Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Youthful Minds

Summary of Interpretations

Surah 2, Al-Baqarah Verses 8-16

[8] And, among the people are some who declare: ‘We believe in Allah and in the Hereafter,’ while they are not believers at all.

[9] They (would all but) deceive Allah and the faithful. But they deceive not (anyone) but themselves: but they perceive not.

[10] In their hearts is a disease. So Allah caused increase in their disease. For them is a painful chastisement, because they used to lie.

[11] When they are told, ‘Spread not corruption in the land,’ they say, ‘(Quite the opposite), it is we indeed (who are) improving the things.

[12] Lo! They in fact are the corrupters, but they realize not.

[13] When they are told, ‘Believe as the people have believed (in sincerity),’ they say, ‘Shall we believe as the fools have believed?’ Truly, they are the foolish ones, but they realize not.

[14] When they come across the faithful, they assert, ‘We (also) believe (like you have believed).’ But when they are alone with their evil ones they assure them, ‘We are with you, we were only mocking.’

[15] Allah (indeed) is mocking with them (by) letting them wander on (blindly) in their insolence.

[16] These are the ones who have bought error at the price of guidance. Their barter profited them not, and they were not rightly guided.

Summary of Interpretations

As against the believers who are only one group, one Ummah, which cannot be further divided, the unbelievers can be divided into two categories: those who disbelieve and openly declare their disbelief, and those who disbelieve but profess faith. In other words, the open unbelievers (verses 6 & 7 described them), and the masked unbelievers.

Again, of the masked unbelievers there are two kinds. One which has made a firm decision about playing-up its hypocrisy and the other which has not made such a firm decision, rather, is in a state of confusion: whether to be on this side or on that side, whether to believe wholeheartedly or to remain out. Both the types, one which is sure about itself, and the other which is not, share certain qualities. These qualities have been described in verses 8 to 16.

The hypocrites are those who profess faith in Islam, but actually are not so convinced about it. Some doubt lingers in their hearts either about our Prophet: is he truly a Prophet? Or about Allah Himself: if He really exists? And, if He does, is He really going to gather the people on the so called Day of Judgment? And, are people really going to be rewarded or punished for their faith and deeds? And so on. (Verse 8)

This state of doubt leads them to skepticism; and that to loose morals. But since they live in a world where others accept certain faiths, follow certain morals, and observe certain norms of behavior: all as dictated by the revelation of Allah, they are left with no choice but to live in duplicity. The true faithful are strongly suspicious of them, but since they are disallowed to pronounce judgments based on insufficient evidence, they say nothing to these charlatans. Also, of the two kinds of hypocrites, the second lot is more vociferous, swearing of its sincerity, launching a psychological warfare, and hardly letting the faithful explain to them the difference between good intentions and chicanery. This leads them to believe that they have been able to deceive them. In fact, although they may not actually believe that Allah – if He exists! – can be deceived, their whole fabric of life is woven with such deceptions and gets so confusing to themselves sometimes, that they believe even Allah will not be able to disentangle the threads of their complex philosophy and uncover their duplicity. How little do they esteem Allah! And how little do they realize that their duplicity is going to recoil on themselves. (Verse 9)

The problem with them is that they suffer from a sickness of the soul. It may have started with a single lie. But one lie led to another, and that to others, until their whole life had to be built on lies. The result was that a sickness settled in their hearts. And since, instead of correcting, they preferred to sleep over it, the sickness took a strong hold of them, and ultimately became so strong and serious that no sign comes from Allah but it increases their disbelief and skepticism, which further harden their attitudes. This is what happens to those who build their bodies and neglect their souls. For them awaits a mighty punishment. (Verse 10)

When they are told that their unrighteous living causes irrecoverable corruption to the land, they simply cannot understand whatever is being meant. Aren’t they working for peace and prosperity?! Look at the most active people around. Isn’t it we? Who does the world owe its development to? Again, is it not we who are working at creating harmony between various conflicting groups? This is how they think. Alas they do not know that their very construction will lead the world to its destruction. (Verses 11 and 12)

Its proper development lies in the people living in accordance with the dictates of the message of Allah. Therefore they ought to give up their dangerous and deceptive philosophies, hidden behind glorious slogans, and become true believers like others. But the reply is: Should we stoop down to the level of the ordinary faithful, submitting ourselves like they have done? Are we to follow the example of those who have no understanding of things, nor are they such intelligent people? (Verse 13)

Actually their true loyalty is with the enemies of Islam who are trying to undermine it. It is in their company that their hypocrisy comes to full light. It is during their private talks with them that they make fun of Islam and its followers, and have a good laugh over how they have been making fools of them. (Verse 14)

But the fact is that since Allah allows them to grow in insolence and error, the mockery is working against them. It is the believers who will have the last laugh. (Verse 15)

Their example is like that of a trader who had to choose one of two commodities, and he chose the wrong one: the one that was not going to sell except at cost lower than the purchase price. That’s what is to happen to them in the Hereafter when they will see the efforts of these life-long efforts bearing no fruit there. (Verse 16)

(To be continued)

“Big John Doesn’t Pay!”

One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus station, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops – a few people got on, a few got off and things went generally well.

At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on, six foot eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” and sat down at the back.

Did I mention that the driver was five foot three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was. Naturally, he didn’t argue with Big John, but he wasn’t happy about it. The next day the same thing happened – Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the next.

This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him. Finally, he could stand it no longer and so he signed up for body-building courses, Karate, Judo, and all that good stuff.

By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what’s more, he felt really good about himself.

So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger and screamed, “And why not???!!!”

With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Because Big John has a bus pass.”

MORAL/ LESSON:

The moral of this incident/ story is quite self-evident. However, it is a lesson that many of us seem to overlook and disregard in the many activities and chores of our life. We learn from this incident that a person should not be hasty in making assumptions and judging a situation or an individual from what seems to be the apparent.

It is essential that a Muslim assumes the best of his fellow being and gives him the benefit of the doubt. If possible, one should allow the fellow being to explain himself as to clear any doubts one may have.

Our Prophet (saws) has stated that being hasty is from Shaytaan, whereas steady composure is from Allah (swt). In the same manner, the ‘Ulamaa have stated that if there is a single reason for doubt in a matter relating to a person, then that doubt should have an effect on the decision that is made.

In conclusion, one should take all factors into consideration and avoid hastiness in judging an individual. Instead, one should try to make the matter clear as to avoid placing false accusations on anyone.

Did You Know…?

 

  • A diamond will not dissolve in acid. The only thing that can destroy it is intense heat.
  • A lump of pure gold the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.
  • Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with the hands.
  • An ounce of gold can be stretched into a wire 50 miles long.
  • Colored diamonds are caused by impurities such as nitrogen (yellow), boron (blue). With red diamonds being due to deformities in the structure of the stone, and green ones being the result of irradiation.
  • Only four important diamond fields have been found – in Africa, South America, India, and the Soviet Union.
  • In 1957, the Shipping port Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went on line. (It was taken out of service in 1982.)
  • Natural gas has no odor. The smell is added artificially so that leaks can be detected.
  • Prussic acid, in a crystalline powder called Zyklon B, was used to kill in Germany’s gas chambers. The gas would paralyze the victim’s lungs, causing them to suffocate.
  • Sea water, loaded with mineral salts, weighs about a pound and a half more per cubit foot than fresh water at the same temperature.
  • Ten per cent of the salt mined in the world each year is used to de-ice the roads in America.
  • The Chinese were using aluminum to make things as early as 300 AD Western civilization didn’t rediscover aluminum until 1827.