Surah Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 285 (2:285)

Surah Baqarah Ayah 285 in Arabic:

آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْ رُسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

Transliteration: Amanar-Rasulu bima unzila ilayhi mir-Rabbihee walmu’minoon; kullun aamana billahi wa Malaaa’ikathihee wa Kutubihi wa Rusulihee laa nufarriqu baina ahadim-mir-Rusulih wa qaaloo sami’naa wa ata’naa ghufranaka Rabbanaa wa ilaikal-maseer

 

English Translation:

DR. GHALI The Messenger has believed in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers (believe). Every one (of them) has believed in Allah, and His Angels and His Books, and His Messengers. We make no distinction between any of His Messengers. And they have said, “We have heard, and we have obeyed. Grant (us) Your All-Supreme forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the Destiny.

MUHSIN KHAN The Messenger (Muhammad SAW) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers” – and they say, “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).”

PICKTHALL The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers – We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying.

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”

YUSUF ALI The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”

MUFTI TAQI USMANI The Messenger has believed in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and the believers as well. All have believed in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers. “We make no division between any of His Messengers,” and they have said: “We have listened, and obeyed. Our Lord, (we seek) Your pardon! And to You is the return.”

ABDUL HALEEM The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, as do the faithful. They all believe in God, His angels, His scriptures, and His messengers. ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers,’ they say, ‘We hear and obey. Grant us Your forgiveness, our Lord. To You we all return!’-

ABUL ALA MAUDUDI (2:285) The Messenger believes, and so do the believers, in the guidance sent down upon him from his Lord: each of them believes in Allah, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers. They say: “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers. We hear and obey. Our Lord! Grant us Your forgiveness; to You we are destined to return.”

DR. MUSTAFA KHATTAB The Messenger ˹firmly˺ believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers. They ˹all˺ believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His messengers. ˹They proclaim,˺ “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and obey. ˹We seek˺ Your forgiveness, our Lord! And to you ˹alone˺ is the final return.”

Surah Baqarah Ayat 285 Tafseer

Here you can expand your knowledge on ayah 285 of Surah Baqarah by reading the tafseer of Ibn Katheer or other various books which expand on this verse.

Tafseer Ibn Kathir Surah Baqarah Ayat 285 and 286

The Hadiths on the Virtue of These Two Ayat, May Allah Benefit Us by Them Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَنْ قَرَأَ بِالْآيَتَيْنِ مِنْ آخِرِ سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ فِي لَيْلَةٍ، كَفَتَاه»

 

(Whoever recites the last two Ayat in Surat Al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice for him.)

The rest of the six also recorded similar wording for this Hadith. The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith using various chains of narration, and Imam Ahmad also recorded it.

Muslim recorded that `Abdullah said, “When the Messenger of Allah went on the Isra journey, he ascended to the Sidrat Al-Muntaha in the sixth heaven, where whatever ascends from the earth ends at, and whatever descends from above it ends at.

﴿إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى ﴾

 

(When that covered the lote tree which did cover it!) ﴿53:16﴾ meaning, a mat made of gold.

The Messenger of Allah was then given three things: the five prayers, the last Ayat in Surat Al-Baqarah and forgiveness for whoever did not associate anything or anyone with Allah from his Ummah.”

Earlier we mentioned the Hadith regarding the virtues of Surat Al-Fatihah from Ibn `Abbas which stated, “While the Messenger of Allah was with Jibil, he heard a noise from above. Jibil lifted his sight to the sky and said, `This is a door that was opened just now in heaven, and it was never opened before.’ An angel came down through the door to the Prophet and said, `Receive the good news of two lights that you have been given and which no Prophet before you was given: the Opener of the Book (Al-Fatihah) and the last Ayat in Surat Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but you will be granted its benefit.”’ This Hadith was collected by Muslim and An-Nasa’i, and this is the wording collected by An-Nasa’i.

 

The Tafsir of the Last Two Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah

 

Allah said,

﴿كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَـئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ﴾

 

(Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers.”)

