154. " And do not say of those who are slain in Allah's way: ' They are dead.' Nay (they are) alive, but you perceive (it) not."
The Qur'anic phrase ' of those who are slain in Allah's way ' refers to those who are slain (i.e. martyred) in the battles led by the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) or Imams (a.s.) or one of their specific deputies, as well as anyone who is martyred on the path of Islam and propagation of the religion of Allah. The content of the verse is inclusive of not only all who are slain in the path of Allah such as: the immaculate Imams (a.s.) their ministers, Muslim scholars and believers, although the occasion of revelation of the verse is reported that it was revealed about the Muslims who were martyred in the battle of Badr, but also any one other than them.
" And do not say of those who are slain in Allah's way:
' They are dead.'..."
The phenomenon of martyrdom is more clearly described in Sura 'Ali-'Imran, No. 3, verses 169,170 which gives further information about the truth that those who surrender or sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah (i.e. the martyrs) are alive receiving their sustenance from their Lord.
" And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord;" " Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace, ..."
The term /sahid/ ' martyred ' used in many occurrences in the Qur'an refers to this blissful state of realization.
Therefore, this stage of life, i.e. the life immediately after death, i.e. the purgatory life, is not allocated to martyrs alone, though the verse
is about them, but it envelops all people, because stating something does not mean that the unstated, but applicable, instances are not involved. For example, when we say ' this man is just ', it does not mean that justice belongs to him exclusively and there is not any other just person; while there may be thousands of people who are just.
Thus, this verse, here, confirms the purgatorial life for the martyrs. This life, the intermediate state, according to many verses of the Qur'an and abundant Islamic traditions, exists for all believers and nonbelievers both, with a distinction. The soul of a believer, after departuring from its physical body, will settle in a body similar to this one and will be sustained in that world until when the Hereafter comes forth; while the soul of a nonbeliever, during the time when passing this course, will be in torment, as the Qur'an says: " (In falsehood will they be) until when death comes to one of them, he says: ' O' my Lord! send me back (to life) , " " In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected. ' By no means! It is but a word he says, Before them is a partition till the Day they are raised up." (Sura Al-Mu'min, No. 23, verses 99 and 100) .
It is narrated from Yunus-ibn-Thibyan who said he was sitting
with Imam Sadiq (a.s.) when he was explaining about the believers'
souls and he (a.s.) said: " O' Yunus! when Allah gets the soul of a believer taken, He puts his soul in a setting like his body that was in this world. So, they eat and drink and when a comer enters he recognizes them in the same form as they were in the world." (1)
Also, Abu-Basir narrates from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) who, about the believers' souls, said: " (They will be) in Heaven with the same features as their (worldly) bodies were so that if you see him (one of them) you will surely recognize him and say who he is." (2)
Then the Qur'an continues saying:
"...Nay, (they are) alive, ..."
Life is divided into four sorts: the plant-life, the animal-life, the human-life, and the Faith-life.
(1) Majma'- ul-Bayan,vol. 1,p.236
Plant-life is the power of growth which is common among plants and animals including human beings. The death of this particular life is when that power stops.
Animal-life is the power by which feeling and conscious movement come to being. Human beings and animals have this life in common. It dies when this power ceases.
Human-life is the faculty of general reasoning and perceiving by which Man is distinguished from animal. This phenomenon emerges because of that abstract and rational soul which administrates this body.
Its death causes the interruption of this administration and breaking off its connection with the body but there is no destruction for it and it remains to return to the body again when the Resurrection occurs. So, this purgatorial state exists not only for martyrs or Muslims, but for the soul of every conscious being.
Faith-life is the peace of mind, assurance of self, and clearness of heart all of which come into existence for a believer through Faith and knowing Allah. It is in this state that he can live in rest and tranquility with joy and pleasure because the toils, hardships, and miseries of this world would not create any awe, worry, anxiety or instability for him. This very condition originates from his relianace and belief in Providence, Who gives only goodness.
This life is the same as the ' good life ', about which the Lord says: " Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions." (Sura An-Nahl, No. 16, verse 97) . And, the Qur'an also says: " O' you who have Faith! give your response to Allah and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; ..." (Sura Al-Anfal, No. 8, verse 24) .
It is said that the utterances in a language indicate meanings so that letter and spirit correspond with each other. For example, the term 'light or lamp ' is applied to any means which is used in darkness to get brightness from. Then, whatever has this function, the application of that term for it is correct, although the substance is different from the point of material, form and other qualities.
