Rabu, 18 November 2009

Tafsir Surat Al-Isra' 17:45

{"And when you recite the Qur'an, We put an invisible veil between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter."}

[Qur'an al-Isra' 17; 45]


A group of the Mufassirin explained this verse to mean that the aversion to and heedlessness of the Qur'an and Islam on the part of the disbelievers is the result of a barrier that was placed on their hearts by Allah, making them unable to comprehend or realize any of the wisdom contained therein. This was the explanation of Qatadah, as well as al-Hasan al-Basri.

However, various narrated incidents show that the verse carries an interpretation and meaning that is more literal to its wording; i.e., that one of the means by which Allah prevents his righteous servants from being thrown into the clutches of the disbelievers and being exposed to their harm is through the protection attained by the recitation of the Qur'an itself.

The following is collected from al-Qurtubi's commentary on the above verse:

1 - Asma' bint Abi Bakr said:

"When the chapter 'al-Masad' was revealed, al-'Awra' Umm Jamil bint Harb came looking for the Prophet with a stick in her hands while the Prophet was sitting in the courtyard of the mosque with Abu Bakr. So, when Abu Bakr saw her, he said to the Prophet: "She is coming, and I fear that she will see you!" So, the Messenger of Allah said: "She will not be able to see me," and he recited the Qur'an, seeking a firm handhold by it. He recited: {"And when you recite the Qur'an, We put an invisible veil between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter."}

So, she stood in front of Abu Bakr, and did not see the Messenger of Allah. She said: "O Abu Bakr! I have been informed that your companion has insulted me!" He said: "No, by the Lord of this House, he has not insulted you."

So, she turned and walked away, saying: "Quraysh knows that I am the daughter of its most noble man!""

2 - Sa'id bin Jubayr said:

"When the verse {"May the hands of Abu Lahab perish, and may he perish!"} was revealed, the wife of Abu Lahab came to the Prophet while he was with Abu Bakr. So, Abu Bakr said: "Move away, so that you will not hear from her that which would hurt you, as she is a harsh woman!" So, the Prophet said: "A protection will be put for me from her," and she was unable to see him. She said: "O Abu Bakr! Your companion has insulted me!" He said: "By Allah, he does not say poetry." She said: "So, you believe in him?" and angrily walked away.

So, Abu Bakr said: "O Messenger of Allah! Did she not see you?"

The Prophet replied: "An Angel was standing between she and I, shielding me from her, until she went away.""

3 - Ka'b bin Malik said:

"The Prophet used to shield himself from the disbelievers using three verses:

{"Truly, We have set veils over their hearts so that they do not understand this (Qur'an), and deafness in their ears..."} [al-Kahf; 57]

{"They are those upon whose hearts, hearing, and sight Allah has set a seal."} [an-Nahl; 108]

{"Have you seen he who takes his own lust as his god, and Allah, knowing him as such, has left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight?"} [al-Jathiyah; 23]

So, when the Prophet would recite them, he would be shielded from the polytheists.

I informed a man from Sham of this. He travelled to the lands of the Romans and was kept there for some time as a prisoner. After a while, he escaped from the Romans, and they went out to hunt him and bring him back as a captive. He recited these verses, and, although they were with him on the same road, they were never able to find him."

4 - ath-Tha'labi said:

"I relayed the same information (regarding these three verses) to a man from the people of Ray. One time, he was imprisoned in Daylam, where he stayed there for some time before escaping. They went out searching for him, so, he recited these verses. When they finally caught up to where he was, and his clothing was touching their clothing, they were still unable to see him."

5 - al-Qurtubi himself said:

"And a similar thing happened to me in our land of Andalusia, in Qurtubah (Cordova, Spain). I had escaped from in front of the enemy, rushing to a corner of his castle fortress where I could not be detected. So, two knights were sent out to search for me, while I was simply squatting on the ground with no protection of barrier between they and I. So, I began reciting: {"And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so, they cannot see."} [Ya Sin; 9] and other verses from the Qur'an. The two knights approached me, looked around, and returned back from where they had came, with one of them saying to the other: "This man is a demon!"

So, Allah - the Mighty and Exalted - blinded them from seeing me, and all praise is due to Allah for this."

[Taken from al-Qurtubi's 'al-Jami' li Ahkam al-Qur'an'; 10/116-117]

I ask Allah to protect us all from the clutches of the kuffar, and being exposed to their harm.

Say 'amin.'