(a) Did Adam (a.s.) disobey Allah? As we see in the Quranic verse:
"... and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him)." (Surah Taha 20:121)
(b) It is mentioned in Surah Anbiya in connection with the breaking of idols that Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "The chief of them has done it." Whereas he himself had broken them.
"So he broke them into pieces, except the Chief of them, that haply they may return to it.
They said: Who has done this to our gods? Most surely he is one of the unjust.
They said: We heard a youth called Ibrahim speak of them.
Said they: Then bring him before the eyes of the people, perhaps they may bear witness.
They said: Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrahim?
He said: Surely (some doer) has done it, the Chief of them is this, therefore ask them, if they can speak.
Then they turned to themselves and said: Surely you yourselves are the unjust.
Then they were made to hang down their heads: Certainly you know that they do not speak." (Surah Anbiya 21:58-65)
(c) The Almighty Allah says in Surah Yusuf, "The servants1 of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) said to his brothers, 'You are indeed thieves.'" whereas they had not stolen the king's drinking cup.
The Quran says,
"So when he furnished them with their provisions (some-one) placed the drinking cup in his brother's bag. Then a crier cried out: O caravan! You are most surely thieves.
They said while they were facing them: What is it that you miss?
They said: We miss the King's drinking cup, and he who shall bring it shall have a camel-load and I am responsible for it.
They said: By Allah! you know for certain that we have not come to make mischief in the land, and we are not thieves.
They said: But what shall be the requital of this, if you are liars?
They said: The requital of this is that the person in whose bag it is found shall himself be (held for) the satisfaction thereof; thus do we punish the wrongdoers.
So he began with their sacks before the sack of his brother, then he brought it out from his brother's sack. Thus did we plan for the sake of Yusuf; it was not (lawful) that he should take his brother under the King's law unless Allah pleased; We raise the degrees of whomsoever We please, and above everyone possessed of knowledge is the All-knowing one.
They said: If he steal, a brother of his did indeed steal before; but Yusuf kept it secret in his heart and did not disclose it to them. He said: You are in an evil condition and Allah knows best what you state. They said: O
(d) The Almighty Allah remarks in Surah Anbiya that the Prophet Zannoon (Yunus) (a.s.) thought that Allah does not have power over him.
As mentioned in the following ayats:
"And Yunus, when he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him, so he called out among afflictions; There is no god but Thou, glory be to Thee; surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss.
So We responded to him and delivered him from the grief, and thus do We deliver the believers." (Surah Anbiya 21:87-88)
(e) Allah mentions in Surah Fath that He has forgiven all the past and future sins of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) after the conquest of Makkah.
"Surely We have given to you a clear victory. That Allah may forgive your past faults and those to follow and complete His favour to you and keep you on a right way.
And that Allah might help you with a mighty help. (Surah Fath 48: 1-3)
The notable fact is that certain commentators of the Holy Quran have failed in grasping the meaning of the ayats quoted above. We shall, first explain the meanings of some phrases and then study the errors in interpretations.
First: Introduction to the terms of discussion.
(a) Divine Orders and Prohibitions.
Some of the Divine orders and prohibitions pertain to this life alone. Their effect is not carried to the Hereafter. For example the ayat, "Eat and drink but do not exceed the limits." (Surah Araf 7:31)
This ayat prohibits eating and drinking beyond limits. But it is accepted by all the scholars that the effects of prodigality in this matter are limited to this life only. Furthermore it is only an advice, the disobedience of which does not incur Divine wrath.
When something is commanded it must be fulfilled. It is obligatory (wajib) and failure to do so is haraam (prohibited). Similarly to do whatever is prohibited is haraam. Such types of orders and prohibitions have everlasting effects on man. If he fails, he becomes liable for divine punishment. In the Islamic terminology it is known as Al Muluwwain. For example, 'Tarke Awla'.
(b) Tarke Awla (Forgoing the preferable act)
Whatever a man does, there is always something better than what he has done. That is, it would have been better if he had not done a particular thing. For example, all the incidents mentioned with regard to the acts of the Prophets (a.s.) fall into this category.
(c) Al Masiya - Disobedience (Sin)
Disobedience of a Divine order is sin. It implies going out of obedience. It pertains to the failure to carry out an order whereby a person becomes a sinner. And the word Amr (order) occurs in a sentence after the mention of the word "Masiyat". For example in Surah Kahf:
1. In Surah Kahf we find the words of Musa (a.s.) to his companions.
"He said: If Allah pleases, you will find me patient and I shall not disobey you in any matter. (amr)" (Surah Kahf 18:69)
2. Another example is present in the description of the angels in charge of the Fire, as mentioned in Surah Tahrim.
"Over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands
However if merely the word 'Command' is mentioned in a sentence it does not denote failure to obey an obligatory command. For example in Surah Taha:
"...and Adam disobeyed his Lord..."