Life is a general sense which is recognized by the appearance of the effects which are expected from it. In this sense, the term ' life ' is used for the Essence of Allah, too. The example of this idea is recited in Sura 'Al-i-'Imran, No. 3, verse 2 which says: " Allah! there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal." That is, the Essence from Whom the effects of knowledge and power are clear and manifest.
That is why some sholars said that Allah's life is His very Knowledge and Power. Of course, the Essence of the Knower and the Mighty is alive. Therefore, wherever the effects of this meaning exist, the application of this utterance is correct, but it is not necessary that its kind and its characteristics and properties, which are appropriate to those particular situations, be the same everywhere and in all circumstances. Hence, the life in Purgatory, from the point of quality for martyrs and other people, is of the quality of the same world. It is for this reason that the people of this world with their senses, the quality of the nature of which is of the quality of this world, can not perceive that which is of the quality of the nature of that world.
"...but you perceive (it) not."
By the way, this verse clears the doubt of materialist and pagans who believe that with death, man's life becomes extinct, i.e. there is no life after death. Here, the Qur'an warns all, Muslim or non-Muslim, that MAN'S LIFE DOES NOT PERISH AFTER DEATH, BUT IT DOES REMAIN.
So, with this in mind, we realize that there is nothing more valuable or worthwhile than the time spent striving for the perfection of such a life. May Allah help us all to follow His Ordinances that He so graciously made available to us by way of the Qur'an in order that we might experience success in this life and in the Hereafter.
155. "And We will surely test you (all) with something of fear and hunger and loss of property, lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to the (steadfast) patient."
156. "Who, when a calamity befalls them, (by showing perseverance) , say: ' Verily we belong to Allah, and certainly unto Him shall we return'."
157. " Those are they on whom are blessings and Mercy from their Lord, and they are the ones that are guided (aright) ."
Trial, an Indisputable Divine Rule
Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said: "Even though Allah, the Glorious, knows them more than they know themselves, yet He does so to let them perform actions with which they earn reward or punishment." (1)
Concerning the sense of rial, in a sermon, he (a.s.) also has remarked:
"...Certainly, Allah tries His servants in respect of evil actions by decreasing
(1) Nahjul Balaqah, Saying No. 93
fruits, holding back blessings and closing treasures of good, so that he who wishes to repent may repent, he who wishes to recall (forgotten good) may recall, and he who wishes to abstain (from evil) may abstain. ..." (1)
* * * *
Allah (s.w.t.) tests all human beings, but with varieties. All the different sites of the world are the testing-places, and all the members of humanity, even the prophets, are under trial, and all the pleasant and unpleasant things are the means of trial. We ought to know that the Divine examinations are not done in order to clear out the ambiguity, but they are to evoke and train the capacities and abilities of humankind.
The means of this trial are all bitter and sweet happenings of Man, including: fear, hunger, loss of property, lives, agricultural products, fear from enemies, economic siege, and taking part in Holy War himself, or by sending children and dear ones to the battle of war. These trials were experienced in the first war of Islam (battle of Badr) , and will also come forth at the time of the reappearance of the Expected Mahdi, the twelfth Imam (May allah hasten his glad advent) , for which Muslims should be prepared.
The inflictions, which human beings encounter with, are usually concerned with wealth, life, children, or the fear of the loss of either of them.
The secret of mentioning ' fear ', among the means of trials, first, may be that the purpose is the fear for the lack of either of those three things. It is always before the loss of the very things that one fears of losing them.
Then, next to fear, hunger is pointed out, which comes into being as a result of poverty. Yet, in this respect, fasting is counted one of the examples of hunger.
Loss of property has been situated in the third degree. The loss of wealth, of course, is very bitter, especially for a rich person when he
(1) Nahjul-Balaq ah, Sermon 143
Then there comes the loss of life, which often occurs because of different ailments or after being wounded: in a battle-field and Holy War in the way of Allah, and so on.
And, finally, the loss of fruits comes forth. Some of the commentators have rendered this loss into the death of one's child, which is the heaviest calamity.
"...but give glad tidings to the (steadfast) patient."
It addresses the prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) that he gives glad tidings to those people who persevere with patience in their calamities and difficulties.
