Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 65

Important Notes

1:The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them.

2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries.

3. Answers to exercise below may be attempted. Parents may evaluate them and reward the children suitably.

4. Schools could also include this in their Islamic curriculum.

5. The underlined words have been explained in the Dictionary given below.

Verses fromSurah no. 2, Al-Baqarah

[Note that we have dropped out verses from 221 to 242 because they talk about marriage, separation, etc., which young minds cannot fully understand. We will only include a simple translation when Surah Baqarah is printed as a book, Allah willing].

[243]Have you not heard of those who left their homes – although they were in thousands – fearing death?! So Allah said to them: ‘Die.’ Later, He brought them back to life. Surely, Allah is full of grace for the people, but most people do not give thanks.

[244] Fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is the All‑hearing, the All‑knowing.

[245]Who is it that will offer Allah a goodly loan so that Allah may increase it many times over? And Allah holds back, and gives (whosoever He wills); and it is to Him that you will return.

[246]Have you not heard of the elders of the Children of Israel after Musa? When they said to one of their Prophets, ‘Appoint a king for us so that we fight (under his command) in the way of Allah.’ He replied, ‘Is it possible that if fighting is ordered on you, you will not fight?’ They said: ‘What will keep us away from fighting in the way of Allah when (the situation is that) we have been thrown out of our homes and (separated from our) children?’ But when fighting was ordered on them, they turned away except for a few of them. And Allah knows well the wrong-doers.

Understanding these verses:

Verse 243 carries the story of a people of the past. History says that they were some 4000 in number who ran away from their town out of fear of an enemy attack. The right thing for them was to have stayed and fought back if attacked. When they ran away, Allah dealt death to them all. But a Prophet prayed for them, so Allah brought them back to life. That is why the next verse says,“fight in the way of Allah,”that is, instead of running away when attacked, fight back.

A nation of believers should not act cowardly. They must fight back when attacked. But in Islam fighting is not for the sake of fighting. It must have a good cause. It has to be in Allah’s way; in His path; in His cause.

What it means is that the fight should not be for gaining territory, or for resources of another country, such as, gold, or oil, or simply for enslaving a people. It should not be in the cause of a language. It should not be for the sake of a race. The intention should be to spread the word of Allah, belief in Him, and worship for Him. The fight should not be against the common people. It should be against the leaders who enslave their own populations and do not give them freedom to follow a religion of their choice. If the leaders are removed, the common people will make their own decisions about which religion to follow. In every generation, a few people will choose to abandon false gods and choose to worship the One, True God. Gradually, over centuries, a large number of people will make this choice.

So, if there has to be a fight, let it be for the sake of Allah. This is the message of the verse 244.

But, fighting needs arms, and arms need money. The money should also come from the believers. If they donate money in the cause of Allah, they will not become poor. Allah will give them back wealth many times over in the next world.

In verse 246,the Qur’an speaks of another story. It is that of the Children of Israel (Jews). At one time they were attacked and they ran away, leaving their children behind. After that they began to ask their Prophet to get them permission from their Lord to attack their enemies. But he knew that his followers were cowards. They feared death. So he told them not to ask Allah for permission to fight back because if they are given permission, they will act cowardly and not fight. They said (in our words), ‘No way. When we had to run away from our homes, and our children have been taken slaves, why should we not fight back?’ But exactly that happened which their Prophet had feared so that when Allah appointed a king over them and ordered them to fight under his command, they began to disagree. Perhaps they said, “How can Allah order us to fight? Is not our religion, a religion of peace? Can religion spread with the help of swords? Should we not learn how to live in peace with followers of other religions?” And so on. They forgot that their enemy had started the war, and had even taken some of their wives and children as slaves, and that they themselves had asked permission to fight back.

This is the example of cowardly nations. They cannot fight back even when humiliated by their enemies. They prefer slavery to men over slavery to God.

But, it must be remembered that individualsor a group of them cannot take up guns and start a war. Further, in our times, wars should be avoided as much as possible. This is because modern warfare is horrendous. It does lot of damage to the common people while the leaders – who start the war – escape unhurt. Fifty million people were killed in a few years during the Second World War.

Test of understanding:

Answer the following:

  1. What do cowards do when they are attacked?
  2. What happens if they fight back and die?
  3. What do the cowards say when they are told to fight back when attacked?
  4. What kind of people have two tongues?
  5. What do the leaders of a nation do to their own people?
  6. Whose slavery is better: Allah’s or peoples? Give reasons.
  7. What are the things for which one should not fight?
  8. What is it that one should fight for, if forced to fight?
  9. Can individuals or groups start a war?

(To be continued)