Our Beacon Forum

Allah speaks to those who have chosen to be graced
By:Muhammad Latif Chaudhery
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2009, 3:21 pm

ALLAH SPEAKS TO THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO BE GRACED WITH BELIEF

2:104 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Never say to the Prophet, "Raaina - listen to us." Instead, say, "Unzurna!" (Grant us attention). And then listen intently. There is a painful consequence for the rejecters of Divine Commands.
[Ya ayyuhallazeena aamanu is generally, but inaccurately, translated as "O You who believe!", "O Believers!", "O You of faith! O Faithfuls!" etc. - Firstly, aamanu is a verb. Secondly, attaining to belief must be an act consciously undertaken after due reflection and with free will. 'Passive' faith such as claiming to be a 'believer by birth' has no merit in the Sight of God. See 4:136, 12:108. Also, choosing to believe in Truth is a great blessing of God. Hence, my rendition: O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Ra'ina with a slight twist of the tongue and in very similar Hebrew words has derogatory meanings to it, e.g. "Be our shepherd", "O Our proud one!", "May deafness befall you." Some Jews resorted to these kinds of insults to the Prophet (4:46). The Lesson is this: Be not ambiguous and speak words straight to the point. 33:70]

2:153 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Seek help in patiently following the Divine Commands. Surely, God is with the steadfast.
[Salaat = Following God's Commands closely 2:3. Wa in the middle of this verse merges with Salaat as indicated by 'God being with the steadfast', without mentioning Salaat in the end]
2:172 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Enjoy the clean, decent and aesthetically pleasing things that We have provided for all of you. And render thanks unto God if it is indeed He Whom you obey. [2:168]
2:178 (Security of life is the cornerstone of a civilized society.) O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! The Law of Just Recompense (Qisaas) has been prescribed for you in dealing with murder. If a free person has committed murder, that free person will face the Law. If a servant has committed murder, that servant will face the Law. And if a woman has committed murder, that woman will face the Law. If the victim's kin pardons the guilty, the murderer must be appreciative and pay an equitable compensation to the kin in handsome gratitude. This pardon is a concession and Mercy from your Lord. Whoever, after this, trespasses this Law will have an awful doom in the Court of God.
[See 4:92-93, 5:32, 17:33, 42:40. Color, creed, race, status or gender of the victim or the offender will have no bearing before the Justice System]
2:183 (Creating an ideal society requires discipline and self-restraint among the individuals.) O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Abstinence (from food, drink and sex during the daytime) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you get empowered against evil.
[I have translated Saum as 'Abstinence' instead of the common 'fasting' since it involves more than fasting, such as abstaining from intimate husband-wife relationship. Moreover, Saum literally means self-restraint, and not fasting, hence, it includes desisting from common vices such as impatience, anger, unfair criticism, envy etc. Taqwa = Journeying in security = Being careful = Getting empowered against evil = To avoid overstepping the Laws = Exercising caution = Strengthening one's 'self' = Preserving the 'self' against deterioration = Good conduct. Muttaqeen = Those endowed with Taqwa]
2:208 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Enter all of you collectively into the Prescribed System of Life that guarantees peace and security. And do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is an open enemy to you.
[Satan, the selfish desire, alienates man from the Creator and divides humanity. Mubeen = Open = Clear]
2:254 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Use Our Provision to satisfy the needs of fellow human beings and for the betterment of the society. Do that before the day comes when no bargaining, friendship or intercession shall be of any avail. Those who reject such sensible admonition, do grave injustice to themselves
2:264. O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not cancel your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injuring the self-respect of the recipients; like those who spend their wealth for show-off. This kind of behavior contradicts the true belief in God and His Law of Recompense. Charity has been ordained to help individuals and not to hurt them and God has promised you manifold reward (93:10). But, a seed would not grow on a dusty rock, upon which rain falls and washes it clean. God does not guide those who deny such realities.
2:267. O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Spend on others the good things you have honorably earned with hard work, whether it is from the product of industry or from the produce of the earth. Do not give away something that you would not like to receive except with closed eyes. Know that God, the Rich, Owner of Praise, provides you indiscriminately and without return.
2:278 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Be mindful of the Divine Laws and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if you are really believers.

2:282 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! When you transact a loan for any period, you shall write it down. An impartial scribe shall do the writing. No scribe shall decline to perform this duty, and write as God has taught him. The debtor, or in case he or she is incompetent, his representative shall dictate the document honestly and be mindful of his Lord, and diminish not the amount. There shall be two witnesses to the transaction from among your men. If two men are not available, then let there be one man and two women, all of them you satisfactorily consider competent as witnesses - so that even if the witnessing woman gets distracted (for example, by her baby), the accompanying woman may support and remind her. All witnesses should be such that their testimony is acceptable to all. It is the obligation of the witnesses to testify when called upon to do so. Do not tire of writing the details, no matter how long, including the time of repayment. This is equitable in the Sight of God, assures better witnessing, and eliminates any doubts you may have. When it is actual merchandise that you transfer among yourselves from hand to hand, there is nothing wrong for you if you write it not, but have it witnessed. The scribe and the witnesses must be held harmless for their services. If you harm them, it would be wickedness on your part. If you follow God's Commands He will increase you in knowledge. These are the Injunctions of God Who is the Knower of all things; intentions, events and actions.

[The second woman will not be a witness in the court of law. She is there only to support the first woman if she gets distracted, for example, by her baby. Tardhaun from Radha = Those you are satisfied with = Of your just choice = In the context: You shall choose competent men and women as witnesses. Dhall = To get distracted = Losing focus = Attention getting diverted = Mind getting preoccupied with other thoughts = Losing direction = Straying. Zakkar from Zikr = Advise = Support = Remind = Confirm = Strengthen = Remember]
3:102 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Live upright being mindful of God in a manner befitting to Him. Let not death overtake you but that you are Muslims.
3:118 (Qur'anic Ideology will always be the basis of an Islamic state.) O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not take as confidant intimates others than your own folk. They leave no stone unturned in order to disrupt the harmony in your social fabric, and love to see you in distress. Their malice has already become manifest by their utterances, and what their hearts conceal is far greater. We have made plain the revelations for you so that you exercise reason.
3:130 [The battle was about repelling aggression. Your prime duty remains to preserve a benevolent society, to which usury is a big detriment. Usury is the return on money while trade is the return on labor. Usury or interest appears to you ever-increasing, but God's Law blights usury and nourishes the acts of caring 2:275-279]
O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Devour not other people's money by way of usury which is compounded over and over again. Live upright as ordained by God in order to attain true prosperity of the society.
3:156 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not be like disbelievers who (regretfully) say of their brethren who went forth or fought in the battle, "If they had stayed (home) with us, they would not have died nor been killed. God creates anguish in the hearts for this kind of attitude. (Fear of death takes away "life" out of life.) For, it is God Who gives life and causes death, and God is Seer of your actions
3:200 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Persevere in patience and constancy, outdo others in steadfastness, and remain united, strengthening each other. And be mindful of God, so that you truly prosper.
4:19 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! It is not lawful for you to force women into marrying or holding on to them in marriage against their will. Pressuring women to remain in wedlock by threatening to take away the marital gift is forbidden. A wife could forfeit the right to the marital gift only if she has indulged in clear lewdness. You shall treat your wives nicely. Even if you dislike them, it may happen that God has placed much good in what you have failed to realize.
4:29 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not consume one another's wealth wrongfully, not even in mutually agreed trade. Be just in your trade and do not cause people to suffer losses. Do not destroy one another, and thus do not destroy your 'selves'. God is Merciful to you so you must be merciful to others." [Illa here means 'not even' and not 'except'. 2:188, 26:181]
4:43 (Those who attain belief shall promptly establish the Divine System in the community, and the Masjid would assume the role of the community center. The believers will assemble in the Masjid for prayer, and to address social welfare and community action). O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Join not the Salaat congregation if your mind is beclouded for any reason, until you understand what you utter, else you might say senseless words that disturb the assembly. Physical cleanliness contributes to moral purity. So, take a bath after ceremonial impurity (post-coital state) If you are traveling, or are ill, or coming from the privy, and cannot find water, take a little clean sand or earth and lightly rub your faces and hands, before entering the Masjid. (This will help you prepare psychologically for the assembly (5:6). God pardons and absolves your imperfections.
4:59 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Obey God and obey the Messenger, the Central Authority of the Divine System, and those whom the System has appointed as office-bearers. If you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to the Central Authority. If you truly believe in God and the Last Day, this is the best approach for you, and more seemly in the end.
4:71 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Be fully prepared against danger. You shall remain alert to meet aggression. Take your precautions then mobilize in groups or all together as determined by your Commander.
4:94 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! When you go forth in the Cause of God (to meet the armed challenge), use your discernment. And do not say, out of a desire for the fleeting gains of this worldly life, to anyone who offers you the greeting of peace, "You are not a believer." For with God are abundant gains. Remember, once you were ignorant, and you were weak like the disbelievers are now. God has been Gracious to you, so be gracious to His servants (9:128, 90:17). Use your discernment. God is always Aware of what you do.
4:135 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Stand up firmly for justice, witnesses for God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents and your relatives, and whether the case is of a rich person or a poor person. God is nearer to them than you are. Do not follow your emotions lest you fall short of justice. If you distort your testimony or turn away from this Command, God is Aware of all your actions.
4:136 O You who believe (and call yourselves Muslims!) Believe in God and His Messenger, and the Book He has revealed to His Messenger, and in (the existing Truth in) the previous Scripture. One who denies God, and His Angels, and His Books, and His messengers, and the Last Day, has gone far astray.
[Note the believers being called to belief! 2:8, 49:15. The wishful thinking of being Muslims or believers 'by birth' carries no weight in the Sight of God 2:62. See 2:101 for 'the previous Scripture'. Belief to the point of Conviction can only be attained through reason and not as a birth right 12:108. Angels = God's Forces in Nature. 2:30]
4:144 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not take the rejecters for your allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to provide a clear proof to God against yourselves?
5:1 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Fulfill your pledges and obligations. Permitted for you for food are all plant-eating livestock with the exceptions named (5:3). God has ordained that all hunting is prohibited during Hajj. Surely, God ordains as He deems fit. [Baheema-tul-An'aam = The herbivorous cattle = Plant-eating quadrupeds = Livestock]
5:2 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not violate the symbols set up by God, nor the Sacred Months (2:194), neither the gifts nor the camels for use as transport or sacrifice, nor the garlands marking them, nor the people who proceed to the Sacred Sanctuary, Ka'bah, seeking God's Blessings and Approval. When you have completed the Hajj, you are free to hunt. Let not your hatred (or disapproval) of a people lead you to transgression, because they prevented you from going to the Sacred Masjid (48:25). Help one another in acts of collective benefit and in being mindful of God, and do not help one another in deeds that hurt humanity and in creating a wedge between people. Be mindful of God's Laws. His Law of Requital is strong in grasping.
5:6 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! When you congregate for Salaat, wash your faces and your forearms, hands to the elbows. Lightly rub your heads and your feet to the ankles. If you are in the post-coital state with your spouses, bathe your whole body. But, if you are ill or traveling, or coming from the privy, or are in the post-coital state and find no water, then observe dry ablution by touching clean dry soil and lightly rub your faces and hands. God does not wish to place upon you any difficulty, but to make you clean and to perfect His blessings upon you, that you be grateful. [4:43. Wudhu = Ablution will help prepare mentally for congregational prayer. Tayammum = Dry ablution]
5:8 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Be upholders of justice for the sake of God as witnesses to the Truth. Let not the hatred of any people move you away from justice. Deal justly. That is closer to being upright. Be mindful of your duty to God. Surely, God is fully Aware of what you do.
5:11 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Remember the Blessing of God. There were people who had aggressive designs against you but He withheld their hands from you. (Due preparation against danger is a strong deterrent 4:71, 8:60). Remain mindful of God and in God let believers put their trust.
5:35 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Be mindful of God and seek earnestly to come closer to Him by obeying His Commands, and strive hard in His Cause so that you may truly prosper.
[Waseelah = Seeking earnestly = Applying the mind and heart to reach a noble goal. verses 2:186 and 17:57 are many of the verses that negate the concept of Waseelah as some saints, sages or even prophets interceding on people's behalf]
5:51 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! (Since they deny the Final Revelation that is the Constitution of your state), Do not take the Jews and Christians as your allies. They are allies of one another. He among you who takes them for allies is one of them. God does not guide those who displace Command with desire. [The verse is talking about taking allies on a national scale, and not about individual friends. See 60:7-9]
5:54 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! If any of you reverts from his Faith, soon God will bring forth people whom He will love and they will love Him. They will be kind to the believers, and stern with the rejecters. They will strive in the Cause of God without fear of any blame of a fault-finder. Such is the Bounty of God that He bestows according to His Laws. For, God is All Encompassing, All Knowing.
5:57 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not take for allies, some of the people who were given the Scripture before you, and the rejecters who mock and ridicule your Religion. Be mindful of God's Commands if you are indeed believers.
5:87 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not deprive yourselves of the good things of life that God has made Lawful to you. But commit no excesses. God does not love those who exceed the limits. [Self-mortification by ascetics, monks and mystics is not the way to 'purify' the 'soul']
5:90 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Intoxicants and gambling and games of chance, sacrificing animals on stones (altars of idols) and forecasting the future by such means as arrows, raffles and omens (all) is an immoral handiwork of Satan. Refrain from it that you may prosper.
5:94 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! During Hajj, God may let you test your belief in privacy with some game or someone else's wandering livestock within easy reach of your hands and your arrows. Refrain from hunting it. Whoever crosses the limits after this, will face an awful requital.
5:95 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not kill animals of game while you are in the state of Pilgrimage. Whoever kills it intentionally, must send a Permissible domestic animal to the Ka'bah, as a gift for the needy. Two equitable persons will decide what domestic animal is equivalent to the game animal that was killed. They must ensure that the offering reaches the Ka'bah (for use by the needy pilgrims 22:28). Or for expiation, feed some poor at a cost equal to the cost of the animal. If someone has no means to do that, then Abstinence (for three days as in Ramadhan. Three days of Abstinence would equal feeding ten poor persons (5:89). God has pardoned past violations. An appropriate court shall punish those who persist in violating this Law. God is Almighty, Able to requite.
5:101 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not ask unnecessary details of the things (as the Israelites did to Moses about the cow 2:68.) This attitude may bring unpleasant consequences for you. But if you ask them as the Qur'an is being revealed, the minor details of Ordinances might be given which will be hard for you to follow. God has pardoned you in this respect, for God is Forgiving, Clement.
[The general rule has been given that all pure and good things are Permissible to you. Your questions are very clearly answered in the Qur'an 5:15, 15:1, 22:40. The Qur'an is for all times, and while the basic Laws and Principles remain immutable, minor details are intended to be flexible according to temporal and spatial requirements 11:1. This Day I have perfected your Law for you, completed My favor upon you, and chosen for you Al-Islam as the Way of Life. 5:3]
5:101 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Do not ask unnecessary details of the things (as the Israelites did to Moses about the cow 2:68.) This attitude may bring unpleasant consequences for you. But if you ask them as the Qur'an is being revealed, the minor details of Ordinances might be given which will be hard for you to follow. God has pardoned you in this respect, for God is Forgiving, Clement.
[The general rule has been given that all pure and good things are Permissible to you. Your questions are very clearly answered in the Qur'an 5:15, 15:1, 22:40. The Qur'an is for all times, and while the basic Laws and Principles remain immutable, minor details are intended to be flexible according to temporal and spatial requirements 11:1. This Day I have perfected your Law for you, completed My favor upon you, and chosen for you Al-Islam as the Way of Life. 5:3]
8:15 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Never turn your backs when you meet the rejecters in battle
8:20 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Obey God and His Messenger. Listen to him when he speaks, without getting distracted.
8:24 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Respond to God and the Messenger. He calls you to what gives you life. Know that God intervenes between man and his heart, and that unto Him you will be gathered. [53:24. His Guidance intervenes between righteousness and desires]
8:27 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Never betray God and His Messenger (the Central Authority), nor betray people who trust you, nor be lax in your duties knowingly.
8:45 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Whenever you meet an army, be firm and remember God much, that you may be successful. [8:10]
9:34 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! A great many religious leaders, rabbis, priests, monks, Mullahs, yogis, and mystics devour the wealth of people in falsehood, and debar them from the Path of God. All those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the Cause of God, to them give tidings (O Prophet) of a painful doom. [Ahbaar = Clergy of any religion. Ruhbaan = Monks and Sufis
9:38 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! What is amiss with you that, when called upon, "Go forth in the Cause of God," you cling heavily to the ground? Do you choose pleasure in the life of this world rather than in the life to come? The enjoyment of this life is but a paltry thing compared to the Hereafter.
9:119 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Be mindful of God and be with the truthful.
9:123 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Fight those of the disbelievers who close up on you, and let them find strength among your ranks. And know that God is with those who are mindful of His Laws.

[Exposition Dr. Shabbir Ahmed MD]

Muhammad Latif Chaudhery
Lahore, Pakistan