Al-Maskh

Al-Maskh (Metamorphosis)

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

 Answer

Al-Maskh refers to the changing of a person’s exterior appearance.  The majority of the scholars are of the view that the Maskh mentioned in the Holy Quran and Ahadith of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam is physical and people are turned into monkeys and pigs (Maariful Quran p.233 v.1).  However, other mufasireen like Abu Al-Hajjaj Mujahid interprets it as that these people were not changed physically into apes, monkeys etc. but that their hearts were transformed and disfigured.  They retained their human form whilst their hearts and souls became deformed like that of apes, pigs and so on…  (Tafsir Mujahid p.77-p.78 v.1)

Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has told us that he had changed the Children of Israaeel into monkeys as punishment for their disobedience towards Allah (SWA).

  1. ‘And certainly you have known among you who transgressed in (the matter of) Sabbath.  So, we said to them, “Become apes, living in disgrace’’.  Thus we made it a deterrent for those around and after them and a lesson for the God fearing’. (Surah Al-Baqarah v.65-v.66)
  1. “(The way of) the one whom Allah has subjected to His curse and to his wrath, and made some of them apes and swine, and who has worshipped the ‘Thaghut’, those are worse situated and far more astray from the straight path”.  (Surah Al-Maaidah v.60)
  1. ‘And ask them about the town which was situated by the sea, when they used to transgress in the matter of Sabbath, when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath, and did not come when they did not have Sabbath.  In this was we put them to a test because they used to act sinfully.  And when a group of them said, “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is going o destroy or punish with a severe punishment?” They said “To absolve ourselves before you Lord, and in order that they may fear Allah”.  When they forgot the advice they were given, we saved those who used to forbid evil and seized those who transgressed, with a bitter punishment, because they had been disobeying.  So when they persisted in doing what they were forbidden from, we said to them “become apes, humiliated”. (Surah Al-Araf  v.163-v.166)

The punishment of Al-Maskh is not specific for the Children of Israaeel, however, the Prophet of Allah Sallallhu Alahi Wassalam has said that this punishment will happen to people of his Ummah when they start disobeying the commands of Allah (SWA) and start making unlawful things lawful.

  1. Saaiduna Abu Musa Al-Ashari reports from the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam, “There will most certainly be a group amongst my Ummah that will consume liquor however they will brand it with some other name; musical instruments and singing maidens will entertain them; Allah will dump such people into the earth and some of them he will distort and disfigure their images into that of monkeys and pigs”  (Sunan Ibn Majah)
  1. Imran bin Hussain Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said ‘This ummah will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones’.  A man amongst the Muslims asked: ‘O Prophet of Allah! When will this be?’ He said: ‘When female singers and musical instruments appear and alcohol will be consumed’ (Sunan Tirmizi p.44 v.2)
  1. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, “There will be people from my Ummah who will ask to make lawful fornication, the wearing of silk, wine drinking and the use of musical instruments.  Some people will stay at the side of the mountain and when their shepherd comes in the evening to ask them for his needs, they will say ‘Return to us tomorrow’.  Then Allah will destroy them during the night by causing the mountain to fall upon them, while He (SWA) will change others into apes and swine.   They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection”.  (Sahih Bukhari)
  1. Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalm said, “A group of Bani Israaeel was lost.  I do not know what happened to it but I think it underwent a process of metamorphosis and assumed the shape of rats……….” (Sahih Muslim)

Only Allah Knows Best,

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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