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Those Who breached the Sabbath were turned into Monkeys, but Those Who prohibited Their Actions were Print E-mail

Allah said that the people of this village were divided into three groups, a group that committed the prohibition, catching fish on the Sabbath, as we described in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. Another group prohibited them from transgression and avoided them. A third group neither prohibited them, nor participated in their action. The third group said to the preachers,

﴿لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَاباً شَدِيدًا﴾

("Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment''). They said, `why do you forbid these people from evil, when you know that they are destroyed and have earned Allah's punishment' Therefore, they said, there is no benefit in forbidding them. The preachers replied,

﴿مَعْذِرَةً إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ﴾

("In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah),'') `for we were commanded to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil,' r

﴿وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ﴾

("and perhaps they may fear Allah'') for on account of our advice, they might stop this evil and repent to Allah. Certainly, if they repent to Allah, Allah will accept their repentance and grant them His mercy.' Allah said,

﴿فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ﴾

(So when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them, ) when the evil doers refused the advice,

﴿أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ﴾

(We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized who did wrong,) who committed the transgression,

﴿بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ﴾

(with a severe torment). Allah stated that those who enjoined good were saved, while those who committed the transgression were destroyed, but He did not mention the end of those who were passive (the third group), for the compensation is comparable to the deed. This type did not do what would warrant praise, nor commit wrong so that they are admonished. `Ikrimah said, "Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah: `I do not know whether or not the people were saved who said;

﴿لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ﴾

("Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy...'') So I continued discussing it with him until I convinced him that they were. Then he gave me ﴿the gift of﴾ a garment.'' Allah said,

﴿وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ﴾

(and We seized those who did wrong with a Ba'is torment) indicating that those who remained were saved. As for `Ba'is', it means `severe', according to Mujahid, or `painful', according to Qatadah. These meanings are synonymous, and Allah knows best. Allah said next,

﴿خَـسِئِينَ﴾

(despised), humiliated, disgraced and rejected.

﴿وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكَ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ مَن يَسُومُهُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَسَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

(167. And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them, till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment. Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

 
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