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ARBNDEENIDTRUR
أَتَأْمُرُونَ
Do you order
ٱلنَّاسَ
[the] people
بِٱلْبِرِّ
[the] righteousness
وَتَنسَوْنَ
and you forget
أَنفُسَكُمْ
yourselves,
وَأَنتُمْ
while you
تَتْلُونَ
[you] recite
ٱلْكِتَٰبَۚ
the Book?
أَفَلَا
Then, will not
تَعْقِلُونَ
you use reason?

Ataamuroonan naasa bilbirri wa tansawna anfusakum wa antum tatloonal Kitaab; afalaa ta'qiloon

Sahih International:

Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?

Ahmed Ali

Will you enjoin good deeds on the others and forget your own selves? You also read the Scriptures, why do you then not understand?

Ahmed Raza Khan

What! You enjoin righteousness upon people while you forget (to practise it) yourselves, whereas you read the Book? Do you not have sense?

Ali Ünal

Do you enjoin upon people godliness and virtue but forget your own selves, (even) while you recite the Book (and see therein the orders, prohibitions, exhortations and warnings)? Will you not understand and come to your senses?

Amatul Rahman Omar

How is it that you enjoin others to do good and neglect your ownselves while you recite the Scripture? Do you not even (after reading the Scripture) abstain (from evils)?

A. J. Arberry

Will you bid others to piety, and forget yourselves while you recite the Book? Do you not understand?

Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Command ye mankind to piety and forget yourselves, the while ye read the Book! Understand then ye not!

Faridul Haque

What! You enjoin righteousness upon people while you forget (to practise it) yourselves, whereas you read the Book? Do you not have sense?

Hamid S. Aziz

Will you order men to piety and forget it yourselves? You read the Book, do you not then understand?

Hilali & Khan

Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?

Talal Itani

Do you command people to virtuous conduct, and forget yourselves, even though you read the Scripture? Do you not understand?

English Literal

Do you order the people with the righteousness/charitability and you forget yourselves, and you are reading/reciting The Book , do you not reason/understand/comprehend?

Abul Ala Maududi

How is it that you enjoin others to follow the Right Way, but forget it yourselves, though you read the Scriptures? Have you no sense at all?

Maulana Mohammad Ali

Do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book? Have you then no sense?

Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense.

Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Enjoin ye righteousness upon mankind while ye yourselves forget (to practise it)? And ye are readers of the Scripture! Have ye then no sense?

Ali Quli Qarai

Will you bid others to piety and forget yourselves, while you recite the Book? Do you not exercise your reason?

Qaribullah & Darwish

Would you order righteousness on others and forget it yourselves? Yet you recite the Book, have you no sense?

Muhammad Sarwar

Would you order people to do good deeds and forget to do them yourselves even though you read the Book? Why do you not think?

Mohammad Habib Shakir

What! do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book; have you then no sense?

Wahiduddin Khan

Do you admonish others to do good and forget this yourselves? Yet you read the Book. Will you not then understand?

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?

Tafsir jalalayn

Will you bid others to piety, to belief in Muhammad (s), and forget yourselves, neglecting yourselves and not bidding them to the same, while you recite the Book?, in which there is the threat of chastisement, if what you do contradicts what you say. Do you not understand? the evil nature of your actions, that you might then repent? (the sentence about `forgetting' constitutes the [syntactical] locus of the interrogative of disavowal).

Tafseer Ibn Kathir

The Condemnation of commanding Others to observe Righteousness while ignoring Righteousness

Allah said

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ

Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense!

Allah said, "How is it, O People of the Book, that you command people to perform Al-Birr, which encompasses all types of righteousness, yet forget yourselves and do not heed what you call others to! And you read Allah's Book (the Tawrah) and know what it promises to those who do not fulfill Allah's commandments.

...
أَفَلَ تَعْقِلُونَ

Have you then no sense!

of what you are doing to yourselves, so that you might become aware of your slumber and restore your sight from blindness"

Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar stated that Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,
أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ
(Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves),

"The Children of Israel used to command people to obey Allah, fear Him and perform Al-Birr. Yet, they contradicted these orders, so Allah reminded them of this fact."

As-Suddi said similarly.

Ibn Jurayj said that the Ayah;
أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ
(Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people),

"Is about the People of the Book and the hypocrites. They used to command people to pray and fast. However, they did not practice what they commanded others. Allah reminded them of this behavior. So whoever commands people to do righteousness, let him be among the first of them to implement that command."

Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said that,
وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ
(And you forget yourselves),

means, "You forget to practice it yourselves,
وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ
أَفَلَ تَعْقِلُونَ
(While you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense!).

You forbid the people from rejecting the Prophethood and the covenant that you have mentioned with you in the Tawrah, while you yourselves have forgotten it, meaning that `you have forgotten the covenant that I made with you that you will accept My Messenger. You have breeched My covenant, and rejected what you know is in My Book."'

Therefore, Allah admonished the Jews for this behavior and alerted them to the wrongs that they were perpetrating against themselves by ordering righteousness, yet refraining themselves from righteousness.

We should state that Allah is not criticizing the People of the Book for ordering righteousness, because enjoining good is a part of righteousness and is an obligation for the scholars. However, the scholar is himself required to heed, and adhere to, what he invites others to. For instance, Prophet Shu`ayb said,

وَمَأ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَأ أَنْهَـكُمْ عَنْهُ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الاِصْلَـحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِى إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ

I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent. (11;88)

Therefore, enjoining righteousness and performing righteousness are both required. Neither category is rendered not necessary by the practice of the other, according to the most correct view of the scholars among the Salaf (predecessors) and the Khalaf.

Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Wa'il said,

"While I was riding behind Usamah, he was asked, `Why not advise `Uthman?'

He said, `Do you think that if I advise him I should allow you to hear it I advise him in secret, and I will not start something that I would hate to be the first to start. I will not say to a man, `You are the best man,' even if he was my leader, after what I heard from the Messenger of Allah.'

They said, `What did he say?'

He said, `I heard him say,

يُجَاءُ بِالرَّجُلِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامةِ فَيُلْقَى فِي النَّار فَتَنْدَلِقُ بِه أَقْتَابُهُ فيَدُورُ بِهَا فِي النَّار كَمَا يَدُورُ الْحِمَارُ بِرَحَاهُ فيُطِيفُ بِهِ أَهْلُ النَّار فَيَقُولُون يَا فُلَنُ ما أَصَابَكَ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ تَأْمُرُنَا بِالْمَعْرُوف وَتَنْهَانَا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ فَيَقُولُ كُنْتُ امرُكُمْ باِلْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَا اتِيهِ وَأَنْهَاكُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاتِيه

A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the Fire. His intestines will fall out and he will continue circling pulling them behind him, just as the donkey goes around the pole. The people of the Fire will go to that man and ask him, `What happened to you? Did you not used to command us to do righteous acts and forbid us from committing evil?'

He will say, `Yes. I used to enjoin righteousness, but refrained from performing righteousness, and I used to forbid you to perform from evil while I myself did it."'

This Hadith was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Also, Ibrahim An-Nakhai said,

"I hesitate in advising people because of three Ayat;

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ

Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves.

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لاأَ تَفْعَلُونَ

كَبُرَ مَقْتاً عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do! Most hateful it is to Allah that you say that which you do not do! (61;2-3)."

And Allah informed us that the Prophet Shu`ayb said,

وَمَأ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَأ أَنْهَـكُمْ عَنْهُ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الاِصْلَـحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِى إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ

I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent. (11;88)