The Parable of Bal’am ibn Ba’ura

9th of Jumada ath-Thaani

Suuratul A’araaf Verses 175 and 176

وَٱتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنْهَا فَأَتْبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلْغَاوِينَ ﴿١٧٥﴾ وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَـٰهُ بِهَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُۥٓ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَىٰهُ ۚ فَمَثَلُهُۥ كَمَثَلِ ٱلْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ۚ ذَّٰلِكَ مَثَلُ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا ۚ فَٱقْصُصِ ٱلْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ ﴿١٧٦

***

175. And recite (O Muhammad ) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat , but he threw them away, so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.

176. And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayat. So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.

~~~

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Volume 4, Page 207

Allah said next,

﴿فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث﴾

“So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants.”

Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions regarding the meaning of this Ayah. Some scholars said that it refers to the end of Bal`am’s tongue which flickered out of his mouth, as in the story narrated from Ibn Ishaq (Tafsir Ibn Kathir Volume 4, Page 204). Therefore, his example is the example of the dog, its tongue pants regardless of whether it is driven away or not.

It was also said that the meaning here is a parable of this man — and his like — concerning their misguidance, persisting the wrong path and not being able to benefit from faith or comprehend what they are being called to. So his example is that of a dog which pants whether it was driven away or left alone. The person described here does not benefit from the advice or the call to faith, just as if the advice and call never occurred. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿سَوَآءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ﴾

“It is the same to them (disbelievers) whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.” (Q2:6)

It was also said that the meaning here, is that the heart of the disbeliever, the hypocrite and the wicked is weak and devoid of guidance. Therefore, it keeps faltering.

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Categories: Profound Parables | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Parable of Bal’am ibn Ba’ura

  1. Zaid

    Thanks for the post, but at the end of the post there is an unapropriate ad for imvu. It does not fit in such a website.

    • Jazaakallaahu khayran for the observation. Unfortunately, the ads are put there by wordpress and we do not have a say over which ads are displayed. The ads do not appear on my own page but random viewers are selected and ads are displayed to them. InshaAllaah, I’ll find out how much it would cost to have all ads removed.

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