Surat An-Nisā'

What is the Qur'an About?

Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma`ani
by
Syed Iqbal Zaheer

تفسير إِشراقُ المَعَاني
سيد إقبال ظهير

PREPARATORY

What is the Qur'an About?
The Qur'an is the Word of Allah and a Book of Guidance. It can be asked, guidance to what? The answer is: “Guidance to Allah Most High, His Attributes, His Will, and the way in which one may conduct oneself to obtain that approval (rida) of Allah after which there is no anger." Imam Shafe`i perhaps had the first part of this statement in mind when he said:

"All that (the scholars of) the Ummah have to say is nothing but the exposition of the Sunnah. All that is in the Sunnah is the exposition of the Qur'an. And the whole of the Qur'an is nothing but the exposition of the Names and Attributes of Allah" (Zarkashi: Al‑Burhan Fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an).

This guidance to Allah, the knowledge of His Attributes and Will, and the guidance to right conduct cannot be obtained by any means other than the Qur'an and its complementary, the Sunnah, (the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him).
The Qur'an is also the only source of guidance. Someone who is unaware of its existence, but is a seeker of Truth, (on account of his innate faith in God and disillusionment with the world), will be led to this Book, one way or the other. The Qur'an says (29: 69): "Those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them unto Our paths."

What is Guidance?
From another angle, it might be said that being on the guidance is to know, acknowledge, and, live by the Truth. In the context of this life, it is
a) the knowledge of what one is required to do, in the right measure, at any particular moment, and
b) the will to live by that knowledge.
In one sense, then, Guidance is knowledge, and in another, the will to act by it. The ‘will to act' is not the same as the ‘power to act.' That is because man has been granted will (or the freedom of choice) in a limited framework, while all power is Allah's. The power, or ability to act ‑ referred to as tawfiq in Islamic terminology ‑ is granted when willingness is demonstrated.
Further, since there is no such thing as half‑guidance, both are essential for salvation: knowledge without the will to act is only an evidence against one's self (hujjah), and deeds (however pretty their appearance), are grains thrown in the sand if they go without the acknowledgement of the Truth.
The Qur'an guides in both the senses. It bestows knowledge (or 'ilm wa 'irfan), giving the seeker the proper concept of the truth, as well as the will‑power and the moral courage to produce a living model of that concept in his own person, overcoming the obstacles he might encounter from within or without.
No other book, writing, philosophy, or person can achieve this. There should be no doubt about it; for any ambiguity in this regard can deprive one of the fruits of study and application.
The above definition illustrates and emphasizes the external, physical, and ephemeral aspect. Guidance has an esoteric, transcendent, and eternal meaning also, which is the fruit and essence of the external aspect. It is that state of mind and soul in which the other world becomes dearer than this one, in which, one eagerly awaits to be transported to the other world in order to heal that pain in the heart, and quench that thirst of the soul which only the company of those on High can heal and quench.
It is when one begins to ‘wait for the next salah after the last one,' when one ‘remembers Allah in his seclusion and the remembrance brings tears to his eyes,' when Allah becomes so dear that one begins to ‘love for Allah and hate for Allah,' and, when ‘the state of sabr and shukr become one and the same,' then it is that a person can said to be, in the words of the Qur'an, "on a guidance from his Lord."

The Path of Knowledge
A hadith of the Prophet (saws) says: "I am leaving behind me two things. So long as you hold fast unto them, you will not be misguided: they are Allah's Book and my practices." Nevertheless, this oft‑quoted hadith is rarely treated seriously. People apply themselves with great fervor to books, writings, speeches and ideologies presented by the scholars of Islam, but not as often do they leave them and their influences aside to turn directly to the Qur'an in complete seriousness. They do not seem to realize that they are not guided by those books and writings but to the extent that they themselves contain the Qur'an and the Sunnah in their pure form and unadulterated meaning.
Further, even when the Qur'an is studied, it is mostly done through the eyes, minds, and explanations of the scholars. The knowledge derived is, therefore, at best second‑hand, vicarious, and not wholly trustworthy. Again, a study of the Qur'an after a lot of other literature has been read has the disadvantage of the earlier readings embossing on the mind impressions that do not allow for the new ones to take place in their pristine form. The result is a jumble of concepts, true, half true, and false.
Alternatively, the Qur'an is read with pre‑conceived ideas. Human ideas are then taken for Divine ideas with citation of Qur’anic verses as evidences.
There are a few other characteristics that distinguish the Qur'an from all other kinds of writings. Firstly, the knowledge that the Qur'an imparts is the true and infallible knowledge. Secondly, the Qur'an succeeds in communicating the ideas it holds. That is, the reader cannot miss the meaning that it intends to communicate. Provided one is sincere, no one can miss its guidance, or, led to a meaning and understanding not intended. That happens with writings other than the Divine; humans say one thing, and the audience understand another thing. Moreover, through its intricate sequencing of the texts, the Qur’an answers to the doubts that arise, so to say, on the spot, and registers its meaning and message without adulteration of doubts menacing the mind, or skeptical notes lying beneath like snakes in the grass.
Therefore, to obtain true knowledge and right guidance from the Qur'an the requirement is to do away with preconceived ideas and study it with the firm intention to live by the meaning as it unfolds itself. With that kind of intention, the student is qualified to receive the true meaning. The meaning obtained is also accompanied by an urge to live by it, which then is the next requirement. That accomplished, that is, the meaning translated into action, the reader demonstrates purity of intention. In consequence, he qualifies to receive a fresh set of true meaning which unfolds themselves with further reading. This goes on until the student reaches that state which has been described in a hadith by Allah (swt) Himself in words, “I become the hands of the slave with which he grips, the feet of the slave with which he walks ... (to the end of the hadith).” But if he fails, that is, he is not true to himself at any given phase, or discontinues the process, then the tawfiq is held back until he amends his ways. The Qur’an has said (7: 146):

{سَأَصْرِفُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الرُّشْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ} [الأعراف: 146]

“I shall turn away from My signs those who wax proud in the land without cause. If they witnessed all the signs, they will not believe in them, and, if they see the path of righteousness, they will not accept it as a path. But if they see the deviated path, they will accept it as a path. That, because they gave a lie to Our signs and were heedless of them.”

How to Obtain the Right Verbal Meaning?
Intention
It is to seek guidance, in the sense delineated above, that one should read the Qur'an. That should be the intention in every session with it.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal's father well illustrated this point when he asked his son, who was reciting the Qur'an, as to what he was reading. The young son, knowing that the father was aware what he was reading, responded with an indifferent answer. “Who was it revealed to?” was the next question. The embarrassed son replied that it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace). “This way, my son,” said the father, “you will never profit from the Qur'an. You will only if you read with the belief that the Revelation has just come down, that it has been sent down specifically for you, and that it is you who has been addressed. It is only then that this Book will open itself to you.”
In other words, one should take it as a message unto himself, and allow each verse of the Qur'an free and unhindered access to the mind and heart with the will to be led where it will lead.

Language
In contrast to other revealed Books and religious literatures, in whatever form and language they may exist, the Qur'an should not only be read by oneself, directly, but also in its own language ‑ Arabic. No commentary, however comprehensive, and no exegete, however erudite, can impart what the Qur'an itself can. The following reasons will illustrate the point.

The Miraculous nature of the Qur'an
It is well known that the Qur'an is a miracle. In fact, it is a living miracle; although the true nature of the miracle is not always understood. We cannot elaborate on this point extensively at this juncture. But it might be pointed out that the miracle expresses itself both in its form as well in its content. Both are powerful, unique to the Qur'an, which defy translation. The Prophet said: "Every prophet before me was given a miracle. I have been given the Qur'an. And I hope to have a greater following by its virtue than any prophet of the past."
Consequently, thousands of people from all over the globe are led to Islam every year through their study of the Qur'an. When a non‑Muslim asks a Muslim about Islam, all that he does in most cases is to hand him over a copy of the Qur'an. Invariably, even that mangled thing called ‘the translation of the Qur'an' leads the person to Islam. That is the miracle of the Qur'an. And of course, miracles cannot be translated.
Let us look into a few reasons that make impossible to communicate what the Qur'an itself communicates.

Translations
The Qur'an is in Arabic. It is neither in prose nor in verse but a unique combination of both, unsurpassed in its effect on the mind and soul by any other writing. In the words of John Alden Williams:

"...the Arabic of the Qur'an is by turns striking, soaring, vivid, terrible, tender, and breathtaking ... It is meaningless to apply adjectives such as ‘beautiful' or ‘persuasive' to the Qur'an; its flashing images and inexorable measures go directly to the brain and intoxicate it.
It is not surprising, then, that a skilled reciter of the Qur'an can reduce an Arabic‑speaking audience to helpless tears" (Islam: p.2, Washington Square Press '69).

In the words of Arberry:

"... to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which ‑ apart from the message itself ‑ constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind" (The Koran Interpreted, Intr. p. x, Oxford Univ. Press '64).

It is this inimitable beauty that challenges mankind to produce its equivalent: in sublimity of language, its instructions, and its sublime effect on the mind and soul. The Qur'anic challenge has remained unanswered by the humans (2: 23, 24):

"O People! If you are in any doubt concerning what We have sent down on Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a piece similar to it (in all its merits). And call (to your aid) your witnesses apart from Allah, if you are true (in your allegation that it is the work of Muhammad). But if you cannot do it ‑ and you can never do it ‑ then beware of the Fire whose fuel is human beings and rocks: prepared for the unbelievers."

The Qur'an then is inimitable and, therefore, untranslatable. Any translation, however accurately done, and however close to the original, cannot reproduce the sense and beauty of the original. Therefore, when one is reading a translation, he is not reading the Qur'an per se. No surprise then that the best effects are lost. No wonder also that the scholars of old would not allow translation of the Qur'an. This is also Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion. In fact there is a consensus of opinion among the scholars that the Qur'an should not be quoted in ‘sense' or ‘meaning' but always in its original textual words. How can then one be allowed to translate the Qur'an and call it the Qur'an?
Accordingly, if permission to translate the Qur'an has been granted due to modern exigencies, it is on condition that sufficient notes are supplied to overcome the deficiencies arising out of the translation. Further, it is required that the new work be called "interpretative translation of the Qur'an" (tarjumah tafsiriyyah), or, "the translation of the meaning of the Qur'an," rather than "the translation of the Qur'an" or, what would be more audacious, "the meaning of the Qur'an," since none of these are within human power (Manahil al `Irfan, Zarqani).

Linguistic Difficulties
There are many linguistic difficulties that make the Qur'an untranslatable. In Arabic one expresses sense rather than meaning. A beautiful Arabic sentence that can enrapture the mind and touch the soul becomes insipid in another language. Not only sentences or words, even single consonant letters are hard to translate. For example, the "fi" of Arabic has a depth that is lacking in the "in" of English. One needs a whole ugly, terse, and unmusical word in English to translate mere letters such as:

و ف إنَّ

Obviously, the complications with the words are far greater than those with the letters. Arabic is a language in which words are based on consonantal roots, from which are derived scores of words in various forms giving out various meanings but remaining, even if loosely and distantly, connected in sense and letter‑content to the root. `Ayn for instance can mean: an eye, a spring, a spy, a group of people, evil‑eye, honor, a flag, a girl, etc. `Afw stands for effacement, obliteration, elimination, forgiveness, amnesty, boon, kindness, favor, surplus, and others. The translated word must on the one hand give out the basic meaning and, on the other, convey several nuances the original carries. Obviously, to achieve that is well‑nigh impossible.
Let us take an example (4: 4):

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً [النساء : 4]

"Give the women their dowries (as a gift) spontaneous,"
In this example, the word saduqat is derived from the root sadaqa ( صَدَقَ ) which means, with the addition of various suffixes or prefixes: ‘to speak the truth, to be sincere, to prove to be true, to come true, to fulfill one's promise,' and so on. Now, a true translation of the derived term saduqa, (plural: saduqat صَدُقات ), should carry in its overtones the sense of truth and sincerity. That is, ‘a gift that is offered (by the groom to the bride), as an expression of his sincerity toward her and the relationship he is proposing.' To render it as dowry, with the connotation that the language and culture of the readers carry, is to mutilate it.
In addition to the problem of words that yield several meanings, the complex structure of the Qur'anic verses admit of many interpretations (well described by Muhammad Asad as unfolding of "layer upon layer of meaning") from which the translator can choose but one, without necessarily being right in his choice. This means that, granted the translator did not err, the translation conveyed only one meaning out of the several contained in the Qur'an.
As another example, the following is speaking of the unbelievers (11: 20):

يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مَا كَانُوا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ السَّمْعَ وَمَا كَانُوا يُبْصِرُونَ [هود : 20]

"For them the chastisement shall be doubled; (for) they could not hear, neither did they see."
It can be translated in at least six different ways, three of them depending on how the letter "maa" is treated: whether of the same meaning as "lamu kayy," ( لامُ كَي ); as a synonym of "ila," ( إلى ); or as a negative "maa". Obviously such possibilities, which occur quite often, can leave the translator baffled as to his own choice during translation.
Another linguistic difficulty is that many Arabic and Qur'anic terms do not have proper equivalents in other languages, especially the languages of the occident. Allah, al‑Rahman, al‑Rahim, jihad, salah, zakah, sadaqah, `ibadah, al‑ghayb, kufr, nur, fisq, taghut, nabiyy, rasul, ghaniyy, are a few examples from a long list.
If, to the above are added the difficulties of `ijaz (ellipticism), rhetoric, alliteration, resonance and rhythm (all of them present in the Qur'an in their most excellent forms and in the highest degree of expression), then the job of translation becomes a hopeless task.
But the impaired meaning is not the only casualty. The loss in terms of beauty, charm, appeal, elation and the ecstasy that a reader feels on reading the Qur'an in its original is immeasurable.
Therefore, it can be safely said of a person who has always read the Qur'an through translations alone, that he did not read the Qur'an once.

Commentaries
Trying to understand the Qur'an with the help of commentaries is no less hazardous. Some reasons are as follows.
Essentially, commentaries are of two kinds. Those that are based on the Qur'an itself, supported by the hadith and opinions of the Companions, or their next‑generation Followers (tabe`iyyun). These are known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur ( التفسير بالمأثور ) i.e., interpretation based on report or tradition.
The other category is the one in which the commentator offers an interpretation, based not on a specific accepted source ‑ a Qur'anic verse, a hadith, or a remark of a Companion or one of their Followers ‑ but his personal opinion based on his intellect, knowledge or intuition. This kind of commentary is known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi ( التفسير بالرأي ). al‑tafsir 'l‑ishari [ التفسير الإشاري ] falls under the same category).
As for the first kind of tafsir, i.e., al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur, it can be fully appreciated only when read in Arabic. Many concepts and ideas of the Qur'an are closely tied up with the Arabic language. Further, those concepts and ideas are so subtle that their explanations fall flat and lose their import in another language. The commentaries of Ibn Jarir or Ibn Kathir, for example (which are good examples of the al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur) fail to have their impact on the reader in their translated version. Besides, some basic knowledge of hadith classification, fiqh and other disciplines, which in turn require knowledge of Arabic, is necessary to appreciate this kind of commentary.
In short al-tafsir bi ‘l ma’thur does not help much in understanding the core meanings of the Qur’anic texts. The profound part is often missed.
On the other hand, if one tries to understand the Qur'an with the help of the other kind of tafsir, viz. al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi, he faces the following hazards.
Firstly, to be able to correctly comment on the Qur'an, one has to have, in addition to the Revealed texts, a thorough knowledge of all the physical and metaphysical sciences and disciplines that have been developed by the humans. The Qur'an deals with history, law, social affairs, morality, worship, economy, psychology, state affairs, spiritual development, eschatology, divinity, and many other disciplines ‑ all in one go. Obviously, since it is beyond one man's capacity to master so many disciplines in a life‑time, it is beyond him also to write a commentary of the Qur'an that conveys the true intent of the Qur’an.
Further, every commentator is a product of his own age, genre, intellectual atmosphere, and cultural background. His problems are the problems of his time ‑ not necessarily of all times. His view of life is from a certain angle ‑ not necessarily the ecumenical and transcendental view of the Qur'an. (So, we often hear from such commentators that “the Qur’an lays down the way of life”: which immediately reduces its message to mundane level. Had they said it lays down the ways to moral and spiritual life, they would have been closer to truth). Such commentators are led, and cannot help but be led, by their personal predispositions and bent of mind, appealing to those of similar dispositions, and not necessarily reaching out to all the inquisitive minds and thirsty souls. Finally, whatever a commentator’s caliber, he remains subjective. True objectivity is not the share of man.
For example, if he is of a sufi bent of mind he detects suggestions that may or may not exist. If he subscribes to a certain philosophy, he may emphasize a certain point, which might be there in the text, but might not be it focal point. Thereby he distorts the overall view. Or, if his interpretation of life is materialistic and earthly, he is quite likely to rush through verses that are, so to say, mawarid al zam'an (watering places for the thirsty), and the hovering grounds of the restless soul, concentrating instead on the wonderful capabilities of Islam to promote material growth and development on earth and bring back to the Muslim Ummah its lost glory!
In short, he is a human dealing with the Word of Allah. To do justice to it is not in his power.
Finally, it is agreed by the scholars of Islam that there are two aspects to the meaning of the Qur'an: the external and the internal. The external or the obvious meaning is that which has come down from the authorities: the hadith, the opinions of the Companions, their next‑generation Followers and the meaning unanimously accepted by the scholars of Islam through and through the ages. The internal, hidden or the secret meaning of the Qur'an comes from deep reflection and a sustained exercise of the mind and soul coupled with righteous living. To take an example, it is reported that the verse (5: 3): "This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al‑Islam," brought tears into the eyes of `Umar ibn al-Khattab The Prophet asked him the reason. He replied: "So far we were witnessing a continuous rise of Islam. Now that it has been completed (i.e. it has reached its zenith), it can only follow a downward direction, as it happens with anything that has achieved its zenith." The Prophet (saws) agreed with him.
Imam Ghazali writes in his eighth book of Ihya' `Ulum 'l‑Din:

"The truth is that to everything pertaining to reflective and intellectual matters, which have become ambiguous to men of reflection, and in which people have differed, there are indications and implications in the Qur'an which can be observed by men of understanding. How can these indications and implications be completely conveyed by translations of its outward meanings and its (outward) exegesis?"

Further down he writes:

"The man who imagines that the Qur'an has no meaning except that which the outward exegesis has translated (and described), is acknowledging his own limitations; he is right in his acknowledgement (because he knows only this measure and is not aware of that which lies beyond this), but is wrong in his judgment which places all other people on the same footing as himself." (The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur'an: Al-Ghazali's Theory by Muhammad Abdul Quasem, p. 87, 88).

Nevertheless, the scholars are also in agreement that the internal meaning can be attained only after a complete mastery of the external has been achieved. Zarkashi writes:

"The Book of Allah: it is the bottomless sea, whose meaning cannot be unfathomed but by the well-versed in (religious) knowledge; he who fears Allah in open and secret, and gives due esteem to Him in places where he comes across the ambiguous. Its subtleties and truths cannot be grasped but by one who (as the Qur’an said) ‘lends his ear and is attentive...'"

He adds a little further,

"All knowledge can be summed up as that of the ‘Acts' and ‘Attributes' of Allah. The Qur'an contains the knowledge of the Acts, Attributes, and the Essence of the Supreme Being. This fact leads us to another, viz., the field of knowledge is immensely vast. There is room for much more than what is obvious to the mind. The exegesis therefore, that has been passed on to us (by the authorities) do not lay down limits for the attainment of knowledge. Yet, it is not possible to jump over to the hidden without mastery of the obvious. Indeed, the knowledge of the external is absolutely essential to step into the internal and the hidden. Whoever claims to have knowledge of the secret part of the Qur'an while lacking a proper understanding of the external and the obvious, is like he who claims manhood at the threshold of his house (to which he has just crawled) although he has not yet stepped out of the door."

In brief, the Qur'an has two levels of meaning: the external and the internal. It should be obvious, therefore, how difficult it can be for a person to get to the second level, while his first level of understanding is suspect due to his ignorance of the language which leads him to take the words of men for the words of God.
These are some of the reasons why neither a translation nor a commentary can be substituted for the original.
It should not be surprising therefore to note that according to Imam Shafe`i, learning of the Arabic language is obligatory on every Muslim. Imam Abu Yousuf and Zufar, both students of Imam Abu Hanifah, went a step further. They stated that it is makruh (undesirable) for two Muslims who can manage some Arabic, to speak with each other in another language. Ibn Taymiyyah is also of the opinion that learning Arabic is a religious requirement since what is necessary to realize an obligation (wajib) is itself obligatory (wajib).

Pre‑conceived Ideas
In contrast, neglect of the language and study and reliance upon a single commentary of the al-tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi type, can lead a student of the Qur'an to hold questionable opinions despite long study and painful application. Many of those who could become connoisseurs ended up dilettantes. Imam Ghazali writes about this class of people:

"The sufis have said that knowledge (`ilm) is a veil (between man and God), and by this knowledge they have meant those beliefs (`aqa'id) which most people have been firmly holding either by dogmatically following an authority or by mere reliance on casuistic sentences written by zealots of schools of thought and delivered to them. As for the real knowledge which is the uncovering of the actual condition of the thing known and which is a vision by the light of spiritual insight, how can it be a veil, seeing that it is the ultimate object of desire?
Pure dogmatic following of an authority is sometimes false (in itself) and is, therefore, an obstacle to the understanding of the meaning (of the Qur'an). An example of this is a man who has a (purely dogmatic) belief in Allah's istawa' on the Throne as His being settled on it physically. Then in the case of (the divine name) ‘the Holy One' (al-Quddus), for example, there comes to his mind the meaning that He is pure from all that is ascribable to His creation: but that purely dogmatic belief of his does not make it possible for this meaning to be firmly implanted in his mind. Had it become strengthened in his mind it would have led to a second meaning and a third, which could be inter-connected. But he hastens to drive this meaning away from his mind, because it contradicts his false belief which is held purely dogmatically.
Sometimes purely dogmatic following of an authority is true (in itself), but it too becomes an obstacle to understanding (the meaning of the Qur'an) and to unveiling of them. The truth in which man is obliged to believe has stages and grades, and it has an external beginning and an internal end. Concentration of man's nature on the external aspect prevents him from reading the internal end" (source cited above, p.70, 71).

Finally, every commentator is influenced by the ideas of his time that seem to be so powerful, and therefore of great consequence, which could be so during a particular epoch, but prove not to be so with the passage of time. Moved by those ideas or forces, a commentator might try to give the verses of the Qur'an a new meaning, sometimes at the expense of certain basic and universal truths. This can seriously affect the way in which his readers understand the Qur'an.
The conclusion therefore is that anyone who has not done a course of study in the tafsir of the approved type, but, instead, applies himself to the other type ‑ the tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi ‑ runs the great risk of ending up with ideas that might not be true, half true or altogether wrong.
Therefore, every serious student of the Qur'an must learn enough Arabic to be able to read the Qur'an himself, directly, and without dependence on a translation to an extraordinary degree. It is only after he has spent sufficient time with the Qur'an (and, in addition, the Sunnah), that he can turn his attention to the translations and commentaries as further aids. It is only those for whom it is beyond their capacity to learn the language that might resort to dependence on translations and commentaries alone, although, to remain in consultation with the scholars is a necessary requirement for not getting misled on concepts.

Interpretations
Al-Tafsir bi 'l Ma'thur
The safest way to derive the right meaning of any part of the Qur'an is to seek its explanation within the Qur'an itself. What is stated in brief at one place is detailed at another, and what is ambiguous at one point is supplemented with elaborations elsewhere. Also, the Qur'an deals with a subject in a variety of ways, at different points, and with emphasis on different aspects in different contexts. The complete meaning can only be obtained by collecting together, either on paper or in the mind, all relevant verses, seeking connections that become apparent with contemplation. The Qur'an then should be understood in the first instance with the Qur'an itself.

The Hadith
Next, one should turn to the hadith. The ahadith are in reality a commentary on the Qur'an. Allah (swt) not only revealed the Word to the Prophet but also its meaning. A verse (4:105) says, "Surely We have sent down a Book to you (O Muhammad) with Truth so that you may judge between the people by what Allah shows you (as its true meaning)."
But it is not only the meaning as expressed in the words of the Prophet (saws) that has to be learnt. It is also the meaning as expressed in his actions that should be applied to one’s own life, to gain an understanding of the Qur'an. The Prophet lived according to the Message he received, not deviating from it in the least. In other words his life was the Qur'an interpreted: "Have you not read the Qur'an?!" was the answer given by `A'isha (ra) when asked about the Prophet's conduct in everyday life.
An example will illustrate how well the Prophet understood and lived by the Qur'an.
The Qur'an uses the term rih (in the sense of ‘winds') in two ways. In some places in the singular form as rih, and in others in the plural form as riyah. In all, it has used these terms on 29 occasions. Now a careful study reveals that when the occasion is the announcement of a punishment or chastisement from Allah, the word is used in its singular form (rih). In contrast, when the context is announcement of a glad tiding, it is the plural form that is chosen (riyah). [The odd deviation from the rule can be explained].
Now, keep the Qur'anic rule in mind and consider the prayer‑words of the Prophet, who, with every stormy weather supplicated in the words:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا رِيَاحًا وَلا تَجْعَلْهَا رِيحًا

"O Lord! Make it winds (riyah) for us and not wind (rih)."
Another example can be cited. The Qur'an said (9: 103): "Accept (O Muhammad) of their wealth a free-will offering, to purify them and to cleanse them." This injunction came after the declaration that the free-will offering of the hypocrites was not acceptable; and the reference is to the zakah on wealth. The free-will offering, of course, is collected by the State and is distributed following another injunction (9: 60) that cites eight categories of people as the deserving recipients.
However, following the clue that zakah (and sadaqat by implication) purify and cleanse the people ("to purify them and cleanse them"), and, reasoning that the purifying agent cannot itself be clean after its purifying operation (another example is ablution water dropping down a man), the Prophet declared his kinsfolk as undeserving of a share in the zakah (and sadaqat) funds. He told them that the zakah funds were a dirt of the hand and hence unsuitable for them.
The above stray examples demonstrate not only how well the Prophet understood the Qur'an and the extent to which he applied it to himself, but also, how important it is for a reader to gain mastery over the two: the Qur'an and the Sunnah texts, to understand either.

The Companions and their Followers
Any clarification required after the first two sources have been exhausted, should be sought in the opinions of the Prophet's Companions; especially those who were close to him, received his special attention, and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time: such as the four khulafa', Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Ubayy b. Ka`ab and others, or those of the Followers who became the pupils of these Companions, such as: Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Masruq, `Ata' ibn Rabah, Hassan al Busri, Sa`id ibn al Musayyib, Qatadah, Dahhak, Abu al `Aliyyah and others.
The differences in their opinions, however, should not disturb a student. For, as Ibn Taymiyyah has pointed out in his Muqaddimah fi Usul al Tafsir, in most cases they express the same meaning in different words. The word "hafadah" for instance, has been explained as "daughters" by Ibn Mas`ud and Sa`id b. Jubayr; as "grandsons" by Ibn `Abbas; as "in‑laws" by Ibn Mas`ud; while `Ikrimah, Mujahid, and Hasan al‑Basri say it stands for "servants." They are all of course expressing one or the other aspect of the meaning of the word. For "hafadah" is plural of "hafid" and in its singular form it means "he who is made to serve." At the time the verse was revealed, the word was used in all those senses in which it was adopted by different authorities.
Tafsir bi 'l ma'thur derives its basis from ‑ apart from others ‑ a hadith which says that when the Prophet was deputing Mu`adh ibn Jabal to Yemen he asked him how he was going to judge between the people. "With the Book of Allah," replied Mu`adh. "But what if you do not find (a lead) therein?" the Prophet asked. "With the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger," he replied. "But if you do not find (a lead) therein also?" he asked him. "Then," Mu`adh replied, "I will work out my own opinion." The Prophet expressed his approval (Muqaddimah, Ibn Taymiyyah).
A word of caution however, about this kind of tafsir should be in place. What is recommended is the methodology as enumerated above, and not the entire content of the books of tafasir that have followed this methodology. In some of these works massive amount of Jewish material and comments of the early exegetes have been included without verifications of their authenticity. If not read critically, these can have their own pitfalls. Naivety, for instance, can be perceived in those who rely on these alone and have failed to step into the modern age in intellectual terms.

Al-Tafsir bi al Ra'yi (Personal Opinions)
As stated above, sometimes a commentator uses his intelligence, knowledge, intuition or inspiration to bring out a point in language, history, law, etc. Some of such comments are acceptable, while others are not. Take for example verse (2: 102): "Sulayman blasphemed not, but the Satans blasphemed." A question arises. We know that a prophet does not blaspheme. Why then did the Qur'an have to say that Sulayman (asws) did not blaspheme? For an explanation we have to look into the Bible which alleges that Solomon became an idolater during the last days of his life (Majid). Though not based on an athar, it is a valid explanation and also corroborates with what details classical commentators (such as Ibn Kathir) have recorded as coming from Suddi and Sa`id b. Jubayr.
To take another example, the Qur'an says (2: 273): "(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah, who can not journey in the land (for trade). The ignorant supposes them rich because of their restraint. You will know them by their mark. They do not beg of people with importunity. And whatsoever of good things that you spend, surely, Allah will know it."
Commenting on the verse, Thanwi says that the words, ‘(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah,' are telling us that those who are working in the way of Allah deserve to receive first priority in aid. Further, the clause ‘who cannot journey in the land' signifies that it is desirable for those engaged in the path of Allah that they may suspend their efforts at livelihood, if need be, although there is no contradiction between the two (i.e. engagement in the path of Allah, and search for livelihood). Finally, the words ‘the ignorant supposes them rich,' implies that it is undesirable to put on appearances that will distinguish a man from the common people.
This is the kind of Tafsir bi 'l ra'yi that is acceptable since such statements can be corroborated in other ways also. What can be proved as valid either directly through deductions from the Qur'an, Sunnah, opinions of the Companions, their immediate Followers, or that which, in the least, does not contradict any of the above, in word or spirit, is valid and acceptable.
The permission for this kind of interpretation is based on the supplication (du`a) which the Prophet made for Ibn `Abbas. He said:

اللَّهُمَّ فَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَعَلِّمْهُ التَّأْوِيلَ

"O Allah, grant him knowledge of the Qur'an and teach him the interpretation."
Contrary to this is the unprincipled interpretation that has its basis neither in the sources cited above, nor does it agree with the spirit of Islam as understood by the scholars at large.
To explain, any opinion with reference to a Qur’anic text that contradicts with that of the Salaf, in matters involving the Shari`ah, values, morals or spiritual affairs, is Tafsir bi al-Ra’yi, and stands rejected outright. It is about such an interpretation that the Prophet remarked: "Whoever speaks about the Qur'an without knowledge, may seek his abode in the Fire."
The Companions and their Followers were quite careful about offering an interpretation that did not have a Qur'anic verse or hadith in its support. Abu Bakr (ra) used to say: "Which heaven will shelter me, and which earth will support me if I said about Allah's Book, that which I have no knowledge of." Abu Yezid said: "We used to ask Sa`id ibn al‑Musayyib about the ‘lawful' and the ‘unlawful' and would find him the most knowledgeable of men. But when we asked him about a verse of the Qur'an as to how it was to be understood, he would be quiet, turning a deaf ear to us."

Al-Tafsir 'l‑Ishari (Allegorical Interpretation)
By nature, man is awed by the mysterious. It is the inexplicable, the symbolical, and the mysterious that engage his attention. The obvious and the clear‑cut escape him. To seek a solution to a riddle or the meaning of an allegory is a task he undertakes with enthusiasm. The allegorical verses of the Qur'an have provided grist to the minds of its scholars and there have been several interpretations proffered to explain them. Some of these are not readily acceptable and raise controversies. The best course of action about them when they are authentically quoted, by authoritative people, but which seemingly contradicts ideas of the Salaf, is to make no judgment about their acceptance or rejection.
In this work the use of Tafsir 'l Ishari has been restricted. It is inadvisable to read them without the guidance of a specialist. Thanwi’s Masa'il al‑Suluk as footnotes to his Urdu Bayan al‑Qur'an, is of this class. So are Alusi’s notes under this heading.
Nevertheless, it should also be borne in mind that every passage whose meaning is not obvious is not necessarily of the allegorical type, nor is the Qur'an entirely without them. There are some portions of the Qur'an whose true meaning the human mind might never be able to unravel. Ibn `Abbas has said: "There are four kinds of meanings: a) that which is apparent to the Arabs because it is in their language, b) that whose meaning no one can deny on the pretext of ignorance, c) the meaning that is the share of the scholars alone, and, d) the meaning that no one knows save Allah and His Messenger."
Further, one may note that there are Qur’anic texts whose meanings would be understood at the time of death, or subsequent to it.

Application
Following the Qur'anic method, we might end with what we started with. Application is part of the study. One will not travel much on the road if he failed to live by the instructions and inspirations that he received with the study. The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. It has been sent to guide the people. But it guides only those who are willing to be guided. As Rumi has said, the Qur’an is a closed book except for the true ardent seeker; to which we might add, ‘those who would care to apply.’
A further condition is to avoid sins of all kinds. The following is reported to have been said by Imam Shafe`i:

شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظى * فأرشدنى إلى ترك المعاصى
وأخـبرنى بـأن العـلم نور * ونور الله لايهدى لعاصى

I complained to Waki` of my forgetfulness
He guided me to give up sins
And taught me that knowledge is Light
And Allah’s Light is not shown to the sinner

The student of the Qur'an will have to develop his mind in such a way as to be skeptical of everything that the senses report, doubt every opinion that is formed by the intellect, and question every information that comes from non‑revealed sources. In the next step, he will have to test all of them against the Qur'an and reject any that contradicts it in word or spirit. Ibn Mas`ud (ra) said: "During the life-time of the Prophet, we used to take ten verses of the Qur'an for study and would not move on to the next ten until we had lived by those ten." It is reported of `Umar ibn al‑Khattab (ra) that he finished surah al‑Baqarah in seven years. According to a report he was so happy at its completion that he slaughtered a camel and invited his friends to a feast.
We can conclude with Zarkashi's remarks. He writes in Al‑Burhan fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an:

"In the final analysis, the derivation of the meaning of the Qur'an is largely dependent on a man's own thoughts and reflections. Let it be known, therefore, that the true meaning of the revelation and the secrets of the veiled knowledge will never be the share of a man whose heart is filled with innovations, or who insists on a sin, or in whose heart resides pride or base desires or love of the world, or that he be of an uncertain faith, or poor of discernment, or dependent on the opinions of a mufassir who has knowledge only of the externals (`ilm al-zahir), or gives precedence to his own thoughts and ideas (during the process of thinking). All these are veils and obstacles, some of which are of greater impedance than others.
"(In contrast), if the man pays full attention to the words of His Lord, is receptive to the meaning that the Attributes of the One addressing him unfold themselves, is always aware of His powers, abandons his own self-established conclusions based on reason and intellect, renounces his own powers and abilities, is ever mindful of the greatness of the Speaker, beseeching Him the grant of the meaning: and all this from a personal state of integrity, a good-natured heart, with the power of knowledge, of a calm disposition to gather the meaning, and to wait for the missed meaning seeking (Divine) help through Prayers and Supplications, (the supplications themselves) presented with the weakness (of the human against Powers of the Divine), and observing patience while waiting for the mind to be opened by Him who is the Opener, the Knowing; and he who strengthens these qualities with a recitation during which his mind is fully attentive to the verbal meaning and bears witness to the Attributes of the One addressing him by anxiously waiting for the promises (of the opening of the heart coming true), and fearing the calamities (that may befall him for his failings), and who warns forcefully .. such is the one who has a good voice for the Qur'an and it is about him that Allah Most High has said (2:121): ‘Those to whom we have given the Book, read it in the manner it should be read. It is these who believe in it'" (p. 180-81, vol.2).

The Methodology in this Work
It has been this writer's endeavor to present in this work, principally, the meaning of the Qur'an as understood by the classical scholars. That is, in the light of the Qur'an itself, traditions of the Prophet and statements of the Companions and their followers. To achieve this, the author first consulted Ibn Jarir Tabari. Since Ibn Jarir was a Muhaddith himself, he did not cite sources to the hadith, or to statements of the Companions that he quoted. Citing the sources was done by Ibn Kathir. Therefore, Ibn Kathir was next consulted. However, Ibn Kathir did not cite sources to the statements of the Salaf. This was done, to some degree, by Shawkani. So, he was consulted next. Although Ibn Kathir cited hadith sources, he did not state the authenticity-status of ahadith. In such cases, this author tried to search the opinion of Hadith Doctors, to add a note about their reliability. Further, if there were differences in opinions over the meaning of a certain verse, Ibn Kathir preferred to adopt the opinion of Ibn Jarir, which, this author indicated. Thus, a meaning emerged as of the Salaf. The translation of the verses reflects this meaning. The author suppressed his own opinion, for whose credibility he lacks the qualification, unless it was a scientific issue, historical, geographical or the like.
Thereunto, the author added the opinions of various other commentators, taking care of course, that such opinions did not clash with the opinions of the Salaf, for in matters of Law, morals (Akhlaq), and spiritual matters, the Salaf were the true authority. The way the first three generations understood the Qur’an, was never understood by any after them. It is they who changed the world, the way no generation could. If a headstrong person thinks that someone’s understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah, was, or is, as good as that of the Salaf, and as accurate, he might need a course on how `ilm is defined in Islam. Ibn Sirin, a prominent Tabe`i said, “Knowledge is gone. What’s left of it is bits and pieces, scattered among the scholars.” Hasan al-Basri, his contemporary, was told by someone that the “Fuqaha’ say so and so.” He corrected him, “Have you ever seen a Faqih?”

An additional note about the commentaries made by the Companions and their followers might be in order. The Prophet has said: "The best of epochs is my epoch, then that of the Followers, and then that of the Followers." He was referring to the epoch followed by his own, and that of the Companions and the Tabe`iyyun. There were many Companions of the Prophet who received his special attention and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time itself. In turn they tutored many among the Tabe`iyyun. The term Salaf applies mainly to these: i.e., the Companions and the two succeeding generations, plus the third (because of some reports). Their opinion is the approved opinion. If they agree over the meaning of a particular word, or a verse, and the issue is purely of a religious nature as indicated above, then any other opinion that contradicts it and cannot be reconciled with it, stands rejected. Of course, there is no such restriction when the subject concerned is of historical, geographical or scientific nature, for, these disciplines were developed after them. Some contemporary commentaries tend to give new meanings to some Qur’anic terms. If they clash with those of the Salaf, they must be ignored; for, the Salaf knew the ‘Arabic of the Qur’an,’ and not the Arabic of those who refer to dictionaries and literary works developed after them to argue their case. `Umar used to say, “If you are in doubt, refer to the Jahiliyy poetry. The Qur’an was revealed in that language.”

The opinions of the Salaf might sometimes surprise the reader. He might consider them as entirely out of context. But, it is the failure to understand the context that creates the confusion. "Jump the line" is a sentence in English that conveys different meanings to different people in different situations. To a sportsman it has one meaning. When spoken by a motorist complaining of the erratic behavior of another motorist it has another meaning. In contrast, to an electrician working on the power grid, the sentence carries a different sense altogether. What we have to realize about the Companions is that they did not merely understand the context; they were themselves the context, and often spoke from the transcendental level; not from the stand point of the misleading cliché of modern times: ‘reason and logic.’

If the reader wishes to make the most of this work, he or she should allocate an area in his mind wherein he stores information obtained from the Salaf, in this work. This is the principal, the most reliable meaning, and the basis on which he can build on further. He might highlight such passages for ease of later reference.

Nonetheless, in order to keep alive interest and help increase knowledge, I have also included material that has so far been the prerogative of the Arabic‑speaking readers: material without which the Qur'anic spectrum of legitimate meaning loses some of its color.
To the above I have added some useful material from commentaries in Urdu and English. But of course, while selecting material from contemporary works, a critical eye has been kept open for errors of the conceptual type and, to the extent possible, those that contradict with a meaning accepted by the Jumhur al‑Ummah (the great majority). Jumhur al‑Ummah is of course not the same thing as the Ijma` al‑Ummah (the consensus of opinion ‑ the research of which is a difficult task, well beyond the scope of this work). The opinions of the Jumhur give us some idea of how the Qur'an has been understood through the ages. When Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Thanwi or others consider a point from the previous exegetes as worth quoting, then surely that adds up to the weight of the comment.
I have not reproduced from, or cited reference to, the contemporary commentators if they have discussed those matters that the ancients have already done. In most cases the contemporary scholars have changed the form, picking out from the ancients what would suit them most. I have quoted them only if they have a new idea or a fresh point, with the condition, once again, that such ideas do not, in my limited knowledge, contradict a proven opinion held by the Salaf or Jumhu al-Ummah. Anecdotes, poetry, fiqh points, and comparative study material have been added to break the monotony.

A word about quotations from the Sufiya' would be in order. We all know that an unclean person in dirty clothes would hardly improve himself by applying perfume. He first needs to cleanse himself. How can it be any different in matters pertaining to the soul? A heart filled with pride or preferential love of this world will hardly improve through wisdom-words or supererogatory exercises. Something needs to be done first to remove the impurities. Sufism is all about this removal of impurities. This centrist position however, lies between two extremes. It should not be imagined that by quoting the Sufiya' we are approving the extreme positions, practices, or the so‑called "ways of the Gnostic" that have no basis in the Shari`ah.

Hadith Authenticity
The most difficult task has been to present only those ahadith or reports from the Companions or others that are authentic, since no noteworthy work has been done by the hadith experts on Qur'anic commentaries. Mahmud Shakir's attempt at Tabari has remained incomplete. Hussain b. Ibrahim and Sayyid Ibrahim have done some useful, although not exhaustive work on Ibn Kathir and Shawkani. Occasionally, I have either traced the ahadith to their sources, and when not in the Sahih works, have depended on works on the topic by Hadith experts. I have tried not to quote anything less than Hasan in status. If I have quoted some weak reports, it is only those that are not very weak or are strengthened by other, although weak, ahadith, or the personal opinions of the Companion or others.

Ideological Interpretations
Some readers might be surprised to note the lack of a single string of thought in this work, as it is also lacking in classical commentaries: one strand, so to say, that weaves into itself the "philosophy of the whole of the Qur'an." This is a naive idea. To speak of the Qur'an in such terms is to presume a certain meaning, a certain philosophy, a certain ideology, and reduce the Word of Allah to human definitions.
It is common knowledge that this terrestrial existence is too complex to be interpreted in terms of a single philosophy. Life cannot be reduced to equations. Even the inorganic does not render itself to such simplification. At this very moment, scientists at a billion dollar apiece Accelerators (commonly known as atom smashers) are at their wit’s end trying to determine if the building blocks of an atom (which were once thought to be electrons, protons, neutrons and a few other elementary particles) are quarks, those 300 subatomic particles visible for a fraction of a second when the nucleus is smashed with highly accelerated protons, or there is more to it. No one can say for sure if there will be an end to it!! The wave and particle function of the sub-atomic particles is another intriguing issue. If solid matter is proving so complex, what should one think of the uncreated ‘Word’ of Allah?
Moreover, such a demand betrays the failure to understand the very basics of life in terms of human fears, hopes, aspirations, creativity and interactions. At every moment of his existence a man has several options before him, only one of which is the optimum best for him. What can guide him to the right choice but a criterion backed by a vast set of concepts, data and ideas that have their own quality to fuse themselves, in a flash of a second, into one homogenized whole and present a single, synchronized, workable idea or a suggestion ‑ that the man may accept or reject!?
Again, the Qur'an is, from one angle, a long essay in the education of concepts: the divisions are for human convenience. No detail can be missed in any area but at the loss of a concept; sometimes it might be the most valuable concept acting as the central link to a maze of ideas, and, a powerful magnet to iron flakes flying by in every direction. Hence the presentation in the style I have adopted. The reader will have to pick up bits and pieces, and put them together into a homogenous meaningful whole that is pertinent to his situation, and would be useful perhaps to him alone.

Acknowledgment
Rarely has a work of such dimensions and a task so demanding been attempted by a man as poorly qualified as this author. Yet, no efforts were spared to locate material necessary to produce the "aid for understanding the Qur'an" that he has aimed at producing. Although, it must be admitted, that efforts are no substitute for abilities.
The author’s dependence, therefore, on those who are pioneers in similar efforts should be quite evident. In the rendering of the Qur'anic text into English for instance, A.J. Arberry's influence can be easily detected. Yusuf `Ali, Asad and Pickthall have been in constant reference. N.J. Dawood and several others have also been consulted. To make it easier for the beginners and non‑Muslims (and following the recommendation of the fuqaha'), words and phrases have been added in parenthesis while rendering the text into English. Such interpolations are, nonetheless, based on an accepted interpretation.
Without trying to be humble, it can be said with a fair amount of accuracy that for all that is good and useful in this work, the credit is due to someone else, while the shortcomings are the contributions of this author who seeks Allah's forgiveness, and the reader's help in overcoming them.

Syed Iqbal Zaheer
March 2015

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References, abbreviations, and technical terms

Clue to References
Ahmad: Musnad by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahiha, Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani, (d. 1420 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da`eefah wa al-Mawdu`ah, Muhammad Nasirudding Albani, , Al-Maktab al-Islami.
Alusi/Ruh: Ruh al Ma`ani Fi Tafsir Qur’an al `Azim Wa al Sab` al Mathani by Shihab al Din Sayyid Mahmood Alusi (d.1291 A.H.)
`Aqidah: `Aqidah Tahawiyyah, commentary Ibn Abi al-`Izz, (tr. By Syed Iqbal Zaheer, as Funamentals of Islamic Creed), World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
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Hussain: Tafsir ibn Kathir, Hussain b. Ibrahim Zahran, ed.
Ibn Is-haq: Sirah Rasulullah, by Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.).
Ibn Jarir/Tabari: Jami` al Bayan Fi Tafsir al Qur’an by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310 A.H.)
Ibn Kathir: Tafsir al Qur’an al `Azim by `Imad al Din Abul Fida Isma`il ibn `Amr ibn Kathir (d.774 A.H.)
Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qazwini, Maktabah al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut.
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Jami` Saghir: Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` Saghir (of Jalaluddin Suyuti) by Muhammad `Abdul Ra’uf al-Munawi.
Kabir al: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, tafsir notes of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 A.H) collected by Dr. `Abdul Rahman `Umayrah.
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Ma`arif /Shafi`: Ma`arif al Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi` Deobandi (d. 1396 A.H.).
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Mughni al, Ibn Qudamah, al-Maqdisi, Ri’asat al-Idaratu al-Buuth al-`Ilmiyyah, Saudi Arabia.
Mulhim: Fath al-Mulhim, Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani, and, Takmilatu Fath al-Mulhim, Taqiuddin `Uthmani, Dar al-Ulum, Karachi.
Muwatta’: Muwatta’ by Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 A.H.).
Nasa’i, Ahmad b. Shu`ayb, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Dar al-Rayyan li al-Turath, Cairo.
Nawawi: Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Sharfuddin al-Nawawi (d. 261 A.H.)
Penrice: A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, John Penrice, Gaurav Publishing House, 187
Qurtubi: Al-Jam`i Li ‘l Ahkam al Qur’an by Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al Ansari al Qurtubi (d.671 A.H.)
Raghib: Mu`jam Mufradat al-Qur’an by al-Raghib al-Asfahani (d. 503 A.H.)
Rawa‘e`: Rawa‘e` al-Bayan Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Razi: Tafsir al Fakhr al Razi by Muhammad al-Razi Fakhr al Din ibn Dia al Din `Umar (d.604 A.H.)
Sabuni: Safwatu al Tafasir by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Sahih ibn Hibban bi-Tarteeb Ibn Balban, `Ala’uddin `Ali b. Balban, , Mu’assasah al-Risalah, Beirut.
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Se`di: Taysir al-Karim al-Rahman, fir Tafsir al-Mannan, `Abdul Rahman b. Nasir Se`id.
Shawkani: Al-Fut-h al-Qadir by Muhammad ibn `Ali Shawkani (d.1255 A.H.)
S. Ibrahim: Ed. Al-Fath al-Qadir, by Shawkani
Sihah: Taj al-Lugha wa Sihah al-`Arabiyyah, Isma`il b. Nasr Hammad al-Jawhari, 393 A.H.
Sirah: Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah fi Daw Masadir al-Athliyyah, Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah, Saudi Arabia 1992.
Sayyid Qutb/Qutb/Zilal: Fi Zilal al Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb (d.1386 A.H.).
Thanwi/Bayan: Bayan al Qur’an by Ashraf `Ali Thanwi (d.1361 A.H.)
Tuhfah: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi bi Sharh Jami` al-Tirmidhi by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Rahman Mubarakpuri.
Yusuf Ali: The Glorious Qur’an, Meaning and Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (d. 1953 A.H.).
Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani, I`la al-Sunan, Idaratu al-Islam wa `Ulum al-Islamiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
Zamakhshari/Kashshaf: Haqa’iq al- Tanzil Wa `Uyun al-Aqawil Fi Wujuh at-Ta‘wil by Abu al-Qasim Jarallah Mahmood b.`Umar al-Zamakhshari (d.538 A.H.).
Zarkashi: Al-Burhan Fi `Ulum al-Qur’an by Badruddin Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Zarkashi (d. 794 A.H.), Dar al-Ma`rifa, Beirut.
Note: The list above is not a complete bibliography, but rather books sort of more often referred.

________________________

Abbreviations as in
Abdul Majid Daryabadi’s English Commentary

(1) BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Ac. = Acts of the Apostles.
Am. = Amos.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle of the Apostles.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
2. Cor. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
Dn. = The Book of Daniel.
Dt. = Deuteronomy: The Fifth Book of Moses.
Ex. = Exodus: The Second Book of Moses.
Ez. = Ezra.
Ezek. = The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ga. = Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Ge. = Genesis: The First Book of Moses.
He. = Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
Ho. = Hosea.
Is. = Isiah.
Ja. = The General Epistle of James.
Jn. = Gospel according to St. John.
Jo. = Joel.
Job. = The Book of Job.
Jon. = The Book of Jonah.
Josh. = The Book of Joshua.
Judg. = The Book of Judges.
Je. = The Book of Jeremiah.
1. Ki. = The First Book of the Kings.
2. Ki. = The Second Book of the Kings.
La. The Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Lk. = The Gospel according to St. Luke.
Le. = Leviticus: The Third Book of Moses.
Mi. = Micah.
Mk. = Gospel according to St. Mark.
Mt. = Gospel according to St. Matthew.
Na. = Nahum.
Ne. = The Book of Nehemiah.
Nu. = Numbers: The Fourth Book of Moses.
1. Pe. = The First Epistle General of Peter.
2. Pe. = The Second Epistle General of Peter.
Ph. = Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
Pr. = The Proverbs.
Ps. = The Book of Psalms.
Re. = The Revelation of St. John.
Ro. = Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
1. Sa. = The First Book of Samuel.
2. Sa. = The Second Book of Samuel.
So. = The Song of Solomon.
1. Thes. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
2. Thes. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
1. Ti. = Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy.
2. Ti. = Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy.
Tt. = Paul’s Epistle to Titus.
Ze. = Zechariah.

