Tafseer - Concise Commentary of the Holy Quraan
By: Mufti Waseem Khan, Principal, Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago
Surah Baqarah Verse 26
In the previous verses, clear evidences and proofs were given, to prove that the Holy Quran is the word of Allah, about which no one can have any doubt. It was sent as a miracle to the seal of all prophets, and it challenged the unbelievers to produce a chapter like it.
In the following verse of Sura Al Baqara (i.e. verse 26), Allah mentions an objection which was raised by the unbelievers, and He gives a response to it. They (the Unbelievers) said that if the Quran was the word of Allah, then why has it mentioned small and insignificant creatures / insects like an ant, a spider, a mosquito, a gnat etc. in setting parables. They stated that the mentioning of such despicable and scurry creatures is not fitting to be the words of an eloquent speaker, far less for being the words of one who is deemed to be the lord of the worlds. This, they said, was unbecoming of the Holy Quran, and hence, cannot be the words of Allah.
In verse 26, Allah responds to this objection and makes it clear to them that the mentioning of these small insects does not go against the eloquence and miraculous nature of the Holy Quran, especially when the parables comprise of great wisdom and lessons. In other words, when one intends to speak about a thing that is detestable, or a person or situation in a parable, then such persons, things or situation can be compared to small and contemptible creatures, and this is not against eloquence in speech. The Verse pointed out to them that instead of looking at what is being used for the parable, one should look at what is being compared, so that a message and a lesson can be taken. Parables are always given for a reason, and these have been placed in the Holy Quran to show the weak and powerless state of those objects that are being worshipped by the polytheists.
About this, verse 26 states:-
Indeed, Allah does not feel shy in citing any parable, be it that of a gnat or of something above it (in meanness). Now, as for those who believe, they know it is the truth from their Lord; while those who disbelieve say, “What could Allah have meant by this parable?” By this He lets many go astray, and by this He makes many find guidance. But He does not let anyone go astray thereby except those who are sinful.
In this verse, Allah gives a refutation against the unbelievers and deniers of the Holy Quran and states clearly that He does not consider it ‘low’ and does not disdain in mentioning any parable whatsoever. Be it a small creature or a contemptible thing. Whether the parable is of a mosquito or anything smaller in size or in significance, Allah does not dislike mentioning about it, just as He did not dislike creating it.
The verse tells us that when such parables are revealed, people react in different ways. As for those who believe, they know fully well that Allah is the truth, and He speaks nothing but the truth, hence, such similitudes and parables are indeed from Allah. As for those who do not believe in Allah and in the Quran, they consider such parables to be strange, unusual and odd. It is for this reason, they said, ‘what did Allah intend by this parable?’ In other words, ‘what does Allah wish to convey by mentioning such contemptible creatures and insects?’ Allah replies to their objection and states that through such parables, He wishes to put His servants to a test. Those who acknowledge that these are from Allah they testify that it is the truth, they are guided by Allah and are given the divine assistance to thread the path of truthfulness. However, those who deny the truth of such verses and make a mockery of these; they are forsaken by Allah and left upon misguidance. Thus, one party is increased in guidance, and the other, increased in misguidance.
The verse ends by saying that those who are truly misguided are such people who turn away from the obedience of Allah and deny His signs and words (contained in the Holy Quran).