Some commentators have said that this ' glad tidings' points to the reward of Heaven and the merit of Divine forgiveness for them, as Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said: "Allah, Mighty and Glorious, said: '...but give glad tidings to the (steadfast) patient', or, (that is) , with Paradise and forgiveness." (1)
But in another tradition, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has rendered the concept of ' glad tidings ' into the reappearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s.) , where he says:
" Before the rise of Gha'im (Al-Mahdi) (May Allah hasten his auspicious reappearance) there will appear some signs by which Allah tries the Muslim believers. " Muhammad-ibn-Muslim, (who was one of the special followers of the Imam) , said that he required to know what those signs were; and he (a.s.) answered:" Those are the same that Allah, the Glorious, has expressed in the Qur'an, thus: ' And We will surely test you (all) with something of fear and hunger and loss of property, lives and fruits;'
So far as he (a.s.) recited: '...but give glad tidings to the (steadfast) patient', and continued to say: ' This means to give glad tidings to the believers who show patience and perseverance in these calamities for the advent of the Gha'im (a.s.) , (viz., Hadrat Mahdi, May Allah (s.w.t.) hasten his glad advent." (2)
Yes, the world is anxiously awaiting the advent of this great
(1) Al-Burhan fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an, vol. 1, p. 169
(2) Al-Burhan fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an, vol. 1, p.197
reformer (a.s.) . When he comes, he will fill the world full of justice. Then, there will be no inequity, no cruelty, and no transgression. Allah will open the doors of blessings out of the earth and heaven because of his auspicious appearance. At that time, the believing people can continue to live peacefully and easily under his esteemed government, to prove their worship and servitude to Allah.
Concerning this meaning, in a tradition, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has said:" Al-Mahdi is mine. His luminous forehead is high and wide, while over whose nose there is a little projection. He will fill the earth with justice, just as it is filled up with aggression and cruelty." (1)
* * * *
"Who, when a calamity befalls them, (by showing perseverance) , say: ' Verily we belong to Allah, and certainly unto Him shall we return'."
After recounting different calamities, and giving glad tidings to the patient, it introduces this group of patient who, with this competency, rightfully deserve to be given glad tidings. It is clear that every ordinary person is not fit to be rewarded with all these excellences and dignities. Hence, that reward, i.e. the glad tidings, is specialized to the ones whose patience originates from a firm foundation. This particular glad tidings is qualified by a special blessing and Mercy from the side of Allah. These kind of people are those ones whose hearts turn to their Lord at the moment of meeting with a calamity when, they say:
"... Verily we belong to Allah, and certainly unto Him shall we return'."
They treat such because they have realized, through knowledge of certainty or by visual certainty, that whatever exists belongs to Allah and is under His Will. So, whatsoever He has given to human-kind in this world, such as: soul, property, children, and all other similar respects, are ficticious.
They also know that whatever Allah has bestowed upon them
(5) Tara'if, by sayyid-ibn-Tawus, p. 177; & Sunan Abi-Dawud, vol. 4, p. 152
has been based upon His Wisdom, and when He takes it from them, it is not taken because of miserliness, but it is for His good that He takes a blessing from a person to mercifully impart a better one. They have found out that their return, their destination, as well as the return of every thing, is undoubtedly unto Him.
* * * *
However, he who, based on these foundations, knows and remembers that his soul, wealth, and whatever he possesses belongs to Allah and is under His Authority, surrenders to His divine decrees. The one, with this awareness, will be patient and thankful properly and reasonably. Such a person, of course, is one of those eligible believers for whom Allah says: " Those are they on whom are blessings and Mercy from their Lord,...", and they are prosperous.
Some of the commentators have said that / salawat/ (blessings and peace) , which comes from Allah (s.w.t.) , is the same as ' fogiveness', while some others believe that it is 'praise'.
The term /salawat/ (blessings) is said in the plural form because it refers to the abundant mercy of Allah. It may mean that there are many frequent blessings for these steadfast patient from Allah which do not cease.
It is narrated from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who said:" The person who receives a calamity and thereafter, whenever the one remembers it, utters the phrase ' Verily we belong to Allah, and certainly unto Him shall we return ', Allah gives the believer once again the reward of the day when the one received that calamity". (Even though there has passed a long time after that calamity) . (1)
He (p.b.u.h.) has also said in another tradition that, for such a person, Allah will amend that calamity with a better quality than before and his destiny will conclude well.(2)
"...and they are the ones that are guided (aright) ."
(1) Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 82, p. 142
(2) Makhzan-ul-'Irfan, vol. 2, p. 143
This group of the patient, as was mentioned in the above, when they entangle with a calamity, are patiently steadfast, since they have known that they themselves and what they have are all Allah's, and in His possession. They also know that their return is unto Him, and they express this fact, too, by their tongue and with uttering the above holy phrase. Such people have attained the rank and position of nearness to Allah. Their march is gain after gain, i.e. an ever progressive gain. They are, in fact, guided aright.
