The Qur’an for Youthful Minds
Translation & Commentary of Verses from Surah 2, Al-Baqarah
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
 Surely, Allah is not ashamed of striking an example of a mosquito or what be less notable. As for the believers, they know that it is the truth from their Lord. But, as for the unbelievers, they object: ‘What did God mean by such an example?’ Allah leads away from truth many by it and guides many by it. And He does not lead away from truth any by it, but the wrong-doers.
 Those who break the word given to Allah – after they had confirmed it – and those who break (the ties of kin) that Allah has commanded they be joined, and (thus) spread corruption in the land. It is these indeed who are the losers.
When the Qur’an mentioned the examples of such things as a fly (for its helplessness), or a spider (for its weakness), and so on, those who had already been deflected when children, objected: why such little things are mentioned in the Qur’an? Why not something more important such as an elephant, a lion, etc.?
But, Allah explains, it is littleness or bigness is not the reason these animals have been used. While their example itself is perfect, the main purpose has been to test the Unbelievers. Will they learn the lesson or not? Will they use their heads or not? If the example is something complicated (as many others are also there in the Qur’an), the people who rarely use their heads in religious matters, but have reserved it to know the world and make money) come back and say, “Oh. That is too complicated).
So, it seems there is nothing from their Lord that will please them.
A learned commentator of the Qur’an called Sayyid Qutb wrote: “Allah is the Lord of the small and the big. He is the Creator of the mosquito and the elephant. The miracle in the mosquito is of the same kind and nature as the miracle in the elephant. It is the miracle of ‘life’. It is the miracle of the ‘locked secret’ that no one can unlock but Allah Himself. The lesson in an example does not consist in the size or shape of the object used for example.”
So, Allah is not ashamed of using this or that example. But, as His Messenger informed us, He feels ashamed that a man should raise his hands in prayer and He should reject his prayer unanswered.
Thus, it is to try the Unbelievers that examples are given. That is why Allah said that: He leads away many from truth thereby. He gives them an example, but, instead of taking a lesson, they begin to object. So, in reply, he lets them talk and say as they like, in their society, in their media, etc. That increases their disbelief.
But if they believe in Him, His ways, then, he plants goodness in their hearts, so that they begin to do good things in their lives. Allah is Great.
And when they refuse to believe in one God, Lord of the universe, who alone deserves to be worshipped and obeyed, then they are going against their own nature; because a voice from within tells every man and woman that God Lord can only be one. This is because, as Allah has informed us elsewhere in the Qur’an, He planted this truth of all truths in our natures before our birth. This is just as He planted the idea in every child’s nature of sucking at mother’s breast immediately after birth.
While this message of one God is planted in every human being, they confirm to it when they see around them that the universe could only be run by that one God. If there were many, they would quarrel between themselves, like the gods of the Greeks of past history.
Those who deny such truths will pay the price: in this world, when their lives and civilizations collapse, and in the next world, when they open their eyes after death, and discover themselves empty-handed.
Did You Know That…?
- The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
- A snail can sleep for three years.
- The fingerprints of a koala are so indistinguishable from humans that they have on occasion been confused at a crime scene.
- Slugs have four noses.
- Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
- A rhinoceros’ horn is made of hair.
Take a Needle to Heaven
There once lived a wealthy shopkeeper, but he was mean and miserly. He never spent a rupee, never donated a paisa for the Deen of Allah (swt), nor for the needy, and always wore old shoes and tattered clothes. One day, he fell seriously ill and became bedridden.
During his whole life, it was said, he had only one friend: his personal tailor. But unfortunately, he had died a few months earlier. Everyone knew the shopkeeper’s days were numbered. One by one, his family and neighbours came to pay their formal respects. When the tailor’s son arrived, the shopkeeper said, ”It seems that I will not last long here. My moment to rise to heaven has come.”
The young boy, though only fifteen years old, was very wise. He knew of the shopkeepers craving for wealth and miserliness. He replied, ”O uncle! Can you do me a favour?” The shopkeeper became agitated as he thought that the boy would ask for some money or some other favour.
‘Well, you know,” the boy went on, “When my father died, we forgot to bury one of the most important things in life to him – his needle. He would be so happy to receive it. Will you please take this needle with you and give it to him when you meet him?”
The shopkeeper was happy to do anything as long as it did not involve any giving. He took the needle and gave the boy permission to leave. Alone, in his bed, he began wondering: ”Where shall I place the needle? Pin it in my shirt? No, that won’t do. All my clothes will be removed away when I die… In my mouth? Yes, I’ll place the needle in the bulge of my cheek.” Then again, he had second thoughts, ”But my whole body will decompose and turn to dust. How am I to carry this small needle to heaven?”
The more he thought about it the more confused he became. Finally, he called the tailor’s boy and said, ”Son, here, take your needle back. I won’t be able to take it to heaven.”
”But,” the boy looked amused, ”If you are going to carry all your millions of rupees to heaven, then why can’t you carry one little needle?”
The shopkeeper’s inner eyes were opened. He realised that none of his wealth or property would accompany him after death. He prayed to God to forgive him for all his past wickedness and promised to profusely donate his wealth in charity should he survive the illness. God cured him and he kept his word. He built a grand Madrassa, fed hundreds of people and comforted the less fortunate people.
Remember that only wealth which is spent in the service of God, His Deen, and the needy is worthwhile. Our good deeds alone accompany us after death and nothing else will join us.
‘Oh You Who Believe! Fear Allah and let every person consider what he has sent forward for tomorrow (i.e., Day of Judgement).’ [The Qur’an, Surah Hashr: 18]
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