that what it regards as din includes the following things as well:
(1) "And the only Command they were given was to worship Allah, making their din sincerely His, turning all their attention towards Him, and to establish the,salat and to pay the Zakat.' this alone is the true and right din. " (Al-Bayyinah: 5). This shows that the Salat and the Zakat are included in this din. whereas the commandments.pertaining to both have been different in the different shari ahs. No one can say that in all the previous shari ahs the Salat has had the same form, the same elements, the same mumber of the rak ahs, the same direction of the giblah, the same times and the same other commands concerning it. Likewise, no one can claim also about the Zakat that in all the shari ahs the same has been the exemption limit, the same rates and the same injunctions concerning its collection and distribution. But in spite of the difference of the shari'ahs, Allah has regarded both these as part of din.
(2) 'You are forbidden carrion and blood, the flesh of swine and of that animal which has been slaughtered in any other name than of Allah, and of the strangled animal, and of that beaten to death or killed by a fall or gored to death or mangled by a beast of prey---save of that you duly slaughtered while it was still alive - and of that which is slaughtered at (ungodly) shrines. It is also unlawful for you to try to find your fortune by means of divining devices, for all these things are sinful acts. Today the disbelievers have despaired of (vanquishing) your religion; therefore do not fear them but fear Me. Today I have perfected your din for you and completed My blessing on you and approved Islam as the din (way of life) for you." (Al-Ma'idah: 3). This shows that all these shariah commandments are also din.
(3) Fight with those from among the people of the Book, who do not believe in Allah nor in the Last Day; who do not make unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful, and do not adopt the right din as their din. " (At-Taubah: 29). This shows that besides belief in Allah and the Hereafter it. is also din to accept and follow the Commands about the lawful and the unlawful, which have been given by Allah and His Messenger.
(4) "The woman and the man guilty of fornication, flog each one of them with a hundred stripes, and let not any pity for them restrain you in regard to a matter prescribed in the din of Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." (An-Nur: 2). "It did not behoove Joseph to seize his brother by the king's din. " (Yusuf: 76). This shows that the criminal law is also din. If a man follows the criminal law prescribed by God, he is a follower of God's din and if he follows a king's law, he is a follower of the king's din.
These are the four specimens in which the shari'ah commandments have been described as din in clear words. But, besides these, a careful study shows that the eradication of the sins for which Allah has held out the threat of Hell (e.g. adultery, taking of interest, killing of a believer, consuming the property of the orphan, taking possession of the other peoples properties in unlawful ways etc.), and the crimes which become the cause of God's torment, e.g. sodomy (the act of Lot's people) and dishonesty in business dealings (as practiced by the Prophet Shu'aib's people) should necessarily be included in din, for if din cannot save one from Hell and Allah's torment, what use could it be ? Likewise, those shari'ah commandments also should be part of the din violation of which has been regarded as cause of entry into the Fire, e.g. injunctions relating to inheritance, after stating which it has been said: "And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses the limits prescribed by Him, Allah will cast him into the Fire wherein he will have a disgraceful torment." (An-Nisa: 14,). Likewise, the prohibition of those things whose prohibition Allah has mentioned with great emphasis and absoluteness, e.g. prohibition of the mother, sister and daughter and prohibition of wine, theft, gambling, false evidence, etc. if not included in the establishment of the din, it would mean that Allah has given some unnecessary Commands also, which are not meant to be introduced and enforced. Similarly, establishing those things which Allah has made obligatory, e g. fasting and pilgrimage; cannot be excluded from the establishment of din only on the pretext that the 30 fasts of Ramadan had not been enjoined in the previous shariah, and pilgrimage to the Ka'bah was enjoined only in the Shariah which was inherited by the Ishmaelite branch of the Prophet Abraham's progeny.