(2) GENERAL
“Ant.” = Josephus’ ‘Antiquities of the Jews.’ (Routledge London).
Aq. = Shah Abdul Qadir Dehlavi (D. 1241 A.H./1826 C.E.). Urdu translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
ASB. = Asad’s English Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari.
AV. = Authorized Version of the Bible.
AYA. = `Abdullah Yusuf `Ali. English translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
Bdh. = Nasir-ud-Din `Abdullah Baidhavi (D. 685 A.H./1282 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
BK. = ‘Book of Knowledge,’ 4 Vols. (Educational Book Co., London)
CD. = Pallen and Wynne’s ‘New Catholic Dictionary.’ (New York).
CE. = McDannell’s ‘Concise Encyclopedia,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
C.E. = Christian Era.
DB. = Hastings’ ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ 5 Vols. (Clarke, London).
DCA. = Smith and Cheetham’s ‘Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
DV. = Douay Version of the Bible.
EBi. = Cheyne and Black’s ‘Encyclopedia Biblica,’ 4 Vols. (Black, London).
EBr. = ‘Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 29 Vols. 11th Edition. (London).
Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 24 Vols. 14th Edition. (London and New York). Where no edition is specified, the reference is to 14th edition.
EI. = Houtsma and Wensink’s ‘Encyclopedia of Islam,’ 5 Vols. (Luzac, London).
EMK. = Hammerton’s ‘Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge,’ 5 Vols. (Waverly, New York).
ERE. = Hastings’ ‘Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,’ 13 Vols. (Clarke, London).
ESS. = Seligman’s ‘Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,’ 15 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
FWN = Frazer’s ‘Worship of Nature,’ 2 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
GB. = Ragg’s ‘The Gospel of Barnabas.’ (Oxford).
GRE. = Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ 7 Vols. (Methuen, London).
HHW. = ‘Historians’ History of the World,’ 25 Vols. (The Times, London).
HJ. = The Hibbert Journal. (Constable, London).
IA. = Hadhrat `Abdullah Ibn-i-`Abbas. (D. 68 A.H./688 C.E.) (A companion and cousin of the Holy Prophet).
IQ. = Ibn-i-Qutaiba. (D. 276 A.H./890 C.E.) Author of ‘Arabic Glossary of the Holy Qur’an.
JE. = ‘The Jewish Encyclopedia,’ 12 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
LL. = Lane’s ‘Arabic-English Lexicon,’ 8 Vols. (Williams and Norgate, London).
LSK. = Lane and Lane-Poole’s ‘Selections from the Kuran.” (Trubner, London).
M.A. = Maulana Mohammad `Ali: (D. 1349 A.H./1931 C.E.) Indian Muslim leader. (Not to be confused with his namesake of Lahore and a translator of the Qur’an). The references are to his unpublished work, ‘Islam: The Kingdom of God’ (since published as ‘My Life – A Fragment’ by Sh. M. Ashraf, Lahore).
NSD. = ‘New Standard Dictionary of the English Language,’ 4 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
NT. = The New Testament.
OT. = The Old Testament.
PC. = Tyler’s ‘Primitive Culture,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
RV. = Revised Version of the Bible.
RZ. = Imam Fakhruddin Razi. (D. 659 A.H./1209 C.E.). Well-know commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
SOED. = ‘Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,’ 2 Vols. (Oxfor).
SPD. = Sale’s ‘Preliminary Discourse to the Translation of the Kuran,’ prefixed as Introduction to Wherry’s ‘Commentary on the Kuran,’ 4 Vols. (Trubner, London)
Th. = Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanvi. (B. 1280 A.H./1864 C.E.). Translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an
UHW. = Hammerton’s ‘Universal History of the World,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
VJE. = Vallentine’s ‘One Volume Jewish Encyclopedia.’ (London).
WGAL. = Wright’s ‘Grammar of the Arabic Language,’ 2 Vols. (Cambridge).
Zm. = Jar-ul-lah Zamakhsari (D. 538 A.H./1144 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.

_______________________

Abbreviations - General
asws: `Alayhi al‑Salat wa al‑Salam (on him be peace and blessing).
ra: Radi Allahu `anhu/`anha (may Allah be pleased with him/her).
Au.: Author.
Sahihayn: Bukhari and Muslim.
saws: Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam (May Allah send peace and blessing upon him).
swt: Subhanahu wa Ta`ala (glorified be He, the Exalted).

_______________________

Technical Terms
Da`if: A weak report but not a fabricated one nor entirely untrustworthy. It has some weakness in its text or in its isnad. A kind of hadith, therefore, before which one can place a question mark.
Gharib: That report in which the isnad has a single narrator after the Companion.
Hasan: A da`if report but above in strength over the one classified as da`if. Several da`if versions (unless too weak) render a hadith hasan.
Isnad: Chain of narrators.
Mawquf: A report whose chain of narration stops at a Companion.
Munkar: A kind of da`if hadith that has no other report through any other chain of narrators for a double check.
Mursal: A hadith which has been transmitted directly from the Prophet (saws) by a tabe`i, without a Companion in between Mutawatir: A report by such a large number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is inconceivable.
Sahih: A trustworthy report.

________________________

Transliteration
The transliteration method used in this work neither conforms to the international standards, nor it has been applied extensively. It is only where it was thought that some confusion might occur that a few marks have been added. However, the method is as follows:
( ث ) is transliterated as "tha" ; ( ح ) as "ha" ; ( ذ ) as "dhal" ; ( ز ) and ( ظ ) both as "za" ; ( ص ) as "sad" ; ( ض ) as "dad" ; ( ع ) as "`ayn" ; and hamza ( ه ) as “ ' “ e.g. Jibra’il.

______________________

Vowels
Vowels have been expressed in the following manner
( ا ) is expressed as "a", so that ( باب ) is written as "bab" ; (و ) is expressed with "u" , as for example ( نون ) is written as "nun"; ( ي ) is expressed with "i", as in the word (سين ) which is written as "sin".

______________________

  • Surah No. 4

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا (1)

    4|1| People! Fear your Lord1 who created you of a single soul,2 and from it created its mate,3 and (then) of the pair scattered countless men and women. Fear Allah by whom you demand one of another (your rights)4 and (beware of the rights arising by) the wombs.5 Verily Allah is ever watchful over you.6

    1. Mufti Shafi` has the following to state as an introduction to this passage: People’s rights are of two kinds. First, those which arise out of interactions between them, such as: of trade, contract, labour, and employment. The law can force a defaulter to deliver the rights arising in these affairs. But there is another kind of rights. Those, for instance: of a wife, husband, children, orphans and others. The various rights that are due to these kind of people, in different measures, are of a nature that cannot be taken by force if a man will not deliver them of his own free will. The reliance here, therefore, for the delivery of these rights, is on fear of Allah and His Reckoning in the Hereafter. This fear of Allah - otherwise known as taqwa - is the only law-enforcing authority in this sphere of life. Accordingly, fear of Allah was mentioned twice within the same opening verse of a chapter that deals mainly with the rights of the kin. That could be the reason why we find that the Prophet used to recite this verse at the beginning of his sermons. Razi writes: It will be noticed that these words, “People! Fear your Lord,” occur at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the first half of the Qur’an. Similarly, the fourth chapter of the second half of the Qur’an also starts with the same words (Al-Hajj, surah 22): “People! Fear your Lord.” It will also be noticed that at this point the words that follow draw the attention to man’s ‘beginning’: “Fear ... who created you from a single soul,” while there, in the second half, the attention is drawn to the ‘end,’ in words:

    ﭑ ﭒ ﭓ ﭔﭕ ﭖ ﭗ ﭘ ﭙ ﭚ ﭛ

    “Fear ... verily the shaking of the Hour will be a great thing.” 2. That is, since Allah has created mankind from a single soul, all the members of the humanity are, one way or the other, related to one another, and hence have their rights on and duties toward each other. People should, therefore, fear Allah, acknowledge the rights of others, be fair with them, not oppress them, and the strong should give the weak his due (Ibn Jarir). Creation From a Single Soul Even basic knowledge of cells leads to the conclusion that all humans have originated from a single pair. If they had not, then, the number, messages and the coding system of the genes would have been so different from person to person that some people would have grown 5 meters tall and others would have had hands as long as apes. Or, if the clocks in a human body were not to be the same as in any other human body, wounds would not have healed within a period common to all, and women could not have been giving birth over ages within the same nine months time. In fact there is so much common at the most basic level that the scientists have been led to the conclusion, although wrong, that not only the human, rather all life originated from a single source. Says J.Z.Young: “Out of the 92 natural elements there are 16 that occur in most (living) organisms while there are a few that occur in some organisms but not others. This is an amazing fact and perhaps even more amazing is that only about 20 amino-acids, out of the many possible, occur in proteins, and further the same 20 in all organisms from bacterial to mammals. Most amazing of all, the instructions that direct the synthesis of proteins depend in every organism on sequences of three of the four nucleotide bases and any given triplet always serves to incorporate the same amino-acid. The instructions for all life forms are written in similar language. Such facts tell us at once that life is a ‘peculiar’, ‘impossible’, condition, and that all surviving life must have a common origin. We shall find this conclusion reinforced when we examine more fully the still more complex units into which the molecules of living systems are organized within the cells” (An Introduction to the Study of Man, ELBS publications, 1979, p.36). To the above we have to add that the differences between one species and another (such as between humans and apes) are nevertheless so tremendous and so completely irreconcilable - although the principles governing the bodies seem to be common - that it is difficult to assume that the two sprang up from the same origin. However, within a species, there is no room for any difference in opinion that they have sprung up from a single base. Indeed, recent researchers state that there might be a few genes in every human being right from the first ancestor, Adam, peace be upon him (Au.). 3. That is, created Hawwa’ from one of the ribs of Adam while he was asleep: Mujahid, Suddi, Qatadah (Ibn Jarir). A hadith in Bukhari and Muslim says:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اسْتَوْصُوا بِالنِّسَاءِ فَإِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ خُلِقَتْ مِنْ ضِلَعٍ وَإِنَّ أَعْوَجَ شَيْءٍ فِي الضِّلَعِ أَعْلَاهُ فَإِنْ ذَهَبْتَ تُقِيمُهُ كَسَرْتَهُ وَإِنْ تَرَكْتَهُ لَمْ يَزَلْ أَعْوَجَ فَاسْتَوْصُوا بِالنِّسَاءِ.صحيح البخاري.

    “Deal with women in a goodly manner for woman has been created from the rib, and the most curved of them is the top most. Therefore, if you go about trying to straighten her up, you will break her. But if you leave it, it will remain curved. Therefore, deal with women in a kindly manner” (Ibn Kathir). Sabuni adds: That in fact is the reason for naming the first woman created as Hawwa’, since she was created from a haiyy (a living). Sheikh Muhammad `Abduh has said in Al-Manar that “there was no point in creating Hawwa’ from the rib of Adam. What was the problem in creating her out of dust?” (Similarly, a contemporary commentator of the Qur’an has said that the hadith about creation from the rib of Adam has not been understood properly, implying that he has understood it correctly after these several centuries: Au). “The answer is, (continues Sabuni), the Qur’anic verse is plainly worded: ‘Mankind has been created from a single soul,’ (implying, obviously, that Hawwa’ was also from that single soul, Adam). Further, the hadith about creation from the rib of Adam is also unambiguous. Finally, the consensus of the Ummah is to the same effect. Now, as to the question why Allah created Hawwa’ by that process, one answer is, to demonstrate that He is capable of all manners of creation, including creating a living from a living: He created Adam from dust, Hawwa’ without a mother and `Isa without a father (Rawa’e`, slightly reworded). With reference to the `iwaj in women, Majid quotes a Western scholar elsewhere: ‘Women will never be able to overcome these handicaps which are deeply rooted in their physical nature .. Anyone familiar with the physiology and biology of woman will be less annoyed and irritated at her sudden changes of mood, allegedly unreasonable flares of temper, her unmotivated acts. Understanding this, man will deeply sympathize with the bearer of the egg cells who, having the same aspirations and claims upon life, are burdened with more difficult biological tasks’ (Nemilow, Biological Tragedy of Women, pp. 187-188). 4. As they say, for instance, “For God’s sake you should do this,” or “In the name of God you ought not to do this,” and, “I beseech you in the name of God,” etc. (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Razi). 5. Two meanings have been ascribed to the statement. First, as in the translation, which is supported by Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Suddi, Qatadah and others. In fact Qatadah has a hadith to relate which says: “Fear Allah and join relations by the womb.” (The hadith is Mursal: Au.). The other meaning is: “Fear Allah and (fear) the wombs in the name of which you plead your rights.” That is, you claim from each other many rights in the name of relationships (by the womb). This meaning is supported by Ibrahim, Mujahid and Hasan (Ibn Jarir). Giving the relations by the womb their right is so important that even differences in creed does not come in the way. A hadith says,

    عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَتْ قَدِمَتْ عَلَيَّ أُمِّي وَهِيَ مُشْرِكَةٌ فِي عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَاسْتَفْتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قُلْتُ وَهِيَ رَاغِبَةٌ أَفَأَصِلُ أُمِّي قَالَ نَعَمْ صِلِي أُمَّكِ. صحيح البخاري.

    Asma’ (Abu Bakr’s daughter) said that, “When my mother came down to me during the time of the Prophet while she was a pagan, and desiring my company, I asked the Prophet whether I should treat her well. He said: ‘Yes, treat your mother well’” (Qurtubi). 6. Hadith books are replete with traditions coming from the Prophet about the rights of relations by the womb, and the virtue in meeting those rights. One hadith of Mishkat says:

    مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ عَلَيْهِ فِي رِزْقِهِ وَيُنْسَأَ فِي أَثَرِهِ فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ

    “Whoever wishes that his provision be increased and his age be extended, might give those related by the wombs their rights.” As against this, he has warned in no less ambiguous words, those that trample their rights. One of the reports, also of Mishkat, says:

    لايدخل الجنة قاطع

    “He who tramples the rights of the kind will not enter Paradise” (Ma`arif). Muslim has reported that once a people belonging to the Mudar tribe came to Madinah. They were in a terribly dishevelled state because of poverty. The Prophet ascended the mimber after Zuhr Prayers and in his sermon first recited this verse. He followed it up with (59: 18):

    ييَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ [الحشر : 18]

    “Believers. Fear Allah and let each man examine what he has prepared for tomorrow.” After that he encouraged them to spend in the way of Allah, until people gave what they could (Ibn Kathir).

    وَآتُوا الْيَتَامَىٰ أَمْوَالَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَتَبَدَّلُوا الْخَبِيثَ بِالطَّيِّبِ ۖ وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَىٰ أَمْوَالِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حُوبًا كَبِيرًا (2)

    4|2| Hand over the orphans7 their property and substitute not the despoiled (of yours) with the good (ones of theirs).8 Devour not their wealth with your wealth.9 That indeed is a grave sin.10

    7. Orphan in Islamic terminology is a minor who has lost his or her father (Ma`arif). 8. Suddi, Sa`id ibn Musayyib and Zuhri have said that in pre-Islamic times trustees of the orphans used to substitute their good quality property with their own despoiled and poor quality ones. They would, for instance, replace a fat and healthy lamb of the orphan with an old and skinny lamb of their own. Allah forbade such acts (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). After this the Companions became so meticulous that they segregated their dishes from those of the orphans in their care until Allah revealed (2: 220):

    وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَامَى قُلْ إِصْلَاحٌ لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ وَإِنْ تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ [البقرة : 220]

    “And they ask you about (how to treat) the orphans. Tell them: ‘The best thing (for them) is (promotion of their) welfare. Therefore, if you mingle (your food, drink and other things) with theirs, then, that is alright, (since, after all), they are your brethren’” (Ibn Jarir). 9. Obviously, if separate accounts are not maintained and withdrawals are made from a single account for purposes common to those of the trustee as well as of the orphan then no one would know whose wealth is depleting and at what rate. It might be discovered too late that nothing is left of the wealth of the orphan (Ma`arif). 10. The textual hub has been explained as sin by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi, Qatadah and others (Ibn Jarir). The Prophet himself used it in that sense. According to a report in Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim, when Abu Ayyub al-Ansari wished to divorce his wife he sought the counsel of the Prophet (saws). He told him:

    إن طلاق أم أيوب حوب

    “Divorcing of Umm Ayyub would be a great sin (hub).” It is said that Abu Ayyub abandoned the idea (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانْكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا (3)

    4|3| And, if you fear that you will not act justly (in matters of doer) to the orphan (girls)11 then (do not marry them, rather) marry what is lawful to you12 (of other) women:13 two, three or four (at a time).14 But if you fear that you will not do justice then (marry) only one;15 or, (be content with) what you right hands possess (of the slave-girls).16 This way it is less likely that you will do injustice.17

    11. The words in the parenthesis are based on an opinion of `A’isha who said: “This verse applies to an orphan girl who happens to be in the trust of someone who wants to marry her because of her beauty or wealth, but is not inclined to give her the mahr she deserves. He has been told not to marry her, rather marry others.” There have been other explanations too (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). The above statement of `A’isha is in Bukhari. However, she has another report in Bukhari itself to the effect that a man had an orphan girl in his care who jointly owned a date-palm grove with him. The man would not let her get married, (fearful that he would lose full control of the grove) - Ibn Kathir, Shawkani. 12. The words in the original are ma taba lakum, and have at least two implications. First, marriage is not a religious obligation. Imam Nawawi has stated that he does not know of any scholar (of the four schools) who has declared marriage obligatory. He mentions four cases. First, in which a man is fearful of falling into sin and possesses the means (to get married and maintain a household). For such a person marriage is mustahab (desirable). Second, he who is not fearful of falling into sin, and has no means to support a family; marriage for such a person is makruh (undesirable). Third, he who is fearful of falling into sins, but does not possess the means to get married; for him too it is makruh. This type should seek solution in fasts (until he can manage the means). And fourth, he who is neither fearful nor has the means. According to Imam Shafe`i, it is preferable for such a person to avoid marriage and busy himself with the affairs of the hereafter. According to the Hanafiyyah, however, it is wajib for a man to marry if he is fearful of falling into sins. Yet, if he cannot afford, then by not marrying he is not sinning. Their opinion is that in general terms marriage is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (emphasized practice of the Prophet) and therefore, not marrying without a valid reason can be sinful. Another implication hidden in the words ma taba lakum is, according to Suyuti, the permission to see the woman one intends to marry. A hadith in Muslim says, in sum, that:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ كُنْتُ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ فَأَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّهُ تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأَةً مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَظَرْتَ إِلَيْهَا قَالَ لَا قَالَ فَاذْهَبْ فَانْظُرْ إِلَيْهَا فَإِنَّ فِي أَعْيُنِ الْأَنْصَارِ شَيْئً . صحيح مسلم

    The Prophet asked a person engaged to a woman if he had seen her. He said he had not. The Prophet told him, “You better do that, for some Ansari women have a defect in their eyes.” Nonetheless, this seeing should be done without the knowledge of the girl. As for her own permission - whether she can be seen without her knowledge or not - there is a difference of opinion among the scholars. Some say her consent is necessary, others that it is not. However, this seeing before marriage is only permissible and not obligatory. In fact, Allah Himself did not state it expressly (Alusi). 13. Some scholars have conjectured that by the addition of the words “women” (apparently redundant, since after all one marries only women), it is implied that marriage to a jinni is disallowed (Alusi). Imam Ibn Taymiyyah has, however, stated in his Risalatu al-Jinn that marriage between jinn and mankind is a possibility. He does not discuss the legality of the affair (Au.). 14. Since the address is to the believers as a whole, the terms used in the original are mathna, wa thulatha, wa ruba`, meaning twos, threes and fours, (or two two, three three, and four four), implying that everyone of the believers can marry two or three or four women (Razi and others). In other words, the permission is to one and all. However, four is the limit, more than that being the exception of our Prophet who married fifteen women, went into thirteen of them, of whom eleven were with him at one time in his life, and nine when he died. (Of them, the Prophet remained married to a single lady - Khadijah - until he was 54, then, after her death, remained with another single lady - Sawda - until he was 58 - adding others only at the end of his life: all but one previously married women: Shafi`). There is consensus of opinion over the figure of four for the believers without any disagreement among the scholars. Traditions supporting this view are as follows. One is in Bukhari and Nasa’i but taken here from Musnad of Ahmad:

    عَنْ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ أَنَّ غَيْلَانَ بْنَ سَلَمَةَ الثَّقَفِيَّ أَسْلَمَ وَتَحْتَهُ عَشْرُ نِسْوَةٍ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اخْتَرْ مِنْهُنَّ أَرْبَعًا فَلَمَّا كَانَ فِي عَهْدِ عُمَرَ طَلَّقَ نِسَاءَهُ وَقَسَمَ مَالَهُ بَيْنَ بَنِيهِ فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ عُمَرَ فَقَالَ إِنِّي لَأَظُنُّ الشَّيْطَانَ فِيمَا يَسْتَرِقُ مِنْ السَّمْعِ سَمِعَ بِمَوْتِكَ فَقَذَفَهُ فِي نَفْسِكَ وَلَعَلَّكَ أَنْ لَا تَمْكُثَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا وَايْمُ اللَّهِ لَتُرَاجِعَنَّ نِسَاءَكَ وَلَتَرْجِعَنَّ فِي مَالِكَ أَوْ لَأُوَرِّثُهُنَّ مِنْكَ وَلَآمُرَنَّ بِقَبْرِكَ فَيُرْجَمُ كَمَا رُجِمَ قَبْرُ أَبِي رِغَالٍ

    It says that when `Imran b. Ghaylan b. Salamah embraced Islam he had ten wives. The Prophet told him to retain four. (According to one version, he told him to choose four of them and divorce the rest: Alusi). When this same Ghaylan b. Salamah later, during the reign of `Umar, divorced the remaining four wives and divided his wealth among his sons, `Umar warned him in words: “I guess Satan has overheard some news from the heavens and has whispered in your ear that you would not last long. By Allah, you will take back your wives and your wealth (from your children) or I will forcibly give your wives their share and I will order the people to pelt stones at your grave as they used to pelt stones at the grave of Abu Rughal (one of the stray men of Thamud: Tuhfatu ‘l Ahwadhi).” Abu Da’ud and Ibn Majah have a hasan report which says that `Umayrah al-Asadi had eight wives when he embraced Islam. the Prophet told him to choose four and release the rest. Another report in Imam Shafe`i’s Musnad (as also in Bukhari and Muslim) says that Nawfal b. Mu`awiyyah al-Dayli had five wives when he embraced Islam. The Prophet told him to retain four and divorce the fifth (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Majid quotes: “When we see thousands of miserable women who crowd the streets of Western towns during the night, we must surely feel that it does not lie in Western mouth to reproach Islam for its polygamy. It is better for a woman, happier for a woman, more respectable for a woman, to live in Mohammadan polygamy, united to one man only, with the legitimate child in her arms surrounded with respect than to be seduced, cast out in the streets - perhaps with an illegitimate child, outside the pale of law - unsheltered and uncared for to become a victim of any passer-by, night after night, rendered incapable of motherhood, despised of all” (Mrs. Annie Besant). A recent article on health says the following: “In Bombay (commercial hub of India) alone there are 100,000 sex workers. Half of them are already infected by the AIDS virus. I asked the women how many men they entertained each night. Three or four, they told me” (Peter Jaret: Viruses, National Geographic, July 1994: Au.). Sabuni adds: In 1948 the “Young Men’s Association” of Germany had counselled its members to marry more than one woman to solve the problem of excessive women as a result of the second world war. Finally, at the time of this writing, in New York alone it is estimated that there are a million women who do not hope to ever get married (Au.). Multiple Wives in the Bible: The first instance of polygamy/bigamy in the Bible was that of Lamech in Genesis 4:19: “Lamech married two women.” Several prominent men in the Old Testament were polygamists. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others all had multiple wives. In 2 Samuel 12:8, God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, said that if David’s wives and concubines were not enough, He would have given David even more. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And, since Jesus Christ constantly referred to the validity of the Law as in the Old Testament, it can be assumed with fair accuracy that he did not have any objection to polygamy. Mormons in fact, a Christian sect, believes in polygamy (Au.). 15. The statutory equal treatment required pertains to matters involving maintenance and provision of material and physical needs. The heart’s inclination is beyond control, and hence forgiven, so long as no injustice is committed, as the Qur’an itself has said (in verse 129 of this chapter),

    وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ [النساء : 129]

    “But you will never be able to do absolute justice to the women, even if you were to be eager.” Therefore, it is sufficient if one is not inclined altogether toward one to the neglect of the others, as said the Qur’an in the same verse cited above:

    فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ [النساء : 129]

    “But do not completely incline (toward one)” - Shafi`. 16. This is so because you do not have to give your slave girls dower (marriage itself is their dower because it promises them freedom: Au.), and she is entitled to half the rights as compared to a free woman (Thanwi). 17. Since the ta`ulu of the original has been explained as meaning “incline” by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Suddi and others, another rendition of the phrase could be: “in order that you might not incline (toward one of them to the neglect of others)” - Ibn Jarir. 18. The general interpretation is that in the pre-Islamic times the dower was taken away by the father or the trustee to the denial of the bride herself. Allah forbid this and ordered that the women (and not others) be given their dower (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Majid quotes: “Sidaq of a wife, ‘a dowry or nuptial gift’ is, in Islamic law, either a sum of money or other form of property to which the wife becomes entitled by marriage. ‘It is not a consideration proceeding from the husband for the contract of marriage, but it is an obligation imposed by the law on the husband as a mark of respect for the wife as is evident from the fact that the non-specification of dower at the time of marriage does not affect the validity of marriage.’ (Abdur Rahim) And, ... Sidaq in Islam is not to be confused with the price of the bride or the purchase-money so customary in the ancient world... ”Notwithstanding the prohibition in the Laws of Manu, marriage by purchase is found to this day even among the high castes, and is frequently practiced among the Sudras" (Westermark, Short History of Marriage, pp. 166-169).

    وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِنْ طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَرِيئًا (4)

    4|4| And hand over to the women their dower:18 a free gift.19 However, if they are pleased to offer you any of it, of their own accord, then you might consume it in good cheer.20

    19. The word nihlah has been variously interpreted. One meaning is in the translation. In addition, it has been explained as an “obligation” by authorities such as `A’isha, Qatadah, Ibn Jubayr, as well as “dower” by Ibn `Abbas (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Alusi writes: The term nihlah literally means a gift. The dower given to the wife cannot be said to be the price of pleasure that a man draws from sexual union with her, for she has an equal share of it, if not more. So nothing is due to her that way. In fact, she is, in addition, provided for by the husband. Therefore, sidaq can only be a gift, hence the use of the term nihlah, although our Shar` has made such gift-offering obligatory and a condition of marriage: and hence the other interpretations. Further, (as pointed out by other commentators), the words “Hand over to the women their dower” hold the direct implication that sidaq is the woman’s own property over which the parents have no right whatsoever, as against the general concept and practice in some parts of the Arab world today. Asad writes: “The expression nihlah signifies the giving of something willingly, of one’s own accord, without expecting a return for it (Zamakhshari). It is to be noted that the amount of the marriage-portion, or dower, which the bridegroom has to give to the bride has not been circumscribed by the Law: it depends entirely on the agreement of the two parties, and may consist of anything, even a mere token. According to several authentic Traditions recorded in most of the compilations, the Prophet made it clear that ”even an iron ring" may be enough if the bride is willing to accept it, or, short of that, even “the imparting of thy bride of a verse of the Qur’an.” That said, the Qur’an has not set an upper limit either. It says, in this same surah, verse 20:

    ﭗ ﭘ ﭙ ﭚ ﭛ ﭜ ﭝ

    “... even if you have given them a heap (of gold or property), do not take any of it back (at the time of separation)” - Au. 20. In view of the construction of the sentence, with the words tibna and nafsan occurring in it, many scholars have judged that if a woman demands back a gift she once made, (out of the dower), it has to be returned. In fact, `Umar wrote to his judges across the country: “Women give both out of love as well as out of fear. Therefore, any woman who gives and then wishes that what she gave be returned, then, let it be returned.” Accordingly, when a case was presented to Qadi Shurayh, of a woman who had given a gift and then was demanding it back, he judged that it be returned. The husband remonstrated: “Has not Allah said:

    فَإِنْ طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَرِيئًا [النساء

    : 4] ‘If they are pleased to offer any of it, of their own accord, then you might consume it in good cheer?’” Shurayh replied: “Had she been pleased to give it, she would not be demanding it back.” It is also reported of a man of the Abu Mu`it family that a woman gave back her husband a 1000 Dinars, which was her dower. After a month or so, the man divorced her. The woman went to Marwan b. al-Hakam, demanding back the sum. Marwan b. al-Hakam also ruled that the sum should be returned to her despite the man’s protest that she had given it to him of her own accord and in good cheer (Zamakhshari, Razi). Ibn al-`Arabi has ruled, however, (in the case of a wife returning her dower to the husband), that if he has consumed it and is left with nothing then she cannot demand it back (Qurtubi). As against the above, Alusi quotes Ibn Hubayrah to the effect that there is no difference of opinion among the scholars of the four schools of fiqh that what man and wife gift to each other are theirs and non-returnable. Mufti Shafi` presents a point: In many parts of the world, women are quite certain that they will not get their dower. They also realize that if they insist to be paid it might lead to various family problems. Therefore, they have no choice but to forgive. But such forgiving is null and void. The amount is due to them all the same. In fact, this tib ‘l-nafs is applicable to other areas of life also. For instance, if a man is pressurized into donating for a cause, his money is not lawful to the organization that collects it. It must be returned to him because of the missing tib ‘l-nafs.

    وَلَا تُؤْتُوا السُّفَهَاءَ أَمْوَالَكُمُ الَّتِي جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَامًا وَارْزُقُوهُمْ فِيهَا وَاكْسُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا (5)

    4|5| Do not hand over to the foolish21 property that Allah has made a means of subsistence for you.22 However, (meantime) provide (those of) them (in your care) and clothe them out of it and explain to them in kind words (the reasons for not handing over the property).23

    21. In the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Hasan, Suddi, Dahhak and others, both women (with no experience in handling finance) and immature orphans are covered by the term “foolish” here (Ibn Jarir).22. Wealth and property are of such importance in Islam that according to a hadith in Bukhari and Muslim:

    يَقُولُ مَنْ قُتِلَ دُونَ مَالِهِ فَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ

    “Whoever lost his life in the defence of his property is a martyr.” There is nothing wrong in being rich. A hadith, in Mishkat, says:

    لَا بَأْسَ بِالْغِنَى لِمَنْ اتَّقَى اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

    “There is no harm in wealth for him who fears Allah, the Exalted” (Shafi`). 23. The above translation is the preferred meaning. Ibn `Abbas has, however, treated the verse as not specifically addressed to the trustees of the orphans, rather a general piece of advice to the master of a house. It is saying: “Do not hand over your wealth - a means of your subsistence - to your wives and children who might spend it away freely. Rather, hold it with yourself and let yourself be the one to look after their daily needs. Otherwise, a situation will arise when you will have to seek financial help of them” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

    وَابْتَلُوا الْيَتَامَىٰ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغُوا النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْدًا فَادْفَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَأْكُلُوهَا إِسْرَافًا وَبِدَارًا أَنْ يَكْبَرُوا ۚ وَمَنْ كَانَ غَنِيًّا فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ ۖ وَمَنْ كَانَ فَقِيرًا فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِذَا دَفَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فَأَشْهِدُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ حَسِيبًا (6)

    4|6| And test the orphans well when they reach the age of marriage, and, only if you perceive in them sound judgment, deliver to them their property.24 But (meanwhile) consume it not wastefully and hastily in fear that they will grow up (and lay claim to their property). He (of the trustee) who is rich might desist (from service charges).25 However, he who is poor may take (of it) in a just and goodly manner.26 And then, when you deliver to them their property take witnesses over them, although, Allah suffices for a Reckoner.27

    24.It is not being said that the orphan be handed over his property the day he matures; rather, that it should be done only when he evinces soundness of mind and the capability to independently conduct his financial affairs. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi, Qatadah and others. (Ibn Jarir adds: Even if he might prove to be a corrupt person). As for puberty itself, with which he is qualified to be handed back his property (the condition of mental maturity met), it is either the age of fifteen or growth of the pubic hair. The Prophet applied that rule on the day of Uhud. He prevented those boys who were less than fifteen years of age from participating in the battle. There is no difference of opinion among the scholars over this. However, whether the growth of pubic hair is a sign of maturity is a contested point. The majority believe it is. Speaking about the Day when Sa`d b. Mu`adh had judged about the Jews of Banu Qurayzah that the adults be put to death and minors be taken slaves - `Atiyyah al-Qurazi says, in a hadith of Abu Da’ud, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi, who adjudged it hasan:

    عُرِضْنَا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَوْمَ قُرَيْظَةَ فَكَانَ مَنْ أَنْبَتَ قُتِلَ وَمَنْ لَمْ يُنْبِتْ خُلِّيَ سَبِيلُهُ فَكُنْتُ مِمَّنْ لَمْ يُنْبِتْ فَخُلِّيَ سَبِيلِي.

    “We were presented to the Prophet. He ordered that we be checked for our pubic growth. Those who had begun to grow them were put to death and the others spared. I was one of those who were spared.” Similarly, during the reign of `Umar when a boy falsely slandered a girl in his poetry, `Umar ordered the authorities to check if he had grown his pubic hair, in order to determine if he could be administered the Shari`ah punishment for the crime. When the report was negative, he spared him the punishment (Ibn Kathir). According to Abu Hanifah, someone who has achieved maturity might first be tried out with some money (or property) to handle at the age of seventeen. (That according to him is the age of maturity for boys: Qurtubi. Alusi says however that according to Abu Hanifah it is the completion of eighteen years of age for boys and seventeen for girls). Nonetheless, at that age his abilities might be checked. If he fails the test, he might not be handed over his property. However, he must be given the custody of his property whether or not he attains the ability to handle it, once he is twenty-five, after which no significant change is expected in the personality. But his students differed with him and have ruled that if a man does not show maturity, he might never be allowed to handle affairs of his property (Kashshaf). This is also the opinion of Imam Shafe`i (Razi). 25. Sha`bi has said that if the trustee is rich then the property of the orphan is like blood and carrion to him (Ibn Kathir). 26.According to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, Sha`bi, and Abu al-`Aliyyah, such taking from the property of the orphan should be treated as loans, payable whenever the trustee can afford. Sa`id ibn Jubayr has added that if he can never repay, let him seek forgiveness of the orphan before death. However, others such as, `A’isha, Ibn `Abbas, Abu al-`Aliyyah, Hasan, `Ata’, and Sha`bi have ruled that the permission here is for such things as are necessary for the trustee’s sustenance such as staples, fruits, vegetables, milk and other dietary articles: one might partake of them to the minimum of his needs, (as his charges for looking after the property), but he is not allowed to take anything else, say gold or silver from the property of the orphan except as loans. This is based on a hadith according to which the uncle of Thabit b. Rifa`ah went to the Prophet enquiring about what was lawful to him of the property of the orphan. The Prophet told him:

    كُلْ مِنْ مَالِ يَتِيمِكَ غَيْرَ مُسْرِفٍ وَلَا مُبَذِّرٍ وَلَا مُتَأَثِّلٍ مَالًا وَمِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ تَقِيَ مَالَكَ بماله

    “You may partake of the orphan’s wealth without wasting, without overspending, without saving (for yourself) and without sacrificing his wealth for yours.” Accordingly, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `Ata’ ibn abi Rabah and others have said that what someone in need partakes of the property of an orphan is not returnable, even if he subsequently becomes rich (Ibn Jarir). Imam Shafe`i is also of the opinion that whoever looks after the property of an orphan might draw suitably for himself from it, as his wages, the reimbursement of which is not obligatory. He is supported in this view by `Ata’, `Ikrimah, Ibrahim Nakha`i, `Atiyyah and Hasan al-Busri (Ibn Kathir). Their opinion has in support the hadith (sahih: S. Ibrahim) in Ahmad, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban in his “Sahih” and Ibn Marduwayh in his “Tafsir,” which says that,

    إنِّي فَقِيرٌ وَلَيْسَ لِي شَيْءٌ وَلِي يَتيمٌ ، فقال : كُلْ مِنْ مَالِ يَتِيمكَ عَيْرَ مُسْرِفٍ وَلا مُبَذِّرٍ وَلاَ مُتَأثِّل ومن غير أن تقي مالك

    A man enquired the Prophet: “I do not have any means of sustenance. But I have an orphan under my care.” He replied: “You might partake of the orphan’s property without wasting or squandering it, neither spending away the principal itself, nor saving your property at the cost of his.” Nonetheless, as a precaution, if one returns what he had charged, when he comes in possession of the means, it would be better for him’ as `Umar said, according to a report of trustworthy narrators:

    إني أنزلت نفسي من هذا المال بمنزلة والي اليتيم، أن استغنيت استعففت، وإن احتجت استقرضت، فإذا أيسرت قضيت.

    “I treat what I take from the property of the state on the same basis as I treat the property of an orphan. When I have my own means, I do not draw from it. If I am in dire need, I take from it as a loan. But if I have means, I return it” (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Ibn Jarir himself, who was a jurist, prefers the former opinion, i.e., what the trustee takes, even if forced to do so because of poverty, should be treated as loans and returned later (Au.). 27. Hence the Prophet’s advice to Abu Dharr:

    يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِنِّي أَرَاكَ ضَعِيفًا وَإِنِّي أُحِبُّ لَكَ مَا أُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِي لَا تَأَمَّرَنَّ عَلَى اثْنَيْنِ وَلَا تَوَلَّيَنَّ مَالَ يَتِيمٍ

    “Abu Dharr! I perceive weakness in you. Indeed, I approve for you what I approve for myself. (I advise you), not to accept to be an amir over two people and not to take charge of an orphan’s property” (Ibn Kathir). The hadith is in Muslim. (H. Ibrahim) “Allah suffices”: These words imply that although it is desirable to have witnesses on one’s side while the property is being handed over and accounts settled, it is not obligatory since “Allah suffices for a Reckoner” (Alusi, Shabbir).

    لِلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ ۚ نَصِيبًا مَفْرُوضًا (7)

    4|7| Men have a share in what the parents and the kinsmen leave.28 And (so) have women29 a share in what the parents and the kinsmen30 leave31 - out of whatever little or much it be32: a share determined (by Allah).

    28. These verses impart knowledge of the Islamic discipline known as “`Ilm ‘l-Fara‘id.” It is a corner stone of the religion of Islam and is considered to be one of the best and mother of all knowledge. Some scholars have said that it is one-third or even half of the knowledge of the Shari`ah. It will also be the first discipline to be lost by the Ummah. Ibn Mas`ud has said: “Why should he, who does not have knowledge of the Fara‘id, Divorce-rules, and Hajj, be not considered a bedouin?” (Qurtubi). Majid writes: “Says MacNaughten, the author of Principles and Precedents of Mohammedan Law in his Preliminary Remarks:- ‘In these provisions we find ample attention paid to the interest of all those whom nature places in the first rank of our affections and indeed it is difficult to conceive any system containing rules more strictly just and equitable.’ And Rumney, the annotator of Sirajiyya, a Muslim book of the law of inheritance, observes:- ‘The Mohammedan Law of Inheritance comprises beyond question the most refined and elaborate system of rules for the devolution of property that is known to the civilized world.’ (Mahmudullah, The Muslim Law of Inheritance, Preface, p. i, Alahabad 1934).” What is to be noted, as a miracle of the Qur’an, that the basis for the whole complicated structure pertaining to the Law of inheritance, which bogs down the mind of even the mathematically educated person of today, has been stated in just three verses: two here and one at the end of the chapter (Au.). 29. In inheritance, the central principle is “nearness” in relationship and not the “need” of the relatives. Hence an orphaned grandson will not get a share in the presence of the sons of the deceased. He is not as near to the grandfather as the sons are. If needy, he is taken care of by other means (Ma`arif). 30. Separate mention of women is for emphasis. Otherwise the verse could also have been worded as “Men and women have their share ...” (Ma`arif). 31. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd have said that among pre-Islamic Arabs only adult males inherited from a deceased, to the exclusion of females and non-adults. Allah (swt) revealed this verse. `Ikrimah has reported that an Ansari woman known as Umm Kuhhah came to the Prophet (saws) to complain that her husband had died, left children behind but she was being denied any share in the inheritance. Her cousin who was accompanying her rejoined:

    فقال عم ولدها: يا رسول الله، لا تركب فرسًا، ولا تحمل كلا ولا تنكى عدوًّا، يكسب عليها ولا تكتسب! فنزلت: "للرجال نصيب مما ترك الوالدان والأقربون وللنساء نصيب مما ترك الوالدان والأقربون مما قلَّ منه أو كثر نصيبًا مفروضًا". خرجه الحافظ ابن حجر في الإصابة في ترجمة أم كحة

    “O Apostle of Allah, does someone who does not ride a horse, does not carry fodder, cannot fight the enemy, has to be laboured for and cannot labour for herself (should she be given a share)!?” In response Allah revealed: “Men have a share in what the parents and ....until the end of the verse” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). This last report is in Ibn Marduwayh as well as Ahmad (Ibn Kathir). Majid adds: “Women and minor males were denied inheritance not only in the pagan Arabia but in the law of the Bible also, ‘women appear to have been universally and in every respect regarded minor so far as the rights of property went ... Only sons, not daughters, still less wives, can inherit’ (EB, cc. 2724, 2728).” 32. This implies that everything, however meagre of value, such as personal belongings, must be divided (unless common consent waives them off: Au.), and not kept back by someone undertaking the division (Ma`arif).

    وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ أُولُو الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينُ فَارْزُقُوهُمْ مِنْهُ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا (8)

    4|8| However, if there appear at the time of division (distant) relatives,33 orphans or (other) poor persons, then make provision for them out of it, and speak to them in a kindly manner.34

    33. If the first verse of this set barred the distant relatives from inheriting a deceased, by the second verse they were again brought in as deserving of at least a gift (Ma`arif). 34. Although there have been several explanations, the most plausible seems to be that even though in Allah’s own division of the inheritance, there is no legal share for the distantly related, the orphans or the poor, but if they happen to drop in at the time of division, in hope of receiving something as a gift, then do not turn them away disappointed. (Ibn `Abbas’ opinion in Bukhari is that the verse is not abrogated, - as some have expressed the opinion - rather it is muhkam: Qurtubi). Further, the verse seems to be saying: ‘While dealing with these people do not be rough, rather be kind and considerate.’ Some of the Salaf used to slaughter a goat and feed the visitors, while others have recommended that articles such as furniture or utensils that cannot be sold off might be gifted to them (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: The inheritors should not behave like the “People of the Orchard” whose story has been narrated (in ch. 68 verses 17-33) who resolved to gather the fruits early in the morning before a destitute would show up. Allah destroyed their fruit as punishment for withholding the right of the poor. Hence it has been said that although no share has been settled by Allah in favour of the distantly related, the orphan or the poor, if they happen to be present at the time of division they should be given something or the other (Ibn Kathir). Nevertheless, such bestowal has to be done out of the share of the adults, since nothing can be taken away from the share of the minor without his or her consent obtained after attainment of maturity alone (Thanwi’s parenthetical note expanded).

    وَلْيَخْشَ الَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُوا مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةً ضِعَافًا خَافُوا عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا (9)

    4|9| And let the people fear (destitution for others) as they would be worried on account of their own children, were they to leave them behind weak. Therefore, fear Allah and say appropriate words (to the one about to die).35

    35. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Suddi, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Dahhak and Mujahid have said that this verse is addressing those who are present around a dying man encouraging him to bequeath his wealth, or a part of it, to charitable works before his death. They are told not to do that and fear for the man’s children what they would fear for their own children, i.e.,, poverty (Ibn Jarir). Accordingly, when the Prophet visited Sa`d at his death-bed, Sa`d asked him if he could bequeath two-thirds of his wealth in view of his daughter being the sole heir. He said no. Sa`d asked whether he could bequeath one half. The Prophet again said no. When Sa`d asked if he could bequeath one third, the Prophet told him: “You could. But even one-third is a lot.” Then he added: “That you leave behind your dependents rich is better than leaving them poor stretching their hands before the people.” The hadith, as in Bukhari, is as follows:

    سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ جَاءَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَعُودُنِي وَأَنَا بِمَكَّةَ وَهُوَ يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يَمُوتَ بِالْأَرْضِ الَّتِي هَاجَرَ مِنْهَا قَالَ يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ ابْنَ عَفْرَاءَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أُوصِي بِمَالِي كُلِّهِ قَالَ لَا قُلْتُ فَالشَّطْرُ قَالَ لَا قُلْتُ الثُّلُثُ قَالَ فَالثُّلُثُ وَالثُّلُثُ كَثِيرٌ إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَدَعَ وَرَثَتَكَ أَغْنِيَاءَ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَدَعَهُمْ عَالَةً يَتَكَفَّفُونَ النَّاسَ فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ

    Therefore, Ibn `Abbas used to say that if the people would remain within one fourth while bequeathing, it would be better for them since the Prophet said: “Even one third is a lot.” The report is in Bukhari and Muslim (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). But some other scholars have said that it is the opposite that is meant by the verse. That is, a man might be making a will in favour of the poor but those present might discourage him saying, ‘leave it all to your children,’ thus harming the poor. Ibn `Atiyyah has said that the two opinions are reconcilable. Sometimes the situation demands this, sometimes that. One has to fear Allah, and offer the best advice in every situation (Qurtubi). The earlier opinion (of the first generation scholars) could be influenced by the fact that the earliest Muslims cared as much for the poor, the widow and other weak elements of the society, as for their own children, and were likely to even forego the needs of their own children and bequest the maximum the Shari`ah has allowed, in favour of others. But, with the passage of time children became dearer, to the neglect of the weaker elements, and hence the change in the opinion (Au.).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَىٰ ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا ۖ وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيرًا (10)

    4|10| Lo, those who devour property of the orphans wrongfully devour not but fire into their bellies.36 Soon they shall be roasting in a blazing Fire.

    36. Suddi has said that a man who wrongfully devoured the wealth of the orphans will rise from his grave in a condition that flames would be leaping out of his mouth, ears and eyes. Anyone who saw him would know that this man used to devour property of the orphans. Abu Sa`id al-Khudri (ra) has reported the Prophet as having seen (during his mi`raj) some people with lips as large as those of a camel, being pulled by those lips. They were fed with stones of fire that entered the mouth and came out from the rear. He asked Jibril about them. He was told that they were people who used to devour wealth of the orphans (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). The hadith is as follows:

    « انطلق بي إلى خلق من خلق الله كثير ، رجال كل رجل منهم له مشفران كمشفر البعير ، وهو موكل بهم رجال يفكون لحى أحدهم ، ثم يجاء بصخرة من نار فتقذف في في أحدهم حتى تخرج من أسفله ،وله خوار ، وصراخ، فقلت : يا جبريل من هؤلاء ؟ » قال : هؤلاء ( الذين يأكلون أموال اليتامى ظلما إنما يأكلون في بطونهم نارا وسيصلون سعيرا. (تفسير ابن ابي حاتم)

    A hadith in the Sahihayn narrated by Abu Hurayrah reports the Prophet as having said:

    « اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ ». قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُنَّ؟ قَالَ :« الشِّرْكُ بِاللَّهِ وَالسِّحْرُ وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِى حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ وَالتَّوَلِّى يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ وَقَذْفُ الْغَافِلاَتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ »

    “Avoid the seven destructive ones.” He was asked: “What are they?” He replied: “Attributing partners to Allah, magic, murder of a person that Allah has forbidden save by right, partaking of usury, devouring of the orphan’s wealth, running away from the battle-field on a day of heavy fighting and slandering chaste believing women” (Qurtubi in brief, Ibn Kathir).

    يُوصِيكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ ۚ فَإِنْ كُنَّ نِسَاءً فَوْقَ اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ ۖ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ وَاحِدَةً فَلَهَا النِّصْفُ ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِنْ كَانَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلِأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ ۚ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ ۗ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ لَا تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعًا ۚ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (11)

    4|11| Allah enjoins you concerning your children:37 to the male a portion equal to that of two females.38 But if they were to be only females above two,39 then for them two-thirds of what the person (male or female) leaves.40 But if she be the only (daughter, without any sons) then her share is a half.41 As for the parents, to each of them a sixth of what he leaves - if he has children.42 But if he has no children (nor brothers or sisters) and the parents alone are the sole heir, then his mother shall have a third (and the father two-thirds).43 (However), if he had brothers (or sisters) then to his mother a sixth:44 after (execution of) any bequest45 that he might have bequeathed, or debts (that he might have incurred).46 Your parents and your children: you know not which of them is of greater benefit to you.47 These are (portions) ordained by Allah. Verily Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    37. It is reported by Jabir, in the Sahihayn as well as all the other six canonical works, that

    عَنْ جَابِرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ عَادَنِي النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ فِي بَنِي سَلِمَةَ مَاشِيَيْنِ فَوَجَدَنِي النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا أَعْقِلُ شَيْئًا فَدَعَا بِمَاءٍ فَتَوَضَّأَ مِنْهُ ثُمَّ رَشَّ عَلَيَّ فَأَفَقْتُ فَقُلْتُ مَا تَأْمُرُنِي أَنْ أَصْنَعَ فِي مَالِي يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَنَزَلَتْ { يُوصِيكُمْ اللَّهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ } صحيح البخاري

    “The Prophet and Abu Bakr visited me on foot. I was unconscious. The Prophet asked for water, made ablution and sprinkled water on my face. When I came to myself I asked him: “What shall I do with my property, O Messenger of Allah?" In response these verses were revealed (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others). 38. Note how the importance of the female’s share has been highlighted by making them the basis of calculation: “To the male twice that of the female” (Ma`arif). That is, the male’s share cannot be determined without first assessing the share of the female (Au.). Majid writes: “... the inequality between the share of a son and that of a daughter in the law of Islam is more apparent than real. ‘The share of the daughter is determined not by any inferiority inherent in her but in view of her economic opportunities, and the place she occupies in the social structure of which she is a part and parcel... While the daughter, according to Mohammedan Law, is held to be full owner of property given to her both by the father and the husband at the time of her marriage; while, further, she absolutely owns her dower-money which may be prompt or deferred according to her own choice, and in lieu of which she can hold possession of the whole of her husband’s property till payment, the responsibility of maintaining her throughout her life is wholly thrown on the husband.’ (Dr. Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, pp. 236-237).” 39. Allah has stated the rules for a single female child and above two, but what when they are two? The answer is provided by the Sunnah (Ibn Jarir). Ahmad, Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah have various versions of the following hadith:

    عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ جَاءَتْ امْرَأَةُ سَعْدِ بْنِ الرَّبِيعِ بِابْنَتَيْهَا مِنْ سَعْدٍ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَتْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَاتَانِ ابْنَتَا سَعْدِ بْنِ الرَّبِيعِ قُتِلَ أَبُوهُمَا مَعَكَ يَوْمَ أُحُدٍ شَهِيدًا وَإِنَّ عَمَّهُمَا أَخَذَ مَالَهُمَا فَلَمْ يَدَعْ لَهُمَا مَالًا وَلَا تُنْكَحَانِ إِلَّا وَلَهُمَا مَالٌ قَالَ يَقْضِي اللَّهُ فِي ذَلِكَ فَنَزَلَتْ آيَةُ الْمِيرَاثِ فَبَعَثَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَى عَمِّهِمَا فَقَالَ أَعْطِ ابْنَتَيْ سَعْدٍ الثُّلُثَيْنِ وَأَعْطِ أُمَّهُمَا الثُّمُنَ وَمَا بَقِيَ فَهُوَ لَكَ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ

    “The wife of Sa`d ibn al-Rabi` came to the Prophet and said, ‘Messenger of Allah. These two are the daughters of Sa`d b. Rabi`. Their father fought with you at Uhud and was martyred there. Their uncle has taken away all that he left, sparing nothing for them. And I do not think they can get married unless they have some wealth.” The Prophet told her: “Allah will judge in this affair.” Accordingly, the verses concerning inheritance came down. The Prophet sent for their uncle and when he showed up he told him: “Hand over a third each to the two girls, an eighth to their mother and the rest is yours” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). 40. If they are two (following the Sunnah: Au.) or above two (following Qur’anic text here: Au.) then they will equally share two thirds of the property. The rest of the one third will be divided among other closely related persons (such as parents, husband or wife: Ma`arif). But if there are no such closely related people, then the rest will also be returned to them (Thanwi). 41. If the deceased left only one daughter, then she gets a half of the deceased person’s property and the other half goes to other closely related persons. In the absence of the closely related the other half is also returned to her (Thanwi). 42. If the deceased leaves behind children as well as parents, then each of the parents gets one sixth of the property. The rest is divided among the wife (or husband) and children. In some cases, some wealth might still be left. If so, it will go to the father (who becomes an `asabah) - Ma`arif. 43. If the deceased leaves behind no children, no wife (or husband), brothers or sisters, then the mother gets a third and the father the rest. However, if the deceased has left either a wife or a husband (but no children) then the wife or husband get their allotted share and the rest is divided among the parents: one-third to the mother, two-thirds to the father (Thanwi, Ma`arif). 44. If the deceased left no children but had brothers and sisters (whether from the same father and mother, or from the same father but different mothers), then the mother will get a sixth, and the father the rest (Thanwi), but that on the condition that the brothers and sisters are more than one in number (Ma`arif). That is, if the deceased had only one brother or sister then the mother gets one-third and the father the rest (Au.). Obviously, in this case, since the brothers and sisters of the deceased are under the care of their father, he gets a larger share of the wealth left, which again returns to his children with his own death (Au.). 45. If the deceased bequeaths more than one third of his wealth, it will not be acted upon. It will be accepted only for one-third (Ma`arif). 46. `Ali ibn abi Talib and Mujahid have said that although bequest has been given precedence over debt in order of mention, it is debt which will be paid off first and earlier to acting on the bequest. This was the practice of the Prophet. That is, if nothing is left after clearing the debts then there will be no acting on the bequest and no division among the heirs (Ibn Jarir). `Ali’s statement is in Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and is fairly reliable (Ibn Kathir). Sayyid writes: The importance of paying back people’s debts can be gauged from the following:

    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَهُ يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ قَامَ فِيهِمْ فَذَكَرَ لَهُمْ أَنَّ الْجِهَادَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْإِيمَانَ بِاللَّهِ أَفْضَلُ الْأَعْمَالِ فَقَامَ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قُتِلْتُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ تُكَفَّرُ عَنِّي خَطَايَايَ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَعَمْ إِنْ قُتِلْتَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَأَنْتَ صَابِرٌ مُحْتَسِبٌ مُقْبِلٌ غَيْرُ مُدْبِرٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَيْفَ قُلْتَ قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قُتِلْتُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَتُكَفَّرُ عَنِّي خَطَايَايَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَعَمْ وَأَنْتَ صَابِرٌ مُحْتَسِبٌ مُقْبِلٌ غَيْرُ مُدْبِرٍ إِلَّا الدَّيْنَ فَإِنَّ جِبْرِيلَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام قَالَ لِي ذَلِكَ. (مسلم)

    Abu Qatadah (ra) says a man came to the Prophet and asked, “Messenger of Allah, do you think if I am killed in the way of Allah, would all my sins be expiated?" He replied, “Yes, on the condition that you stay firm (in the battle-field), are hopeful of rewards, are advancing, and not retreating.” A little while later he asked: “What was it you asked?” The man repeated his question. The Prophet told him, “Yes, save for debts. Jibril came to me just now and added these words (to my previous answer).” The hadith is in Muslim, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i. Abu Qatadah reports another hadith according to which the Prophet arrived (to attend the funeral of a man) but said:

    ( صلوا على صاحبكم . فإن عليه دينا ) فقال أبو قتادة أنا أتكفل به . قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ( بالوفاء ؟ ) قال بالوفاء . فصلى عليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم

    “Pray over your brother. (I shall not, since) he has left debts behind him.” Qatadah says, I said, “I shall pay for them, Messenger of God.” the Prophet said: “Is that a firm promise?” I said, “That’s a firm promise.” At that, the Prophet Prayed over him.” 47. Ibn `Abbas has said that this ‘being of benefit’ will be in the Hereafter, when it is the nearest of kin who will intercede for another. But Mujahid and Suddi have said that ‘being of benefit’ is in this world itself. Ibn Zayd has said that both have been included (Ibn Jarir).

    وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَاجُكُمْ إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَلَكُمُ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ ۚ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِينَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ ۚ وَلَهُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌ فَلَهُنَّ الثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ ۚ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ تُوصُونَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ ۗ وَإِنْ كَانَ رَجُلٌ يُورَثُ كَلَالَةً أَوِ امْرَأَةٌ وَلَهُ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌ فَلِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ ۚ فَإِنْ كَانُوا أَكْثَرَ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ فِي الثُّلُثِ ۚ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصَىٰ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَارٍّ ۚ وَصِيَّةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَلِيمٌ (12)

    4|12| And for you is one-half of what your wives leave, if they have no children.48 But if they have children49 then for you is a fourth of what they leave:50 (but that only) after (the payment in accordance with) any bequest that she might have bequeathed, or debts. And for them (i.e., your wives) is a fourth of what you leave51 if you do not have children.52 But if you have children, then for them an eighth of what you leave,53 after (execution of) any bequest that you might have bequeathed, or debts. But if a man or woman who is to be inherited were to have no one in the direct line,54 but have a (half)55-brother or a sister then to each of them a sixth.56 But if they are more numerous than that, then they share among themselves one-third57 (equally) after (execution of) any bequest that he might have bequeathed, or debts without a harm (through his bequest).58 (This is) A commandment of Allah. Allah is All-knowing, All-clement.

    48. The husband will get a half of what the wife leaves, if she has no children. The other half will go to her parents, brothers and sisters (Ma`arif). 49. Whether such children are by the last husband, or a previous husband (Shabbir). 50. If the wife leaves behind children, whether by the present husband or from a previous one, he gets only a quarter and the rest goes to her parents and children (Ma`arif). 51. Majid observes: “In this point at least, the Qur’anic legislation is acknowledged to be ‘in advance of not only the greater number of barbarous societies’ but also ‘the Bible.’ For, it recognizes ‘the right of a widow to inherit from her husband... The Bible was less kind to the widow. It does not place her among her husband’s heirs. The Jewish widow was a charge on her children, or, if she had none, on her own family’ (Laetourneau, Evolution of Marriage, pp. 259-260).” 52. Sa`id b. Mansur, Hakim and Bayhaqi have reported Ibn Mas`ud as saying that `Umar was asked about a deceased who had left no children. He said his wife would get one fourth of the total, his mother one third of what was left, and the rest would go to his father (Shawkani). 53. Accordingly, the Prophet gave an eighth to Umm Kuhhah. From what remained he gave one half to the only son of the deceased, dividing the rest between the two daughters. He gave nothing to the cousins of the deceased who had originally taken away all of it forcing Umm Kuhhah to apply to the Prophet -Alusi, Ma`arif. 54. Kalalah: “Direct line” is the literal meaning of the word. It is reported that Abu Bakr said: “I interpret kalalah as a (male or female: Au.) who has no parents, no grandparents and no children. If I am right in my interpretation, it is from Allah, but if wrong, it is from Satan.” Later, when `Umar succeeded him he said, “I feel ashamed that I should oppose Abu Bakr.” So he also interpreted the word as someone with no parents and no children. That is also the interpretation of Ibn `Abbas, Sulaym b. `Abd, Hakam, Ibn Zayd and Qatadah (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). This is also the opinion of `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Zayd ibn Thabit, Sha`bi, Nakha`i, Hasan, Jabir, and Zayd ibn al-Hakam. It is also the opinion of the seven jurists of Madinah, of the four fuqaha’, and the great majority of the ancients and the moderns (Ibn Kathir). Notwithstanding that, there are several other minority opinions about who a kalalah is. But it might be noted that although there are several opinions about how a kalalah is to be defined, and that even ‘Umar was not sure who exactly a kalalah was; in other words, of the several possible applications, which one is to be called kalalah .. although that is true, but there is no difference in opinion that given a case, how inheritance should be divided. Many people who do not understand this point, imagine that the inheritance laws are unclear. They do not understand that it is only the term which is not clear as to whom it is applicable. In simpler ones, the term kalalah might be applicable to one or another of those mentioned, but how the wealth is to be divided, is a thing agreed. One might see “Fat-h al-Mulhim” of Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani for clarifications (Au.). 55. The following might be kept in mind as a general rule: So long as a father or a son of the deceased is alive, brothers or sisters, (real, consanguine or half), do not have any share in the inheritance. It is only in the absence of the father or son that the brothers and sisters of the deceased become eligible. Now, brothers and sisters are of three kinds: i) Real, (`ayni: common father and mother); ii) Consanguine (`allati: common father); and iii) Half, or Uterine (akhyafi: common mother). By common consensus this verse is speaking of the last type. And the rule is that so long as the `ayni or ‘allati brothers or sisters are alive the ‘akhyafi will get nothing. Again, while deciding a share, it is the `ayni who get preference, then come the `allati. The share of the full and consanguine brothers and sisters has been defined at the end of the surah (Shabbir). 56. If a person dies having left neither parents, grandparents nor children, but a brother or sister from the same mother, then whether it is one sister or one brother they will get a sixth. That is, if it is a brother he will get one sixth alone (and not one third). This is by consensus of the jurists of all times. Further, that the brother or sister has to be of the same mother is also by consensus of the scholars. The proof of this is in the verse about inheritance that will come at the end of the surah, where it is speaking of the share of the real and consanguine brothers and sisters (Ma`arif). Qurtubi has stated that there is no other case in the law of inheritance of the males and females getting equal share and not the usual 2:1. 57. If the brothers and sisters are more than one, then they will equally share in one third. The rest will go to the husband or wife. If they are absent then the rest will also be returned to the brothers and sisters. In this specific case also the usual rule of 2:1 will not be observed, rather the available amount will be divided equally among the males and the females (Thanwi). 58. Ibn `Abbas has said that it is a major sin to try and harm an inheritor through a will. It is said that when Masruq visited a man who was in his death bed and making a will, he told him: “Be just, and do not be misguided” (Ibn Jarir).

    تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (13)

    4|13| These are Allah’s bounds. Whoever obeys Allah and His Prophet, He shall admit him into gardens underneath which rivers flow, dwelling in it forever. That is the great success.

    وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ (14)

    4|14| (As against that) whoever disobeys Allah and His prophet, and transgresses His limits, He will usher him into a Fire in which he shall dwell forever and shall face a humiliating chastisement (there).59

    59. Appearing as these words do, do they imply that he who did not obey Allah and His Prophet in matters of division of inheritance stands condemned to everlasting punishment in Hell-fire? The answer is yes, if such disobedience is out of belief that Allah was not just in His division (Ibn Jarir). Legal Points: • 1. The law of inheritance is not applicable to Prophets. Abu Bakr has related a hadith to this effect. Hence, what the Prophet left of the orchard at Fadak was not divided among his heirs (Razi, Thanwi); which is a point of contention of the Shi`ah against the Sunnis (Au.). • 2. There are three kinds of heirs. The As-hab ‘l-Fara‘id, the `Asabat, and the Dhu ‘l-Arham. The As-hab ‘l-Fara‘id have the first right to inheritance. After they have received their share, the remaining is divided among the `Asabat. If there is no one from among the `Asabat, then the share is returned to the As-hab ‘l-Fara‘id. And, if both the As-hab ‘l-Fara‘id and `Asabat are absent, then the wealth is divided among the Dhu ‘l-Arham. Details should be seen in Fiqh books (Shabbir, Ma`arif). • 3. Sometimes a person can both be of the As-hab ‘l-Fara‘id as well as one of the `Asabat (and might receive two shares: Ma`arif). The As-hab ‘l- Fara‘id are five: i) Children (real brothers and sisters), ii) parents (father and mother), iii) husband, iv) wife, v) consanguine brothers and sisters (of common father) - Shabbir. • 4. Some fiqh books state the combined figure of 17 as the As-hab ‘al-Fara‘id and `Asabat, (since one can be both in certain situations), as follows: i) son, ii) son of son how low so ever, iii) father, iv) grandfather how high so ever, v) brother, vi) son of the brother, vii) uncle or brother of the father, viii) son of such an uncle, ix) husband, x) master who freed his slave, xi) daughter, xii) daughter of the son of the deceased, xiii) mother, xiv) grandmother from both sides, xv) sister: full, consanguine or uterine, xvi) wife, and xvii) freed slave girl. (Doi and Ahmad `Isa in Fiqh al-Muyassar) • 5. Dhu ‘l-Arham would include daughter’s children, sister’s children, aunts (from both sides), uncles from the mother’s side and others (Ma`arif). • 6. The law of inheritance will apply to all kinds of property, movable or immovable, cash, shares or any other, including personal belongings, to the last item, unless otherwise agreed to by common consent. • 7. Age is no bar to inheritance. • 8. Unborn child has also a share. Therefore it is desirable that the division be postponed until birth (Ma`arif). • 9. A divorced woman, but still in `iddah (waiting period) also deserves her share. But if a woman has claimed separation (khul`) then she will not get a share even if she is in `iddah (Ma`arif). Obviously, a separated husband has no right in the property of his former wife (Au.). • 10. An unbeliever cannot inherit a believer nor can a believer inherit an unbeliever. • 11. If a man leaves behind more than one wife, then the share stated by the Qur’an will be divided equally among them (Ma`arif). That is., if one would have got one third, then the two will get one sixth each (Au.). • 12. A murderer by intent will get no share from his victim. • 13. Apart from the very basic needs of a coffin, nothing more can be spent on the funeral etc., from the wealth of the deceased before division. The prohibition would also include the meal etc. offered to the condolence visitors. Any expending from the wealth of the deceased needs the approval of all the inheritors, except the non-adults from whose share nothing can be taken until they achieve maturity and give their consent. It is reported that a scholar visited a dying man. The man died even as he was there. As soon as he was dead, he put off the lamp and offered his own money for buying another. When asked, he explained that the lamp belonged to the deceased, and after his death to the heirs. It could not be used without their permission (Ma`arif). • 14. Mahar (dower) is also considered as debt if unpaid. It will have to be given away before execution of the will, and hence before any division. In fact, if the payment of dower consumes all that was left then no division will take place (Ma`arif). • 15. Bequest in favour of someone who is a legal heir is inadmissible and will be ignored. A hadith in Abu Da’ud explicitly states this. However, if all the adult inheritors agree to an increase of the share of anyone among themselves following a bequest, or otherwise, then that is allowable. But the share of the minors cannot be reduced (Ma`arif). • 16. All points stated by Alusi, Thanwi, Shabbir and Ma`arif reflect, unless mentioned otherwise, the Hanafiyy viewpoint. • 17. The notes herewith are only to afford the reader a sketchy idea of the Islamic law of inheritance. A simple chart below (one of 20 that could be presented) might offer some more help. For further information the reader might consult “Shari`ah the Islamic Law” by Abdur Rahman I. Doi, or Fiqh books. All the same, it is a fairly complicated subject, mastered, during the time of the Companions by four: `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and Zayd. Today also only a few scholars gain expertise in it. Therefore, no one should attempt to divide inheritance in the light of what is stated here. That should only be undertaken by an expert (Au.). Note that the chart below follows the Hanafiyy Law: Name of the heir Quantity Conditions under which the Whose share is to be of share particular share is due determined Husband ½ When the deceased leaves no children Wife ¼ - do – Husband ¼ When the deceased leaves children Wife 1/8 - do – Daughter ½ When the deceased leaves a single daughter and no son Daughters 2/3 Shared equally when the deceased leaves two or more Daughters but no son Father 1/6 When the deceased leaves children Mother 1/6 When the deceased leaves children Grandfather 1/6 When the deceased leaves children but no father Grandmother 1/6 When the deceased does not leave mother.

    وَاللَّاتِي يَأْتِينَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ فَاسْتَشْهِدُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةً مِنْكُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ شَهِدُوا فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ فِي الْبُيُوتِ حَتَّىٰ يَتَوَفَّاهُنَّ الْمَوْتُ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا (15)

    4|15| Such of your women60 as commit61 an indecency62 let four of you testify against them.63 If they do testify then detain them in the homes until death overtakes them64 or Allah appoints for them a way.65

    60. After Allah had demonstrated His kindness to women in the previous verses, He came down hard upon (the morally corrupt ones of) them in these verses so that they might not imagine that their waywardness will be tolerated (Razi, Qurtubi, Shawkani).

    61. A literal translation of ya’tina ‘l-fahishata should be: “... (Such of the women who) go to indecency;” and the point in the choice of words, says Razi, suggests that indecencies are not easily available to women. They have to go looking for them. 62. According to Abu Muslim al-Asfahani, the allusion is to lesbians (Razi). But there is no consensus of opinion over this issue (Au.). 63. (The four witnesses should) be males, adults (not children), free men (not slaves), of sound mind ... Muslims not infidels .. (whose testimony should be) ocular, not conjectural known in modern legal phraseology as ‘circumstantial.’ Every possible safeguard is taken against hasty and false accusation (Majid). Scholars have emphasized that for a testimony to be acceptable the witnesses must say that they saw the very act as clearly as a piston in a cylinder. Imam Abu Hanifah has added the condition that the husband cannot be one of the four witnesses (Qurtubi). Zuhri has said that it has been the practice since the time of the Prophet and his two successors that women’s testimony was not acceptable in cases involving a capital punishment (Manar). Shafi` adds: It is said that as against the usual two in all other matters requiring witnesses, four are required as a sure evidence for adultery. It is perhaps because adultery requires two persons, and the capital punishment is executed on two, hence the number of witnesses has been doubled. 64. The reference is to those women, married or otherwise, who commit adultery. At the time this verse was revealed the order was to detain them in their homes until death overtook them. Thanwi states the Hanafiyy view-point that the rule regarding detaining such women retained in their homes stands abrogated. 65. The way shown later was the capital punishment prescribed in verse (24: 2) which said:

    ﭛ ﭜ ﭝ ﭞ ﭟ ﭠ ﭡ ﭢﭣ

    “The fornicatress and the fornicator, give them a hundred lashes each,” which was for the unmarried (ghair muhsan) while it was stoning to death for the married (muhsan) - Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, `Ata’, Ibn Zayd and Dahhak (Ibn Jarir). Suddi has added that in case of adultery, the husband used to claim back his dower. But when punishment was prescribed by the Qur’an, he only got what was due to him by inheritance. `Ubadah b. Samit has reported:

    عَنْ عُبَادَةَ بْنِ الصَّامِتِ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ إِذَا نَزَلَ عَلَيْهِ الْوَحْيُ كَرَبَ لَهُ وَتَرَبَّدَ وَجْهُهُ وَإِذَا سُرِّيَ عَنْهُ قَالَ خُذُوا عَنِّي خُذُوا عَنِّي ثَلَاثَ مِرَارٍ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا الثَّيِّبُ بِالثَّيِّبِ وَالْبِكْرُ بِالْبِكْرِ الثَّيِّبُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَالرَّجْمُ وَالْبِكْرُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَنَفْيُ سَنَةٍ

    Whenever revelation descended on the Prophet he lowered his head, and so did his Companions. (On one occasion) he raised his head (after a revelation) and said: “Allah has shown a way for them: for the married with the married and the virgin with the virgin. As for the married, she should be given lashes and then stoned to death. As for the virgin she should be given lashes and then expelled” (Ibn Jarir). The hadith is in Musnad Ahmad and with some variations in Muslim and Abu Da’ud also (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Thus, this hadith explained that it is speaking of the unmarried (Au.). It is reported of `Umar (ra), in a hadith of Bukhari, that he said: “Surely, Allah commissioned the Prophet with the Truth, sending down a Book to him. There used to be verses in the revelation that ordered stoning to death. Accordingly, the Prophet stoned them to death and we do that after him. The commandment for stoning to death, (in the original revelation), was in the Book of Allah, until its recitation, (and not the commandment itself), was abrogated. It is applicable to the married men and women” (Shafi`). Details will follow in Surah al-Nur. However, Ibn Jarir adds, in practice the Prophet did not give the married lashes before stoning to death. (As in the case of Ma`iz Aslami and the Ghamidi woman: Ibn Kathir). As for expelling the criminal, it is for one year, with the differences in opinion whether a woman should be expelled or not (Qurtubi). According to a hadith in Nasa’i (Abwab Shurb al-Khamr) `Umar expelled a man for drinking wine. In his anger the man went and joined the Romans, adopting their faith. `Umar then said: “I shall not expel anyone after this” (Au.). 66. There is some difference in opinion whether the two alluded to are: “two unmarried persons” (Suddi), “two men” (Mujahid), or “the pair, man and woman” (`Ata’, `Ikrimah and Hasan al-Busri: Ibn Jarir). If it is “two men” then obviously the allusion is to sodomy, about which the Prophet has said:

    "مَنْ رأيتُمُوه يَعَمَلُ عَمَل قَوْمِ لُوطٍ فاقتلوا الفاعلَ والمفعول بِهِ" (ابوداؤد, ترمذي, ابن ماجه)

    “When you discover two people doing what the people of Lut used to do, kill them both: the active as well as the passive” (Ibn Kathir). A man sodomizing his wife is also strictly prohibited. A hadith says:

    لا يَنْظُرُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَى الرَّجُلِ يَأْتِي امْرَأَتَهُ فِي دُبُرِهَا

    “Allah will not look at a man who sodomized a woman” (Shafi`).

    وَاللَّذَانِ يَأْتِيَانِهَا مِنْكُمْ فَآذُوهُمَا ۖ فَإِنْ تَابَا وَأَصْلَحَا فَأَعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابًا رَحِيمًا (16)

    4|16| As for the two of you66 who commit it, punish them both.67 If they repent and make amends, then leave them alone.68 Surely, Allah is Oft-turning,69 Most Merciful.

    67. Accordingly, they used to be punished either with verbal insults, (Mujahid and Suddi) or physically assaulted (Ibn `Abbas), varying from person to person. However, according to the majority of the Salaf, this verse was also abrogated by the verse referred to above, i.e., 24: 2 (Ibn Jarir). Nonetheless, according to many scholars of the later generation the verse under discussion is not abrogated (by 24: 2), since both the punishments of a minor and major kind followed by the capital punishment of stoning to death can be prescribed together to the same defaulter (Shawkani). However, detaining in the house stands abrogated by consensus (Qurtubi). So far as combining the two punishments is concerned, we have the case of Shuraha al-Hamdaniyyah who was brought before `Ali. He ordered that she be given a hundred lashes and then stoned to death, saying: “I have lashed her following the Book of Allah and stoned her following the Sunnah of the Prophet.” This is the position adopted by Hasan al-Busri and others (Qurtubi). 68. Accordingly, the Prophet said in a hadith of the Sahihayn:

    إِذَا زَنَتْ أَمَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنَ زِنَاهَا فَلْيَجْلِدْهَا الْحَدَّ وَلَا يُثَرِّبْ عَلَيْهَا

    “If one of your slave girls fornicates, give her lashes; but subsequent to that do not taunt her” (Ibn Kathir). 69. That is, Allah is oft-turning to His slaves with what they desire to receive from Him, if they are oft-turning to Him with what He demands of their obedience (Ibn Jarir). Qurtubi remarks: As for the opinion that he who continued in sins after repentance, did not repent at all, well, it is the opinion of the Mu`tazilah. The Ahl al-Sunnah say that repetition does not nullify earlier repentance.

    إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (17)

    4|17| Surely Allah’s turning is toward those70 who commit evil in ignorance71 but repent soon after.72 It is toward such that Allah turns.73 Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    70. Majid writes: “Repentance has for its elements:- (i) enlightenment of the heart, (ii) detestation of the sin, (iii) a resolve to avoid it in future, (iv) an earnest crying for God’s forgiveness." Adds Shafi`: Compensation for the wrongful act is also an essential feature of repentance. If it is the missing of salah, or fasts, the repentant should repeat them. If the right of other human beings is involved, it should be restored, (such as, for instance, restoration of the money or article usurped: Au.) 71. Qatadah has said that the Companions were unanimous that every sin, whether intentional or unintentional, falls under jahalah of the original here; and hence, many have said that so long as a man continues in his sin, he is a jahil, until he gives it up (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Razi writes: Yusuf had said (12: 33):

    ﮖ ﮗ ﮘ ﮙ ﮚ

    “(Lest) I should incline toward them and thus become of the jahilin.” In the same chapter he said (verse 89): ﭾ ﭿ ﮀ ﮁ ﮂ ﮃ ﮄ ﮅ ﮆ ﮇ “Do you realize what you did with Yusuf and his brother while you were jahilun?” 72. According to Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak, `Ikrimah, Ibn Zayd and others, the time limit of min qaribin is up to the moment of death. Once a man sees the angels of death, the time is up. This is in view of the hadith of Abu Qulabah (in Musnad Ahmad: Ibn Kathir) who said:

    وعِزَّتِك لا أزَالُ أُغْوِيهم ما دامت أرْوَاحهُمْ في أجسادهم. فقال الله عز وجل: وعزتي وجلالي، لا أزال أغْفِرُ لهم ما اسْتَغْفَرُوني

    “(When Allah cursed Iblis) he said, ‘By Your Greatness! I shall keep deviating them so long as their soul is in their body.’ Allah replied, ‘By My Greatness! I shall not cease forgiving them so long as they keep seeking My forgiveness.” Another hadith (of Ibn `Umar in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah with the former declaring it hasan gharib: Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir) makes it all the more clear:

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ الْعَبْدِ مَا لَمْ يُغَرْغِرْ

    “Allah accepts the repentance of a slave until (he starts) gurgling (in the throat, near death)” - Ibn Jarir. It is also true of nations. After they have seen irrefutable signs, their belief does not avail them, as said Allah in (6:158):

    ﭠ ﭡ ﭢ ﭣ ﭤ ﭥ ﭦ ﭧ ﭨ ﭩ ﭪ ﭫ ﭬ ﭭ ﭮ ﭯ ﭰ ﭱ ﭲﭳ

    “The day when some of the signs of your Lord appear, the belief of a soul that had not believed earlier, or had not earned a good deed in its faith, will be of no avail to it” (Ibn Kathir). Thanwi remarks: There are two states before death. One in which a person feels - say in a sickness - that he might not recover, rather might die soon. This is known as the moment of ya‘s. Repentance at this stage, whether from sins, or from kufr itself, is acceptable. Another is that state in which the Hereafter begins to (in the words of Majid) unfold itself before him. This is termed as the moment of ba’s. At this stage repentance of no kind is acceptable. In other words nearness of death is no bar to acceptance of repentance. It is the observation of clear signs of death which makes it unacceptable (Razi). That said, says Rashid Rida in Manar, how many people have not been misled to believe that they would repent before death, but despite prolonged lives, death did not give them that opportunity. 73. The meaning of Allah turning to them is that He guides them to good deeds and accepts their turning to Him (when they repent) - Ibn Jarir.

    وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا (18)

    4|18| Repentance is not of those who commit evils (upon evils)74 until when death appears before one of them he cries out: ‘Now I repent,’ nor of those who die in the state of disbelief; for them We have prepared a painful chastisement.

    74. It is not necessary that those alone are the subjects of this verse who commit sins upon sins. Rather, if one commits a single sin, but does not repent, he is equally counted as one of those who insist on the sin (israr). As to the question about someone who did not repent his sins, or did so only in moments of ba’s, will he be forgiven in the Hereafter? The answer is that it will entirely depend upon Allah’s mercy (Thanwi).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَرِثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْهًا ۖ وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ ۚ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِنْ كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا (19)

    4|19| Believers, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will,75 nor should you hinder them (from re-marrying) in order to take away a part of what you (or your relatives) have given them,76 unless they commit a flagrant indecency;77 (otherwise) treat them fairly.78 For if you dislike (one of) them then it might be that you dislike a thing but Allah has placed a lot of good in it.79

    75. The kurhan of the original can also be understood as “forcibly.” Further, it is not the inheriting “from women” that is the subject of the verse, as a contemporary commentator has thought. Rather, it is inheriting “them” (Au.). In the days of Ignorance, (especially in Madinah), the nearest of kin used to get the deceased man’s wife as inheritance. He - a brother-in-law, a son, or a relative - claimed her as his, by simply throwing a piece of cloth over her head as soon as her husband died (Razi), declaring her his property. Thereafter he treated her as he wished, letting her marry a second time or detaining her for life, in order to inherit her wealth, or alternatively, she released herself by paying him some money. The case of Kubaysha bint Ma`mar, whose husband Abu Qays b. al-Aslat had died, and who was being claimed by her son, was brought to the notice of the Prophet. Allah revealed this verse: Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Dahhak, Ibn Zayd, Hasan al-Busri (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Shawkani). Ibn `Abbas’s opinion is in Bukhari, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i and others (Ibn Kathir). (The report of Kubaysha is in Nasa’i, Ibn abi Hatim and others: Shawkani; as well as in Ibn Marduwayh: Ibn Kathir). Majid notes: “Even in Greco-Roman civilization, the married woman at Athens ‘was part of the paternal patrimony,’ and ‘the dying husband could leave her by will to a friend, with his goods and by the same title’ (Letourneau, Evolution of Marriage, p. 261). ‘The widows ... were regarded as part of the estate, and as such passed ordinarily into the hands of their husbands’ heirs’ (Roberts, Social Laws of the Qoran, pp. 62-63) ... One verse of the Qur’an was sufficient, as by one stroke, to sweep aside all such barbaric customs - a reform of truly revolutionary nature.” 76. This part of the verse is addressing the Muslims. They are being told that they ought not to make the lives of their wives miserable in order to force them to relinquish a part of their dower or return the articles gifted to them, to free themselves. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Sa`id, Suddi, Dahhak and others (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). 77. That is, if a woman commits a grave indecency then it is permissible for the husband to claim a part or whole of the dower and release her (Ibn Jarir). A husband can resort to this despite the wife’s unwillingness and hence the addition of the word kurhan in the original (Qurtubi). As for the term fahisha, it has been variously understood. Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak, and `Ata’ have said that if a woman detests her husband, or disobeys him, he can claim back the dower. But Suddi and Hasan al-Busri have said that by fahisha the allusion is to adultery (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). In this connection we have a hadith of the Prophet which says:

    اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِى النِّسَاءِ فَإِنَّكُمْ أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانَةِ اللَّهِ وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ وَلَهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

    “Fear Allah with respect to women, for, you take them as a trust of Allah, making them lawful unto yourselves by a word of Allah. It is your right that they do not allow anyone to enter your house someone you do not approve of. (According to another version: ‘They do not disobey you in generally recognized affairs of importance: al-ma`ruf). If they do that then beat them - lightly. And it is their right upon you that you feed and clothe them in an equitable manner” (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Sirin has said that the allegation of adultery has to be well proved for the husband to seek khul` on that basis (Kashshaf). 78. The Prophet (saws) has said:

    عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي

    “The best of you are those who are best with their wives, and I’m the best of you in treating my womenfolk.” The Prophet himself used to treat his wives well. He even raced with `A’isha in the field, once losing to her and, in a re-try after a spell, winning. At times he and his wives gathered in someone’s house and shared a dinner together. Then they would depart and he would spend some time conversing with the wife he was to spend the night with before going to bed (Ibn Kathir). Also see note 3 of this surah. 79. The allusion is to personal reasons of dislike (and not moral) - Kashshaf. Accordingly, a well known scholar, Abu Muhammad ibn abi Zayd, had a wife who used to mistreat him awfully but he would not divorce her saying: “I am someone on whom Allah has showered His mercy in a variety of ways. Now it is possible that Allah is punishing me at her hand because of some of my sins. If that is so then I am afraid other forms of punishment will descend on me if I divorced her” (Qurtubi).

    وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنْطَارًا فَلَا تَأْخُذُوا مِنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا (20)

    4|20| Further, if you wish to take a wife in place of another and you have given one of them a heap (of wealth),80 do not take back any of it. Will you take it by way of false slander81 and manifest sin?82

    80. Thus the verse sets no upward limit to the amount of dower (Au.). The incident of `Umar is well known in this connection. He was once delivering a sermon on the dangers of high dower and recommending that the amount be limited to 400 Dirhams, when an old woman got up and told him: “Fear Allah `Umar. He has said: ‘Even if you have given them a heap (of wealth).’” `Umar retracted his words hastily, saying: “Everyone seems to know better than `Umar.” (According to other versions: “If not for this old woman, `Umar would have been destroyed”: au.) - Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir. Shawkani takes it from Suyuti who has said that the report is of good isnad. The Arabic version is as follows:

    وروي " أن عمر خطب ناهيا عن المغالاة في الصداق زيادة على أربعمائة فقالت امرأة من قريش أما سمعت الله تعالى يقول وآتيتم إحداهن قنطارا فقال عمر كل أحد أعلم وأفقه من عمر"

    81. Thanwi has pointed out that to demand from a woman monetary compensation for separation, is itself a slander. Even if she is innocent, people around would think that there must be something fishy for the husband to demand a sum for her release. 82. In pre-Islamic times when husbands wanted to get rid of a wife and at the same time make some money out of the affair, they falsely alleged that their wives had been unfaithful. So they sent them away on false charges and impounded their dower also (Razi in effect).

    وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَىٰ بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنْكُمْ مِيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا (21)

    4|21| How can you take it when each of you has been in privy with the other,83 and when they have taken from you a solemn compact?84

    83. Technically, if the pair have been alone in a room together for a while, then that is being in privy, whether they went any further or not. Abu Hanifah has said that with that full dower upon the man and the waiting period for the woman become obligatory, although other scholars have modified opinions (Qurtubi). It is said that the companionship of anyone for 20 days converts him to a relative. What about one’s spouse from whom nothing is held in secret? (Zamakhshari). 84. The solemn compact has been explained by Qatadah, Dahhak, Suddi and Muhammad b. Sirin as the conditions stated in verse (2: 229):

    فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ [البقرة : 229]

    “Honorable retention or release with kindness,” understood at the time of betrothal. But Mujahid, Muhammad b. Ka`b and Ibn Zayd have said that it is marriage itself which is the solemn compact (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). The promise made by a man that he will pay the dower is also a solemn pact made at the time of the marriage (Thanwi).

    وَلَا تَنْكِحُوا مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَمَقْتًا وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا (22)

    4|22| And marry not those of the women whom your fathers (or grandfathers) took in marriage,85 except for what happened in the past. That surely was an indecency, a hateful thing,86 and an evil way.87

    85. Ibn `Abbas has said that the pre-Islamic Arabs used to marry their fathers’ wives (though not real mothers: Au.) and keep in their marriage two real sisters at a time. Allah prohibited the practice by this verse. Ibn `Abbas has also added that by this dictum such a woman is also prohibited whom one’s father or son married, whether they went in or not (Ibn Jarir). The rule now is that if someone marries a wife of his father, he is to be killed and his wealth transferred to the public treasury, as says a report (in Ahmad) of Bara’ b. `Azib who says his uncle was sent by the Prophet (saws) to behead a man who had married his father’s wife, and to confiscate his wealth (Ibn Kathir). This sahih report is in Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi, Abu Da’ud and others (S. Ibrahim). The Arabic version is as follows:

    عَنِ الْبَرَاءِ قَالَ لَقِيتُ خَالِي وَمَعَهُ الرَّايَةُ فَقُلْتُ أَيْنَ تُرِيدُ قَالَ بَعَثَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَى رَجُلٍ تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأَةَ أَبِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَنْ أَضْرِبَ عُنُقَهُ أَوْ أَقْتُلَهُ وَآخُذَ مَالَه

    Imam Abu Hanifah has said that even that woman is prohibited to a son who ever had an affair with his father (Razi, Thanwi). 86. The word in the original is maqt. Literally it is used for a hateful thing. Marriage to the father’s wives in pre-Islamic times was also called marriage of maqt (Kashshaf). 87. Imam Razi says that there are three kinds of “the despicable:” first, declared so by reason, secondو declared so by Revelations and third, that which is treated so by the common people. The word “indecency” (fahisha) alludes to the first kind, the words “a hateful thing” (maqt) alludes to the second kind and the words “an evil way” (saa’a sabila) alludes to the third kind. Legal Points • 1. Only an Islamic state can prescribe the capital punishment of death. Individuals or communities cannot (Thanwi). • 2. Regarding the husband demanding the return of the dower from his adulteress wife, that was the rule in the beginning of Islam. The rule now (according to the Hanafiyyah: Au.) is that dower is due to the adulteress wife also (even if the crime is proved: Au.) - Thanwi. • 3. A husband can only claim back a part or whole of his dower if the wife is recalcitrant. However, if he disapproves her for some other reason, then he cannot impose such conditions for separation (Thanwi). 88. That is, forbidden in marriage. “... Marriage with them would be not only sinful but also illegal - null and void ab initio - creating in fact, as in law, no civil rights and obligations whatsoever (Majid).

    حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُمْ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُمْ بِهِنَّ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُمْ بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَنْ تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (23)

    4|23| Forbidden unto you88 are your mothers,89 daughters,90 sisters,91 paternal aunts,92 maternal aunts,93 brother’s daughters, sister’s daughters, foster mothers who gave you suck, foster sisters by the suck,94 your mothers in law,95 step daughters who are in your care96 - of those women with whom you have consummated the marriage,97 however, if you have not consummated the marriage, then there is no harm,98 - wives of those of your sons who are of your loins,99 and that you should bring together (in wedlock) two sisters,100 save for what is of the past. Surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-merciful.

    89. Also included are grand mothers and above, how so high, of all kinds, real, consanguine or uterine, both from the mother’s side as well as the father’s (Shawkani, Thanwi). 90. Also included are grand daughters and below how so low (Shawkani). As for a daughter born out of adultery, except for Imam Shafe`i, the rest of the three fuqaha’ are of the opinion that she is also as unlawful as a legal daughter is (Ibn Kathir). 91. Also included are sisters by the father or mother (Shawkani). 92. It is also unlawful - in view of a hadith reported by Ibn `Abbas - for a man to keep together in wedlock a woman and her aunt - maternal or paternal, real, consanguine or uterine (Qurtubi, Shawkani, Shafi`). 93. Such are four in total: father’s sisters, his brother’s wives, mother’s sisters and her brother’s wives (Shawkani). 94. “Whether it is their mothers who have suckled you or it is your mothers who have suckled them” (Majid). A hadith in the Sahihayn reports `A’isha (ra) as saying that the Prophet said:

    "يَحْرُم من الرضاعة ما يَحْرُم من النسب"

    “Fostering makes unlawful what descent would make unlawful” (Kashshaf, Ibn Kathir). That is, foster mother, grand mother, daughter, an aunt, and all others are as unlawful to the fostered person as his real mother, daughter and others stated herewith, except for two: 1. A man cannot marry his brother’s sister by descent (if the brother is by the same father but by another mother: Au.) but he can marry a brother’s sister by fosterage (if the brother is by the same foster father but by another mother: Au.), since, the barrier in case of descent is the father’s sexual intercourse with his mother. 2. He cannot marry his brother’s mother by descent (if the brother is by the same father but another mother: Au.), but he can marry a brother’s mother by fosterage (if the brother is by the same foster father but by another mother: Au.), since, in descent the barrier was his father’s sexual intercourse with his foster brother’s mother (Kashshaf). However, according to a hadith quoted by `A’isha in Muslim,

    لاتحرم المصة و المصتان

    “It is not one or two gulps (or sucks) that turn a woman into a foster mother.” It is five gulps (or sucks) that make a woman foster mother. The Prophet (saws) had ordered Sahlah bint Suhayl to give Salem five sucks in order that he could freely enter her house. Further, the great majority of the jurists are of the opinion that fostering is considered fostering proper, only before a child is 2 years or less of age; but after that no (Ibn Kathir). See Al-Baqarah verse 233 for more details (Au.). 95. Some women become permanently unlawful due to a marriage, such as, for example, a mother in law. But others are unlawful only so long as one is married to a woman, such as her sisters, aunts, nieces, etc. These become lawful with the death or divorce of the wife (Shabbir). 96. There are differences in opinion over the exact implication of the words: “in your care.” One opinion is that these words do not lay a condition, rather, have been added following the general practice, in vogue at that time, of taking step-daughters in one’s care after marrying her mother (accordingly, every step-daughter is prohibited regardless of whether she is in one’s care or not: Au.) - Razi. While it is not uncommon at all in the West for parents to have sex with their step sons or daughters, cases are reported of even real daughters been molested by their fathers. When a case was brought up before the law court in southern Italy, of a man who had been molesting his several legal daughters, the defence lawyer argued that it was a common practice in the social milieu of the accused, and hence not a crime. Recently an American Senator described to a hushed full House how her father sexually molested her in her youth (Au.). 97. Therefore, if a man marries a woman and divorces her before the marriage is consummated, it is lawful for him to marry her daughter. In other words, merely a marriage contract with a woman does not make her daughter unlawful. It is, according to some, consummation that makes her unlawful, while, according to others, it is privy in which the man uncovers the woman, even if intercourse does not take place, that affects it (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Imam Malik, Abu Hanifah, Awza`i and Al-Layth have said that even if the man touches a woman with lust, her daughter is prohibited to him. But other scholars have expressed slightly different opinions (Shawkani). 98. In contrast, there is difference of opinion among the Companions, over those mothers whose daughters have been wedded but consummation did not take place, whether they are equally unlawful. According to the great majority, the case is “unclear” and hence such alliances should be avoided (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). 99. Accordingly, adopted son’s wives are not prohibited (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). 100. Hence, if a person embraces Islam and has two sisters as his wives, he will be required to divorce one as the Prophet ordered a Companion to do. The hadith is in Tirmidhi, of hasan status, as also in Abu Da’ud (Ibn Kathir). Adds Shafi`: The fuqaha’ have laid down a formula viz., every such two women are unlawful to a man to keep together in wedlock, where, if one of them were to be a male, he would be prohibited from marrying the other.

    وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۖ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُمْ مَا وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ ۚ فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (24)

    4|24| Also (forbidden unto you are) women who are (already) married,101 save for what your right hands possess.102 (Such is) Allah’s legislation for you. However, lawful unto you are all (other categories) beyond those (mentioned herewith) - that you might aim with your wealth honest wedlock, and not debauchery. Therefore, such of them as you enjoy thereby, hand them over their marriage portion as a duty.103 And there is no sin upon you in agreeing together (with your spouses), after the dower (was settled).104 Surely Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    101. The term “muhsanah” signifies literally “a woman who is fortified [against unchastity]”, and carries three senses: (1) “a married woman”, (2) “a chaste woman”, and (3) “a free woman” (Asad). Occurring as it does, there have been several interpretations of the word. The majority opinion is that those Muslim women are meant who are already married to someone (Au.). Majid adds: “This repudiates extreme communist doctrine that, within the community, every woman may be the wife of every man, and any man could cohabit with any woman, as also the custom in many savage tribes of lending and exchanging wives. ‘The custom of lending wives is wellnigh universal among savages.’ (ERE, I, p. 125)”. The use of the word “savages” by the Encyclopaedia is ironic, for in many parts of the civilized world today, such practices are not as scarce as one would imagine (Au.). 102. Abu Sa`id al-Khudri has reported (in a hadith of Muslim, Abu Da’ud and Nasa’i: Ibn Kathir), that the Muslims took pagan women as prisoners in the battle of Awtas (Ghazwatu Hunayn: Au.). They were uncertain about those women being lawful to them. Allah revealed this verse. Thus sexual relationship with them was declared lawful on condition of completion of one menstrual cycle prior to intercourse (Ibn Jarir). 103. Ibn `Abbas, Ubayy b. Ka`b, Sa`id b. Jubayr and Suddi have, on the basis of this verse, argued about the validity of mut`ah marriage. But the rest of the Companions were of the opinion that mut`ah marriage, which was more than once made lawful and then declared unlawful during the life of the Prophet, is now invalid and unlawful. The consensus is based on a Qur’anic verse as well as several ahadith. The verse in question is (23: 5-6):

    وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ (5) إِلَّا عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ [المؤمنون : 5 ، 6]

    “Those who guard their chastity, save against their wives or what their right hands own, such indeed are free of blame.” One of the ahadith is in the Sahihayn which reports `Ali as saying that,

    عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَهَى عَنْ مُتْعَةِ النِّسَاءِ يَوْمَ خَيْبَرَ وَعَنْ أَكْلِ لُحُومِ الْحُمُرِ الْإِنْسِيَّةِ.

    “The Prophet forbade mut`ah marriage and meat of the domestic donkey on the day of Khyber campaign.” Muslim has another hadith which reports that on the day of the fall of Makkah the Prophet said:

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي قَدْ كُنْتُ أَذِنْتُ لَكُمْ فِي الِاسْتِمْتَاعِ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ حَرَّمَ ذَلِكَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَنْ كَانَ عِنْدَهُ مِنْهُنَّ شَيْءٌ فَلْيُخَلِّ سَبِيلَهُ وَلَا تَأْخُذُوا مِمَّا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْئًا

    “People. I used to allow you mut`ah marriage. But Allah has now made it unlawful until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, if there is anyone who has contracted such a marriage, let him terminate it. But do not take back whatever you have given them.” Muslim has another report according to which mut`ah was declared unlawful during the Farewell Hajj (Ibn Kathir). The Arabic text is as follows: ع

    َنْ الرَّبِيعِ بْنِ سَبْرَةَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَهَى يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ عَنْ مُتْعَةِ النِّسَاءِ.صحيح مسلم

    `Umar (ra) in fact is reported to have said:

    لاَ أُوتَى بِرَجُلٍ تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأَةً إِلَى أَجَلٍ إِلاَّ رَجَمْتُهُ

    “I shall not find a man contracting a mut`ah marriage but shall stone him to death.” (Kashshaf) About Ibn `Abbas himself, it is reported that a little before his death he withdrew his opinion about the validity of mut`ah marriage when he came to know of the abrogating commandment (Kashshaf, Shawkani). Muslim’s hadith shows that it was `Ali who convinced him of the abrogation (Shafi`). Shafi` comments: Indeed, there is a narration to this effect by no less a person than Ibn `Abbas himself in Tirmidhi. It goes like this: “Ibn `Abbas said,

    عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ إِنَّمَا كَانَتْ الْمُتْعَةُ فِي أَوَّلِ الْإِسْلَامِ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ يَقْدَمُ الْبَلْدَةَ لَيْسَ لَهُ بِهَا مَعْرِفَةٌ فَيَتَزَوَّجُ الْمَرْأَةَ بِقَدْرِ مَا يَرَى أَنَّهُ يُقِيمُ فَتَحْفَظُ لَهُ مَتَاعَهُ وَتُصْلِحُ لَهُ شَيْئَهُ حَتَّى إِذَا نَزَلَتْ الْآيَةُ إِلَّا عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ فَكُلُّ فَرْجٍ سِوَى هَذَيْنِ فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ

    Muta`ah was lawful in early days of Islam when a man came to a place where he knew no one and so he would marry a woman for the period of his stay so that she could look after his things and attend to some of his affairs, until the verse came down (23: 5-6): ”... Save with their spouses and what their right hands possess."’ Ibn `Abbas then added, “Therefore all kind of sex save with these two categories is forbidden.” Mufti Shafi` also writes: As the mut`ah marriage, in which one marries for a short while by paying a price and spelling out the term “mut`ah”, any temporary marriage is also unlawful, in which a period is specified (even if of several years: Au.) after which the pair would part company. Misyar marriage comes close to the above, and it is prohibited by consensus. In our own times, some Fuqaha’ allowed a certain kind of Misyar marriage on certain conditions, but they were widely criticized and so they withdrew the permission (Au.). 104. That is, there is no sin upon either of the two, husband and wife, if after marriage they agree upon either increase or decrease in the dower amount, or on deferring its payment, or the wife forgiving it altogether (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنْكُمْ طَوْلًا أَنْ يَنْكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ فَمِنْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ مِنْ فَتَيَاتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِكُمْ ۚ بَعْضُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ ۚ فَانْكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ وَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ مُحْصَنَاتٍ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحَاتٍ وَلَا مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أُحْصِنَّ فَإِنْ أَتَيْنَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ فَعَلَيْهِنَّ نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْصَنَاتِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ الْعَنَتَ مِنْكُمْ ۚ وَأَنْ تَصْبِرُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (25)

    4|25| Any of you who has not the means to marry believing free women, (may marry) those of the believing slave-girls105 that your right hands possess.106 Allah is aware of your faith, some of you are of the others. So marry them with the leave of their masters and hand them over their marriage portion honourably, (seeking them in), wedlock, neither open debauchery nor secret sexual promiscuity.107 Then, after the wedlock,108 if they commit an indecency (i.e., adultery) then prescribed for them, as punishment, is half of what is (stipulated) for free women.109 This is for those of you who fear (falling into) sin.110 But, were you to observe self-restraint, (and avoid marrying them) then, that would be better for you.111 Surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-merciful.

