Category: Art & Culture

Surat Al-Maida -5- Medinian –Ayats 120 – Section – Seven – Verses 78-100

(Hadeeth Sharif)- (1) –Verse 78: Narrated Abu Hurairah that he heard God’s Messenger saying:”God willed to test three Israelites who were a leper, a blind man and a bald-headed man. So, He sent them an angel who came to the leper and said: ’what thing do you like most?’ He replied, ‘good color and good skin, for the people have strong aversion to me.’ The angel touched him and his illness was cured, and he was given a good color and beautiful skin. The angel asked him, ‘what kind of property do you like best?’ He replied, ‘Camels’ so he –the leper- was given a pregnant she-camel and the angel said to him, ‘May God bless you in it’. The angel then went to the bald-headed man and said; ‘what thing do you like most?’ He said; ‘I like good hair and wish to be cured of this disease, for the people feel repulsion for me’. The angel touched him and his illness was cured, and he was given good hair. The angel asked him; ‘what kind of property do you like best?’ He replied; ‘Cows’. The angle gave him a pregnant cow and said; ‘May God bless you in it’. Then the angel went to the blind man and asked; ‘what thing do you like best?’ He said; ‘(I like) that God may restore my eyesight to me so that I may see the people.’ The angel touched his eyes and God gave back his eyesight. The angel asked him; ‘what kind of property do you like best?’ He replied; ‘Sheep’. The angel gave him a pregnant sheep. Afterwards all the three pregnant animals gave birth to young ones, and multiplied and brought forth so much that one of the three men had a herd of camels filling a valley, and one had a herd of cows filling a valley, and one had flock of sheep filling a valley. Then the angel disguised in the shape and appearance of a leper, and went to the leper and said; ‘I am a poor man, who has lost all means of livelihood while on a journey. So none will satisfy my need, except God and then you, so in the Name of Him Who has given you such nice color and beautiful skin, and so much property, I ask you to give me a camel so that I may reach my destination.’ The man replied ‘I have many obligations, so I cannot give you’. The angel said; ‘I think I know you. Were you not a leper to whom people had strong aversion? Weren’t you a poor man, and then God gave you all this property? He replied; ‘this is all wrong, I got this property through inheritance from my forefathers. The angel said; ‘if you are telling a lie then let God make you as you were before.’ Then the angel disguised in the shape and appearance of a bald man, went to the bald man and said to him the same as he told the first one, and he too answered the same as the first one did. The said; ‘if you are telling a lie, then let God make as you were before. The angel then disguised in the shape of a blind man, went to the blind man and said; ‘I am a poor man and a traveler, whose means of livelihood have been exhausted while on a journey, I have nobody to help me except God, and after Him you yourself, I ask you in the name of Him Who has given back your eyesight to give me a sheep, so that with its help I may complete my journey. The man said: ‘no doubt I was blind and God gave me back my eyesight, I was poor and God made me rich, so take anything you wish from my property  which you may take for God’s sake. The angel said; ‘keep your property with you. You -the three men- have been tested, and God is pleased with you, (blind man), and is angry with your two companions” –Saheeh Al-Bukhary.
(2)- Verse 89 (a): Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet [PPBUH] said: “We Muslims are the last to come in the world, but we will be foremost on the Day of Resurrection”. God’s Messenger [PPBUH] also said: “by God, if anyone of you insists on fulfilling and oath by which he may harm his family, he commits a greater sin in God’s consideration than that of dissolving his oath and making its expiation with that which God has commanded” –Saheeh Al-Bukhary. –Verse 89(b): It is better not to take oath, but if you have taken it, and later you find a better solution for the problem, then act according to the better one and give expiation for the oath.
(Verse 78)- Matt. xxiii 33 (you serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell?); also Matt. xii 34.
(Verses 79-80-81)- There are bad men in every community, but if the leader connive at the misdeeds of the commonalty –and even worse- if the leaders themselves share in the misdeeds, as happened with the Pharisees and Scribes against whom Jesus spoke out, then that community is doomed.
(Verses 82-83-84-85-86)-(a) The meaning is not that they call themselves Christians, but that they are such sincere Christians that they appreciate Muslim virtues, as did the Abyssinians to whom Muslim refugees went during the persecution in Mecca. They would say: ”It is true we are Christians, but we understand your point of view, and we know you are good men”. They are Muslim at heart, whatever their label may be. (b) Qissisin=قسيسين: translated as “devoted to learning”, following the commentators. It seems to be a foreign word possibly Abyssinian rather than Syriac, as reference seems to be to the Abyssinians Christians. Their real devotion to learning and the renunciation of the world by the Monastic Orders are contrasted with the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Pharisees and Scribes.
(Commentary –verses 87-111)- In the physical pleasures of life the crime is excess: there is no merit in abstention from things that are good and lawful. Take no rash vows, but to solemn oaths be faithful. Shun as abominations drinking and gambling, and superstitions of all kinds. But be reverent to what is sacred in rites and associations. Not the same are things good and things evil. Learn to distinguish, but pry not into questions beyond your ken. Guard your own souls in truth and justice, and no harm can befall you).
(Verses 87-88)- In pleasures that are good and lawful the crime is excess. There is no merit merely in abstention or asceticism, though the humility or unselfishness that may go with asceticism may have its value. In verse 82 Christian monks are praised for particular virtues, though here and elsewhere monasticism is disapproved of. It is lawful to use God’s gifts of all kinds, with gratitude; but excess is not approved of by God.
(Verse 89)- Vows of penance or abstention may sometimes be futile, or even stand in the way of a really good or virtuous act, (see Surat Al-Bagara 2 verses 224-226 and notes). The general principles established are: (1) take no futile oaths: (2) Do not use God’s Name –literally or in intention, to fetter yourself against doing a lawful or good act: (3) keep to your solemn oaths to the utmost of your ability: (4) where you are unable to do so, expiate your failure by feeding or clothing the poor, or manumit a slave by obtaining some one’s freedom, and if you have no means or capability, then by fasting. This is from a spiritual aspect. If any part suffers damage from your failure, compensation will be due to him; but that would be a question of law or equity.