Muslims as a Middle Nation
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verse –143a of 286, Section –17 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the Messenger may be a witness against you.
Wa kazaalika ja-‘alNaa-kum ‘Ummatanw- Wasatal-li-takuunuu shuha-daaa-‘a ‘alan-naasi wa yakuunar-Rasuulu ‘alaykum Shahiidaa.
Wasatan – (Moderate; temperate) it means that Muslim nation is on right straight path. It has no crookedness, abundance or deficiency. Teaching of Islam is self-control in behavior. Followers of Islam are the temperate. They are appointed on acceptance of the middle path leaving all kinds of increases and decreases.
Shahiidun – (Witness) this word is origin of the words Shaahid and Shahaadah. Shaahid means witness and Shahaadah means Evidence. Technically this word is used for the killed, martyred in the path of God Almighty. In this verse its meaning may also be taken as ‘Watching’.
Excellence and superiority of Muslim nation has been declared in this verse. God Almighty commands: O Muslims! As your Qiblah is the most excellent than other Qiblahs, like this We have bestowed you merit over all other nations, and your Messenger (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) has been selected most superior over all other Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon Them).
It has come in the Sayings of the Messenger of Allah (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) that on the Judgment Day, when all previous nations will be asked about their acts, at that time the Muslim nation will verify the claim of previous Prophets (peace be upon Them) in the light of the teachings of Holy Qur’an and witness that these all Prophets (peace be upon Them) came unto their nations and conveyed them the Message of Allah Almighty. But these people did not agree to their Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon Them).
The Muslim nation has been prepared in the both capacities of model; individually and collectively for the entire world. Every nation of the world should rise and turn to the situation of this standard. Auspicious Personality of the Blessed Messenger (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) has capacity of being an example and model roll for the Muslims. This lesson results from this verse also that we should establish ourselves as model roll for other nations of the world. We should escape ourselves from moral lowness in all respects and choose never the path which lessens our recognized position. To get this object we must keep the pattern of God’s last Messenger (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) in view before us always. Being a middle nation we should escape ourselves from all kinds of abundance and decrease so that we may be able to keep the honor of the title of “A Middle Nation”.
And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the Messenger, from him who turneth on his heels.
Wa maa ja-‘alnal-Qiblatal-latii kunta ‘alayhaaa ‘illaa li-na’-lama many-yattabi-‘ur-Rasuula mim-many-yanqalibu ‘alaa ‘aqibayh.
Li-na’-lama – (that We might know) the word ‘ilm (knowledge) is used here only for distinction, identification and recognition.
It was the blessed habit of the Messenger of God Almighty (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) that in which matter there was no instruction from God Almighty, in that matter He (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) used to choose the manner of former Prophets (peace be upon Them), for instance; the prayer had become duty to offer, but there was no clear command available regarding Qiblah. Messenger of Allah Almighty used to offer prayers turning towards the Temple of Jerusalem, which was the Qiblah of the Children of Israel. It is known clearly from the words of this verse also ‘Wa maa ja-‘alNaa’ that in the beginning to face unto the former Qiblah was with the sanction of God Almighty. When He (glory, grace, blessings and peace be upon Him) migrated from Makkah to Madina, even then, the Temple of Jerusalem (Bayt ul Muqaddas) remained Qibla too. But after a period of nearly sixteen months God Almighty commanded to change the Qiblah and Ka’-bah (The Square Building at Makkah) was appointed as Qiblah of the Muslims.
God Almighty commands in this verse: The purpose to keep the Qiblah to Bayt ul Muqaddas (the Temple of Jerusalem) was temporarily for a short time so that the Obedient and the Violent may be separated”.
The Idolaters of Makkah were not convinced for reverence of the Qiblah as the Temple of Jerusalem. So it was a clear sign of embracing Islam in Makkah that every individual has to offer his prayers turning towards the Temple of Jerusalem. Near to the Jews and the Christians of Madinah, the Temple of Makkah had no honor. So in Madinah it became the sign of embracing Islam that the prayer should be offered facing towards the BaytUllaah (Ka’-ba), the Temple at Mecca. Here upon, it became easy to make a distinction among the Muslims and the Non-Muslims.
If the Temple of Makkah were Qiblah (BaytUllaah) instead of the Temple of Jerusalem (Bayt ul Muqaddas) during the life in Makkah then probably, the people of Makkah might consider it as a kind of flattery and they might embrace Islam due to their own country’s Qiblah instead of taking this religion as the Order of God Almighty. Thus Islam is pure from all these objects. Teaching of the religion is not for favor of any particular nation or race. Islam has come for the entire world and its teachings are for the entire nations forever.