    105. Majid states: “A bondwoman at the time of her capture must be an unbeliever. ‘Though the creation of the status of slavery is a public right, once it has been brought about, it becomes transmitted into a private right in the nature of property. Hence though a Muslim cannot be made a slave, yet if an infidel becomes Muslim, he still remains a slave, for otherwise the proprietary rights of the master would be affected’” (Abdur Rahim). Mawdudi comments: Many misunderstandings seem to persist about the right to have sexual relations with one’s slave-girls. It is pertinent to call attention to the following regulations of Islam: (1) Islam does not permit soldiers of the Islamic army to have sexual relations with women they capture in war. Islamic Law requires that such women should first be handed over to the government which then has the right to decide what should be done with them. It may either set them free unconditionally, release them on payment of ransom, exchange them for Muslim prisoners of war held by the enemy or distribute them among the soldiers. A soldier may have sexual relations only with that woman who has been entrusted to him by the government. (2) Even then, he may not have sexual relations with her until at least one menstrual period has expired: this in order to establish that she is not already pregnant. (3) Only that person to whom a female captive has been entrusted has the right to have sexual relations with her. ... Moreover, once such a woman has given birth to a child she may not be sold to anyone, and on the death of her master she automatically becomes a free person. (4) If a master allows the woman to marry someone else he ceases to have the right to sexual relations with her but retains the right to have her serve him in other ways. (5) Although the Law has fixed the maximum number of wives at four, it has set no limit with regard to the slave-girls. The Law does not lay down a limit in order to encourage people to accumulate huge armies of slave-girls, and thereby turn their homes into dens of sexual enjoyment. Rather, the Law does not define the limit because the effects of war and the total number of female captives that would have to be disposed of after a certain war are unpredictable" (abridged). There are one or two other points that are lost sight of when discussions about slave-girls take place. One of them is the fact that it is not the aristocratic ladies who were taken captives in wars who shudder at the idea and have a repulsive feeling for a religion that allows it. The rules of war in those days were well known and respectable ladies stayed away from the battlefields, never participating in any activity of war. In fact, even the commoners of the female society stayed away. It was always the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor, the unsupported of a male, that agreed to accompany men to the battle fields. (This could be a reason why, perhaps, Islam disapproved of Muslims marrying slave-girls). In fact, most women who went into the battle-fields could already be slaves, to whom the prospect of a change of masters would not sound dreadful at all. In some cases it could even be welcome. The oppressed ones among them could even be trying to “fall” into enemy hands so they could get rid of their tyrannical masters. And, if the enemy lands happened to be richer, its people generally more affluent, and, additionally, more civilized, then surely slave-girls would be more than willing to fall into enemy hands. As for sexual relations with their masters, little difference it would make to them. Did they not have sexual relation with their past masters? Were they not sent by their masters to visiting friends for their gratification? Again, the fact should be kept in sight that the whole affair - of Muslim masters having sex with their slave-girls - has a human dimension to it. It is not possible that a man has prolonged sexual relations with a woman, exclusively his, and he does not find softness for her creeping in his heart. And, if the slave-girl happened to adjust herself quickly to the manners, etiquette and culture of her master, surely he would not find it easy to part company with her. If he sold her, it would be like giving away a piece of his heart. Thus, by allowing masters to have sexual relations with their slave-girls, prohibiting all others to have similar relations with her, Islam took the lowest of the low - the side-walk and slum dwellers of non Muslim societies - and integrated them into a far more superior society, where they found not only a permanent shelter, two square meals a day, satisfaction of their sexual urges, but also some respect and a little love. There was some good reason why Islam spread so fast in its early days (Au.). 106. That is, such a man might marry Muslim slave-girls owned by others, and not - as goes the unanimous opinion - his own slave-girls since if he marries one of them the two rights - of a wife and of a slave-girl - will overlap and clash with each other (Shawkani). However, if he does wish to marry his slave-girl, he should first free her and then marry her, if she would agree. The Prophet has encouraged that a man educate his slave-girl, free her and then marry her (Au.). Shabbir writes: If a man has a free woman in marriage, it is unlawful for him by consensus of opinion that he marries a slave-girl. Adds Shafi`: Slaves were technically only those in earlier times who were taken prisoners in the battle-fields. With the abandonment of jihad by the Ummah, there is no way a person can be made a slave now. Those children who are sold out by their parents (for economic reasons) do not become slaves (and the transaction is illegal). 107. The translation follows the explanation offered by Ibn `Abbas, Suddi, Mujahid, Qatadah and Dahhak who have explained (Tabari, Ibn Kathir) muhsinat as free, chaste women, musafihat as prostitutes and muttakhidhat akhdan as those who have secret boy friends (Au.). 108. There is some difference of opinion among the Salaf over the meaning of the term uhsinna: whether it means their acceptance of Islam, which happens to be the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud, Sha`bi and Suddi, (as well as of Ibn `Umar, Anas, Aswad b. Yezid, Zirr b. Hubaysh, Sa`id b. Jubayr, `Ata’, Ibrahim Nakha`i: Ibn Kathir), or, it is their being married which is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Hasan and Qatadah) - Ibn Jarir. As for an unmarried slave girl, the punishment of lashes for fornication is rescinded. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id b. Jubayr. She might be punished by the judges in ways other than lashes (Ibn Kathir). 109. Qurtubi writes: “This (halving of the punishment) is because punishments are proportionate to blessings conferred. The Prophet’s wives were, for instance, told (33: 30):

    ﯫ ﯬ ﯭ ﯮ ﯯ ﯰ ﯱ ﯲ ﯳ ﯴ ﯵﯶ ﯷ ﯸ ﯹ ﯺ ﯻ ﯼ

    “O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you comes with a clear indecency shall face a twofold punishment." That is, when blessing was increased, punishment was also increased. Following this rule, when blessings of slave-women were decreased, their punishment was also decreased." Majid states: “... (Since slave-women) do not have the same advantages of sound education, good upbringing, etc., as the respectable free women enjoy, (they) are therefore not subject to the same degree of responsibility. The corruptions of life under which a slave has to work and live makes it plain that, while purity is always hard to attain, slavery makes it far more difficult.” Abu Hurayrah and Zayd b. Khalid have reported that the Prophet was asked about an unmarried slave girl who commits fornication. He said:

    إِنْ زَنَتْ فَاجْلِدُوهَا ، ثُمَّ إِنْ زَنَتْ فَاجْلِدُوهَا ، ثُمَّ إِنْ زَنَتْ فَاجْلِدُوهَا » قَالَ : فَمَا أَدْرِى فِى الثَّالِثَةِ أَوْ فِى الرَّابِعَةِ :« فَبِيعُوهَا وَلَوْ بِضَفِيرٍ

    “Whip her. If she repeats, whip her again. If she repeats, whip her again. And if she repeats” - he said either the third or fourth time - “sell her away, even if it is for a piece of rope” (Ibn Jarir). The above hadith is in the Sahihayn (Ibn Kathir). As for what exactly is the punishment, the answer is, it is fifty lashes (since the punishment of stoning to death cannot be halved: Kashshaf). According to a report in Muslim, a slave-girl of the Prophet committed adultery. The Prophet ordered `Ali to whip her fifty times. He found her having post-pregnancy bleeding. He reported it to the Prophet who ordered that he wait until she recovers (Ibn Kathir). 110. The word used in the original is `anata which is employed for any harm, physical or spiritual, as said Allah in (3: 118):

    ﮊ ﮋ ﮌ

    “They desire that which will cause you harm” (Ibn Jarir). 111. It is reported of the Prophet by Abu Hurayrah that he said:

    الحرائر صلاح البيت والإماء هلاك البيت

    “Free women build the house while slave-women destroy it” (Kashshaf, Qurtubi). The above hadith has a narrator in the chain who allegedly lied (Au.). Thanwi remarks: There are several problems in marrying a slave-girl. One, the offspring of a slave-girl are also slaves which would mean enslaving one’s own offspring. Two, a slave-girl is owned by someone else. There might be a clash of interest between the master and the husband. Third, the master might sell her off anytime to someone else. And fourth, she cannot observe full hijab which would be irksome to the husband.

    يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (26)

    4|26| Allah desires to make clear to you and guide you along the paths of those who have gone before you, and to turn toward you (in mercy); Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَنْ تَمِيلُوا مَيْلًا عَظِيمًا (27)

    4|27| And Allah desires to turn toward you while those who follow their lust, desire that you swerve away wholly.

    يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُخَفِّفَ عَنْكُمْ ۚ وَخُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ ضَعِيفًا (28)

    4|28| And Allah desires to lighten you,112 for man has been created weak.113

    112. Ibn `Abbas is reported to have said that there are eight verses within this Surah which are better for this Ummah than everything upon which the sun rises or sets:

    1- يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ [النساء : 26]

    1) Allah desires to make things clear for you (verse 26).

    2 - وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ [النساء : 27]

    2) Allah desires to turn to you (verse 27).

    3 - يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُخَفِّفَ عَنْكُمْ [النساء : 28]

    3) Allah desires to lighten you (verse 28).

    4 - إِنْ تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ [النساء : 31]

    4) If you avoid major sins which you are being forbidden We shall expiate your sins (verse 31).

    5 - إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ [النساء : 40]

    5) Allah does not do wrong even by an atom (verse 40).

    6 - إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ [النساء : 48]

    6) Allah will not forgive that He be associated with, but will forgive whom He will, anything less than that (verse 48).

    7 - وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا [النساء : 110]

    7) Whoever wrongs or oppresses himself then seeks Allah’s forgiveness, will find Allah very forgiving, very kind (verse 110), and

    8 - مَا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ [النس

    ء:147] 8) What will Allah gain by punishing you? (verse 148)? - Kashshaf, Razi, Shawkani. 113. This weakness is especially apparent in matters involving women. Sa`id b. al-Musayyib has said: “Shaytan never gives up the hope of destroying a man with the help of women. I am past eighty, blind of one eye and weak of another (‘and incapable of sex’: Qurtubi), yet it is women that I fear most” (Kashshaf). The Connection When Allah had spoken of matters pertaining to a physical need, i.e., marriage, He followed it up with matters pertaining to material needs, i.e., wealth and how it is used (Razi).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْكُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا (29)

    4|29| Believers! Do not devour each other’s property wrongfully,114 save by way of trade between you115 by (mutual) consent.116 And do not kill one another.117 Surely Allah is Compassionate to you.

    114. `Ikrimah and Hasan Busri have said that when this verse was revealed some of the Companions refused to eat in each other’s house when invited, on grounds that it was the right of the poor, until Allah revealed another verse which cleared the way for them. It said (24: 61):

    ﮍ ﮎ ﮏ ﮐ ﮑ ﮒ ﮓ ﮔ ﮕ ﮖ ﮗ ﮘ ﮙ

    “(There is no sin) upon you that you eat from your own house, from the house of your fathers, or the house of your mothers ... until the end of the verse (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Majid adds: “Every believer’s property is his own. Islam totally rejects the communistic doctrine of the state ownership of all property.” 115. That is, not by way of gambling, usury, theft, false testimony and the like but by trade, making, if one can, a thousand out of a single Dirham (Suddi: Ibn Jarir). It is reported that Ibn `Abbas heard a man say to another, “I buy this piece of cloth from you now. But if I do not like it, I shall return it along with one Dirham.” Ibn `Abbas responded, “This is the wrongful devouring of property that Allah has alluded to when He said: “Believers. Do not devour each other’s property wrongfully” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Qatadah said: “We used to hear (from our elders) that an honest trader will be one of the seven in the shade of the `Arsh on the Day of Judgment” (Ibn Jarir). 116. What is meant by the word taradin is that the exchange of money or goods should be by free consent in trade, gifts, etc. (Mujahid: Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). In trade taradin is generally understood as having been achieved, once, after the deal is discussed, accepted, and the two, buyer and seller, have parted company. So long as they are in the same assembly, they have the right to withdraw from the deal. The deal is “done” once they part company. Accordingly, it is reported that once in the presence of `Ali (ra) a girl bought a Dirham worth of grapes, but, after having received them, returned them saying, “I do not need them, give me back my Dirham.” The trader refused. `Ali intervened and compelled him to return the Dirham to her (Ibn Jarir). In fact, there is a hadith to this effect. It says: “The two have the choice so long as they do not part company” (Ibn Jarir). A similar hadith is in Bukhari (Ibn Kathir). 117. Some scholars have understood this verse as saying: “Do not kill yourselves.” (That is, do not commit suicide). An incident is quoted in this connection:

    عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ قَالَ احْتَلَمْتُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ بَارِدَةٍ فِي غَزْوَةِ ذَاتِ السُّلَاسِلِ فَأَشْفَقْتُ إِنْ اغْتَسَلْتُ أَنْ أَهْلِكَ فَتَيَمَّمْتُ ثُمَّ صَلَّيْتُ بِأَصْحَابِي الصُّبْحَ فَذَكَرُوا ذَلِكَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا عَمْرُو صَلَّيْتَ بِأَصْحَابِكَ وَأَنْتَ جُنُبٌ فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ بِالَّذِي مَنَعَنِي مِنْ الِاغْتِسَالِ وَقُلْتُ إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ اللَّهَ يَقُولُ { وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا } فَضَحِكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَلَمْ يَقُلْ شَيْئًا .سنن ابي داؤد

    It is reported of `Amr b. al-`As that one night, when he was leading a group of people during the Dhat al-Sulasil campaign, he experienced a wet dream. It was a bitterly cold night. He was afraid that he would harm himself if he bathed. So he wiped himself with dust and led the people in the fajr Prayers. The next day he reported the matter to the Prophet. He asked, “`Amr, did you lead them in Prayers while you were in the state of major impurity?” `Amr replied, “Messenger of Allah, I was afraid I would kill myself in that cold night. Has not Allah said: ‘Do not kill yourselves?’” At that the Prophet smiled (and did not pursue the matter any further) - Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Alusi. The report is classified as authentic by Albani (S. Ibrahim). Accordingly, the commentators have quoted from the Prophet a hadith of the Sahihayn which says:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بِحَدِيدَةٍ فَحَدِيدَتُهُ فِي يَدِهِ يَتَوَجَّأُ بِهَا فِي بَطْنِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا وَمَنْ شَرِبَ سَمًّا فَقَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ فَهُوَ يَتَحَسَّاهُ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا وَمَنْ تَرَدَّى مِنْ جَبَلٍ فَقَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ فَهُوَ يَتَرَدَّى فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا. صحيح مسلم

    “Whoever killed himself with steel will have that steel in his hand piercing his stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, for ever and ever, abiding therein. He who drank poison and killed himself will be drinking it in the Fire of Hell, for ever and ever, abiding therein. Whoever threw himself from a cliff and died, will be falling (from a cliff) in the Fire of Hell, for ever and ever, abiding therein.” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ عُدْوَانًا وَظُلْمًا فَسَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِ نَارًا ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا (30)

    4|30| Whoever does that118 in transgression and injustice, him We shall soon admit into a (great) Fire. That is easy for Allah.

    118. To what is the allusion by the word “that?” Ibn Jarir says it refers to all that has been prohibited verse 19 onwards: “Believers, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will....”

    إِنْ تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُمْ مُدْخَلًا كَرِيمًا (31)

    4|31| If you abstain from the major (sins) that you are being forbidden,119 We will acquit you of your (minor) sins120 and allow you (into Paradise) a felicitous entry.

    119. It is reported that in Egypt some people asked `Abdullah ibn `Amr: “We find things ordered in the Qur’an but people not practicing them?! (`Abdullah did not have an answer), so they (along with `Abdullah) decided they would ask `Umar (and came down to Madinah). While in Madinah they were chanced upon by `Umar himself. He asked `Abdullah: “When did you come?" He gave him the answer. He asked: “Had you permission to come here?” He did not know how to answer that question. He said: “O Leader of the believers. Some people came to me in Egypt and wanted explanation for things ordered by the Qur’an but people not practicing them. So we came here to consult you.” He said: “Assemble your men.” He gathered his companions. `Umar picked up the least prominent of them and said: “Tell me, have you read the whole of the Qur’an?” He said: “Yes.” He asked him: “Did you let your inner self live by it?” The man said: “Had I said yes, surely `Umar would have cross-questioned me. So I said, no.” `Umar then asked: “Did you make your sight live by it? Did you live by it in your spoken word? Did you live by it in other affairs? and so on.” Then he went on to the next man until he reached the last and repeated his questions. Then he said to himself: “May your mother lose you `Umar? Do you believe you can make people live entirely by the Qur’an? Surely Allah had in His knowledge that there would be sins.” Then he recited: “If you avoid major (sins) that you are being forbidden, We will acquit you of your (minor) sins.” Then he asked: “Do the Madinans know what you have come here for?” They said, “No.” He said: “Had they known, surely I would have admonished them with you as an example” (Ibn Jarir). The report is sahih and its contents sound (Ibn Kathir). Major Sins `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has been widely reported as saying that the reference by “major sins” at this point is to verses from 1 to 30 of this Surah. However, others, such as `Ali, `Ubaydah ibn Numayr and Mujahid have said that the great (or major) sins are seven: Associating partners with Allah, devouring orphans’ property, consuming usury, slandering chaste women, running away from the battle-field, renouncing hijrah and committing murder. Yet, it is also reported of Ibn Mas`ud that the major sins are four: “Associating partners with Allah, to be unmindful of Allah’s makr, to despair of Allah’s mercy and, to lose hope of Allah’s clemency” (The report is trustworthy: Ibn Kathir). But Ibn `Abbas has said that major sins are all those that Allah has forbidden: close to seventy (according to another version ‘seven hundred:’ Shawkani); and the general rule that he applied is: it is every sin after which a threat of punishment was added, or disapproval expressed in strong terms. Mujahid, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Hasan and Dahhak are with him. The Prophet himself answered variously on various occasions when asked about major sins (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: A hadith that is in Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban and Hakim (who said it met with the authentication requirements of Bukhari and Muslim) reports Abu Hurayrah and Abu Sa`id as saying:

    خَطَبَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَوْمًا فَقَالَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ ثُمَّ أَكَبَّ فَأَكَبَّ كُلُّ رَجُلٍ مِنَّا يَبْكِي لَا نَدْرِي عَلَى مَاذَا حَلَفَ ثُمَّ رَفَعَ رَأْسَهُ فِي وَجْهِهِ الْبُشْرَى فَكَانَتْ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْنَا مِنْ حُمْرِ النَّعَمِ ثُمَّ قَالَ مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يُصَلِّي الصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسَ وَيَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ وَيُخْرِجُ الزَّكَاةَ وَيَجْتَنِبُ الْكَبَائِرَ السَّبْعَ إِلَّا فُتِّحَتْ لَهُ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ ادْخُلْ بِسَلَامٍ

    “One day the Prophet stood up for a sermon. He began by saying, ‘By Him in whose hands is my soul.’ He said that three times. Then he bent forward and we all bent forward weeping, not knowing what it was that he had sworn for. Then he raised his head and his face was bright. That face was dearer to us than red camels. He said, ‘There is no one who Prayed five times, fasted in Ramadan, paid the Zakah and abstained from the seven major ones but the gates of Paradise will be opened for him and he will be told, ‘Enter in peace.’” The Sahihayn have another hadith that has Abu Hurayrah reporting him:

    عن أبي هريرة؛ أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "اجْتَنِبُوا السبعَ المُوبِقَاتِ" قيل: يا رسول الله، وما هُنَّ؟ قال: "الشِّركُ بالله، وقَتْلُ النَّفْس التي حَرَّمَ الله إلا بالحق، والسِّحرُ، وأكْلُ الربا، وأكل مال اليتيم، والتَّوَلِّي يوم الزَّحْف، وقَذْفُ المحصنَات المؤمنات الغافلات" بخاري و مسلم

    ”Stay away from the seven destructive ones." It was asked: “What are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “To associate partners with Allah, killing of a person save by law, magic, partaking of usury, devouring the orphan’s property, running away from the battle-field and slandering chaste women.” Another hadith in Ibn Marduwayh has “misbehavior with the parents” in place of “magic.” The Sahihayn have another hadith which reports the Prophet as having said:

    قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: "ألا أنبئكم بأكبر الكبائر ؟ قلنا: بلى يا رسول الله. قال "الإشراك بالله، وعقوق الوالدين" وكان متكئاً، فجلس فقال "ألا وشهادة الزور، ألا وقول الزور" فمازال يكررها حتى قلنا: ليته سكت.

    “May I not tell you about the greatest of the great sins?” We said, “Why not, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “They are: associating partners with Allah, mistreating the parents, and ... he straightened up from the reclining position to say ... and false testimony.” He kept repeating the words until the narrator, Abu Bakr, says, “I wished he would stop.” Imam Ahmad has recorded `Abdullah ibn `Amr b. al-`As as including intoxicant drinks. Bukhari has another hadith which reports the Prophet as having said: إن أكبر الكبائر أن يسب الرجل والديه قالوا يا رسول الله وكيف يسب الرجل والديه قال يسب الرجل الرجل فيسب أباه فيسب أباه ويسب أمه فيسب أمه “The greatest of the major sins is to curse one’s parents.” He was asked: “How could a man curse his parents?” He replied: “A man curses another’s father. In retaliation the other man curses his father. He curses his mother and the other man curses his mother.” A sahih report in Ibn Abi Hatim comes from `Umar. He said that to combine two Prayers is one of the major sins. (That is, not to do a particular Prayer on time, intentionally, and then combine it with the following one: Au.). In one sahih report Ibn `Abbas has also reckoned harming someone by one’s will as one of the major sins. `Ali has included parting away from the community and breaking allegiance as also of major sins. Accordingly, there were many among the Companions such as Ibn `Abbas, who felt that major sins are not seven, rather, more than seventy. Dhahabi has also listed more than seventy in his book on this subject. Imam Malik b. Anas has even been reported as saying that denigrating the Companions is kufr. Finally, it might be noted that there is no major sin with repentance and a minor sin is major if repeatedly indulged in. And, before we end, we might quote that hadith of the Prophet which is in Abdul Razzaq and Tirmidhi, who grades it hasan sahih, in which he said:

    شَفَاعَتِى لأَهْلِ الْكَبَائِرِ مِنْ أُمَّتِى

    “My intercession will be for those of my Ummah who committed major sins.” The import of this hadith has the support of other sahih ahadith on this topic. Ibn Kathir’s quotation ends here. 120. Such acquitting however is conditional to performing the obligations of Islam, as says a hadith of Muslim:

    عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- كَانَ يَقُولُ: الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّرَاتٌ مَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الْكَبَائِرَ

    . “Five time Prayers, Friday to Friday, and Ramadan to Ramadan acquit one of what is between them provided the major sins are avoided” (Qurtubi). In fact, adds Thanwi, to neglect the obligations, such as, for example, not to Pray, is itself a major sin. And the opinion of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah with regard to major and minor sins is as follows: “An off-chance of punishment exists for minor sins (although threats have not been explicitly stated), and an off-chance of forgiveness exists for major sins (although punishment has been explicitly promised).” It might also be noted, as Ibn Hajr has pointed out, that although the ancients have divided sins into major and minor ones, they have not listed the minor ones. This is because no sin is minor in comparison to Allah’s greatness. His disobedience, however minor, is a great sin. Further, the fact of a sin being major or minor will depend on the sinner’s condition, his intention etc. Hence some have said - such as Abu Ishaq Al-Isfara’ini, Qadi Abu Bakr al-Baqilani and Imam al-Haramayn - that in reality there are no major or minor sins. They are major and minor only in comparison with each other. Otherwise, by itself, every sin is a major sin (Alusi, Shawkani). Nevertheless, most scholars recognize some sins as Major. Accordingly, Mufti Shafi` has added the note that while minor sins are acquitted by good deeds, major sins have to be repented for. In fact, someone who does not repent his major sins, is likely to be questioned for his minor sins also.

    وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا (32)

    4|32| Covet not that by which Allah has preferred some of you over the others.121 For men is a share from what they earn, and for women a share from what they earn. Ask Allah of His bounty.122 Verily, Allah is Aware of all things.123

    121. Qaffal has said that when Allah forbade the taking of life and property of the people wrongfully in the previous verses, He followed it up by showing the way in which it will become easy to live by the rule as follows: it is by not coveting what others have been given. It can also be said that while the previous verse forbids coveting other’s wealth or property physically, the following verses forbid the heart and soul to attempt it, so that both, the open and the concealed deeds, could be reformed (Razi, Alusi). Tamanni (coveting) in the Islamic sense is to wish that one be given what another has in his possession (in the sense of the ownership being transferred: Au.), such as, wealth, a house, a beautiful wife and so on. (In other words it is hasad: Alusi). Rather, one may pray to Allah in words: “O Lord, grant me what will be of benefit to me in both the worlds,” (Razi), or “Grant me the like of what another man has got” (Alusi). It is reported that Umm Salamah complained to the Prophet in words: “O Messenger of Allah, we do not take part in jihad to attain martyrdom, and get only half of the male’s share in inheritance.” In response, Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi). The report is in Ahmad (Ibn Kathir). The report is also in Tirmidhi, Hakim, Ibn Abi Hatim, Bayhaqi and others (Shawkani). Further, that hadith of Bukhari does not contradict this verse which reports the Prophet as having said:

    عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ مَسْعُودٍ قَال َقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا حَسَدَ إِلَّا فِي اثْنَتَيْنِ رَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ مَالًا فَسُلِّطَ عَلَى هَلَكَتِهِ فِي الْحَقِّ وَرَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْحِكْمَةَ فَهُوَ يَقْضِي بِهَا وَيُعَلِّمُهَا

    “Envy is not (allowed) save of two. One, of a man whom Allah gave wealth and he is bent upon destroying it for good purposes, and a man whom Allah gave wisdom so that he judges by it and teaches it.” In this hadith hasad (envy) has actually been used in the sense of ghibtah, which is to wish for what another has, without wishing that the other person be deprived of the thing (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Majid comments: (The allusion in this verse seems to be to women coveting equality with men). “That in the scheme of life the role of the male is different in many fundamentals from that of the female is recognized by the modern science of Biology and Psychology alike. ‘The desires and conduct of the two sexes are not similar, but are complementary and reciprocal. In courtship the male is active; his role is to court, to pursue, to possess, to control, to protect, to love. The role of the female is passive ... Consequent on this fundamental difference are certain others. For pursuit, greater ardor is necessary than for mere reception; and the courting activity of the male is throughout the animal kingdom, more ardent than that of the female; and this greater ardor is connected with certain other differences.’ (Mercier, Conduct and Disorders Biologically Considered, pp. 289-290). ‘It is generally true that the males are more active, energetic, eager, passionate, and variable; the female more passive, conservative, sluggish, and stable’ (Thompson and Geddes, Evolution and Sex, p. 289). ‘Man perhaps even down to the protein molecules of his tissue cells, is biologically different from women. From the very moment of sex formation in the embryo, the biological dusting of the sexes develops along entirely divergent paths ... We must recognize the unquestionable existence of the biological inequality of the sexes. It goes deeper and is of far greater import than it would appear to those not familiar with natural sciences’ (Nemilove, Biological Tragedy of Women, pp. 75-78).” A recent research conducted in the United States shows that while answering certain questions men used only one side of the brain, women used both the sides of their brain to answer the same set of questions, although the answers did not always vary (Au.). 122. It is reported of the Prophet that he said:

    سَلُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُسْأَلَ وَأَفْضَلُ الْعِبَادَةِ انْتِظَارُ الْفَرَجِ

    “Seek Allah’s bounty. He loves that He be asked. And, the best of devotions is to wait for an opening” (Ibn Jarir). The hadith is in Tirmidhi, (Qurtubi) and other books and is of good status (Ibn Kathir). Although Albani has classified it da`if, (no. 492) Shawkani has stated that one version is near to being trustworthy (Au.). 123. Therefore, following His complete knowledge of everything, He has bestowed upon people abilities and propensities, in different measures, in accordance with their needs (Alusi).

    وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِيَ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَآتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدًا (33)

    4|33| To everyone We have appointed heirs to that which the parents and kinsmen leave. As for those with whom you have sworn compact, give them their share.124 Verily Allah is witness over all things.

    124. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Hasan al-Busri and Qatadah have said that in pre-Islamic days some people who were not related to each other by blood struck a deal with each other that they would inherit each other. This verse initially approved of the practice, and instructed that they be given their share in accordance with their compact. However, the permission was later revoked by the verse (33: 6):

    وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَى بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ [الأحزاب : 6]

    “And those related by womb are closer to each other than others by the decree of Allah.” Therefore, inheritance is now only possible by way of kinship as confirmed by several ahadith (such as in Muslim: Ibn Kathir) that after Islam there is no inheritance by way of compact. Others have said that it refers to the “brotherhood” ties that the Prophet had instituted early in Madinah. In those days they inherited each other. This verse approved of the early practice, but later it was abrogated by verse 6 of chapter 33 quoted above (Ibn Jarir). This last statement is that of Ibn `Abbas and is in Bukhari. Nevertheless, it is still valid for other compacts that the people strike between themselves. They should keep them. In this sense the verse is not abrogated (Ibn Kathir).

    الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا (34)

    4|34| Men are the protectors and managers (of the affairs) of women,125 for that Allah has given some of them preference over the others126 and for that they expend (on them) of their wealth.127 So righteous (women) are devotedly obedient, guardians in the (husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard.128 As for those of whom you (strongly) fear recalcitrance,129 admonish them and (next), abandon them in their beds,130 and (if that measure fails) beat them.131 If thereupon they obey you,132 then do not seek any way against them.133 Verily, Allah is All-high, All-great.134

    125. “The expression qawwam is an intensive form of qa’im (”one who is responsible for" or “takes care of” a thing or a person). Thus, qama `ala ‘l-mar’ah signifies “he undertook the maintenance of the woman” or “he maintained her” (see Lane VIII, 2995). The grammatical form qawwam is more comprehensive than qa’im, and combines concepts of physical maintenance and protection as well as of moral responsibility” (Asad). Hasan, Qatadah, Suddi and Ibn Jurayj have reported that,

    عن قتادة قال، حدثنا الحسن: أنّ رجلا لطمَ امرأته، فأتت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فأراد أن يُقِصّها منه، فأنزل الله:"الرجالُ قوّامون على النساء بما فضل الله بعضهم على بعض وبما أنفقوا من أموالهم"، فدعاه النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فتلاها عليه، وقال: أردتُ أمرًا وأراد الله غيرَه. (ابن جرير)

    A man slapped his wife. (It was Sa`d b. Rabi`: Kashshaf, Razi, Ibn Kathir). She complained to the Prophet. He judged that she slap him back. After they had left this verse was revealed. The Prophet called him back, recited this verse to him and said: “I had desired something, but Allah desired something else” (Ibn Jarir). According to another version the Prophet said: “I desired something, but what Allah desired is better" (Qurtubi). “Hence,” Zuhri has ruled, “there is no retribution (qisas) between a man and his wife except if the man kills her in which case he will be killed in retaliation” (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: Accordingly, a woman cannot be the head of a state. The Prophet has said in a hadith of Bukhari:

    لَنْ يُفْلِحَ قَوْمٌ وَلَّوْا أَمْرَهُمْ امْرَأَةً

    “That nation will not prosper which is headed by a woman.” Majid notes: “Compare the attitude of the Bible toward woman:- ‘Unto the woman he said ... thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’ (Gr. 3: 16). ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, ... and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing’ (Eph. 5: 22-24).” 126. Men enjoy superiority over women in both aspects: mental as well as physical (Razi). 127. When Umm Salamah complained that men have been given preference over them in certain matters, Allah revealed this verse to tell them that it was true, but in return men have been given additional responsibilities by making them managers of their affairs and by making them expend on women. Thus equality was maintained (Razi). Alusi comments: The superiority of men over women is by virtue of two facts: first, by virtue of Allah’s grant (“for that Allah has given some of them preference over the others”), and second, by virtue of their own efforts (“for that they expend [on them] of their wealth”). Therefore, if a man cannot support his wife, separation would be ordered, except that, according to Abu Hanifah, respite will be allowed in view of verse 280 of al-Baqarah which says:

    ﯧ ﯨ ﯩ ﯪ ﯫ ﯬ ﯭﯮ ﯯ ﯰ ﯱ ﯲﯳ ﯴ ﯵ ﯶ

    “If he were to be in straitened circumstances then (allow him) respite until easy circumstances” (Qurtubi, Alusi). 128. Abu Hurayrah has reported the Prophet:

    خير النساء امرأة إذا نظرت إليها سرتك ، وإذا أمرتها أطاعتك ، وإذا غبت عنها حفظتك في نفسها ومالك.

    “The best of women is she who, when you look at her, pleases you, when you order her, she obeys, and, when you are out of sight, she guards herself and your property.” Then he recited this verse (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). There are varied opinions about the hadith: some scholars accepting, some others doubtful (Au.). It is also reported by Ahmad through `Abdul Rahman ibn `Awf that the Prophet said:

    عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا صَلَّتْ الْمَرْأَةُ خَمْسَهَا وَصَامَتْ شَهْرَهَا وَحَفِظَتْ فَرْجَهَا وَأَطَاعَتْ زَوْجَهَا قِيلَ لَهَا ادْخُلِي الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أَيِّ أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ شِئْتِ

    “If a woman Prays five times, fasts in Ramadan, guards her chastity and obeys her husband, she will be told to enter Paradise by the door of her choice” (Ibn Kathir). The hadith is also in Abu Da’ud and Tirmidhi (Ibn Ibrahim); it enjoys a Hasan status. 129. If a woman begins to answer back to her husband in a manner she did not earlier, or changes her attitudes toward him, then she has begun to evince the first “signs” of nushuz (Razi). Hammudah ‘Abd al-`Ati gives us some more details: “Nushuz is manifested by the wife’s aversion to her husband, hatred toward him, disinterest in his companionship ... Jurists differ over what exactly constitutes recalcitrance (nushuz). For example, some hold that a fit and healthy wife who denies here bed to her husband is refractory and thus loses her right to maintenance. Others are of the opinion that maintenance is not a function of sexual accessibility, but is the result of a marriage contract that confines her to her husband’s home. And, so long as she confines herself, and does not leave the home without his consent, she is obedient, and her right to maintenance stands valid” (Family Structure in Islam, p. 158). The fact, however, that cannot be lost sight of is that quite a few of the husband and wife quarrels result not only from the wife not giving her dues, but also from exorbitant demands made on her by the husband. Nushuz, therefore, has to be well-established before any corrective measures are resorted to. Further, disobedience has to be well understood. It does not involve day to day affairs, but major moral issues (Au.). The Prophet has said:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَعَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا أَحَدًا أَنْ يَسْجُدَ لِأَحَدٍ لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأَةَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوْجِهَا قالَ أَبُو عِيسَى حَدِيثُ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ.(الترمذي)

    “If I were to allow anyone to prostrate himself before another, I would order the woman to prostrate herself to her husband, in view of his great rights upon her.” Tirmidhi himself declared the above hadith Hasan (a kind of weak report) but a few other versions improve on its acceptability (Au.). In another hadith preserved by Bukhari he said:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا بَاتَتْ الْمَرْأَةُ مُهَاجِرَةً فِرَاشَ زَوْجِهَا لَعَنَتْهَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ حَتَّى تَرْجِعَ

    “If a a woman abandons her husbands bed, angels curse her until the morning until she returns” (Ibn Kathir). Another report adds the words: “Until she goes back to him and places her hand into his” (Qurtubi). 130. Ibn `Abbas and some others have said that the meaning of “abandoning them in their beds” is to abandon sex with her, even if the two sleep together. However, Suddi, Dahhak, and even Ibn `Abbas, (according to another narration), have said that he might have sex with her, but not talk to her and sleep with his back to her (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). The Prophet was asked by some people as to how should they deal with their women. He replied:

    ائْتِ حَرْثَكَ أَنَّى شِئْتَ وَأَطْعِمْهَا إِذَا طَعِمْتَ وَاكْسُهَا إِذَا اكْتَسَيْتَ وَلَا تُقَبِّحْ الْوَجْهَ وَلَا تَضْرِبْ.

    “Go into your tilth the way it pleases you. Feed her when you feed yourself, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not find fault in her face, and do not hit them.” The hadith was declared Sahih by Albani. Sayyid states: “The bed is a site of attraction and seduction, where, the recalcitrant wife rises to the peak of her power. Therefore, if the husband can overcome his urges against the temptation, then, the rebellious woman would have lost her most effective tool by which she overpowers him, and would be - expectedly - more willing thereafter to make peace with the defiant person ... in the face of this strong will power demonstrated in the most difficult place and situation ... except that there are rules for this kind of measure also, i.e., the measure of abandoning in the beds. Such abandoning should not be an open one, nor in any other place save in the privacy of the two, husband and wife. It should not be before the children which will give rise to evil and corruption among them also, nor should it be before strangers, which will be a cause of disgrace to the woman, stirring her emotions and strengthening her recalcitrance. The aim is to cure recalcitrance and not to humiliate the woman or spoil the children.” 131. The Prophet (saws) is reported to have said that such beating should be light and the face should be avoided. According to `Ata’ and Hajjaj, the “light beating” spoken of by the Prophet is one that will leave no mark. Ibn `Abbas has said: “Beat her up lightly. Do not go about breaking her bones. If she reforms herself, let her go. If she does not, you can claim back your dower (and part company with her)” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). `Ata’ says he asked Ibn `Abbas about what constitutes light beating. He replied: “For example, with a miswak (tooth brush)” - Ibn Jarir. Abu Da’ud and Ibn Majah have reported that when the Prophet ordered:

    عَنْ إِيَاسِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِى ذُبَابٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « لاَ تَضْرِبُوا إِمَاءَ اللَّهِ ». فَجَاءَ عُمَرُ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَقَالَ ذَئِرْنَ النِّسَاءُ عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِنَّ. فَرَخَّصَ فِى ضَرْبِهِنَّ فَأَطَافَ بِآلِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- نِسَاءٌ كَثِيرٌ يَشْكُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ فَقَالَ النَّبِىُّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- لَقَدْ طَافَ بِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ نِسَاءٌ كَثِيرٌ يَشْكُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ لَيْسَ أُولَئِكَ بِخِيَارِكُمْ

    “Do not beat Allah’s slaves,” `Umar came to him and said, “Women have begun to take advantage.’ Upon this the Prophet allowed them to beat them. But then women began coming in to the Prophet’s wives with reports of brutality. The Prophet said: “My wives have begun to receive complaints of wife-beating. Surely these men are not the best of you” (Ibn Kathir). Substantiating the above hadith, Imam Shafe`i has ruled that although beating (one’s recalcitrant wife) is mabah (permissible), not doing so is preferable (Razi). Again, in case of a wife’s rebellious attitude, the steps must be followed in the same sequence, viz., admonition, abandoning them in their beds and finally beating, not resorting to the last, first – all in situation of moral failures or completely abusive behaviour, not when they are in their periods (when extra hormones are released and they are irritative, but in normal circumstances (Au.). (Some of those reasons that give the husband the right to beat his wife can be inferred from ahadith. One is in Muslim. It states:

    عن جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ .... فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ فَإِنَّكُمْ أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانِ اللَّهِ وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللَّهِ وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذَلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ

    “Fear your Lord in matters of your women. It is by Allah’s trust that you have taken them and made them lawful unto yourself by Allah’s word. It is your right that they should not allow anyone that you disapprove of to enter your home. If they do that, then beat them up, lightly.” There are some reports which say that one may beat the women if they “disobey in the generally recognized rights (ma`ruf): a light beating.” For instance, the following:

    ولا يعصينكم في معروف فإن فعلن ذلك فليس لكم عليهن سبيل ولهن رزقهن وكسوتهن بالمعروف فإن ضربتم فاضربوا ضرباً غير مبرح

    But ahadith in such words (i.e., disobey in the generally recognized rights) are weak. Finally, it will all depend on what kind of woman it is, since, for a cultured woman even a mild reproach is enough, which will not do for a coarse woman (Qurtubi). Alusi comments: It is said that four things give the husband the right to beat his wife. First, her refusal to adopt a pleasing look, if the husband insists on it, second, her refusal to come to the bed when he demands, third, her refusal to Pray (according to another version, wash herself), and fourth, her sauntering outside of the house without a good reason. The above, however, is Alusi’s personal opinion, and reflects the culture of his times (Au.). It is also agreed that a rebellious woman loses her right to maintenance (Qurtubi); and that one might not have intercourse with a wife the day he beats her. The Sahihayn have a hadith which ends in words:

    لَا يَجْلِدُ أَحَدُكُمْ امْرَأَتَهُ جَلْدَ الْعَبْدِ ثُمَّ يُجَامِعُهَا فِي آخِرِ الْيَوْمِ

    “Let not one of you whip his wife the way he would whip his slave and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day.” The voracious reader Majid adds some interesting notes that might be referred to in the original. Here are a few excerpts. “In certain stages of society this beating is even sought and keenly desired. ... ‘The spread of flagellation-mania among people of every rank and age in English society affords further evidence that it was a specific national quality and not a passion limited to a small circle of sensualists and the like’ (Bloch, Sexual Life in England, p. 322). Nietzsche’s saying is well known:- ”When you go to a woman forget not your whip." “In Slavic countries beating the woman is a part of man’s regular love procedure.” “The peasant women in some parts of Hungary do not think they are loved by their husbands until they have received the first box on their ear; among the Italian community a wife if not beaten by her husband regards him as a fool’ (Havelock Ellis, quoted in ERE. VIII, p. 156). Further, it is contended by Freud and his disciples that masochism is part and parcel of feminine nature. ‘Helene Dentach has elaborated Freud’s assumption and generalized it in calling masochism the elemental power in feminine mental life. She contends that what woman ultimately wants in intercourse is to be raped and violated, what she wants in mental life is to be humiliated; menstruation is significant to woman because it feeds masochistic fantasies; childbirth represents the climax of masochistic satisfaction’ (Horney, New Ways in Psychoanalysis, p. 110).” With reference to the above, this writer would like to add the following. Although it might be true that women in general respect brute force, some of them unwilling to correct their ways without experiencing some harsh measures from their husbands, and, it could also be true that full sexual satisfaction of a minority of them could lie in being treated violently, the following basic points must not be lost sight of. Firstly, examples that are normally cited, of physical assaults on women, in and out of psychoanalysis literature, are taken from non-Muslim peoples. Secondly, they come from wild races, if not savages: those who get drunk on every occasion, behave bestially, speak foul, quarrel with their drinking mates, and, back home, beat their wives. Thirdly, centuries of practices might lend justification to the practices of wife-beating; but such justification holds good for those societies alone, where they are prevalent, and not for others, even if the others happen to be of the same faith, share the same culture or are of the same racial stock. Fourthly, such prolonged practices do affect the psychology of the victims, in this case the women, who might quite keenly look forward to the occasion of violence, and feel something amiss if not given a sound thrashing now and then. This phenomenon lingers in the West even now, where some women prefer to be whipped before sexual intercourse. Extreme cases of women hysterically demanding harder and harder strikes during those sessions have been reported. Yet, and despite all that, it cannot be said that the demand for cruel treatment or gratification in suffering pain, is in the nature of women. As for Sigmund Freud, it is undeniable that from the Islamic point of view he was one of the most pervert scholars of the twentieth century. His pervert thinking apart, the people that he observed and whose behavior he analyzed, were sick and abnormal. The theories that he developed cannot be applied to the healthy without grave error. Hundreds of shelters for the “battered wives” set up today by the state in Germany, housing tens of thousands of women who cannot put up with the physical abuse they are subjected to by their husbands, are perhaps one of the several gifts of the philosopher from his grave. The examples, practices, theories, and philosophies, therefore, that are quoted in justification of wife-beating, or for masochism, are neither relevant to Muslims, nor acceptable. Islam has curbed certain violent tendencies both in the active male as well as the passive female, by self-discipline and a few ascetic practices (such as low diet, short sleep and others), or has sanctioned an outlet to them by way of jihad and its rigors. On the social level, Islam is nothing if it will not hone down a brute into a civilized person with aristocratic leniency. Once Muslim, the same Germans would certainly evince very different social attitudes. Therefore, our last words on the subject remain those of the Prophet who said, censuring men who beat their wives, “Those are not the best of your men” (Au.). 132. Thawri has said that if she responds to the call to the bed, she has obeyed, even if she hates her husband. Sufyan has added: “If they obey you that is enough. Do not seek to be loved also, because that is something beyond their power (Ibn Jarir). Yusuf Ali sums up: “In case of family jars four steps are mentioned, to be taken in that order: (1) perhaps verbal advice or admonition may be sufficient; (2) if not, sexual relations may be suspended; (3) if this is not sufficient, some light physical correction may be administered: but Imam Shafe`i considers this inadvisable, though permissible, and all authorities are unanimous in deprecating any sort of cruelty, even of the nagging kind, as mentioned in the next clause; (4) if all this fails, a family council is recommended.” Sayyid writes: “With regard to what has been ordained as the corrective measures, they are from none else but Him who has created and who knows His creation better than anyone else. Therefore, every argument after the words of the All-knowing is rebellion against the choice of the Creator. It amounts to refusal to submit, and leads to an opening that is an exit from the domain of faith into the domain of disbelief.” 133. That is, do not find fault with her (Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah: Ibn Jarir). Yusuf Ali states a point: “Temper, nagging, sarcasm, speaking at each other in other people’s presence, reverting to past which should be forgiven and forgotten, - all this is forbidden. And the reason given is characteristic of Islam. You must live all your life as in the presence of Allah (swt), Who is high above us, but Who watches over us. How petty and contemptible will our little squabbles appear in His presense!” 134. That is, if you have an upper hand over women, do not take undue advantage of it. After all, Allah has the upper hand over you, yet He does not overload you, forgives you your sins, and does not expose your fault to the people (Razi).

    وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا (35)

    4|35| And if you fear a breach between the two, then send forth an arbiter from his family and an arbiter from her family.135 If the two desire to set things right, Allah will cause their reconciliation. Verily Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware.

    135. The two will have the power to bind or release. It is said that `Ali appointed two arbiters and told them that the remaining together of the disputants or splitting them up depended on their judgment. Upon this the woman said she was prepared to accept what they decided. But the man said he would accept their decision only if they judged in favor of the two remaining together, but if they advised that they be separated, he would not accept the decision. `Ali refused the man’s condition and said he will have to accept their decision either way, just as the woman had accepted. (Qurtubi says this is a sahih report. But he also points out that Abu Hanifah has drawn the implication that the two cannot be separated without the consent of both). Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad b. Sirin, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Shurayh are also of the same opinion (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Yusuf Ali comments: “An excellent plan for settling family disputes, without too much publicity or mud-throwing, or resort to the chicaneries of the law... The arbiters from each family would know the idiosyncrasies of both parties, and would be able, with Allah’s help to effect a reconciliation.” The Connection “The previous verses were concerned with the family, its organization, the means of its preservation and those links and ties that strengthen it and lend firmness to its foundations. The present set of verses turn their attention to the human relations within the Muslim society, whose scope is larger than the scope of the family, starting with the rights of the parents, on to relationship with the others of the society, in order that the feelings of love and understanding that are generated within the family, may spill out into the larger family, that of the humankind, expanding on from the narrower confines of the closed society - the family - to the open and wider society - the humanity in general” (Sayyid Qutb). 136. When Allah spoke of the husband and wife affairs, and how their affairs could be set right, He followed it up with ten of those commandments that pertain to the general welfare (Au.: with a point taken from Razi). Shirk and Riya’ Qurtubi writes: The statement, “Worship Allah alone” implies that everything that is attempted should be done for Him alone. Some of our scholars have said that if a man bathes to cool his body or fasts to give rest to his stomach and intends to please Allah by these actions, it will not please Allah, for he adulterated his intention. It has to be purely for Allah. The Prophet has said in a hadith qudsi:

    أَنَا أَغْنَى الشُّرَكَاءِ عَنِ الشِّرْكِ مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلاً أَشْرَكَ فِيهِ مَعِى غَيْرِى تَرَكْتُهُ وَشِرْكَهُ

    “Allah says, ‘I am the least in need of associates. If someone carries out a deed hoping to please Me and, along with Me, someone else, I relinquish My share also to the associate.’” Dahhak b. Qays al-Fihri has reported another hadith. The Prophet said:

    عن الضحاك بن قيس رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ( إن الله تعالى يقول أنا خير شريك من أشرك بي فهو لشريكي يا أيها الناس أخلصوا أعمالكم لله فإن الله لا يقبل من العمل إلا ما خلص ولا تقولوا هذا لله والرحم فإنه للرحم وليس لله منه شيء ولا تقولوا هذا لله ولوجوهكم فإنما هو لوجوهكم وليس لله فيه شيء

    “Allah says, ‘I am the best of associates. If someone associates Me with another in a deed, I relinquish My share to the associate.’ People! Seek Allah’s pleasure alone with your deeds. Allah does not accept but the pure. Do not say, ‘This is for Allah and for my kinsfolk,’ for what is for kinsfolk is for them, without a share in it for Allah. And do not say, ‘This is for Allah and for the sake of your pleasure,’ for what is for your pleasure is for your pleasure, without a share in it for Allah.” Ibn Hibban trusted one of the narrators whom a few others did not. Otherwise, the hadith has a good chain of narrators: Haythami (Au.). Another report in Daraqutni says that:

    عَن أنس بن مَالك : قَالَ رَسُول الله - صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم َ - : " يجاء يَوْم الْقِيَامَة بصحف مختمة فتنصب بَين يَدي الله - تَعَالَى - فَيَقُول تَعَالَى للْمَلَائكَة : ألقوا هَذَا واقبلوا هَذَا . فَتَقول الْمَلَائِكَة : وَعزَّتك مَا رَأينَا إِلَّا خيرا . فَيَقُول تَعَالَى - وَهُوَ أعلم - : إِن هَذَا كَانَ لغيري ، وَلَا أقبل الْيَوْم من الْأَعْمَال إِلَّا مَا [كَانَ] ابْتغِي بِهِ وَجْهي " .

    A sealed record of deeds will be brought before Allah on the Judgment Day. He will say to the angels, “Accept this and reject this.” Angels will say, “O Lord. By Your Might, we do not see except good.” He will say, and He knows best, “It was for other than Me; and today, I shall not accept any of the deeds except that which was carried out for My approval.” Association then, continues Qurtubi, is of three levels and all of them are forbidden. First, to associate with Allah’s Person. (To assert that there are more than one God). This will not be forgiven. Allah has said (4: 48):

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ [النساء : 48]

    “Verily, Allah will not forgive that He be associated with, but might forgive whomsoever He will in anything less than that.” The second level of association is to associate with Allah in His acts. That is, to believe that others besides Allah can create or produce things, events, or effects. And the third level is to associate with Him in deeds, (one of whose kinds) is to do things to show off to the people (riya’). This destroys one’s deeds. Again, Sahal b. Tustari has said, riya’ itself is of three levels. First: to do something to please someone else but declare that it is for Allah. This is hypocrisy, pure and simple. Second: to start doing something for Allah, but upon finding someone observing him, attempt to do it better. The third is to start doing something purely for Allah, to terminate it with that purity of intention, but when praised by the people for the deed, feel pleased about it. Luqman was asked about the cure for riya’. He replied that it is in the concealment of deeds. As for Tustari’s second level definition of riya’, it can be qualified, says Qurtubi, in the following manner: If a man does a thing for Allah from the beginning to the end, not wishing that anyone know about it, yet Allah (Himself) exposes it to the people, and they admire him for it, then, if the man feels pleasure at having been guided by Allah to something that meets with the general approval, then that is not riya’. Allah has said (10: 58):

    قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ [يونس : 58]

    “Say, ‘(this is) by Allah’s grace and kindness.’ So let them rejoice therein. It is better than what they amass.”

    وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا (36)

    4|36| Worship Allah136 and associate not aught with Him.137 Do good to the parents, the kinsfolk,138 the orphans, the destitute, the neighbor who is of kin, the neighbor who is not of kin,139 the companion at your side,140 the wayfarer141 and those whom your right hands possess.142 Surely, Allah loves not such as him who is proud, boastful.

    137. According to a hadith of Bukhari, Mu`adh b. Jabal reports that the Prophet asked him:

    هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا حَقُّ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ قَالَ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ فَإِنَّ حَقَّ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوهُ وَلَا يُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ثُمَّ سَارَ سَاعَةً قَالَ يَا مُعَاذَ بْنَ جَبَلٍ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَسَعْدَيْكَ قَالَ هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا حَقُّ الْعِبَادِ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ قَالَ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ أَنْ لَا يُعَذِّبَهُمْ. صحيح مسلم.

    “Do you know what is Allah’s right on the people?” He replied: “Allah and His messenger know best.” The Prophet said: “That they should not associate aught with Him.” Then, after a while he asked: “And do you know what is their right on Him if they comply with that?” Mu`adh replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “That He should not chastise them” (Ibn Kathir). 138. The Prophet has said (in a hadith of Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad: H. Ibrahim):

    عَنْ سَلْمَانَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ الضَّبِّيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الصَّدَقَةُ عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةٌ وَهِيَ عَلَى ذِي الْقَرَابَةِ اثْنَتَانِ صِلَةٌ وَصَدَقَةٌ. مسند احمد

    Salman b. `Amir narrated: “Expending on the poor is one charity. But your expending on the poor who is related is twice the charity: one of joining the kin, and the other of common charity” (Ibn Kathir). According to Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut, the above hadith is Sahih li-Ghayrihi (Au.). 139. The translation of this phrase is based on the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Suddi, Mujahid and others (Au.). Ibn Jarir has added that the non-Muslim is also included, even if he is a pagan. The Sahihayn have recorded the Prophet as having said that:

    ما زال جِبرِيل يوصيني بالْجَارِ حَتِّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِثُه

    Jibril kept on admonishing him about the rights of the neighbour until, “I thought he would include him in inheritance.” Another report in Ahmad has an Ansari say:

    عَنْ رَجُلٍ من الأنصار قال: خَرَجْتُ من أهلي أريدُ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فإذَا به قَائِمٌ ورجل مَعَهُ مُقْبِل عَليه، فَظَنَنْتُ أَنَّ لهما حَاجة -قَالَ الأنْصَارِيُّ: لقد قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى جعلت أَرْثِي لِرَسُولِ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم من طُولِ الْقِيَامِ، فَلمَّا انْصَرفَ قُلْتُ: يا رسول الله، لقد قام بك هذا الرَّجُلُ حتى جَعَلْتُ أَرْثِي لَك من طُولِ الْقِيَامِ. قال: "وَلَقَدْ رَأَيتَه؟" قُلتُ: نعم. قَالَ: "أَتَدْرِي مَن هُوَ؟" قُلْتُ: لا. قَال: "ذَاكَ جِبْرِيِلُ،ما زال يُوصِينِي بِالجِارِ حتى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّه سَيُورثُه. ثُمَّ قال: أَمَا إِنَّك لَو سَلَّمْتَ عليه، رد عليك السلام" المسند وقال الهيثمي في المجمع: "رجاله رجال الصحيح".

