The Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah
In Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
(Do not turn your houses into graves. Verily, Shaytan does not enter the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.
Also, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “Shaytan flees from the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is heard.” This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa’i in Al-Yawm wal-Laylah, and Al-Hakim recorded it in his Mustadrak, and then said that its chain of narration is authentic, although the Two Sahihs did not collect it. In his Musnad, Ad-Darimi recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, “Shaytan departs the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.” Ad-Darimi also recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “Whoever recites ten Ayat from Surat Al-Baqarah in a night, then Shaytan will not enter his house that night. (These ten Ayat are) four from the beginning, Ayat Al-Kursi (255), the following two Ayat (256-257) and the last three Ayat.” In another narration, Ibn Mas`ud said, “Then Shaytan will not come near him or his family, nor will he be touched by anything that he dislikes. Also, if these Ayat were to be recited over a senile person, they would wake him up.”
Further, Sahl bin Sa`d said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Everything has a hump (or, high peek), and Al-Baqarah is the high peek of the Qur’an. Whoever recites Al-Baqarah at night in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three nights. Whoever recites it during a day in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three days.) This Hadith was collected by Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani, Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban in his Sahih and Ibn Marduwyah.
At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition force comprising of many men and asked each about what they memorized of the Qur’an. The Prophet came to one of the youngest men among them and asked him, `What have you memorized (of the Qur’an) young man’ He said, `I memorized such and such Surahs and also Al-Baqarah.’ The Prophet said, `You memorized Surat Al-Baqarah’ He said, `Yes.’ The Prophet said, `Then you are their commander.’ One of the noted men (or chiefs) commented, `By Allah! I did not learn Surat Al-Baqarah, for fear that I would not be able to implement it. The Messenger of Allah said,
(Learn Al-Qur’an and recite it, for the example of whoever learns the Qur’an, recites it and adheres to it, is the example of a bag that is full of musk whose scent fills the air. The example of whoever learns the Qur’an and then sleeps (i.e. lazy) while the Qur’an is in his memory, is the example of a bag that has musk, but is closed tight.)
This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi, who said that this Hadith is Hasan. In another narration, At-Tirmidhi recorded this same Hadith in a Mursal manner, so Allah knows best.
Also, Al-Bukhari recorded that Usayd bin Hudayr said that he was once reciting Surat Al-Baqarah while his horse was tied next to him. The horse started to make some noise. When Usayd stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving about. When he resumed reading, the horse started moving about again. When he stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving, and when he resumed reading, the horse started to move again. Meanwhile, his son Yahya was close to the horse, and he feared that the horse might step on him. When he moved his son back, he looked up to the sky and saw a cloud radiating with light that looked like lamps. In the morning, he went to the Prophet and told him what had happened and then said, “O Messenger of Allah! My son Yahya was close to the horse and I feared that she might step on him. When I attended to him and raised my head to the sky, I saw a cloud with lights like lamps. So I went, but I couldn’t see it.” The Prophet said, “Do you know what that was” He said, “No.” The Prophet said,
(They were the angels, they came close hearing your voice (reciting Surat Al-Baqarah), and if you had kept reading, the people would have been able to see the angels when the morning came, and the angels would not be hidden from their eyes.)
This is the narration reported by Imam Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Salam in his book Fada’il Al-Qur’an.
Imam Ahmad said that Abu Nu`aym narrated to them that Bishr bin Muhajir said that `Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated to him from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him say,
(Learn Surat Al-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.)
He kept silent for a while and then said,
(Learn Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran because they are two lights and they shade their people on the Day of Resurrection, just as two clouds, two spaces of shade or two lines of (flying) birds. The Qur’an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur’an will ask him, ‘Do you know me’ The man will say, ‘I do not know you.’ The Qur’an will say, ‘I am your companion, the Qur’an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.’ Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head. His parents will also be granted two garments that the people of this life could never afford. They will say, ‘Why were we granted these garments’ It will be said, ‘Because your son was carrying the Qur’an.’ It will be said (to the reader of the Qur’an), ‘Read and ascend through the levels of Paradise.’ He will go on ascending as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.)”
