وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَـرُ
And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). [Baqarah:25]
وَبَشِّرِ – “Bashshir” is a command verb and the ‘waaw’ is for ‘atf. But there are no commands or prohibitions in any of the preceding verses (‘atf of a command on a prohibition is valid). So what is this command ma’toof on?
Imam Zamakhshari writes in Kashshaf that the general theme of describing the reward of the believers is ma’toof on the theme of the punishment of the disbelievers. For example, you would say, “Zayd is punished with imprisonment and execution. And go give ‘Amr the glad tidings of forgiveness and being released.”
“Bashshir” is from “bishara” which is from “bishra”. “Bishra” is the surface skin and “bishara” is the news that causes the skin of the one who hears the news to have a reaction, whether good or bad. And some say that “Bishara” has to be something new, something that the listener hasn’t heard before. But Imam Suyuti holds that the news (“bishara”) does not have to be something new. Hence he interprets “Bashshir” as “Akhbir” (inform).
Imam Suyuti interprets ءَامَنُواْ as “saddaqoo” (believe). But tasdiq here includes the meaning of acknowledgement (mutadammin ma’na al-iqrar). Verbal acknowledgement is required insofar as worldly rulings are concerned i.e. whether a person is treated as a Muslim or not. However, there is a difference of opinion regarding whether actions are part of Iman or not. For those who hold the view that actions are not part of Iman, one of the evidences is the ‘atf that exists between Iman and ‘amal (action) in the current verse and many other similar verses (الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ ). The basis of ‘atf is mughayarah i.e. the ma’toof and ma’toof ‘alayhi are two different things.
However, it can be said that the ma’toof here is something similar to the below verse where the middle prayer has been singled out with an ‘atf:
حَـفِظُواْ عَلَى الصَّلَوَتِ والصَّلَوةِ الْوُسْطَ
“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the Middle Salah.” [2:238]
The reply to this would be the fact that if the specific is mentioned after the general (takhsees ba’d al-ta’meem) it is usually the most major part that is singled out. If Iman has three parts including actions, even so tasdiq is generally accepted to be the most important part of Iman. Hence, if any of the three things that are claimed to be part of Iman was to be specified, it would be tasdeeq and not actions.
أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّـتٍ – Imam Suyuti inserts a “bi” before the “anna” because “bashshir” usually is followed by the preposition “bi”. But it is common to omit prepositions that come after some verbs when they occur before “An” or “Anna”.
جَنَّـتٍ is referring to gardens (plural and indefinite), not Paradise, because Paradise is referred to as “Al Jannah”.
Nahara means to dig. The water digs the ground in the sense that it pushes aside the sand and creates a path to flow. Therefore, الأَنْهَـرُ is Isnad Majazi as Nahr refers to the place where water flows. But the ground does not flow. It is the water that flows. For more examples of Isnad Majazi please see earlier posts.
جَنَّـتٍ is mawsoof and has two sifahs.
كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقاً قَالُواْ هَـذَا الَّذِى رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً
“Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: “This is what we were provided with before,” and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste)…” [Baqarah:25]
تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَـرُ is the first sifah. And كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا onwards is the second sifah. Whenever a sifah is a full sentence, there needs to be a pronoun connecting it to the mawsoof. Both the sifahs above are full sentences and have pronouns connecting to the mawsoof (jannaat).
رُزِقُواْ مِنْهَا – here the min is ibtidaa’iyyah (i.e. in the meaning of “from”).
مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقاً – here the min is bayaaniyyah and مِن ثَمَرَةٍ is haal coming first for رِّزْقاً, which is delayed dhul haal. Every time something is bayaaniyya, it is haal for the thing it is describing.
وَلَهُمْ فِيهَآ أَزْوَجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ
“… and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), and they will abide therein forever.” [Baqarah:25]
Imam Zamakhshari explains that the word مُّطَهَّرَةٌ (purified) has been used rather than “taahirah” (pure) because there is a degree of “fakhama” (magnification) of their description which is not present in the case of “taahirah”. Mutahharah implies that a purifier purified them and Imam Zamakhshar asks, “Who is that purifier other than Allah?”
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا
“Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it.” [Baqarah:26]
The mosquito, fly, spider, etc. were mentioned as examples to highlight the weakness of the idols that were worshipped. The requirement of balagha (eloquence) is for the examples used to appropriately match the thing being described, and not the glory and majesty of the One speaking.
Imam Suyuti explains يَضْرِبَ as “yaj’ala” indicating that this verb has two maf’ool bihis. The first maf’ool bihi is مَثَلاً . And there are two options regarding the 2nd maf’ool bihi. It can either be مَّا بَعُوضَةً where “maa” is nakirah mawsoofah in the meaning of “shay’an”, and “ba’oodatan” is the sifah. Or “maa” is za’idah and “ba’oodatan” is the 2nd maf’ool bihi.
The word يَسْتَحْىِ was used by the Jews and the Qur’an maintains that word in its response. However, being ashamed (isti’hyaa) is not appropriate for Allah. Then what is meant by this word? Isti’hyaa has a mabda’ (beginning) and a muntaha (end). The mabda’ is the feeling (such as feeling bad, guilty, ashamed) and the muntaha is leaving the action that makes one have that feeling. So, يَسْتَحْىِ is used here in the sense of leaving something. Therefore Imam Suyuti explains it as “laa yatruku” i.e. “He does not leave…”.
وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَآ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَـذَا مَثَلاً
“…but as for those who disbelieve, they say: ‘What did Allah intend by this for a similitude?'” [Baqarah:26]
مَثَلاً is tamyeez which has been moved from its place. Imam Suyuti says it means “hadha al-mathal” (this example, rather than, this as an example) i.e. “What did Allah mean by this example?”. This has been expressed in the verse as “What did Allah mean by this as an example?”.
Another example of such a tamyeez is the verse below:
وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْباً
In rough translation: “…[my] head has lit up with grey hair”.
It is the hair that has lit up (i.e. turned white) rather than the head. So it means that the hair of my head (mudaf/mudaf-ilayh) has lit up. But the mudaf has been delayed from its place and the mudaf ilayh (head) has been made the fa’il. Therefore, شَيْباً is now acting as tamyeez mu’hawwal to clarify the meaning.
يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَـسِقِينَ
By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only the Fasiqin [Baqarah:26]
Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi, in his tafsir Bayanul Qur’an, gives the example of a compassionate eye doctor who used to make many lenses to give them to his patients who didn’t have good eyesight. There was one patient who, instead of using the lenses for the purpose they were intended for, started poking his eyes with them to the extent that even the healthy eye got damaged. So he started complaining that there was no purpose behind these lenses and all they did was damage his eyes. The doctor tried to explain to him but he did not want to listen. Rather he questioned the doctor’s purpose behind making the lenses. So there was only one response that the doctor could give him, “The purpose of these lenses is to enhance the eyesight of so-and-so and to ruin your eyesight!”