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And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.

According to the Study Quran,

Mosques translates masājid (sing. masjid), which is derived from the
verb “to prostrate” (sajada). Many commentators attempt to specify the mosques
mentioned here. Some point to the Temple in Jerusalem (the Farthest Mosque
mentioned in 17:1) and the Kaʿbah in Makkah, since they are named “mosque”
(masjid) in the Quran. They also give differing accounts of the destruction of the
Temple, which according to some took place with the connivance of Christians.
Some say this verse refers to when at Ḥudaybiyah the Makkans stopped the
Prophet from entering Makkah to pray at the Kaʿbah in 6/628 and the Muslim
pilgrims agreed to go back to Madinah and return the following year (see the
introduction to Sūrah 48). For al-Ṭabarī, since even the idolaters never tried to
destroy the Kaʿbah, it must refer to the Temple. Others see it more generally,
saying that it applies to anyone who prevents people from entering any house of
worship (Q). A broader interpretation of ruin (kharāb) holds that in filling the
Kaʿbah with idols and the practice of idolatry, the idolaters were seeking its ruin,
because it was no longer a mosque of the One God but a temple of idols (IK, Q,
R). Some also mention that Abū Bakr had a small mosque in Makkah before the
Muslims migrated to Madinah, a mosque the Makkans later destroyed (R).
Some try to identify specific ways in which disgrace or fear is evidenced by
Christians, such as the payment of the jizyah, or “indemnity” (see 9:29c; Ṭ). But others point out that the notion of disgrace can be quite broad, and that the Prophet would often pray that disgrace not be visited upon him and his
community in this world (IK). Some Sufis discern another level of meaning, saying that the heart is the “house” of love and knowledge of God (the Kaʿbah is the House of God), and one does wrong in destroying it through false desires
(Aj, Qu). See also 9:17: It is not for the idolaters to maintain the mosques of God, bearing witness of disbelief against themselves.


Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

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