Ibn Majah also recorded part of this Hadith from Bishr bin Al-Muhajir, and this chain of narrators is Hasan, according to the criteria of Imam Muslim.
A part of this Hadith is also supported by other Hadiths. For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah Al-Bahili said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Read the Qur’an, because it will intercede on behalf of its people on the Day of Resurrection. Read the two lights, Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran, because they will come in the shape of two clouds, two shades or two lines of birds on the Day of Resurrection and will argue on behalf of their people on that Day.)
The Prophet then said,
(Read Al-Baqarah, because in having it there is blessing, and in ignoring there is a sorrow and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.)
Also, Imam Muslim narrated this Hadith in the Book of Prayer
Imam Ahmad narrated that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said that the Prophet said,
(On the Day of Resurrection the Qur’an and its people who used to implement it will be brought forth, preceded by Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran.)
An-Nawwas said, “The Prophet set three examples for these two Surahs and I did not forget these examples ever since. He said,
(They will come like two clouds, two dark shades or two lines of birds arguing on behalf of their people.)
It was also recorded in Sahih Muslim and At-Tirmidhi narrated this Hadith, which he rendered Hasan Gharib.
There is no disagreement over the view that Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in its entirety in Al-Madinah. Moreover, Al-Baqarah was one of the first Surahs to be revealed in Al-Madinah, while, Allah’s statement,
(And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah.) (2:281) was the last Ayah to be revealed from the Qur’an. Also, the Ayat about usury were among the last Ayat to be revealed. Khalid bin Ma`dan used to call Al-Baqarah the Fustat (tent) of the Qur’an. Some of the scholars said that it contains a thousand news incidents, a thousand commands and a thousand prohibitions. Those who count said that the number of Al-Baqarah’s Ayat is two hundred and eighty-seven, and its words are six thousand two hundred and twenty-one words. Further, its letters are twenty-five thousand five hundred. Allah knows best.
Ibn Jurayj narrated that `Ata’ said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.” Also, Khasif said from Mujahid that `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said; “Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed in Al-Madinah.” Several Imams and scholars of Tafsir issued similar statements, and there is no difference of opinion over this as we have stated.
The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn Mas`ud kept the Ka`bah on his left side and Mina on his right side and threw seven pebbles (at the Jamrah) and said, “The one to whom Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed (i.e. the Prophet ) performed Rami (the Hajj rite of throwing pebbles) similarly.” The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
Further, Ibn Marduwyah reported a Hadith of Shu`bah from `Aqil bin Talhah from `Utbah bin Marthad; “The Prophet saw that his Companions were not in the first lines and he said,
(O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah.) I think that this incident occurred during the battle of Hunayn when the Companions retreated. Then, the Prophet commanded Al-`Abbas (his uncle) to yell out,
(O Companions of the tree!) meaning the Companions who participated in the pledge of Ar-Ridwan (under the tree). In another narration, Al- `Abbas cried, “O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah!” encouraging them to come back, so they returned from every direction. Also, during the battle of Al-Yamamah, against the army of Musaylimah the Liar, the Companions first retreated because of the huge number of soldiers in Musaylimah’s army. The Muhajirun and the Ansar called out for each other, saying; “O people of Surat Al-Baqarah!” Allah then gave them victory over their enemy, may Allah be pleased with all of the companions of all the Messengers of Allah.
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) (1. Alif Lam Mim).
The individual letters in the beginning of some Surahs are among those things whose knowledge Allah has kept only for Himself. This was reported from Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud. It was said that these letters are the names of some of the Surahs. It was also said that they are the beginnings that Allah chose to start the Surahs of the Qur’an with. Khasif stated that Mujahid said, “The beginnings of the Surahs, such as Qaf, Sad, Ta Sin Mim and Alif Lam Ra, are just some letters of the alphabet.” Some linguists also stated that they are letters of the alphabet and that Allah simply did not cite the entire alphabet of twenty-eight letters. For instance, they said, one might say, “My son recites Alif, Ba, Ta, Tha… ” he means the entire alphabet although he stops before mentioning the rest of it. This opinion was mentioned by Ibn Jarir.
