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Al-Tahluka Verse

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Al-Tahluka Verse (Arabic: آيَةُ التَّهْلُكَه) is the verse 195 of Qur'an 2 (Sura al-Baqara). At the beginning of the verse, God orders people to donate money for jihad on God's path and not to put themselves into destruction by refraining from donation. The verse goes on to encourage people to be good-doers. Good-doing does not mean kindness to enemies. Instead, it means to do things in the best way.

Some people appeal to the phrase, "and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction", to suggest that martyrdom is an instance of destruction, and thus they escape jihad. Such an appeal to the verse has been rejected in that "destruction" in the verse refers to an irrational or pointless death. However, martyrdom is to sacrifice on the path of a happy eternal life. Some jurists have appealed to the verse to ground the jurisprudential caution (al-ihtiyat al-shar'i).

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This verse is in continuity with its preceding verses concerning jihad. At the beginning of the verse, God orders people to donate or spend their money and property for jihad on God's path and not to throw themselves into destruction with their own hands, because the refusal from donation would undermine the power of Muslims and lead to their destruction.

According to Tafsir-i Nimuna, although the phrase, "and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction", has been revealed about jihad and the refusal from donation, it has a broad connotation and a wide-ranging application including other cases as well. For example, one should not cross dangerous roads without the required preparations or one should not enter a war without having made the necessary plans.

In the last part of the verse, God encourages people to be good-doers. Allama Tabataba'i believes that "good-doing" here does not mean the refrainment from jihad or kindness with enemies. Instead, it means that every action must be done in the best way. Thus, if people are engaged in a war, then they must combat the enemy in the best way, and if they are in peace, then they should keep the peace in the best way.

Running Away from Jihad

Some people appeal to "al-Tahluka Verse" to escape from jihad, because they take jihad to be a kind of destruction. They even take Imam al-Husayn's (a) Uprising to be an instance of "throwing oneself into destruction with one's own hand". This is rejected in Tafsir-i Nimuna by making a distinction between "tahluka" (destruction) and "martyrdom". For the former is a pointless death, while the latter is a sacrifice for a better eternal life.

Appeals to the Verse in Fatwas

Some jurists appeal to the phrase, "and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction", to ground the jurisprudential caution. Thus, doing an action that is possibly forbidden counts as an instance of throwing oneself into destruction, and should thus be abandoned. Such an interpretation of the verse is rejected by al-Shaykh al-Ansari.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه تهلکهin Farsi WikiShia.