Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 28 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 28
And when they commit an immorality, they say, “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it.” Say, “Indeed, Allah does not order immorality. Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”
When they do aught that is shameful, they say: “We found our fathers doing so”; and “Allah commanded us thus”: Say: “Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful: do ye say of Allah what ye know not?”
And when such people commit an indecent act they say: ‘We found our fathers doing that, and Allah has enjoined it on us. Say: ‘Surely Allah never enjoins any indecency. Do you say things regarding Allah that you do not know?’
And when they commit a Fahisha (evil deed, going round the Ka’bah in naked state, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.), they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded us of it.” Say: “Nay, Allah never commands of Fahisha. Do you say of Allah what you know not?
And when they do some lewdness they say: We found our fathers doing it and Allah hath enjoined it on us. Say: Allah, verily, enjoineth not lewdness. Tell ye concerning Allah that which ye know not?
And when they perform an obscenity, they say, “We found our fathers (performing) it, and Allah has commanded us to (perform) it.” Say, “Surely Allah does not command obscenity; do you say against Allah that which you do not know?”
Yet when [these people] do something disgraceful, they say, ‘We found our forefathers doing this,’ and, ‘God has commanded us to do this.’ Say [Prophet], ‘God does not command disgraceful deeds. How can you say about God things that you do not know [to be true]?’
Quran 7 Verse 28 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-A’raf ayat 28, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(7:28) And when such people commit an indecent act they say: ‘We found our fathers doing that, and Allah has enjoined it on us. Say: ‘Surely Allah never enjoins any indecency. Do you say things regarding Allah that you do not know?’
17. This refers to the pre-islamic Arabian practice of circumambulating around the Ka’bah in stark nakedness. The people of those day’s thought that nakedness during circumambulation had been enjoined by God.
18. The simple and succinct Qur’anic statement that ‘Allah never enjoins any, indecency’ (verse 29)stands as the overwhelming argument against many false beliefs that were entertained by the people of Arabia. For a fuller appreciation of this argument the following points should be kept in mind:
First, that the people of Arabia totally stripped themselves while performing certain religious rites under the mistaken notion that it had been so enjoined. But on the other hand they were agreed that nudity was a shameful thing so that no Arab of any standing could ever approve of appearing naked in any respectable assembly or market-place.
Second, notwithstanding their reservation about nudity, they strippeel themselves totally while performing certain religious rites on the ground that religion was from God. Hence there was nothing objectionable about performing a religious act in a state of nakedness for God had so enjoined them regarding the performance of that rite. Here the Qur’an confronts them with a clear question: How can they believe that God could order them to do something which involves nakedness and which they know to be inherently shameful? What is implied is that God could not command them to commit indecency, and if their religion contained elements of indecency then this is positive proof of its not being from God.
28. And when they commit a Fahishah, they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.” Say: “Nay, Allah never commands Fahishah. Do you say about Allah what you know not” 29. Say: “My Lord has commanded justice and that you should face Him only, in every Masjid and invoke Him only, making your religion sincere to Him. As He brought you (into being) in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.” 30. A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error; (because) surely, they took the Shayatin as supporters instead of Allah, and think that they are guided.
Mujahid said, “The idolators used to go around the House (Ka`bah) in Tawaf while naked, saying, `We perform Tawaf as our mothers gave birth to us.’ The woman would cover her sexual organ with something saying, `Today, some or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it, I do not allow it (it is not for adultery or for men to enjoy looking at!).”’ Allah sent down the Ayah,
(And when they commit a Fahishah (sin), they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.”)﴿7:28﴾ I say, the Arabs, with the exception of the Quraysh, used to perform Tawaf naked. They claimed they would not make Tawaf while wearing the clothes that they disobeyed Allah in. As for the Quraysh, known as Al-Hums, they used to perform Tawaf in their regular clothes. Whoever among the Arabs borrowed a garment from one of Al-Hums, he would wear it while in Tawaf. And whoever wore a new garment, would discard it and none would wear it after him on completion of Tawaf. Those who did not have a new garment, or were not given one by Al-Hums, then they would perform Tawaf while naked. Even women would go around in Tawaf while naked, and one of them would cover her sexual organ with something and proclaim, “Today, a part or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it I do not allow it.” Women used to perform Tawaf while naked usually at night. This was a practice that the idolators invented on their own, following only their forefathers in this regard. They falsely claimed that what their forefathers did was in fact following the order and legislation of Allah. Allah then refuted them, Allah said,
(And when they commit a Fahishah, they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.”)
Allah replied to this false claim,
(Say), O Muhammad, to those who claimed this,
(“Nay, Allah never commands Fahsha’…”) meaning, the practice you indulge in is a despicable sin, and Allah does not command such a thing.
(“Do you say about Allah what you know not”) that is, do you attribute to Allah statements that you are not certain are true Allah said next,
(Say: “My Lord has commanded justice, (fairness and honesty)”),
(“And that you should face Him only, in every Masjid, and invoke Him only making your religion sincere to Him…”) This Ayah means, Allah commands you to be straightforward in worshipping Him, by following the Messengers who were supported with miracles and obeying what they conveyed from Allah and the Law that they brought. He also commands sincerity in worshipping Him, for He, Exalted He is, does not accept a good deed until it satisfies these two conditions: being correct and in conformity with His Law, and being free of Shirk.
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again) ﴿7:29﴾. Until;
(error.) There is some difference over the meaning of:
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.) Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that it means, “He will bring you back to life after you die.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented, “As He made you begin in this life, He will bring you back to life on the Day of Resurrection.” Qatadah commented on:
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.) “He started their creation after they were nothing, and they perished later on, and He shall bring them back again.” `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “As He created you in the beginning, He will bring you back in the end.” This last explanation was preferred by Abu Ja`far Ibn Jarir and he supported it with what he reported from Ibn `Abbas, “The Messenger of Allah stood up and gave us a speech, saying,
(O people! You will be gathered to Allah while barefooted, naked and uncircumcised, (As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it)).﴿21:104﴾ This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again. A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error;) “Allah, the Exalted, began the creation of the Sons of Adam, some believers and some disbelievers, just as He said,
(He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers) ﴿64:2﴾. He will then return them on the Day of Resurrection as He started them, some believers and some disbelievers. I say, what supports this meaning, is the Hadith from Ibn Mas`ud that Al-Bukhari recorded, (that the Prophet said
(By He, other than Whom there is no god, one of you might perform the deeds of the people of Paradise until only the length of an arm or a forearm would separate him from it. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he commits the work of the people of the Fire and thus enters it. And one of you might perform the deeds of the people of the Fire until only the length of an arm or a forearm separates between him and the Fire. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he performs the work of the people of Paradise and thus enters Paradise.) We should combine this meaning — if it is held to be the correct meaning for the Ayah — with Allah’s statement:
(So set you your face towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind) ﴿30:30﴾, and what is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian.) Muslim recorded that `Iyad bin Himar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah said, `I created My servants Hunafa’ (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion.) The collective meaning here is, Allah created His creatures so that some of them later turn believers and some turn disbelievers. Allah has originally created all of His servants able to recognize Him, to single Him out in worship, and know that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He also took their covenant to fulfill the implications of this knowledge, which He placed in their consciousness and souls. He has decided that some of them will be miserable and some will be happy,
(He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers) ﴿64:2﴾. Also, a Hadith states,
(All people go out in the morning and sell themselves, and some of them free themselves while some others destroy themselves.) Allah’s decree will certainly come to pass in His creation. Verily, He it is
(Who has measured (everything); and then guided) ﴿87: 3﴾, and,
(He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright) ﴿20:50﴾. And in the Two Sahihs:
(As for those among you who are among the people of happiness, they will be facilitated to perform the deeds of the people of happiness. As for those who are among the miserable, they will be facilitated to commit the deeds of the miserable). This is why Allah said here,
(A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error;) Allah then explained why,
(because) surely, they took the Shayatin as supporters instead of Allah). Ibn Jarir said, “This is one of the clearest arguments proving the mistake of those who claim that Allah does not punish anyone for disobedient acts he commits of deviations he believes in until after knowledge of what is correct reaches him, then he were to obstinately avoid it anyway. If this were true, then there would be no difference between the deviations of the misguided group – their belief that they are guided – and the group that is in fact guided. Yet Allah has differentiated between the two in this noble Ayah, doing so in both name and judgement.”
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