If one removes the repetitive letters, then the number of letters mentioned at the beginning of the Surahs is fourteen: Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad, Ra, Kaf, Ha, Ya, `Ayn, Ta, Sin, Ha, Qaf, Nun.
So glorious is He Who made everything subtly reflect His wisdom.
Moreover, the scholars said, “There is no doubt that Allah did not reveal these letters for jest and play.” Some ignorant people said that some of the Qur’an does not mean anything, (meaning, such as these letters) thus committing a major mistake. On the contrary, these letters carry a specific meaning. Further, if we find an authentic narration leading to the Prophet that explains these letters, we will embrace the Prophet’s statement. Otherwise, we will stop where we were made to stop and will proclaim,
(We believe in it; all of it (clear and unclear verses) is from our Lord) (3:7).
The scholars did not agree on one opinion or explanation regarding this subject. Therefore, whoever thinks that one scholar’s opinion is correct, he is obliged to follow it, otherwise it is better to refrain from making any judgment on this matter. Allah knows best.
The wisdom behind mentioning these letters in the beginning of the Surahs, regardless of the exact meanings of these letters, is that they testify to the miracle of the Qur’an. Indeed, the servants are unable to produce something like the Qur’an, although it is comprised of the same letters with which they speak to each other. This opinion was mentioned by Ar-Razi in his Tafsir who related it to Al-Mubarrid and several other scholars. Al-Qurtubi also related this opinion to Al-Farra’ and Qutrub. Az-Zamakhshari agreed with this opinion in his book, Al-Kashshaf. In addition, the Imam and scholar Abu Al-`Abbas Ibn Taymiyyah and our Shaykh Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi agreed with this opinion. Al-Mizzi told me that it is also the opinion of Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. KAz-Zamakhshari said that these letters, “Were not all mentioned once in the beginning of the Qur’an. Rather, they were repeated so that the challenge (against the creation) is more daring. Similarly, several stories were mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an, and also the challenge was repeated in various areas (i.e., to produce something like the Qur’an). Sometimes, one letter at a time was mentioned, such as Sad, Nun and Qaf. Sometimes two letters were mentioned, such as
(Ha Mim) (44:1) Sometimes, three letters were mentioned, such as,
(Alif Lam Mim (2: 1)) and four letters, such as,
(`Alif Lam Mim Ra) (13:1), and
(Alif Lam Mim Sad) (7:1).
Sometimes, five letters were mentioned, such as,
(Kaf Ha Ya `Ayn Sad) (19:1), and;
(Ha Mim. `Ayn Sin Qaf) (42:1-2).
This is because the words that are used in speech are usually comprised of one, two, three, four, or five letters.”
Every Surah that begins with these letters demonstrates the Qur’an’s miracle and magnificence, and this fact is known by those well-versed in such matters. The count of these Surahs is twenty-nine. For instance, Allah said,
(Alif Lam Mim) This is the Book (the Qur’an), wherein there is no doubt (2:1-2),
(Alif Lam Mim. Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyuum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it.) (3:1-3), and,
(Alif Lam Mim Sad. (This is the) Book (the Qur’an) sent down unto you (O Muhammad), so let not your breast be narrow therefrom) (7:1-2).
Also, Allah said,
(Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into the light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord’s leave) (14:1),
(Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of the Book (this Qur’an) in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists)!) (32:1-2),
(Ha Mim. A revelation from (Allah) the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) (41:1-2), and,
(Ha Mim. `Ain Sin Qaf. Likewise Allah, the Almighty, the Wise sends revelation to you (O Muhammad) as (He sent revelation to) those before you.) (42:1-3).
There are several other Ayat that testify to what we have mentioned above, and Allah knows best.
(2. That is Book in which there is no Rayb, guidance for the Muttaqin).
The Book, is the Qur’an, and Rayb means doubt. As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn `Abbas, and Murrah Al-Hamadani narrated from Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah that,
(In which there is no Rayb), means about which there is no doubt. Abu Ad-Darda’, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Malik, Nafi` `Ata’, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Isma`il bin Abi Khalid said similarly. In addition, Ibn Abi Hatim said, “I do not know of any disagreement over this explanation.” The meaning of this is that the Book, the Qur’an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah. Similarly, Allah said in Surat As- Sajdah,
(Alif Lam Mim). The revelation of the Book (this Qur’an) in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of all that exists) (2:1-2).
Some scholars stated that this Ayah – 2:2 – contains a prohibition meaning, “Do not doubt the Qur’an.” Furthermore, some of the reciters of the Qur’an pause upon reading,
(there is no doubt) and they then continue;
(in which there is guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons)). However, it is better to pause at,
(in which there is no doubt) because in this case,
(guidance) becomes an attribute of the Qur’an and carries a better meaning than,
(in which there is guidance).
Hidayah – correct guidance – is only granted to those who have Taqwa – fear of Allah. Allah said,
(Say: It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur’an) is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand)) (41:44), and,
(And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it), and it increases the Zalimin (wrongdoers) in nothing but loss) (17:82).
This is a sample of the numerous Ayat indicating that the believers, in particular, benefit from the Qur’an. That is because the Qur’an is itself a form of guidance, but the guidance in it is only granted to the righteous, just as Allah said,
(O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i. e. the Qur’an, enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences) which is in your breasts, ـ a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things) for the believers) (10:57).
Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said,
(guidance for the Muttaqin (the pious and righteous persons), means, a light for those who have Taqwa.
Ibn `Abbas said about,
(guidance for the Muttaqin) that it means, “They are the believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience.” Ibn `Abbas also said that Al-Muttaqin means, “Those who fear Allah’s punishment, which would result if they abandoned the true guidance that they recognize and know. They also hope in Allah’s mercy by believing in what He revealed.” Further, Qatadah said that,
(Al-Muttaqin), are those whom Allah has described in His statement;
(Who believe in the Ghayb and perform the Salah) (2:3), and the following Ayat. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (2:2) includes all of these meanings that the scholars have mentioned, and this is the correct view. Also, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah narrated that `Atiyah As-Sa`di said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The servant will not acquire the status of the Muttaqin until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.) At-Tirmidhi then said “Hasan Gharib.”
Huda here means the faith that resides in the heart, and only Allah is able to create it in the heart of the servants. Allah said,
(Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like) (28:56),
(Not upon you (Muhammad) is their guidance) (2:272),
(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him) (7:186), and,
(He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path)) (18:17).
Huda also means to explain the truth, give direction and lead to it. Allah, the Exalted, said,
(And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism)) (42: 52),
(You are only a warner, and to every people there is a guide) (13:7), and,
(And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the path of truth (Islamic Monotheism) through Our Messenger (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance) (41:17).
testifying to this meaning.
Also, Allah said,
(And shown him the two ways (good and evil).) (90:10)
This is the view of the scholars who said that the two ways refer to the paths of righteousness and evil, which is also the correct explanation. And Allah knows best.
The root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked Ubayy bin Ka`b about Taqwa. Ubayy said, “Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it” `Umar said, “Yes.” Ubayy said, “What did you do then” He said, “I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.” Ubayy said, “That is Taqwa.”
(3. Those Who have faith in the Ghayb).
Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Al-`Ala’ bin Al-Musayyib bin Rafi` narrated from Abu Ishaq that Abu Al-Ahwas said that `Abdullah said, “Iman is to trust.”. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
(who have faith) means they trust. Also, Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said, “Iman is the deeds.” In addition, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that, `They have faith’, means, they fear (Allah).
Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) commented, “The preferred view is that they be described as having faith in the Unseen by the tongue, deed and creed. In this case, fear of Allah is included in the general meaning of Iman, which necessitates following deeds of the tongue by implementation. Hence, Iman is a general term that includes affirming and believing in Allah, His Books and His Messengers, and realizing this affirmation through adhering to the implications of what the tongue utters and affirms.”
Linguistically, in the absolute sense, Iman merely means trust, and it is used to mean that sometimes in the Qur’an, for instance, Allah the Exalted said,
(He trusts (yu’minu) in Allah, and trusts (yu’minu) in the believers.) (9: 61)
Prophet Yusuf’s brothers said to their father,
(But you will never believe us even when we speak the truth) (12:17).
