Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

And (further) their Prophet said to them: “A Sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the covenant, with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord, and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, carried by angels. In this is a symbol for you if ye indeed have faith.”

Asad writes,

Lit., “that there will come to you the heart”. The word tabut – here rendered as “heart” –
has been conventionally interpreted as denoting the Ark of the Covenant mentioned in the Old
Testament, which is said to have been a highly-ornamented chest or box. The explanations
offered by most of the commentators who adopt the latter meaning are very contradictory, and
seem to be based on Talmudic legends woven around that “ark”. However, several authorities
of the highest standing attribute to tabut the meaning of “bosom” or “heart” as well: thus,
Baydawi in one of the alternatives offered in his commentary on this verse, as well as
Zamakhshari in his Asas (though not in the Kashshaf ), Ibn al-Athir in the Nihdyah, Raghib,
and Taj al-‘Arus (the latter four in the article tabata ); see also Lane I, 321, and IV, 1394
(art. sakfnah). If we take this to be the meaning of tabut in the above context, it would
be an allusion to the Israelites’ coming change of heart (a change already indicated, in
general terms, in verse 243 above). In view of the subsequent mention of the “inner peace”
in the tabut, its rendering as “heart” is definitely more appropriate than “ark”

Lit., “and the remainder of that which the House (al) of Moses and the House of Aaron
left behind. borne by the angels”. The expression “borne by the angels” or “angel-borne”
is an allusion to the God-inspired nature of the spiritual heritage left by those two
prophets; while the “remainder” (baqiyyah) denotes that which is “lasting” or “enduring”
in that heritage


Asad, Muhammad (1980). The Message of the Quran.

About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *