Surah Hajj Ayat 54 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 54
And so those who were given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord and [therefore] believe in it, and their hearts humbly submit to it. And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path.
And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur’an) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Way.
(He also does this) in order that those endowed with knowledge may know that it is the Truth from your Lord and that they may have faith in it and their hearts may humble themselves before Him. Verily Allah always directs those that believe to the Right Way.
And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Quran) is the truth from your Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility. And verily, Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Path.
And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it is the truth from thy Lord, so that they may believe therein and their hearts may submit humbly unto Him. Lo! Allah verily is guiding those who believe unto a right path.
And that the ones who were brought knowledge may know that it is the Truth from your Lord, (and) so they believe in it; then their hearts be venerating to Him; and surely Allah indeed guides the ones who have believed to a straight Path.
and He causes those given knowledge to realize that this Revelation is your Lord’s Truth, so that they may believe in it and humble their hearts to Him: God guides the faithful to the straight path.
Quran 22 Verse 54 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Hajj ayat 54, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(22:54) (He also does this) in order that those endowed with knowledge may know that it is the Truth from your Lord and that they may have faith in it and their hearts may humble themselves before Him. Verily Allah always directs those that believe to the Right Way.
101. That is, Allah lets Satan work such mischief to put to the test both the righteous and the wicked people. The people with a perverted mentality deduce wrong conclusions from these and deviate from the right way, while those, who think on the right lines, realize that all these things are the mischief of Satan and that the message of the Prophet is based on the truth. They conclude that the very fact that Satan has been so much agitated and become active against it is a clear proof of its being the truth. It is very important to understand the real significance of this passage (verses 52-54) for this has given rise to a grave misunderstanding.
If we consider it in the context in which it occurs, it becomes obvious that it was sent down to refute the wrong appraisal of the casual observers that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had failed to achieve his desired object. This was because he had striven for thirteen long years to persuade his people to accept his message but the apparent result was that he had not only failed in this, but he and the small band of his followers had been forced to leave their homes. As this exile contradicted his claim that he was a Prophet of Allah and had His approval and succor with him, some people became skeptical about it. Moreover, they became doubtful about the truth of the Quran, because they were not being visited by the scourge, which was inflicted on those who treated the Prophet as false. His antagonists scoffed at him, saying: Where is that succor of Allah and the scourge with which we were threatened? The answer to these doubts of the disbelievers was given in the preceding passage, and in this passage the addressees were those who were influenced by this propaganda. Briefly the whole answer was to this effect.
It is not a new thing that the people of a Messenger have treated him as an impostor for it has always been happening like this. You can see from the remnants of those peoples who treated their Messengers as impostors how they were punished for their mischief. You can learn a lesson from them, if you will. As regards to the delay in the coming of scourge, the Quran never threatened the disbelievers with immediate punishment, nor is it the job of the Messenger to inflict punishments. The scourge is sent by Allah, but He is not hasty in sending His torment. He gives respite to the people to mend their ways as He is giving you now. Therefore, you should not be under any delusion that the threats of scourge are empty threats.
It is also not a new thing that the desires and wishes of a Prophet meet with obstacles or that false propaganda is made against his message for the same has already happened with regard to the messages of the former Prophets. But ultimately Allah eradicated the mischief worked by Satan and made the message successful. Therefore you should take a warning from the past history of Satan’s mischief and its ultimate failure. You should note it well that the obstacles and the mischief of Satan are a trial and means that help attract the righteous people towards Islam and winnow the dishonest people away from it.
It is a pity that in spite of the above clear and simple meaning of the passage which fits in well with the context, a grave misunderstanding has arisen because of a tradition which has not only changed its meaning entirely and rendered it irrelevant in the context but has helped make doubtful the very basic articles of the faith. Therefore we are making a critical appraisal of the tradition in order to show how to make the right use of traditions for the correct interpretation of the Quran.
According to this tradition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a strong longing and desire to this effect: I wish some revelations were sent down to tone down the abhorrence of the mushrik Quraish against Islam so as to bring them nearer to it, or at least the criticism against their creed may not be so severe as to arouse their enmity.
While he was cherishing this desire, it so happened that one day when he was sitting in a big gathering of the Quraish, Surah An-Najm was revealed and he began to recite it. When he came to (verses 19, 20): Have you ever considered about this Lat and this Uzza, and a third (goddess) Manat, all of a sudden he recited, “These are exalted goddesses; indeed their intercession may be expected”. After this he continued to recite Surah An-Najm up to the last verse and then fell down in prostration and all the Muslims and the mushriks of the Quraish also did the same, for the latter said: Now we have no difference with Muhammad. We also profess that Allah is the Creator and the Provider and that these deities of ours are merely our intercessors with Him. After this, when in the evening Angel Gabriel came, he said: What have you done? I did not bring these two sentences. At this the Prophet (peace be upon him) became very sad and Allah sent down (verse 73-75 of Surah Bani Israil): O Muhammad, these people have left no stone unturned to tempt you away from that which We have revealed to you so that you might fabricate something in Our name. Had you done that, they would have made you their friend. It was just possible that you might have inclined a little towards them, if We had not given you strength. But if you had done so, We would have made you taste double chastisement in this world as well as in the Hereafter, then you would have found no helper against Us.
But in spite of this, he continued to be grieved till Allah sent down (verse 52 of this Surah Al-Hajj) in which Allah consoled him, saying that the same had been happening to the former Prophets.
Another thing that happened in the meantime was that the story reached the migrants to Habash that there had been a reconciliation between the Prophet and the disbelievers of Makkah. Accordingly, many of them returned to Makkah only to learn that the news of reconciliation was wrong and the conflict between Islam and kufr was raging as furiously as before.
Now let us make a critical study of this story which has been cited by Ibn Jarir and many other commentators and is even contained in many collections of traditions.
(1) None of its reporters, except Ibn Abbas, is a companion.
(2) There are many major discrepancies and variations in its details.
(3) The wording ascribed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in praise of the idols in each tradition is different from that of others.
Moreover, these words have been attributed to different sources according to different traditions: (a) These words were put in by Satan during the revelation and the Prophet (peace be upon him) imagined that they were revealed by Gabriel. (b) He himself uttered these words inadvertently, being urged by his own desire. (c) He was dozing when he uttered these words. (d) He intentionally uttered these words but in a manner as to question their veracity. (e) Satan interpolated these words into the revelation, giving an impression that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had recited them. (f) It was one of the mushriks who had recited these words.
Yet scholars of tradition like Hafiz Ibn Hajar and jurists like Abu Bakr alJassas and rationalists like Zamakhshari and commentators like Ibn Jarir accept this story as true and consider it as a commentary on (verse 52) of this Surah. Ibn Hajar argues like this:
“Even though the links by which this tradition has been related are either weak or broken, except in one case, the very fact that it has been related through so many links is a proof that there is some truth about it. The one which has strong links is by Said bin Jubair who has related it from Ibn Abbas and the reporters of two more traditions (which have been cited by Tabari) have been declared authentic by Bukhari and Muslim.
On the other side, there are other eminent scholars who declare this story to be utterly baseless. Ibn Kathir says: All the links of this tradition are unauthentic and I have found no correct version of this with continuous links. Baihaqi says: This story has not been proved to be correct by the rules of reporting. When Ibn Khuzaimah was asked about it, he said: This story has been invented by heretics. Qazi Ayad says: The very fact that this tradition is neither contained in any of the six authentic collections of Hadith nor has it been related in an authentic way by authentic reporters shows its weakness. Besides them, Imam Razi, Qazi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, Alusi etc. have rejected it altogether.