    Once I went to see the Prophet. I found him talking to a man. The two stood together so long that I feared the Prophet would develop pain in his legs. At last when the man left, I said, “Messenger of Allah, the man had detained you so long that I feared you would develop pain in your legs. The Prophet asked: “Did you see him?” I said yes. He asked: “Did you know who he was?” I said no. He said: “That was Jibril. He was admonishing me about the rights of the neighbour until I thought he would include him in inheritance. As for you, had you said salam to him, he would have returned your salam.” Ahmad has another hadith reported by Miqdad b. al-Aswad according to which once the Prophet asked his Companions

    الْمِقْدَادَ بْنَ الْأَسْوَدِ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِأَصْحَابِهِ مَا تَقُولُونَ فِي الزِّنَا قَالُوا حَرَّمَهُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ قَالَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِأَصْحَابِهِ لَأَنْ يَزْنِيَ الرَّجُلُ بِعَشْرَةِ نِسْوَةٍ أَيْسَرُ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يَزْنِيَ بِامْرَأَةِ جَارِهِ قَالَ فَقَالَ مَا تَقُولُونَ فِي السَّرِقَةِ قَالُوا حَرَّمَهَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ فَهِيَ حَرَامٌ قَالَ لَأَنْ يَسْرِقَ الرَّجُلُ مِنْ عَشْرَةِ أَبْيَاتٍ أَيْسَرُ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يَسْرِقَ مِنْ جَارِهِ

    “What do you think of fornication?” They said it was unlawful declared so by Allah and His Messenger, to remain so until the Day of Judgment. He said: “That a man should commit fornication with ten women is better than he should do so with his neighbour’s wife.” Then he asked, “What do you think of theft. They said it was unlawful, declared so by Allah and His Messenger and to remain so until the Day of Judgment. He said: “That a man should steal from ten homes is better than he should steal from the house of his neighbour.” Finally, Ahmad has another report by Ibn Lahiy`ah which records the Prophet (saws) as having said:

    إن أول خصمين يوم القيامة جاران

    “The first two to dispute with each other (over each other’s rights) on the Day of Judgment would be neighbours.” As to which of the neighbours deserves priority, Bukhari has a hadith which says that `A’isha (ra) asked him:

    عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ لِي جَارَيْنِ فَإِلَى أَيِّهِمَا أُهْدِي قَالَ إِلَى أَقْرَبِهِمَا مِنْكِ بَابًا

    “I have two neighbours. To whom should I send a gift?” The Prophet replied: “One whose door is nearer” (Ibn Kathir). Adds Qurtubi: As to who is a neighbour and who not, since the opinions vary, it can be said in general terms that those who can hear the adhan of the community mosque are neighbours of each other. `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Mujahid, Suddi and Dahhak have said that by the phrase “the companion at your side,” the allusion is: a) to the companion in a journey: Someone with whom one goes hand in hand, b) to one’s wife; and, c) to one’s friend (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). However, most commentators have pointed out that every companion has his rights, even if he were to be in company for a couple of minutes (Au.). 141. Ibn al-sabil is anyone who is on a journey, without access to his wealth, even if he is rich (Ibn Jarir). 142. That is, slaves (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: The Prophet kept admonishing about Prayers and slaves on his death-bed until his tongue could move. (The report is in Bukhari: H. Ibrahim). Muslim has a hadith which says:

    للمملوك طعامه وكِسْوتُه، ولا يكلَّف من العمل إلا ما يُطيق

    “Upon the master is the food and clothing of a slave and that he should not be loaded with work beyond his strength." Bukhari has a narration which reports the Prophet as having said:

    إِذَا أَتَى أَحَدَكُمْ خَادِمُهُ بِطَعَامِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يُجْلِسْهُ مَعَهُ فَليُنَاوِلْهُ لُقْمَةً أَوْ لُقْمَتَيْنِ أَوْ أُكْلَةً أَوْ أُكْلَتَيْنِ فَإِنَّهُ وَلِيَ عِلَاجَهُ

    “When a servant of yours brings in food, then, if he cannot share the table with him, give him, at least, a gulp or two for the trouble he took.” Qurtubi writes: Muslim has narrated:

    عَنِ الْمَعْرُورِ بْنِ سُوَيْدٍ قَالَ مَرَرْنَا بِأَبِى ذَرٍّ بِالرَّبَذَةِ وَعَلَيْهِ بُرْدٌ وَعَلَى غُلاَمِهِ مِثْلُهُ فَقُلْنَا يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ لَوْ جَمَعْتَ بَيْنَهُمَا كَانَتْ حُلَّةً. فَقَالَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَ رَجُلٍ مِنْ إِخْوَانِى كَلاَمٌ وَكَانَتْ أَمُّهُ أَعْجَمِيَّةً فَعَيَّرْتُهُ بِأُمِّهِ فَشَكَانِى إِلَى النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَلَقِيتُ النَّبِىَّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَقَالَ « يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِنَّكَ امْرُؤٌ فِيكَ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ ». قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ سَبَّ الرِّجَالَ سَبُّوا أَبَاهُ وَأُمُّهُ. قَالَ « يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِنَّكَ امْرُؤٌ فِيكَ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ هُمْ إِخْوَانُكُمْ جَعَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ تَحْتَ أَيْدِيكُمْ فَأَطْعِمُوهُمْ مِمَّا تَأْكُلُونَ وَأَلْبِسُوهُمْ مِمَّا تَلْبَسُونَ وَلاَ تُكَلِّفُوهُمْ مَا يَغْلِبُهُمْ فَإِنْ كَلَّفْتُمُوهُمْ فَأَعِينُوهُمْ »

    Ibn Suwayd said, “We passed by Rabdha where Abu Dharr was residing. He was wearing a cloak (that happened to be one part of a two-piece suit), and the other worn by his slave. We suggested, “It would have been better if you had worn the two together.” He replied, “An argument arose between me and one of my brother Companions. His mother was a non-Arab and I taunted him over it. He complained to the Prophet. When I met him he said, ‘Abu Dharr. You are a man in whom there are traces of jahiliyyah.’ I said that it was normal that if a man insulted a people they insulted his parents. He said, “Abu Dharr. You are a man in whom there are traces of jahiliyyah. These are your brothers who have been placed under you by Allah. Therefore, feed them out of what you feed yourself, and clothe them out of what you clothe yourself." Some scholars have, in fact, continues Qurtubi, gone to the extent of saying that a slave is superior to a free man in view of the hadith (declared Sahih: Au.):

    إن العبْدَ إذا نصحَ لسيدهِ وأحسنَ عبادة ربه له أجرهُ مرَّتين

    “If a slave is loyal to his master, and does well in his devotions to Allah, he shall have double the reward.” Muslim has another hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah which says:

    قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِلْعَبْدِ الْمَمْلُوكِ الصَّالِحِ أَجْرَانِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْلَا الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْحَجُّ وَبِرُّ أُمِّي لَأَحْبَبْتُ أَنْ أَمُوتَ وَأَنَا مَمْلُوكٌ

    “The Prophet said, ‘A righteous slave shall have twofold rewards.’ Therefore, were it not for jihad in the way of Allah, Hajj and doing good to my mother, I would prefer that I (Abu Hurayrah) die as a slave.”

    الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبُخْلِ وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا (37)

    4|37| (Nor) Those who are niggardly,143 bid other men to be niggardly, and conceal what Allah has bestowed on them of His bounty. We have prepared for the unbelievers an ignoble chastisement.144

    143. Bukhl is to be niggardly with what one possesses. In contrast shuhh is to desire for oneself what another man possesses however it might come, lawfully or unlawfully (Ibn Jarir). Adds Thanwi: Since the usurpation of other’s rights occurs either out of pride or out of niggardliness, Allah censured the two. 144. Ibn `Abbas has said that this verse and the next two were specifically applicable to the Jews contemporary to the Prophet who advised the Ansar not to spend on the Prophet or his Companions, and concealed the knowledge of his advent imparted to them by their Scriptures (Ibn Jarir). Nevertheless, adds Ibn Kathir, the verse is open in application to anyone who is niggardly and bears the other qualities that have been mentioned in these verses. Yusuf Ali has a good point: “Niggardly is the worldly wise man who not only refuses to spend himself in service, but by example and precept prevents others from doing so, as otherwise he would be made odious by comparison, before his fellow-creatures. So he either makes a virtue of his caution, or hides the gifts which have been given him - wealth, position, talent, etc.”

    وَالَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۗ وَمَنْ يَكُنِ الشَّيْطَانُ لَهُ قَرِينًا فَسَاءَ قَرِينًا (38)

    4|38| (Nor) those who expend their wealth to show off to the people, believing not in Allah and the Last Day. And whoso has Shaytan as his companion - an evil companion he is.145

    145. Qurtubi quotes a poetical line from an ancient poet whose hemistich says:

    عن المرء لا تسأل وسل عن قرينه

    ‘Ask not what a man is. Ask what company he keeps.’

    وَمَاذَا عَلَيْهِمْ لَوْ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَأَنْفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِهِمْ عَلِيمًا (39)

    4|39| What would befall them if they were to believe in Allah and the Last day, and spend from what Allah has provided them? Allah has full knowledge of them.

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ ۖ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (40)

    4|40| Surely, Allah does not wrong (anyone) even so much as by an atom.146 Rather, if there were to be a good (deed) He shall double it up and shall bestow from Him a great reward.

    146. Yezid b. Harun has said that the dharrah of Arabic refers to something that is weightless. It is also used for a tiny red ant. Ibn `Abbas has been reported to have thrust his hand in sand and then blowing off the dust saying, ‘Each of them is a dharrah‘ (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi). Allah has said (31: 16):

    ﮩ ﮪ ﮫ ﮬ ﮭ ﮮ ﮯ ﮰ ﮱ ﯓ ﯔ ﯕ ﯖ ﯗ ﯘ ﯙ ﯚ ﯛ ﯜ ﯝﯞ

    “My son. If it were to be a mustard seed hidden between the rocks, or in the heavens, or inside the earth, Allah shall bring it forth.” In another chapter He said (99: 7-8):

    ﮇ ﮈ ﮉ ﮊ ﮋ ﮌ ﮍ ﮎ ﮏ ﮐ ﮑ ﮒ ﮓ ﮔ

    “Then, whosoever did an atom’s weight of good shall see it. And whosoever did an atom’s weight of evil shall see it (also)” - Ibn Kathir). `Ata’ b. Yasar has reported the Prophet as having said:

    عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا خَلَصَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ مِنْ النَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَمِنُوا فَمَا مُجَادَلَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ فِي الْحَقِّ يَكُونُ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا بِأَشَدَّ مُجَادَلَةً لَهُ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِرَبِّهِمْ فِي إِخْوَانِهِمْ الَّذِينَ أُدْخِلُوا النَّارَ قَالَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا إِخْوَانُنَا كَانُوا يُصَلُّونَ مَعَنَا وَيَصُومُونَ مَعَنَا وَيَحُجُّونَ مَعَنَا فَأَدْخَلْتَهُمْ النَّارَ قَالَ فَيَقُولُ اذْهَبُوا فَأَخْرِجُوا مَنْ عَرَفْتُمْ فَيَأْتُونَهُمْ فَيَعْرِفُونَهُمْ بِصُوَرِهِمْ لَا تَأْكُلُ النَّارُ صُوَرَهُمْ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ النَّارُ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ سَاقَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ إِلَى كَعْبَيْهِ فَيُخْرِجُونَهُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرَجْنَا مَنْ أَمَرْتَنَا ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَخْرِجُوا مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ دِينَارٍ مِنْ الْإِيمَانِ ثُمَّ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ نِصْفِ دِينَارٍ حَتَّى يَقُولَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ قَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ فَمَنْ لَمْ يُصَدِّقْ بِهَذَا فَلْيَقْرَأْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةَ: إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

    `Abu Sa`id (al-Khudri) reported the Prophet: “When the believers would have escaped the Fire on the Day of Judgment, and come into peace, then none of you will be more persistent than they were in the world seeking his right, in comparison to those of the believers who will plead for their compatriots in Hell-fire. They will say, ‘O our Lord. They used to Pray with us, fast with us, do Hajj with us and participate in jihad with us. But You have assigned them to the Fire!’ Allah will tell them, ‘Go in and bring out those you recognize.’ They will go up to them and recognize them by their faces because the Fire would not have eaten their faces. They will find a man burnt up to the middle of his calves, and another up to his knees. They will say, ‘Our Lord, we have brought out those You ordered us.’ They will be told, ‘Go in and bring out anyone with a good (deed) the size of a gold coin.’ It will go on until He will say, ‘Go and bring out anyone with (faith) equal to that of a dharrah.’” Abu Khudri added, “If you do not believe, read this ayah: ‘Surely, Allah does not wrong even so much as by an atom. Rather, if there were to be a good (deed) He shall double it up and shall bestow from Him a great reward’” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). A report close to this is in the Sahihayn (Ibn Kathir). Ibn Jarir and Qurtubi also relate the following: `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is reported to have said: “On the day of Judgment a man or a woman would be held by his or her hand and it will be announced, ‘People. This is so and so, son (or daughter) of so and so. Anyone who has a claim on him/her may come forward.’ A woman (for instance) will joyfully come forward to claim her rights from her father, son, brother or husband. Ibn Mas`ud then recited (23: 101), ‘That day there will be no kinship between them nor will they help out each other.’ That day Allah will forgive of His own rights whatever He will, but not those of the rights of the people. However, when a man will be told to give the people their rights, he will say, ‘O Lord. The world has been destroyed. How can these people be paid back their rights?’ It will be said, ‘Take away his good deeds (and give them away to those he wronged).’ Accordingly, the people will be paid for the wrongs they suffered in equal measure. However, if the man happened to be a waliyy of Allah, his (remaining) dharrah of virtue will be multiplied manifold until with its help the man will enter Paradise. Ibn Mas`ud then recited, ‘Surely, Allah does not wrong even so much as by an atom. Rather, if there were to be a good (deed) He shall double it and shall bestow from Him a great reward.’ But, if the man were to be a wretched one (shaqiyy), the angel will say, ‘O Lord. His good deeds have exhausted but the claimants remain.’ It will be said, ‘Take their evil deeds and dump them upon him.’ Thereafter the man will be thrown into the Fire.” Ibn Kathir adds: Ahadith of this meaning can be found in Sahih compilations.

    فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِنْ كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شَهِيدًا (41)

    4|41| How then will it be when We shall bring forward a witness from every nation, and bring you (O Prophet) to witness against those (people)?147

    147. Suddi has said that on the Judgment Day Prophets would arrive with followers in various numbers, some with only one, others with two, or ten. Lut will come with only two of his daughters. The Messengers will be asked: ‘Did you deliver your message?’ They will say, ‘Yes. We did.’ They will be asked, ‘Who will bear witness?’ They will say, ‘Followers of Muhammad.’ The followers of Muhammad will be asked, ‘Will you bear witness that these Prophets transmitted the message given them?’ They will say, ‘Our Lord. We bear witness that they transmitted the message.’ It will be asked, ‘Will someone testify to the truth of what you are saying?’ They will say, ‘Yes. Muhammad, on him be peace.’ So the Prophet will be called. He will testify that his Ummah spoke the truth and that the Messengers before him transmitted the messages. It is in this reference that Allah said: ‘How then will it be when We shall bring forward a witness from every nation, and bring you (O Muslims) to witness against those (people)?’ - Ibn Jarir. Here is another report in this context:

    عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَالَ لَهُ: "اقْرَأْ عَلَيَّ الْقُرْآَنَ"، فَقَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، أقْرَأُ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآَنَ وَعَلَيْكَ أُنْزِلَ؟ قَالَ: "فَإِنِّي أُحِبُّ أَنْ أَسْمَعَهُ مِنْ غَيْرِي"، فَقَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى بَلَغَ: "فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِنْ كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَى هَؤُلاءِ شَهِيدًا" [النساء: 41] فَاغْرَوْرَقَتْ عَيْنَا رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

    Ibn Mas`ud reports that once the Prophet said to him (they were then among the Banu Zufar, sitting on a rock along with Mu`adh ibn Jabal and others: Qurtubi): “Recite the Qur’an for me.” Ibn Mas`ud asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, should I recite the Qur’an to you, while the Qur’an was revealed to you?’ He replied, ‘Yes. It pleases me to hear it from someone other than me.’ So Ibn Mas`ud began to recite surah al-Nisa’, until when he reached this verse, he looked up to find the Prophet in tears (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Razi). The hadith is in Bukhari and Muslim (Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi adds: It is said that the Prophet cried on that occasion so hard that his beard was wet. It was the thought of heavy responsibility on him - of testimony - in a case involving Prophets and Messengers, that made him cry.

    يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَعَصَوُا الرَّسُولَ لَوْ تُسَوَّىٰ بِهِمُ الْأَرْضُ وَلَا يَكْتُمُونَ اللَّهَ حَدِيثًا (42)

    4|42| On that day when those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger, will wish that they were levelled with the earth. And they shall not be able to hide a word from Allah.148

    148. Ibn `Abbas has said that when the unbelievers will see the faithful entering Paradise on the strength of their belief in Allah, they will say to themselves that they shall not admit that they ever ascribed partners to Allah. So when asked, they would refuse to admit that they ever ascribed partners unto Allah. At this Allah will seal their mouths and give their limbs the power of speech. Thus they will not be able to hide a word from Allah and they will wish that they were swallowed by the earth (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). The connection After Allah spoke of those measures that introduce peace in the family and society, now He speaks of an evil that can destroy the peace of both the family as well as the society (Au.).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِي سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغْتَسِلُوا ۚ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا (43)

    4|43| Believers! Draw not near to Prayer while you are in a state of drunkenness, until you know what you are saying,149 nor (in a state) requiring major ablution - unless trespassing (a mosque)150 - until you have cleansed yourself. And, if you are sick151 or journeying, or one of you has come from the privy,152 or you have been in contact with women (requiring major ablution),153 but do not find water, then resort to wiping your faces and hands with clean soil.154 Verily Allah is All-pardoning, All-forgiving.155

    149. Several incidents have been reported as context of revelation. One in Tirmidhi, rated hasan sahih, says that ‘Abdul Rahman b. al-`Awf invited friends for dinner. ‘Ali was one of them. As usual, it was followed by drinks since wine had not been prohibited until then. Subsequently, they stood up for Prayers. However, the leader recited the Qur’an wrong and Allah revealed this verse. Accordingly, they used to avoid drinking before the Prayers after the revelation of this verse, until Allah completely prohibited all intoxicants (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and others). Sayyid Qutb points out that wine was so common among the Arabs, that the word samar which is, literally, ‘to trade in any commodity,’ had become synonymous with trading in wine. He quotes several pre-Islamic poetical pieces to prove the point. Prohibition of wine was effected gradually, in stages, with `Umar seeking a clearer injunction after every previous ruling pronounced by the Qur’an. This verse is the third in the sequence. See note 455 of surah al-Baqarah for detailed description. Says Ibn Kathir: One of the implications of this verse is that a person should know what he is reciting in his Prayer. Accordingly, precaution must be observed in situations where similar causes produce similar effects. Bukhari and Ahmad have a hadith which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said:

    وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا نَعَسَ أَحَدُكُمْ وَهُوَ يُصَلِّي فَلْيَنْصَرِفْ فَلْيَنَمْ حَتَّى يَعْلَمَ مَا يَقُولُ

    “When one of you feels sleepy during the Prayer, let him go (home) and sleep, until he knows what he is reciting.” 150. The translation “unless trespassing (a mosque)” is that of the phrase “illa `abiri sabilin” and is based on the interpretation of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Ibrahim al-Nakha`i, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Abu `Ubaydah, `Ikrimah, Hasan Busri and many others who have said that the verse purports to say: ‘Do not come near Prayers (and therefore do not enter the mosques: Au.) if you are in a state of major impurity, unless you have to, out of necessity, trespass a mosque if it happens to be the only way through, in which case you might hurry by without tarrying there.’ It was so revealed because some of the people’s doors opened into the Prophet’s mosque (Ibn Jarir). The above is confirmed by that report in Bukhari which says that the Prophet had ordered all doors leading to his mosque shut, save that of Abu Bakr. As for trespassing by someone who needs a major ablution, or a woman in her periods, Abu Hanifah, Shafe`i and Malik have ruled that they might pass through without tarrying. If they have to perforce tarry, they must at least make a tayammum before doing so. Imam Ahmad, however, basing his opinion on the practice of some of the Companions, has ruled that if one requiring major ablution performs wudu he can even sit in the mosque (Ibn Kathir). 151. According to Ibn Mas`ud, Suddi, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, Dahhak and others it is those who have a broken bone or suffer wounds or the like who have been exempted from ablution (Ibn Jarir). 152. That is, if you have attended to a nature’s call (Ibn Jarir). 153. `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said that the allusion by “having been in contact with women” is to sexual intercourse. A variant opinion, that of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Abu `Ubaydah, and some others, is that merely being in physical contact with women entails ablution. But the earlier interpretation is stronger, in the light of reports that the Prophet kissed his wives and then offered Prayers without making fresh ablution. `A’isha told `Urwah that once the Prophet kissed one of his wives, went out and Prayed without making an ablution. `Urwah asked her, ‘Who was it? Yourself?’ She smiled (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: Although the hadith is in Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, some have doubted one of the narrators in the chain. Nevertheless, there are several reports coming from `A’isha as well as Umm Salamah to this effect. Legal Points: • 1. What entails a major impurity is not intercourse per se, rather, coming into contact of the two sexual organs, even if the man and the woman do not climax. There are ahadith to this effect in the Sahihayn (Qurtubi). • 2. It is also prohibited to recite the Qur’an - save for one or two verses - while one is in the state of major impurity (Qurtubi). • 3. A man in a state of major impurity is himself clean. He is only in that “state” (remaining physically clean) - Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir. • 4. According to the Hanafiyyah if water is not available within (roughly) a radius of 1.5 km., tayammum is permissible, irrespective of the point whether the man is a traveller or not (Thanwi). • 5. Except ashes, tayammum is possible with anything which the fire will not burn or melt (Thanwi). • 6. There is no difference, save of intention, between tayammum made in lieu of wudu and tayammum made in lieu of ghusl (Thanwi). 154. `A’isha was the cause of revelation of these verses. It is narrated by her that once she was accompanying the Prophet in a campaign, known as the Dhat al-Jaysh campaign. On the way (at a place called Sulul: Qurtubi), she lost a necklace she had borrowed from someone. She reported to the Prophet. He ordered a search but it could not be found. (That delayed their departure and) the Prophet ordered that they camp there for the night. (It was not a watering place. By the morning, when water could not be found: Au.), some people began to blame `A’isha for the crisis. Abu Bakr entered the tent and found the Prophet sleeping with his head in `A’isha’s lap. In his anger Abu Bakr began to poke `A’isha in her ribs with a stick. `A’isha says: “It hurt me so badly, really. But I did not move from fear of disturbing the Prophet.” So Abu Bakr went away. When the Prophet woke up he was informed about the non-availability of water around. Allah revealed this verse (legalizing tayammum) and Usayd b. Hudayr greeted Abu Bakr in words: “This is not the first blessing that you have caused to descend, O house of Abu Bakr” (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir notes: The above report is in Bukhari, who adds that Abu Bakr also said some harsh things to `A’isha in that tent while prodding her with a stick. Later, the necklace was found under the very camel she was riding. According to another version, Usayd b. Hudayr told `A’isha: “May Allah reward you well. There is not a thing that happens to you causing you discomfort but Allah makes it a cause of some good to you and to the believers.” 155. Abu Dharr has reported the Prophet, in a hasan sahih hadith of Tirmidhi, and sahih of Ibn Hibban, that

    الصعيدُ الطَّيِّب طَهُورُ المسلم، وإن لم تجد الماء عشر حججٍ

    “Clean dust is a source of purity for a Muslim, even if you do not find for ten consecutive years.” The Prophet has said in a hadith of Muslim,

    فُضِّلْنَا عَلَى النَّاسِ بِثَلاَثٍ جُعِلَتْ صُفُوفُنَا كَصُفُوفِ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ وَجُعِلَتْ لَنَا الأَرْضُ كُلُّهَا مَسْجِدًا وَجُعِلَتْ تُرْبَتُهَا لَنَا طَهُورًا إِذَا لَمْ نَجِدِ الْمَاءَ

    “We have been given preference over other people in three things: Our (Prayer) rows have been given the same form as those of the angels, the whole of the earth has been allowed us to pray on, and its dust has been made a cleaning agent for us if we do not find water.” Another report in the Sahihayn lists five specialties. It says:

    أَخْبَرَنَا جَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ أُعْطِيتُ خَمْسًا لَمْ يُعْطَهُنَّ أَحَدٌ قَبْلِي نُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ مَسِيرَةَ شَهْرٍ وَجُعِلَتْ لِي الْأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا فَأَيُّمَا رَجُلٍ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَدْرَكَتْهُ الصَّلَاةُ فَلْيُصَلِّ وَأُحِلَّتْ لِي الْمَغَانِمُ وَلَمْ تَحِلَّ لِأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي وَأُعْطِيتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً وَبُعِثْتُ إِلَى النَّاسِ عَامَّةً

    “I have been given five things that no one was given before me: I have been helped with fright to the distant of a month’s travel; the earth has been declared clean and its soil a cleaning agent for me, so that any of my Ummah arrives into the Prayer-time may Pray (wherever he is) war spoils have been made lawful to me while it was not so for anyone before me; I have been given the grace of intercession; and, Prophets used to be sent to a particular people, I have been sent to the entire mankind” (Ibn Kathir). Sayyid comments: “There is something that needs attention here. Many people - who are undoubtedly good-intentioned - present the teachings of Islam assigning to them the wisdom that they perceive behind them, either those that are of practical nature, or those that modern knowledge has revealed. This of course is alright; but only within certain limits. For instance, quite often it is said that cleanliness is the wisdom behind ablution. Now, that might be so. But if it is said with certainty that, that “is" the reason, to the exclusion of other reasons, then, that is not free of risks and dangers. Someone might turn up and say that we do not stand in need of this old-fashioned practice. Today cleanliness is common. It is part of everyday routine. If this is the wisdom behind ablution, we do not need it in this form. “Similar are the things said about salah. Sometimes it is said that it has many physical movements that put all the limbs of the body to use. Or, that people get accustomed to organizing their affairs: for instance, their time, movements, or that of the group by lining up in rows in a congregation, or following a leader, and so on. Sometimes it is said that it is an occasion to meet the Lord with the help of recitations and supplications. Now, it is possible that some of these things might have been aimed at when salah was prescribed. But to say that this or that “is" the wisdom behind salah, is to trespass grounds overlaid with dangers. Some people have already appeared who say that they have no need for salah since modern ways of exercise suffice. Some others say that they do not need the salah as they can organize their lives without it. There are even those who say that we do not need the salah, for sufficient unto us is the meditation in privacy and peace of our homes... The dangers, therefore, (of such an approach in religion), are obvious."

    أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا نَصِيبًا مِنَ الْكِتَابِ يَشْتَرُونَ الضَّلَالَةَ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَضِلُّوا السَّبِيلَ (44)

    4|44| Have you considered those who were given a portion of the Book?156 They purchase error (at the price of guidance)157 and desire that you should also lose the (right) way.

    156. “By a portion of the Book” is meant Torah. The word ‘Book’ is used here in a generic sense” (Majid). 157. The verse refers to the Jews of the Prophet’s time, who, despite recognizing the truth, opted to deny the Prophet and Allah’s message (Ibn Jarir). Opting to live as Jews, despite a new prophet’s appearance, amounted to purchasing error (Shawkani).

    وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِأَعْدَائِكُمْ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ نَصِيرًا (45)

    4|45| Allah is aware of your enemies. Allah is sufficient as a Protector, and Allah is sufficient as a Helper.

    مِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ وَرَاعِنَا لَيًّا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْنًا فِي الدِّينِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانْظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَٰكِنْ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا (46)

    4|46| Of those who have adopted Judaism they displace the words (of the Tawrah) out of their context158 and, say, ‘We have heard (but whisper), ‘We shall not obey,’ (and say), ‘Hear (us) - and may you not hear,159 and (say) ‘Ra`ina’ with a twist of their tongue160 reviling the (true) religion. Had they said, ‘We hear and shall obey,’ and ‘Hear and regard us,’ it would have been better for them and more upright; but Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not but a little.161

    158. Mujahid has said that it refers to tampering with the Tawrah by the Jewish scholars (Ibn Jarir). But the reference could also be to quoting the Tawrah out of context (Ibn Kathir). 159. That is, ‘may you (O Muhammad) lose the hearing power’ - Ibn `Abbas (Ibn Jarir). The words “ghayru musma`in” has two connotations. One, “may you not hear anything untoward,” and the other, “may you not be able to hear.” The Jews meant to use the word in the latter sense (Kashshaf). 160. They twisted the word ra`ina which means, “Pay attention to us,” or “hearken to us,” in such a way that it would sound like they were saying, “O our shepherd.” See al-Baqarah, note 212 for further explanation. 161. ‘But such little faith is not enough for salvation’ (Qurtubi). Another possible meaning is that the Jews do not believe save for a few of them. Sayyid offers his comments : “Allah spoke the truth. In the long history of Islam, the Jews did not enter into Islam save in a very small number: those for whom Allah allotted a share in the blessings and willed for them guidance because of the efforts they put in, in the way of blessing and guidance. As for the main body of Jews, fourteen centuries of war against Islam and Muslims have passed over their heads: from the time they were in the neighbourhood of Islam at Madinah, until this day. Their plotting against Islam has been a plotting that has no end, their hatred has never ceased, changing only in style, method and measures. There has not been a plotting that anyone did against Islam in its entire history, including that of the Christian and the imperialistic world, in any kind or class, but either the Jews were behind it, or had a share in it.”

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ آمِنُوا بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا مَعَكُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَطْمِسَ وُجُوهًا فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهَا أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّا أَصْحَابَ السَّبْتِ ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا (47)

    4|47| O those who have been given the Scriptures, believe in that We have (now) revealed confirming that which is with you before We obliterate some faces162 and turn them upon their backs,163 or lay Our curse upon them as We laid Our curse upon the Sabbath-breakers.164 And Allah’s intent is done.165

    162. Tamasa of the original is for wiping out traces of something from a surface. Hence (77: 8):

    ﮨ ﮩ ﮪ ﮫ

    “When the stars will be effaced,” or (36: 66):

    ﮬ ﮭ ﮮ ﮯ ﮰ ﯖ

    “Had We intended We would have blinded their eyes.” Here, in the verse in question, the word alludes to wiping the face of all traces of the nose, eyes, lips, etc. (Qurtubi). 163. Some scholars have interpreted these words to mean that they, the Jews, ought to believe in this new Message, failing which Allah will make them blind of eye and turn them away from guidance. But since the Qur’an is addressing those who are already away from guidance, the straight-forward meaning of disfiguring their faces by turning them backwards, as offered by Ibn `Abbas, `Atiyyah and Qatadah seems to be more plausible (Ibn Jarir). Some scholars have said that since the disfiguring and turning of the faces backward has not happened, it has to happen to the Jews before the Day of Judgment (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). But Thanwi says that it is not stated in the Qur’an that such disfiguring will surely occur. It has only stated the possibility. The punishment itself has been pronounced to emphasize the seriousness of their crime (Thanwi). 164. That is, transform them into apes: Qatadah, Hasan, Suddi and Ibn Zayd (Ibn Jarir). 165. That is, if Allah had willed it that they be transformed into apes, Allah’s intent would be done, and no power would be able to avert His decision (Au.).

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَىٰ إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا (48)

    4|48| Verily Allah will not forgive that He is associated with, but (might) forgive whomsoever He will in whatever is less than that.166 Whoever associated aught with Allah, has devised a heinous sin indeed.167

    166. There is consensus of opinion that just as shirk is unforgivable, so is kufr (Thanwi). Ibn `Umar has been reported as saying:

    عن ابن عمر قال: كنا أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لا نشك في قاتل النفس، وآكل مال اليتيم، وقاذف المحصنات، وشاهد الزور، حتى نزلت هذه الآية: { إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ } فأمسك أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الشهادة

    “We, the Companions of the Prophet, were never in any doubt about a murderer, a person who devours the property of the orphan, someone who bears false witness and he who severs the kinship (that they will be in the Fire, and were ready to testify against them) until Allah revealed: ‘Verily Allah will not forgive that He be associated with, but (might) forgive to whomsoever He will in whatever is less than tha’t” (Ibn Jarir). This is a trustworthy report (Shawkani). According to one version, Ibn `Umar said after the verse was revealed: “When we heard this verse, we gave up saying anything about such people, leaving the affair to Allah for judgment.” Also, the Prophet is reported to have said: “My intercession will be in favor of those who committed major sins” (Ibn Kathir). Ibn Kathir also quotes the following ahadith in clarification of the subject at hand. Ahmad has a hadith reported by `A’isha (ra) which says that the Prophet said: الدواوين عند الله عز و جل ثلاثة ديوان لا يعبأ الله به شيئا وديوان لا يترك الله منه شيئا وديوان لا يغفره الله فأما الديوان الذي لا يغفره الله فالشرك بالله قال الله عز و جل { إنه من يشرك بالله فقد حرم الله عليه الجنة } وأما الديوان الذي لا يعبأ الله به شيئا فظلم العبد نفسه فيما بينه وبين ربه من صوم يوم تركه أو صلاة تركها فان الله عز و جل يغفر ذلك ويتجاوز ان شاء وأما الديوان الذي لا يترك الله منه شيئا فظلم العباد بعضهم بعضا القصاص لا محالة (تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : إسناده ضعيف لضعف صدقة بن موسى) “There are three categories of registers with Allah. First in which there is nothing that is of concern to Allah: a second in which there is nothing that He will leave unsettled; and a third which He will never forgive. Now, the one which He will never forgive is any kind of association with Him. Allah has said, ‘Verily Allah will not forgive that He be associated with but (might) forgive to whomsoever He will in whatever is less than that.’ The one that is of no concern to Allah are the kinds of deeds involving Allah and His slave such as Prayers, fasts, etc. Out of these Allah might forgive whatsoever He wishes. The third is the kind which involves a man’s oppression of another. Retribution will be the only recourse in this case. There will be no escape.” (Although, a study of the corpus of Qur’an and Hadith will lead to the same conclusion, this particular report has been termed weak by Shu`ayb al-Arna’u: Au.). Another hadith in Ahmad (also in Muslim: Ibn Ibrahim), reports Abu Dharr as saying that the Prophet (saws) said:

    مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ قَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ مَاتَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ إِلَّا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ قَالَ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ قَالَ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ قَالَ وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ عَلَى رَغْمِ أَنْفِ أَبِي ذَرٍّ وَكَانَ أَبُو ذَرٍّ إِذَا حَدَّثَ بِهَذَا قَالَ وَإِنْ رَغِمَ أَنْفُ أَبِي ذَرٍّ

    “There is not a man who said, ‘There is no deity save Allah,’ and died on it but Allah will admit him into Paradise.” I asked, “Even if he committed adultery and theft?” He replied: “Even if he committed adultery and theft.” I repeated: “Even if he committed adultery and theft?” He replied: “Even if he committed adultery and theft.” I repeated: “Even if he committed adultery and theft?” He responded: “Even if he committed adultery and theft.” Then the fourth time the Prophet added: “Even if Abu Dharr has some qualms about it.” Bukhari and Muslim have another version of this hadith which reports Abu Dharr as saying:

    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ خَرَجْتُ لَيْلَةً مِنْ اللَّيَالِي فَإِذَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَمْشِي وَحْدَهُ وَلَيْسَ مَعَهُ إِنْسَانٌ قَالَ فَظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يَمْشِيَ مَعَهُ أَحَدٌ قَالَ فَجَعَلْتُ أَمْشِي فِي ظِلِّ الْقَمَرِ فَالْتَفَتَ فَرَآنِي فَقَالَ مَنْ هَذَا قُلْتُ أَبُو ذَرٍّ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ تَعَالَهْ قَالَ فَمَشَيْتُ مَعَهُ سَاعَةً فَقَالَ إِنَّ الْمُكْثِرِينَ هُمْ الْمُقِلُّونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِلَّا مَنْ أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا فَنَفَحَ فِيهِ يَمِينَهُ وَشِمَالَهُ وَبَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَوَرَاءَهُ وَعَمِلَ فِيهِ خَيْرًا قَالَ فَمَشَيْتُ مَعَهُ سَاعَةً فَقَالَ لِي اجْلِسْ هَا هُنَا قَالَ فَأَجْلَسَنِي فِي قَاعٍ حَوْلَهُ حِجَارَةٌ فَقَالَ لِي اجْلِسْ هَا هُنَا حَتَّى أَرْجِعَ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ فَانْطَلَقَ فِي الْحَرَّةِ حَتَّى لَا أَرَاهُ فَلَبِثَ عَنِّي فَأَطَالَ اللُّبْثَ ثُمَّ إِنِّي سَمِعْتُهُ وَهُوَ مُقْبِلٌ وَهُوَ يَقُولُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ فَلَمَّا جَاءَ لَمْ أَصْبِرْ حَتَّى قُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ مَنْ تُكَلِّمُ فِي جَانِبِ الْحَرَّةِ مَا سَمِعْتُ أَحَدًا يَرْجِعُ إِلَيْكَ شَيْئًا قَالَ ذَلِكَ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام عَرَضَ لِي فِي جَانِبِ الْحَرَّةِ قَالَ بَشِّرْ أُمَّتَكَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ مَاتَ لَا يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ قُلْتُ يَا جِبْرِيلُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنْ شَرِبَ الْخَمْرَ

    “One night when I came out of my house I found the Prophet strolling alone. I guessed he wanted to be alone. So I kept walking in the shadows of the moonlight. But the Prophet spotted me and enquired, ‘Is that Abu Dharr?’ I said, ‘Yes, may I sacrifice my life for you.’ He said, ‘Come.’ We strolled together quietly for a while when he said, ‘The richest will be the poorest on the Day of Judgment, save he whom Allah gave wealth and he spent it in every direction: left, right, front, back doing good things therewith.’ We strolled again quietly for a while. Then he said, ‘Be seated here.’ He made a circle with the help of stones and said: ‘Remain in here until I return.’ He walked ahead into the craggy field until he disappeared. He remained unseen for quite a while. Then I heard him saying as he approached me, ‘Even if he committed adultery and theft!’ When he reached me I could not restrain myself. I asked him, ‘O Apostle of Allah. May I sacrifice my life for you. Who was it speaking to you there in the craggy field, for I did not hear anyone replying to you?’ He said, ‘That was Jibril. He met me a little beyond that stony field. He told me to give the good news that whoever died in a state in which he associated not aught with Allah will enter Paradise.’ I asked him, ‘Jibril! Even if he committed adultery and committed theft?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ At that I again enquired, ‘Even if he committed adultery and theft?!’ Jibril said, ‘Yes’! I repeated, ‘Even if he committed adultery and theft?’ He said, ‘Yes. And even if he drank wine.’” There is another report in Ahmad which has Abu Ayyub al-Ansari as saying that a man came to the Prophet (saws) and complained:

    عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ قَالَ: "جَاءَ رجل إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ لِي ابْنَ أَخٍ لا يَنْتَهِي عَنِ الْحَرَامِ، قَالَ: وَمَا دِينُهُ ؟ قَالَ: يُصَلِّي وَيُوَحِّدُ اللَّهَ. قَالَ: اسْتَوْهِبْ مِنْهُ دِينَهُ، فَإِنْ أَبَى فَابْتَاعْهُ مِنْهُ، فَطَلَبَ الرَّجُلُ ذَاكَ مِنْهُ فَأَبَى عَلَيْهِ، فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَخْبَرَهُ، فَقَالَ: وَجَدْتُهُ شَحِيحاً عَلَى دِينِهِ، قَالَ: وَنَزَلَتْ: " إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ "(وأخرج ابن الضريس وأبو يعلى وابن المنذر وابن عدي بسند صحيح عن ابن عمر - فتح القدير)

    “I have a brother. He does not give up committing the forbidden.” The Prophet enquired: “What’s his religion?” The man answered: “Well, he Prays and testifies to the oneness of Allah.” The Prophet told him: “Try and get him to give up his religion. If he declines then try and buy off his religion from him.” The man tried but without success. He came back to report: “I found that the man clings hard to his religion.” At that Allah revealed: “Verily Allah will not forgive that He be associated with but (might) forgive whomsoever He will in whatever is less than that.” Finally, Imam Ahmad has preserved another report which says that once Abu Hurayrah told Ibn Jaws al-Yamami,

    قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَقُولُ « كَانَ رَجُلاَنِ فِى بَنِى إِسْرَائِيلَ مُتَآخِيَيْنِ فَكَانَ أَحَدُهُمَا يُذْنِبُ وَالآخَرُ مُجْتَهِدٌ فِى الْعِبَادَةِ فَكَانَ لاَ يَزَالُ الْمُجْتَهِدُ يَرَى الآخَرَ عَلَى الذَّنْبِ فَيَقُولُ أَقْصِرْ. فَوَجَدَهُ يَوْمًا عَلَى ذَنْبٍ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَقْصِرْ فَقَالَ خَلِّنِى وَرَبِّى أَبُعِثْتَ عَلَىَّ رَقِيبًا فَقَالَ وَاللَّهِ لاَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكَ أَوْ لاَ يُدْخِلُكَ اللَّهُ الْجَنَّةَ. فَقُبِضَ أَرْوَاحُهُمَا فَاجْتَمَعَا عِنْدَ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَقَالَ لِهَذَا الْمُجْتَهِدِ أَكُنْتَ بِى عَالِمًا أَوْ كُنْتَ عَلَى مَا فِى يَدِى قَادِرًا وَقَالَ لِلْمُذْنِبِ اذْهَبْ فَادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ بِرَحْمَتِى وَقَالَ لِلآخَرِ اذْهَبُوا بِهِ إِلَى النَّارِ ». قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ وَالَّذِى نَفْسِى بِيَدِهِ لَتَكَلَّمَ بِكَلِمَةٍ أَوْبَقَتْ دُنْيَاهُ وَآخِرَتَهُ.

    “There were two people among the Israelites brotherly to each other. One of them was given to sins while the other given to devotions. Now, never would the devoted one see the other in sins but say to him, ‘Look. Do not attempt that.’ The other man would reply, ‘Let me and my Lord. Have you been appointed an overseer over me?’ One day the devoted one saw him doing something wrong. He told him, ‘Woe unto you. Give up that, man.’ He replied, as usual, ‘Let me and my Lord. Have you been appointed an overseer over me?’ The man told him, ‘By Lord. Allah will never forgive you,’ or he said, ‘will never admit you into Paradise.’ The two died and they were brought before Lord of the worlds. He said to the devoted, ‘Did you know Me? Or, had you any power over what My hands posses? Then He said to the sinner, ‘Enter into Paradise by My mercy.’ He said to the other, ‘Take him to the Fire.’ Abu Hurayrah added, “By Him in whose hands is my life, he uttered a word wherewith he destroyed both this world and the Hereafter." Quotes from Ibn Kathir end here. 167. “Just as in an earthly kingdom the worst crime is that of treason, as it cuts at the very existence of the state, so in the Divine Kingdom, the unforgivable sin is that of contumacious treason against Allah by putting up Allah’s creatures in rivalry against Him. This is rebellion against the Creator. It is what Plato would call “the lie in the soul” (Yusuf Ali).

    أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يُزَكُّونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ ۚ بَلِ اللَّهُ يُزَكِّي مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا (49)

    4|49| Have you considered those who claim purity for themselves?168 Rather, Allah purifies whom He will. And they shall not be wronged by a thread.169

    168. The Jews and Christians used to claim that they were Allah’s chosen people, beloved of Him, and as sinless as children. Allah refuted them with these words: Qatadah, Hasan, Dahhak and others (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). The verse could also be applicable to those who attest to their own purity and are praised in their faces. It is disapproved of in Islam that someone should attest to the piety of a person before Allah. (Allah has complete knowledge of every individual: Au.). Sahih Muslim has Miqdad b. al-Aswad as saying:

    أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- أَنْ نَحْثِىَ فِى وُجُوهِ الْمَدَّاحِينَ التُّرَابَ.

    “The Prophet ordered us that we throw dust in the face of those who praises (others in their face).” The Sahihayn have another report which says that the Prophet heard a man praise another in his face. The Prophet told him:

    وَيْلَكَ قَطَعْتَ عُنُقَ صَاحِبِكَ قَطَعْتَ عُنُقَ صَاحِبِكَ مِرَارًا ثُمَّ قَالَ مَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَادِحًا أَخَاهُ لَا مَحَالَةَ فَلْيَقُلْ أَحْسِبُ فُلَانًا وَاللَّهُ حَسِيبُهُ وَلَا أُزَكِّي عَلَى اللَّهِ أَحَدًا أَحْسِبُهُ كَذَا وَكَذَا إِنْ كَانَ يَعْلَمُ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ

    “Woe unto you man. You have slaughtered your companion.” Then he added: “If someone has to perforce praise another, let him make it conditional, saying, ‘I believe he is so and so,’ and not attest his righteousness before Allah.” Ahmad has reported `Umar as saying:

    فمن قال: إنه مؤمن، فهو كافر، ومن قال: إنه عالم فهو جاهل، ومن قال: إنه في الجنة، فهو في النار

    “Whoever claimed that he is a believer, is an unbeliever, whoever claimed that he is a scholar, is an ignorant man, and whoever thought he is in Paradise is in Fire.” A similar report is in Ibn Marduwayh (Ibn Kathir). Adds Thanwi: Many sufi shuyukh seem to be suffering from this ailment (of overrating themselves). Sayyid has the contemporary Muslim in mind. He says: “The case of those who claim Islam for themselves in our contemporary world is not dissimilar from that of the Jews. They believe that since they are of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace), there is no doubt that Allah will help them, that He will drive the Jews out of their lands, even if they keep flouting the rules of Islam, rejecting its way of life, refusing to submit to the Book of Allah: in their judicial, economic and social affairs, as also in the domain of habits and manners. This, while all that they have as their share of Islam is that they carry Muslim names and that they were born in dwellings that were once inhabited by Muslims: those inhabitants who used to live by Islam and accept Islam as their way of life. Allah expresses His surprise over the Jews of the Prophet’s time who claimed purity for themselves. But the affair of Muslims is more bewildering: touching the borders of amazement and astonishment.” 169. The word in the original is “fatil” which is used both for the little dirt that collects at the joint between the fingers as well as for the thin fibre that is found in the groove of the date stone (Ibn Jarir).

    انْظُرْ كَيْفَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ ۖ وَكَفَىٰ بِهِ إِثْمًا مُبِينًا (50)

    4|50| Look then how they fasten lies upon Allah.170 And that is enough of a manifest sin.

    170. The Jews and the Christians fasten a lie upon Allah when they say that they are His beloved, or will not enter Hell but for a couple of days, or that they are as sinless as a new born babe (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).

    أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا نَصِيبًا مِنَ الْكِتَابِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْجِبْتِ وَالطَّاغُوتِ وَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هَٰؤُلَاءِ أَهْدَىٰ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا سَبِيلًا (51)

    4|51| Have you considered those that were given a portion of the Book (but) they believe in sorcery171 and taghut172 and say about the pagans that they are better guided on the Way than the believers?173

    171. Opinions vary over the word jibt of the original as to its exact connotation. `Ikrimah has said that jibt is used for Shaytan in the Abyssinian language. Ibn Jarir summarizes various opinions by saying that jibt (and the following word) taghut are generic terms by which are meant everything that is worshipped besides Allah. Abu Da’ud has a hadith which says:

    الْعِيَافَةُ وَالطَّرْقُ وَالطِّيَرَةُ مِنَ الْجِبْتِ

    “To divine things by the flight of birds, or by drawing lines, constitutes jibt” (Ibn Kathir and others). 172. `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata’, `Ikrimah, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Sha`bi, Hasan and `Atiyyah have said that the jibt of the original alludes to sorcery and taghut to Shaytan. However, in view of other interpretations offered by others of the Salaf, jibt and taghut can be interpreted as any object, living or non-living, that is worshipped besides Allah (as Imam Malik has said: Ibn Kathir), be they sorcerers, soothsayers, idols or Shaytan. Thus, at the time of revelation the words were applicable to Huyyiy b. Ukhtab, Ka`b b. al-Ashraf and others, which is another interpretation coming rom Ibn `Abbas (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). For taghut see also al-Baqarah note 553 (Au.). 173. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Suddi and others have reported that when Ka`b b. al-Ashraf visited Makkah the Quraysh asked him about themselves and the Prophet and his followers as to who was better guided, he said emphatically that they, the pagans, were better guided than the Muslims and that their religion was superior to Islam (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). It is also reported that (in a second incident: Au.) Huyyiy b. Ukhtab (and 30 other Jews went to Makkah, seeking alliance with the Makkans against the Prophet: Ma`arif). During the talks (the Makkans insisted that the Jews prostrate themselves before their idols to prove their fidelity, and the Jews complied: Ma`arif), the Makkans asked them what they thought of them and the Prophet saying, “We are illiterate while you read the holy Scriptures. Give us your opinion of us and Muhammad.” The Jews enquired: “What are you and what is Muhammad?” The Makkans said: “Well, We join the blood relations, sacrifice for God, water the pilgrims, free the slaves.” The Jews asked: “And what is Muhammad?” The Makkans replied: “He is a weak man who cuts asunder blood relationship and has as his followers thieves of Ghifar tribe (meaning perhaps Abu Dhar Ghifari: Au.).” The Jews told them that they were certainly better guided and that their religion was better than that of Muhammad (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani, Ma`arif). It might be noted that neither the Quraysh nor the Jews were unaware of the true nature of the religion that the Prophet was preaching and the religion that the Quraysh were following (Au.). Sayyid comments: “There is not much variation in the theme. The Jews say today: the pagans are better guided than the Muslims. They use all the means of media and propaganda that their hands possess, to plant doubts about Islamic movements appearing anywhere on the globe. They offer their unconditional support to the misguided people in their efforts to destroy those movements, exactly as they offered their whole-hearted help and support to the pagans of Quraysh against the Islamic movement of that time. Although in the modern times they have - following their perverted and cunning nature and guileful methods of the contemporary world - discreetly changed their techniques. Now they do not openly praise falsehood and its followers, rather, content themselves with planting doubts and cynicism about the truth and its followers, in order to indirectly help falsehood in the destruction and defeat of the truth. For, in the contemporary world, open praise and commendation of falsehood is looked at with suspicion and might cast doubts on the conniving supporters of falsehood... Indeed, their cunning is of such order, that sometimes they even express their dislike and enmity of their own friends and affiliates speaking out hollow words against them in order to drive away all doubts about their own sincerity and impartiality. (But at heart they are with them, aiding them by all means possible)... It is the same plan, the same scheme, same methods and same objectives, because of which Allah loves them - but with curse, and anger, and lack of divine support - so that victory will never be theirs, even if they were to be able to muster the help of the whole world in their cause: ‘These are the ones upon whom Allah has laid His curse. And you shall not find a helper for him whom Allah has cursed.’”

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَمَنْ يَلْعَنِ اللَّهُ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ نَصِيرًا (52)

    4|52| They are the ones upon whom Allah has laid His curse. And you shall not find a helper for him whom Allah has cursed.174

    أَمْ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِنَ الْمُلْكِ فَإِذًا لَا يُؤْتُونَ النَّاسَ نَقِيرًا (53)

    4|53| Or, have they a share in sovereignty? If that had been so they would not have given the people even so much as a particle.175

    174. Mufti Shafi` writes the following: La`nah (curse) implies that the one cursed is away from Allah’s mercy and so has ignominy attached to his neck. We might enquire as to what other kind of people (apart from those mentioned in these verses) earn Allah’s curse. A hadith of Muslim says that the Prophet cursed those who accept usury, give usury, register it, or bear testimony for it. In another hadith he said that the homosexuals stand accursed. In a third hadith he cursed those who manufacture wine, drink it, serve it or buy it. There are other acts that have earned the same kind of rebuke. Since la`nah is a thing of such fearful consequence, Muslims have been advised not to curse. In a hadith of Mishkat the Prophet said:

    لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ ، وَلا بِاللَّعَّانِ ، وَلا بِالْفَاحِشِ ، وَلا بِالْبَذِيءِ

    “A believer is not given to vituperation, cursing, ill-tongued, nor obscene.” In this context, there is another hadith in Abu Da’ud. It says,

    إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا لَعَنَ شَيْئًا صَعِدَتْ اللَّعْنَةُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَتُغْلَقُ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ دُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَهْبِطُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ فَتُغْلَقُ أَبْوَابُهَا دُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَأْخُذُ يَمِينًا وَشِمَالًا فَإِذَا لَمْ تَجِدْ مَسَاغًا رَجَعَتْ إِلَى الَّذِي لُعِنَ فَإِنْ كَانَ لِذَلِكَ أَهْلًا وَإِلَّا رَجَعَتْ إِلَى قَائِلِهَا. سنن ابي داؤد

    When a man curses something (undeserved of it: Au.), his curse rises up to the heavens but, finding its doors locked, turns back toward the earth where it finds doors shut for it, then it goes to the right and left, but not finding an opening returns to the one cursed. But if it is not deserving of it, returns to the originator. Hence, one should exercise great control over the use of the word. In fact, cursing even an unbeliever is not allowed, unless it is known for certain that he died on disbelief, such as Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab and others of their kind. Accordingly, it is stated in Shami (a standard Hanafiyy fiqh book) that Yezid cannot be cursed. Further, if one has to curse, he might only curse in general terms, such as to say, ‘May Allah curse the unbelievers,’ or ‘May Allah curse the liars,’ etc. Once, winds blew away a man’s mantle. He cursed the winds. The Prophet told him:

    لا تَلْعَنْهَا ، فَإِنَّهَا مَأْمُورَةٌ ، وَإِنَّ مَنْ لَعَنَ شَيْئًا لَيْسَ لَهُ بِأَهْلٍ رَجَعَتِ اللَّعْنَةُ إِلَيْهِ

    “Do not curse it, for it follows the orders given to it. If it is undeserving of a curse, the curse will come back to the originator.”

    أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَىٰ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۖ فَقَدْ آتَيْنَا آلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَآتَيْنَاهُمْ مُلْكًا عَظِيمًا (54)

    4|54| Or, are they jealous of the people for what Allah has bestowed upon them out of His grace?176 Yet We gave Ibrahim’s family the Book and the Wisdom and conferred upon them a great kingdom.177

    177. Apart from prophethood, the progeny of Ibrahim was also given temporal powers and great kingdoms, such as that granted to Da’ud, Sulayman and Yusuf. Now, if that was not strange, then, why another descendant’s temporal powers trouble the Jews? (Thanwi). Ibn Kathir writes: Despite the fact that the Jews claim to be descendants of Ibrahim and his progeny, they differed among themselves. So that, while some believed, others denied and refused to believe in prophets raised out of Ibrahim’s progeny. How then can you, O Muhammad, expect to be believed in by these people, when you are not even an Israelite? Thanwi points out: The verse implies that there is no conflict between spiritual and temporal powers.

    فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ آمَنَ بِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ صَدَّ عَنْهُ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِجَهَنَّمَ سَعِيرًا (55)

    4|55| Yet, there were some among them who believed in him (i.e., in Ibrahim) but some who averted their faces from him. Jahannum suffices for a blaze.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا سَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِمْ نَارًا كُلَّمَا نَضِجَتْ جُلُودُهُمْ بَدَّلْنَاهُمْ جُلُودًا غَيْرَهَا لِيَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا (56)

    4|56| Surely, those who denied Our signs, We shall soon roast them in a Fire. As often as their skins are burned, We shall replace them with other skins so that they may (wholly) taste the torment.178 Verily Allah is Powerful, Wise.

    178. The choice of words, “that they may (truly) taste the torment,” indicates that burning of the skin and its replacement will be real (and not symbolic: Au.) - Razi.

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَنُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ لَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُطَهَّرَةٌ ۖ وَنُدْخِلُهُمْ ظِلًّا ظَلِيلًا (57)

    4|57| As for those who believed and did good works, We shall surely admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever and ever. For them shall be therein spouses cleansed, and We shall admit them into shades ever deepening.179

    179. Anas has reported that the Prophet (saws) said:

    حَدَّثَنَا أَنَسُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ لَشَجَرَةً يَسِيرُ الرَّاكِبُ فِي ظِلِّهَا مِائَةَ عَامٍ لَا يَقْطَعُهَا

    “There is a tree in Paradise, the Khuld tree, that is so huge that a rider riding through its shade for a hundred years will not be able to cross it” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Thanwi adds: It cannot be said with reference to the statement in the Qur’an (76: 13): “They shall not experience therein the sun nor extreme cold,” that if there will be no sun, then what need for a shade? One of the answers is, why should it be supposed that the sun can be the only source of light? Further, what the verse quoted by Thanwi perhaps implies is that they shall not experience excessive heat (Au.).

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا (58)

    4|58| Surely, Allah commands you to deliver the Trusts back to those they are due;180 and that, when you judge between the people, you judge fairly.181 Noble is that to which Allah exhorts you. Surely, Allah is All-hearing, All-observing.

    180. The prevalent opinion is that it is the people in authority who have been addressed and the exhortation is that they return the trusts, bestowed on them by their subjects, by judging between them by what Allah has revealed. If they do that, then it is their right that the people listen to them and obey them. This is the opinion of `Ali. Hence we find the Prophet reciting this verse while handing back the keys of the Ka`bah to `Uthman b. Talha on the day Makkah was subdued. (That he did after he had entered the House of Allah and smashed the idols therein. Further, it is said that `Abbas, though according to some other reports `Ali, had aspired that the keys of the House be handed over to him. But the Prophet recited this verse and gave it back to `Uthman b. Talha from whom he had taken it to open the House: Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). `Umar says he did not hear the Prophet recite this verse on any earlier occasion. (The hadith is in Ibn Marduwayh: Ibn Kathir; and in Ibn `Asakir and Ibn al-Mundhir: Shawkani). It is said that, that led `Uthman b. Talha to embrace Islam (Kashshaf, Razi). Further, the Prophet is reported to have said:

    أَدِّ الأَمَانَةَ إِلَى مَنِ ائْتَمَنَكَ ، وَلا تَخُنْ مَنْ خَانَكَ

    “Return the trust to him who trusted you, and do not deceive him who deceives you” - Ibn Jarir. (The hadith is in Ahmad: Ibn Kathir; also in Tirmidhi, Abu Da’ud and Albani: Shawkani, S. Ibrahim). Also see note 399 of surah al-Baqarah of this work. Shafi` adds: Before Islam, the door of the Ka`bah used to be opened every Monday and Thursday. And, it might be interesting to note that it was the same `Uthman b. Talha who had once tried - before hijrah - to rudely obstruct the Prophet’s entry into the Ka`bah. Later, adds Razi `Uthman b. Talha emigrated, handing over the key to his brother Shaybah, in whose progeny it remains until this day (600 A.H.). Again, the amanah that has been spoken of here would apply to all of its kinds, be they those mentioned above, or those that each human has been endowed with, which will mean to do everything the way it has been prescribed, with the right conditions of heart and mind. Therefore, one should do his ablution well, since that is an amanah, one should prevent the entry of the obscene into his house since that is amanah, et al (Razi). In fact, the above is the understanding of some of the Companions such as Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Bara’ b. `Azib and Ubayy b. Ka`b (Qurtubi). Moreover, it should be noticed that the word amanat here is in the plural form which implies that the application is general (Shafi`). A judicial point might also be made note of. Jurists differ over what happens when one has been entrusted with something as amanah, but loses it, despite his care, whether he is obliged to return it or not. Abu Hanifah has said no, but Imam Shafe`i has said that he is obliged to replace it (Qurtubi). 181. “When you judge between the people, judge fairly ...’ thus goes the text. The behest is to ‘judge (fairly) between the people’ ... all the people ... not between Muslims alone, neither when dealing with the people of the Book alone ... rather, between all the peoples. Justice is the right of all the peoples, so long as they are human beings. Human beings enjoy a special status with the Lord of the worlds, and have a special place in the system dictated by Him. Further, every human is covered by the term “people": be they believers or unbelievers, friends or foes, blacks or whites, Arabs or non-Arabs. This Ummah has been raised in order to administer justice - whenever it has the power to do so - and it is a special kind of justice: a kind of justice the humankind has never experienced, at least not in the form and fashion that it once experienced ... in the heyday of Islam ... in the heyday of Muslims, at those times when they were at the helm of affairs. It was a kind of justice that the humankind has since been missing, since the times the Muslims lost a say in the running of the state" (Sayyid Qutb).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا (59)

    4|59| Believers!182 Obey Allah, obey the Messenger,183 and those in authority among you.184 Should you have a dispute concerning anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger185 if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day.186 Such a course is better and fairest in conclusion.

    182. The previous verse addressed the leaders. This verse addresses the followers. 183. It is generally understood by the scholars that the Prophet was to be obeyed during his life-time, and now, after his death, it is his Sunnah that takes his place (Ibn Jarir). Muslim has a tradition which says:

    أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ يُحَدِّثُ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ مَا نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ وَمَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ فَافْعَلُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَثْرَةُ مَسَائِلِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافُهُمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ. صحيح مسلم

    “Avoid what I forbid you, do what I order you, to the best of your strength, for nations before you were destroyed by their excessive questioning and argumentation with their prophets.” In another hadith he said:

    لَا أُلْفِيَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ مُتَّكِئًا عَلَى أَرِيكَتِهِ يَأْتِيهِ أَمْرٌ مِمَّا أَمَرْتُ بِهِ أَوْ نَهَيْتُ عَنْهُ فَيَقُولُ لَا أَدْرِي مَا وَجَدْنَا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ اتَّبَعْنَاهُ. قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ

    “May I not find one of you reclining on his couch receiving one of my commandments, ordering a thing or prohibiting another, but he saying in response, ‘Well, I do not know! We shall follow what we find in the Book of Allah.’” There are, in fact, several ahadith on this subject, but the strongest is a verse of the Qur’an itself which says, (24: 63):

    فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ [النور : 63]

    “Then let those who disobey his (the Prophet’s) commands beware that a tribulation befalls them or a painful torment is inflicted on them” (Qurtubi). 184. Obeying those in authority is no different from obeying Allah and His Messenger. Says a hadith:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ يَعْصِنِي فَقَدْ عَصَى اللَّهَ وَمَنْ يُطِعْ الْأَمِيرَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَنِي وَمَنْ يَعْصِ الْأَمِيرَ فَقَدْ عَصَانِي. صحيح مسلم

    “Whoever obeyed me, obeyed Allah, and whoever obeyed someone appointed by me, obeyed me. Further, whoever disobeyed me, disobeyed Allah, and whoever disobeyed someone appointed by me, disobeyed me.” (The hadith is in Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah and others: H. Ibrahim). Yet, by consensus of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata’, Hasan and Ibn Abi Nujayh, people of knowledge are also included among those who ought to be obeyed. Abu al-`Aliyyah has substantiated this with another verse of this surah (4: 83):

    ﮔ ﮕ ﮖ ﮗ ﮘ ﮙ ﮚ ﮛ ﮜ ﮝ ﮞ ﮟ

    “And, had they referred the matter to the Messenger and to those in authority in them, surely those of them who have understanding, would have grasped the issue (better)” - Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir. Jabir b. `Abdullah has been reported by Hakim, in a trustworthy report, that he held similar views (Shawkani). In fact, the third part of the verse, “obey those in authority” is referring to the ijma` (consensus of the scholars) whose obedience is unconditionally obligatory on the people, as against those who hold the reins of political power, whose obedience is only conditionally obligatory, since, what they order can have elements of error and sin, while the opinion reached by consensus has no such elements in it. Hence, the obedience to the scholars is included by default (Razi). Obedience to the Authorities Since this is an important topic, Ibn Kathir deals with it extensively. He says that the obedience to those in authority, or others, is conditional to they ordering in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. If they do not follow this principle, there is no listening and no obeying. The Sahihayn and Abu Da’ud have the following tradition:

    السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ عَلَى الْمَرْءِ الْمُسْلِمِ فِيمَا أَحَبَّ وَكَرِهَ ، إِلاَّ أَنْ يُؤْمَرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَإِذَا أَمَرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ ، فَلا سَمْعَ وَلا طَاعَةَ

    “A Muslim has to listen and obey, in all matters, those which he likes as well as those he does not, so long as he is not ordered a sinful thing. But if he is ordered a sinful thing, then there is no listening, no obeying.” Another Sahihayn narration reports `Ubadah ibn Samit as saying:

    بَايَعَنَا عَلَى السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ فِي مَنْشَطِنَا وَمَكْرَهِنَا وَعُسْرِنَا وَيُسْرِنَا وَأَثَرَةً عَلَيْنَا وَأَنْ لَا نُنَازِعَ الْأَمْرَ أَهْلَهُ إِلَّا أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا بَوَاحًا عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ اللَّهِ فِيهِ بُرْهَانٌ

    “We pledged ourselves to the Prophet on hearing and obeying: in affairs we liked as well as those we did not; in ease and in difficulties; that we shall give him preference over ourselves; and that we shall not dispute with those in authority.” “Unless,” (the Prophet added, “You notice clear disbelief (in the authorities) - something against which you have a very clear argument from Allah.” Bukhari has another hadith reported by Anas which says:

    اسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَإِنْ اسْتُعْمِلَ حَبَشِيٌّ كَأَنَّ رَأْسَهُ زَبِيبَةٌ

    “Listen and obey even if a tiny-headed Abyssinian is appointed amir over you.” Muslim has another hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah. It says:

    كَانَتْ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ تَسُوسُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ كُلَّمَا هَلَكَ نَبِىٌّ خَلَفَهُ نَبِىٌّ وَإِنَّهُ لاَ نَبِىَّ بَعْدِى وَسَتَكُونُ خُلَفَاءُ فَتَكْثُرُ ». قَالُوا فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا قَالَ « فُوا بِبَيْعَةِ الأَوَّلِ فَالأَوَّلِ وَأَعْطُوهُمْ حَقَّهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَائِلُهُمْ عَمَّا اسْتَرْعَاهُمْ

    “The Israelites were led by prophets. Every time a prophet died, Allah replaced him with another. However, there would be no prophet after me, rather khulafa`: many of them.” They asked him, “Messenger of Allah. What do you advise us do then?” He said: “Remain true to the pledge given to the first one, and then to the next one. (i.e., in the same order: Au.). Give them their rights, for Allah is going to question them about their subjects.” (The oath of allegiance to a ruler is an essential part of a Muslim’s faith and religion: Au.). The Sahihayn have another hadith which says:

    (عن) ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَنْ رَأَى مِنْ أَمِيرِهِ شَيْئًا يَكْرَهُهُ فَلْيَصْبِرْ عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ فَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ شِبْرًا فَمَاتَ إِلَّا مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً

    “Whoever sees something in an amir which he does not approve of, let him bear it with patience, for none will part with the jama`ah, even as much as by the span of a hand, and die in that state, but will die in the state of jahiliyyah.” Muslim has another hadith which says:

    مَنْ خَلَعَ يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَةٍ لَقِىَ اللَّهَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لاَ حُجَّةَ لَهُ وَمَنْ مَاتَ وَلَيْسَ فِى عُنُقِهِ بَيْعَةٌ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً

    “Whoever withdrew his pledge of obedience will meet Allah in a state in which he will have no argument in his favour. And he who died in a state in which he had not pledged his hand (to an amir) died in a state of jahiliyyah.” Muslim has another long report on the issue. It reports `Abdul Rahman bin `Abd Rabb Ka`bah as saying:

    عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَبْدِ رَبِّ الْكَعْبَةِ قَالَ دَخَلْتُ الْمَسْجِدَ فَإِذَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ جَالِسٌ فِى ظِلِّ الْكَعْبَةِ وَالنَّاسُ مُجْتَمِعُونَ عَلَيْهِ فَأَتَيْتُهُمْ فَجَلَسْتُ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فِى سَفَرٍ فَنَزَلْنَا مَنْزِلاً فَمِنَّا مَنْ يُصْلِحُ خِبَاءَهُ وَمِنَّا مَنْ يَنْتَضِلُ وَمِنَّا مَنْ هُوَ فِى جَشَرِهِ إِذْ نَادَى مُنَادِى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- الصَّلاَةَ جَامِعَةً. فَاجْتَمَعْنَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَقَالَ « إِنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ نَبِىٌّ قَبْلِى إِلاَّ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَدُلَّ أُمَّتَهُ عَلَى خَيْرِ مَا يَعْلَمُهُ لَهُمْ وَيُنْذِرَهُمْ شَرَّ مَا يَعْلَمُهُ لَهُمْ وَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكُمْ هَذِهِ جُعِلَ عَافِيَتُهَا فِى أَوَّلِهَا وَسَيُصِيبُ آخِرَهَا بَلاَءٌ وَأُمُورٌ تُنْكِرُونَهَا وَتَجِىءُ فِتْنَةٌ فَيُرَقِّقُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا وَتَجِىءُ الْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ مُهْلِكَتِى. ثُمَّ تَنْكَشِفُ وَتَجِىءُ الْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ هَذِهِ. فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُزَحْزَحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَيَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَلْتَأْتِهِ مَنِيَّتُهُ وَهُوَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلْيَأْتِ إِلَى النَّاسِ الَّذِى يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ وَمَنْ بَايَعَ إِمَامًا فَأَعْطَاهُ صَفْقَةَ يَدِهِ وَثَمَرَةَ قَلْبِهِ فَلْيُطِعْهُ إِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ فَإِنْ جَاءَ آخَرُ يُنَازِعُهُ فَاضْرِبُوا عُنُقَ الآخَرِ ». فَدَنَوْتُ مِنْهُ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ أَنْشُدُكَ اللَّهَ آنْتَ سَمِعْتَ هَذَا مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَأَهْوَى إِلَى أُذُنَيْهِ وَقَلْبِهِ بِيَدَيْهِ وَقَالَ سَمِعَتْهُ أُذُنَاىَ وَوَعَاهُ قَلْبِى. فَقُلْتُ لَهُ هَذَا ابْنُ عَمِّكَ مُعَاوِيَةُ يَأْمُرُنَا أَنْ نَأْكُلَ أَمْوَالَنَا بَيْنَنَا بِالْبَاطِلِ وَنَقْتُلَ أَنْفُسَنَا وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لاَ تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْكُمْ وَلاَ تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا) قَالَ فَسَكَتَ سَاعَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ أَطِعْهُ فِى طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ وَاعْصِهِ فِى مَعْصِيَةِ اللَّهِ.

    “I entered the Holy mosque to find `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As sitting in the shade of the Ka`bah with people around him. He was saying, ‘We were with the Prophet in a campaign. We camped at a place. Some of us began to pitch their tents, some overhauling their arms and others attending to their beasts when a caller sent by the Prophet called us for salah al-jama`ah. We gathered around him. He said, ”There was not a prophet before me but it was incumbent upon him to lead his people to what according to him was good for them and warn them of what was harmful. This Ummah has been allotted her well-being in the first generation. The last of it is going to face the worst - things that it will detest. Tribulations will descend hand in hand (i.e., together: Au.). A tribulation will descend and the believer will say, ‘Oh me! This one will destroy me.’ When it is gone, it will be followed by another, about which he will say, ‘This one!? Good Lord!’ Therefore, whoever wishes to be spared the Fire and enter Paradise, let him be in a state of firm belief in Allah and the Hereafter at the time death visits him. Let him go to the people with what he would approve that he himself be brought to. And, anyone pledged his allegiance to a ruler, giving him a piece of his heart, let him obey him to the extent possible. If another claimant arises, entering into a tussle with the first one, behead the second one."’ `Abdul Rahman says, “On hearing that I pushed forward and enquired, ‘By Allah, did you hear that yourself from the Prophet?’ `Abdullah ibn `Amr pointed to his ears and his heart and said, ‘My ears heard this and my heart preserved it.’ I said, ”Now, here is your cousin Mu`awiyyah. He orders that we devour each other’s property wrongfully and slaughter each other. While Allah says (4: 29): “Believers! Do not devour each other’s property wrongfully, save (legally, such as) by way of trade between you by (mutual) consent. And do not kill one another. Surely Allah is Compassionate to you!” `Abdul Rahman says `Abdullah ibn `Amr fell silent for a moment. Then he raised his head and said, ‘Obey him in the obedience to Allah and disobey him in the disobedience to Allah.’" (This point, that is, that those in authority are to be obeyed only in obedience to Allah and not otherwise, is brought out by another incident: Au.). Bukhari records `Ali as saying:

    عَنْ عَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ بَعَثَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَرِيَّةً وَأَمَّرَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَجُلًا مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ وَأَمَرَهُمْ أَنْ يُطِيعُوهُ فَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَقَالَ أَلَيْسَ قَدْ أَمَرَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ تُطِيعُونِي قَالُوا بَلَى قَالَ قَدْ عَزَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمَا جَمَعْتُمْ حَطَبًا وَأَوْقَدْتُمْ نَارًا ثُمَّ دَخَلْتُمْ فِيهَا فَجَمَعُوا حَطَبًا فَأَوْقَدُوا نَارًا فَلَمَّا هَمُّوا بِالدُّخُولِ فَقَامَ يَنْظُرُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ قَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِنَّمَا تَبِعْنَا النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِرَارًا مِنْ النَّارِ أَفَنَدْخُلُهَا فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ خَمَدَتْ النَّارُ وَسَكَنَ غَضَبُهُ فَذُكِرَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ لَوْ دَخَلُوهَا مَا خَرَجُوا مِنْهَا أَبَدًا إِنَّمَا الطَّاعَةُ فِي الْمَعْرُوفِ

    “The Prophet sent a group of people in a campaign appointing an Ansari as their amir instructing them to obey him. On the way the man he became angry with them. He asked them, ‘Did not the Prophet order you to obey me?’ They replied, ‘Yes.’ He told them, ‘Alright. I have decided that when you collect firewood and lit a fire, then enter into it. So, they collected together firewood and lit a fire. But when they decide to enter into it, they began to look into each other’s faces. Some of them said, ‘It is to escape the Fire that we went to the Prophet. Should we enter into it now?’ While they were in this discussion, the fire cooled off and the man’s anger had subsided. It was mentioned to the Prophet who said, ‘Had you entered the Fire, you would have never come out of it. Obedience is only in approved matters.” Quotations from Ibn Kathir end here. The leader of the above incident was `Abdullah b. Hudhafa b. Qays about whom it is well known that although a Badri Companion, he was a man given to jokes. Abu Sa`id al-Khudri has testified this. It is in fact reported that once he loosened the reins of the Prophet’s mule during one of his campaigns. Ibn Wahab says he asked the narrator, “Did he do that to make the Prophet laugh?” Sa`d said, “Yes. The man loved to create fun” (Qurtubi). What Qurtubi is trying to say is that when `Abdullah b. Hudhafa asked his companions to jump into the fire, he was perhaps merely subjecting them to a practical joke (Au.).

    أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا (60)

    4|60| Have you considered those who profess to believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, but they desire to resort to judgment by the taghut,187 while they have been ordered to deny it?!188 And, Shaytan intends to lead them astray: far away in error.189

    185. That is, refer to Allah’s Book and the Messenger’s Sunnah: Mujahid, Qatadah, Maymun b. Mahran and Suddi (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Insofar as the “Principles of Islamic Law” are concerned, this is a key verse since, Islamic Law is based on four: The Qur’an, the Sunnah, Ijma` (consensus) and Qiyas (analogy). “The Qur’an” as the first basis is derived from the words, ‘Obey Allah’, “the Sunnah” as the second principle of Law has its basis in the words, ‘Obey the Messenger’, “Ijma`” is derived from the words, ‘And those in authority among you,’ and, finally, the fourth principle Qiyas is derived from the words, ‘Refer it (the matter) to Allah and the Messenger’, since, analogy is nothing but deduction of a rule, not explicitly stated in the Qur’an or the Sunnah, on the basis of what is explicitly stated in them. Now, if, by the words, ‘If you are in dispute’ it was meant that the Qur’an and Sunnah be referred to, in matters that had already been explicitly stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah (what are known as the nusus) then, differences in opinion would not arise. Therefore, the only meaning that the last phrase lends is that if you do not have a clear injunction about an affair in the Qur’an or Sunnah, nor have your scholars arrived at a consensus of opinion, then, resort to analogy. Therefore, the four basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence have their basis in this single verse (Razi). 186. The implication is clear. Whoever does not agree with judgment by Allah and His Messenger, does not believe in Allah and the Last Day (Ibn Kathir). 187. Taghut here stands for any un-Islamic tribunal (Majid). 188. `Amir and Qatadah have reported that there was a dispute between a Jew and a hypocrite. The hypocrite wanted the case to be referred to the Jews because he knew that he would be able to bribe them. The Jew wanted the case to be referred to Muslims because he knew that they could not be bribed. Finally they decided to refer to a soothsayer of the Juhaynah tribe. Allah (swt) revealed this verse. According to some versions, they referred to Ka`b b. al-Ashraf (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). 189. Sayyid Qutb writes: “Have you considered this wonder of wonders ... a people lay claim to faith ... and then, the next moment they nullify that claim. A people who profess to believe in ‘what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you,’ but they do not resort to judgment by ‘what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you!’ Rather, they desire to be judged by another entity, by another set of laws, by another authority ... they want to be judged by none other than the taghut himself ... one who will not draw inspiration from what ‘has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you’ ... who neither accepts to be regulated nor ruled by ‘what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you!’ In addition, the authority they want to refer to is a taghut ... by more than one definition: taghut because he claims something that is only the right of Godhead, and taghut because he does not follow a well-established set of rules or a criterion. And they do not do it out of ignorance, or because of an erroneous judgment. Rather, in full knowledge. It is intentional, and a deliberate step ... They are fully aware of the fact that it is unlawful for them to resort to judgment by this taghut: ‘while they have been ordered to deny it!’ ... Surely Shaytan has deluded them. And ‘Shaytan intends to lead them astray: far away in error.’”

    وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ رَأَيْتَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَنْكَ صُدُودًا (61)

    4|61| When it is said to them, ‘Come to (be judged by) what Allah has revealed, and (by) the Messenger, you see the hypocrites barring the way to you in total aversion.190

    190. This attitude is in line with the attitude of the polytheists about whom Allah said in (24: 48):

    ﮞ ﮟ ﮠ ﮡ ﮢ ﮣ ﮤ ﮥ ﮦ ﮧ ﮨ ﮩ

    “And when they are called to Allah and to His Messenger to judge between them, then lo! a party of them refuses to come and turns away,” and in total contrast to that of the believers about whom Allah said (24: 51):

    ﯥ ﯦ ﯧ ﯨ ﯩ ﯪ ﯫ ﯬ ﯭ ﯮ ﯯ ﯰ ﯱ ﯲ ﯳﯴ

    “When the faithful they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them, then their only saying is, ‘We have heard and we shall obey’” (Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and Shawkani also quote a report according to which `Umar Faruq beheaded a man who had received the judgment from the Prophet but had come to him hoping that he might offer him some concession - because of (his toughness with the unbelievers and) his strong faith in Islam. But Ibn Kathir and Shawkani state that the narration is not too trustworthy. One narrator Ibn Lahi`ah is considered “weak” and, additionally, the chain of narrators is discontinuous. A similar report comes from the tafsir work of Hafiz Abu Ishaq, which strengthens the above, but which also does not meet with the requirements of authenticity either. Allah knows best. Asad notes: “The classical commentators see in verses 60-64 a reference to the hypocrites of Medina who, at the time of the Prophet, outwardly professed to be his followers but did not really believe in his teachings. It seems to me, however, that this passage goes far beyond the possible historical occasion of its revelation, inasmuch as it touches upon an often-encountered psychological problem of faith. People who are not fully convinced that there exists a reality beyond the reach of human perception (al-ghayb ...), find it, as a rule, difficult to disassociate their ethical views from their personal predilections and morally questionable desires - with the result that they are only too often ”willing to defer to what the powers of evil tell them". Although they may half-heartedly concede that some of the moral teachings based on revelation (in this case, the Qur’an) contain “certain verities”, they instinctively recoil from those teachings whenever they conflict with what their own idiosyncrasies represent to them as desirable: and so they become guilty of hypocrisy in the deepest, religious connotation of the term."

    فَكَيْفَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ جَاءُوكَ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا إِحْسَانًا وَتَوْفِيقًا (62)

    4|62| then, when they are seized by a misfortune because of what their own hands have forwarded, they come to you swearing by Allah (saying), ‘We intended nothing but good-will and conciliation?!’191

    191. “The excuses of the hypocrites on such occasions amounted to this: the prerogative of decision certainly belongs to the Prophet; we never meant to question that. Our object in going to someone else was not to secure exactly a judicial pronouncement, but to bring about mutual agreement, conciliation somehow or the other, between the parties” (Majid). Sayyid comments: “Its an embarrassing situation for them .. when they return ... aware of the implications of what they did ... hence unable to face the Prophet and therefore have to resort to false oaths to the effect that they did not go to the taghut, (a term perhaps of wide use in the pre-Islamic times also), save in the hope of reconciliation! That is the excuse of all those, in all times, who swerve away from judgment by the Law of Allah and desire to reconcile - somehow - between different elements, between different trends, and between different faiths. That is the argument of those who claim to be faithful, while they are not, and such is the argument of the hypocrites.”

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ مَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَعِظْهُمْ وَقُلْ لَهُمْ فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَوْلًا بَلِيغًا (63)

    4|63| Those, about them Allah knows what is in their hearts, so keep them at an arm’s length, (yet) admonish them and say to them penetrating words about themselves.

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ جَاءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُوا اللَّهَ تَوَّابًا رَحِيمًا (64)

    4|64| Never did We192 send a Messenger but (with the incumbency) that he be obeyed by the leave of Allah.193 Therefore, had they, after they had wronged themselves (by consulting the taghut), come to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger sought forgiveness for them,194 surely they would have found Allah Relenting, Merciful.195

    192. Asad comments: “As so often in the Qur’an, the sudden change, within one and the same sentence, from the pronoun “We" to “I” or “He” to “God”, is meant to impress upon the listener or reader of the Qur’an the fact that God is not a “person” but an all-embracing Power that cannot be defined or even adequately referred to within the limited range of human language." 193. “This is to impress upon us that Prophets are not sent so that people may pay lip-service to their prophethood, and then obey whoever they wish. The purpose of sending Prophets is that people should follow the laws of God as brought and expounded by them, rather than laws devised by man, and that they should obey the commands of God as revealed to the Prophets to the exclusion of the commands of others” (Mawdudi). 194. Thanwi comments: Since they had displeased the Prophet by going to the taghut, it became necessary for them that they go back to him in repentance and he respond with a clean heart and pray for their forgiveness. (Otherwise, as we know, it was not necessary for his followers to go to him. They could directly supplicate to Allah: Au.). 195. “Note that it is not the Prophet who is empowered to forgive the sinners, he can only beseech on their behalf. Forgiveness is entirely in the hands of God” (Majid). Ibn Kathir quotes an incident which is entirely out of his line, considering his master, Ibn Taimiyyah’s influence on him:

    وقد ذكر جماعة منهم الشيخ أبو نصر بن الصباغ في كتابه الشامل الحكاية المشهورة عن العتبي، قال: كنت جالساً عند قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فجاء أعرابي فقال: السلام عليك يا رسول الله، سمعت الله يقول {وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ جَاءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُوا اللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَحِيماً} وقد جئتك مستغفراً لذنبي مستشفعاً بك إلى ربي. ثم أنشأ يقول: يا خير من دفنت بالقاع أعظمه فطاب من طيبهن القاع والأكم نفسي الفداء لقبر أنت ساكنه فيه العفاف وفيه الجود والكرم ثم انصرف الأعرابي، فغلبتني عيني فرأيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في النوم، فقال: "يا عتبي، الحق الأعرابي فبشره أن الله قد غفر له"- تفسير ابن كثير

    Quite a few people have quoted the following, including Sheikh Abu Mansur b. al-Sabbagh, who writes in his book Al-Shamil, the famous incident coming down from `Utabi. He said: “I was sitting near the grave of the Prophet when a bedouin showed up. He said, ‘Peace unto you O Messenger of Allah. I have heard Allah say, ‘Had they, after they had wronged themselves, come to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger sought forgiveness for them, surely they would have found Allah Relenting, Merciful.’ Now, I have come to you (O Messenger) seeking forgiveness for my sins (from Allah) and your intercession with my Lord.’ Then, he recited a couplet praising the Prophet he left.’ He said, O ye who is buried at the august spot The desert and the hills purified thereby My life be sacrificed for the chamber of your residence Therein is chastity, therein generosity, nobility. `Utabi says he fell asleep and saw the Prophet in his dream saying: “`Utabi, seek the bedouin and tell him Allah has forgiven him.”

    فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا (65)

    4|65| No, by your Lord,196 they will not (truly) believe until they accept you as the judge197 in matters of dispute between themselves, and then, find no displeasure in their hearts at your judgment, and submit themselves in total submission.198

    196. If the above verse exhorted the hypocrites to present themselves to the Prophet, the present one adds that their physical reversion and external submission is not adequate. At heart also they will have to submit themselves wholly to feel no aversion therein whatsoever (against judgments pronounced by him in affairs of their concern) - Thanwi. 197. After the Prophet, the position is now occupied by the Qur’an and the Sunnah, as understood by the jurists and scholars. And the judgments they pronounce will be imposed on the people by the rulers (Shawkani). 198. It is related by `Urwah b. Zubayr that:

    عَنْ عُرْوَةَ قَالَ خَاصَمَ الزُّبَيْرُ رَجُلًا مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ فِي شَرِيجٍ مِنْ الْحَرَّةِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اسْقِ يَا زُبَيْرُ ثُمَّ أَرْسِلْ الْمَاءَ إِلَى جَارِكَ فَقَالَ الْأَنْصَارِيُّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنْ كَانَ ابْنَ عَمَّتِكَ فَتَلَوَّنَ وَجْهُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ قَالَ اسْقِ يَا زُبَيْرُ ثُمَّ احْبِسْ الْمَاءَ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إِلَى الْجَدْرِ ثُمَّ أَرْسِلْ الْمَاءَ إِلَى جَارِكَ

    Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam and an Ansari disagreed over water rights; (when they took the matter to the Prophet) he said: “Zubayr, water your plants and then let it flow (on).” The Ansari (was not well pleased with the decision). He said: “(Do you say that) because he is your cousin?” The Prophet’s countenance changed. He said: “Water your plants, Zubayr. Then hold the water until the level reaches the embankment. After that let it overflow (into the Ansari’s lands),” (and Allah revealed this verse). According to another version, “until water reaches your ankles” (Ibn Jarir). Qurtubi adds: The name of the Ansari varies from Hatib b. Abi Balta`ah, to mere Hatib, to Tha`labah b. Hatib. Bukhari and Muslim have not named him, and therefore, the person remains unidentified. Thus we see that the Prophet first asked Zubayr to grant concession to the Ansari by not watering his plants to their entire need, rather, to let it flow through his fields as it came in (so that both could benefit from it before the source went dry: Au.). But when the Ansari did not appreciate that decision, he allowed Zubayr to water his plants well enough, to his satisfaction, before allowing it to overflow into the adjacent fields. The incident has been recorded by Bukhari, Nasa’i and Ahmad (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). The above is the legal position, i.e., one might stop the flow of natural water until it reaches the ankles and then let it spill over to the lower lands (Razi). Qurtubi points out that it can be deduced from the above hadith that the Qadi can, if the disputants would agree, offer a compromise solution (in which one gets a little more than his due). Thanwi, with his characteristic brevity, solves a problem that some of the modern thinkers seem to have fumbled with. What follows is an expanded form: In trying to understand various implications of the verse, one might keep in mind that, of resorting to (un-Islamic) judgment, non-aversion and submission, there are three levels or three kinds: 1) of faith in it, 2) by the tongue and, 3) by deeds. First, so far as faith is concerned, it is enough if a man submits to the Laws of the Shari`ah at the level of the heart, without any aversion to them. In the absence of this (i.e. no submission at heart) a man is a kafir in the knowledge of Allah even if a believer in the opinion of the people. Second, it is also a requirement that he admit the rightfulness and justness of the Shari`ah with his tongue. Without this he is an unbeliever in the sight of the people (even if success at the first level renders him a Muslim in the sight of Allah: Au.). However, meeting this condition, and failing the first, renders him a munafiq. Third, insofar as deed-level is concerned it is enough - for one to be declared a believer - if one takes his disputes for judgment to the religious authorities, even if he feels some aversion to it at level of his heart (realizing that the case might not go his way: Au.). This third level is the lowest level of taqwa and righteousness. The above discussion, continues Thanwi, resolves the problem of a person who does not bring up his case before the Shar`i authorities, even if he admits the invalidity of the non-Shar`i law. Is he an unbeliever? Or a hypocrite? The answer is, he is none. He is a fasiq, for he does not meet with the requirements of kufr by meeting with the second condition stated above, nor of nifaq by meeting with the requirement of the first condition. Rather, he merely fails to meet with the requirements of taqwa and righteousness, by resorting to judgment by non-religious tribunals. And someone who does not meet with the requirements of taqwa and righteousness is a fasiq (and not a kafir). (The above should also make clear, that one is a Muslim, even if he has some reservations at the intellectual level about say a Shari`ah law, because of his failure to sort out some problems at that level. In other words, he might say, “Truly speaking, I do not understand the reasonableness of this (or that ruling), but all the same, I submit to it, and I know that in some way or the other it is the right thing.” Such mental reservation would be, insha Allah, forgivable in view of the fact that he met with both the first and the second conditions. An example of this is the Companions’ disagreement with the Prophet when he appointed Usamah b. Zayd as the leader over several senior Companions for a campaign. When some people protested the Prophet said: “If you are not happy, then I know that you were not happy when his father (Zayd b. Haritha) had been appointed amir over you.” Or, in a second incident, when the Prophet signed the peace treaty at Hudaybiyyah, many senior Companions were upset about it. But it was not said that they had no faith: Au.).

    وَلَوْ أَنَّا كَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَنِ اقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ أَوِ اخْرُجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ مَا فَعَلُوهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ فَعَلُوا مَا يُوعَظُونَ بِهِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ وَأَشَدَّ تَثْبِيتًا (66)

    4|66| Had we decreed for them: ‘Slay yourselves,’199 or, ‘Flee your homes,’ surely they would not have done that, save a few of them.200 Yet, were they to do as they were exhorted, it would have been better for them and more strengthening (for their faith).201

    199. As, for example, the followers of Musa, who were ordered to kill each other in verse 53 of surah al-Baqarah: Mujahid, Suddi (Ibn Jarir). The following is worthy of note:

    عن أبي إسحاق السبيعي، قال: لما نزلت {وَلَوْ أَنَّا كَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَنِ اقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ} الآية، قال رجل: لو أمرنا لفعلنا، والحمد لله الذي عافانا، فبلغ ذلك النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال: "إن من أمتي لرجالاً الإيمان أثبت في قلوبهم من الجبال الرواسي"

    Abu Ishaq al-Subay`i has reported that when this verse (4: 66): “Had we decreed for them (i.e., the Jews and the hypocrites): ‘Slay yourselves,’ or, ‘Flee your country,’ surely, they would not have done it, save a few of them” was revealed, someone said, ‘Had Allah ordered us do that, we would have done it, but He be praised, He spared us.’ When the report reached the Prophet he said, ‘There are some among my followers whose faith is as firm as the mountains’ (Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). In fact, several Companions had made this sort of statement (Ibn Kathir). Similar reports are in Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Shurayh b. `Ubayd (Shawkani). 200. According to reports, when this verse was revealed the Prophet signalled at `Abdullah ibn Rawaha and said, “Had Allah ordered that, this man would have been of those few who would have complied.” Similar reports have come about `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (Ibn Kathir). In fact, many of the followers of our Prophet had already accomplished that. At Badr, for instance, they unhesitatingly fought against their kin, slaying some of them. Earlier to that, they had abandoned their homes in Makkah, to settle down penniless, first in Abyssinia, and then in Madinah (Au.). 201. “Had these people been able to free themselves of uncertainty, hesitation and ambivalence, and to resolve firmly to follow and obey His (Allah’s) Prophet (peace be upon him), their lives would have been spared the instability from which they suffer. Their way of thinking, their morals and their practical dealings would all have found permanent and stable foundations, and they would have enjoyed the blessings granted only to those who follow the only one straight path with firmness and resolution. For one who is subject to indecision and hesitation, who keeps changing from one direction to another in a state of uncertainty, life is a continuous exercise in futility” (Mawdudi).

    وَإِذًا لَآتَيْنَاهُمْ مِنْ لَدُنَّا أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (67)

    4|67| And, in that case, We would have granted them from Us, a grand reward.

    وَلَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا (68)

    4|68| Further, We would have guided them to a Straight Path.202

    202. “By giving up uncertainty, and deciding with complete faith and conviction to follow the Prophet (peace be on him), the straight path of their endeavours would have opened up before them. They would have been able to perceive clearly the channels into which their energies should be directed, so that each step they took would be a step towards the true goal” (Mawdudi).

    وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا (69)

    4|69| And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, they are with those whom Allah has favored: the Prophets, Siddiqun,203 the martyrs and the righteous:204 good companions are they.205

    03. (Sadiq is someone who speaks the truth and proves himself true to what he claims as true: Au.). Siddiq is its intensive form. It is also said that the best of the followers of a Prophet are known as Siddiqun (Shawkani). It is also said that Siddiq is someone who has a firm belief that everything of the religion of Islam is true, without any doubt or reservation whatsoever. Yet another opinion is that it is he who outstrips others in testifying to the truthfulness of a Messenger (Razi). 204. Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Qatadah, Suddi and Ibn Rabi` have said that,

    جاء رجل من الأنصار إِلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو محزون، فقال له النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: "يا فلان ما لي أراك محزوناً ؟" فقال: يا نبي الله شيء فكرت فيه، فقال: ما هو ؟ قال: نحن نغدو عليك ونروح ننظر إِلى وجهك ونجالسك وغداً ترفع مع النبيين فلا نصل إِليك، فلم يرد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم شيئاً، فأتاه جبريل بهذه الآية {وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ}. فبعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فبشره

    Once, an Ansari came to the Prophet with a gloomy face. The Prophet asked him the reason. He said: “Apostle of Allah. I was thinking about something.” He asked what it was. He said, “We come to you morning and evening and sit in your company. Tomorrow you will be taken away into the company of Prophets. We will not be able to reach you.” The Prophet did not say anything in reply. Then Jibril came down with this verse. The Prophet sent for him and gave him the good news (Ibn Jarir). The report seems to have good narrators (Ibn Kathir). Dia’ Maqdisi has said that the report is of hasan status (Shawkani). Kashshaf, Razi and Qurtubi have named Thawban as the Ansari of the above report or of others of similar content. It is reported of another Ansari that when he was told of the death of the Prophet, he prayed to Allah that He blind him because he had lost interest in everything and wished to see nothing after him. It is said that he became blind on the spot (Razi, Qurtubi). Ibn Kathir adds few more ahadith. One is in Muslim in which Ka`b b. al-Aslami says:

    كنت أبيت عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأتيته بوضوئه وحاجته، فقال لي: "سَلْ". فقلت: يا رسول الله، أسألك مرافقتك في الجنة. فقال: "أو غَيْرَ ذلك؟" قلت: هو ذاك. قال: "فَأَعِنِّي على نفسك بكثرة السجود". صحيح مسلم

    “I used to spend the night nearby the Prophet. Once I brought him water for ablution and for cleansing himself. He said: “Ask." I said, “Messenger of Allah, I seek your companionship in Paradise.” He said, “Ask for something else.” I said, “That’s for me.” He said: “Then help me for yourself with plenty of prostrations.” Ahmad has a tradition related by `Amr b. al-Juhanni who says a man came to the Prophet and said:

    يا رسول الله شهدت أن لا إله إلا الله وأنك رسول الله وصليت الخمس وأديت زكاة مالي وصمت شهر رمضان. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "من مات على هذا كان مع النبيين والصديقين والشهداء يوم القيامة هكذا- ونصب أصبعيه- ما لم يعق والديه"

    “Apostle of Allah. I testify that there is no deity save Allah, and that you are His messenger. I do my five daily Prayers, offer my zakah and fast 30 days of Ramadan.” the Prophet replied: “Whoever died on this would be (and pressing his two fingers) with those whom Allah has favoured: Prophets, Siddiqun, martyrs and the righteous so long as he did not mistreat his parents.” In another hadith of Tirmidhi, rated hasan by him, the Prophet said:

    التاجر الصدوق الأمين مع النبيين والصديقين والشهداء

    “The honest and trustworthy trader will be with those whom Allah has favoured: the Prophets, Siddiqun, and the martyrs.” However, the best hadith is that which almost reaches the mutawatir status

    من طرق متواترة عن جماعة من الصحابة: أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سئل عن الرجل يحب القوم ولما يلحق بهم؟ فقال: "المرء مع من أحب" قال أنس: فما فرح المسلمون فرحهم بهذا الحديث. صحيحين

    The Prophet was asked about a man who loves a people but is not able to join them. The Prophet said: “A man will be with those he used to love.” It is said that the Companions were rarely seen as happy as when they heard this. Again, we have a hadith of the Sahihayn which reports the Prophet as having said:

    "إن أهل الجنة ليتراءون أهل الغرف من فوقهم، كما تتراءون الكوكب الدري الغابر من الأفق من المشرق أو المغرب لِتَفَاضُلِ ما بينهم". قالوا: يا رسول الله، تلك منازل الأنبياء لا يبلغها غيرهم؟ قال: "بلى، والذي نفسي بيده، رجال آمنوا بالله وصدقوا المرسلين".

    “The dwellers of Paradise will see the people of the ghuraf from high above as you see the stars in the horizon. That (distance) because of the rank and level difference between them.” They said: “Messenger of Allah. Those must be the dwelling places of Prophets.” He replied: “No, by Him in whose hands is my life. Those would be for people who believed in Allah and His messengers.” Quotation from Ibn Kathir ends here. 205. According to a report of `A’isha in Bukhari and Muslim, when she heard these words from the Prophet: “In the company of those whom Allah has favoured: the Prophets, Siddiqun, the martyrs and the righteous,” in his final sickness, she knew that the Prophet would shortly die (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    ذَٰلِكَ الْفَضْلُ مِنَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ عَلِيمًا (70)

    4|70| That is the bounty from Allah. And Allah suffices as One who knows.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا خُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ فَانْفِرُوا ثُبَاتٍ أَوِ انْفِرُوا جَمِيعًا (71)

    4|71| Believers! Take your precautions (against the unbelievers);206 then go forward (in small) detachments or go forward all together.207

    206. What it means is, do not sit back and relax, rather prepare yourself against the enemies of Islam (Ruh). Mawdudi writes: “This discourse was revealed after the battle of Uhud, when the tribes living around Madina had been greatly encouraged by the defeat of the Muslims. The dangers seemed to surround the Muslims on all sides. Day in and day out news poured in about the hostile intentions of some tribe after another ... Beyond Madina neither their life nor property was secure. Consequently, the Muslims had to prepare themselves for a fierce struggle for a tremendous all out effort to ensure that the Islamic movement would not be crushed.” 207. The meaning hidden in the words “go forward all together” is that a man must try and take part in every good activity before his appointed term ends (Ruh). Asad writes: “The problem of war as such arises from the principles of ideological statehood postulated in verse 59 of this surah. Since the Muslims are expected to organize their communal life within the framework of a state based on the ideological premises laid down in the Qur’an, they must be ready for hostility on the part of groups or nations opposed to the world-view and the social system of Islam and, conceivably, bent on its destruction: consequently, the concept of a defensive war in God’s cause (jihad) plays a very prominent role in the socio-political scheme of Islam and is frequently alluded to throughout the Qur’an.” Since the concept that Islam sanctions only a defensive war is commonly prevalent, the above requires a slight modification. The words “defensive war,” destroy the objective “in God’s cause” stated in the same sentence. Jihad can only be “in God’s cause,” if it is waged to uphold the Word of God and put down the Word of taghut. Helping the oppressed Muslims, is only subsidiary and an additional cause, and cannot be called “God’s cause” per se. Also see note 212 below. Though of course, this is all theory. In actual fact, Muslims will have to keep conducting the Jihad of self-defence because never will they be spared the enemy-sword (Au.).

    وَإِنَّ مِنْكُمْ لَمَنْ لَيُبَطِّئَنَّ فَإِنْ أَصَابَتْكُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالَ قَدْ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيَّ إِذْ لَمْ أَكُنْ مَعَهُمْ شَهِيدًا (72)

    4|72| Surely, there are some among you who drag their feet;208 then, if an affliction befalls you, he says: ‘Allah favored me that I was not present with them.’

    208. Such as those who do not prepare themselves - with arms and provisions - for the battles that are anticipated (Ibn Kathir).

    وَلَئِنْ أَصَابَكُمْ فَضْلٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ لَيَقُولَنَّ كَأَنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُ مَوَدَّةٌ يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنْتُ مَعَهُمْ فَأَفُوزَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا (73)

    4|73| But if a good fortune from Allah visits you, he says - as if there was no affection between you and him209 - ‘How I wish I was with them. I would have then made a great fortune.’210

    209. There was, in fact, no love and affection between the hypocrites and Muslims, but this is what they used to claim (and these words were added to refute their claim) - Zamakhshari. 210. Mujahid, Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj have said that the allusion is to the hypocrite in this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Yusuf Ali explains: “The doubter detaches himself in thought and action from the community. If the general body has a reverse, he blesses Allah that he was not among them, instead of being ashamed of himself for desertion. If the general body wins a success, he does not rejoice for the common cause, but only regrets for himself that he was not there to share in the glory and the gains.”

    فَلْيُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يَشْرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيُقْتَلْ أَوْ يَغْلِبْ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (74)

    4|74| Let those then, who (will readily) sell the life of this world for the next, fight in the way of Allah.211 Whoso fights in the way of Allah and is slain, or overcomes (the enemy), We shall surely bestow on him a mighty reward.212

    212. So, for a believer fighting in the way of Allah, it is either martyrdom or victory. Defeat is out of the question (based on Majid’s note).

    وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيرًا (75)

    4|75| How is it with you, that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and in the way of oppressed men, women and children pleading: ‘Our Lord, rescue us from the people of this tyrannous town, and appoint for us a protector from You, and appoint to us a helper from You.213

    213. Thus, there are two reasons that entail the necessity of jihad: one, to establish the religion of Allah, and the other to help the oppressed Muslims (Shabbir). Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi, Hasan and Ibn Zayd say that the situation refers to the early days after hijrah when weak men, women and children were left back in Makkah and were the target of persecution (Ibn Jarir). Ibn `Abbas has said in a report of Bukhari: “I and my mother were the “oppressed ones" that Allah spoke of in this verse (Ibn Kathir).

    الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ ۖ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا (76)

    4|76| The believers fight in the way of Allah, while the unbelievers fight in the way of taghut.214 Fight you, then, against the friends of Shaytan. Shaytan’s guile is weak indeed.215

    214. For explanation of the word taghut see note 172 of this surah and 553 of al-Baqarah. 215. ‘Thus the Qur’an implies that “evil” is not an independent, esoteric factor of life, but rather a result of a man’s succumbing to the temptations arising from his own moral weakness and thereby “denying the truth”. In other words, the “power” of the negative principle symbolized by Satan has no intrinsic reality (“Satan’s guile is weak indeed”): it becomes real only through man’s wilfully choosing a wrong course of action’ (Asad).

    أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً ۚ وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلَا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ ۗ قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا (77)

    4|77| Have you considered those who were told, ‘Restrain yourselves. And, (in the meantime), establish the Prayers and pay the zakah?;’216 but as soon as fighting was prescribed for them, a party of them began to fear the people as they ought to fear Allah, or even more, and began to plead, ‘O Our Lord. Why did you prescribe fighting for us? Why did You not grant us respite for a short while?!’217 Say, ‘Short are the enjoyments of the world, and the Hereafter is better for him who fears (his Lord).218 And you shall not be wronged (even) by a thread.219

    216. Ibn `Abbas has said that once, tired of persecution in Makkah, `Abdul Rahman ibn `Awf and others complained to the Prophet: “As polytheists, we were people of honour. But, after Islam we are being humiliated.” the Prophet told them: “I have been ordered to forgive. Therefore, do not retaliate” (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir adds: A similar report is in Nasa’i. And, one of the reasons for restraining the Muslims was that they were in the holy precincts where fighting was unlawful. The above report is also in Hakim who has declared it trustworthy (Shawkani). On the question of why Islam did not reply force with force in Makkah, Sayyid Qutb has the following to say in summary: “First of all, we need to realize that in these matters we are speaking on behalf of Allah. We might assume things. But we might be right, we might be wrong. There might have been reasons that are not clear to us, known by Allah alone. Therefore, a believer’s attitude should be, whether it is the question of jihad, or other matters such as the wisdom behind Prayers, zakah and so on, that whatever his own reason and logic lead him on to, he only takes them as possibilities and fair guesses, but no more. He is never certain about them, and will never assure himself that there is nothing beyond them. Thus disciplining ourselves, we can look into some of what we think could have been the reasons for not legislating jihad in Makkah: a) It was a phase involving discipline, training and preparation of an assortment of people, in a particular atmosphere, overruled by certain factors: being trained especially in patience and perseverance, and in the obedience to a leadership ... that leadership itself of a more profound order, and not the tribal order. b) Probably because a pacifist method suited the milieu in which Islam appeared: the milieu and culture of the Quraysh, the proud men, who would not bow down to force, rather, fight on. c) To avoid turning every home into a battle-ground, especially when an organized authority was also lacking that could restore order after the chaos. Islam would have been squarely blamed for the resulting chaos. In fact, even without any retaliation by the persecuted Muslims, Islam was being blamed for dividing homes and putting sons against fathers. d) It was from the knowledge that many of those who were then torturing Muslims and persecuting them, would themselves later turn into ardent soldiers of Islam. e) The sense of honour that the Arabs were endowed with worked in favour of Islam. If there were some of them who were torturing weak Muslims, there were others who sympathized with them, and felt guilty about it. f) Fewness of Muslims could have been another reason. The non-Makkan Arabs treated the struggle between the Quraysh and the early Muslims as a family quarrel in which they would not interfere. Had the Muslims clashed with the Quraysh ... and lost ... Islam would have ended there. g) The central figure, that of Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, was himself well-protected by Banu Hashim. Their protection gave him freedom to preach among the Makkans and the adjoining tribes. So long as the freedom to propagate was there, there was no pressing reason to opt for the use of force. 217. The words in the original are ‘ila ajalin qaribin‘ which have been interpreted as meaning, ‘until our deaths’ (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). These were the words of the hypocrites (Qurtubi, Alusi). Some commentators have attributed this behaviour to the weak Muslims. Although nothing has been said by way of substantiation, the possibility exists of some weak-hearted Muslims being unhappy over the ordinance to fight. Thanwi has said that since such of those as alluded to here did not shy away from jihad when the actual occasions arose, their initial aversion to fight - something very natural - did not entail any sin. Majid adds: “This verse gives lie direct to the imaginary eagerness of the early Muslims for warfare from love of booty. The truth of the matter is that they felt hesitant, and very naturally so, considering the heavy odds against them and the obvious risks involved, and went to the battle-field only when impelled by a sense of duty.” 218. Hasan once recited this verse and said: ‘May Allah show mercy to a man who treated this world accordingly. The whole of this world, from the beginning to the end, is no more than a man going in for a nap during which he saw things in a dream and then woke up with a start’ (Ibn Kathir). 219. For an explanation of the fatil of the original, see note 169 above.

    أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُوا يُدْرِكْكُمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنْتُمْ فِي بُرُوجٍ مُشَيَّدَةٍ ۗ وَإِنْ تُصِبْهُمْ حَسَنَةٌ يَقُولُوا هَٰذِهِ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَإِنْ تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَقُولُوا هَٰذِهِ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ ۚ قُلْ كُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۖ فَمَالِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ الْقَوْمِ لَا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ حَدِيثًا (78)

    4|78| Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you,220 although you should be in fortified castles.’221 And, if a good thing happens to them, they say, ‘This is from Allah.’ But when an evil befalls them they say, ‘This is from you.’222 Tell them, ‘Everything is from Allah.’ What then is the matter with these people that they come nowhere near to understanding the discourse?

    220. A man will die on a prescribed day, neither earlier nor later, whether he took part in jihad or not. Khalid ibn Walid said on his death bed: “I have been into such and such battles. There is not a part in my body but there is a mark of a wound that I received. Yet, here I am, dying on my bed” (Ibn Kathir). In our own times we have witnessed or heard several incidents that confirm our faith in this verse. For example, once a worker slipped off the roof of a high rise building under construction in Kuwait. People rushed down but no amount of search would yield his body. He just disappeared. An hour or so later, he appeared. They thought he was a ghost. He explained that he fell right into an open truck carrying foam sheets. Then he said he would buy them all cool drinks in celebration of a new life granted. As he was crossing the street a vehicle struck him and he died on the spot. In another case, in Bangalore a hawk was carrying a snake. Perhaps it lost the hold and dropped it to the ground. The snake fell on a man riding the back seat of a scooter. It bit him immediately and he died. In a third incident police fired into a crowd of Muslims protesting against attacks on them. A bullet passed through a man’s stomach and went into another. The first man survived while the latter died. One could go on adding similar stories (Au.).

    221. Mujahid has the following story to narrate: “A woman gave birth to a child. She told her servant, ‘Go and look for some fire.’ As the man was going out, he met another man at the door. The man asked him, ‘What has that woman brought?’ He replied, ‘A girl.’ The man said, ‘This girl is not going to die until she has fornicated with a hundred, and her (present) servant marries her. And she is going to die by a spider.’ The servant told himself, ‘Will I marry her after she has been in bed with a hundred?’ He turned back and cut open the stomach of the infant girl with a knife (and ran away). The baby survived. She grew into a woman and entered the profession of a prostitute. Once, she was near a port and the man happened to land there (i.e., the former servant). He was laden with great amount of wealth. He enquired in the town about the most beautiful woman whom he could marry. He was told of her as the most beautiful woman of the town, but was warned that she was in the evil profession. He ordered that she be brought to him. When she appeared she said, ‘I’ve given up prostitution and if you want to marry me I think I’m ready.’ He married her. One day, as they were talking, the man revealed the story. She told him she was that girl and showed him the mark on her stomach. She also told him, ‘And I used to be a prostitute, but I am not sure if my customers numbered a hundred, less, or more.’ Upon that the man said, ‘The man (at the door) also told me that she will be killed by a spider.’ Subsequently he built her a fortified castle in the desert. One day, as they were sitting together, she spotted a spider clinging to the roof. She cried out, ‘This spider will kill me.’ She chased it until it fell down. She tried to stamp it with her toe. It bit her below the nail. Her foot blackened from the poison and she died. Hence the verse: ‘Wheresoever you might be, death will overtake you, although you should be in fortified castles’" (Ibn Jarir). The story is also reported by Ibn Abi Hatim (Ibn Kathir). 222. Ibn Zayd has said that what they alleged was: ‘You did not do it well,’ or ‘You did not execute it well,’ and hence this misfortune took place (Ibn Jarir). Ibn `Abbas, Abu al-`Aliyyah and Suddi have, however, said that the hypocrites blamed the Prophet for anything untoward happening to them, whether a natural calamity or a personal misfortune; exactly like the people of Fir`awn about whom the Qur’an said (7: 131):

    ﭑ ﭒ ﭓ ﭔ ﭕ ﭖﭗ ﭘ ﭙ ﭚ ﭛ ﭜ ﭝ ﭞﭟ ﭠ ﭡ ﭢ ﭣ ﭤ ﭥ ﭦ ﭧ ﭨ ﭩ

    “Whenever a good thing happened to them they said, ‘This is from us’, but if an evil befell them they would ascribe it as an evil omen coming from Musa and his followers” (Ibn Kathir).

    مَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِكَ ۚ وَأَرْسَلْنَاكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولًا ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا (79)

    4|79| Whatever good happens to you, it is from Allah. And whatever evil befalls you, it is from yourself.223 And surely, We have sent you as a Messenger to the people. And Allah suffices as a witness.

    223. Qatadah has said, ‘Although everything is from Allah, and it is Allah who sends you good things (without you deserving it: Au.), but when a misfortune visits you, O man, it has your sins as a cause’ (Ibn Jarir). As for the misfortunes that befall a virtuous man, they are meant to purify him, and hence they are no misfortunes at all (Thanwi). Shafi` quotes a hadith from Tirmidhi. The Prophet said:

    لا يصيب عبدا نكبة فما فوقها أو دونها إلا بذنب وما يعفو الله عنه أكثر

    “Nothing strikes a believer, be it a minor mishap or something serious, but it is because of his sins; although much of it (i.e., his sins) goes forgiven.” Tirmidhi declared the above hadith weak. However, a Sahih report says:

    لَا يُصِيبُ مُؤْمِنًا نَكْبَةٌ مِنْ شَوْكَةٍ فَمَا فَوْقَ ذَلِكَ إِلَّا حُطَّتْ بِهِ عَنْهُ خَطِيئَةٌ وَرُفِعَ بِهَا دَرَجَةً

    “A believer is not pricked by a thorn or anything above it, but his sins fall off thereby and his rank is raised.” Asad paraphrases the Islamic viewpoint in a neat manner: “There is no contradiction between this statement and the preceding one that “all is from God". In the world-view of the Qur’an, God is the ultimate source of all happenings: consequently, all good that comes to man and all evil that befalls him flows, in the last resort, from God’s will. However, not everything that man regards as “evil fortune” is really, in its final effect, evil - for, “It may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know” (2: 216). Thus, many an apparent “evil” may sometimes be no more than a trial and a God-willed means of spiritual growth through suffering, and need not necessarily be the result of a wrong choice or a wrong deed on the part of the person thus afflicted. It is, therefore, obvious that the “evil” or “evil fortune” of which this verse speaks has restricted connotation, inasmuch as it refers to evil in the moral sense of the word: that is to say, to suffering resulting from the actions or the behavior of the person concerned, and this in accordance with the natural law of cause and effect which God has decreed for all His creations, and which the Qur’an describes as “the way of God” (Sunnat Allah). For all such suffering man has only himself to blame, since “God does not wrong anyone by as much as an atom’s weight” (4: 40)."

    مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ ۖ وَمَنْ تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا (80)

    4|80| Whosoever obeys the Messenger, thereby obeys Allah.224 As for him who turns away: We have not sent you a watcher over them.

    224. This is one of the strongest of verses to prove that the Prophet was sinless, and that he is to be obeyed in all matters without any exception, unless the exception is proven. The latter part is also a statement of Imam Shafe`i which he made in his Al-Risalah, wherein he stated that, “since the details of the Shari`ah have not been expounded by the Qur’an, there is no recourse but to the sunan of the Prophet.” The verse also proves that obedience in truth is due to Allah alone. If the Prophet is obeyed, it is because he is the medium of instruction between us and Allah Most High (Razi).

    وَيَقُولُونَ طَاعَةٌ فَإِذَا بَرَزُوا مِنْ عِنْدِكَ بَيَّتَ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ غَيْرَ الَّذِي تَقُولُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَكْتُبُ مَا يُبَيِّتُونَ ۖ فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا (81)

    4|81| They say, ‘Obedience (is the word).’ But when they leave you, a party of them spends the night pondering over options other than that you stated.225 Allah writes down their nightly resolutions. Therefore, ignore them226 and place your trust in Allah. Surely, Allah suffices as a Guardian.

    225. Being busy during the day with various activities, it is at night that a man can collect himself and ponder over the affairs of the day (Razi). 226. “Ignore them”, i.e., neither reproach them, nor humiliate them in any way, nor yet, identify them to others (Razi).

    أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا (82)

    4|82| Do they not ponder the Qur’an?227 Had it been from other than Allah, surely they would have found many inconsistencies in it.228

    227. We are thus invited not merely to read and recite the Qur’an but also to ponder it. It is by way of pondering and study that many of its hidden meanings are discovered. However, this is not a license for a free interpretation, or for anyone to work out the Shari`ah from it for himself or for others. That is something for the experts to do. Now, in response to what we have stated, nobody can say: ‘No one has the property rights over the Qur’an. I, being equally intelligent and knowledgeable in many ways, must have the right to interpret.’ He would be answered that it is not being said that some scholars have the property or intellectual rights over the Qur’an, that is, the rights of interpretation or legal deduction, to the exclusion of others. Rather, what is being said is that such a task has a prerequisite of a long study, in institutions run for that purpose, wherein one might also be examined and certified by a group of senior scholars to ensure that what he has learnt is right and adequate for certain purposes. It is just the same, for example, as in the field of medicine. No one can say that the doctors, medical men and the specialists alone have the intellectual rights over medicine. No one can say, ‘I should also have the rights to study on my own, make judgments and then prescribe medicines as I think fit. After all, I am no less intelligent than the doctors.’ He would be told that nobody has the rights of medical prescription reserved in his favor. He also has as much rights to prescribe medicine as any other. But he will have to undergo a systematic course of study and training under the supervision of a group of medical experts, before he can be given the licence to practice (Shafi`: paraphrased). 228. A contemporary Western new Muslim has pointed out that far from finding many inconsistencies in the Qur’an, even the word ‘inconsistencies’ has no second instance in the Qur’an. It occurs only once, at this point. Lack of any inconsistency is an amazing quality of the Qur’an and a proof of the Prophet’s authenticity. During the 23 years of Qur’anic dictation, the Prophet passed through a tempestuous period that covered every day and night of his life creating a new crisis every new morning. He was persecuted, had his honor attacked, denied food, shelter; abused in the streets of Makkah, and chased by urchins and bootleggers out of the town of Ta’if. He conducted his gatherings in hideouts, was molested in the Grand Mosque, and instructed his followers to migrate in secret while he remained in the abusive town to watch his dearest moral and material supporters go cold before his sad eyes. Left with not a penny in the pocket, and three daughters to feed and protect, with no clue about what would happen next, he was ordered to stand long hours before his Lord during the best part of the night while conspiracies were being hatched by his adversaries discussing the best way of spilling the blood of a man who, under a new leadership of the clan, had been denied tribal support and asked to fend for himself the best way he could in a violent world dangerously hostile to him. He migrates on order, hides himself in a cave, is chased right up to his destination, to be greeted by the wealthy Jews at Madinah with acidic smiles and threatening looks, to receive messages from his enemies back home to either give up or watch them tear the town of his refuge in less time than a goat could be milked. Arrest warrant arrives from the Persian Emperor, and the Romans gather forces at the borders of the desert. Raids after raids, battles after battles, his tired and aging feet tread 50,000 km chasing the enemy out or subduing the wild tribes – during the intervals he fights, winning and losing, defending his town from enemy onslaught of such ferocity that believers in him sweat from their teeth. Attempts at his life, guards at the tent, poison in the food, and risk of his mount while he prays on its back in the darkness of night, being sent tumbling into a ravine from hilltop by the goad of hypocrites, unsettle his peace as much as slander against his wife, death of his daughters, a bite by a scorpion, a fall from a horse, loss of a tooth, a chilling stare in disbelief at the corpse of his dear uncle, and, in ordinary times, ‘no money, no food, no nothing,’ chorus announcement of his wives and treacherous murder of 70 of his Companions – disturbing events a mere fraction stated here, leads one to wonder how at all he could have maintained his balance, far from dictating an ever-lasting masterpiece, never to be imitated, without a single inconsistency? The adversaries of Islam, the blind of truth may ask themselves, “could he have been a Prophet?’ instead of the firm dissolve to destroy his followers, even if at the risk of destruction of the world (Au.) Ibn Kathir presents a tradition from Ahmad as reported by Shu`ayb’s grandfather. It says:

    عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ شُعَيْبٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ جَدِّهِ قَالَ لَقَدْ جَلَسْتُ أَنَا وَأَخِي مَجْلِسًا مَا أُحِبُّ أَنَّ لِي بِهِ حُمْرَ النَّعَمِ أَقْبَلْتُ أَنَا وَأَخِي وَإِذَا مَشْيَخَةٌ مِنْ صَحَابَةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جُلُوسٌ عِنْدَ بَابٍ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهِ فَكَرِهْنَا أَنْ نُفَرِّقَ بَيْنَهُمْ فَجَلَسْنَا حَجْرَةً إِذْ ذَكَرُوا آيَةً مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ فَتَمَارَوْا فِيهَا حَتَّى ارْتَفَعَتْ أَصْوَاتُهُمْ فَخَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مُغْضَبًا قَدْ احْمَرَّ وَجْهُهُ يَرْمِيهِمْ بِالتُّرَابِ وَيَقُولُ مَهْلًا يَا قَوْمِ بِهَذَا أُهْلِكَتْ الْأُمَمُ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ بِاخْتِلَافِهِمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ وَضَرْبِهِمْ الْكُتُبَ بَعْضَهَا بِبَعْضٍ إِنَّ الْقُرْآنَ لَمْ يَنْزِلْ يُكَذِّبُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا بَلْ يُصَدِّقُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا فَمَا عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْهُ فَاعْمَلُوا بِهِ وَمَا جَهِلْتُمْ مِنْهُ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى عَالِمِهِ

    “I and my brother took part in an assembly which I would not exchange with red camels. Once I visited the Prophet where we found some senior Companions sitting by his door. We did not wish to divide their assembly, so we sat at the edge. They quoted a verse. But they disagreed over its meaning and began to argue. Voices rose high. At that, the Prophet emerged. His face was red with anger. He threw dust at them and said, ‘Take it easy, my people, for this is what destroyed the nations before you: it was by disagreeing with their prophets and misquoting parts of their books to counter other parts of it. The Qur’an has not been revealed for some parts of it to be refuted with the others, rather, its parts testify (support and explain) each other. Therefore, live by what you understand. As for what you cannot understand, leave it to the experts.’” In a shorter form the essence of the hadith is in a report of Muslim also (Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ ۖ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنْبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا (83)

    4|83| When a matter of security or fear comes to them, they broadcast it.229 If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those who hold command among them,230 surely those of them who can determine231 the matter would have known (the truth) it.232 And, but for Allah’s grace and mercy with you, surely, all but a few would have followed Shaytan.

    229. Suddi and Ibn Jurayj have said: What happened was that when a Muslim battalion encountered an enemy force the news spread about so and so of the unbelievers having been killed or so and so of the Muslims having been killed (without any verification of the reports) - Ibn Jarir. In a report of Muslim and Abu Da’ud the Prophet said:

    كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يُحدِّث بكل ما سمع

    “It is enough of a lie for a Muslim to reproduce all that he hears.” In another sahih hadith (of Muslim and Tuhfah: Hussein) he said:

    من حَدَّث بحديث وهو يرى أنه كذب فهو أحد الكاذبَيْن

    “Whoever reports something about which he knows that it is false, is one of the fabricators” (Ibn Kathir). 230. The words in parenthesis are based on the interpretation of Suddi, although according to Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn abi Layla, it is scholars alone who are alluded to. The verse also implies that the common people have no recourse but to follow the scholars in matters where textual instruction (nass) is lacking (Shafi` from Jassas). Imam Razi adds that since the application of the verse cannot be restricted to jihad affairs (for the reasons that it speaks of matters concerning both security as well as fear), it can be used for substantiating the validity of qiyas (analogy). 231. The word in the original is “yestambi-tunahu” with its root in nabt which is used for the “first pail of water that is extracted from a well being dug” (Razi, Qurtubi, Shawkani). 232. It is reported in sahih ahadith that when the news spread that the Prophet had divorced his wives, `Umar went to the mosque. Some people had already gathered there. They attested to the news. But `Umar would not believe them. He sought permission to see the Prophet. When he was allowed in, the first question he asked was, ‘Have you divorced your wives?’ When the Prophet said, ‘No,’ `Umar cried out Allahu Akbar, went down to the entrance of the mosque and shouted in a loud voice: ‘The Prophet has not divorced his wives.’ “At this”, says `Umar, “this verse was revealed, and I am one of those who determined (the truth of the matter)” - Ibn Kathir. 233. The “therefore” (fa of the original) returns to verse 75 above: “And how is it with you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, while the (weak and the) oppressed men, women and children are pleading: ‘Our Lord. Rescue us from this town whose people are tyrannical, and appoint for us a protector from You, and appoint to us a helper from You.” That is, ‘Fight you, therefore, O Muhammad, in the way of Allah, since such is the cry of the helpless ones’ (Razi, Qurtubi).

    فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ إِلَّا نَفْسَكَ ۚ وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْسًا وَأَشَدُّ تَنْكِيلًا (84)

    4|84| Therefore,233 fight in the way of Allah. You are not responsible, but for yourself.234 And urge on the believers (to fight).235 It might be that Allah will restrict the might of the unbelievers. Allah is stronger in might and more terrible in punishment.236

    234. Accordingly, after the battle of Uhud when the Prophet decided to chase Abu Sufyan and announced his intentions, only a few were inclined to follow him. That was perhaps because of want of time for preparation and the injuries that they had earlier received. However, the Prophet was not discouraged at all. He declared: “I am going, even if alone” (Thanwi). 235. Bukhari has preserved a hadith of Abu Hurayrah’s narration in which the Prophet said:

    "من آمن بالله ورسوله وأقام الصلاة، وآتى الزكاة، وصام رمضان، كان حقا على الله أن يدخله الجنة، هاجر في سبيل الله أو جلس في أرضه التي ولد فيها" قالوا: يا رسول الله، أفلا نبشر الناسَ بذلك؟ فقال: "إن في الجنة مائةَ درجة، أعدَّها الله للمجاهدين في سبيل الله، بين كل درجتين كما بين السماء والأرض، فإذا سألتم الله فاسألوه الفردوس فإنه أوسط الجنة. وأعلى الجنة،وفوقه عرش الرحمن، ومنه تُفَجَّر أنهار الجنة"

    “Whoever believed in Allah, did the Prayers well, paid the zakah and fasted ... it is due from Allah that He admit him into Paradise whether he migrated in the way of Allah, or remained in the place of his birth.” The people asked him, “Shall we not give this good news to the people, O Apostle of Allah?” He said, “Paradise has a hundred levels that Allah has prepared for the mujahidin in His path. Between each level is a distance equal to the distance between the earth and the heaven. Therefore, when you ask, ask for Jannatu al-Firdaws, for it is in the best part of Paradise and in the loftiest area, directly under the `Arsh of al-Rahman ... from there it is that the rivers of Paradise spring out.” Muslim has another hadith according to which the Prophet addressed Abu Sa`id al-Khudri and said:

    "يا أبا سعيد، من رضي بالله ربا، وبالإسلام دينا، وبمحمد نبيًا، وجبت له الجنة" قال: فعجب لها أبو سعيد فقال: أعدها عليَّ يا رسول الله. ففعل. ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "وأخرى يرفع الله بها العبد مائة درجة في الجنة، ما بين كل درجتين كما بين السماء والأرض" قال: وما هي يا رسول الله؟ قال: "الجهاد في سبيل الله"

    “Abu Sa`id. Whoever is satisfied with Allah as his Lord, with Islam as his religion, and Muhammad as a Prophet, has Paradise written for him.” Those words pleased Abu Sa`id. “Can you repeat them for me?” he asked. The Prophet did that and added: “Then there is something else by which Allah raises a man by a hundred levels in Paradise with each level being at a distance from the other equal to the distance between the earth and the heaven.” Abu Sa`id asked: “What is it, O Apostle of Allah?” He replied: “Jihad in the way of Allah” (Ibn Kathir). 236. Surely, Allah had power over them but, as He said (in 47: 4):

    ﮘ ﮙ ﮚ ﮛ ﮜ ﮝ ﮞ ﮟ ﮠﮡ

    “Had Allah desired, He would have punished them, but (if He did not, it was because) He wants to try some of you with others” (Ibn Kathir).

    مَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ نَصِيبٌ مِنْهَا ۖ وَمَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ كِفْلٌ مِنْهَا ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُقِيتًا (85)

    4|85| Whoso intercedes in a good cause237 shall have a portion of it (in rewards); and whoso intercedes in a bad cause shall have a share238 of it in the burden.239 Allah has power over everything.240

    237. The connection between this and the previous verse should be obvious. The Prophet was ordered in the previous verse to urge on the believers to fight. This verse spells out the reward and the punishment for those who discouraged believers from joining the jihad (Razi). Conversely, adds Sayyid, those who encourage others to join in jihad, will have their rewards for such encouragement. 238. The word in the original is kifl, which stands for a share, portion, allotment etc. But it also has the connotation of evil in it, while nasib is free of such connotation (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani). Imam Razi, however, points out that as against nasib, which is for any share, earned or not, kifl is used for that share for which one has put in some efforts. Hence the beauty in the choice of the two words at those particular points. 239. Ibn Jarir thinks that although the application is general, this specifically refers to the recommendations of the Companions to wage a battle against the unbelievers, while the hypocrites recommended a non-confrontational attitude. Zamakhshari explains: A good intercession is one in which a person recommends the case of another, deserving person, in order that the man might obtain his rights, or acts to spurn away an evil from him, for the sake of Allah, without a wage taken for it, with the additional condition that the affairs themselves be of the lawful nature. What does not meet with these conditions is an evil intercession. It is said that once Masruq interceded for another man. After the affair the man sent Masruq a slave-girl as a gift. Masruq was upset. He said, ‘Had I known your intention, I would not have interfered in your affairs, nor shall I ever do after this.’ Mufti Shafi` remarks: Recommendations have been taken to their extremes (in the sub-continent) and turned into leverage for the application of personal power and influence. So that, if someone’s recommendation is not accepted, he is angered. Whereas, someone to whom a case or person has been recommended, is free to either accept or reject the recommendation. When Barirah (Ayesha’s freed slave girl) obtained divorce, her husband, being in love with her, used to go about lamenting over her. The Prophet recommended that she re-marry him. Barirah asked the Prophet if that was an order from him or a recommendation. When he said that it was merely a recommendation, she said that she had no liking for the person whatsoever, and therefore, was not ready to accept the Prophet’s recommendation. The Prophet let her do as she wished without feeling being snubbed by the refusal. 240. The muqita of the original has been variously interpreted as meaning: ‘one who has power (over everything)’; ‘one who is a witness’; as well as, ‘one who guards; or, ‘has an account (of a thing)’ - Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi and others. It also means “the Provider” (Lughat).

    وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُمْ بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَسِيبًا (86)

    4|86| And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better one, or return it (in similar words).241 Surely Allah keeps a watchful account of everything.

    241. That is, if someone says, ‘Al-salamu `alaykum,’ either you respond with the same words saying, ‘Wa `alaykum al-salam’, or add some words of your own to say, for example, ‘Wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.’ Many kinds of responses have been reported of the Prophet - Ibn Jarir. The connection between the verses is as follows. Sometimes when the Muslims marched out against the unbelievers, they came across someone who greeted them with the Islamic greeting. The Muslims attached no weight to his greeting and considered him an unbeliever outright, because he lived in the enemy territory. (Hijrah to Madinah was then an obligation: Au.). Sometimes they even killed him. They were ordered to return the greeting and respect the person, rather than attempt at his life (Razi). Ibn Kathir adds: The rule in the verse applies to Muslims. Abu Da’ud has a tradition – evaluated Sahih - which says:

    والذي نفسي بيده، لا تدخلوا الجنة حتى تؤمنوا ولا تؤمنوا حتى تحابوا أفلا أدلكم على أمر إذا فعلتموه تحاببتم ؟ أفشوا السلام بينكم

    “By Him in whose Hands is my life, you shall not enter Paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love each other. And, shall I not lead you to something, that, if you did, you would begin to love each other?: spread Salam between yourselves.” As for the non-Muslims, the Prophet is reported to have said in a hadith preserved by Muslim:

    لا تبدؤوا اليهود والنصارى بالسلام، وإذا لقيتموهم في طريق فاضطروهم إلى أضيقه

    “Do not take the initiative in saying Salam to the Jews or Christians. Rather, if you encounter them on the way, force them into its narrower area.” Hasan has said that initiating the Salam to Muslims is recommendatory. But its reply is wajib (Ibn Jarir). That is also the opinion of Imam Nakha`i. But it is not obligatory to reply during the Friday sermon, or if one is reciting the Qur’an in a loud voice, or is narrating a hadith, or when people are in a study circle, or during Prayer-calls or when Iqamah is being said. Further, Abu Yusuf has ruled that if someone tells another, ‘Give so and so my greetings,’ then conveying it is wajib. He has also said that Salam may not be said to those playing chess, or to a singer, one attending to a nature’s call, one flying pigeons, or one naked. It is also said that a man should say Salam to his wife, but not to a strange Muslim woman (unless she be quite old: Qurtubi). Also, a rider should greet the pedestrian, the pedestrian, the one sitting, the one riding a horse should greet the man on a donkey, the younger should greet the older, (although the Prophet used to greet even children: Qurtubi) and a smaller group should greet a larger group. It is also reported of the Prophet that he said that if the Jews and Christians say “Peace be upon you,” say in return, “`Alayka” i.e., ‘And upon you’ (Zamakhshari). A single person returning the greeting on behalf of a group is adequate (Alusi). The Companions used to greet each other even if, during a walk together, they were separated for a few seconds by a tree (Qurtubi). Adds Shafi` from Muwatta’: It is reported that `Abdullah ibn `Umar sometimes visited the market place with no other intention but to say Salam to the people there. Majid quotes an English lady: “`As-salam-alaikum’, these gentle words of greeting each other as they pass, is a music to the ear. It is amusing to watch the dexterity with which two friends will sustain a competition in greeting: each endeavouring to outdo the other in compliments... Master and the servant, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlettered, greet each other with the same dignity on both sides, leading to no loss of self-respect to either.”

    اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۗ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثًا (87)

    4|87| Allah, there is no god but He. He shall surely bring you all together on the Day of Judgment. (There is) no doubt about it. And who is truer than Allah in a statement?!

    فَمَا لَكُمْ فِي الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَهْدُوا مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ ۖ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلًا (88)

    4|88| What is the matter with you that you are two groups with regard to the hypocrites,242 while Allah has thrust them back because of what they have earned?!243 Would you guide him whom Allah has led astray? You shall not find a way for him whom Allah has led astray.

    242. Although there are several interpretations offered to the verse, the one in Bukhari and Muslim (as also in Ahmad: Ibn Kathir) seems to be the nearest to being correct. It is reported by Zayd b. Thabit that when the Prophet (saws) was marching out to Uhud, some people fell back and returned to their dwellings. The Companions of the Prophet were divided over them: some said they should be fought and killed. Others said no. Allah revealed this verse and the Prophet said:

    إنها طيبة وقال إنها تنفي الخبيث كما تنفي النار خبث الحديد

    “This (i.e., Madinah) is Taybah (the pure).” He also said, “It rejects the impure as fire separates out the impurities from silver” (Qurtubi, Shawkani). Another opinion, that of Mujahid, is that the verse referred to some of those who had come to Madinah as Muslims, but after some time returned to Makkah on the pretext of trade and then stayed back. However, in view of the following verse which instructs Muslims not to take them friends, Ibn Jarir favours the opinion of Ibn `Abbas who said that the verse was speaking of a couple of men in Makkah (two, according to Qatadah) who had started to speak favourably of Islam but stayed back while others migrated. 243. That is, Allah has placed them on the same footing as the ordinary unbelievers (Kashshaf). Rakasa is to give back something its original shape or position. Here it has been used in the sense of sending back the hypocrites to their original position of disbelief where the same rulings and laws would apply to them as those applied to the rest of the unbelievers (Razi).

    وَدُّوا لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُوا فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَاءً ۖ فَلَا تَتَّخِذُوا مِنْهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ حَتَّىٰ يُهَاجِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَخُذُوهُمْ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّخِذُوا مِنْهُمْ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا (89)

    4|89| They wish that you also disbelieve as they have disbelieved so that you two might be on the same level. Therefore, do not take for yourselves friends from them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah.244 And if they refuse, then seize them and slay them wherever you find them, and take not for yourselves friends or helpers from their ranks.245

    244. In early Islam, hijrah became mandatory for every Muslim after the Prophet’s own hijrah. A man’s Islam was not considered genuine if he did not migrate. In case of his death he could not even be inherited by his relatives in Madinah, if there were any. These rules remained in force until the fall of Makkah when the Prophet declared: “There is no hijrah after the fall.” However, the rule still remains in force for Muslims living in a land where they are not free to practice their religion. It is about such a hijrah that the Prophet has said:

    لَا تَنْقَطِعُ الْهِجْرَةُ حَتَّى تَنْقَطِعَ التَّوْبَةُ وَلَا تَنْقَطِعُ التَّوْبَةُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا

    “Hijrah will never cease until the time of invalidation of repentance; and the time for repentance will not cease until the sun appears from its West” (based on Ma`arif). 245. In other words, these hypocrites were to be treated as any other Makkan. And the situation between the Makkans and the Muslims at that time was that, initiated by the Makkans, they were at war with each other, raiding each other’s territory, and killing anyone they could lay their hands on. For instance, Khubayb b. `Adiyy was captured those days by the Makkans and killed him in Makkah in a cold-blooded manner (Au.).

    إِلَّا الَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَىٰ قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِيثَاقٌ أَوْ جَاءُوكُمْ حَصِرَتْ صُدُورُهُمْ أَنْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ أَوْ يُقَاتِلُوا قَوْمَهُمْ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ فَلَقَاتَلُوكُمْ ۚ فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْا إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلًا (90)

    4|90| Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.

    246. Abu Da’ud has a narration reporting Ibn `Abbas that this verse has been abrogated by the fifth verse of al-Tawbah which allowed the pagans respite until the Hajj of the ninth year after hijrah, a deadline after which their presence would not be tolerated (Shawkani). 247. “(The implication is) that the lack of requisite power, and not true good will, causes them to refrain from making war on the believers” (Asad). 248. `Ikrimah, Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd have said that these verses were abrogated by the first five verses of al-Tawbah - Ibn Jarir. Abu Da’ud (in his Nasikh), Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Nuhhas and Bayhaqi have maintained a similar opinion (Shawkani).

    سَتَجِدُونَ آخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَأْمَنُوكُمْ وَيَأْمَنُوا قَوْمَهُمْ كُلَّ مَا رُدُّوا إِلَى الْفِتْنَةِ أُرْكِسُوا فِيهَا ۚ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَعْتَزِلُوكُمْ وَيُلْقُوا إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ وَيَكُفُّوا أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَخُذُوهُمْ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكُمْ جَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا (91)

    4|91| You will find others who wish to be safe from you and safe from their own people, (but) every time they are exposed to a temptation (of war), they plunge headlong into it.249 If they do not avoid (fighting) you, do not send peace overtures to you, and, do not restrain themselves, then seize them and slay them wherever you find them. Such are the people against whom Allah has provided you a clear argument.250

    249. It seems there were several people whom the verse was referring to: a tribe in Tihama that sued for peace, Nu`aym b. Mas`ud Thaqafi, and some others from Makkah who used to come to Madinah expressing their desire to remain neutral. However, whenever there were armed clashes they threw their weight on one or the other side (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani). 250. In short there were, at that time in the history of Islam, three classifications of people outside the fold of Islam: 1) Those who had the ability to migrate but did not, or migrated but ultimately returned to their disbelieving people. They held the same status as the common unbelievers. 2) Those who had entered into a no-war treaty with the Muslims, or had made a pact with those who had made a similar treaty with the Muslims. They could not be attacked. 3) Those who had made a treaty of expediency with the Muslims. They remained true to the treaty as long as it suited them. But whenever a battle erupted between Muslims and others, they threw in their lot with the enemies of the Muslims. Pre-emptive attacks on these were also allowed (Ma`arif).

    وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ أَنْ يَقْتُلَ مُؤْمِنًا إِلَّا خَطَأً ۚ وَمَنْ قَتَلَ مُؤْمِنًا خَطَأً فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ وَدِيَةٌ مُسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يَصَّدَّقُوا ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ قَوْمٍ عَدُوٍّ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ وَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِيثَاقٌ فَدِيَةٌ مُسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ وَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ فَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ تَوْبَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (92)

    4|92| It is not for a believer to kill a believer, unless it be by accident.251 If someone kills a believer accidentally, (then the expiation is) freeing of a believing slave252 and blood-wit paid to his family,253 unless they forgive by way of charity. However, if (the dead) belonged to a people at war with you, but he was a believer, then (upon you is only) the freeing of a believing slave. But if he belonged to a people with whom you have a compact, then, (incumbent is) the blood-wit paid to his family as well as freeing of a believing slave. Nonetheless, for such as him who does not find the means, it is two month’s consecutive fasts254 by way of repentance to Allah. Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    251. That is, it is not conceivable that a believer should intentionally kill another believer. Several incidents became the cause of revelation of this verse. It is said that when `Umar (ra) migrated to Madinah he was accompanied by `Ayyash ibn Abi Rabi`ah al-Makhzumi, who was the most beloved of his mother’s sons. Abu Jahl followed him in his tracks to Madinah (while the Prophet was still at Makkah), in the company of Harith b. Yezid and informed `Ayyash that his mother had vowed that she would lie in the sun until `Ayyash came to see her. They assured him that once his mother had broken her vow he could return. `Umar suspected a foul play and tried to dissuade him from returning. But when he found that `Ayyash had made up his mind he told him to take one of his own camels, a very fast one, and never to dismount come what may. If he suspected foul play at any point, all that he had to do was to turn her around and let her loose. So `Ayyash started back in their company. On the way Abu Jahl and Harith managed to bring him down from the camel, tied him up and rode back to Makkah. Harith even whipped `Ayyash. `Ayyash vowed to himself that he would kill him at the first opportunity. However, for the moment under guard, he stayed in Makkah until it fell to the Muslims eight years later. Then, as `Ayyash was returning to Madinah, he met Harith b. Yezid on the way and killed him without knowing that in the meanwhile Harith had become a Muslim. These verses were revealed (Ibn Jarir). Some details of the above narration are from Ibn Is-haq (Au.). Another of such accidental murders that took place during the Prophet’s time is recorded in Muslim and narrated by Usama b. Zayd. He says that once, out in a campaign, he came across a man who said la ilaha illa Allah, but he killed him all the same. When he reported to the Prophet he asked him: “Did you kill him after he had said la ilaha illa Allah?” Usama replied: “O Messenger of Allah, he had said that out of fear of the sword.” The Prophet said: “Why did you not open his chest to find out if he had said that out of fear?” (Qurtubi). The narration is as follows:

    عَنْ أُسَامَةَ بْنِ زَيْدٍ وَهَذَا حَدِيثُ ابْنِ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ قَالَ بَعَثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي سَرِيَّةٍ فَصَبَّحْنَا الْحُرَقَاتِ مِنْ جُهَيْنَةَ فَأَدْرَكْتُ رَجُلًا فَقَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ فَطَعَنْتُهُ فَوَقَعَ فِي نَفْسِي مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَذَكَرْتُهُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَقَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَقَتَلْتَهُ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّمَا قَالَهَا خَوْفًا مِنْ السِّلَاحِ قَالَ أَفَلَا شَقَقْتَ عَنْ قَلْبِهِ حَتَّى تَعْلَمَ أَقَالَهَا أَمْ لَا فَمَا زَالَ يُكَرِّرُهَا عَلَيَّ حَتَّى تَمَنَّيْتُ أَنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ يَوْمَئِذٍ

    According to other reports Abu al-Darda’ also happened to kill a man during a campaign. When he raised his sword the man cried out la ilaha illa Allah. But, despite that, Abu Darda’ killed him. When he returned and was asked about the affair, he said that it was nothing but fear that had led that man to utter those words. He enquired the Prophet: granted he had committed an error, what was his own position now? The Prophet answered: “And what about the words la ilaha illa Allah?” Abu al-Darda’ sought clearance for himself several times but the Prophet repeated the same words. Then these verses were revealed (Ibn Jarir). But other reports, such as one in Bukhari, have named the person as Khalid ibn al-Walid and not Abu Darda’. The story of Khalid ibn al-Walid himself is that he was leading in a campaign when they come across a people, who, when confronted, began to say: “Saba’na, saba’na” (i.e., we have abandoned our old religion and adopted a new one). But since that did not mean they had become Muslims, Khalid attacked them. Some were killed. When the incident was reported to the Prophet, he raised his hands in supplication and said: “O Allah, I disown what Khalid has done.” Subsequently he sent `Ali to pay them the blood-wit and compensate for any other loss they had suffered (Ibn Kathir). 252. Most of the early scholars have said that since the Qur’an often states the freeing of a slave as expiation, but in some instances makes it conditional that they be believing slaves, it is necessary, in such cases, to free only an adult, believing slave, who has begun to Pray and fast (Ibn Jarir). However, the majority opinion is that even a believing child-slave can be enfranchised as expiation (Ibn Kathir). 253. Those days blood-wit used to be a hundred adult camels of various ages, or a 1000 Dinars, due from the `Aqilah (male blood relatives, friends and supporters) of the murderer. (This is also the blood-wit for an embryo: Ibn Kathir). Further, Abu Bakr, `Uthman, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibrahim Nakha`i, Sha`bi, Zuhri, and many others maintained that the blood-wit amount for a Jew or a Christian is the same as that for a Muslim. But `Umar granted the Dhimmi only one half the blood-wit (Ibn Jarir). 254. So that, if one fasts for 40 consecutive days but does not on the 41st day, he will have to begin anew and fast 60 consecutive days.

    وَمَنْ يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا (93)

    4|93| As for him who kills a believer willfully,255 his reward is Jahannum, abiding therein forever.256 Allah is angry with him, His curse is upon him And He has prepared for him a great chastisement.

    255. An intentional murder in Islam (is not simply one that has been premeditated, rather: Au.), one in which a person uses a weapon, a rope, a large stone, a heavy stick, or anything that can kill. If these, and other circumstantial evidences are absent, then the slaying will be considered shibh `amd (quasi-deliberate intent), in which case the blood-wit is suitably adjusted [by the judge], (in addition, of course, to two month’s fasts: Au.). This is the opinion of the great majority. This has been derived from the judgment of the Prophet in a case involving a Jew who killed a woman by placing her head on a rock and dropping another on it (Ibn Jarir). 256. Abu Mijlaz and Abu Salih’s opinion is that the punishment deserved by the intentional killer of a believer is as stated in this verse, i.e., “His reward is Jahannum, abiding therein for ever. Allah is angry with him, His curse is upon him; and He has prepared a great chastisement for him.” But the final decision will be Allah’s. However, Ibn `Abbas’ opinion is well known that there is no repentance for such a man. He used to say: “This was the last thing Allah revealed on the subject. He did not reveal anything subsequently to abrogate it.” Kharijah b. Zayd and Dahhak were of the same opinion. Yet, Mujahid used to add: “unless he repented” (Ibn Jarir). As for the verses 68-70 of surah al-Furqan, Zayd bin Thabit’s opinion was that they were revealed six months before surah al-Nisa’. (According to another opinion, 8 years earlier. See al-Furqan, v. 68 in Ibn Jarir). And, the verses (68-70) of surah al-Furqan are:

    وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا (68) يُضَاعَفْ لَهُ الْعَذَابُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيَخْلُدْ فِيهِ مُهَانًا (69) إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا [الفرقان : 68 - 70]

    “And those who invoke not any other deity besides Allah, nor slay such souls as Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, nor commit an illegal sexual intercourse - and whoever does that shall meet the price of sin; his punishment will be doubled on the Day of Judgment, and he shall abide there in disgrace; except for him who repented, and believed, and worked righteous deeds, Allah will change their evil deeds with good ones. Allah is Ever-forgiving, Ever-merciful.” (In other words, the statement of surah al-Nisa’ has not been abrogated by the verses of surah al-Furqan quoted herewith) - Ibn Jarir. Thus, Ibn Zayd’s information supports Ibn `Abbas’ opinion that the verses of surah al-Nisa’ were the last thing revealed on the subject (Au.). Ibn Kathir adds: Slaying of a believer, is a heinous crime. The Prophet has said, in a report of the Sahihayn:

    أَوَّلُ مَا يُقْضَى بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِي الدِّمَاءِ

    “The first (of the disputes) to be settled on the day of Judgment would be that of the (crimes) of bloodshed.” Another hadith (of Ibn Majah: H. Ibrahim) says that,

    لَزَوَالُ الدُّنْيَا أَهْوَنُ عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ قَتْلِ مُسْلِمٍ

    “The destruction of the world is of less concern to Allah that the killing of a believer." Another hadith says that:

    لَوِ اجْتَمَعَ أَهْلُ السَّمَاءِ وَأَهْلُ الأَرْضِ عَلَى قَتْلِ امْرِئٍ مُؤْمِنٍ لَعَذَّبَهُمُ اللَّهُ

    “Were the people of the heaven and earth to unite over the killing of a Muslim, Allah would surely hurl them all into Fire.” (But the report is weak: Au.). Yet another report (of Ibn Majah: H. Ibrahim) says:

    مَنْ أَعَانَ عَلَى قَتْلِ مُسْلِمٍ بِشَطْرِ كَلِمَةٍ لَقِىَ اللَّهَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَكْتُوبٌ عَلَى جَبْهَتِهِ آيِسٌ مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ

    “Whoever helped in the slaying of a Muslim, even if it be by a word, will appear on the Day of Judgment with the words: ‘Despaired of Allah’s mercy’ written on his forehead.” The report is very weak (Albani). Ibn `Abbas’ well-known opinion is in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i and Ahmad. It is reported about him in Nasa’i and Ibn Majah that a man came to him and asked him: “What do you have to say about a man who murdered a Muslim?” In reply Ibn `Abbas quoted this verse and said: “These were the last words on this subject that were revealed to the Prophet.” The man asked: “What have you to say if he repented, and led a good life there onward?” Ibn `Abbas said: “Where is repentance for him? I have heard the Prophet say:

    يَجِيءُ الْقَاتِلُ وَالْمَقْتُولُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مُتَعَلِّقٌ بِرَأْسِ صَاحِبِهِ يَقُولُ رَبِّ سَلْ هَذَا لِمَ قَتَلَنِي

    “The murderer and the murdered will come on the day of Judgment, holding the (murderer) by his head, saying: “O Lord. Ask this man why he killed me?’" Ibn `Abbas is not alone in this opinion. Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Hurayrah, `Abdullah ibn `Amr, Mu`awiyyah, and many others were with him. However, all said, the opinion of the great majority of scholars, both classical as well as modern, is that the final say with regard to the murderer of a believer will be Allah’s. He might forgive if He will. As for the fact that nothing was revealed on the subject after the verses of surah al-Nisa’ in question, that should not be of a great concern, for the verses which promise forgiveness, even if revealed earlier, are general in their application. Further, we also have in a well-known tradition the story of an Israelite who had murdered a hundred souls, yet he was forgiven. In fact, Abu Hurayrah’s opinion itself is that the punishment of a believer’s murderer is as stated in these verses. But, it is not necessary that such a punishment be delivered to him. Again, so far as the demand of the murdered person that the murderer be asked why he murdered him, well, that is his right which he would be raising and which he will be compensated for. That in fact also applies to all such cases where other’s rights have been usurped, such as theft, deceit, etc. Quotation from Ibn Kathir ends here. Interestingly, some reports suggest that Ibn `Abbas admitted the possibility of repentance for an intentional murder. It is said that once a man came to him and asked him about an intentional murderer. Ibn `Abbas told him that there was no chance of him being forgiven. When the man was gone his companions and students asked him if he had not said earlier that an intentional murderer of a believer had a chance of forgiveness. He replied that although he had said that earlier, but in this present case he suspected that the man appeared to him as one meditating a murder and wanted to be sure that if he committed it, he would be forgiven. Accordingly, the people sent someone on the heels of the man to find out whether that was true, and found that the case was as Ibn `Abbas had suspected (Qurtubi). Alusi adds: It is reported of many scholars that they ordinarily ruled that there was no repentance for a killer, but when somebody actually came to them admitting the crime, they asked him to repent.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُوا وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ أَلْقَىٰ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَامَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كُنْتُمْ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا (94)

    4|94| Believers!257 When you are journeying in the way of Allah, be discriminating (before you attack), and - out of a desire for the fleeting gains of this worldly life - do not say to him who offers you an Islamic greeting, ‘You are not a believer.’258 For with Allah are gains abundant. So were you aforetime, then Allah favored you.259 Therefore, be discriminating.260 Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do.

    257. The previous verses spoke of the heinousness of the crime of a Muslim’s murder. The following verses tell us that for the rules of Islam to be applicable to a man, all that he has to meet by way of a condition is his verbal assertion that he is a Muslim. A detailed enquiry is not to be conducted to check the bona fides of a man’s claim (Thanwi). 258. Several stories have come down to us as those occasioning the revelation of these verses, but the most reliable one is in Tirmidhi, who declared it hasan sahih of status, as well as in Hakim, who has called it a trustworthy narration although Bukhari and Muslim have not recorded it. According to these reports a group of Companions went out in a campaign. They met a shepherd who greeted them in the Islamic way. But they thought he was doing that only to save his life. They killed him and seized his cattle. Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Kathir). 259. It is said that the man who was slain used to conceal his Islamic identity from his people out of fear of persecution. Allah, therefore, reminded those who had slain him that once you were in the same state, concealing your faith from your own people out of fear of persecution at their hands (Ibn Jarir). Bukhari has a short report about Miqdad ibn al-Aswad that he killed someone who cried out la ilaha illa Allah when he advanced toward him, but, despite that, Miqdad killed him. The Prophet told him:

    إذا كان رجل مؤمن يخفي إيمانه مع قوم كفار، فأظهر إيمانه فقتلتَه، فكذلك كنت أنت تخفي إيمانك بمكة من قبل

    “If the believing man was concealing his faith from his unbelieving people; he disclosed his faith but you killed him, so were you aforetime, concealing your faith in Makkah” (Ibn Kathir). Sayyid Qutb writes: “Allah reminds the believers of the recent days of ignorance: of the rashness and frivolity that prevailed then. He reminds them of His grace by which He cleansed their hearts and guided them to loftier objectives, so that now they can not think of returning to battles and wars with the intention of loot and plunder as was their wont in the days of ignorance. He impresses upon them His favor in that He has set for them the limits and bounds, and has given them a new system (that organizes their affairs). So let not the final verdict be influenced by the first impulses (of anger), as it used to be during the days of jahiliyyah. The text also throws hints at the fact that they themselves were in the same state some time back: concealing their faith from their enemies, on account of fear and vulnerability, not making it known except when in peace with the Muslims. This man too, who was killed, used to conceal his faith from his people, and disclosed it to the Muslims by greeting them in the manner of Islamic greeting. Said Allah, ‘So were you aforetime, but Allah has been gracious to you.’” Legal Points • 1. While blood-wit is due from himself and the family (aqilah) of the murderer, fasts are to be observed by him alone (Ma`arif). • 2. Where there is no inheritor of the slain, the blood-wit will be returned to the public treasury (Ma`arif). • 3. According to the Hanafiyyah, blood-wit amount of a dhimmi is the same as that of a Muslim (Ma`arif). • 4. The blood-wit amount, in the case of a murder of a man belonging to a people with whom the Islamic state has a treaty, will depend on the clauses of the treaty (Mawdudi from Jassas). 260. The words “Be discriminating” imply that although a man becomes a Muslim by his very assertion to that effect, it is also necessary that he should “not” at least do what the unbelievers do. For instance, if he says he is a Muslim, but worships idols, then he has invalidated his own claim. In fact, Musaylimah the Liar, used to pray and order the adhan said in the Islamic manner, without any alteration. But he also claimed that he was a Prophet. That nullified his claim to Islam of the standard definition (Ma`arif).

