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3:187 Concealing the Knowledge of Faith is forbidden and waiting or manipulating to be praised without practicing it is deplorable

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And remember Allah took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!

Concealing the Knowledge of Faith is forbidden and waiting or
manipulating to be praised without practicing it is deplorable

The three verses cited above describe two crimes committed by
scholars from the people of the Book along with their subsequent
As pointed out earlier, they were commanded to tell their people
about injunctions revealed in the Book of Allah freely and openly without any effort to curtail or hold back what was in there. Although, they were explicitly instructed not to hide any commandment, yet they elected to ignore the pledge they had made, out of their worldly consideration and personal greed. They did hide a good many commandments from their people.

Secondly, they had the problem of personally staying aloof from
acting righteously while, at the same time, they had no qualms of
conscience in wishing to be praised without acting the way they were
expected to.

As for the incidence of hiding the commandments of the Torah, it
has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidna
Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas. He narrates that the Holy Prophet (S) asked the
Jews about something mentioned in the Torah. They concealed the
truth and told him something contrary to what was said in the Torah and they left his company all pleased with their exercise in evil congratulating themselves on their deceit. Thereupon, this verse
which carries a warning for them was revealed.

As for the other statement -‘they love to be praised for what they
never did’ – it refers to the hypocrites among the Jews who would
make excuses at the time of Jihad, sit home and celebrate how well
they were able to dodge the hardships of Jihad. When the Holy
Prophet (S) returned from Jihad, they would go to him, take
false oaths, offer excuses and, on top of that, they would demand that
this act of theirs be praised. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The Holy Qur’an condemns them for both these attitudes. From
here, we know that concealing the knowledge of Faith and the injunctions of Allah and His Messenger is forbidden (Haram) But, this forbiddance applies to the kind of concealment which was practiced by
the Jews for they used to conceal Divine injunctions to promote their
own worldly interest and, in this process, they made people pay for it.
However, if an injunction is not broadcast publicly due to some expedient religious consideration, such an action would not fall under the purview of this ruling. This problem bas been taken up by Imam al Bukhari under a separate subject heading supported by relevant Hadith narrations. According to him, there are occasions when there is
the danger that masses would fall prey to misunderstanding and disorder by publicising a certain injunction openly. If an injunction is allowed to remain unpublicised on the basis of such a danger, it does
not matter.

The rule about doing a good deed is simple: If anyone does a good
deed, then looks forward to he praised for it – or, worse still, takes
elaborate steps to make this happen – then, despite having done what
one did, this act will be deemed blameworthy under the Islamic legal moral norms. And should one elect not to do that good deed at all, that would, then, be taken as far more blameworthy. As for the natural
desire to do something good and thereby earn a fair name, it is not
included under the purview of this ruling – unless, of course, if one
does not make unusual projections to earn that fair name (Bayan al-


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .2 surah 3 pg. 268-270). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-2.pdf (

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