(138) صِبْغَة اللّهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللّهِ صِبْغَةً وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدونَ
(139) قُلْ أَتُحَآجُّونَنَا فِي اللّهِ وَهُوَ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ وَلَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ
(140) أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأسْبَاطَ كَانُواْ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى قُلْ أَأَنتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمِ اللّهُ وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِندَهُ مِنَ اللّهِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
(141) تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُمْ وَلاَ تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
138." (Receive) the baptism of Allah and who is better than Allah in baptizing? And Him do we worship."
139. " Say (to the Jews and Christians) : ' Would you dispute with us concerning Allah Who is our Lord and your Lord? For us are our deeds and for you are your deeds: and we are sincere to Him '."
140. " Or do you claim that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: ' Who then knows best, you or Allah? ' Who is more unjust than he who conceals testimony received from Allah? And Allah is not heedless of what you do."
141. " That is a nation that has passed away; theirs is that which they have earned and yours is what you earned; you shall not be questioned for what they had been doing."
Following the invitation, in the former verses, to the adherents of all religions to accept the Divine messages of all prophets, in the first verse of this group of verses, it commands them all to:
Which is the same as the purification by Faith and true monotheism resulting in the manifestation of one true colour. Then, it adds:
Thus, the Qur'an commands that all racial, tribal and other separative colours be put aside and that every one take on (symbolically) the colour of Allah.
Some commentators have recorded that it was a custom among the Christians to baptize their new-born children in baptismal water which was mixed with dye or a colour, signifying that the baptized person received new colour in life. They said that this baptism, especially with this particular colour, caused the person to be cleaned from the original sin that he had inherited from Adam (a.s.) .
The Qur'an rejects this baseless logic and tells them that in order to purify their souls and minds from any stain of sin instead of using colours of rituals, superstitions and dispersiveness, they had better accept the colour of truthfulness and godliness.
Truly, what a delicate and beautiful sentence it is! How nice it would be if all people accepted the godly colour, i.e. the colour of unity, purity and virtue! Viz the colour of colourlessness, the colour of justice, equality, patience and perseverance. Under the light of the colour of unity and sincerity, all conflicts and fights can be put to an end and the main weed of polytheism and dispersion might be rooted out.
This is, in fact, that very colournessless, or in other words, pulling away of all colours.
In several traditions, commenting on this verse, it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) who has said that the objective meaning of /sibqatallah / ' the baptism of Allah' is the pure creed of Islam. (1) This idea is also a reference to what was said in the above.
(1) Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol.1,p.132
Some of the Jews, and some others, occasionally disputed with the Muslims claiming that all the prophets were chosen from among them and their religion was the oldest of all religions, and their book was the most ancient of Divine Books. They said that if Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) had really been a prophet, he would have been appointed from among them. They sometimes said that their race was superior to the Arab race, for the acceptance of creeds, and they were more receptive to revelation than Arabs, because they had practically been idol-worshippers while the Jews were not.
The Jews considered themselves the sons of God, the ones who claimed Heaven exclusively theirs. The Qur'an refuses all of these false imaginations. At first, it tells the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) :
" Say (to the Jews and Christians) : ' Would you dispute with us concerning Allah Who is our Lord and your Lord? ..."
This Lord is not exclusively for one particular tribe or a certain race. He is the Lord of all human beings and all creatures in the world of existence.
Addressing them, it adds that they should also know that: there are no privileges for anyone except for those attained by a person's good deeds:
"... For us are our deeds and for you are your deeds: ..."
But there is a difference between those deeds. We serve Him sincerely and associate none with Him, (while most of you have poluted Unity with polytheism) :
"...and we are sincere to Him '."
* * * *
The next verse replies to some other vain claims of theirs. It says:
Allah knows best of all that they were neither Jewish nor Christian.
You also know, whether you admit it or not, that many of those prophets came in to this world before Moses (a.s.) and Jesus (a.s.) , and
if you do not know it, then you have ignorantly charged them with such a belie which in itself, is a great sin and an attempt at hiding the true fact. Thus:
What a wonder! When it happens that a person's mind is dominated by obstinacy and prejudice, he denies even the well-known facts of history. For instance, the Jews counted the prophets such as Abraham (a.s.) , Isaac (a.s.) and Jacob (a.s.) , who came into the world and passed away before Moses and Jesus, as being from among the followers of Moses (a.s.) and Jesus (a.s.) . They denied the above mentioned fact which is pertinent to the fate of their people and defines their Faith and religion. It may be for this very reason that the Qur'an introduces them as the most unjust. There is no unjust action worst than that some persons intentionally deny some facts in order to misguide people so that they wander aimlessly in that misguidance.
* * * *
In the last of the verses under discussion, which is also the last verse of the first part (out of the thirty parts) of the Holy Qur'an, the Qur'an answers them in another style indicating that supposing all these claims were correct, then, this is the answer:
" That is a nation that has passed away; theirs is that which they have earned..."
"...and yours is what you earned; you shall not be questioned for what they had been doing."
In conclusion, a nation should rely upon its own deeds, not on its past history. As a person should thrive on his own excellencies, not on those of his ancestors.
The End Part One