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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah - The Cow) > Section 25 (Verses 197 to 210)



Section/Ruku 25 [Verses 197 to 210]: The Pilgrimage:
Chapter 2: (Al-Baqarah - The Cow)
(Revealed at Madinah: 40 sections; 286 verses)

1. Translation:

197 The months of the pilgrimage are well known;
a so whoever determines to perform pilgrimage therein there shall be no immodest speech, nor abusing, nor altercation in the pilgrimage.b And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And make provisionc for yourselves, the best provision being to keep one’s duty. And keep your duty to Me, O men of understanding.

198 It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord.a So when you press on from ‘Arafat,b remember Allah near the Holy Monument,c and remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly of the erring ones.

199 Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, and ask the forgiveness of Allah. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.a

200 And when you have performed your devotions, laud Allah as you lauded your fathers,a rather a more hearty lauding. But there are some people who say, Our Lord, give us in the world. And for such there is no portion in the Hereafter.

201 And there are some among them who say: Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire.a

202 For those there is a portion on account of what they have earned. And Allah is Swift in reckoning.

203 And remember Allah during the appointed days.a Then whoever hastens off in two days, it is no sin for him; and whoever stays behind, it is no sin for him,b for one who keeps his duty. And keep your duty to Allah, and know that you will be gathered together to Him.

204 And of men is he whose speech about the life of this world pleases thee, and he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries.a

205 And when he holds authority, he makes effort in the land to cause mischief in it and destroy tilth and offspring; and Allah loves not mischief.

206 And when it is said to him, Be careful of thy duty to Allah, pride carries him off to sin — so hell is sufficient for him. And certainly evil is the resting-place.a

207 And of men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is Compassionate to the servants.

208 O you who believe, enter into complete peacea and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Surely he is your open enemy.

209 But if you slip after clear arguments have come to you, then know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.

210 They wait for naught but that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds with angels, and the matter has (already) been decided. And to Allah are (all) matters returned.a

 2. Commentary:

197a. The well-known months are Shawwal, Dhu-l-Qa‘dah and the first nine days of Dhu-l-Hijjah. It is in these days that a man can enter into the state of ihram for performing the pilgrimage. [Back to verse 197]

197b. Three things are prohibited in pilgrimage, rafath, fusuq and jidal. Rafath means foul, unseemly, immodest or obscene speech (LL). Fusuq, according to a saying of the Prophet, signifies abusing (Rz). Jidal signifies contending in an altercation or disputing or litigating (LL). The pilgrimage represents the final stage of spiritual progress, and hence the pilgrim is enjoined not to speak words which should be a source of annoyance to anybody. Perfect love of God requires perfect peace with man; hence no offence should be caused to any man. The doing of good to others is recommended instead in the words whatever good you do, Allah knows it. [Back to verse 197]

197c. By provision (zad) is meant provision for the journey to Makkah. Some people used to start for a pilgrimage without sufficient means, on the pretence that they trusted in God for their sustenance. But the words carry a deeper significance, to which a reference is contained in the words the best provision being to keep one’s duty, or the guarding of oneself against evil (taqwa), showing that provision for the soul which is the keeping of one’s duty is more important than provision for the body. [Back to verse 197]

198a. Seeking the bounty of the Lord (al-fadl) here stands for trading (Rz). The word is used in this sense in the Holy Qur’an in several places, as in 73:20. What is meant is that there is no harm in seeking an increase of wealth by trading in Makkah in the pilgrimage season. Before the advent of Islam, fairs were held for trading purposes in the pilgrimage season, the most well-known of which were the ‘Ukaz, Majinnah and Dhu-l-Majaz. The Muslims thought that to do any work for worldly gain was inconsistent with the lofty spiritual object which they had in view in the pilgrimage (B. 25:150). They were told that it was not so and that worldly advancement could be combined with spiritual progress. Conferences could also be called at Makkah during the pilgrimage, to inspire the Muslim world with a unity of purpose in their political outlook as also for the solution of other world problems. [Back to verse 198]