(d) Ad-Danb (Sin)
The effect of sin follows man to the end. However, the effects of some sins are manifested in this life too. It returns back to the ones who have harmed other people.
Similarly, when Prophet Musa (a.s.) sought divine help, the Quran says:
"And when your Lord called out to Musa, saying: Go to the unjust people.
The people of Firon: Will they not guard (against evil)?
He said: O my Lord! Surely I fear that they will reject me;
And my breast straitens, and my tongue is not eloquent, therefore send Thou Haroon (to help me); And they have a crime (Danb) against me, therefore I fear that they may slay me.
He said: By no means, so go you both with Our signs; Surely We are with you, hearing."
The act of Musa (a.s.) whereby he killed a Copt is mentioned in the following ayats of Surah Qasas:
"And he went into the city at a time of unvigilance on the part of its people, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his party and the other of his foes, and he who was of his party cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies, So Musa struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of the Shaitan's doing; surely he is an enemy, openly leading astray.
He said: My Lord! Surely I have done harm to myself so do Thou protect me. So He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.
He said: My Lord! because Thou hast bestowed a favour on me, I shall never be a backer of the guilty. And he was in the city, fearing, awaiting, when lo! he who had asked his assistance the day before was crying out to him for aid. Musa said to him: You are most surely one erring manifestly.
So when he desired to seize him who was an enemy to them both, he said: O Musa! do you intend to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You desire nothing but that you should be a tyrant in the land, and you do not desire to be of those who act aright.
And a man came running from the remotest part of the city. He said: O Musa! surely the Chiefs are consulting together to slay you, therefore depart (at once); surely I am of those who wish well to you. So he went forth therefrom, fearing, awaiting, (and) he said: My Lord! deliver me from the unjust people."
Now the effect of the action of killing the Copt was limited to the worldly life, i.e. the order of Firon to kill Musa (a.s.) in punishment for killing the Copt.
However the effect of sins is evident in the Hereafter. But it can also be manifested in this life also. These sins are those that the creature commits in contravention of the commands of his Lord (glorified is His Name).
(a) Zal Ayeed
It means to be powerful and severe. A powerful person.
One that comes back or returns. Awwaab is like Tawwaab: One who returns to Allah by leaving the sins and by performing divine orders.
Exceeding limits in executing a command or exceeding limits in every sphere of life.
Kufla means nurturing or care-taking. Akfilnihya means, "entrust her to me so that I can nurture her."
(e) Azzani fil Khitab
Azza = to dominate, Azzamfil Khitab = he got an upper hand in conversation with me.
Singular = Khaleet. It means a friend, a neighbour or a partner.
As Zann is suspicion which one gets due to some signs. And sometimes this suspicion reaches to a level of certainty. As Allah says, "and Dawood was sure that We had tried him, so he sought the protection of his Lord." (Surah Saad 38:24) That is he understood that we had examined him. Sometimes instead of reaching to the level of certainty it falls short and remains to a level of mild doubt. For example the Almighty says regarding Hazrat Yunus (a.s.).
"So he thought that We would not straiten him," (Surah Anbiya 21:87)
Al Fitna = Test. It would mean that Dawood (a.s.) was sure that Allah has tested him.
To fall down from up. 'Kharra Rakeyan' means to bow down.
To turn towards something. 'Nawban wa Naubatan' means to come back to something for a second time. 'Wa anabal Abd Ila Allah' = That is he turned to Allah after repenting of his sins, and reposed his faith in Allah and whatever has been revealed, and Ibrahim (a.s.) was of those who turned to Allah in every affair.
(k) Fa Ghaffarma wal Yaghfir
'Ghafara' means to cover or to hide. Superlative of 'Ghafoor' is 'Ghaffaar'. Anything that you have covered is as if you have forgiven it. The helmet of an armour is known as Al Maghfir because it hides the head and the neck. 'Gafarallaho Zunooban': means that Allah has covered or hidden the sins. It would also entail erasing the effects of this sin in this world as well as the Hereafter.
Zulfan means to be near.
Place of return or time of return.
The meaning of Khalifah as expressed in Quran is not the one whom the people had appointed. It means the appointee of Allah whom Allah had sent to establish justice among the people. As the following ayat makes it evident, "O Dawood! surely We have made you a ruler in the
(o) Al Khiyarah
To prefer something over other (things).
