Word by Word
Those who split up their Religion, and become (mere) Sects,- each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!
[of] those (mina'lladheena is a substitution [for al-mushrikeena, 'idolaters'] using the same operator of the oblique [min]) who have divided up their religion, by being at variance over what they worship, and have become [dissenting] factions, sects divided over this [matter], each party, among them, rejoicing, delighting, in what they have (a variant reading [for farraqoo] is faaraqoo, in other words, 'of those who have parted with the religion to which they have been commanded').
A Parable of Tawhid
This is the parable Allah makes of the idolators, those who worship others besides Him and attribute partners to Him, while at the same time admitting that these so-called partners -- idols and false gods -- are enslaved to and belong to Him.
In their Talbiyah (during Hajj and Umrah they used to say,
At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.
Allah says here:
ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلً مِنۡ أَنفُسِكُمۡ
He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves,
`something which you yourselves can see witness, and understand.'
هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَانُكُم مِّن شُرَكَاء فِي مَا رَزَقۡنَاكُمۡ فَأَنتُمۡ فِيهِ سَوَاء
Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you...
`None of you would like to have his servant as a partner in his wealth, each of them having an equal share.'
تَخَافُونَهُمۡ كَخِيفَتِكُمۡ أَنفُسَكُمۡ
whom you fear as you fear each other.
`You fear that they will have a share in your wealth with you.'
Abu Mijlaz said,
You do not fear that your servant will have a share in your wealth, because he has no such right; similarly, Allah has no partner.
The point is, that since any one of you would abhor such a thing, how can you attribute rivals to Allah from among His creation!
At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn Abbas said,
The people of Shirk used to say in their Talbiyah,
`At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.'
Then Allah revealed the words:
هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَانُكُم مِّن شُرَكَاء فِي مَا رَزَقۡنَاكُمۡ فَأَنتُمۡ فِيهِ سَوَاء تَخَافُونَهُمۡ كَخِيفَتِكُمۡ أَنفُسَكُمۡ
Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, whom you fear as you fear each other...
If humans have this characteristic, this parable shows that it is even less befitting for Allah to have a partner.
كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الاۡيَاتِ لِقَوۡمٍ يَعۡقِلُونَ
Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.
Then Allah points out that when the idolators worship others instead of Him, doing so out of their own folly and ignorance:
بَلِ اتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا
Nay, but those who do wrong follow..., (meaning, the idolators),
أَهۡوَاءهُم بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٍ
...their own lusts without knowledge.
means, in their worship of false gods without knowledge.
فَمَن يَهۡدِي مَنۡ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ
Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray,
means, no one can guide them if Allah has decreed that they will be misguided.
وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ
And for such there will be no helpers.
means, there is no one who can save them from the power of Allah or grant them a way out, for what He wills, happens and what He does not will, does not happen.
The Command to adhere to Tawhid
فَأَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطۡرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيۡهَا
So, set you your face towards the religion as a Hanif. Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah's Khalq, that is the straight religion, but most men know not.
`so set your face and persevere in the religion which Allah has prescribed for you, the worship of Allah Alone, the religion of Ibrahim, to which Allah has guided you and which He has perfected for you with the utmost perfection. In this manner, you will also adhere to the sound Fitrah with which He created His creation.'
Allah created His creation to recognize Him and know His Tawhid, and that there is no God except Him, as we have already seen when discussing the Ayah,
وَأَشۡهَدَهُمۡ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمۡ أَلَسۡتَ بِرَبِّكُمۡ قَالُواۡ بَلَى
and made them testify as to themselves (saying):Am I not your Lord?
They said:Yes!... (7:172)
And according to a Hadith, Allah said,
إِنِّي خَلَقۡتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ فَاجۡتَالَتۡهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ عَنۡ دِينِهِم
I created my servants Hunafa (i.e., monotheists), then the Shayatin misled them from their religion.
We will see in the Hadiths that Allah created His creation with the Fitrah of Islam, then among some of them there emerged corrupt religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.
لَاا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ اللَّهِ
No change let there be in Allah's Khalq,
Some of them said that this means, `do not change the creation of Allah, for if you do, you will divert the people away from the Fitrah with which He created them.'
So it is instructive; just as His saying:
وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ ءَامِناً
And whoever enters it, he is safe
This is a good and correct interpretation. Others said that this means, Allah made all of His creation equal, all of them have the same sound Fitrah and are by nature upright; they are all born with this nature and there is no disparity among people in this regard.
Ibn Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd said that the Ayah:
لَاا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ اللَّه
(No change let there be in Allah's Khalq),
means, the religion of Allah.
لَاا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ اللَّه
(No change let there be in Allah's Khalq),
It means, the religion of Allah, and the religion, and the Fitrah is Islam.
