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Living The Quran

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From Issue: 943 [Read full issue]

Tried and Tested
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 155

"Surely, We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods and lives and fruits, but give good news to those who are patient."

Though caused by the hostility and machinations of enemies, these trials are governed by sunnatullah or the law laid down by Allah in order to sort out the true from the false and truth from falsehood. That is why these trials are attributed to Allah, Who says emphatically, "We will test you." The followers of truth according to Allah's decree, are definitely tried and tested. It is only through these tests that the capabilities of people flourish and develop, and the true and the false among them are set apart and fully distinguished. Without undergoing such a test, no group can qualify to receive Allah's infinite blessings in the Hereafter.

In this connection, the first test mentioned is fear, which means fear of assault or attack by enemies. This fear is qualified by the phrase bi shay in min (with something of). This is clearly meant to encourage the Muslims by telling them that they will be tested with such a state of fear, it will nevertheless not be more than necessary to test their resolve and patience. Therefore, instead of losing heart, they should face these tests with fortitude and steadfastness.

The word ju or hunger in the text refers to the economic hardships and the state of fear that the Muslims could face in the event of an economic embargo against them by their allied enemies. The separate mention of 'goods and 'fruit' may be explained by the fact that the main wealth of Arabs consisted of either camels, sheep and goats for which they used the term 'goods'. But fruits, especially dates, had a special place in the desert conditions of Arabia and so this is mentioned separately from 'goods'. The verse concludes with good news for those who despite all these hardships and tests, remained firm and steadfast, without wavering or showing any weakness in their commitment to truth. This glad news, as is apparent from other places in the Quran, includes success both in this life and in the life to come.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

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