Qur'an 2:207

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Qur'an 2:207
Verse's Information
SuraQur'an 2
Verse207
Juz'2
Content Information
Cause of
Revelation
Sacrifice of Imam Ali (a) in Laylat al-Mabit
Place of
Revelation
Medina
TopicBelief
AboutVirtue of Imam Ali (a)


Qur'an 2:207 or al-Shirāʾ Verse (Arabic: آیة الشراء) refers to verse 207 of Qur'an 2. This verse is about Imam 'Ali's (a) sacrifice on Laylat al-Mabit when he laid in the Prophet’s (s) bed to save his life. The verse praises those who are ready to sacrifice their lives to attain God’s satisfaction.

Text

The verse is as follows:

Revelation about Imam Ali (a)

According to Allama Tabataba'i in al-Mizan, there are many hadiths to the effect that the Verse of Shira' was revealed about Laylat al-Mabit.[1] Ibn Abi l-Hadid, the Sunni Mu'tazili scholar, says in his Exposition of Nahj al-balagha that all Quranic exegetes believe that the verse was revealed about Imam 'Ali (a) and the story of Laylat al-Mabit[2] when polytheists of Mecca had plotted to raid the Prophet’s house in Mecca and kill him. On that night, Imam 'Ali (a) laid in the Prophet’s bed to save his life.[3]

However, some Sunni scholars adduce certain hadiths as evidence that the verse was revealed about other people, such as Abu Dhar, Suhayb b. Sinan,[4] 'Ammar b. Yasir and his parents, Khabbab b. Aratt, and Bilal al-Habashi.[5] Nevertheless, there are doubts about the validity of those hadiths. According to some scholars, these hadiths were fabricated out of spite for Imam 'Ali (a) to conceal his virtues.

Exegetical Points

The term "yashri" (sells) is derived from the infinitive shira' (to sell).[6] Al-Shira' Verse is said to describe those who seek to attain God’s pleasure and are ready to sacrifice their lives for this goal.[7] They are contrasted to another group of people who are described in verses 204-206; that is, arrogant, obstinate, and hypocritical people who masquerade as charitable, but in fact pursue corruptions.[8] According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, the context of these verses shows that both groups existed during the Prophet’s (s) time.[9] Although some translators have translated the final sentence of the verse in a way that implies God’s kindness to those who seek His pleasure, 'Allama Tabataba'i believes that, because of those who sacrifice their lives, God shows kindness to other servants of His. In fact, the existence of servants who sacrifice their lives in the pursuit of God’s pleasure is itself God’s kindness and grace to people.[10]

Three Types of Selling One’s Soul

Some Quranic exegetes believe that there are three degrees of selling one’s soul: selling one’s soul out of fear from the hell; selling one’s soul out of passion for the heaven; and selling one’s soul for God’s pleasure. They believe that the latter group is superior to the other two, since they do not want anything in exchange for their soul. Imam Ali’s (a) sacrifice by laying in the Prophet’s (s) bed on Laylat al-Mabit is an instance of this.[11] 'Allama Tabataba'i believes that selling one’s soul for God’s pleasure is to want what God wants, not one’s own desires.[12]

Notes

  1. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 2, p. 100.
  2. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha, vol. 13, p. 262.
  3. Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 466.
  4. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-Bayān, vol. 3, p. 591.
  5. Fakhr al-Razi, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 5, p. 350.
  6. Ṣādiqī Tihrānī, al-furqān, vol. 3, p. 225.
  7. Ṭaliqānī, Partuwī az Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 100.
  8. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 2, p. 79.
  9. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 2, p. 98.
  10. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 2, p. 98.
  11. Ṣādiqī Tihrānī, al-furqān, vol. 3, p. 225-226.
  12. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 2, p. 98.

References

  • Fakhr al-Rāzī, Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-. Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (al-Tafsīr al-kabīr). Second edition. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1420 AH.
  • Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-. Al-Mustadrak 'alā l-ṣaḥīḥayn. Edited by Muṣṭafā ʿAbd al-Qādir ʿAṭāʾ. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1411 AH.
  • Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd b. Hibat Allāh. Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha. Qom: Maktabat Āyat Allāh al-Marʿashī, 1404 AH.
  • Ibn Athīr al-Jazarī, ʿAlī b. Abī al-Karam. Usd al-ghāba fī Maʿrifat al-ṣaḥāba. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1409 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1371 Sh.
  • Ṣādiqī Tihrānī, Muḥammad. Al-furqān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Qom: Farhang-i Islāmī, 1406 AH.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Jāmiʿ al-Bayān. Edited by ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Muḥsin b. al-Turkī. al-Jiza: Dār al-Hijr li-l-Ṭabāʿat wa l-Nashr wa l-Tawzīʿ wa l-Iʿlān, 1422 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1393 AH.
  • Ṭaliqānī, Maḥmūd. Partuwī az Qurʾān. 4th edition. Tehran: Shirkat-i Sahāmī-yi Intishār, 1362 Sh.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Amālī. Edited by Muʾassisat al-Biʿtha. Qom: Dār al-Thiqāfa li-ṭibaʿat wa al-Nashr wa al-Tawzīʿ, 1414 AH.