Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 53 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 53
And when it is recited to them, they say, “We have believed in it; indeed, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed we were, [even] before it, Muslims [submitting to Allah].”
And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will) from before this.
When it is recited to them they say: “We believe in it for it is the Truth from our Lord. Indeed we were already Muslims.”
And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims (like ‘Abdullah bin Salam and Salman Al-Farisi, etc.).
And when it is recited unto them, they say: We believe in it. Lo! it is the Truth from our Lord. Lo! even before it we were of those who surrender (unto Him).
And when it is recited to them, they say, “We believe in it; surely it is the Truth from our Lord. Surely (even) before it, we were Muslims.” (i.e. those who surrendered “to Allah”).
and, when it is recited to them, say, ‘We believe in it, it is the truth from our Lord. Before it came we had already devoted ourselves to Him.’
Quran 28 Verse 53 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Qasas ayat 53, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(28:53) When it is recited to them they say: “We believe in it for it is the Truth from our Lord. Indeed we were already Muslims.”
73. That is, “Even before this we were believers in the Prophets and the divine Books. Therefore, we had no other faith than Islam and we have believed in that Book too, which this Prophet has brought from Allah. Thus, no change has occurred in our religion: we were Muslims before even as we are Muslims now.”
This saying clearly indicates that Islam is not the name of the faith brought by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the term Muslim is not only applicable to his followers, but Islam has been the faith of all the prophets since the very beginning and their followers were Muslims in every age. These Muslims became disbelievers only when they refused to acknowledge a true prophet who came afterwards. But no interruption occurred in the Islam of those people who believed in the former prophet and also affirmed faith in the prophet who succeeded him. They continued to be Muslims as they had been Muslims before.
It is strange that even some learned men also have failed to comprehend this fact, and this clear verse also could not satisfy them. Allama Suyuti wrote a treatise on the subject that the term Muslim was only reserved for the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Then, as he further says, when this verse came before him, he was stunned: he prayed to God to guide him in the matter. At last, instead of revising his opinion he stuck to it even more firmly and gave several interpretations of the verse, each to which is more meaningless than the other. For example, one of his interpretations is: “We were Muslims even before this” means: We intended to become Muslims even before the revelation of the Quran, because we had been foretold by our Scriptures that it would come, and we had the intention that when it came we would accept Islam.” Another interpretation is: “In this sentence, the word bi-hi after muslimin is omitted, implying: We believed in the Quran beforehand, because we expected it would come, and had believed in it in anticipation. Therefore, we were Muslims, not because we believed in the Torah and the Gospels, but because we had believed in the Quran as Allah”s Word even before its revelation.” The third interpretation is: “It had been divinely destined for us that we would accept Islam on the advent of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the revelation of the Quran; therefore, we were Muslims even before this.” None of these interpretations bears any impress that divine help had become available for the right understanding of this verse.
The fact is that the Quran has expressed this fundamental principle not only here, but also at scores of other places that the real way of life is only Islam (submission to Allah), and in God’s universe there can be no other way of life than this for His creatures. Since the beginning of the creation every Prophet who came for the guidance of mankind brought this very way of life: the Prophets themselves have always been Muslims, and they impressed upon their followers also to live as Muslims, and all their followers who submitted to the divine command brought by the Prophets, were also Muslims in every age. Consider the following few verses for instance:
(1) Indeed, Islam is the only right way of life in the sight of Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran: Ayat 19).
(2) Whoever adopts any other than this way of submission (Islam), it will not be accepted from him. (Surah Aal- Imran: Ayat 85).
(3) My reward is with Allah, and I have been commanded to believe like a Muslim. (Surah Yunus: Ayat 72). About Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his descendants it has been said:
(4) When his Lord said to him, “Surrender”, he promptly responded, “I have surrendered to the Lord of the universe (and become a Muslim)”. He also enjoined on his children to follow the same way. Jacob (peace be upon him) also did the same and his last will to his sons was: “O my children, Allah has chosen the same way of life for you. Hence, remain Muslims up to your last breath.” Were you present at the time when Jacob (peace be upon him) was on the point of death? He asked his children, “Whom will you worship after me?” They all answered, “We will worship the same One Allah Whom you, your forefathers Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac (peace be upon them) acknowledged as their Allah and to Him we all surrender as Muslims.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 133).
(5) Abraham (peace be upon him) was neither a Jew, nor a Christian, but he was a Muslim, sound in the Faith.” (Surah Aal-Imran: Ayat 67). Prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them) prayed:
(6) Lord, make us Thy Muslims and raise from our offspring a community which should also be Muslim (submissive to Thy will). (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 128). In connection with the story of the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) it has been said:
(7) “We did not find in it any house of the Muslims except one.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat: Ayat 36). The Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah:
(8) Let me die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous in the end. (Surah Yusuf: Ayat 101). Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) said to his people:
(9) O my people, if you sincerely believe in Allah, put your trust in Him, if you are Muslims. (Surah Yunus: Ayat 84). The real religion of the Israelites was not Judaism but Islam as was known to their friends and foes alike. That is why the last words that Pharaoh said while drowning were:
(10) I have believed that there is no god but the real God in Whom the children of Israel have believed, and I am of the Muslims.” (Surah Yunus: Ayat 90). Islam was the Way of life of all the Israelite prophets:
(11) Indeed, We sent down the Torah wherein was uigdance and light: thereby all the prophets, who were Muslims, judged the cases of those who had become Jews.” (Surah Al-Maidah: Ayat 44). The same was the Prophet Solomon’s (peace be upon him) way of life. So when the queen of Sheba believed in him, she said.
(12) I submit myself (as a Muslim) with Solomon (peace be upon him) to Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (Surah An-Naml: Ayat 44). And the same was the religion of the disciples of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him):
(13) And when I inspired the disciples to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: We believe and bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Sura Al-Maidah: Ayat 111).
In this connection, if somebody expresses the doubt that the Arabic words “lslam” and “Muslims” could not have been used in different languages and countries, it would not obviously be a justified objection. For the real thing is not the Arabic words but the meaning in which they are used in Arabic. In fact, what has been stressed in the above cited verses is that the real way of life sent by God was neither Christianity, nor Mosaicism, nor Muhammadanism, but to surrender to the divine commands taught by the prophets and the scriptures, and whoever adopted this way anywhere and at any time in the world, is the follower of the same universal, eternal and everlasting true way of life. For those who have adopted this way consciously and sincerely, it is no change of the faith to believe in Jesus after Moses and in Muhammad after Jesus(peace be upon them), but a natural and logical demand following the same real way of life (Islam). Contrary to this, those people who got into the Prophets’ communities without due understanding or were born in them, and for whom nationalistic and racial and tribal prejudices were the religion, became mere Jews or Christians, and on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) their ignorance was exposed. For by refusing to believe in the last Prophet of Allah, they not only refused to remain Muslims in the future but also proved that they were not “Muslims” even before: they had been charmed by the personality of a Prophet or Prophets, or had taken blind conformity to their forefathers for religion.
The tafsir of Surah Qasas verse 53 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Qasas ayat 52 which provides the complete commentary from verse 52 through 55.
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