Ulum al Qur'an
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Response to a Particular Situation
Sura 2:158 concerning Safa and Marwa was revealed in response to a particular situation in Makka during the time of the Prophet.
Narrated 'Urwa: I asked 'A'isha (regarding the Sa'i between As-Safa and Al-Marwa). She said: 'Out of reverence to the idol Manat which was placed in Al-Mushallal those who used to assume Ihram in its name, used not to perform Sa'i between As-Safa and Al-Marwa (because there were two other idols between these two hills). So Allah revealed: Verily As.-Safa and Al-Marwa are among the symbols of Allah.' Thereupon Allah's apostle and the Muslims used to perform Sa'i (between them). Sufyan said: The (idol) Manat was at Al-Mushallal in Qudaid. 'A'isha added: 'The verse was revealed in connection with the Ansar. They and (the tribe of) Ghassan used to assume Ihram in the name of Manat before they embraced Islam'. 'A'isha added 'There were men from the Ansar who used to assume Ihram in the name of Manat which was an idol between Makka and Medina. They said, O Allah's Apostle! We used not to perform the Tawaf (sa'i) between As-Safa and Al-Marwa out of reverence to Manat. ' [Bukhari, VI, No. 384; also Nos. 22. 23.]
In response to this situation 2: 158 was revealed.