Al Wataru: It means a need which is serious. One who achieves his aim or gets his need fulfilled.
Singular = Addayee, one who is associated to a particular class of people though he may not be from them. The most prevalent use of this form is the word 'Mutabanna' (adopted son).
The system fixed by Allah for his creatures.
"Such has been the course of Allah
Allah's commands and His Shariat which He had revealed on the Prophets preceding the Last Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
(s) Qaddaran Maqdooran
The Almighty Allah decided a particular thing. If it is used in connection with sustenance it means "limiting".
To cut or make into pieces, to break.
Youth or zenith of something. The servant boy or a maid are called "Fataa" in a pampering way. A complete man. In the ayat it signifies a full bloom youth.
To bow down the head in perfect obeisance.
(w) As Saqaaya
A cup, a utensil for drinking water, or to be used as a measure.
(x) Al Eer
The people who have are in change of carrying provisions for the people. Sometimes it is also used for the camel caravan laden with provisions.
Here it means the King's cup which is used for drinking water.
One who takes up the responsibility. A responsible person. A leader.
Third: Explanation of the verses.
We begin this discussion with the interpretation of the ayats in the light of the dictionary meaning of some words. Secondly, we will examine the explanations of these ayats as provided by the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
(a) The report of Ibrahim (a.s.) breaking the idols:
Ibrahim (a.s.) says: "The Chief of them is this, therefore ask them, if they can speak." (Surah Anbiya 21:63)
Actually it means this way: The chief of them has done it if he can speak. The meaning is clarified if we see that the next verse says, "Then they were made to hang down their heads: Certainly
(b) The report of Yusuf and his brothers
The words, "You are most surely thieves."
As regards the King's cup they said, "The King's cup is missing." They did not says, "It has been stolen." This also has Toriya (ambiguity) as we have already mentioned.2
(c) Report of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) after the conquest of Makkah.
The Almighty Allah says in Surah Fath:
"Surely We have given you a clear victory,
That Allah may forgive your past faults, and those to follow, and complete His favour to you and keep you on a right way,
And that Allah might help you with a mighty help.
He it is Who sent down tranquility..."
Tafseer of the words:
Here, "Fath" means the Treaty of Hudaibiya. The Almighty has called it a "victory". It was a victory over the apparent power of the Quraysh. The Quraysh failed to subdue the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) even though they had raised an army for the very purpose. After this the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) conquered Makkah.
Gafara means to hide something.
Ar Raghib says: Az Zanb actually means to catch the edge or end of something. Zanb is used for every act which has an evil end.
Taveel of the Ayats
According to the report of Waqidi as recorded in the book Maghazi, the Treaty of Hudaibiya is described in the following manner:
Umar confronted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and said: "Are we not Muslims?" He replied, "Yes."
"Then why have we been given a lowly thing in our religion?." So the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: "I am the servant of Allah and his Messenger and I will never disobey His orders and He will never waste my efforts."
Umar began to argue with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and also discussed the matter with Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaydah. Both of them pacified him. After this incident he used to say, "One day I had a doubt and I referred to the Prophet (s.a.) in a way I have never referred …".3
It became evident that the Treaty was in fact a victory for the Prophet (s.a.) and the Muslims. Whereas, the polytheists thought that it was a sin that the prophet had committed by prohibiting the worship of idols as he had previously done. They were under the impression that it was a mistake on his part and a sort of foolishness. Similarly the killing of the polytheists in the battles of Badr and other battles was included in this "sin". In the due course the Almighty covered all these "sins" at the time of this treaty. Thus this treaty became the cause of every conquest. Hence the Almighty says: "the past faults and those to follow..." (Surah Fath 48:2)
In the same way as Musa says in the Surah Shuara:
"And they have a crime against me,
On the basis of this we can say that the act of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) would rank on the same level as that of the act of Musa (a.s.) in killing the Copt.
This was a discussion based on the dictionary meaning of the terms used in the verses of the Holy Quran. In the coming pages we shall present the interpretation of the ayats in the light of traditional reports.
Sadooq (a.r.) has related a tradition wherein Mamun the Abbasid had invited Imam Reza (a.s.) to have discussions with scholars of various faiths, including Christians, Jews and Zorastrians and Sabieens. Among the muslim scholars was Ali ibnil al-Jaham. Imam Reza (a.s.) was asked. "O son of the Messenger of Allah will (s.a.w.s.) you say something about the infallibility of the Prophets?"
"Yes", replied Imam Reza (a.s.)
"What do you say regarding the ayats:"
"....and Adam disobeyed his Lord."
