Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verses 147, 148 & 149
Verses 147, 148, and 149
The truth is from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. (Chapter 2:Verse 147)
The truth requires power to protect it. A poet says:
No matter how many gems and jewels adorn a sword
It only works in the hand of a courageous warrior
What is the point of possessing a powerful tool without a wise and steady hand that knows how to use it? We often lay the truth and our rights to waste because we do not handle them with wisdom and determination. You need both: the truth and power to be on your side in order to gain lasting victory.
God says: ‘The truth is from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.’ Doubt is uncertainty. It is when you give two outcomes equal weight. Allah warns us against having doubt in our hearts. Why? Because the truth is from God, and nothing stands equal to Him. That is why doubt should never enter your heart on whether the truth will prevail.
Now, we move to the next verse in ‘The Cow.’ God says:
Each community has its own direction to which it turns: race to do good deeds and wherever you are, God will bring you together. God has power to do everything. (Chapter 2: Verse 148)
Allah created you and gave you free will. You have the freedom to believe or disbelieve, to support the truth or to follow falsehood, and to do good or evil deeds. But this freedom is not eternal; it is limited to this worldly life. At the moment of your death, you no longer have a choice. You will not be able to make a single decision for yourself. When death comes, you cannot even choose to stay alive.
So in this world, each person can choose the direction he or she wants to head. Some choose disbelief while others choose faith. Some prefer obedience while others practice defiance. Keep in mind that if you choose faith for yourself, and you decide to do good deeds, it may not be enough. God advises you to ‘race to do good deeds.’ Why? Because you do not know when you will die; the more good you do before death, the more reward and protection you can gain. Thus, Allah reminds you that none will escape death. It is one of life’s absolute certainties. He says: ‘wherever you are, God will bring you together. God has power to do everything.’ There is no place in the universe where you can hide from God, or be outside His knowledge. Allah knows the place of each individual part of your being and He will resurrect you as the following verse affirms:
On the Day We make the mountains move and you see the earth laid bare and We gather them together, not leaving out a single one of them (18:47)
And in another verse:
We know very well what the earth takes away from them: We keep a comprehensive record. (50:4)
Based on this, the only logical and beneficial course of action is to follow God’s path, do good deeds, and rush towards the Lord. He says:
So flee to Allah. Truly I bring you a clear warning from Him. (51:50)
The only open path before us is to towards God. There is no refuge from Him except to Him. It is foolish for the disbeliever and the disobedient to think that he or she can escape from God, or that there will be no accountability for each and every deed on the day of resurrection. The world is full of distractions and entertainment that often blind us from the inevitable fact of death and accountability. People often forget about meeting their Lord on the day of resurrection where there will be paradise and hellfire. Those who do not accept faith will face disgrace and painful punishment on that day. Even those of us who have faith and recognise the need for good deeds, yet procrastinate, may end up in loss. God advises you to rush towards good deeds, and He ends the verse with the reminder that: “God has power to do everything.”
Let’s move to the next verse in ‘The Cow.’ God says:
So wherever you may have started out, turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque- this is the truth from your Lord: He is not unaware of what you do- (chapter 2:Verse 149)
You may have noticed that God emphasized the issue of changing the orientation of prayer in the Quran three times within the span of a few verses. This is because Allah knew that changing the Qibla will stir a strong reaction within the believers and take them by surprise. Allah wanted to ease this effect and emphasize that changing the Qibla is a matter of faith. Thus, He Almighty revealed three verses which is the amount of repetition required to drive a point home. One of the verses was specific for facing the Ka’ba for those inside a mosque; the second was for the facing towards Ka’ba for those outside the premises of the mosque, while the third verse was for those facing it from all other places.
God says: ‘So wherever you may have started out, turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque‘. This verse is a response to the hypocrites, the Jews, and the Christians who tried to question Islam and challenge the Muslims. They claimed that there was no need for the change of Qibla because it did not add to obligation, improve worship, nor increase the reward. The effort which a believer exerts in facing towards the Aqsa Mosque is the same effort required to turn towards the Sacred House. So what is the point? They added that if turning towards the Ka’ba is the right Qibla, then turning towards Jerusalem in the past was wrong. And if Jerusalem is the correct Qibla, then turning away from it is unacceptable.
We answer that all this logic and assertion holds no weight for the believer. Changing the direction of prayers is the command of our Lord. And if God commands us to do something, then as believers we obey Him. He says: “this is the truth from your Lord: He is not unaware of what you do-” Allah is comforting the believers not to pay any attention to those around them. This is the truth from God who is the ultimate truth. Thus, the believer should be in peace and tranquillity regarding changing the direction of prayer, and regarding any command from the Lord.