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Qur'an 2:37

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Qur'an 2:37 or al-Tawba Verse (Arabic: آية التوبة‬‎) is the verse thirty seven of Qur'an 2. In this verse, God recounts how He instructed Adam (a) to repent to Him. According to the verse, Adam (a) asked for forgiveness by the citation of words he was taught by God. The term, "kalimat" (words), in the verse has been variously interpreted. According to hadiths from the Imams of the Shia, "kalimat" refers to the Pure Five (a), with a recourse to whom Adam (a) asked God for forgiveness.

According to Quranic exegetes, the verse implies that if tawba is attributed to human beings, then it means the return from sins, and if it is attributed to God, then it means the return to mercy.

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The Qur'an 2:37 is about how God taught tawba to Adam (a). When Iblis deceived Adam (a), God commanded Adam (a) to exit the Heaven. Adam (a) realized what injustice he had done to himself; thus, he tried to compensate for his mistake. God taught him how to repent to Him. According to Shiite exegetes, Adam (a) did not do a forbidden action; indeed, he just abandoned the better (tark al-awla).

In this verse, God recounts how he suggested tawba to Adam (a), that is, He taught him how to do tawba. According to Allama Tabataba'i in his Tafsir al-Mizan, since God taught tawba to Adam (a), tawba can be looked at from two different aspects: a tawba on part of God who accepts the tawba, and a tawba on part of people who ask for tawba.

Thus, tawba sometimes means the return from sins when it is attributed to the sinful person, and it sometimes means the return to mercy when it is attributed to God; that is, God gives back the mercy He had deprived the person from, because of his tawba. Thus, at the end of the verse, God refers to Himself as "tawwab" (which means frequently returning to mercy).

Meaning of "Kalimat"

Imam al-Baqir (a) was quoted as saying that "kalimat" (words) in the verse refer to the following supplication:

O God! There is no god except You. You are exalted and I praise You. O my Lord! I did injustice to me, so forgive me; truly You are the best forgiver. O God! There is no god except You. You are exalted and I praise You. I did injustice to me, so have mercy on me; truly You are the best mercy-giver. O God! There is no god except You. You are exalted and I praise You. O my Lord! I did injustice to me, so return to me; truly You are the accepting of repentance and merciful.

"Kalimat" (words) in the verse were words Adam (a) was taught by God in order to repent to God. There is a disagreement among exegetes as to the interpretation of "kalimat." Some of them believe that it refers to the same words quoted from Adam (a) in the Qur'an 7:23. According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), the words God taught to Adam (a) were the supplication beginning with: "O God! There is no god except You. You are exalted and I praise You. O my Lord! I did injustice to me … ."

There are many hadiths from Imams of the Shia to the effect that the words (kalimat) that were suggested by God to Adam (a) were the names: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, with the citation of which he asked God to forgive him. Al-Suyuti, a Sunni exegete, has cited the hadith from the Prophet (s).

According to Makarim Shirazi, the author of Tafsir-i Nimuna, different interpretations of "kalimat" are compatible, because all of them may have as well been taught to Adam (a).

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References

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  • The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه توبه in Farsi Wikishia.

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