Quranic Reflection No. 458. Āyat 11:86 – Baqiyatullāh on the Earth

بَقِيَّتُ اللَّـهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
Baqiyatullāhi khyarun lakum in kuntum mu’minīn
What remains of Allah’s provision is better for you, should you be faithful
(Surat Hud, no.11, Āyat 86)

This verse is part of a passage wherein Prophet Shu‘ayb ‘alayhis-salām addresses his people. He tells them not to give less when trading with people. The people of Madyan worshipped idols.  They valued their wealth and possessions immensely. When they traded with others, they would cheat them by giving them less than what was due. They raised the value of their own goods and hid the defects present in their goods.

In the verse above the Prophet tells the people that when they give away what rightfully belongs to others, what remains with them is theirs according to God’s laws. It is in accordance with Almighty Allah’s will and pleasure. That is better for them if they believe in Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā . They can only understand the truth of this if they have faith in Allah (swt). Without faith they cannot comprehend how the little profit that remains with them is better for them. Faith changes the worldview and perspective of people.

The word ‘Baqiyyatullāh’ could mean:
– The little profit that remains is halal according to God’s laws and is better than a lot that is not halal
– Being firm on acquiring halal profit results in blessings from God that will last for long.
– Obedience to God is better than all that the world has to offer.
– What is for God remains forever while what is for the world only will perish and disappear. This is also mentioned in Sūrat al-Nahl, verse 96: That which is with you will be spent [and gone], but what is with Allah shall last.

Many Hadīths link Baqiyatullāh to Imam Mahdi ‘ajjal-lāhu farjah. A Hadīth from Imam al-Bāqir ‘alayhis-salām quoted in Ikmāludin says: The first thing that al-Mahdi will say after his reappearance is this verse What remains of Allah’s provision is better for you, should you be faithful. Then he will say: I am Baqiyyatullāh and His Hujjat and His representative among you. Then no-one will greet him except that they will say, ‘Peace be on you O Baqiyatullāh on His earth’.

Although the verse originally referred to what was left among the people of Madyan after they traded lawfully, the verse also refers to that which remains on earth which is useful and a source of blessings. The Prophets and Imams are Baqiyyatullāh as the effect of their efforts remain on earth. Imam al-Mahdi (a) is the most apparent manifestation of Baqiyyatullāh as he is the one remaining from the Ahlul Bayt(a), the last one who will bring about a transformation in society.

Let this verse remind you of the presence of the present Imam whose blessed existence is better for the believers than all else the world has to offer. It gives hope to the believers in the establishment of God’s rule on earth based on justice and virtue. Especially in times of present-day injustice and evil, the hope in the reappearance of the Imam is a beacon of light for the believers. May Allah hasten his appearance.

Source: Shaykh Fadhl b. Hasan Tabrisī, Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh.