Name of Chapter Al-Baqarah , 38 verses Number 38

قُلْنَا اهْبِطُواْ مِنْهَا جَمِيعاً فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

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Translation (Tahereh Saffarzadeh): We stated: "Get you down all from the Paradise; and whenever there comes from me onto you a Guidance, [know that] those who follow My Guidance, neither fear shall come on them nor they shall grieve;

Interpretation:

Source: Tafsir Al-MIZAN (Volume: 1, Page: 191-196, Chapter: 2 - Surah Baqarah, Verse: 38)

Interpreter: al-Allamah as-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabai

Translator: Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi

Publication Place: World Organization for Islamic Services (WOFIS)

 

This is the essence of religion ordained, for the first time, for Adam (a.s.) and his descendants. Allah has condensed the whole religion in these two sentences; nothing has been added, nor can be added to it upto the Day of Resurrection.

 

Ponder on this story and particularly the narrative of Chapter 20. You will see that Allah had issued two decrees in respect of Adam and his descendants. When he ate from the tree, it was decreed that he should get down to the earth and spend his life therein - a Life of trouble and toil. And when he repented, it was ordained that he and his descendants should be honoured with divine guidance. The first decree initiated the earthly life for him; the second, issued after his repentance, bestowed dignity and grace to that life, by providing it with divine guidance. From then on, man’s life is composed of two lives: A material, earthly life and a spiritual, heavenly one. It may be inferred from repetition of the order to “get down” in this narrative: “Get down, some of you being the enemies of others; and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time” (2:36). “Get down you therefrom all together; and if there comes to you a guidance from Me …” (2:38).

 

Repentance of Adam (2:37) occurred between these two orders. The sequence shows that Adam had repented before their departing from the Garden, although he had slipped from his earlier position of honour. It may also be inferred from the change in the styles of the following verses: Allah said to Adam, when placing him in the Garden, "do not go near this tree" (7:19); but when they ate from it, their Lord called out to them: "Did I not forbid you both from that tree . . . " (7:22). Note the demonstrative pronoun, "this", (for a nearer object) in the former speech, and "that" (for a farther one) in the latter. Also contrast the verb, "said", (showing proximity) of the former with "called out" (showing distance) of the latter. All this together supports the above-given explanation that at the time of the second order Adam was still in the Garden but not in his earlier honoured place.

 

"Get down, some of you being the enemies of others; and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time"  (2:36; 7:24). "Therein shall you live, and therein shall you die, and from it shall you be raised" (7:25). The verses indicate that the life on the earth was very different from that in the Garden.  This life is firmly connected with the earth, full of difficulties and hardships. Man, in this life, is created from the earth, then after death is returned into it, and will, on the Day of Resurrection, be raised from it. This life is different from that of the Garden.  It follows that Adam had lived a heavenly - and not earthly - life in the Garden.

 

This observation gives us a certainty that the Garden of Adam was in the heaven, although it was not the Garden of eternal abode from which one is never turned out.

 

What is meant by "the heaven"? We shall, God willing explain it somewhere else.

 

Now, we come to the mistake of Adam. The explanation given under various verses throws sufficient light on this subject. But the importance of the topic justifies its recapitulation in a systematic way:

 

The verses obviously say that he had committed a mistake and disobeyed the divine command: ". . . for then you (two) will be of the unjust"; "and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so he got astray"; and they too acknowledged their error: "our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves, and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers." But on meditating on the verses, and particularly on the admonition not to eat of the tree, we come to a definite conclusion that the said prohibition was not in the nature of an authoritative command; it was rather like an advice to guide Adam to his good and comfort. The following proof irresistibly lead us to this conclusion:

 

First: Allah said in this, as well as in Chapter 7, that eating of the tree would be an injustice, a wrong-doing (for then you two will be of the unjust). The same result has been described as "toil" (so that you should be put to toil); and the "toil" has been explained in the terms of worldly needs and troubles, because it was ordained "for you that you shall not be hungry therein (i.e., as long as you remained in the Garden) nor bare of clothing; and that you shall not be thirsty therein nor shall you feel the heat of the sun". It seems clear that it was to protect them from these worldly troubles and toils that they were told not to go near that tree. The prohibition, therefore, was not more than an advice; certainly it was not an authoritative command.  Going against an advice does not entail a sin, does not involve rebellion against the adviser. The injustice, mentioned in this story, therefore, means their doing wrong against their own selves, putting themselves in this world's hardship and toil; but it cannot mean the sin committed by a servant against his master.

 

Second: When a servant repents, that is, returns to Allah, his Lord, and the Lord accepts that repentance, all the effects of the sin are erased, as though he had not committed any sin at all.  If the prohibition against eating from the tree had the force of an authoritative command, an ordained law, Adam and his wife should have been returned to their place in the Garden as soon as their repentance was accepted. But they were not. It decisively proves that the prohibition was of advisory nature like telling someone not to put his hand in a fire; if he does not listen to the advice, his hand would certainly burn, and the subsequent apology would not unburn it, even if the apology was accepted. Likewise, Adam and his wife disregarded the advice, and as a result of eating from the tree, had to go out of the Garden and live in the earth a life of trial and hardship. Their repentance could not take them back to the Garden, as their coming to the earth was the natural and inevitable result of that action.

