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وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطاً لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيداً وَمَا جَعَلْنَا ٱلْقِبْلَةَ ٱلَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَآ إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ ٱلرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلاَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ هَدَى ٱللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ ٱللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِٱلنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
-Al-Baqarah ( البقرة )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

Thus, in the same way that We guided you to it, We appointed you, O community of Muhammad (s), a midmost community, excellent and upright, that you might be witnesses to the people, on the Day of Resurrection, that their messengers delivered [the Message] to them; and that the Messenger might be a witness to you, that he delivered [the Message] to you, and We did not appoint, make, the direction, for you now, the direction, you were facing, that is the Ka‘ba: the Prophet (s) used to face it in prayer, but when he emigrated he was commanded to face the Holy House [of Jerusalem], in order to win the hearts of the Jews. He prayed in this direction for sixteen or seventeen months before he changed direction; except that We might know, [that it become] manifest knowledge, who followed the Messenger, and believed in him, from him who turned on his heels, and returned to unbelief doubting the religion and thinking that the Prophet (s) was confused about this issue; and a number of them apostatised as a result of this— though it, the change of direction, were (wa-in, ‘though’, is softened, and its noun apocopated, originally being: wa-innahā) a grave thing, troublesome for people, save for those, of them, whom God has guided; but God would never cause your faith, that is, your prayers towards the Holy House [of Jerusalem], to be wasted, but He will reward you for them (the reason that this [verse] was revealed was that some had asked about the status of those that had died before the change of direction [of prayer]); truly, God is Gentle with, believing, people, Merciful, when He does not let their deeds go to waste (al-ra’fa means ‘intensity of mercy’, and is mentioned first to allow for the end rhyme of the verse [with the preceding one]).

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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