Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
As salaam alaikum,
Could you clarify the following verses from the Quran where the Christians and Jews are said to have been transformed into apes and swine ? The verses are 2.65-66 and 5.60. Please elaborate what Allah swt is referring to in these verses. This has reference to an anti islamic article by some Christian sect, published at http://www.lamblion.com/New08.php where the author tries to paint a very negative and wrong picture about Islam and Muslims. Thanks !
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Sabbath apes and swines
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verses 65-66:
65 And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath; We said to them: "Be ye apes despised and rejected."
66 So We made it an example to their own time and to their posterity and a lesson to those who fear Allah.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verse 60:
60 Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? Those who incurred the curse of Allah and His Wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine those who worshipped Evil; these are (many times) worse in rank and far more astray from the even Path!
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verses 163-166:
163 Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea. Behold! They transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them openly holding up their heads but on the day they had no Sabbath they came not: thus did We make a trial of them for they were given to transgression.
164 When some of them said: "why do ye preach to a people whom Allah will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?" Said the preachers: "to discharge our duty to your Lord and perchance they may fear him."
165 When they disregarded the warnings that had been given them We rescued those who forbade evil; but We visited the wrong-doers with a grievous punishment because they were given to transgression.
166 When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibition, We said to them: "Be ye apes despised and rejected."
Allah Subhanah commanded the Jews in the Old Testament to observe the Sabbath as a covenant between Him and them; and the Law stated that the Jews were not allowed to do any worldly work on this day of the Sabbath or Saturday. The incident and the punishment referred to here happened before the advent of Prophet Jesus (a.s.), thus it exclusively refers to the Jews who had chosen to openly transgress the Law of their Lord Most High.
Bible, Book of Exodus 31: 14-16
14. “Observe the Sabbath, because it is Holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death. Whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.”
15. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, Holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath Day must be put to death.
16. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come, as a lasting covenant.
The Jews would constantly abuse the Laws of the Taurah after having made a covenant with Allah and His Prophets to observe them. Whatever amongst the Law suited them, they would follow; and whatever did not suit them, they would try to circumvent the law by finding a ‘heela’ or legal loophole in the Law. Thus, whenever the Law did not suit their wishes, they would try to follow the ‘letter of the Law’, but not the ‘spirit of the Law.’ Due to their constant and unrepentant transgression, at long last, Allah Subhanah tested a community of fisherman by the sea whose profession and means of livelihood was fishing.
On every day other than the Sabbath, there would be no fish; but on the Day of the Sabbath, there would be abundant fish in the sea as a trial from their Lord. Because they were not allowed to work on the Sabbath Day, the evil law-breakers amongst them devised a plan to circumvent the Law of the Sabbath! They made a channel or pool from the sea and enclosed it with a barrier, and kept the barrier open for the fish to swim into the pool. When there appeared abundant fish in the channel on the Sabbath Day, they would close the barrier on the Sabbath Day thus entrapping the fish in the pool; but they would not remove the fish until the next day after the Sabbath. In their evil minds they claimed that since they did not remove the fish until the day after the Sabbath, they were within the Law; not realizing that closing the escape route of the fish was itself done on the Day of the Sabbath, when they were not allowed to do any material work! This is how they would circumvent the Law of the Sabbath
Due to their constant transgression of the Laws of the Lord, and in their worldly temptation, they failed in this final test from their Lord and the Wrath and Anger of their Lord became justified upon them; and the evil doers amongst them were transformed into apes as an example to the people of their times and their posterity.
There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars as to what actually happened. Some are of the opinion that the transgressors were physically transformed into apes, while others are of the opinion that they were not physically transformed into apes, but they began to behave like apes. The Words of the Quran however indicate that it was a physical transformation; thus it is likely that the bodies of the transgressors were transformed into those of apes, but their human minds were left intact in order to subject them to the severe punishment of Allah Subhanah. And Allah Alone Knows Best.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,