In ayah 84 of Surah al-Baqarah, Allah (SWT) talks about the covenant taken from Bani Isrā’īl listing the things that were obligated upon them. The first of the commands mentioned is not to worship anyone except Allah. However, this command is mentioned in the format of an informative sentence:

لا تعبدون إلا الله

Literally, “You do not worship anyone other than Allah,” as opposed to, “Do not worship anyone other than Allah.”

This is an example of a prohibition formatted as an informative sentence (اخبار في معنى النهى), and is a more emphatic way of prohibiting something as opposed to mentioning an explicit prohibition.

Abu al-Sa’ood explains the eloquence of this form of prohibition in his tafsīr as below:

و هو أبلغ من صريح النهى لما فيه من إيهام أن المنهى حقه أن يسارع إلى الانتهاء عما نهى عنه فكأنه انتهى عنه فيخبر به الناهى

“It [formatting a prohibition as an informative sentence or khabr] is more impactful than an explicit prohibition because it gives the impression (īhām) that it is due upon the one, who has been prohibited, to hasten to desist from the prohibited act. It is as though they have already desisted from it so that the one prohibiting (al-nāhī) can now inform about it.”

This style of prohibition is used in other places in the Qur’an as well and is just one of many examples of the eloquence of its language.

Advertisements