 

The prohibition, in short, was no a law ordained by the Master - like the announcement that a man who neglects to pray would enter the Fire; or the one who disobeys the rules of the shari'ah would be punished. If it were like such a command, the repentance would have rubbed out the effect of disobedience and they would have been sent back to the Garden straight away.

 

Third: We said: "Get down you therefrom all together; and if there comes to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. And (as to) those who disbelieve in, and belie, Our signs, they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide". These verses have put in a nutshell all the detailed laws, rules, and regulations sent by Allah for the mankind, through His angels, books and apostles. And it was the first shari'ah which Allah ordained for the world, the world of Adam and his descendants. It was ordained after the second order to "get down" - and the order to "get down" was not a legislative, but a creative, command, resulting from his eating of the tree.

 

It means that at the time when Adam partook of the tree, no shari'ah was ordained yet, and no law was promulgated. Therefore, whatever Adam did was not a transgression against any law of the shari'ah, nor was there any sin or crime involved in acting against that advice.

 

Question: The order to the angels and Iblis to prostrate before Adam was an authoritative command, and it was given before the order to Adam not to go near that tree. Therefore, it is difficult to believe that at that time there was no obligatory law.

 

Reply: We are talking about Adam and his descendants, and not about the angels and Iblis. It is irrelevant whether the angels and Iblis were given a compulsory order before Adam was placed in the Garden.

 

Question: If the prohibition were of an advisory nature, Allah would not have described its disregard in the terms of "injustice", "disobedience", and "going astray".

 

Reply: We have already explained that the "injustice" done by Adam and his wife was against their own selves; it was not a sin against Allah.

 

"al-'Isyan" العصيان) = disobedience) literally means to resist, or to yield with difficulty. The Arabs say: I broke it and it was broken; I broke it fa-'asa (فعصي =) but it resisted, or yielded to my pressure with difficulty. Not heeding an order is called al-'isyan, because one does not yield to that enjoinment or prohibition. This resistance may occur against an advice as much as against a compulsory order. The word in itself does not imply sinning; it all depends on the nature of the order that was disregarded.

 

Of course, nowadays we, the Muslims, use this word as synonymous to sinning. And now it has become a terminology of the shari'ah (or of the Mulims), used for disobedience to an authoritative command. But this later transformance cannot effect its original or literal meaning for which it was used in the Qur’an

 

"Al-Ghawayah" (الغوايه = to go astray) literally means inability of a man to look after his interests; not managing one's affairs properly. This word by itself does not indicate committing a sin or crime. It is the context that determines its value. Its emphasis changes depending on whether the neglected order was an advice or an authoritative command.

 

Question: Then why did they repent? Why did they say, "and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers?"

 

Reply: at-Tawbah (repentance) means to turn to. And the word can be used in various meanings, depending on context.

 

A servant rebels against his master, and thereafter returns to him and asks for his forgiveness; the master, if he so wishes, pardons him, and gives him his previous rank and position.

 

A doctor tells a patient not to eat certain fruits, lest his illness be prolonged or the disease be complicated. The patient disregards the prohibition and, as a result, puts his life in danger. Now he feels embarrassed and repents before the doctor, asking for his forgiveness, begging him to prescribe for him a medicine to enable him to regain his health and vigour. The doctor may tell him that now it will be necessary for him to undergo a long and difficult treatment, adding that if he persevered in the prescribed regimen his health would be much better than before.

 

The significance of the other words used in the narrative, like forgiveness, mercy and loss, may likewise change with the context.

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Source: Tafsir-e-Nemouneh (Exemplary) in Brief, Volume: 1, Page: 66, Chapter: 2, Surah: Al-Baqarah, Verse:38

Interpreter: Makarem Shirazi, Naser

Translator: Mansoor Aminy _ Baghbadorani

Publication Place: Amir-Al-Momenin Seminary, Qom - Iran 

 

THE TRANSLATION

WE SAID: "GET DOWN OUT OF IT, ALTOGETHER. THERE COMES TO YOU GUIDANCE FROM ME, THEN WHOEVER FOLLOWS MY GUIDANCE, NO FEAR SHALL BE ON THEM, NOR SHALL THEY GRIEVE.

 

THE COMMENTARY

      Although ADAM'S repentance and return to God from sinning was accepted and God forgave him, the effect and consequences of his wrong deeds stood firm and did not change, and he fell from the GARDEN upon the earth and he fell from a higher state of life to a lower state.

      God said to them both - ADAM & EVE: ``Get down all of you from the Garden! There shall come to you guidance from ME. Whoever follows my guidance, he will be free of fear and shall not grieve - fear of the present and future, and grief and sorrow of the past.''

 

 

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