First Call: Prohibition of Saying “Ra'ina ”

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First Call: Prohibition of Saying “Ra'ina [1


Allah Almighty says (what can be translated as):

O you who have believed, say not [to Allah 's Messenger], "Ra'ina" but say, "Unthurna" and listen. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment. Neither those who disbelieve from the People of the Scripture nor the polytheists wish that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord. But Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.(Al-Baqarah: 104-105)

Al-Ansar(residents of Madinah who helped the Prophet after migration) used to say to the Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) “Ra'ina” when he recited the Qur'an revealed to him.  Ra'ina means to read slowly so that they understand what the Messenger (PBUH) recited.

The Jews in Madinah used the same term while addressing the Prophet (PBUH), pretending that they mean “give us your attention”. Yet, they twisted the way they pronounced the word to make it sound like the word “Ru’na” (it comes from the word “Ra'inu” which means vicious in Hebrew). Almighty Allah warned His Prophet (PBUH) and the believers against this, prohibited using this word in addressing the Prophet (PBUH) and ordered them to use the term “Unthurna” (look upon us) instead.

Allah promised the disbelieving Jews a painful torment that He prepared for them because of their disbelief, profanity and immorality towards the noble Messenger (PBUH).

In the above two verses, Allah Almighty tells the Prophet (PBUH) that some from among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] are jealous and envious because they don’t want any blessings or bounty to befall Muslims from the Lord, it is nothing new given how they were with their own Prophets (Peace Be upon them). Because of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) and message of Islam, they became spiteful towards believers, they did not want Islam to spread and be established in the region. The disbelievers have the same kind of hatred towards Muslims; they envy them and wish calamities to hit Muslims so that this religion might end.

people who hold grudges against others only reflect how they are disobedient and discontented with Allah’s wisdom and decree of bestowing these blessings upon His servants. Yet, definitely, nothing of such grudges affects Allah's decree nor prevents His bounties. Allah appropriates of His mercy to whomever He decides since He is the Owner of great bounty He bestows upon whom He chooses for Prophethood from among His servants. 


Al-Fakhr al-Razi said: “Be aware that Allah has addressed the believers by ‘O you who have believed!’ in eighty eight spots in the Qur’an. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that  Almighty Allah addressed them in the Torah by ‘O, you indigents,’ and this was affirmed later in the Qur’an when He addresses them by (what can be translated as): “And they were stricken with humiliation and indigence (Al-Baqarah: 61). Another conclusion can be summed, when Allah addresses this Ummah with “O you who have believed” in the Qur’an, He has given them the promise of safety from the Hellfire on the Day of Judgment. The word “Believer” is the highest and most honorable name and attribute, if He addresses the Ummah with the highest names, then we pray to be treated in the Hereafter in the best manner by getting the reward of Paradise, by the Will of Allah. As for the command "listen”, listening is an involuntary sense, as long as the hearing ability is not impaired, and since it happens automatically then the order to listen here is not the direct meaning of the word. Listening means either one of the following three:

First: Dedicate your attention and listen attentively to what the Prophet (PBUH) is saying so that you would not need repetion.

Second:Listen with acceptance and obedience, unlike the listening of the Jews who said “We listen and disobey”.

Third: Listen to what you are ordered to do, so that you don’t reverse to what you were prohibited, as a kind of confirmation."

The Jews were afraid of insulting the Prophet (PBUH) directly, so they resorted to deceit by twisting the pronunciation of the word in Arabic, to resemble a bad word with derisive connotation in Hebrew, all this to insult the Prophet (PBUH) in this deceitful way which is something only an impertinent person would do. This is why believers were ordered to refrain from using this word “Ra'ina”, which is used as a mean of insult by the Jews, and to use it's synonym “Unthurna” (Look upon us), which is a word that Jews can’t twist into a bad word, this way they prevent them from achieving their despicable aim.

This distortion made by the Jews reflects their spite and irritation; it also shows immorality, lowness and meanness in attitude. The ban to use this word reflects the protection and patronage He bestows upon His Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslim community. Allah Almighty defends the believers against any kind of malice by their deceitful and cunning enemies.

Then, Almighty Allah reveals to the Muslims the grudges that  the Jews hold against them. Their hearts are full of envy and spitefulness because of the bounty and grace that Almighty Allah has appropriated to Muslims by sending Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the message of Islam. This clarification is to direct Muslims to be careful and cautious towards their enemies, and to hang on faith and Islam which is the bounty that their enemies hate them for. They should thank Allah for His Grace and Bounty and be obedient and heedful and this is why Allah Almighty says to the believers in the Qur’an (what can be translated as): “Neither those who disbelieve from the People of the Scripture nor the polytheists wish that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord. But Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. (Al-Baqarah: 105)

The noble Qur’an attributes disbelief to the People of the Book and polytheists who disbelieve in the Last Message, namely Islam. They are both equal in that regard which is denial of Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Message of Islam. Their hearts are full of malice and hatred towards believers and they do not want any goodness to befall Muslims. The greatest thing they hate about believers is this religion (Islam). They hate that Allah has given this bounty to believers by the revelation of the Qur’an, the belief in Islam and establishment of Islamic creed on earth which is the biggest responsibility and trusteeship ever.

It was previously mentioned how hateful they are and spiteful of the Grace that Almighty Allah has appropriated to His obedient servants. Their resentment and bitterness reached the point of animosity towards the Angel Gabriel (Peace Be upon Him) for conveying the revelation of the Qur’an from Heaven to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) on earth.

Allah says (what means): “And Allah appropriates His mercy to whomever He decides. This means Allah knows best where and to whom He sends His Message. When He has appropriated Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) and the believers with this grace, He Knows that the Prophet (PBUH) and the believers are worthy of this bounty. “Allah is The Owner of the magnificent Grace”.

There is no greater blessing or grace than Prophethood and conveying message of Islam. There is no greater grace than belief and the call to Islam. It implies the contentment in the hearts of the Muslims for the great bounty and kind favor they have received from their Lord. Also, in the warning that preceded this part in which Almighty Allah tells Muslims of what disbelievers have in their hearts towards them, there is a clear message to Muslims to be careful and very attentive. The feeling of the greatness of the bounty and carefulness are both needed to stand up to the campaign of confusion and disorder which has been launched by the Jews to weaken the belief in the hearts and spirits of believers, because that belief in Allah and the Message of Islam is the thing that they envy Muslims for.





 [1] This from of the verb was used by the Jews and had a derisive connotation in Hebrew. Here it means “heed us”. 


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