Further, the word Iman is sometimes mentioned along with deeds, such as Allah said,
(Save those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds) (95:6).
However, when Iman is used in an unrestricted manner, it includes beliefs, deeds, and statements of the tongue. We should state here that Iman increases and decreases.
There are many narrations and Hadiths on this subject, and we discussed them in the beginning of our explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, all favors are from Allah. Some scholars explained that Iman means Khashyah (fear of Allah). For instance, Allah said;
(Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen (i.e. they do not see Him, nor His punishment in the Hereafter)) (67:12), and,
(Who feared the Most Gracious (Allah) in the Ghayb (unseen) and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him and absolutely free from every kind of polytheism)) (50: 33).
Fear is the core of Iman and knowledge, just as Allah the Exalted said,
(It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah) (35:28).
As for the meaning of Ghayb here, the Salaf have different explanations of it, all of which are correct, indicating the same general meaning. For instance, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi quoted Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, reporting from Abu Al-`Aliyah about Allah’s statement, i
((Those who) have faith in the Ghayb), “They believe in Allah, His angels, Books, Messengers, the Last Day, His Paradise, Fire and in the meeting with Him. They also believe in life after death and in Resurrection. All of this is the Ghayb.” Qatadah bin Di`amah said similarly.
Sa`id bin Mansur reported from `Abdur-Rahman bin Yazid who said, “We were sitting with `Abdullah bin Mas`ud when we mentioned the Companions of the Prophet and their deeds being superior to our deeds. `Abdullah said, `The matter of Muhammad was clear for those who saw him. By He other than Whom there is no God, no person will ever acquire a better type of faith than believing in Al-Ghayb.’ He then recited,
(Alif Lam Mim. This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt, a guidance for the Muttaqin. Those who believe in the Ghayb), until,
(the successful). ” Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwyah and Al-Hakim, in his Mustadrak, recorded this Hadith. Al-Hakim commented that this Hadith is authentic and that the Two Shaykhs – Al-Bukhari and Muslim – did not collect it, although it meets their criteria.
Ahmad recorded a Hadith with similar meaning from Ibn Muhayriz who said: I said to Abu Jumu`ah, “Narrate a Hadith for us that you heard from the Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Yes. I will narrate a good Hadith for you. Once we had lunch with the Messenger of Allah . Abu `Ubaydah, who was with us, said, `O Messenger of Allah! Are people better than us We embraced Islam with you and performed Jihad with you.’ He said,
(Yes, those who will come after you, who will believe in me although they did not see me.)”
This Hadith has another route collected by Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah in his Tafsir, from Salih bin Jubayr who said: `Abu Jumu`ah Al-Ansari, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah, came to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) to perform the prayer. Raja’ bin Haywah was with us, so when Abu Jumu`ah finished, we went out to greet him. When he was about to leave, he said, “You have a gift and a right. I will narrate a Hadith for you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah. ” We said, “Do so, and may Allah grant you mercy.” He said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah, ten people including Mu`adh bin Jabal. We said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are there people who will acquire greater rewards than us We believed in Allah and followed you.’ He said,
(What prevents you from doing so, while the Messenger of Allah is among you, bringing you the revelation from heaven There are people who will come after you and who will be given a book between two covers (the Qur’an), and they will believe in it and implement its commands. They have a greater reward than you, even twice as much.)”
(And perform Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them)
Ibn `Abbas said that,
(And perform the Salah), means, “Perform the prayer with all of the obligations that accompany it.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Iqamat As-Salah means to complete the bowings, prostrations, recitation, humbleness and attendance for the prayer.” Qatadah said, “Iqamat As-Salah means to preserve punctuality, and the ablution, bowings, and prostrations of the prayer.” Muqatil bin Hayyan said Iqamat As-Salah means “To preserve punctuality for it, as well as completing ones purity for it, and completing the bowings, prostrations, recitation of the Qur’an, Tashahhud and blessings for the Prophet. This is Iqamat As-Salah.”