Then he reported that Abu Hurayrah said,
The Messenger of Allah said:
مَا مِنۡ مَوۡلُودٍ يُولَدُ إِلاَّ عَلَى الۡفِطۡرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوۡ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوۡ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ كَمَا تُنۡتَجُ الۡبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمۡعَاءَ هَلۡ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنۡ جَدۡعَاءَ
No child is born except in a state of Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian, just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself -- do you see any among them that are born mutilated?
then the narrator (Abu Hurayrah) said (recite this Ayah),
فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيۡهَا لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الۡقَيِّمُ
Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah's Khalq, that is the straight religion.
This was also recorded by Muslim.
ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الۡقَيِّمُ
that is the straight religion,
means, adherence to the Shariah and the sound Fitrah is the true, straight religion.
وَلَكِنَّ أَكۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
but most men know not.
means, most people do not know this and they deviate far astray from it, as Allah says:
وَمَأ أَكۡثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتَ بِمُوۡمِنِينَ
And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly. (12:103)
وَإِن تُطِعۡ أَكۡثَرَ مَن فِى الاٌّرۡضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path. (6:116)
turning in repentance to Him,
Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jurayj said,
This means, returning to Him.
and have Taqwa of Him;
means, fear Him and remember that He is always watching.
and perform the Salah,
which is the greatest act of worship.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
and be not of the idolators.
Be of those who single out Allah, devoting their worship sincerely for Him alone, not anyone or anything other than Him.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Yazid bin Abi Maryam said:
Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, passed by Mu`adh bin Jabal and asked, `What is the foundation of this Ummah?'
Mu`adh said, `Three things, and they are the things that will bring salvation:
Al-Ikhlas (doing a deed for Allah alone), which is the Fitrah with which Allah created mankind;
Salah, which is the thing that tells a believer apart from a disbeliever;
and obedience, which is protection.'
Umar said:`You have spoken the truth.
Splitting into Sects and the Saved Sect
مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمۡ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا كُلُّ حِزۡبٍ بِمَا لَدَيۡهِمۡ فَرِحُونَ
Of those who Farraqu Dinahum (split up their religion), and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.
means, do not be of the idolators who split up their religion, i.e., changed it by believing in parts of it and rejecting other parts.
Some scholars read this as Faraqu Dinahum, meaning
neglected their religion and left it behind them.
These are like the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, idol worshippers and all the followers of false religions, besides the followers of Islam, as Allah says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواۡ دِينَهُمۡ وَكَانُواۡ شِيَعًا لَّسۡتَ مِنۡهُمۡ فِى شَىۡءٍ إِنَّمَأ أَمۡرُهُمۡ إِلَى اللَّهِ
Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah. (6:159)
The followers of the religions before us had differences of opinions and split into false sects, each group claiming to be following the truth. This Ummah too has split into sects, all of which are misguided apart from one, which is Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah, those who adhere to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah and what was followed by the first generations, the Companions, their followers, and the Imams of the Muslims of earlier and later times.
In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah was asked which of the sects was the saved sect and he said:
مَا أَنَا عَلَيۡهِ وَأَصۡحَابِي
What I and my Companions are upon
How man sways between Tawhid and Shirk, and between Joy and Despair, according to His Circumstances
وَإِذَا مَسَّ النَّاسَ ضُرٌّ دَعَوۡا رَبَّهُم مُّنِيبِينَ إِلَيۡهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا أَذَاقَهُم مِّنۡهُ رَحۡمَةً إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنۡهُم بِرَبِّهِمۡ يُشۡرِكُونَ
And when harm touches men, they cry sincerely only to their Lord, turning to Him in repentance; but when He gives them a taste of His mercy, behold, a party of them associates partners in worship with their Lord.
Allah tells us that when man is in dire straits, he calls upon Allah alone with no partner or associate, then when times of ease come and they have the choice, some people associate others with Allah and worship others alongside Him
لِيَكۡفُرُوا بِمَا اتَيۡنَاهُمۡ فَتَمَتَّعُوا
So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them. Then enjoy;
Then Allah warns them by saying:
but you will come to know.
One of them said:
By Allah, if a law enforcement officer were to say this to me, I would be afraid, so how about when the One Who is issuing the warning is the One Who merely says to a thing Be! and it is.
Then Allah denounces the idolators for fabricating lies and worshipping others instead of Him with no evidence or proof
أَمۡ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطَانًا
Or have We revealed to them an authority, (means, proof).
which speaks, (means, tells),
بِمَا كَانُوا بِهِ يُشۡرِكُونَ
of that which they have been associating with Him!
This is a rhetorical question intended to denounce them, for they have no such thing.
