Surah Ankabut Ayat 46 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 46
And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.”
And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”
Argue not with the People of the Book except in the fairest manner, unless it be those of them that are utterly unjust. Say to them: “We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you. One is our God and your God; and we are those who submit ourselves to Him.”
And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims).”
And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender.
And do not dispute (This is addressed to the believers) with the population of the Book (Or: family of the Book; i.e., the Jews and Christians) except in the fairest (manner), except for the ones of them who have done injustice; and say, “We believe in that which has been sent down to us and has been sent down to you. And our God and your God is One, and to Him we are Muslims.” (Literally: We surrender).
[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God are one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.’
Quran 29 Verse 46 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ankabut ayat 46, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(29:46) Argue not with the People of the Book except in the fairest manner, unless it be those of them that are utterly unjust. Say to them: “We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you. One is our God and your God; and we are those who submit ourselves to Him.”
80. It should be noted that a little below in this Surah the people are being exhorted to migrate. At that time Habash was the only place of safety to which the Muslims could migrate, and Habash in those days was under the domination of the Christians. Therefore, in these verses the Muslims are being instructed as to how they should argue and discuss matters concerning religion with the people of the Book when such an occasion arises.
81. That is, the discussion should be conducted rationally, in a civilized and decent language, so that the ideas of the other person may be reformed. The preacher’s main aim should be to appeal to the addressee’s heart, convey the truth to him and bring him to the right path. He should not fight like a wrestler whose only object is to defeat his opponent. He should rather conduct himself like a physician who is ever cautious not to cause the patient’s ailment to worsen by any of his own mistakes, and tries to cure him with the least possible trouble. This instruction bas been given here especially in connection with the conduct of a discussion with the people of the Book, but is a general instruction pertaining to the preaching of the religion and it has been given at several places in the Quran. For example, “O Prophet, invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and discuss things with the people in the best manner.” (Surah AnNahl: Ayat 125). “O Prophet, goodness and evil are not alike, repel evil with what is best. You will see that he, with whom you had enmity, has become your closest friend.” (Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah: Ayat 34). “O Prophet, repel evil with what is best: We are fully aware of what they utter against you.” (Surah Al-Muminun: Ayat 96). “O Prophet, adopt the way of leniency and forbearance; enjoin what is good and avoid useless discussions with the ignorant people. If Satan ever excites you to anger, seek refuge in Allah.” (Surah Al-Aaraf: Ayat 199-200).
82. That is, with those who adopt an attitude of wickedness a different attitude may also be adopted according to the nature and extent of their wickedness. In other words, one cannot, and should not adopt a soft and gentle attitude towards all sorts of the people under all circumstances at all time, which might be mistaken for the weakness and meekness of the inviter to the truth. Islam does teach its followers to be polite, gentle and reasonable, but it does not teach them to be unduly humble and meek so that they are not taken for granted by every cruel and wicked person.
83. In these sentences Allah has provided guidance to the best method of discussion, which the inviters to the truth should adopt. The method is this: “Do not make the error or deviation of the other person the basis and starting point of the discussion, but begin the discussion with those points of truth and justice which are common between you and your opponent. That is, the discussion should start from the points of agreement and not from the points of difference. Then, arguing from the agreed points, the addressee should be made to understand that, in the matter of the things in which you differ, your stand is in conformity with the agreed points whereas his stand is contradictory to them.
In this connection, one should bear in mind the fact that the people of the Book did not deny revelation, prophethood and Tauhid, like the polytheists of Arabia, but believed in these realities just like the Muslims. After agreement on these basic things, the main thing that could become the basis of difference between them could be that the Muslim would not believe in the divine scriptures sent down to them and would invite them to believe in the divine Book sent down to themselves, and would declare them disbelievers if they did not believe in it. This would have been a strong basis of their conflict. But the Muslims had a different stand. They believed as true all those Books that were with the people of the Book, and then also had believed in the revelation that had been sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). After this it was for the people of the Book to tell the rational ground for which they believed in one Book sent by Allah and rejected the other. That is why Allah here has instructed the Muslims that whenever they have to deal with the people of the Book, they should first of all present before them this very point of view in a positive manner. Say to them: “We believe in the same God in Whom you believe and we are obedient to Him. We have submitted ourselves to all those commands and injunctions and teachings that have come from Him, whether they were sent down to you, or to us. We are obedient servants of God and not of a country or a community or a race, that we should submit to God’s command when it is sent down in one place and reject it when it is sent down in another place. This thing has been repeated at several places in the Quran and particularly in relation to the people of the Book, it has been presented forcefully. For this, see (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayats 4, 136, 177, 285); (Surah Aal-Imran: Ayat 84); (Surah An-Nisa: Ayats 136), 150 to 152, 162 to 164); (Surah Ash Shuaraa: Ayat 13).
46. And argue not with the People of the Scripture, except with that which is better — except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.”
What is meant here is that anyone who wants to find out about religion from them should argue with them in a manner that is better, as this will be more effective. Allah says:
(Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching…) (16:125) And Allah said to Musa and Harun when he sent them to Fir`awn:
(And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear.) (20:44) Allah says here:
(except with such of them as do wrong;) meaning, those who turn away from the truth, turning a blind eye to clear evidence, being stubborn and arrogant. In this case you should progress from debate to combat, fighting them in such a way as to deter them from committing aggression against you. Allah says:
(Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice. And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power) until: r
(Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty) (57:25). Jabir said: “We were commanded to strike with the sword whoever opposes the Book of Allah.” And His saying:
(and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you;) means, `if they tell you something which you do not know to be true or false, say to them: We do not hasten to say it is a lie, because it may be true, and we do not hasten to say it is true because it may be false. We believe in it in general, under the condition that it has been revealed and has not been altered or deliberately misinterpreted.’ Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The People of the Book used to read the Tawrah in Hebrew and explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah said:
(Do not believe the People of the Book and do not deny them. Say: “We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you. Our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.”)” This Hadith was narrated only by Al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: “How can you ask the People of the Book about anything, when your Book that was revealed to the Messenger of Allah is more recent, you read it pure and uncontaminated, it tells you that the People of the Book altered and changed the Book, that they write the Book with their own hands and then say, `This is from Allah,’ to purchace with it a small price Should not the knowledge that you have, prevent you from asking them No, by Allah, we have never seen any of them asking you about what was sent down to you.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Humayd bin `Abdur-Rahman heard Mu`awiyah talking to a group of Quraysh in Al-Madinah. He mentioned Ka`b Al-Ahbar, and said: “He was one of the most truthful of those who narrated from the People of the Book, even though we found that some of what he said might be lies.” I say, this means that some of what he said could be classified linguistically as lies, but he did not intend to lie, because he was narrating from manuscripts which he thought were good, but they contained fabricated material, because they did not have people who were so conscientious in memorizing the Scriptures by heart as the people of this great Ummah.
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