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The Stubbornness and Disbelief of the Jews

Allah describes the Jews' disbelief, stubbornness and defiance of what they know of the truth of Allah's Messenger, that if the Prophet brought forward every proof to the truth of what he was sent with, they will never obey him or abandon following their desires. In another instance, Allah said:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ڪَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ وَلَوۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ ڪُلُّ ءَايَةٍ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) (10:96, 97)

This is why Allah said here:

﴿ وَلَٮِٕنۡ أَتَيۡتَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِكُلِّ ءَايَةٍ۬ مَّا تَبِعُواْ قِبۡلَتَكَ‌ۚ

(And even if you were to bring to the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction)).

Allah's statement:

﴿ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِتَابِعٍ۬ قِبۡلَتَہُمۡ‌ۚ

(...nor are you going to follow their Qiblah ), indicates the vigor with which Allah's Messenger implements what Allah commanded him. Allah's statement also indicates that as much as the Jews adhere to their opinions and desires, the Prophet adheres by Allah's commands, obeying Him and following what pleases Him, and that he would never adhere to their desires in any case. Hence, praying towards Bayt Al-Maqdis was not because it was the Qiblah of the Jews, but because Allah had commanded it. Allah then warns those who knowingly defy the truth, because the proof against those who know is stronger than against other people. This is why Allah said to His Messenger and his Ummah:

﴿ وَلَٮِٕنِ ٱتَّبَعۡتَ أَهۡوَآءَهُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ‌ۙ إِنَّكَ إِذً۬ا لَّمِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(Verily, if you follow their desires after that which you have received of knowledge (from Allah), then indeed you will be one of the wrongdoers.)

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَعۡرِفُونَهُ ۥ كَمَا يَعۡرِفُونَ أَبۡنَآءَهُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقً۬ا مِّنۡهُمۡ لَيَكۡتُمُونَ ٱلۡحَقَّ وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ‌ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمُمۡتَرِينَ

(146. Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad or the Ka`bah at Makkah) as they recognize their sons. But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it ـ ﴿i.e., the qualities of Muhammad which are written in the Tawrah and the Injil ). (147. This is) the truth from your Lord. So be you not one of those who doubt).

The Jews know that the Prophet is True, but they hide the Truth

Allah states that the scholars of the People of the Scripture know the truth of what Allah's Messenger was sent with, just as one of them knows his own child, which is a parable that the Arabs use to describe what is very apparent. Similarly, in a Hadith, Allah's Messenger said to a man who had a youngster with him:

« ابْنُكَ هَذَا؟ »
قَالَ: نَعَمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أَشْهَدُ بِهِ

(Is this your son) He said, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah! I testify to this fact.'' Allah's Messenger said:

« أَمَا إِنَّهُ لَا يَجْنِي عَلَيْكَ وَلَا تَجْنِي عَلَيْه »

(Well, you would not transgress against him nor would he transgress against you.)

According to Al-Qurtubi, it was narrated that `Umar said to `Abdullah bin Salam (an Israelite scholar who became a Muslim), "Do you recognize Muhammad as you recognize your own son'' He replied, "Yes, and even more. The Honest One descended from heaven on the Honest One on the earth with his (i.e., Muhammad's) description and I recognized him, although I do not know anything about his mother's story.''

Allah states next that although they had knowledge and certainty in the Prophet, they still:

﴿ لَيَكۡتُمُونَ ٱلۡحَقَّ

(conceal the truth.)

The Ayah indicates that they hide the truth from the people, about the Prophet , that they find in their Books,

﴿ وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ

(while they know it. ) Allah then strengthens the resolve of His Prophet and the believers and affirms that what the Prophet came with is the truth without doubt, saying:

﴿ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ‌ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمُمۡتَرِينَ

((This is) the truth from your Lord. So be you not one of those who doubt.)

﴿ وَلِكُلٍّ۬ وِجۡهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيہَا‌ۖ فَٱسۡتَبِقُواْ ٱلۡخَيۡرَٲتِ‌ۚ أَيۡنَ مَا تَكُونُواْ يَأۡتِ بِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ جَمِيعًا‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬

(148. For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is able to do all things.)