As a matter of fact, the misunderstanding was caused only because the verse: "We appointed for each community among you a law and a way of life", has been misconstrued to mean that since the shari'ah appointed for every community was separate. and the command given was only to establish the din (way of life) which was common to all the Prophets, the establishment of the shari ah was not included in the establishment of the din, whereas the real meaning of this verse is just the opposite of it. If the context (vv. 41-50) in which this verse has occurred in Surah AI-Ma'idah is studied carefully, it will be seen that the correct meaning of this verse is: Whatever shari 'ah was given by Allah to the community of a Prophet, was the din for that community, and the establishment of the same din was the object during his Prophethood. And since now is the period of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's Prophethood, the shariah which has been given to the Ummah of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) is the din of this time, and to establish the same is to establish the din. As for the difference of the shariah, it does not mean that the shari 'ahs sent by God were mutually contradictory, but it means that in their details there have been some differences owing to the different environments, take, for instance, the Prayer and the Fast. The Prayer has been obligatory in all the shari'ahs, but the qiblah of all the shariahs was not the same, and there was a difference in its times and rakahs and elements as well. Likewise, the Fast was obligatory in every shari'ah, but the 30 fasts of Ramadan were not there in the other shariahs. From this it is not correct to conclude that the Prayer and the Fast as such are included in the establishment of din but performing the Prayer in a particular way and observing the Fast at a particular time is excluded from it. However, the correct conclusion that one can draw is: To perform the Prayer and observe the Fast according to the rules and procedures that had been appointed for the people in the shari'ah of every Prophet amounted to establishment of din in his time. In the present age the establishment of the din is that these acts of worship be performed according to the procedures enjoined in the Shari 'ah of the Prophet Muhammad. The same is true about all other Shari'ah commandments as well.
Whoever studies the Qur'an carefully will see that this Book does not envisage that its adherents will live as subjects of the disbelievers and will pass a religious lift under them, but it openly proclaims that it will have its own rule established; it demands from its followers that they should struggle with their lives for the intellectual, cultural, legal and political supremacy of the true Faith; and it gives them a program for the reformation of human life, the major part of which can be acted upon only when political power and authority is in the believers' hand. As stated by itself, the object of this Book's being sent down is: "We have sent down this Book to you with the Truth so that you may judge between the people in accordance with the light that Allah has shown you. " (An-Nisa: 105). The Commandments given in this Book about the collection and distribution of the Zakat expressly envisage a government who should be responsible for collecting the Zakat and distributing it among the deserving people according to a laid down procedure. (At-Taubah;60,103). The prohibition of interest that has been enjoined in this Book aad the declaration of war that has been made against those who do not abstain from taking interest (AI-Baqarah: 27_5-279) can be enforced only when the political and economic system of the country is entirely in the believers' hand. The Law of Retribution for murder (AI-Baqarah: 178), cutting off of the hand for theft (AI-Ma'idah 38) and carrying out of the prescribed punishment for adultery and calumny (An-Nur: 2-4) have not been enjoined on the assumption that the believers will remain subject to the police and courts of the disbelievers. The Command to fight the disbelievers (AlBaqarah: 190, 216) has not been given with the idea that the followers of this din will carry out this Command by getting enlisted in the army of disbelief. The command to take Jizyah from the followers of the former Books (At-Taubah: 29) has not been given on the assumption that the Muslims will take Jizyah from them while being their subjects and will be responsible for their protection. And this thing is not true only about the Madinite Surahs; in the Makkan Surahs as well a discerning eye can clearly see that the scheme envisaged from the very beginning was of Islam's supremacy and dominance and not of Islam's and the Muslims' subjugation under an un-Islamic rule. See, for instance, Bani Isra`il: 76-89; AlQasas: 85-86; Ar-Rum: 1-6; As-Saaffat: 171-179; Suad: Introduction, v. 11 and E.N. 12 on it.
