Surat al-Baqara

“Remember Me and I will Remember You: A Tafsir of Baqara Verse 152”

“Remember Me and I will Remember You:

A Tafsir of Baqara Verse 152”

***

Shaykh `Ata’ Ibn Khalil (may Allah protect him) writes regarding verse 158 of surat al-Baqara: {remember Me so that I will remember you; thank Me and do not be ungrateful}.

“[2.] And in the last verse, Allah commands His servants to remember Him (glorified is He!) through all types of remembrance (dhikr) such as with the tongue, the heart and the limbs which means calling to Islam with everything that pleases Allah (glorified is He!) so that He will reward them with an immense reward. In the two Sahihs it has: ‘Whoever remembers Me, I remember Him and whoever remembers me in a gathering, I will remember him in gathering greater than His.’[1] He also commanded them to be thankful to Him for the favours He has given so that they may continue to receive them: {If you thank Me I will give you increase and if you are ungrateful then my punishment is indeed severe…}.[2] And {I will remember you means} means ‘I will reward you for remembering Me’ and is here the figurative (majazi) expression of ‘metonymy’ (kinaya).[3] So, Allah remembering us is a metonymical expression for His rewarding us…”[4] [End]

Notes:

[1] Allah commands us to remember Him first before thanking Him in order for us to be mindful of His commands and prohibitions prior to carrying them out.[5] This is what Sayyiduna `Umar Ibn al-Khattab said: “…the best type of dhikr of Allah with the tongue is to remember Allah at the time of carrying out His commands and avoiding his prohibitions…”[6]

وعن عمر بن الخطاب أفضل من ذكر الله باللسان ذكر الله عند أمره ونهيه

[2] Dhikr of Allah does not connect to or relate to His Essence but His Beautiful Names, His favours, His bounty and gifts, His praise, etc. So, the command in the verse is primarily to remember aspects of Allah’s creative effects in the world or whatever enables one to draw closer to Allah to gain His reward.[7]

[3] The preposition “فَ” in {فَٱذْكُرُونِي} denotes division (tafri`) and is used here to indicate the cause for what follows. So on account of Allah’s bounty and gifts, He should be correctly remembered.[8]

[4] The preposition “ل” in {واشكروالي} is known as the preposition for ‘elucidation’ (al-tabyin) and occurs after nouns to emphasise a relation or statement. Thus, gratitude is clarified as solely expressed for Allah because He alone is able to grant real favours.[9]

[5] Allah remembering us is a metaphorical expression that refers to His rewarding us for obeying Him.

[6] Ingratitude (kufran li’l-ni`ma) is one of the  most evident and flagrant denials of Allah and a human being’s most extreme act of defiance of his Creator and so Allah forbids it.

s.z.c.

[1] See Bukhari (#6858) and Muslim (#4832) in their respective Sahihs.

[2] See Q.14:7.

[3] For more on the rhetorical trope of kinaya, see the post https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/lord-of-the-east-and-west-a-tafsir-of-baqara-verse-115/.

[4] See `Ata’ Ibn Khalil, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, p.182.

[5] Ibn `Ashur, al-Tahrir wa ’l-Tanwir, 2:50.

[6] Ibid., 2:50.

[7] Ibid., 2:50.

[8] Ibid., 2:50.

[9] Ibid., 2:51.

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