Every Nation has a Qiblah

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said:

﴿ وَلِكُلٍّ۬ وِجۡهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيہَا‌ۖ

(For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers))

"This talks about followers of the various religions. Hence, every nation and tribe has its own Qiblah that they choose, while Allah's appointed Qiblah is what the believers face.''

Abul-`Aliyah said, "The Jew has a direction to which he faces (in the prayer). The Christian has a direction to which he faces. Allah has guided you, O (Muslim) Ummah, to a Qiblah which is the true Qiblah.'' This statement was also related to Mujahid, `Ata' Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, and others.

This last Ayah is similar to what Allah said:

﴿ لِكُلٍّ۬ جَعَلۡنَا مِنكُمۡ شِرۡعَةً۬ وَمِنۡهَاجً۬ا‌ۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَجَعَلَڪُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ فِى مَآ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۖ فَٱسۡتَبِقُواْ ٱلۡخَيۡرَٲتِ‌ۚ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَرۡجِعُڪُمۡ جَمِيعً۬ا

(To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah.) (5:48)

In the Ayah (2:148), Allah said:

﴿ أَيۡنَ مَا تَكُونُواْ يَأۡتِ بِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ جَمِيعًا‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬

(Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is able to do all things.) meaning: He is able to gather you from the earth even if your bodies and flesh disintegrated and scattered.

﴿ وَمِنۡ حَيۡثُ خَرَجۡتَ فَوَلِّ وَجۡهَكَ شَطۡرَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ‌ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ وَمِنۡ حَيۡثُ خَرَجۡتَ فَوَلِّ وَجۡهَكَ شَطۡرَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ‌ۚ وَحَيۡثُ مَا كُنتُمۡ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَڪُمۡ شَطۡرَهُ ۥ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حُجَّةٌ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ فَلَا تَخۡشَوۡهُمۡ وَٱخۡشَوۡنِى وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتِى عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّكُمۡ تَہۡتَدُونَ

(149. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah), that is indeed the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.) (150. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah), and wheresoever you are, turn your faces towards it (when you pray) so that men may have no argument against you except those of them that are wrongdoers, so fear them not, but fear Me! ـ And so that I may complete My blessings on you and that you may be guided.)

Why was changing the Qiblah mentioned thrice

This is a third command from Allah to face Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) from every part of the world (during prayer). It was said that Allah mentioned this ruling again here because it is connected to whatever is before and whatever is after it. Hence, Allah first said:

﴿ قَدۡ نَرَىٰ تَقَلُّبَ وَجۡهِكَ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ‌ۖ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبۡلَةً۬ تَرۡضَٮٰهَا‌ۚ

(Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you) (2:144), until:

﴿ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ لَيَعۡلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمۡ‌ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا يَعۡمَلُونَ

(Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (i.e., Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka`bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.) (2:144)

Allah mentioned in these Ayat His fulfillment of the Prophet's wish and ordered him to face the Qiblah that he liked and is pleased with. In the second command, Allah said:

﴿ وَمِنۡ حَيۡثُ خَرَجۡتَ فَوَلِّ وَجۡهَكَ شَطۡرَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ‌ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ

(And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masid Al-Haram that is indeed the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.)

Therefore, Allah states here that changing the Qiblah is also the truth from Him, thus upgrading the subject more than in the first Ayah, in which Allah agreed to what His Prophet had wished for. Thus Allah states that this is also the truth from Him that He likes and is pleased with. In the third command, Allah refutes the Jewish assertion that the Prophet faced their Qiblah, as they knew in their Books that the Prophet will later on be commanded to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim, the Ka`bah. The Arab disbelievers had no more argument concerning the Prophet's Qiblah after Allah commanded the Prophet to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim, which is more respected and honored, rather than the Qiblah of the Jews. The Arabs used to honor the Ka`bah and liked the fact that the Messenger was commanded to face it.