Above all, this misinterpretation clashes with the great work that the Holy Prophet himself accomplished during the 23 years of his Prophethood. Who can deny the fact that he subdued entire Arabia by means of both preaching and the sword and established in it a full fledged system of government with a detailed law, covering all aspects of life, from beliefs and rites of worship to personal conduct, collective morality, culture and civilization, economic and social life, politics and judiciary, peace and war. If this entire work of the Holy Prophet is not accepted as a commentary of the Command of "iqamat din " (establishment of din) which, according to this verse, he had been enjoined to undertake like all other Prophets, then it could have one of the two meanings: That earlier, God forbid, the Holy Prophet should be blamed that he had been appointed only to preach and teach beliefs and a few important moral rules but he exceeded his mandate and established a government of his own whim and laid down a code of law, which was different from the common law of the Prophets as well as in excess of it; or that Allah should be blamed that after having made the above mentioned declaration in Surah Ash-Shura. He went back on His own word, and made His Last Prophet do something which was not only much over and about and different from the objective of "iqamat din " as stated in this Surah but on the completion of this mission He also made this declaration, contrary to His first declaration: "Today I have perfected your din for you." (Al-Ma'idah:3). May Allah keep us safe from this! Apart from these two, if there is any third alternative,, which makes this-interpretation of "iqamat din" plausible and also does not lay any blame on Allah or His Messenger, we would like to know it.
After giving the Command for "iqamat din ", the last thing that Allah has stated in this verse is this: La tatafarraqu fi-hi: "Do not create schisms in the din: Be not divided in it" Creating schisms in din implies that one should introduce something new in religion for which there exists no sound basis, and then should insist that belief and unbelief depend on the acceptance of the innovation, and should separate along with those who have accepted it from those who have not accepted it. This new thing can be of several kinds:
(1) To introduce something entirely new into din;
(2) to exclude from din something which actually belonged to it;
(3) to tamper with the fundamentals of din by misinterpretations and introduce new beliefs and novel practices; and
(4) to distort the din by making changes of fundamental nature in it, for example, by reducing what was important in it to un-important, by raising what was at most permissible to the position of imperative and obligatory, even to the position of the most fundamental pillar of Islam. Owing to such innovations, divisions first appeared in the communities of the Prophets; then gradually the creeds of the sects developed into wholly separate and mutually exclusive religious systems whose followers now do not have any idea that once they all belonged to one and the same origin. These divisions have nothing to do with the permissible and reasonable difference of opinion which naturally takes place among the scholars when they are engaged in understanding and studying the injunctions and fundamentals of the din for the purpose of deriving and extracting points of law, and for which there is room in the words of the Book of Allah itself owing to the considerations of lexicon, idiom and rules of grammar. (For a detAlled discussion of this subject, see Al-Baqarah: 213, Al'Imran: 19, 50; An-Nisa: 171, Al-Ma'idah: 77; Al-An'am; 159; An-Nahl: 118124; Al-Anbiya': 9293; Al-Hajj: 67; Al-Mu'minun: 53-54; Al-Qasas: 53; ArRum: 32 and the E.N.'s) 2).
Here the same thing as stated in vv. 8-9 above, has been reiterated, and we have explAlned it in E.N. 11 above. The object of repeating it here is as if to say: ¦You are presenting the clear highway of religion before them but the foolish people, instead of appreciating the blessing, are becoming annoyed over it. But even among them there are the people of their own tribe, who are turning to Allah. and Allah also is drawing them closer to Himself. But one should understand that Allah's bestowal of His blessings is not blind: He draws only him towards Himself who is inclined to be drawn and not him who urns away from Him. "
He has prescribed for you as a religion that which he enjoined upon Noah…⸢He said⸣ The first [prophet] to have made it unlawful [to marry] one’s daughters, mothers, and sisters was Noah. Hence, God has legislated for us [Muslims] the best of the laws that the prophets brought.His words:
…and that which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus…[is] that they should uphold obedience (ṭāʿa) to God, maintain sincerity (ikhlāṣ) in that, and manifest [goodness in their] moral character (akhlāq) and states (aḥwāl).His words: