Surah Baqarah Ayat 118 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 118
Those who do not know say, “Why does Allah not speak to us or there come to us a sign?” Thus spoke those before them like their words. Their hearts resemble each other. We have shown clearly the signs to a people who are certain [in faith].
“Say those without knowledge: “Why speaketh not Allah unto us? or why cometh not unto us a Sign?” So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike. We have indeed made clear the Signs unto any people who hold firmly to Faith (in their hearts).
The ignorant people say, “Why does not Allah Himself talk to us or why does not a Sign come to us?” The people before them also talked like this, for all (who swerve from the Right Path) have the same mentality. We have already shown clear Signs to those who believe;
And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us?” So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike, We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.
And those who have no knowledge say: Why doth not Allah speak unto us, or some sign come unto us? Even thus, as they now speak, spake those (who were) before them. Their hearts are all alike. We have made clear the revelations for people who are sure.
And they that do not know have said, “if (only) Allah had spoken to us or a sign had come up to us.” Thus did the ones even before them say the like of their saying. Their hearts resemble each other. We have already made evident the signs for a people that have certitude.
Those who have no knowledge also say, ‘If only God would speak to us!’ or ‘If only a miraculous sign would come to us!’ People before them said the same things: their hearts are all alike. We have made Our signs clear enough to those who have solid faith.
Quran 2 Verse 118 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 118, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(2:118) The ignorant say: “Why does Allah not speak to us? Why does no Sign come to us?” The same was said by people before them. Their hearts are all alike. We have made the Signs clear for people of firm faith.
117. What they meant was that God should either appear before them Himself, tell them plainly that the Qur’an was a revelation from Him, and proclaim His injunctions, or cause them to see some extraordinary sign that would convince them that whatever Muhammad (peace be on him) told them was from Him.
118. The fact is that the misguided people of the time of the revelation of the Qur’an did not raise any objection or make any demands essentially different from those of the misguided people of the past. From the remote past till today, error and misguidedness seem to have the same character, so the same doubts and objections are repeated over and over again.
119. The demand that God should speak to them directly was too absurd even to be answered. The question dealt with here concerns the demand for a sign that would convince them of the Truth. In response to this it is pointed out that many signs do exist, but all such signs are of profit only to those who are inclined to believe. As for those who are bent on disbelief, what sign can be shown to them, and to what avail?
118. And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us” So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike, We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that Rafi` bin Huraymilah said to the Messenger of Allah , “O Muhammad! If you were truly a Messenger from Allah, as you claim, then ask Allah to speak to us directly, so that we hear His Speech.” So Allah revealed,
(And those who have no knowledge say: “Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us”)
Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that it was actually the statement of the Arab disbelievers:
(So said the people before them words of similar import. ) He said, “These are the Jews and the Christians.”
What further proves that the Arab idolators said the statement mentioned in the Ayah is that Allah said,
(And when there comes to them a sign (from Allah) they say: “We shall not believe until we receive the like of that which the Messengers of Allah had received.” Allah knows best with whom to place His Message. Humiliation and disgrace from Allah and a severe torment will overtake the criminals (polytheists and sinners) for that which they used to plot.) (6:124) and
(And they say: “We shall not believe in you (O Muhammad ), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us) until,
(Say (O Muhammad ): “Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord ﴿(Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him﴾! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger”) (17:90-93) and,
(And those who expect not a meeting with Us (i. e. those who deny the Day of Resurrection and the life of the Hereafter) said: “Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord”) (25:21) and,
(Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out) (74:52).
There are many other Ayat that testify to the disbelief of the Arab idolators, their transgression, stubbornness, and that they asked unnecessary questions out of disbelief and arrogance. The statements of the Arab idolators followed the statements of the nations of the People of the Two Scriptures and other religions before them. Allah said,
(The People of the Scripture (Jews) ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed, they asked Musa (Moses) for even greater than that, when they said: “Show us Allah in public,”) (4:153) and,
(And (remember) when you said: “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.”) (2:55).
(Their hearts are alike. ) means, the hearts of the Arab idolators are just like the hearts of those before them, containing disbelief, stubbornness and injustice. Similarly, Allah said,
(Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them but they said: “A sorcerer or a madman!” Have they (the people of the past) transmitted this saying to these (Quraysh pagans)) (51:52-53).
Allah said next,
(We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.) meaning, We made the arguments clear, prooving the truth of the Messengers, with no need of more questions or proofs for those who believe, follow the Messengers and comprehend what Allah sent them with. As for those whose hearts and hearing Allah has stamped and whose eyes have been sealed, Allah described them:
(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment) (10:96-97).
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