Therefore, each of the believers believes that Allah is the One and Only and the Sustainer, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him and there is no Lord except Him. The believers also believe in all Allah’s Prophets and Messengers, in the Books that were revealed from heaven to the Messengers and Prophets, who are indeed the servants of Allah. Further, the believers do not differentiate between any of the Prophets, such as, believing in some of them and rejecting others. Rather, all of Allah’s Prophets and Messengers are, to the believers, truthful, righteous, and they were each guided to the path of righteousness, even when some of them bring what abrogates the Law of some others by Allah’s leave. Later on, the Law of Muhammad, the Final Prophet and Messenger from Allah, abrogated all the laws of the Prophets before him. So the Last Hour will commence while Muhammad’s Law remains the only valid Law, and all the while a group of his Ummah will always be on the path of truth, apparent and dominant. Allah’s statement,

﴿وَقَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا﴾

 

(And they say, “We hear, and we obey”) means, we heard Your statement, O our Lord, comprehended and implemented it, and adhered to its implications.

﴿غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا﴾

 

((We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord) contains a plea and supplication for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and kindness.

Allah’s statement,

﴿لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾

 

(Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope) means, Allah does not ask a soul what is beyond its ability. This only demonstrates Allah’s kindness, compassion and generosity towards His creation. This Ayah is the Ayah that abrogated the Ayah that worried the Companions, that is, Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِن تُبْدُواْ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ اللَّهُ﴾

 

(And whether you disclose what is in yourselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it.)

This indicates that although Allah will question His servants and judge them, He will only punish for what one is able to protect himself from. As for what one cannot protect himself from, such as what one says to himself – or passing thoughts – they will not be punished for that. We should state here that to dislike the evil thoughts that cross one’s mind is a part of faith. Allah said next,

﴿لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ﴾

 

(He gets reward for that which he has earned) of good,

﴿وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ﴾

 

(And he is punished for that which he has earned) of evil, that is, concerning the acts that one is responsible for.

Allah then said, ﴿mentioning what the believers said﴾ while directing His servants to supplicate to Him, all the while promising them that He will answer their supplication:

﴿رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا﴾

 

(“Our Lord! Push us not if we forget or fall into error,”) meaning, “If we forgot an obligation or fell into a prohibition, or made an error while ignorant of its ruling.” We mentioned the Hadith by Abu Hurayrah, that Muslim collected, wherein Allah said, “I shall (accept your supplication).” There is also the Hadith by Ibn `Abbas that Allah said, “I did (accept your supplication).”

﴿رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَآ إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا﴾

 

(Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians),) means, “Even if we were able to perform them, do not require us to perform the difficult deeds as You required the previous nations before us, such as the burdens that were placed on them. You sent Your Prophet Muhammad , the Prophet of mercy, to abrogate these burdens through the Law that You revealed to him, the Hanifi (Islamic Monotheism), easy religion.” Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said that Allah said, “I shall (accept your supplication).” Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah said that Allah said, “I did (accept your supplication).” There is the Hadith recorded through various chains of narration that the Messenger of Allah said,

«بُعِثْتُ بِالْحَنِيفِيَّةِ السَّمْحَة»

 

(I was sent with the easy Hanifiyyah way.)

﴿رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ﴾

 

(Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear) of obligations, hardships and afflictions, do not make us bear what we cannot bear of this.

﴿رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ﴾

 

(Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear.)

We mentioned that Allah said, “I shall (accept your supplication)” in one narration, and, “I did (accept your supplication),” in another narration.

﴿وَاعْفُ عَنَّا﴾

 

(Pardon us) meaning, between us and You regarding what You know of our shortcomings and errors.

﴿وَاغْفِرْ لَنَآ﴾

 

(And grant us forgiveness) concerning what is between us and Your servants. So do not expose our errors and evil deeds to them.

