Surah Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 13 (2:13)

Surah Baqarah 13th Ayah in Arabic:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ ءَامِنُوا۟ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ ٱلنَّاسُ قَالُوٓا۟ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ وَلَٰكِن لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ

Transliteration:

Wa izaa qeela lahum aaminoo kamaaa aamanan naasu qaalooo anu’minu kamaaa aamanas sufahaaa’; alaaa innahum humus sufahaaa’u wa laakil laa ya’lamoo

English Translation:

DR. GHALI And when it is said to them, “Believe just as mankind has believed, ” they say, “Shall we believe just as the fools have believed?” Verily, they, (only) they, are surely the fools, but they do not know.

MUHSIN KHAN And when it is said to them (hypocrites): “Believe as the people (followers of Muhammad Peace be upon him, Al-Ansar and Al-Muhajirun) have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.

PICKTHALL And when it is said unto them: believe as the people believe, they say: shall we believe as the foolish believe? are not they indeed the foolish? But they know not.

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people have believed,” they say, “Should we believe as the foolish have believed?” Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it] not.

YUSUF ALI When it is said to them: “Believe as the others believe:” They say: “Shall we believe as the fools believe?” Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know.

MUFTI TAQI USMANI And when it is said to them, “Believe as people have believed,” they say, “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Beware, it is, in fact, they who are the fools, but they do not know.

ABDUL HALEEM When it is said to them, ‘Believe, as the others believe,’ they say, ‘Should we believe as the fools do?’ but they are the fools, though they do not know it.

ABUL ALA MAUDUDI Whenever they are told: “Believe as others believe,” they answer: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Indeed it is they who are the fools, but they are not aware of it.

Surah Baqarah Ayat 13 Tafseer

Here we’ve provided different sources of commentary to help with learning and understanding the thirteenth ayah of Surah Baqarah.

Tafsir by Ibn Kathir [2:13]

Allah said that if the hypocrites are told,

﴿ءَامِنُواْ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ النَّاسُ﴾

 

(“Believe as the people believe,”), meaning, `Believe just as the believers believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, Resurrection after death, Paradise and Hellfire, etc. And obey Allah and His Messenger by heeding the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions.’ Yet the hypocrites answer by saying,

﴿قَالُواْ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَآ آمَنَ السُّفَهَآءُ﴾

 

(“Shall we believe as the fools have believed”) they meant (may Allah curse the hypocrites) the Companions of the Messenger of Allah . This is the same Tafsir given by Abu Al-`Aliyah and As-Suddi in his Tafsir, with a chain of narration to Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions. This is also the Tafsir of Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. The hypocrites said, “Us and them having the same status, following the same path, while they are fools!” `The fool’ is the ignorant, simple-minded person who has little knowledge in areas of benefit and harm. This is why, according to the majority of the scholars, Allah used the term foolish to include children, when He said,

﴿وَلاَ تُؤْتُواْ السُّفَهَآءَ أَمْوَلَكُمُ الَّتِى جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَـماً﴾

 

(And do not give your property, which Allah has made a means of support for you, to the foolish) (4:5).

Allah answered the hypocrites in all of these instances. For instance, Allah said here,

﴿أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَآءُ﴾

 

(Verily, they are the fools). Allah thus affirmed that the hypocrites are indeed the fools, yet,

﴿وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ﴾

 

(But they know not). Since they are so thoroughly ignorant, the hypocrites are unaware of their degree of deviation and ignorance, and such situation is more dangerous, a severer case of blindness, and further from the truth than one who is aware.

Hypocrites are also distinguished by their arrogance, their contempt for other people and their pretence to be what they are not. The description continues: “When it is said to them, ‘Believe as other people have believed’, they say, Are we to believe as the fools believe?’ It is indeed they who are fools, though they do not know it.” (Verse 13)

It is clear that what the hypocrites of Madinah were being called on to demonstrate was sincere, unwavering faith, free of personal desire or caprice. They were being urged to join those who accepted Islam in its totality, submitted themselves completely to God, and opened their hearts and minds to the teachings and instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

But it is also clear that they were too proud to accept. They thought of Islam as a religion for the meek and the poor in society, which did not become the lofty elite. This was reflected in their response. They are quoted as saying: “Are we to believe as the fools believe?” which is appropriately met by: “It is indeed they who are fools, though they do not know it.” (Verse 13) Fools are seldom aware of their predicament and are always willing to delude themselves that they are righteous and proper.

And when it is said to them, ‘Believe as people have believed,” they say, “Shall we believe as fools believe?” Beware, it is, in fact, they who are the fools, but they do not know.


This verse also places before the hypocrites a criterion of true faith (Iman ایمان) آمِنُوا كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ :”Believe as people have believed”. According to the consensus of commentators, the Arabic word Na-s النَّاسُ : (people) in this verse refers to the blessed Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ because it is just these ‘people’ who had embraced the Faith and had accepted the Holy Qur’an as the word of Allah while it was being revealed. So, the verse indicates that the only kind of Iman ایمان (faith) acceptable to Allah is the one which should be similar to that of the blessed Companions, and that the Iman ایمان of others would be worthy of the name only when they believe in the same things in the same way as the Companions did. In other words, the Iman ایمان of the Companions is a touchstone for testing the Iman ایمان of all the other Muslims; any belief. or deed which departs from their faith and practice, however pleasing in its looks or good in its intention, is not valid according to the Shari` ah. There is a consensus of commentators on this position. One should also notice that the hypocrites used to call the blessed Companions ‘fools’ (Sufaha-‘ السُّفَهَاء). This has always been the way of those who go astray – anyone who tries to show them the right path is, in their eyes, ignorant and stupid. But who could, the Holy Qur’an points out, be more stupid than the man who refuses to see clear signs?
In the seventh verse, we see the double-facedness and trickery of the hypocrites. In the company of the Muslims, they would vociferously declare their faith in Islam; but, going back to their own people, would reassure them that they had never left the way of their ancestors, and had been meeting the Muslims only to make fun of them.

Injunctions and related considerations
(1) It has sometimes been debated as to whether the distinction between Kufr کفر (infidelity or disbelief) and Nifaq نفاق (hypocrisy) still holds good even after the days of the Holy Prophet ﷺ The correct position with regard to this question is this. At that time, there were two ways of identifying a hypocrite and declaring him to be one -either Allah Himself informed the Holy Prophet ﷺ through revelation that such and such a man was not a Muslim at heart but a hypocrite, or a man through some word or deed overtly repugnant to the Islamic creed or practice showed himself up as a hypocrite, thus providing a clear evidence against himself. Divine revelation having ceased with the departure of the Holy Prophet ﷺ from this world, the first way of identifying a hypocrite is no longer available, but the second way is still valid. That is to say, if a man is found, on certain evidence, to be guilty, in word or deed, of rejecting or opposing or distorting or holding in scorn the basic doctrines of Islam undeniably established by the Holy Qur’an, the Hadith and ` ijma اجمع (consensus), he would be regarded as a Munafiq منافق (hypocrite) in spite of his claim to be a true Muslim. The Holy Qur’an Ives such a hypocrite the name of a mulhid مُلحد or heretic- لَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا : “Those who distort Our verses”, 41:40), and the Hadith calls them a zindiq ماکهن . One must also add that since the kufr کفر (infidelity) of such a man has been proved by clear and definite evidence, the Shari’ah will not put him in a separate category, but deal with him as it would deal with any other kafir کافر (infidel). That is why the authentic scholars are unanimous in concluding that after the departure of the Holy Prophet ﷺ the question of hypocrites ceased to be a relevant one – now anyone who is not a genuine Muslim will be regarded as kafir کافر . The famous author, Al-` Aini, in his commentary on Al-Bukhari, reports from Imam Malik that after the days of the Holy Prophet ﷺ this is the only available means of identifying ‘hypocrisy’, and that a man who carries this mark could be called a hypocrite.

(2:13) Whenever they are told: “Believe as others believe,”13 they answer: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?”14 Indeed it is they who are the fools, but they are not aware of it.


13. They are being asked to become Muslims in the same manner as others of their community became Muslims

14. They think that those people who sincerely embraced Islam and thereby exposed themselves to all kinds of trials and persecutions, and confronted risks and dangers, were merely fools. To them it seems sheer folly to invite the hostility of the entire land merely for the sake of Truth and righteousness. In their view, wisdom consists not in bothering oneself with the distinction between truth and falsehood, but in remaining concerned only with one’s own interests.