وَإِذَا أَذَقۡنَا النَّاسَ رَحۡمَةً فَرِحُوا بِهَا وَإِن تُصِبۡهُمۡ سَيِّيَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ إِذَا هُمۡ يَقۡنَطُونَ
And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!
This is a denunciation of man for the way he is, except for those whom Allah protects and helps, for when man is given blessings, he is proud, and says:
ذَهَبَ السَّيِّيَاتُ عَنِّي إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ فَخُورٌ
Ills have departed from me. Surely, he is exultant, and boastful. (11:10)
He rejoices over himself and boasts to others, but when difficulties befall him, He despairs of ever having anything good again.
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواۡ وَعَمِلُواۡ الصَّـلِحَاتِ
Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds.
They are patient during times of difficulty and do good deeds at times of ease.
It was reported in the Sahih:
عَجَبًا لِلۡمُوۡمِنِ لَا يَقۡضِي اللهُ لَهُ قَضَاءً إِلاَّ كَانَ خَيۡرًا لَهُ إِنۡ أَصَابَتۡهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيۡرًا لَهُ وَإِنۡ أَصَابَتۡهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيۡرًا لَه
How wonderful is the affair of the believer. Allah does not decree anything for him but it is good for him. If good things happen to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him; and if bad things happen to him, he bears that with patience, and that is good for him.
أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ الرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَيَقۡدِرُ
Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills).
He is the One Who is controlling and doing that, by His wisdom and justice, so He expands the provision for some people and restricts it for some.
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَايَاتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ يُوۡمِنُونَ
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe
The Command to uphold the Ties of Kinship and the Prohibition of Riba Allah commands giving:
فَأتِ ذَا الۡقُرۡبَى حَقَّهُ
So, give to the kindred his due,
his due of respect and upholding the ties of kinship.
and to Al-Miskin,
the one who has nothing to spend on his needs, or he has something but it is not enough.
and to the wayfarer.
the traveler who is in need of money and other things during his journey.
ذَلِكَ خَيۡرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ اللَّهِ
That is best for those who seek Allah's Face;
meaning; to look upon Him on the Day of Resurrection, which is the ultimate aim.
وَأُوۡلَيِكَ هُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
and it is they who will be successful.
means, in this world and the Hereafter.
Then Allah says
وَمَا اتَيۡتُم مِّن رِّبًا لِّيَرۡبُوَ فِي أَمۡوَالِ النَّاسِ فَلَ يَرۡبُو عِندَ اللَّهِ
And that which you give in Riba, in order that it may increase from other people's property, has no increase with Allah;
This means, that which is given as a gift to others in the hope that they will give back more than they were given. There is no reward for this with Allah.
This is how this Ayah was interpreted by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b and Ash-Sha`bi.
وَمَا اتَيۡتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ اللَّهِ فَأُوۡلَيِكَ هُمُ الۡمُضۡعِفُونَ
but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah's Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.
Those are the ones for whom Allah will multiply the reward.
It was reported in the Sahih:
وَمَا تَصَدَّقَ أَحَدٌ بِعَدۡلِ تَمۡرَةٍ مِنۡ كَسۡبٍ طَيِّبٍ إِلاَّ أَخَذَهَا الرَّحۡمَنُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَيُرَبِّيهَا لِصَاحِبِهَا كَمَا يُرَبِّي أَحَدُكُمۡ فَلُوَّهُ أَوۡ فَصِيلَهُ حَتَّى تَصِيرَ التَّمۡرَةُ أَعۡظَمَ مِنۡ أُحُد
No person gives in charity the equivalent of a date which was earned in a lawful manner, but the Most Merciful takes it in His Right Hand and takes care of it for its owner, just as any one of you takes care of his foal or young camel, until the date becomes the size of Mount Uhud.
Creation, Provision, Life and Death are all in the Hand of Allah
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمۡ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمۡ
Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you,
means, He is the Creator and Provider.
He brings man forth from his mother's womb naked and knowing nothing, not able to see or hear, and having no strength. Then He provides him with all these things, giving him household effects, clothing, wealth, possessions and earnings.
then will cause you to die,
means, after this life.
then (again) He will give you life.
means, on the Day of Resurrection.
هَلۡ مِن شُرَكَايِكُم
Is there any of your partners,
means, those whom you worship instead of Allah,
مَّن يَفۡعَلُ مِن ذَلِكُم مِّن شَيۡءٍ
that do anything of that,
meaning, none of them are able to do any of that. But Allah is the One Who is Independent in His powers of creation, provision, and giving life and death. Then He will resurrect His creation on the Day of Resurrection. This is why, after all this He says:
سُبۡحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ
Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate.
meaning, exalted and sanctified and glorified be He far above having any partner, peer, equal, son or father, for He is the One, the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him.
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