58. " Behold, Safa and Marwah are among the Symbols (appointed by) Allah; so whoever makes the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House, or performs 'Umrah, therefore it is no blame on him to go round them both. And for whoever (obeys Him and) initiates good, then verily Allah is Grateful, All-Knowing."
Occasion of Revelation:
Running between Safa and Marwah, is obligatory with the Shi'ah, the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) , and it is one of the main actions in both greater pilgrimage (Hajj) and lesser pilgrimage ('Umrah) . But, at the beginning of Islam, those Muslims were not willing to perform it because they had imagined that there had been something wrong in it, for, at the Age of ignorance, there had been an idol in Safa called: 'Usaf, and another in Marwah named: Na'ilah, which pagans used to touch both while running therein. So, this very verse was revealed to make the Muslims free from that false imagination. This very meaning is cited in At-Tibyan fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an, narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) .(1) The idea is also cited with more details in Majma'-ul-Bayan, narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) . It begins thus:
" Muslims had usually seen some signs of innovation from the pagans of pre Islamic era of Ignorance, (so they disliked to circumambulate them) . Then, Allah sent this verse down (to remove that aversion) ." (2)
(1) At-Tibyan fi-Tafsir-il-Qur'an, vol. 2, p.44
(2) Majma'-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 240
The expansion of this description is thus that before the advent of Islam and also at the time of revelation some pagans and idol-worshippers used to go to Mecca to make Hajj pilgrimage with a particular form which was common at that time. Their fulfilment of Hajj pilgrimage was principally originated from Prophet Ebrahim (Abraham) (a.s.) but with a mixture of superstitions and polytheism. Some of their ritual actions were: halt at 'Arafat, sacrifice, circumambulation, and run between Safa and Marwah, which were done in a special state.
Islam, clearing out that noble performance from superstitions, accepted Hajj pilgrimage as a great worship and approved all of its correct and pure ceremonies.
One of the deeds which was to be done then was /Sa'y/, i.e., running between two hillocks called Safa and Marwah, over which the aforementioned idols were kept and pagans touched them when climbing those two hillocks.
Hence, Muslims were averse to going to these hillocks and thought that in that circumstance it was not right for them to perform running between Safa and Marwah.
Then, it was at the time of 'Umrat-ul-Ghad¤a (in seventh A.H.) that the above verse was revealed and announced that Safa and Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah and, although some ignorant people have polluted them with idols, it is not right that Muslims abandon the obligatory running between them.
Acts Done Ignorantly
This verse, regarding the particular psychological conditions that was mentioned in the occasion of revelation, preliminarily informs Muslims that Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah:
" Behold, Safa and Marwah are among the Symbols (appointed by) Allah;..."
After this introductory sentence, it subsequently comes to the meaning that:
"...so, whoever makes the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House, or performs 'Umrah, therefore it is no blame on him to go round them both. ..."
The wrong behaviour of pagans, that had polluted the symbols of Allah with those idols, should never decrease anything of the importance of those two sacred sites.
At the end of the verse, it says:
"... And for whoever (obeys Him and) initiates good, then verily Allah is Grateful, All-Knowing."
Therefore, the Lord, by giving good rewards bountifully, thanks the servants for their obedience and doing right actions; while He is completely aware of their intentions and knows who is interested in the idols and who is averse to them.
It may be worthy to say that the terms Safa and Marwah are referred to in the Qur'an only once.
These two hillocks stand nearly 420 meters opposite each other. This distance is now set up as a covered hall under whose ceiling the pilgrims perform the running, /sa'y/. The height of Safa Mount is 15 meters, and that of Marwah is 8 meters.
These two terms, used now as proper names for those two hillocks, are philologically meaningful, too. The term /safa/ means a hard smooth stone, while /marwah/ means a hard rough stone.
The Qur'anic term /sha'a'ir/ is the plural form of /sha'irah/ which means ' ritual sign'. Therefore, the phrase /sha'a'irillah/ means anything which reminds a person of Allah, and revives a sacred remembrance in one's mind which, itself, would be an act of virtue or devotion to Allah.
The term /'i'tamara/, derived from /'umrah/, originally means the additional parts that are added to a building in order to complete it. This word, used in religious terminology, is applied for special deeds added to the performances of Hajj Pilgrimage. (When 'Umrah is done separate from Hajj pilgrimage, it is called / 'umrah mufradah/, a single 'Umrah) . This minor pilgrimage to Mecca is very much similar to Hajj pilgrimage in many aspects, but its difference is not so minute, of course.
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