(207) وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْرِي نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ رَؤُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ
207. " And among people is he who sells his self to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants."
Ibn-i-Abil-Hadeed, one of the scholars of the Sunni schools who lived in the seventh century A.H., has cited in his famous book, Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balaqah (the Explanation of the statements of Imam 'Ali (a.s.)) , that the commentators totally had said that the above verse was revealed about and in the praise of Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib after that he readily slept in the bed of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) on the night known as Laylat-ul-Mabit.(1) This idea is in wide scale famous so that none can deny it but a pagan or a crazy one.
The explanation of the event precisely is such that the pagans of Mecca decided to elect one person from each tribe to kill the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) all together in order to prevent the rise of Bani-Hashim tribe in vengeance for his bloodshed. They thought, in that way, they could be free from the Prophet's Call. But the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) became aware of their hostile plot before it was too late. Then, 'Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (a.s.) accepted readily to sleep in the Prophet's bed so that he (p.b.u.h.) could get out of Mecca safely.
As soon as Ali (a.s.) slept in that bed instead of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , the Providence questioned His two dear angels, Gabriel and Michael, which of them was ready to be devoted to the other, but neither of them was ready to do that. So, the Lord told them to watch then how 'Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (a.s.) was ready to devote his soul for the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) .
Many of the Muslim scholars have confessed to the above fact. The Late 'Allamah Amini has mentioned the names of such scholars in
(1) Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balaqah, vol. 13, p. 262, Egypt Edition, 1961
his famous book: Al-Qadir, vol. 2, p. 48, including Musnad-i-Imam Ahmad Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 348.
It is cited in Atyab-ul-Bayan Fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an that the book called Qayat-ul-Maram has narrated twenty traditions, nine of which are through the Sunnite scholars and eleven of them are narrated through Shi'ah scholars, denoting that the verse under discussion was revealed on the virtue of Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (a.s.) on Laylat-ul-Mabit i.e. the night when he (a.s.) slept in the Prophet's bed and the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) migrated to Medina. ( 1)
One of the books written in the third century A.H. entitled: Tarikh-i-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 373 has explained the description of the event of Laylat-ul-Mabit, the night in which 'Ali (a.s.) slept in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) . This event is also explained in Tarikh-i-Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 39.
Ibn-i-Abil-Hadeed expresses in Sharh-i-Nahjul-Balaqah, vol. 4, p. 73 that Mu'awiyah payed four thousand Dirhams in order that it would be said by people that the above holy verse was revealed upon the virtue of Ibn-i-Muljam.
Some of the books from both Sunni and Shi'ah schools, which have vividly considered the revelation of this verse upon the virtue of 'Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (a.s.) , are as follows:
'Ihya'-u-'Ulum-id-Din, vol. 3, p.238 by Qazali;Tathkirat-ul-Khawas, by Sebt-ibn-Jauzi Hanafi; As-Sirat-un-Nabawiyyah Ibn-i-Husham, vol. 2, p. 291, by Ibn-i-Husham; As-Sirat-ul-Halabiyyah, vol. 2, p. 29, printed in Maktabat-ut-Tijariyat-ul-Kubra, Egypt, by Halabi; Al-Fusul-ul- Muhimmah, by Ibn-i-Sabbaq Maliki.
1- Sometimes it happens that an evil person says something which seems wonderful : " And among people is he whose speech... causes you to wonder, ..." (the Qur'an, 2: 204) ; but, in comparison with that, a true believer does something that causes the world to wonder:
(1) Atyab-ul-Bayan, vol. 2, p. 386
2- The most profitable bargain is the one that a person sells his best property, his soul, to Allah, his Creator. Such a bargain is done neither for Paradise nor for being safe from the Fire of Hell, but it is merely performed for gaining His pleasure :
3- This is important that a person ventures his self and puts his soul in danger on the way of Allah by going forward towards the danger with no fear of it, whether the one confronts that danger or not. Regarding to the occasion of revelation, the praise is for the one who exposes his soul in the process of sale although there happens no adventure.
4- The love and affection of Allah is the best reward. Allah has ordinarily assigned a definite reward for every action in the Qur'an, but in this verse, instead of expressing any sorts of reward, it simply says Allah is affectionate:
"...and Allah is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants."