Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 104 (2:104)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 104 in Arabic Text

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَقُولُوا۟ رَٰعِنَا وَقُولُوا۟ ٱنظُرْنَا وَٱسْمَعُوا۟ ۗ وَلِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌۭ
Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanoo laa taqooloo raa’inaa wa qoolun zurnaa wasma’oo; wa lilkaafireena ‘azaabun aleem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 104

Sahih International
O you who have believed, say not [to Allah ‘s Messenger], “Ra’ina” but say, “Unthurna” and listen. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment.

Yusuf Ali
“O ye of Faith! Say not (to the Messenger) words of ambiguous import, but words of respect; and hearken (to him): To those without Faith is a grievous punishment.

Abul Ala Maududi
O Believers, do not say. “Ra ‘ina” but say, “Unzurna ” and listen a to what is said; for the disbelievers deserve a painful punishment.

Muhsin Khan
O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger Peace be upon him) Ra’ina but say Unzurna (Do make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment. (See Verse 4:46)

Pickthall
O ye who believe, say not (unto the Prophet): “Listen to us” but say “Look upon us,” and be ye listeners. For disbelievers is a painful doom.

Dr. Ghali
O you who have believed, do not say, “Raaina” (This from of the verb was used by the Jews and had a derisive connotation in Hebrew. Here in means “heed us”) and say, “Look upon us and listen, ” (Literally: hear) and to the disbelievers is a painful torment.

Abdel Haleem
Believers, do not say [to the Prophet], ‘Raina,’ but say, ‘Unzurna,’ and listen [to him]: an agonizing torment awaits those who ignore [God’s words].

Quran 2 Verse 104 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 104, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:104) O you who believe![107] Do not say (to the Prophet): Ra’ina (Lend ear to us), but say Unzurna (Favour us with your attention) and pay heed (to him).[108] A painful chastisement awaits the unbelievers.


107. This and the following verses inform the followers of the Prophet (peace be on him) of the machinations of the Jews against Islam and the Muslims, and dispel any doubts and misgivings they tried to create in their minds. Special attention is paid to the points raised during controversial discussions between Muslims and Jews. It is useful to note here that when the Prophet (peace be on him) arrived in Madina and the message of Islam began to spread the Jews tried to engage Muslims in controversial religious discussions. They raised all kinds of involved and suspicion-provoking problems so as to contaminate the simple and pure-hearted Muslims with the spiritual diseases from which they themselves suffered. Not only that, they resorted to sly and deceptive talk in the presence of the Prophet.

108. When the Jews visited the Prophet they tried to vent their spite by using ambiguous expressions in their greetings and conversation. They, used words which had double meanings, one innocent and the other offensive. After using quite proper expressions they would then whisper some malicious words. Ostensibly they maintained the decorum of respect and courtesy while sparing no underhand means to insult the Prophet. Later we shall encounter several examples of this kind of behaviour. The particular expression referred to here, and which the Muslims were asked to avoid using since it lent itself to abuse, was employed by the Jews when in conversation with the Prophet, whenever they wanted to request a short pause in which to finish whatever they wanted to say. They, used the expression ra’ina, which meant ‘kindly indulge us’ or ‘ kindly lend ear to us’.

It was possible, however, for the expression to be used with quite a different shade of meaning. In Hebrew, for instance, there is a word similar to it which means: ‘Listen, may you become deaf.’ In the same language it also means arrogant, ignorant and fool. In actual conversation it was also used on occasions when one wanted to say: ‘If you listen to me, 1 will listen to you.’ When it was pronounced with a slight twist of the tongue it turned into ra’ina, meaning our shepherd’.

It is because of the possibility of the word being used in these different senses that Muslims were asked to avoid it and to use instead the straightforward expression unzurna, meaning ‘kindly favour us with your attention’ or ‘kindly grant us a while to follow (what you are saying)’. This advice was followed by the admonition to listen attentively to what the Prophet said, for the Jews used to ask for the same thing to be repeated merely because they did not pay proper attention to what the Prophet said but instead were engrossed in their own thoughts. If the Muslims were to heed what the Prophet said, they would scarcely need to make such requests.

Ibn-Kathir

104. O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina but say Unzurna (make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment. 105. Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikin (the idolaters) like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord. But Allah chooses for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty.


Manners in Speech

Allah forbade His believing servants from imitating the behavior and deeds of the disbelievers. The Jews used to use devious words that hide what they really meant. May Allah’s curse be upon them. When they wanted to say, `hear us,’ they would use the word Ra`ina, which is an insult (in Hebrew, but means `hear us’ in Arabic). Allah said,

﴿مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ وَرَعِنَا لَيّاً بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْناً فِى الدِّينِ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانْظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَكِن لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً ﴾

(Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from (their) right places and say: “We hear your word (O Muhammad ) and disobey,” and “Hear and let you (O Muhammad ) hear nothing.” And Ra`ina with a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion (Islam). And if only they had said: “We hear and obey,” and “Do make us understand,” it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not except a few) (4:46).

Also, the Hadiths stated that when they would greet Muslims, they would say, `As-Samu `alaykum,’ meaning, `death be to you’. This is why we were commanded to answer them by saying, `Wa `alaykum,’ meaning, `and to you too’, then our supplication against them shall be answered, rather than theirs against us.

Allah forbade the believers from imitating the disbelievers in tongue or deed. Allah said,

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَقُولُواْ رَعِنَا وَقُولُواْ انظُرْنَا وَاسْمَعُواْ وَلِلكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴾

(O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina but say Unzurna (make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment) (2:104).

Also, Imam Ahmad narrated that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«بُعِثْتُ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ السَّاعَةِ بِالسَّيْفِ حَتَّى يُعْبَدَاللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَجُعِلَ رِزْقِي تَحْتَ ظِلِّ رُمْحِي، وَجُعِلَتِ الذِّلَّةُ وَالصَّغَارُ عَلَى مَنْ خَالَفَ أَمْرِي، وَمَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَومٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُم»

(I was sent with the sword just before the Last Hour, so that Allah is worshipped alone without partners. My sustenance was provided for me from under the shadow of my spear. Those who oppose my command were humiliated and made inferior, and whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.)

Abu Dawud narrated that the Prophet said,

«مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُم»

(Whoever imitates a people is one of them.)

These Hadiths indicate, along with their threats and warnings, that we are not allowed to imitate the disbelievers in their statements, deeds, clothes, feasts, acts of worship, etc., whatever actions of the disbelievers that were not legislated for us.

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

﴿لاَ تَقُولُواْ رَعِنَا﴾

(Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina) “They used to say to the Prophet , Ar`ina samak (which is an insult).” Ibn Abu Hatim said that it was reported that Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Malik, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi and Qatadah said similarly. Further, Mujahid said, “`Do not say Ra`ina’ means, `Do not dispute’.” Mujahid said in another narration, “Do not say, `We hear from you, and you hear from us.”’ Also, `Ata’ said, “Do not say,

﴿رَعِنَا﴾

(Ra`ina), which was a dialect that the Ansar used and which was forbidden from use by Allah.”

Also, As-Suddi said, “Rifa`ah bin Zayd, a Jewish man from the tribe of Qaynuqa`, used to come to the Prophet and say to him, `Hear, Ghayr Musma’in (let you hear nothing).’ The Muslims used to think that the Prophets are greeted and honored with this type of speech, and this is why some of them used to say, `Hear, let you hear nothing,’ and so on, as mentioned in Surat An-Nisa.” Thereafter, Allah forbade the believers from uttering the word Ra`ina.” `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam also said similarly.

The extreme Enmity that the Disbelievers and the People of the Book have against Muslims

Allah said next (2:105),

﴿مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ وَلاَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ﴾

(Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikin (the idolaters), like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord).

Allah described the deep enmity that the disbelieving polytheists and People of the Scripture, whom Allah warned against imitating, have against the believers, so that Muslims should sever all friendship with them. Also, Allah mentioned what He granted the believers of the perfect Law that He legislated for their Prophet Muhammad . Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ﴾

(But Allah chooses for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty) (2:105).

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