From the Book, Introduction to the Tafseer of the Quran, by the Ameer of Hizb ut Tahrir, the eminent jurist and statesman, Sheikh Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah.
﴿قُلْ أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا فِي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ وَلَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ * أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطَ كَانُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى قُلْ أَأَنْتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمْ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِنْدَهُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ * تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَلاَ تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
“Say (O Muhammad to the Jews and Christians), “Do you dispute with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. And we are sincere to Him (i.e. we worship Him alone and none else, and we obey His orders).”) * Or say you that Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub and the Descendants (Al-Asbat), were Jews or Christians Say, “Do you know better or does Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony he has from Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”) * That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:139-141)
Allah سبحانه وتعالى clarifies in these verses the following:
- Allah سبحانه وتعالى has in the previous verses made clear the invalidity of the claim of the Jews and the Christians regarding Ibrahim and Ya’qub (as) that they both were on their religion and their religion upon Truth and Guidance to follow, and after that Allah سبحانه وتعالى made clear that Truth is Imaan (Belief) in Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the previous Prophets (as) and whatsoever was revealed to them without discrimination, and that if they desired guidance, they must follow this Truth and submit or else they will be in discord and their discord is sufficient for Allah سبحانه وتعالى and RasulAllah ﷺ.
Even after the full clarification, they still argue with Muslims and argue that they are on Truth, so Allah سبحانه وتعالى addressed His Messenger ﷺ that he tells them how do you argue with us that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is for you alone and that you are right in all that you do whilst others are wrong, when this argument is invalid for Allah سبحانه وتعالى is the Lord of all of us together and drawing close to Him requires actions and not vain hope and the measure or scale of our actions and your actions is the criterion in this, particularly when we are sincere to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and honest with Allah سبحانه وتعالى in our Imaan.
أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا “Do you dispute with us” is a question of denial and rebuke i.e. do you still argue with us after all that has been made clear to you?
وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ “And we are sincere to Him” which exposes the lack of sincerity of the Jews and the Christians, that they commit Shirk (Polytheism) by ascribing a son according to what they describe, amongst other that of evil that they manufacture. And الإخلاص (sincerity) is action for the sake of Allah سبحانه وتعالى alone, purified from every Shirk or interest, rather with honesty and in all honesty restricting work to solely seeking to please Allah The Exalted.
And RasulAllah ﷺ said,«إن الله تعالى يقول: من أشرك معي شريكاً فهو لشريكه. يا أيها الناس أخلصوا أعمالكم لله تعالى فإن الله تعالى لا يقبل إلا ما خَلُص له» “Indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى says: Whoever associates with a me a partner he is his partner. O people, be sincere to Allah سبحانه وتعالى in your actions, for Allah سبحانه وتعالى only accepts what is sincere to Him alone.” [Ahmed 125/4]
- أَمْ تَقُولُونَ “Or say you” in this Recurrent Recitation (Mutawattir):
- It could be أَمْ “Or” is متصلة (Continuous with that which came before) i.e. قُلْ أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا “Say: Do you dispute with us” أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ “Or say you that Ibrahim” both clauses are within one single sentence regarding the following two matters that “that you dispute with Allah سبحانه وتعالى AND (also) you say that Ibrahim and Isma’il”… It is a Munkar (Evil) and means rejection of both and reprimand of both matters.
- It may be أَمْ “Or” is منقطعة Discontinuous in form such as with (بل) (but) and (Hamza) which in this case shows chastisement and the transition from a reprimand for disputing to a reprimand for fabrication against the Prophets (as).
In this case, the new sentenceأَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطَ كَانُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى “Or say you that Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub and Al-Asbat, were Jews or Christians” is a continuation, which is not contained in the first matter in the previous ayah.
The meaning is: “they not only argue without evidence but they also say without evidence also, that they fabricate against the prophets that they were Jew or a Christian, which is a transition from a reprimand for disputing to a reprimand for slandering the Prophets (as).
And there is another (second) Recurrent Recitation for the Ayah أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ “Or say you that Ibrahim, Isma`il” and in this case (أَمْ) “Or” may be Discontinuous without exception, because the form of the first Ayah قُلْ أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا “Say: Do you dispute with us” is a direct speech whilst the form of the second Ayah أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ “Or say you that Ibrahim, Isma`il” is that of chastisement of the addressed party against backbiting. It is not appropriate in Continuity for the address to move from a particular addressed to other than the addressed, though it is appropriate in the Discontinuous, so it is considered Discontinuous.
Since the first Recitation of أَمْ “or” has two meanings that are المتشابه (Similar) and the second Recitation of أَمْ “or” has one meaning which is of المحكم (Perfected), the two Recurrent Recitations and the Perfected prevails over the Homologous. Therefore, it may be that the أَمْ “or” is Discontinuous and so the meaning of the Ayah is: “that Jews and Christians not only argue without evidence but they also fabricate against the Prophets saying that – Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqub and the Descendants – were Jews or Christians and Allah سبحانه وتعالى reprimanded them for that.”
- Indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى is the most Knowing regarding Ibrahim (as) and the Prophets (as) after him for they were Upright (Haneef) for Allah سبحانه وتعالى only, Muslims not Jews or Christians قُلْ أَأَنْتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمْ اللَّهُ “Do you know better or does Allah.”
- They know from their books that these Prophets are neither Jews nor Christians, but conceal it deliberately, and the worst of the concealers are those who conceal certain testimony that they have through all that Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed in their books and so they are the most unjust of those who conceal
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِنْدَهُ مِنْ اللَّهِ
“And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony he has from Allah.”
And Allah سبحانه وتعالى concludes in the Ayah that He does not lose sight of anything and He knows what they hide and what they announce through concealing of testimony and fabricating against the Prophets of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and other acts, and Allah سبحانه وتعالى will punish them with the severe punishment that they deserve.
تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَلاَ تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.”
This Ayah is repeated for confirmation and its commentary has been mentioned in a previous Ayah which is sufficient from us.
سبحان ربك رب العزة عما يصفون * وسلام على المرسلين * والحمد لله رب العالمين
“Exalted is your Lord, the Lord of might, above what they describe * And peace be upon the messengers * And All Praise to Allah the Lord of all the worlds.”
(Surah As-Saffat 37:80-82)