"And Yunus, when he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him," (Surah Anbiya 21:88)
"And certainly she intended and he intended," (Surah Yusuf 12:24)
"and Dawood was sure that We had tried him, so he sought the protection of his Lord."
"and you concealed in your soul that Allah would bring to light, and you feared..."
Imam Reza (a.s.) replied, "Fie upon you O Ali! Do not attribute such things to Allah. And do not interpret the ayats of Quran according to your personal opinion. For the Almighty Allah says, "But none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge..." (Surah Ale Imran 3:7)
As far as the saying of Allah "....and Adam disobeyed his Lord." is concerned, Allah had created Adam (a.s.) as His proof upon the earth and his vicegerent on His land. He had not created Adam (a.s.) for Paradise. The disobedience of Adam (a.s.) occurred in the garden and not on the earth. When he was sent to the earth and was made the proof and vicegerent, he became immune from sins, as the words of Allah imply, "Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations." (Surah Ale Imran 3:33)
As for the saying of Allah, "And Yunus, when he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him," Actually Yunus (a.s.) thought that Allah will not restrict his sustenance. It does not mean that Yunus (a.s.) was having the belief that Allah had no power to straiten his subsistence. The Quran clearly states: "And whoever has his subsistence straitened to him..." (Surah Talaq 65:7)
Therefore if Yunus (a.s.) had such a belief he would have committed infidelity.
Regarding the words of Allah for Yusuf (a.s.), "And certainly she intended and he intended," She had intended to commit adultery but the intention of Yusuf (a.s.) was to kill her if she forced him to it. This is the hidden reality behind this ayat. However, the Almighty averted Yusuf (a.s.) from such an eventuality (her passion and her murder). As the ayat says, "Thus that We might turn
Here "evil" means murder and "indecency" means adultery. "Now as for Dawood (a.s.), what do you say about him?" Ali bin al-Jaham said, "Surely Dawood (a.s.) was in his prayer room engrossed in prayers when Iblees came in the form of a beautiful bird and disturbed his prayers. So he rose up to catch it but it flew away. He followed her out. She flew to a roof and he also climbed the roof to catch her. The bird alighted in the house of Ooriya ibne Hannaan. Dawood (a.s.) peeped into the house and saw that the wife of Ooriya was bathing. When she looked at him he was infatuated. He sent Ooriya on a military expedition and ordered that he may be kept at the frontline in the battles. But Ooriya defeated the infidels. Dawood (a.s.) was not satisfied, and ordered that Ooriya to be kept near the Taaboot. Ooriya was ultimately killed and Dawood (a.s.) married his widow."
Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) slapped his forehead and said, "Surely we belong to Allah and to Him is our return! You people have certainly attributed sluggishness in prayers towards a Prophet to a limit that he left his prayers and followed the bird. Then you attributed lewdness to him. Ultimately you have implicated him in a murder too!"
Ali Ibn al-Jaham said, "O son of the Prophet! Then tell us, what was his mistake?"
Imam Reza (a.s.) said, "Fie on you! Actually Dawood (a.s.) was under the impression that he was the most intelligent creature of Allah. So Allah sent the two angels who came and hid near the prayer room. Then they said, "Fear not; two litigants, of whom one has acted wrongfully towards the other, therefore decide between us with justice, and do not act unjustly, and guide us to the right way. Surely this is my brother; he has ninety-nine ewes and I have a single ewe;
Dawood (a.s.) gave a judgement in haste and said: Surely he has been unjust to you in demanding your ewe (to add) to his own ewes; (Surah Saad 38:24)
He did not ask the plaintiff to submit the proof for his claim nor did he pay attention to the defendant. He said, "What do you say? Was not this an error of judgement? No you have not understood this! Have you not heard the words of Allah, O Dawood! surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between man with justice and do not follow desire, lest it should lead you astray from the path of Allah; (as for) those who go astray from the path of Allah, they shall surely have a severe punishment because they forgot the day of reckoning." (Surah Sad 38:26)
Ali ibn Jaham said, "O son of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) then what is the incident of Dawood (a.s.) with Ooriya?"
Imam Reza (a.s.) said, "In the time of Dawood (a.s.) a widow was never allowed to remarry. For the first time, the Almighty made it lawful for Dawood (a.s.) to marry a widow.4
As regards Dawood (a.s.), Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) specially said, "No one has come to me claiming that Dawood (a.s.) married the widow of Ooriya, but that I have issued two punishments for him, one of Prophethood and the other of Islam."5
It means that one who says that Dawood (a.s.) married the widow of Ooriya before Ooriya was killed. In another hadith we have, "If any one relates the tradition of Dawood (a.s.) like it is narrated, I will have him lashed 170 times."
One more hadith on this subject states, "This is the penalty of false allegation against a Prophet."6
Sadooq (a.r.) has also mentioned a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: "In the time of Dawood (a.s.) when a woman was widowed she never remarried. For the first time the Almighty made it lawful for Dawood (a.s.) to marry a woman whose husband had been killed. So Dawood (a.s.) married the widow of Ooriya after he was killed and the iddah (a period which has to pass after the death of a husband before his widow can remarry) passed. This was disliked by the people more than the death of Ooriya.7
It is sometimes said that the things presented above are in contradiction of tradition presented by Qummi in his Tafsir. 8
We say: Certainly numerous traditions have been recorded in the explanation of this ayat in the School of Caliphate. The reporters have also included their own opinions and then attributed them to Imam Sadiq (a.s.).
It has been related from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that when he was asked regarding Ooriya, he said, "This is what the Ahle Sunnat say."9
In this hadith Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has made it clear that it is the opinion of the common people and the Ahle Sunnat. However, this opinion has reached the books of Shias and such reports have been classified as 'Ahle Sunnat traditions'.10
When we search for their sources in the books of Tafsir and History of Ahle Sunnah11 we find that such types of traditions have not been recorded from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The reporters did not say that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said it except for one report which is recorded by Suyuti in his tafsir from Yazid bin Raqqashi. We have already proved the weakness of this report.
Now about the incident of Zaid and Zainab:
The relationship of Zaid and Zainab was plagued by the feeling of competition between the sexes which was custom of Jahilya. It was repealed by the law of Islam. The custom of considering the adopted son as the real son was also invalidated by the order of Allah. This affair is similar to the marriage of Dawood (a.s.) with the widow of Ooriya; which had also put an end to an ancient custom. The Prophets (a.s.) had taken the initiative to destroy age-old customs under the Divine instructions. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also did this.
Interest and taking revenge of the enmity of the days of Jahilya were abrogated by him at the last Hajj. He forgave the interest of his Uncle Abbas and also the blood of his Uncle's son who had been killed before.12
This is in fact the reality of Dawood (a.s.)'s marriage with the widow of Ooriya and the marriage of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) with the divorced wife of his adopted son. Another important point is that since the beginning, various stories from the Israiliyaat had entered the books of hadith and tafseer. These false stories got so much mixed up in the Islamic tradition that it was difficult to glean the truth. Moreover, the political atmosphere was in favour of the circulation of these reports. It served the purpose of defending the misdeeds of the tyrant rulers like Yazid bin Muawiya by trying to implicate the Prophets (a.s.) in sins. By this they tried to show that even the prophets were not immune to human weakness. Hence if the rulers committed infamies it was deserving to be overlooked. The School of the Caliphate always had the tendency of defending the deeds of the ruling kings in this manner.
1The officers appointed by the Governors.
2Majmaul Bayan fi Tafsiril Quran Vol.3, Pg.252.
3Al Maghazi of Waqidi Vol.1, Pg.606-607.
4Beharul Anwar Vol.11, Pg.73-74, Amali of Sadooq Pg.55-57, Uyoonal Akhbaar Pg.108.
5Majmaul Bayan, Nurus Saqlain, Tanzeehul Anbiya of Sharif al Murtaza, Pg.92.
6Tafsir-e-Khazin Vol.4, Pg.35, Fakhruddin ar-Razi, Vol.25, Pg.192, Nurus Saqlain Vol.4, Pg.446.
7Beharul Anwar Vol.14, Pg.24, Tafsir Nurus Saqlain Vol.4, Pg.446, quoted from Uyoon al-Akhbaar.
8Beharul Anwar, Vol.20, Pg.23, Tafsir, al-Qummi, Pg.562-565.
9Beharul Anwar, Vol.14, Pg.200.
10Al Quranil Kareem wa rawayaatul Madrasatain Vol.2.
11Tafsir of Tabari, Tafsir of Qurtubi, Ibne Kathir and Suyuti.
12Sirah Ibne Hisham Vol.4 Pg.275, Egypt (1356 A.H.)
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said in the sermon at the time of the Farewell Hajj, ".... all the interest is invalidated, but you only have to return the principal amount. Do not be sluggish in this and the others also must not be severe upon you. Allah has invalidated interest. Whatever interest Abbas owes is also cancelled and whatever revenge pertains to the days of ignorance is also cancelled. And the first blood money that I abrogate is that of Ibne Rabiya bin Hars ibne Abdul Muttalib, who was fostered by Banu Laith and killed by Hudail. It was among the first murders of Jahilya.