198b. ‘Arafat is the place where the pilgrims assemble on the 9th Dhu-l-Hijjah. It is at a distance of about nine miles from Makkah. Here the vast gathering from all countries and nations clad in one dress, with one utterance, labbaika Allah-umma labbaika (here I am, O Allah, in Thy Presence), declares the glory of God. Here the Imam standing on Jabal Rahmat, the Mountain of Mercy, addresses the whole meeting. The word ‘Arafat is derived from ‘arafa, he knew, or acquainted himself with, a thing, and there is undoubtedly a reference in this name to the fact that here men feel truly the august Divine presence. Ifadah signifies the advancing or pressing on in journeying with multitude (LL). [Back to verse 198]

198c. The Mash‘ar al-haram, which literally signifies the Holy Monument, stands for the place known as Muzdalafah, or the ground bordering on it, where the pilgrims stop for the night after their return from ‘Arafat on the evening of the ninth Dhu-l-Hijjah. [Back to verse 198]

199a. The Quraish and the Kananah, who styled themselves the Hams, as indicating their strength and vehemence, used to stay at Muzdalafah, thinking it beneath their dignity to join other pilgrims in going forth to the plain of ‘Arafat. As all distinctions were levelled by Islam, they were told to consider themselves on a par with others (B. 25:91). [Back to verse 199]

200a. In the days of ignorance they used to boast among themselves of the greatness of their fathers after they had performed the pilgrimage, when they assembled in ‘Ukaz and other places. This shows what the Qur’an destroyed and what it constructed; what it swept away, and what it established in its place. They were forbidden to boast of the greatness of their fathers, and bidden to celebrate the praise of Allah instead, as He would make them much greater than their forefathers. And the insignificant Arab nation became a great nation, the greatest nation of the world, as it combined its physical conquests with intellectual and moral conquests. [Back to verse 200]

201a. This is the true Muslim’s prayer. As he is taught to pray for both the good of this life and that of the next, so he should exert himself to attain good in this life as well as in the Hereafter. Islam offers a middle course between materialism and monkery. [Back to verse 201]

203a. The appointed days are the three days following the day of Sacrifice, and are called the days of Tashriq. [Back to verse 203]

203b. Ordinarily pilgrims leave on the afternoon of the last day of Tashriq days, but they are allowed to leave on the evening of the second day. [Back to verse 203]

204a. Various conjectures have been made as to the particular person meant, but the best authorities agree that no particular person is meant (Rz). The context also shows that the words relate to mischief-makers, who assured the Prophet of their sympathy with him, but who were really waiting for an opportunity to inflict loss upon the Muslims. [Back to verse 204]

206a. Mihad (resting-place) means a cradle, and also what a man has prepared for himself (LL). Both these significances illustrate the nature of hell. It is a thing which a man prepares for himself; and for a new spiritual growth in the Hereafter in the case of those who retarded that growth here by their engrossment in the world or by pursuing an evil course, it serves the same purpose as the cradle for a child. Elsewhere hell is called an umm or mother (101:9). [Back to verse 206]

208a. Here the Muslims are told that Truth cannot be established unless they work for it whole-heartedly. The word silm means peace as well as submission (R). In fact, complete submission to God is synonymous with complete peace. [Back to verse 208]

210a. The coming of Allah stands for the execution of His command or the coming of the threatened punishment for those who wanted to annihilate Islam. The matter has already been decided, we are told, because it was repeatedly made clear in the earliest revelations that all opposition to Islam would be brought to naught. Elsewhere it is said: “Await they aught, but that the angels should come to them or that thy Lord’s command should come to pass”. And it is added: “So the evil of what they did afflicted them and that which they mocked encompassed them” (16:33, 34). The same phrase is used to indicate the execution of the Divine punishment in 59:2, where the Jews, who were ultimately banished on account of their mischiefs, are spoken of: “...while they thought that their fortresses would defend them against Allah, but Allah came to them from a place they expected not”. In the shadows of the clouds there is a reference to the coming down of rain in the battle of Badr (8:11) which was one of the causes of the destruction of the enemy. [Back to verse 210]



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Chapter 1: Al-Fatihah (The Opening)

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah - The Cow) > Section 25 (Verses 197 to 210)