in category Qur'an

What is the explanation of sura al-Rad verse 11?

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This is one of the most misunderstood ayah of Quran.

ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ “

Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves - Islam promotes individualism and individual change as a condition to societal change

The tafseer of this ayah by some scholars is below.

1) Imam al-Qurtubi (ra)

In his Tafseer entitled ‘Jami'u li Ahkam il-Qur'an,' is careful in explaining the ayah, as he knew that a twisted meaning would distort it:

"Allah informed in this ayah that he does not change what is in a Qawm until change takes place from them, whether it be from them, or from their supervisor (of their affairs - leaders), or from he who is (appointed) from them… So the meaning of this ayah is not that it was only revealed for individual punishment and to address nothing but progress from a sin. Instead, it has been revealed for the correction of others sins too. As he said (in the hadith), “…It was asked, ‘will we be destroyed whilst the righteous are amongst us?' He (saw) said, ‘Yes, if the corruption increases (beyond bounds)'” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Zaynab bint Jahsh about the Ya'jooj].

Al-Qurtubi (ra) demonstrates it is not simply for the individual focus. His quotation on the hadith provides an admonishment, in the form of complete destruction, for the whole community if they leave others alone to practice corruption without addressing it, despite the fact that the righteous may live amongst them.

2) Mufti Shafi (ra)

"According to a common explanation of this verse, no positive revolution appears among a people unless they themselves do not correct conditions around them to bring about that positive revolution. There is a very popular Urdu couplet by poet Half which carries this very sense:

اللہ نے آج تک اس قوم کی حالت نہیں بدلی

نہ ہو جس کو خیال آپ اپنی حالت کے بدلنے کا

To this day, God has never changed the condition of a people who have no thought of changing their condition themselves.

For a person who has no intention of correcting himself, there is no promise of help and support from Allah Ta’ ala. Instead, this promise is valid under the condition that someone would himself think and do something about it - as we learn from the noble verse: وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا (that is, 'those who strive in Us, them We do lead to Our paths - (29:69) ' which tells us that the pathways of guidance from Allah Ta` a1a too open up only when the urge to have such guidance is present there."

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