It is a pity that even those who reject this story have not done full justice to their cases. There are some who reject it because its links are weak. In other words, they would have accepted it, if its links were strong. Then there are others who reject it because its acceptance makes the whole faith doubtful. This kind of reasoning may satisfy the believers but it cannot satisfy those who are already skeptical or intend to make a research into it with a view to making a correct appraisal of Islam. They will rather say: When a story is related by an eminent companion and is contained in the collections of traditions, there is no reason why we should reject it just because it makes your faith doubtful.
Now let us consider the story critically and rationally to prove that it is unacceptable.
(1) Its internal evidence proves it to be wrong: (a) According to the story the incident happened after the first migration to Habash, for according to it some of the migrants returned to Makkah after hearing the story. Now the fact is that the migration took place in the month of Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood and some of the migrants returned to Makkah three months later, i.e. in Shawwal of the same year. (b) (Verses 73-75 of Surah Al- Isra) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reproved for this incident were revealed in the eleventh or twelfth year of Prophethood. In other words, he was reproved by Allah five or six years after the incident. (c) This (verse 52) in which the interpolation by Satan was abrogated was sent down in the first year of Hijrah, i.e. about two years after the reproof. Can a person in his senses believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reproved for the interpolation after six years, and it was abrogated after nine years?
(2) According to the story, this interpolation was made in Surah An-Najm. When the Prophet was reciting the words, “And a third (goddess) Manat”; he also recited the interpolated sentence, and then continued the recital up to the end of the Surah. It is said that the disbelievers of Makkah were so pleased with the interpolation that they declared: The differences between us and Muhammad (peace be upon him) have now come to an end.
Let us now read (verses 19-23 of An-Najm) along with the alleged interpolation (in italics): Have you ever considered about the reality of this Lat and Uzza and a third (goddess) Manat? These are exalted goddesses; indeed their intercession may be expected. What, do you have sons for yourselves and daughters for Him (Allah)? This is indeed an unfair division. They are nothing but mere names which you and your forefathers have invented. Allah has sent down no authority in regard to them. They follow only conjectures and the whims of their own minds, although right guidance has come from their Lord.
Even a casual reader will detect an obvious contradiction in the passage. Immediately after praising the goddesses there is a hard hit on their worshipers, as if to say: O foolish people! How is it that you have ascribed daughters to Allah and sons to yourselves? All this is your own invention which has no authority from Allah. On the face of it, the interpolation makes the passage absurd which cannot be assigned even to a rational person not to speak of Allah. Then the story presumes that all the Quraish who were listening to it must have lost their senses; otherwise they could not have declared that their differences with Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been made up from thence.
From this internal evidence it has become clear that this story is absurd and meaningless.
(3) Now let us consider whether the occasions, ascribed by the commentators to the revelation of the verses under discussion, fit in with the chronological order of the Quran. According to the story, the interpolation in Surah An-Najm was made in the fifth year of Prophethood. The reproof was made in (verses 73-75 of Bani Israil) and then the interpolation was annulled and the incident explained in (verses 52-54 of Surah Al-Hajj). Now there could be only two possibilities about the time of their revelation. Either the verses containing the reproof and the abrogation were sent down in the period in which the interpolation took place, or the verse containing the reproof was sent down along with Surah Al-Hajj. In the first case, the question arises: Why were these verses (Surah Bani-Israil, 73-75) not inserted in Surah An-Najm? Why were they held in abeyance for six long years and then inserted in Surah Bani Israil, when it was revealed, and (verses 52-54) (containing the abrogation) inserted in Surah Al-Hajj after a further delay of more than two years? Does it mean that the verses were sent down on one occasion and inserted years later haphazardly in one Surah or the other? In the second case, the question would arise: Does it stand to reason that the verses containing the reproof (Surah Bani-Israil, 73-75)were sent down six years after the interpolation, and the verse of abrogation (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 52) nine years after the incident? Still another question arises: What was the occasion of the revelation of the verses of reproof and abrogation in Surahs Surah Bani-Israil and Al-Hajj in the context in which they occur?
(4) Now let us turn to the third principle of correct appraisal of the Quran.
For a correct appreciation of the Quran it is essential to consider whether a particular commentary fits in with the relevant context of the Quran or not. If we make even a cursory study of (Surah Bani Israil, verses 71-73), it will become obvious that there was no occasion for the alleged reproof in (verse 73) and that there is no tinge of reproof in it, for the words of the verse refute the allegation that the Prophet was taken in by the mischief of the disbelievers. Then in Surah Al-Hajj, if we make a critical study of the verses that precede (verses 52-54 )and follow them, it will become obvious that there was no occasion to console the Prophet for the interpolation and to annul it after nine years.
(5) We reiterate that no tradition, however strong links it might have, can be accepted when the text itself is a clear evidence against it, and when it does not fit in with the wording, the context, the order etc. of the Quran. When the incident is considered in this background, even a skeptical research scholar would be convinced that the tradition is absolutely wrong. As regards to a believer, he can never accept it, when he knows that it contradicts not only one verse but a large number of other verses of the Quran. He would rather believe that the reporters of the tradition might have been deluded by Satan and not the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He would never believe that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) could interpolate even a single word in the Quran under the influence of a desire of his own: or that there could ever occur such a desire in his mind that he should make a compromise with the disbelievers by associating shirk with Tauhid: or that he could ever wish that Allah might not say anything to displease the disbelievers: or that the revelation was made in such an unsafe and doubtful manner as to enable Satan to mix with it even a word in a manner as if it was also brought by Gabriel. Each of these things is contradictory to the clear revelation of the Quran and the basic articles of the faith which we have learned from the Quran and the Prophet (peace be upon him). God forbid that we should accept any such tradition that might lead to the above mentioned presumptions just because the tradition seems to be authentic in every way.
It will be worth-while to consider the question: How is it that so many reporters of traditions have related this story? Does it not show that there must have been some reality about it? Otherwise, so many reporters, who included many authentic and eminent scholars, could not have made such an heinous slander against the Quran and the Prophet (peace be upon him). Its answer is contained in the authentic collections of traditions by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai and Musnad Ahmad. The reality of the incident is this.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) recited Surah An-Najm and performed prostration at the end of it. At this, all the hearers, both the Muslims and the mushriks, fell down in prostration. This was what really happened and there is nothing strange about it. Let us depict the occasion: The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reciting a forceful piece of the eloquent Quran in a very impressive manner. Naturally the occasion produced an emotional effect and all the listeners instinctively fell down in prostration along with him. It was because of such ecstasies produced by the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) recital of the Quran as this that the disbelievers dubbed him a sorcerer. As regards the story that the Prophet (peace be upon him) praised the deities of the disbelievers, it appears that the Quraish concocted the story to hide their defeat. Probably someone or other of them explained away their defeat, saying: We ourselves heard Muhammad praising our deities. Therefore we also fell down in prostration along with him. As regards to the migrants to Habash, they returned to Makkah when they heard the concocted story that there had been a compromise between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Quraish. It appears that some of those people who had seen the Muslims and the mushriks falling down together in prostration, presumed that peace had been made between them, so the story traveled to the migrants in Habash who had no means to verify it and thus thirty three of them returned to Makkah.
Naturally these three things, prostration by the Quraish, their explanation of it, and the return of the migrants from Habash, combined to evolve that story. So much so that some authentic people were also deluded by it, for to err is human, and the pious and intelligent people are no exception to it. However, the error of the latter proves to be more harmful, because their credulous followers accept with closed eyes their misconceptions along with their right conclusions. On the other hand, mischief mongers collect all such errors of the righteous people and exploit them to prove that all the collections of traditions are false and should be rejected forthwith.
The tafsir of Surah Al-Hajj verse 54 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Hajj ayat 52 which provides the complete commentary from verse 52 through 54.
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