﴿وَارْحَمْنَآ﴾

 

(Have mercy on us) in what will come thereafter. Therefore, do not allow us to fall into another error. They say that those who commit error need three things: Allah’s forgiveness for what is between Him and them, that He conceals these errors from His other servants, and thus does not expose them before the servants, and that He grants them immunity from further error.” We mentioned before that Allah answered these pleas, “I shall,” in one narration and, “I did,” in another narration.

﴿أَنتَ مَوْلَـنَا﴾

 

(You are our Mawla) meaning, You are our supporter and helper, our trust is in You, You are sought for each and every type of help and our total reliance is on You. There is no power or strength except from You.

﴿فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَـفِرِينَ﴾

 

(And give us victory over the disbelieving people) those who rejected Your religion, denied Your Oneness, refused the Message of Your Prophet , worshipped other than You and associated others in Your worship. Give us victory and make us prevail above them in this and the Hereafter. Allah said, “I shall,” in one narration, and, “I did,” in the Hadith that Muslim collected from Ibn `Abbas.

Further, Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Ishaq said that whenever Mu`adh would finish reciting this Surah,

﴿فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَـفِرِينَ﴾

 

(And give us victory over the disbelieving people), he would say “Amin.”

Overview

These two verses make up the final passage of this comprehensive and remarkable sūrah, the longest in the Qur’an. Its subject matter covers a wide range of issues and fundamental Islamic concepts, rules and principles. It outlines the nature and role of the Muslim community in the world, and identifies its enemies and detractors, their attitudes and the methods they use to undermine and weaken it, and the means the community has to use in order to combat their intrigues and thwart their schemes. The surah then elaborates on the nature and scope of man’s role in the world, as well as his weaknesses and shortcomings.

These closing verses give a concise and appropriate summary of the major themes of the sūrah, and form an inspiring conclusion to its grand message.

The surah opened with the statement: “This is the Book; there is no doubt about it, a guidance for the God-fearing. Those who believe in what lies beyond the reach of human perception, observe prayer and give of what We bestow upon them. Those who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. Those follow their Lord’s guidance, and they shall surely prosper.” (Verses 1-5)

Throughout the surah we have found frequent references to the recognition and endorsement by Islam of all divine messages revealed to earlier prophets and messengers. Now the surah gives the final summation: “The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do all the believers. Each one of them believes in God, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” (Verse 285) The two passages coalesce beautifully as if to form the frame of a single work of art.

The surah covers quite extensively many of the laws and rules governing all aspects of personal and communal life. It has described at length the excesses and the impertinence of some Israelite communities. Here it concludes with a clear statement regarding the fulfilment, or otherwise, of one’s obligations in this life. It stresses that God neither wishes to overburden the believers who uphold the faith; nor to favour them with any concessions or privileges, as some Israelites had claimed for themselves. Nor does He leave them to their own devices. “God does not charge a soul with more than it can bear. In its favour shall be whatever good it does, and against it whatever evil it does.” (Verse 286)

The surah has related various episodes of Israelite history, pointing out the grace God accorded them and how some of them had received that grace with insolence and ingratitude, for which they had to pay a heavy price amounting, in certain cases, to their own lives. Here it concludes with a moving and passionate prayer in which believers plead with God Almighty: “Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong. Our Lord, do not lay on us a burden such as that You laid on those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with what we do not have the strength to bear. Pardon us, and forgive us our sins, and bestow Your mercy on us. You are our Lord Supreme; grant us victory against the unbelievers.” (Verse 286)

The surah has instituted jihād and generous donations for God’s cause to combat aggression. It ends with believers seeking God’s help and support, saying: “You are our Lord Supreme; grant us victory against the unbelievers.” (Verse 286)

These concluding verses are precisely formulated, and every word has its place and significance in the text. Taken as a whole, they reflect the central aspects of faith and define the position of believers, their relationship with God and their perception of His will and purpose in the world, which they accept and willingly submit themselves to Him. The verses are a superb example of the excellence of the Qur’ānic style and approach, which remain fascinating even to those who are well acquainted with the Qur’ān. Let us now look more closely at these two verses.

