Saturday, 25 July 2020

Prophecy of Gathering of Jews to Holy Land (17:104)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وصلى الله تعالى على خاتم النبيين

وَقُلْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِ لِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اسْكُنُوا الْأَرْضَ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ الْآخِرَةِ جِئْنَا بِكُمْ لَفِيفًا
And We said after him to the children of Israel, dwell in the Land, so when comes the promise of the hereafter, We will bring you out as a mixed group
(Surah 17:104)
The word لفيف means ‘diversified crowd, a mixed group’ (Arabic-English Dictionary of Quranic Usage, p.845), and perfectly describes the Jews who migrated en masse to the Holy Land after the Holocaust, where they subsequently established the State of Israel in 1948. Therefore, while this Ayah is traditionally understood as referring to the gathering of mankind at the Resurrection, it is likely a prophecy of the gathering of the ethnically diverse Jews of the Diaspora back to the Holy Land, something that has evidently been fulfilled. That the Ayah speaks of Allah ordering the Israelites to securely dwell in the Land lends support to this view, for the Resurrection is not specific to the Israelites but all mankind. Ibn Jarir at-Tabari related in his Tafsir of this Ayah:
حدثنا مـحمد بن بشار، قال: ثنا عبد الرحمن، قال: ثنا سفـيان، عن منصور، عن ابن أبـي رَزِين { جِئْنا بِكُمْ لَفِـيفـاً } قال: من كلّ قوم
Ibn Abi Razin said, concerning the words ‘We will bring you out as a lafif (mixed group)’: “from every qawm (people)”.
And after the Holocaust at the conclusion of the Second World War, the Jews from various nations of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the former Soviet Union came together and settled in the Holy Land, where they had established the modern-day State of Israel. This is not necessarily a divine endorsement of Zionism, but a predictive statement that has apparently come to fruition. From an Islamic perspective, there is no doubt Allah originally ordered the Israelites to dwell in the Holy Land:
يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ
(Moses said): “O people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has written for you, and do not turn back and thus become losers”
(Surah 5:21)
Whether this decree is still in order or has been abrogated is subject to discussion.
Although the word الآخرة meaning ‘the Hereafter’ has been used in the Ayah (17:104), and is generally understood to mean the Afterlife, that is not necessarily its literal, linguistic meaning. Al-Qurtubi relates in his Tafsir of the Ayah (17:104):
وقال الكلبي: «فإذا جاء وعد الآخرة» يعني مجيء عيسى عليه السلام من السماء
al-Kalbi said: ‘so when comes the promise of the hereafter’ means when Jesus peace be upon him comes from Heaven”. This indicates that الآخرة doesn’t necessarily refer to the Afterlife, or that which shall occur after the Resurrection from the graves, as al-Baidawi has likewise indicated in his Tafsir of the Ayah four possibile meanings:
{ فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ ٱلأَخِرَةِ } الكرة أو الحياة أو الساعة أو الدار الآخرة يعني قيام القيامة

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