Say (God asking the Prophet): “Who considers Gabriel to be an enemy because he conveyed it (the Qur’an, God’s revelation) in your heart (Prophet Mohammad) by God’s permission, a revelation which verifies (whatever truth remains in) other revelations before it and is guidance and a bearer of good news for the faithful? Whoever considers God, His angels, His Messengers, and the Angels Gabriel and Michael to be his enemies, then God is an enemy to those who persistently deny the truth. We (God) have revealed clear messages to you (Prophet Mohammad), and nobody disbelieves except those who transgress. How is it that whenever they (Arab disbelievers and Jews) make a pledge, a party of them disregards such commitment? (That is because) most of them lack faith.
Since the Archangel Gabriel brought the message to Prophet Mohammad, many Jews of his time were angry at the Archangel Gabriel, assuming that he deliberately took the message to Prophet Mohammad instead of a descendent of the Jews. The Jewish faith considers the Angel Michael to be a friend (Dan. 12:1) and looks upon Archangel Gabriel as an enemy since he is considered to be an avenging angel who brings down divine punishment, like punishing the people of Prophet Lot. But the Bible, like the Qur’an, mentions Gabriel as the Angel delivering revelations to prophets (Dan. 8:16 and Luke 1:19, 26).
There is no enmity between God and mankind, as some mythology and the Hindu tradition may portray. God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, has endowed mankind with superior knowledge and spiritual capabilities so that we can prove our worth to Him. God is declaring His enmity to those who deny His favors and actively oppose goodness.
Here, God characterizes disbelief in two ways: the first is when we assign blame to the innocent when they carry out their responsibilities, which perhaps do not satisfy our desires, and the second is our failure to keep the commitments we make to God as well as to others. These are serious offenses that point to major shortcomings in our ability to demonstrate sincere faith and commitment to our fellow men. These points continue to be very pertinent to today’s Muslims as well as to people of other faiths and ideologies.
Faith is a personal commitment to God and to mankind. Not keeping that promise is a sure sign of a lack of faith, and just as when we fail to keep a promise to our family, our friends, and our community, it simply says that we did not mean what we said or that it was not a priority in our plan of action. In either case, it shows our lack of sincerity in what we profess to believe and does not demonstrate our beliefs and our commitment. It is important that all Muslims consider this regularly to see if they are falling victim to the types of disbelief and lack of commitment that God referred to in regard to people of other faiths.
These verses make it clear that putting blame on the wrong person and failing to keep our commitment to God are tantamount to disbelief. A lack of faith is not just about denying God but also about denying others their rights, about false accusations, and about injustice.
This verse is of major significance to Muslims today, as we are very eager to blame others for our misfortunes while we are unwilling to keep our commitments as Muslims—perhaps we are lacking in faith as the Qur’an says! When one declares faith, it is a solemn pledge to God and to mankind. We do not take our commitments seriously, and faith has become a matter of a simple label as opposed to a sincere and deliberate commitment that should be upheld at all costs and at all times. We may fail now and then since we are human, but we need to stay focused and be steadfast in our missions in life and in our commitment to God and mankind.
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*Definitions can be found in the Glossary*