One True Faith

The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do the believers. Each one of them believes in God, His angels, His books, and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say, ‘We hear and we obey. Grant us Your forgiveness, our Lord; to You we shall all return.’ (Verse 285)

The Qur’ān refers to that privileged community of believers who are the archetype of faith, and to all succeeding communities modelled on their example. This community is honoured by, and greatly appreciates, being mentioned in the same breath as God’s Messenger. The Messenger’s faith springs directly from the revelations he receives from God, the ultimate truth. It is a degree of faith that cannot be described except by one who has experienced it; it remains beyond comprehension for those mortals who have not experienced divine revelation and is, therefore, totally unique and exclusive to God’s Messenger himself. That is why it is such an honour for ordinary believers to he mentioned side by side with God’s Messenger.

The surah defines the nature and parameters of this faith. It is a comprehensive and universal faith, commensurate with the far- reaching and historic role the Muslim community is destined to inherit and take on in the world. It is a commitment that identifies humanity, throughout its history, as being of only two main groups: the believers who represent the party of God, and the unbelievers who constitute the party of Satan.

“Each one of them believes in God…” According to Islam, belief in God is the foundation of a Muslim’s understanding of life, and of the code governing his life, morals, economic and all other activities. It means believing in God as the Supreme Being, the Lord of everything and the sole object of reverence and worship. He is the ultimate authority over man’s conscience and behaviour in every single aspect of his life. God has no partners in His Godhead and Lordship over the world. He is the Creator and the active ruler of the whole cosmos, and no other power interferes with His organization and running of the physical world or of life in it. He is the sole provider of life and sustenance for all creation. He is the only and ultimate cause of what befalls the world, without whose will and knowledge nothing, great or small, happens or comes into being in this world.

Nothing and no one but God Almighty should be adored and worshipped, in any sense of the word. God is the supreme authority to be obeyed, and all temporal authority is derived from Him, and from total adherence to His teachings and commands and the laws He lays down. An imperative of faith in God is submission to, and acceptance of, the principles and values He has set out for the moral, social, legal and economic spheres of life. Faith in this sense sets man free from control and manipulation by all other forces, powers and authorities, and from the fetters of obligation or submission to anyone or anything other than God Almighty.

“… and His angels…” This is an important aspect of belief in the unseen, the unknowable which lies beyond human perception or understanding, or, to use the Islamic term ghayb, as already discussed at the beginning of the sūrah. Man’s ability to perceive and accept a world above and beyond the physical world whose existence he can discern and verify sets him above the rest of creation and confers on him his human qualities. This belief puts into proper perspective man’s natural curiosity for what lies beyond the material physical world, which he instinctively and clearly perceives to exist. Without this clear perspective and vision, man resorts to myth and superstition, leading to imbalance and instability.

Angels are a fact of ghayb that humans cannot perceive by conventional sensory or intellectual means. But man has an instinctive urge to look beyond the world that he can see; and God, in His infinite wisdom, has seen to it that this natural and legitimate human urge is satisfied in order to save man the frustration and suffering he would otherwise inevitably encounter. There is sufficient evidence to show that those individuals and communities who have chosen to defy human nature and reject all notion of a world beyond have fallen victim to utterly farcical and fallacious superstitions that have blurred their vision, undermined their mental well-being, and turned their lives into a series of negative and destructive obsessions.

Like other aspects of ghayb, belief in the angels widens man’s perception and understanding of the world around him. It is no longer restricted to what he can see and feel, which is only a small part of reality. He feels safer in the company of these faithful creatures, fellow believers in God’s oneness, who pray constantly for man’s redemption, and in the comforting thought that they are there to help and guide him spiritually. Furthermore, the mere knowledge of this fact is a blessing from God to those who believe in Him and His angels.

“… and His books and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” According to the Islamic view, belief in God’s books and messengers follows logically and naturally from belief in God Himself. To believe in God is to believe in the truth of all that is revealed by Him, and in the honour and integrity of all the messengers He has commissioned, and inn the unity of the source of the messages they have preached. A Muslim has no notion of discrimination between God’s messengers. They all preached Islam in various versions, suited to the circumstances of the communities they addressed. Muĥammad, (peace be upon him), was the last and final of those Prophets and messengers who has delivered the final, complete and universal version of Islam, which will remain valid for the rest of time.

The Muslim community, therefore, inherits the legacy of God’s religion on earth in its totality, which places a grave responsibility on Muslims. As bearers of God’s banner on earth, they are the custodians of the greatest gift to mankind. Their mission is to promote and establish the Islamic order, and to stand up to chauvinistic, oppressive and totalitarian ideologies of all kinds, whenever they are advocated, anywhere in the world.

The Muslim community, or ummah, is undoubtedly the legitimate heir to the greatest treasure of guidance, light, confidence and fulfilment, as well as certainty and knowledge, ever made available to mankind. Those deprived of its benefits and blessings might as well be living in darkness and confusion. Their life is inevitably plagued with scepticism, cynicism, unhappiness, spiritual suffering and deprivation.

The history of mankind has seen countless individuals and communities deprived of the sustenance and happiness of faith. The agony and miserable experiences of many a sensitive and troubled heart have been most eloquently and passionately preserved for posterity in poetry, literature and art. There are those, however, who are immune to religious faith and have no desire for knowledge beyond the material world. They go through life with little or no humanity, hardly better than animals. They eat and survive and fend for themselves ruthlessly. They oppress, tyrannize and corrupt others in order to further their own interests and desires. They are despised by God and by their fellow human beings.

Human societies deprived of the grace and blessings of faith in God are miserable despite their affluence, barren despite their wealth, and restive despite their apparent freedom, security and peace. There are, even today, obvious examples of such unfortunate societies, a fact denied only by the arrogant.

The Ultimate End

Those who truly believe in God and His angels, books and messengers, know well that they shall return to their Lord, and so they turn to Him in obedience and Al-Baqarah (The Cow) | ONE DIVINE MESSAGE 410 submission, seeking His mercy and forgiveness. “And they say, ‘We hear and we obey. Grant us Your forgiveness, our Lord; to You we shall all return.’“ (Verse 285)

This submission is an expression of their faith. They heed and obey every commandment received from God in affirmation of His oneness and in recognition of the validity of His order in every aspect of life. No submission can be sincere without adherence to God’s guidance and implementation of His rule in every sphere. Man’s faith cannot be complete if he turns his back on God’s teachings and seeks moral, social, economic or political guidance elsewhere. Faith is a quality firmly entrenched in man’s heart and is only given credence when expressed in actions.

With submission and obedience to the Lord comes a feeling of inadequacy and deficiency in paying one’s dues towards God. Thus believers appeal to the merciful God to overlook their failures and shortcomings: “… Grant us Your forgiveness, our Lord…” (Verse 285) The appeal for forgiveness follows the assertion of total submission and obedience. It is then followed by certainty in one’s fate here in this life and in the life to come. God’s word is the final and ultimate truth; everything shall return to Him; He is omnipotent; His will is done and His power unchallenged; His forgiveness, mercy and grace provide the way to escape punishment for sins we commit.

“To You we shall all return.” (Verse 285) This statement implies belief in the hereafter, which, from the Islamic point of view, is another essential aspect of faith in God. Islam asserts that God has created man and made him His vicegerent on earth on the basis of a clear covenant encompassing all man’s activities on earth. Throughout his earthly existence man is on probation. When his probation is over, he shall be judged and made accountable for his actions. Thus belief in the Day of Judgement and man’s accountability for his deeds is a correlative of belief in God. This faith plays a central role in shaping and guiding a believer’s conscience and behaviour, and his perception of values and consequences in this life. A believer will live in obedience to God, promoting good and supporting the truth, regardless of whether the result of his endeavour in this world is happiness or suffering, gain or loss, victory or defeat, recompense or deprivation, or even death. The reward he seeks for passing the test of life is in the hereafter. Were the whole world to stand in opposition to him in this pursuit, and were his very life to be threatened, it would not dissuade him. He is dealing directly with God Almighty, fulfilling his obligation towards Him and looking forward to the reward He has in store for him.

This short Qur’anic verse encapsulates the basic concept of the unity and integrity of the Islamic belief. It is a simple and clear belief in the unity of God, His angels, His books and messengers, with no distinction among those messengers whatsoever, based on total obedience and submission to God and an unshakeable faith in the Day of Judgement. Such is Islam, a faith perfectly suited to epitomize the full and final divine message. It reflects the procession of faith which began with the creation of man and continued throughout the generations. It has been expounded and elucidated by messenger after messenger, according to the intellectual and social development of the recipient communities. With the Prophet Muĥammad (peace be upon him), the message is brought to full maturity and its complete unity is declared, leaving man with the task of understanding its principles and details, and implementing it in his life.

Islam is a religion that recognizes man as a unique being; neither animal nor inanimate, neither angelic nor Satanic. Islam takes a holistic, rather than a fragmented, view of man. It allows for his weaknesses as well as his strengths, treating him as an integrated being comprising a physical aspect with instincts, impulses and natural drives, and a discerning intellectual power, and a soul with spiritual passions and yearnings. It requires of man only such tasks as he is able to fulfil, maintaining that delicate balance between obligations and abilities, with fairness and without duress, satisfying the needs of body, mind and soul in perfect harmony. The corollary to that concept is man’s freedom to choose and bear full responsibility for his choice.

Commentary

These are the last two verses of Sarah al-Baqarah. Great merits have been attributed to these two verses in authentic ahadith. The Holy Prophet (saw) has said that one who recites these two verses during the night, they will be sufficient for him.

As narrated by Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، the Holy Prophet (saw) said that Allah Almighty has sent forth these two verses out of the treasures of Paradise and the ‘Rahman’ رحمان had already written them by His own hand two thousand years earlier than the creation of all things and beings. One who is able to recite them after the Salah of ` Isha’, they will stand for Tahajjud in his case. As it appears in the Mustadrak of al-Hakim and in Bayhaqi, the Holy Prophet (saw) said that Allah Almighty has concluded Sarah al-Baqarah with these two verses, which have been given to me in His grace from out of the special treasure that lies under the ` Arsh عرش (Divine Throne). Therefore, you should make special effort to learn these verses, and at the same time, teach your women and children how to recite them. This is why Sayyidna ` Umar and Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) ، said that they thought that anybody who has any sense in him would never go to sleep without having recited these two verses.

Meaning-wise, these verses have many special features. One of the distinct ones is that they come at the end of Sarah al-Baqarah where most of the injunctions of Shari` ah appear briefly, or in detail, such as, those dealing with the articles of faith, modes of worship, mutual dealings, morals and social living etc. Here, the first of the two verses opens with words of praise for the Muslims who are true and obedient, those who said yes with all their heart to all injunctions ordained by Allah, and were all set to carry them out. In addition to being an assertion of Allah’s infinite mercy, the second verse also answers the doubt which started bothering the noble Companions when verse 284, the one preceding these two, was revealed. The words of the said verses, as mentioned earlier briefly, were: وَإِن تُبْدُوا مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ اللَّـهُ , that is, whether you manifest that which is in your hearts, or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it. Here the verse was actually referring to the accounting of whatever one does with his or her choice and volition. Unintentional thoughts and errors were just not included under its purview. However, the words of the Qur’an were general because of which people surmised that man will be taken to account even for thoughts that entered his mind without his intention. Nervously excited, the noble Companion presented themselves before the Holy Prophet g and said: ia Rasool Allah, till now we thought that we shall be called to account for only those deeds that we do with our will and choice, and we shall not be called to account for thoughts that cross our minds involuntarily. But this verse seems to tell us that every thought that enters our minds will be subject to accounting. This way it is extremely difficult to escape punishment.’ Although, the Holy Prophet g knew the correct intended meaning of the verse but he, in view of the generality of its words, did not elect to say anything on his own. Instead, he waited for the Wahy وحی (revelation) and instructed the Companions that they should obey whatever Allah Almighty ordains for them. It may be easy or difficult to carry out, but it is not the way of a true Muslim to show the slightest of hesitation in accepting Allah’s command when it comes. As soon as you hear the command of Allah, say: سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَ‌انَكَ رَ‌بَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ‌ , that is, We have listened, and obeyed. Our Lord, Your pardon! And to You is the return’.

The noble Companions (رض) did exactly what they were told by the Holy Prophet (saw) ، although their minds were still ticking with the apprehension that building a security shield against involuntary intrusions of thoughts was enormously difficult indeed! Thereupon, Allah Almighty revealed these last two verses of Surah al-Baqarah. Here the first one praises Muslims while the other gives a correct explanation of the verse that created doubt in the minds of the noble Companions. Now let us look at the words of the first verse. These are:
آمَنَ الرَّ‌سُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّ‌بِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُ‌سُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّ‌قُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّ‌سُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَ‌انَكَ رَ‌بَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ‌ ﴿٢٨٥﴾
The Messenger has believed in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and the believers as well. All have believed in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers. “We make no division between any of His Messengers,” and they have said: “We have listened, and obeyed. Our Lord, Your par-don! And to You is the return.”

The first seven words of this verse admire the Holy Prophet (saw) . It may be noted that the verse does not address him by his name, but, by calling him Rasul’, his honour and dignity have been made clear. The word, ‘the believers’ follows immediately after that. It means that just as the Holy Prophet (saw) firmly believes in the revelation (Wahy وحی) from Allah, so do the true Muslims in general. The style chosen for this sentence is also worth consideration. The major part has been used to describe the state of the ‘iman (belief) of the Holy Prophet (saw) ، then, the ‘iman ایمان (belief) of the general Muslims has been described separately. This indicates that, although the Holy Prophet and all Muslims share in the wealth of ‘iman ایمان as such, still there is a great difference between the two in terms of the relative degrees of ‘iman ایمان . The knowledge of the Holy Prophet (saw) is based on seeing and hearing while the knowledge of other Muslims takes the form of ‘iman bi l’ghayb ایمان بالغیب or ‘believing without seeing’ as based on the ‘ru’yat’ or ‘seeing’ of the Holy Prophet (saw).

After that come details of the ‘irnan (belief) which was common between the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Muslims in general. This ‘iman consisted of the belief that Allah Almighty does exist and that He is One and that He is endued with all the perfect attributes, and that there are angels, and that all Scriptures and all Messengers sent by Allah are true.

After that it was clearly stressed that the ‘believers’ of this ummah (Muslim community) will do nothing as was done by past communities when they planted seeds of discord among messengers of Allah by accepting some as prophets and by denying that status to others. The Jews accepted that Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) was a prophet, the Christians accepted that Sayyidna ` Isa (علیہ السلام) was a prophet, but that the Last of the prophets, Sayyidna Muhammad (saw) was a prophet was not accepted by them.

Praised here is the distinction of this umrnah which is made of people who do not reject any prophet. This is followed by words of admiration for what the noble Companions had said when so directed by the Holy Prophet (saw) :
سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَ‌انَكَ رَ‌بَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِير
We have listened, and obeyed. Our Lord, Your pardon! And to You is the return.

(2:285) The Messenger believes, and so do the believers, in the guidance sent down upon him from his Lord: each of them believes in Allah, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers. They say: “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers. We hear and obey. Our Lord! Grant us Your forgiveness; to You we are destined to return.” [337]

[337] This verse outlines what one is required to believe in and what should be the distinguishing characteristics of one’s conduct. They consist of the following: belief in God, in His angels, in His Books, in all His Messengers (instead of some rather than others), and in the fact that ultimately one will have to stand before God’s judgement. These are the five fundamental articles of faith in Islam. Having accepted them, the only proper attitude for a Muslim is to cheerfully accept and follow whatever directives he receives from God. Instead of exulting in his moral excellence he should be humble and should constantly seek God’s forgiveness and mercy.

Ayat 284
Ayat 286