The Wisdom behind abrogating the Previous Qiblah

Allah said:

﴿ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حُجَّةٌ

(...so that men may have no argument against you)

Therefore, the People of the Book knew from the description of the Muslim Ummah that they would be ordered to face the Ka`bah. If the Muslims did not fit this description, the Jews would have used this fact against the Muslims. If the Muslims had remained on the Qiblah of Bayt Al-Maqdis, which was also the Qiblah of the Jews, this fact could have been used as the basis of argument by the Jews against other people.

Allah's Statement:

﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ‌ۖ

(...except those of them that are wrongdoers,) indicates the Mushrikin (polytheists) of Quraysh. The reasoning of these unjust persons was the unsound statement: "This man (Muhammad) claims that he follows the religion of Ibrahim! Hence, if his facing Bayt Al-Maqdis was a part of the religion of Ibrahim, why did he change it'' The answer to this question is that Allah has chosen His Prophet to face Bayt Al-Maqdis first for certain wisdom, and he obeyed Allah regarding this command. Then, Allah changed the Qiblah to the Qiblah of Ibrahim, which is the Ka`bah, and he also obeyed Allah in this command. He, obeys Allah in all cases and never engages in the defiance of Allah even for an instant, and his Ummah imitates him in this.

Allah said:

﴿ فَلَا تَخۡشَوۡهُمۡ وَٱخۡشَوۡنِى

(. ..so fear them not, but fear Me!) meaning: `Do not fear the doubts that the unjust, stubborn persons raise and fear Me Alone.' Indeed, Allah Alone deserves to be feared.

Allah said:

﴿ وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتِى عَلَيۡكُمۡ

(...so that I may complete My blessings on you.)

This Ayah relates to Allah's statement:

﴿ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حُجَّةٌ

(...so that men may have no argument against you), meaning: I will perfect My bounty on you by legislating for you to face the Ka`bah, so that the (Islamic) Shari`ah (law) is complete in every respect. Allah said:

﴿ وَلَعَلَّكُمۡ تَہۡتَدُونَ

(...that you may be guided.), meaning: `To be directed and guided to what the nations have been led astray from, We have guided you to it and preferred you with it.' This is why this Ummah is the best and most honored nation ever.

﴿ كَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا فِيڪُمۡ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنڪُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيڪُمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُڪُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِڪۡمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمۡ تَكُونُواْ تَعۡلَمُونَ فَٱذۡكُرُونِىٓ أَذۡكُرۡكُمۡ وَٱشۡڪُرُواْ لِى وَلَا تَكۡفُرُونِ

(151. Similarly (to complete My blessings on you), We have sent among you a Messenger (Muhammad) of your own, reciting to you Our verses (the Qur'an) and purifying you, and teaching you the Book (the Qur'an) and the Hikmah (i. e., Sunnah, Islamic laws and Fiqh ـ jurisprudence), and teaching you that which you did not know.) (152. Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.)

Muhammad's Prophecy is a Great Bounty from Allah

Allah reminds His believing servants with what He has endowed them with by sending Muhammad as a Messenger to them, reciting to them Allah's clear Ayat and purifying and cleansing them from the worst types of behavior, the ills of the souls and the acts of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era). The Messenger also takes them away from the darkness (of disbelief) to the light (of faith) and teaches them the Book, the Qur'an, and the Hikmah (i.e., the wisdom), which is his Sunnah. He also teaches them what they knew not. During the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to utter foolish statements. Later on, and with the blessing of the Prophet's Message and the goodness of his prophecy, they were elevated to the status of the Awliya' (loyal friends of Allah) and the rank of the scholars. Hence, they acquired the deepest knowledge among the people, the most pious hearts, and the most truthful tongues. Allah said:

﴿ لَقَدۡ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ إِذۡ بَعَثَ فِيہِمۡ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَڪِّيہِمۡ

(Indeed, Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting unto them His verses (the Qur'an), and purifying them (from sins).) (3:164)

Allah also criticized those who did not give this bounty its due consideration, when He said:

﴿ أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ بَدَّلُواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ كُفۡرً۬ا وَأَحَلُّواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡ دَارَ ٱلۡبَوَارِ

(Have you not seen those who have changed the favors of Allah into disbelief (by denying Prophet Muhammad) and his Message of Islam), and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction) (14:28)

Ibn `Abbas commented, "Allah's favor means Muhammad.'' Therefore, Allah has commanded the believers to affirm this favor and to appreciate it by thanking and remembering Him:

﴿ فَٱذۡكُرُونِىٓ أَذۡكُرۡكُمۡ وَٱشۡڪُرُواْ لِى وَلَا تَكۡفُرُونِ

(Therefore, remember Me. I will remember you, and be grateful to Me, and never be ungrateful to Me.)

Mujahid said that Allah's statement:

﴿ كَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا فِيڪُمۡ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنڪُمۡ

(Similarly (to complete My favor on you), We have sent among you a Messenger (Muhammad) of your own,)

means: Therefore, remember Me in gratitude to My favor.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented about Allah's statement:

﴿ فَٱذۡكُرُونِىٓ أَذۡكُرۡكُمۡ

(Therefore remember Me. I will remember you), "Remember Me regarding what I have commanded you and I will remember you regarding what I have compelled Myself to do for your benefit (i.e., His rewards and forgiveness).''

An authentic Hadith states:

« يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: مَنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي وَمَنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَأٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَأٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْه »

(Allah the Exalted said, `Whoever mentions Me to himself, then I will mention him to Myself; and whoever mentions Me in a gathering, I will mention him in a better gathering.)'

Imam Ahmad reported that Anas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:

« قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ، إِنْ ذَكَرْتَنِي فِي نَفْسِكَ ذَكَرْتُك فِي نَفْسِي، إِنْ ذَكَرْتَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ ذكَرْتُكَ فِي مَلَإٍ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَوْ قَالَ: فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُ وَإِنْ دَنَوْتَ مِنِّي شِبْرًا دَنَوْتُ مِنْكَ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ دَنَوْتَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا دَنَوْتُ مِنْكَ بَاعًا، وَإنْ أَتَيْتَنِي تَمْشِي أَتَيْتُكَ هَرْوَلَة »

(Allah the Exalted said, `O son of Adam! If you mention Me to yourself, I will mention you to Myself. If you mention Me in a gathering, I will mention you in a gathering of the angels (or said in a better gathering). If you draw closer to Me by a hand span, I will draw closer to you by forearm's length. If you draw closer to Me by a forearm's length, I will draw closer to you by an arm's length. And if you come to Me walking, I will come to you running).

Its chain is Sahih, it was recorded by Al-Bukhari. Allah said:

﴿ وَٱشۡڪُرُواْ لِى وَلَا تَكۡفُرُونِ

(...and be grateful to Me (for My countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.)

In this Ayah, Allah commands that He be thanked and appreciated, and promises even more rewards for thanking Him. Allah said in another Ayah:

﴿ وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬

(And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My blessings); but if you are thankless (i.e., disbelievers), verily, My punishment is indeed severe.)

Abu Raja' Al-`Utaridi said: `Imran bin Husayn came by us once wearing a nice silken garment that we never saw him wear before or afterwards. He said, "Allah's Messenger said:

« مَنْ أَنْعَمَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ نِعْمَةً فَإِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَرَى أَثَرَ نِعْمَتِهِ عَلَى خَلْقِه، »
وَقَالَ رَوْحٌ مَرَّةً:
« عَلَى عَبْدِه »

(Those whom Allah has favored with a bounty, then Allah likes to see the effect of His bounty on His creation), or he said, "on His servant'' - according to Ruh (one of the narrators of the Hadith).

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱسۡتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ وَلَا تَقُولُواْ لِمَن يُقۡتَلُ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ أَمۡوَٲتُۢ‌ۚ بَلۡ أَحۡيَآءٌ۬ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَشۡعُرُونَ

(153. O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer). Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient).) (154. And say not of those who are killed in the way of Allah, "They are dead.'' Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not.)