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62:5 The Example of a Non-Practicing Scholar

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The similitude of those who were charged with the (obligations of the) Mosaic Law, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the Signs of Allah: and Allah guides not people who do wrong.

(The example of those who were ordered to bear (the responsibility of acting upon) the Torah,
then they did not bear it, is like a donkey that carries a load of books.. .5)
The word asfar is the plural of sifr, which means a ‘large book’. The
preceding verses described that the Holy Prophet was raised up among
the unlettered people having three main objectives of his mission. The
previous Divine Book Torah described the Holy Prophet (S) almost with
the same qualities as are described in the Qur’an, which required that as
soon as the Jews saw the Holy Prophet (S), they should have recognized
him and believed in him. But the material position and possessions
blinded them to the teachings of Torah. Despite their knowledge of Torah,
they acted as practical ignoramus. The verse describes their block-headed
behaviour with the example of a donkey loaded with weighty tomes. The
donkey carries its loads, but it is neither aware of its subject-matter, nor
does it benefit by it. Similarly, the Jews carry around the Torah for
material gains and to seek position and status among people, but they do
not benefit by its guidance.

The Example of a Non-Practicing Scholar

Commentators have stated that the example given by the verse for
Jews applies to any religious scholar who does not act upon his
knowledge. A Persian poet has put it thus:

‘He is neither a scholar, nor a knowledgeable person.
He is but an animal of four legs, carrying the load of some


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .8 surah 62 verse 5)English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-8.pdf (

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