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
(And spend out of what We have provided for them) means, “The Zakah due on their wealth.” As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn `Abbas, as well as Murrah from Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions of the Messenger of Allah , that,
(And spend out of what We have provided for them) means, “A man’s spending on his family. This was before the obligation of Zakah was revealed.” Juwaybir narrated from Ad-Dahhak, “General spending (in charity) was a means of drawing nearer to Allah, according to one’s discretion and capability. Until the obligation of charity was revealed in the seven Ayat of Surat Bara’ah (chapter 9), were revealed. These abrogated the previous case.”
In many instances, Allah mentioned prayer and spending wealth together. Prayer is a right of Allah as well as a form of worshipping Him. It includes singling Him out for one’s devotion, praising Him, glorifying Him, supplicating to Him, invoking Him, and it displays one’s dependence upon Him. Spending is form of kindness towards creatures by giving them what will benefit them, and those people most deserving of this charity are the relatives, the wife, the servants and then the rest of the people. So all types of required charity and required spending are included in Allah’s saying,
(And spend out of what we have provided for them). The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Islam is built upon five (pillars): Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, giving Zakah, fasting Ramadan and Hajj to the House.)
There are many other Hadiths on this subject.
In the Arabic language, the basic meaning of Salah is supplication. In religious terminology, Salah is used to refer to the acts of bowing and prostration, the remaining specified acts associated with it, specificed at certain times, with those known conditions, and the characteristics, and requirements that are well-known about it.
(4. And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you, and in the Hereafter they are certain.)
Ibn `Abbas said that,
(And who have faith in what is revealed to you and in what was revealed before you.) means, “They believe in what Allah sent you with, and in what the previous Messengers were sent with, they do not distinguish between (believing) them, nor do they reject what they brought from their Lord.”
(And in the Hereafter they are certain) that is the resurrection, the standing (on the Day of Resurrection), Paradise, the Fire, the reckoning and the Scale that weighs the deeds (the Mizan). The Hereafter is so named because it comes after this earthly life.
The people described here (2:4) are those whom Allah described in the preceding Ayah,
(Those who have faith in the Ghayb and perform Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them.)
Mujahid once stated, “Four Ayat at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah describe the believers, two describe the disbelievers, and thirteen describe the hypocrites.” The four Ayat mentioned in this statement are general and include every believer, whether an Arab, non-Arab, or a person of a previous Scripture, whether they are Jinns or humans. All of these attributes complement each other and require the existence of the other attributes. For instance, it is not possible that one believes in the Unseen, performs the prayer and gives Zakah without believing in what the Messenger of Allah and the previous Messengers were sent with. The same with certainty in the Hereafter, this is not correct without that, for Allah has commanded the believers,
(O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger, and the Book (the Qur’an) which He has revealed to the Messenger, and the Book which He sent own to those before (him)) (4:136),
(And argue not with the People of the Book, unless it be in (a way) that is better, except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah)’) (29:46),
(O you who have been given the Book (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed (to Muhammad) confirming what is (already) with you) (4:47), and,
(Say (O Muhammad): “O People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing until you act according to the Tawrah (Torah), the Injil (Gospel), and what has (now) been revealed to you from your Lord (the Qur’an).”) (5:68).
Also, Allah the Exalted described the believers;
(The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers”) (2: 285), and,
(And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers)) (4:152),
This is a sample of the Ayat that indicate that the true believers all believe in Allah, His Messengers and His Books.
The faithful among the People of the Book, have a special significance here, since they believe in their Books and in all of the details related to that, so when such people embrace Islam and sincerely believe in the details of the religion, then they will get two rewards. As for the others, they can only believe in the previous religious teachings in a general way. For instance, the Prophet stated,
(When the People of the Book narrate to you, neither reject nor affirm what they say. Rather, say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you.’)
However, the faith that many Arabs have in the religion of Islam as it was revealed to Muhammad might be more complete, encompassing and firmer than the faith of the People of the Book who embraced Islam. Therefore, if the believers in Islam among the People of the Book gain two rewards, other Muslims who have firmer Islamic faith might gain an equal reward that compares to the two the People of the Book gain (upon embracing Islam). And Allah knows best.
(5. They are on guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.)