    لَا يَسْتَوِي الْقَاعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ غَيْرُ أُولِي الضَّرَرِ وَالْمُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۚ فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ دَرَجَةً ۚ وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَفَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (95)

    4|95| Not equal are the believers who sit back - other than the disabled261 - and those who fight in the way of Allah with their possessions and their selves. Allah has preferred by a rank those who fight in the way of Allah with their possessions and their selves, over those who sit back; although, to each Allah has promised the (ultimate) good. But Allah has preferred - with a great reward - those who fight, over those who sit back.

    261. It is said that when this verse was revealed `Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, the blind, came to the Prophet and asked: “What about people like me, O Messenger of Allah?” The revelation then added: “unless they suffer a disability” (Ibn Jarir). Hence the Prophet once said to his Companions, according to reports in Bukhari and Abu Da’ud:

    لَقَدْ تَرَكْتُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ أَقْوَامًا مَا سِرْتُمْ مَسِيرًا ، وَلا أَنْفَقْتُمْ مِنْ نَفَقَةٍ ، وَلا قَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ وَادٍ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ مَعَكُمْ فِيهِ ، قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، كَيْفَ يَكُونُونَ مَعَنَا وَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ؟ قَالَ : حَبَسَهُمُ الْعُذْرُ

    “You have left behind you some people in Madinah who are with you wherever you go, in whatever you spend, and whenever you cross through a valley." They asked: “How could that be, Messenger of Allah?” He said: “Nothing held them back but a reason beyond their control” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Alusi adds: It is reported of `Abdullah Ibn Maktum by Ibn al-Mundhir through Ibn Abi Layla, that he used to participate in jihad saying: “Give me the standard and place me in the middle, for, (being blind) I cannot run away.”

    دَرَجَاتٍ مِنْهُ وَمَغْفِرَةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (96)

    4|96| (To each are separate) ranks from Him,262 forgiveness and mercy. And Allah is Ever-forgiving, Ever-merciful.263

    262. Qatadah has said: “It used to be said: ‘Islam is one rank; hijrah in Islam another rank; jihad in hijrah yet another rank. And, being killed in a jihad in hijrah, another rank’” (Ibn al-Qayyim and others). 263. The Sahihayn have preserved the Prophet’s words:

    إِنَّ فِى الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ أَعَدَّهَا لِلْمُجَاهِدِينَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ

    “There are a hundred levels in Paradise that Allah has prepared for the mujahidin. Between each level is the distance as there is between the heaven and the earth” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Bukhari has the following words in addition:

    فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ فَإِنَّهُ أَوْسَطُ الْجَنَّةِ وَأَعْلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَفَوْقَهُ عَرْشُ اللَّهِ وَمِنْهُ تَفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ

    “Therefore, when you ask Allah, ask for Firdaws for it is in the center of Paradise and the best part of it. Above it is the `Arsh of the Rahman and from there spring out the rivers of Paradise (Shawkani). Jihad At this point, Sayyid Qutb has the following to write on the subject of jihad: “Jihad is not one of the several passing phenomenon of the early Islam. It is a necessary outfit that accompanies the caravan and the mission. The point is not - as some well-wishing Muslims feel - that Islam grew in an age that was dominated by Imperial Powers. Therefore, the concept, as if to say, was thrust upon the value system of its followers, by the surrounding milieu. That is, there was no alternative to a dominating force for the maintenance of a just balance. The least that these sacerdotal ideas and wild guesses do is to speak of the poor understanding of the true nature of Islam. Had jihad been a passing phenomenon in the lives of the believers, the Qur’an would not have devoted so much space, in its best parts, and in the style that it reserves, for it. Nor would the Sunnah of the Prophet have granted it so much space, and reserved for it such a style. Had jihad been a passing phenomenon the Prophet would not have addressed every believer who will follow him until the Last day in words:

    مَنْ مَاتَ وَلَمْ يَغْزُ وَلَمْ يُحَدِّثْ نَفْسَهُ بِغَزْوٍ مَاتَ عَلَى شُعْبَةِ نِفَاقٍ

    “Whoever died without fighting and without intending to fight, died on a branch of hypocrisy.” Yes, the Prophet turned away a few individual mujahidin, because of their special circumstances - as it is reported in the Sahih books that a man sought the Prophet’s permission to fight. The Prophet asked him: “Do you have parents?” He replied, “Yes.” The Prophet ordered him: “Serve them.” But if incidents of this sort have been reported, they were concerning specific persons who were spared jihad for specific reasons. They do not lay down the general rule for all. Obviously, the absence of an individual does not affect a whole body of mujahidin. It is quite possible that the Prophet - as was his wont - knew the conditions of every one of his follower. Perhaps he knew the conditions of this particular person’s parents, and therefore, advised him to stay back. But nobody can say, basing his argument on it, that jihad was a passing phenomenon because of the peculiar situations; and that the situation has now changed. That is not so. And if it is not so, it is not because Islam desires its adherents to saunter in the streets and highways with a naked sword chopping off heads. Rather, it is because the realities of life and the nature of this mission require that it hold the sword and be on its guard every moment. Allah was aware that this mission will be disapproved of by the kings and rulers of the lands, and that it is natural that those in power should oppose it, for its ways are not the ways of the rulers. Its framework is not the framework of the kings: not only yesterday, but even today and tomorrow - in every place and in every epoch. Allah knew that evil is a braggart; that it will never be fair; that it will never allow virtue to flourish, however safe and non-conflicting a path it might choose for itself, for the very growth of virtue is a thing of danger to evil; and the very existence of truth is a threat to falsehood. Therefore, there is no option for evil but a resort to oppression, and there is no option for falsehood but to attempt to exterminate truth and destroy it with brute force. This is the nature of things, and not a passing phenomenon. This is the instinctive tendency and not a temporary phase. Therefore, there is no option to jihad - no choice for Islam but to sanction it - in all its forms. It is incumbent, however, that it should begin in the world of conscience (within the self); then it should grow strong and appear in full light of life and action. There is no alternative but for the evil in arms to be faced up by virtue, also in arms. There is no choice but for armed truth to confront the evil goaded on by its swollen numbers. If that does not happen, then the affair is no more than suicide; or a horseplay that does not deserve the attention of the believers."

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا ۚ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا (97)

    4|97| Behold, the angels who withdraw the souls of those who continued to wrong themselves ask: ‘In what circumstances were you?’ They reply: ‘We were oppressed in the land.’264 They ask: ‘But was not Allah’s earth vast enough in which you could have emigrated?’265 Such people then, their resort is Jahannum, an evil retreat.266

    264. The verse refers to those who embraced Islam secretly in Makkah and did not emigrate to Madinah even after the Prophet’s emigration. Muhammad ibn `Abdul Rahman reports: “A contingent was being raised against the Syrians (during the Khilafah of `Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr) and my name was included. I met `Ikrimah and told him about myself. He discouraged me in very strong terms from joining the contingent and related Ibn `Abbas as saying, ‘Some people who had borne testimony to the faith were in the pagan ranks and (were forced to: Au.) participate in battles against the Muslims. Arrows flew and kill them, or they fell to a sword. It is in reference to such that Allah revealed, “The angels who withdraw the souls of those who continued to wrong themselves ask: ‘In what circumstances were you?’" (Ibn Jarir). The above report is in Bukhari (Qurtubi). Another report in Ibn Abi Hatim identifies the battle in the above hadith as that of Badr (Ibn Kathir). 265. Mawdudi writes: “Those people who had willingly acquiesced to living under an un-Islamic order would be called to account by God and would be asked: If a certain territory was under the dominance of rebels against God, so that it had become impossible to follow His Law, why did you continue to live there? Why did you not migrate to a land where it was possible to follow the law of God?” 266. Abu Da’ud has a hadith which records the Prophet as having said:

    من جامع المشرك وسكن معه فإنه مثله

    “Whoever intermingled with a pagan and lived with him is like him” (Ibn Kathir).

    إِلَّا الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا (98)

    4|98| Except the truly helpless: men, women and children267 who do not find the means (to escape) and are not guided to a way.268

    267. Although the inclusion of children sounds superfluous, it is perhaps to say that the inability to migrate should be of the order of that suffered by the children, in order to be counted as a good excuse (Thanwi). 268. Ibn `Abbas is widely reported as saying: “I and my mother were of the helpless ones who did not have the means nor were guided to a way” (Ibn Jarir).

    فَأُولَٰئِكَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا (99)

    4|99| It is hoped of such that Allah will forgive them.269 Allah is ever Pardoning, Forgiving.

    269. According to reports, the Prophet used to supplicate for the deliverance of these people in his Prayers, even naming some, such as `Ayyash ibn Rabi`ah, Salamah ibn Hisham and others (Ibn Jarir). Such reports are in Bukhari also (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَنْ يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً ۚ وَمَنْ يَخْرُجْ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (100)

    4|100| Whoso emigrates in the way of Allah will find many refuges270 and vast expanses in the eart.271 Further, whoso abandons his home, as an immigrant to Allah and His Messenger, but death overtakes him, surely, his reward is due with Allah.272 Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

    270. The word in the original is muragham which can also be explained as one who leaves his people against their will (Zamakhshari). 271. Mawdudi writes: “Some people have misunderstood the tradition which says: ‘There is no hijrah after the conquest of Makka’. This tradition is specifically related to the people of Arabia of that time and does not embody a permanent injunction. At the time when the greater part of Arabia constituted the Domain of Unbelief (Dar al-Kufr) or the Domain of War (Dar al-Harb), and Islamic laws were being enforced only in Madina and its outskirts, the Muslims were emphatically enjoined to join and keep together. But when unbelief lost its strength and elan after the conquest of Makka, and almost the entire peninsula came under the dominance of Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) declared that migration was no longer needed. This does not mean, however, that the duty to migrate was abolished for Muslims all over the world for all time to come, regardless of the circumstances in which they live.” Also see note 243 above. Asad adds: “While the physical exodus from Mecca to Medina ceased to be obligatory for the believers after the conquest of Mecca in the year 8 A.H., the spiritual exodus from the domain of evil to that of righteousness continues to be a fundamental demand of Islam.” 272. Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Qatadah, `Ikrimah, Dahhak and Suddi have reported that when the previous verse was revealed (no. 97) a man of Banu Khuza`ah called Damurah, who was sick, and was living among the Makkans, ordered that he be put on a stretcher and carried to the Prophet. He was in Tan`im when death overtook him. Some Muslims felt sorry that he did not die in Madinah. The Makkans made fun of him saying: ‘The fellow neither died among his people, nor among those he wished to be with.’ In response this verse was revealed (Ibn Jarir). The report is also in Ibn abi Hatim (Ibn Kathir); and also in Haythami’s Majma` al-Zawa‘id (who judged it trustworthy) and in Ibn Hajr’s Al-Matalib (S. Ibrahim).

    وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُوا لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُبِينًا (101)

    4|101| There is no sin upon you that when you journey in the land you shorten the Prayer, if you are apprehensive that the unbelievers will attack you.273 Admittedly, the unbelievers are your manifest foes.

    273. Mujahid says that once the Prophet was in `Usfan. A group of pagans chanced to be around. When the Muslims did their noon Prayers, it occurred to them that they could have attacked and plundered them while they were thus engaged. Allah revealed this verse between the noon and the afternoon Prayers. Accordingly, when the Prophet did his afternoon Prayers he made two rows of them, all joining the congregation. However, when he did his prostration, only one row prostrated itself with him. The other stood guard (although still in Prayers). At the time of the second rak`ah prostration, those of the rear row advanced and prostrated themselves with him while those of the first row retreated standing guard (while still in Prayers). “Thus,” Ibn `Abbas said, “the Prayers are: four rak`ah within towns, two in journey and one when in danger of attack.” And `Umar has been reported as saying that he wondered aloud before the Prophet as to why they were shortening their Prayers in every journey, fear of attack or not, despite Allah having made it conditional to the fear of attack? The Prophet replied: “This is a charitable gift from your Lord, so accept it as that” (Ibn Jarir). This report about `Umar is in Muslim, Tirmidhi and Musnad Ahmad. In fact, the Prophet is reported in sahih ahadith as having Prayed two rak`at in his journey to Madinah after the fall of Makkah, although that was not a situation of fear. As for the story about shortening of Prayers in `Usfan, it is well reported, with a version close to it in Bukhari also (Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi adds: The Prophet is reported to have offered Prayers with the impeding fear of attack scores of times, praying differently on different occasions, which indicates that there is much latitude in the exact manner of this Prayer. Fiqh Points The following points are from Mufti Shafi`: • 1. The minimum travelling distance for shortening the Prayers is, according to the Hanafiyyah, three manazil (about 48 miles, or about 80 km.: Au.) • 2. There is no option in shortening. That is, one has to necessarily shorten the Prayers when in a journey. • 3. If one reaches his destination and intends to stay there for 15 or less number of days then he shortens the Prayers, otherwise completes them. • 4. If someone extends the stay by less than 15 days, over the first 15 days, then too he shortens the Prayers, even if he has to re-extend several times over (Au.). • 5. It is only the Zuhr, `Asr and `Isha’ Prayers that are shortened. (In actual fact, adds Alusi, all Prayers are four raka`ah. The Fajr Prayer has been shortened because of the long recitation in it and the Maghrib because it is the witr of the day-Prayers). • 6. Prayers should be shortened in every journey even if there is no fear of any sort. • 7. There is no shortening of the sunan, if one wishes to perform them. • 8. In the situations of actual combat, the Prayers might either be deferred, or, as Qurtubi and others have said, might be done individually by signs (Au.). • 9. Salah al-Khawf is still statutory, even though the Prophet is not amongst us. (The Companions used to Pray Salah al-Khawf in the battle-fields: Au.).

    وَإِذَا كُنْتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا فَلْيَكُونُوا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَائِفَةٌ أُخْرَىٰ لَمْ يُصَلُّوا فَلْيُصَلُّوا مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ ۗ وَدَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَيْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِنْ مَطَرٍ أَوْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَنْ تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ ۖ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا (102)

    4|102| If you (O Prophet) happen to be among them and conduct the Prayer, then, let a group of them join up with you, wearing their weapons on them. When they have completed a cycle, let them withdraw to your rear while the other group that has not Prayed join up and Pray with you, observing every precaution and wearing their weapons on them. The unbelievers wish that if you neglect your weapons and equipment, they launch upon you a single massive attack. However, there is no sin upon you if you are inconvenienced by the rain,274 or because you are sick, that you lay aside your weapons (while Praying). Nevertheless, take your precaution. Allah has prepared for the unbelievers a humiliating chastisement.

    274. That is, if you think weapons will be damaged by exposure to rains, then you can lay them aside in a protected place.

    فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنْتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۚ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوتًا (103)

    4|103| When you have terminated the Prayer (then, thereafter) remember Allah standing, sitting and on your sides. Then, when you feel secure, offer the Prayer (un-shortened).275 Verily, Prayer is a timed prescription for the believers.276

    275. The verse covers both the situations of security (within the towns) as well as that of travel. In both situations one completes his Prayers: four rak`ah in the towns and two rak`ah in the journeys. As for the shortened two rak`ah of the journey, the scholars are unanimous that since they are shortened by Allah’s commandment, they are complete. In fact, `A’isha has been reported as saying that the Prayers were originally two rak`ah only, that were increased to four in towns. Therefore, the two rak`ah of the journey are complete and hence the words of the Qur’an:

    فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنْتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ [النساء : 103]

    “When you feel secure, offer the Prayers (i.e., un-shortened).” 276. Majid quotes Dr. Iqbal: “The timings of the daily prayer which according to the Qur’an restores self-possession to the ego by bringing it into closer touch with the ultimate source of life and freedom, is intended to save the ego from the mechanizing effects of sleep and business. Prayer in Islam is the ego’s escape from mechanism to freedom.”

    وَلَا تَهِنُوا فِي ابْتِغَاءِ الْقَوْمِ ۖ إِنْ تَكُونُوا تَأْلَمُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ يَأْلَمُونَ كَمَا تَأْلَمُونَ ۖ وَتَرْجُونَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَرْجُونَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (104)

    4|104| And weaken not in pursuing the (enemy) people. If you have experienced pain, then, surely, they also experience pain just as you experience pain. But you are hoping of your Lord what they do not hope for.277 Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

    277. As it happened at Uhud that when the Muslims were defeated, the Prophet climbed a hill. Abu Sufyan came to the foot of the hill and shouted out:

    يوم بيوم بدر الأيام دول و الحرب سجال فقال عمر : لا سواء قتلانا في الجنة و قتلاكم في النار

    “Today it was retaliation for the day of Badr! Days are exchangeable. War is a (water) pail (that goes up and down a well).” `Umar replied: “(Not equal are we). Our dead are in Paradise while yours are in Hell.”

    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَلَا تَكُنْ لِلْخَائِنِينَ خَصِيمًا (105)

    4|105| Verily, We have sent down the Book to you with the truth so that you might judge between the people by what Allah has shown you.278 Therefore, plead not in favor of those who betray.279

    278. With reference to the words: “By what Allah has shown you,” (i.e., “of the truth,”) `Umar has said: “Let none of you say, I did this or that by what Allah showed me (as the right thing). Because such a ”showing" by Allah was only to his Prophet. As for us, our opinions can both be right as well as wrong" (Razi). In fact, when someone told `Umar in a case that he judge by what “Allah shows him,” `Umar reprimanded him and said that that was the prerogative of the Prophet (Shafi`). Mufti Shafi` adds: The verse proves that the Prophet had Allah’s permission for ijtihad and that his ijtihadat (legal rulings) had the status of Shar`i law, since, if he erred Allah corrected him, even if it was a minor issue, as in the case discussed in the following verses. Again, the verse also implies that the Prophet did not have knowledge of all things: he knew only what “Allah showed him.” 279. Although the application is common, a widely quoted incident was the initial cause of revelation of this verse. Qatadah bin Nu`man is the narrator. He says: “Dates and barley were staple food of the Madinans in pre-Islamic times. The richer ones among them bought refined flour, breads made of which would only be eaten by the head of the family to the exclusion of others. It so happened that my uncle bought a sack of it from the Syrian markets and stored it along with some weapons. Now, there was a hypocrite named Bashir among the Banu Ubayraq. One night he tunnelled into the house and stole the sack along with the weapons. My uncle Rifa`ah reported to me and we began to spy around. We were led to this family which was reported to be eating out of refined flour. I reported to the Prophet, informing him about the person we suspected. We also told him that we did not care for the flour but wanted the weapons back. When Banu Ubayraq came to know that they were being suspected, they came to the Prophet and complained that I was slandering a people whose Islam and uprightness nobody could doubt. They laid the blame for the theft upon others. The Prophet repeated to me what they had said, ending, ‘Do you slander a people whose Islam and uprightness is beyond suspicion?’ I regretted that I had brought the affair to his notice. When I told my uncle of the outcome he said: ‘Allah is the Helper.’ Then came down these verses which told the Prophet not to side with those who betray the trust. They said: ‘Therefore, be not an advocate for those that betray (the trust).’ The allusion was to his defense of Banu Ubayraq. The weapons were also returned in response to these verses. The Prophet got them delivered to my uncle Rifa`ah.” Qatadah b. Nu`man added: “My uncle was blind and somehow I had all along suspected that he was also not sincere in his faith. However, when the weapons were returned to him he said: ‘O my nephew. Give away (these weapons) as charity in the way of Allah.’ Then I knew that he was a true Muslim.” It is also reported that after that incident Bashir went and joined the Makkan pagans. Several other versions of the story have been reported, according to some of which Bashir had placed the blame on a Jew as the one who had stolen the weapons (Ibn Jarir). The incident is widely reported, including one by Hakim who has said that it meets with the critical requirements of Muslim (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). There are reports that suggest that another incident involving a man called To`mah b. Ubayraq also took place around that time. He had stolen a coat of mail and tried to lay the blame on others (Au.).

    وَاسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (106)

    4|106| Implore Allah’s forgiveness, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind.280

    280. The forgiveness that the Prophet was asked to implore was the istighfar by way of dhikr which does not necessarily presume the occurrence of a sin (Qurtubi). Thanwi states: Because of the high status of the Prophet, his saying to Qatadah b. Nu`man that he ought not to suspect practicing good Muslims, amounted to an error for which he was asked to implore Allah’s forgiveness. It has also been suggested that the Prophet was being asked to implore forgiveness on behalf of others (Au.).

    وَلَا تُجَادِلْ عَنِ الَّذِينَ يَخْتَانُونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ خَوَّانًا أَثِيمًا (107)

    4|107| And dispute not on behalf of those who are dishonest to their own souls.281 Surely, Allah does not approve of one given to dishonesty and sins.282

    281. The verse refers to those who sided with or spoke on behalf of Banu Ubayraq (Ibn Jarir). 282. The word in the original, “khawwan,” is in its intensive form. It refers to Bashir’s unremitting dishonesty. It is reported of the man that he had a long history of dishonest acts behind him. In Madinah he used to utter scandalous poetry against Muslims and when questioned, attribute them to other poets. In keeping with his character, when he joined up with the Makkans after his exposure by the Qur’an, he committed several thefts there also. In fact, he died when a wall under which he was digging a tunnel to enter a house caved in on him.

    يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لَا يَرْضَىٰ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطًا (108)

    4|108| They hide (their crime) from the people, but cannot hide (them) from Allah. He is with them when they plot at nights in words He does not approve of.283 Allah is ever encompassing the things they do.

    283. It is said that when Bashir (or To`mah) felt sure of being exposed, he plotted with some people that he would conceal it in the yard of a Jew and then lead the people to it to shift the blame to him. This verse refers to his plotting in the night (Zamakhshari). According to some versions in Ibn Jarir and others, Bashir (or To`mah) actually accomplished what he had plotted.

    هَا أَنْتُمْ هَٰؤُلَاءِ جَادَلْتُمْ عَنْهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَمَنْ يُجَادِلُ اللَّهَ عَنْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَمْ مَنْ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكِيلًا (109)

    4|109| Here you are, disputing on behalf of them in the life of this world, but who will dispute with Allah on their behalf on the Day of Judgment? Or, who will be their defender (that Day)?284

    284. The reference is to Banu Ubayraq who had sided with their man although they knew that he was guilty. Sayyid comments: The verses in question speak of an incident which has no parallel in human history and is a proof by itself that this Qur’an is a revelation of Allah. Humans, however lofty their thoughts might be, and however purified their souls, could not have risen to these heights. These verses rise to a level that is like a line drawn in the horizon that humans have never and will never aspire to reach. It happened at a time when the Jews were up against Islam leaving no poisoned arrow in their quill un-shot toward Islam and Muslims. This chapter, as well as the previous two chapters of the Qur’an, speak in detail of their machinations and conspiracies. Nonetheless, during those very days when they were spreading lies, joining hands with the pagans, encouraging the hypocrites, charting out attack plans for them, spreading rumours, puzzling the minds, ridiculing the Prophet’s leadership, planting doubts about the revelation and messengership and attempting to disintegrate the Muslim society from within - during those very days of constriction and danger, these verses came down, absolving a Jew of a false allegation of theft, while the conspirers were no less than a family of the Ansar: those Ansar who were the very backbone of the Prophet’s strength in Madinah. What human discourse could have reached this height? It could only be Allah’s revelation.

    وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (110)

    4|110| Yet, whoever does an evil, or wrongs himself, but seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he shall find Allah ever Forgiving, Merciful.285

    285. It is said that a woman came to `Abdullah b. Mughaffal and asked: “What do you have to say of a woman who committed obscenity, became pregnant and killed the child when she gave birth?” Ibn Mughaffal told her: “She shall be in the Fire.” The woman retreated weeping. At that Ibn Mughaffal called her back and said: “I think your case cannot be different from the two kinds (mentioned in this verse): ‘Whoever does an evil, or wrongs himself, but seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he shall find Allah Forgiving, Kind.’” At that the woman wiped her tears and went away (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَنْ يَكْسِبْ إِثْمًا فَإِنَّمَا يَكْسِبُهُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (111)

    4|111| Whoever earns an evil, earns it only against himself. Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

    وَمَنْ يَكْسِبْ خَطِيئَةً أَوْ إِثْمًا ثُمَّ يَرْمِ بِهِ بَرِيئًا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلَ بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا (112)

    4|112| And, whoever earns an error, or a sin,286 and then casts it upon an innocent one, thereby burdens (himself) with a slander and a manifest sin.

    286. The words in the original for “error” and “sin” are “khati’atan” and “ithman.” The former alludes to an inadvertent sin while the latter to a deliberate one (Ibn Jarir).

    وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُضِلُّوكَ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلَّا أَنْفُسَهُمْ ۖ وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۚ وَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ ۚ وَكَانَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ عَظِيمًا (113)

    4|113| But for the grace of Allah on you and His mercy, a party of them had proposed to lead you (O Muhammad) astray;287 but they lead not astray save themselves; and they will not harm you in the least. Allah has sent upon you the Book and the Wisdom288 and has taught you what you knew not.289 Surely, great has been Allah’s grace upon you.

    287. The allusion is to those who tried to conceal the truth from the Prophet in the affair concerning the theft of the armor by one of the Banu Ubayriq (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Imam Razi’s searching mind adds: The fadl (Grace) of the original manifested itself in the grant of prophethood, while rahmah (mercy) in Allah’s protection of him from sins. 288. The meaning of the word hikmah as used in the Qur’an will depend on the context. It might appear along with the word Qur’an or without it. If it appears un-juxtaposed with the word Qur’an, then it has been interpreted as meaning “prophethood.” Sometimes it is interpreted as the knowledge of the Qur’an. Some others have said that hikmah in such contexts means the Qur’an itself, its knowledge, understanding, etc. Alternatively, the word hikmah can appear juxtaposed to the word Qur’an (as in the present case). In such a context it is normally interpreted either as the Sunnah, or, generally speaking, knowledge of the truth, deeds that compare well with that knowledge, and, in addition, the ability to say and do the right things in right measure, at the right time (wisdom, in one word: Au.) - Ibn al-Qayyim. 289. That is, He taught you, O Prophet, the Shari`ah, the lawful and the unlawful, vice and virtue, the good and the evil (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).

    لَا خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنْ نَجْوَاهُمْ إِلَّا مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلَاحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (114)

    4|114| Not much good there is in most of their conspiring,290 except for him who exhorts to charity, the good, or, conciliation between the people.291 Whoever does that seeking Allah’s good Pleasure, surely, We shall in time grant him a mighty reward.

    290. Since all meetings that have an evil agenda on the cards, are normally held in secret, Allah used the word najwa which is for a secret meeting (Au.). This verse proves that all that the ignorant Sufis teach in secret is false, if it goes against the Qur’an and Sunnah (Thanwi). 291. Except for Ibn Majah the six Sihah have the following narration recorded in them. Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah reports the Prophet as having said:

    لَيس الكَذابُ الذي يُصلحُ بَين النَّاس فَيقولُ خَيراً أَو يُنمي خَيراً

    “He is not a liar who attempts at exaggerating or fabricating stories in order to make peace between the people.” She added:

    لَمْ أَسْمَعْهُ يُرَخِّصُ فِى شَىْءٍ مِمَّا يَقُولُ النَّاسُ إِلاَّ فِى ثَلاَثٍ فِى الْحَرْبِ وَالإِصْلاَحِ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَحَدِيثِ الرَّجُلِ امْرَأَتَهُ وَحَدِيثِ الْمَرْأَةِ زَوْجَهَا

    “I have not heard him (the Prophet) allow people go about saying (lies to each other) except in three affairs: a) in war, b) making peace between the people, and c) reporting to the man what (good things about him) the wife has said, and to the wife what (good things about her) the husband has said.” In a hadith of Abu Da’ud, the Prophet said:

    ألا أخبركم بأفضل من درجة الصيام، والصلاة، والصدقة ؟" قالوا: بلى يا رسول الله. قال: "إصلاح ذات البين"

    “May I not tell you about something that is better than fasts, Prayers and charity?” They said: “Sure, do it, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “Make peace between people.” And he said,

    وفساد ذات البين هي الحالقة

    “To create discord between the people is the all-erasing one” (Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi adds: `Umar used to write to his governors not to be in a haste while judging between the people. Rather, they should delay the judgment, in the hope that the two parties might settle the matter between themselves. A judgment imposed from outside gives birth to acrimony.

    وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا (115)

    4|115| (In contrast) Whosoever makes a breach with the Messenger,292 after the guidance has become clear to him, and follows other than the way of the believers,293 We shall let him do what he chooses, then roast him in Jahannum,294 an evil destination.

    292. The words in the original for “make a breach” is “yushaaqiq.” It draws the following comment from Sayyid: “Linguistically the word stands for taking sides other than the side taken by another person. With reference to the Prophet, it would mean to take a side opposed to his, or to fall in a line not taken by him. On a broader plane, it would mean to oppose him in his ways and choose for oneself a path not shown by him. The message that the Prophet has brought consists of a complete system of life. It includes doctrines and creeds for the individual, as well as the Law both for the individual as well as the community. It also embodies general directions for social, economic and political activities of the state. It is one whole body. Whoever took a part of it and rejected a part, tore the body into two. It will never work. One who took a ‘side other than the side taken by the Prophet,’ or believed in a part and disbelieved in a part, in fact shredded the whole.” 293. Imam Shafe`i has used this verse to prove the validity of ijma` (consensus) - Razi, Ibn Kathir. Thanwi states: The implication is as follows. For the mind to keep the entire body of the Sunnah of the Prophet present before itself, is not easy. Therefore, alternatively, another way to find out whether one is going against the “ways of the Prophet” or not, would be to check up with the ways of the “true” believers. 294. In this context Majid quotes Asad from his Road to Makkah: “The imitation of outward appearance leads, by degrees, to a corresponding assimilation of the mental disposition... Only very superficial people can believe that it is possible to imitate a civilization in its external appearance, without being at the same time affected by its spirit. A civilization is not an empty form only, but a living energy. The moment we begin to accept its form, its internal currents and its dynamic influences set to work in ourselves and mould slowly, imperceptibly our whole mental attitude.”

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا (116)

    4|116| Surely, Allah will not forgive that He is associated with, but shall forgive less than that for whom He will,.295 And whosoever associated (aught) with Allah, surely, strayed far away (from Truth).

    295. The immediate reference was to To`mah, who, had he not gone and joined the pagans, still had the chance of being forgiven (Razi). But, instead of seeking Allah’s forgiveness, he preferred to worship female deities (Au.).

    إِنْ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَّا إِنَاثًا وَإِنْ يَدْعُونَ إِلَّا شَيْطَانًا مَرِيدًا (117)

    4|117| Indeed, they invoke not besides Him, but female (deities).296 (But) in truth, they invoke none other than a rebellious Shaytan.

    296. According to Suddi, Ibn Zayd and others the allusion is to Lat, `Uzza, Manat, Isaf and Na’ilah: all female deities. (They used to even adorn them with jewellery: Thanwi). However, the opinion of Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah is that the word inath is also used for inanimate objects that have no souls, and thus the allusion is to idols. A third opinion is that the allusion is to the belief of the pagans who claimed that their deities were originally angels which, in their belief, were females (Ibn Jarir, Razi). Thanwi adds: Not that they did not worship male deities. It was to set a point about their abundant idiocy that their worship of female deities was made note of. Majid writes: “It was not only the Arabs who worshipped as ‘daughters of God’ angels and certain of their images, but many divinities throughout the world, including the sun, the moon, and the ‘Great Mother,; have been construed as feminine, and the cult of goddesses has been almost universal”. He quotes The Encyclopaedia of Religion: “Among many primitive peoples, and at the present time in a large number of less developed cults, goddesses occupy important places in the pantheon.” Lakshmi Devi, Durga Bai and Maryam are some of the other names that easily come to mind (Au.).

    لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ ۘ وَقَالَ لَأَتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيبًا مَفْرُوضًا (118)

    4|118| (Whom) Allah has cursed, and who vowed that, ‘Assuredly I will take of Your slaves an appointed portion.’297

    297. That portion is 999 from every 1000 souls. Says a tradition of Muslim:

    عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَا آدَمُ فَيَقُولُ لَبَّيْكَ وَسَعْدَيْكَ وَالْخَيْرُ فِي يَدَيْكَ قَالَ يَقُولُ أَخْرِجْ بَعْثَ النَّارِ قَالَ وَمَا بَعْثُ النَّارِ قَالَ مِنْ كُلِّ أَلْفٍ تِسْعَ مِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ قَالَ فَذَاكَ حِينَ يَشِيبُ الصَّغِيرُ . صحيح مسلم

    “Allah will say to Adam on the Day of Judgment, ‘O Adam.’ He will answer, ‘Here I am O our Lord. Good is in Your Hand.’ He will say, ‘Send across the assortment of the Fire.’ He will ask, ‘And what is the assortment of the Fire?’ It will be said, ‘From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.’ The Prophet added, ‘That will be the time when the little one will become old.’” (Qurtubi).

    وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُبِينًا (119)

    4|119| ‘Indeed, I shall lead them astray, and surely, I will arouse in them false hopes, and assuredly, I shall command them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle,298 and indeed, I shall order them so that they shall deface the creation of Allah.’299 And whoever took Shaytan for a patron, instead of Allah, surely suffered a manifest loss.300

    298. The pagans used to slit, pierce, or cut the ear lobes of the cattle for various superstitious reasons, as well as, sometimes, in dedication to a deity (Au). 299. The pagans used to also castrate the cattle. Ibn `Abbas disapproved of the practice and used to say that to castrate an animal is tantamount to defacing a creation of Allah. (In fact there is a hadith also - sahih, according to Haythami: Syed Ibrahim - which says that the Prophet prohibited castration of domesticated animals: Shawkani). `Ikrimah, Abu Salih and Anas b. Malik held the same opinion. However, according to another opinion of Ibn `Abbas, the khalq of the original (translated herewith as “creation”), is to be understood as “religion.” Scholars such as Mujahid, Ibrahim, Qatadah, Suddi and Dahhak are with him in this opinion. They have argued with the verse 30 of ch.30 as the basis, which says:

    فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ [الروم : 30]

    “So set thy face to the pure incorrupt religion, Allah’s original (fitrah) upon which He originated mankind.” Further, `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud) and Hasan have mentioned tattoo as also included in the disapproved defacing alluded to here (Ibn Jarir). Qurtubi comments: A hadith of the Prophet (saws) in Muslim says:

    لعن الله الواشمات والمستوشمات والنامصات والمتنمصات،

    “Allah has cursed those women who add artificial hair, those who help them in that, those who tattoo themselves and those who help them in that.” Another hadith, also in Muslim, prohibits dressing up of the teeth because all these acts amount to defacing the creation of Allah. Accordingly, if one has, for example, an extra finger, he might not get it removed, unless it hurts him to have that extra finger. Application of henna, or use of ribbon in the hair, and other such practices for beautification purposes, are not prohibited, as they do not disfigure the creation of Allah. In fact, the Prophet once suggested to a woman that she apply henna to her hand. The lady took it so serious that she continued to use henna until the age of ninety. Some scholars have said that shaving off the beard also falls in the category of “defacing the creation of Allah” (Thanwi). 300. Whoever followed Shaytan and obeyed him, took him for a patron and abandoned Allah’s protection (Razi).

    يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا (120)

    4|120| He will promise them and lend them hopes. But Shaytan does not promise them save delusions.301

    301. As it happened at Badr when Shaytan deluded them by saying (8: 48):

    ﭴ ﭵ ﭶ ﭷ ﭸ ﭹ ﭺ ﭻ ﭼ ﭽ ﭾ ﭿ ﮀ ﮁ ﮂﮃ ﮄ ﮅ ﮆ ﮇ ﮈ ﮉ ﮊ ﮋ ﮌ ﮍ ﮎ ﮏ ﮐ ﮑ ﮒ ﮓ ﮔ ﮕﮖ ﮗ ﮘ ﮙ ﮚ

    “When Shaytan beautified their deeds and said, ‘Today no one can overcome you. Moreover, I am by your side.’ But when he saw the two forces, (i.e., the believers and the angels) he turned on his back and said, ‘I have nothing to do with you. I see what you cannot see. I fear Allah. Surely, Allah is severe in punishment.’” However, his delusion will truly be apparent on the Day of Judgment when Shaytan will say:

    وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَنْ دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مَا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُصْرِخِيَّ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِنْ قَبْلُ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ [إبراهيم : 22]

    “And Shaytan will say when the affairs are decided, ‘Verily, Allah made you a true promise. I also promised you but I did not keep it. (Further), I did not have any power over you, except that I invited you and you answered. Therefore, do not blame me, rather, blame yourselves. I cannot help you (now) nor can you me. I disown your earlier acts of worship to me” (Ibn Jarir).

    أُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ عَنْهَا مَحِيصًا (121)

    4|121| Their end shall be Jahannum from which they shall find no escape.

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَنُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ قِيلًا (122)

    4|122| Whereas, those who believe and do righteous deeds, We shall surely admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. Allah’s promise is true. And who is truer to his word than Allah?

    لَيْسَ بِأَمَانِيِّكُمْ وَلَا أَمَانِيِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ ۗ مَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلَا يَجِدْ لَهُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا (123)

    4|123| Not by your desires (O Muslims), nor by the desires of the People of the Book (are the affairs judged).302 Rather, whosoever does evil, will be recompensed for it.303 and will not find for himself, besides Allah, anyone as a supporter or a helper.

    302. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Suddi, Abu Salih and Dahhak have said that some Muslims, Christians and Jews, argued among themselves. The Jews said: “Our Book is better than yours. It came down before yours and our Prophet was the best of Prophets.” The Christians said similar things. The Muslims said their Book had abrogated the previous ones and that their Prophet was the seal of Prophets. In response Allah revealed this verse. However, Mujahid holds a different and weightier opinion. He said that the first part of the verse (i.e., “Not by your desires”) addressed the pagans. In other words, the verse is saying: “Not by your desires (O pagans), nor by the desires of the People of the Book..” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathi). Hasan al-Busri has said: ليس الإيمان بالتمني ولكن ما وقر في القلب وصدقه العمل إن قوما ألهتهم اماني المغفرة حتى خرجوا في الدنيا ولا حسنة لهم وقالوا نحسن الظن بالله وكذبوا لو احسنوا الظن بالله لأحسنوا العمل له Faith is not the name of dreams or vain desires, rather, what takes root in the heart and good deeds confirm it. Vain hopes of forgiveness led a people to neglect, so that they left the world without a good deed in their account. They said, ‘We fasten good hopes in Allah.’ They lied. Had they truly fastened good hopes in Allah, they would have attempt good deeds (Kashshaf). 303. `A’isha, Ubayy b. Ka`b and Mujahid have said that the principle enunciated in this verse holds good for the believers also save that the believers are recompensed for their minor sins by whatever unpleasant things that happen to them, although Allah forgives much. As for the unbelievers, Hasan and Dahhak have said that they will be recompensed for all that they do, major or minor (in the Hereafter). In fact, this meaning goes back right to the Prophet. It is reported that when this verse was revealed, Muslims felt it hard upon themselves. They spoke to the Prophet. He told them:

    سَدِّدوا وقاربوا، فإن في كل ما يصاب به المسلم كفارة حتى الشوكة يُشَاكها، والنَّكْبَة يَنْكُبُهَا

    “Set your objectives right and try to be as near as (the ideal) as possible, for all that a Muslim suffers is by way of expiation, including a minor misfortune that befalls him, or a thorn that pricks him.” (This hadith is in Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and others: Ibn Kathir. Some ahadith add the words: “including the little scare that one suffers, when, having placed a thing in one pocket, searches for it in another but does not find it”: Qurtubi). There are several other reports to this effect with Abu Bakr as the enquirer (Ibn Jarir). According to some sources, Abu Bakr felt his back broken when this verse said: “Whosoever does evil, will be recompensed for it” (Shafi`). The report about Abu Bakr is in Muslim also, as in other compilations. Bukhari and Muslim have Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurayrah also relating that the Prophet said:

    مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلَا وَصَبٍ وَلَا هَمٍّ وَلَا حُزْنٍ وَلَا أَذًى وَلَا غَمٍّ حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا إِلَّا كَفَّرَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ

    “Nothing befalls a Muslim, whether it is a hardship, discomfort, illness or grief, including a distress that might strike him, but it expiates his sins” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيرًا (124)

    4|124| And whosoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, and he be a believer, such shall enter Paradise. They shall not be wronged by a speck.

    وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا (125)

    4|125| And who can be on a better religion than him who submitted his will to Allah, did righteous deeds, and followed the ways of Ibrahim, the upright?304 And Allah took Ibrahim for a friend.305

    304. The word in the original for upright is hanif. See ch.2 n. and ch.3 n. 113 for explanation. 305. Allah took Ibrahim for a friend because of Ibrahim’s extreme love for Allah and complete submission to Him. In a report of Muslim the Prophet said:

    عَنْ أَبِى الأَحْوَصِ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَنِ النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ « لَوْ كُنْتُ مُتَّخِذًا مِنْ أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ خَلِيلاً لاَتَّخَذْتُ ابْنَ أَبِى قُحَافَةَ خَلِيلاً وَلَكِنْ صَاحِبُكُمْ خَلِيلُ اللَّهِ

    “Were I to take a Friend from the peoples of the earth, I would have taken Abu Quhafah’s son (Abu Bakr) as a friend. But your companion (himself) is Allah’s friend.” According to another report:

    إن الله اتخذني خليلاً، كما اتخذ إبراهيم خليلاً

    “Verily Allah took me for a friend, as He took Ibrahim for a friend” (Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi adds: A tradition of the Prophet says:

    الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ. قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ.(ترمذي )

    “A man is on the religion of his friend. So check on yourself as to whom do you befriend.” Tirmidhi evaluated it as Hasan. And Hassan b. Thabit has said: Plenty are a man’s friends, But in distress few Be not misled by the friendship of those you befriend When in perils, you might have none around you Every brother says I am trustworthy But not everyone does what he says, exactly `cept for the well-bred, religious friend `Tis he who is true to his declaration. (Tr. by an unknown translator)

    وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُحِيطًا (126)

    4|126| To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.306 And Allah encompasses everything.

    306. When Allah said that He took Ibrahim as a friend, someone might imagine that perhaps He needed him. Allah emphatically asserted His Self-sufficiency by stating: “To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth..” (Razi).

    وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِي النِّسَاءِ ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِيهِنَّ وَمَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ فِي يَتَامَى النِّسَاءِ اللَّاتِي لَا تُؤْتُونَهُنَّ مَا كُتِبَ لَهُنَّ وَتَرْغَبُونَ أَنْ تَنْكِحُوهُنَّ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الْوِلْدَانِ وَأَنْ تَقُومُوا لِلْيَتَامَىٰ بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِهِ عَلِيمًا (127)

    4|127| They ask you for a pronouncement concerning women.307 Tell them, Allah instructs you about them, and about what is being recited to you in the Book308 concerning the orphaned girls, to whom you give not what is prescribed for them yet you desire to marry them309 .. (Allah admonishes you about them)... and about the oppressed children,310 and that you stand firm for justice to the orphan.311 Surely, whatever you do of the good, Allah is well-acquainted therewith.

    307. Sayyid writes: It is apparent from the many enquiries that the Companions of the Prophet were making about women during the early phase of life at Madinah, that it was nothing but their newly acquired sensitivity about what is right and what is wrong that invoked them to ask those questions. They suspected everything that they had inherited from the days of jahiliyyah, and expected that the newest guidance would either modify the old practices, or annul them altogether. This reflects among the new Muslims who enquire about some very simple cultural practices of non-Muslim societies, whether they are allowed in Islam or not (Au.). 308. “In accordance with the system prevailing throughout the Qur’an, a lengthy passage dealing with purely moral or ethical questions is usually - as in the present case - followed by verses relating to social legislation, and this with a view to bringing out the intimate connection between man’s spiritual life and his social behavior” (Asad). Ibn `Abbas has said that the pre-Islamic Arabs did not allot a share to women in inheritance. When Islam came, some men enquired about what was due to them and Allah answered them to the effect that what is due has already been stated at the beginning of this chapter, which, as a matter of fact, you have not been giving them (Ibn Jarir). Some have said that even after the revelation of earlier verses, some people remained in doubts, thought that the instructions were not adequate, and made more enquiries, responding to which Allah revealed this and the last few verses of this chapter (Razi, Qurtubi and others). 309. The phrase is so constructed in the original, that it can be understood either way: as adopted by us, viz., “you desire to marry them” or, alternatively, “you are, in fact, averse to marrying them” (Zamakhshari, Razi and others). According to `A’isha, this later part of the verse refers to those girls who were orphaned, who inherited wealth, and their guardians themselves wanted to marry them, in order to lay hands on their wealth. (This report is in Bukhari: Ibn Kathir). Sa`id b. Jubayr has a more complete explanation. He says that in pre-Islamic days the Arabs did not allot a share to women and children in the inheritance. When Allah revealed the earlier parts of this chapter, which included women and children as the inheritors, they felt it a bit hard upon them, wondering how could those who did not contribute to the creation of wealth, be given a share. They hoped the rules would be abrogated by fresh revelations. But when that did not happen, they spoke to the Prophet and Allah responded with these verses (Ibn Jarir). 310. “Taking the Holy Qur’an as the work, not of God but of the Prophet, says a Christian writer: ‘One of the most commendable things which one finds in reading the Qoran is the solicitude which Muhammed shows for the young, and specially for such as have been deprived of their natural guardians. Again and again he insists upon a kind and just treatment being accorded to children. And working upon his words, the Muhammedan doctors have framed a system of rules concerning the appointment and duties of guardians which is more complete, and extending to the most details’ (Roberts)” - Majid. 311. It has been generally understood that the reference by the “orphans” is to those girls who inherited wealth. If they happened to be beautiful their guardians themselves took them in wedlock, but if they were not, they prevented their marriage to others until they died, after which they inherited their wealth. The guardians were admonished by this verse to be fair with them, as well as with the oppressed children, not only in matters of inheritance, but in every other affair. Accordingly, whenever a case was brought up before the second caliph `Umar, he advised the guardian to look for a better suitor than himself to marry off the orphaned girl, if she happened to be beautiful and wealthy. However, if she happened to be not so good looking and poor, then `Umar told the guardian that he had greater rights to her and therefore ought to take her into wedlock (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari).

    وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِنْ بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا ۚ وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنْفُسُ الشُّحَّ ۚ وَإِنْ تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا (128)

    4|128| And, if a woman fears unkind treatment or aversion from her husband, then there is no sin for them to seek an amicable settlement between themselves.312 And an amicable settlement is better.313 (Although) souls are prone to avarice,314 if you do good and observe self-restraint then, surely, Allah is Aware of all that you do .315

    312. According to the great majority the verse purports to say that if a man does not approve of his wife, because of lack of charm, ill manners, old age, infertility, or whatever, and intends to divorce her, but she on her part does not want a separation, then they can work out a compromise by which she forgoes some of her rights, such as the right of equal visits, or of maintenance, and, in return he retains her. Such amicable settlement is, according to the revelation, better than separation. Suddi has pointed out that this happened in the case of Sawdah bint Zam`ah whom the Prophet wished to divorce, but she requested that she be retained and in return she would relinquish the right of her day to `A’isha (Ibn Jarir, Razi). The report about Sawdah is in Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Abu Da’ud and others (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). Shafi` expands upon a point from Thanwi: In case of a husband and wife working out a compromise deal, the wife will lose for good only that right which is of the past, such as, for example, mahr (dower). If she pardons a part or whole of it in a deal with her husband, she loses it for good. In contrast, those of the rights that are of the future, such as, for instance, her maintenance, she does not lose them permanently, if she forgoes a part or whole of them in a deal with her husband. Whenever she wants she can rescind, and the husband will have the choice either to give her the full share, or divorce her. Further, adds Shafi`, the emphasis on a settlement between themselves, without outside interference, may be made not of, because, it is such a settlement that is expected to last. Thanwi has another point: It might occur to some that relinquishing a part of her rights by a wife in return of her husband not divorcing her, is tantamount to bribing. To others it might look as if the husband exploited the situation. To remove the doubts, which might be cast upon either of the parties, Allah said: “There is no sin...” 313. That is, an amicable settlement is better than divorce which, according to a hadith (in Abu Da’ud and Ibn Majah: Hussein):

    أَبْغَضُ الْحَلَال إِلَى اللَّهِ الطَّلَا

    “The most hateful of the lawful things in the sight of Allah is divorce” (Ibn Kathir). But the hadith has been declared as of Hasan status (Au.). Also, adds Shafi`, the verse gives a wide latitude to the Muslims to work out the kind of settlements and agreements between themselves that will suit the most number of people, regardless of what the ideal demands. The Prophet has said in a report of Hakim:

    الصلح جائز بين المسلمين إلا صلحا حرم حلالا أو أحل حراما

    “Every agreement between the Muslims is lawful except when an unlawful has been made lawful or a lawful has been made unlawful.” Mawdudi writes: “In order to appreciate the response fully one would do well to consider the query itself. In the days of Ignorance a man was free to marry an unlimited number of women, who had virtually no rights. When the preliminary verses of the present surah were revealed (see especially verse 3) this freedom was circumscribed in two ways. First, the maximum number of wives was fixed at four. Second, justice (that is, equal treatment of wives) was laid down as a necessary condition for marrying more than one. This gives rise to the question whether a person is obliged by Islam to feel equally towards each of his wives, to love each to an equal degree, and treat them equally even in respect of sexual relationship. Such questions are especially relevant with regard to a husband one of whose wives might be, say, afflicted with either sterility, permanent sickness or who is incapable of sexual intercourse. Does justice demand that if he fails to live up to the standards of equality mentioned above that he should renounce his first wife in order to marry the second? Moreover, where the first wife is disinclined to agree to annulment of her marriage, is it appropriate for the spouses to agree to make a voluntary accord between themselves, according to which the wife, towards whom the husband feels relatively less attracted, voluntarily surrenders some of her rights, prevailing upon her husband not to repudiate the marriage? Would such an act be against the dictates of justice?” 314. The generality of the statement implies that we should not be surprised or disappointed to observe a minor failing in those whom we consider perfect, since, after all, certain traits and tendencies have been placed in the human soul (Thanwi, reworded). 315. It is said that `Imran b. Hitan was an ugly dark man, but his wife a beautiful one. One day she looked hard in his face and said, “Allah be praised.” He asked, “What’s the matter.” She said, “Well, I thanked Allah, for both of us shall be in Paradise.” He asked: “And how is that?” She replied, “You got a person like me and thank Allah. I got a person like you and observe sabr. And Allah has promised Paradise to the shakirin and sabirin” (Zamakhshari).

    وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ ۚ وَإِنْ تُصْلِحُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (129)

    4|129| Indeed, you will never manage (perfect) equality between the wives, however eager you might be.316 But do not turn completely away from one and leave her, as it were, suspended.317 If you set things right and observe self-restraint, then, surely, Allah is Ever-forgiving, Ever-kind.

    316. This has generally been understood to be referring to the inclination of the heart. A man will never be able to love his two or more wives equally or show passion in equal measure. The Prophet himself did his best to treat his several wives equitably, but Prayed:

    اللهم هذا قَسْمي فيما أملك، فلا تلمني فيما تملك ولا أملك

    “O Allah. This is the best I could do within what is in my power. Do not blame me for what is in Your power, but not in my power.” (This hadith is in Abu Da’ud with good isnad: Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). In another hadith, (in Tirmidhi: Ibn Kathir) narrated by Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet said:

    من كانت له امرأتان فمال إلى إحداهما، جاء يوم القيامة وأحد شقيه ساقط

    “Whoever had two wives and inclined wholly toward one of them, will appear on the Day of Judgment with one half of the body drooping down” (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi). The hadith is in Tirmidhi (Shawkani), and in Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Albani (Syed Ibrahim). Zamakhshari adds: It is reported that `Umar sent something expensive to `A’isha. She asked the bearer: “Did `Umar send the same thing to all of the Prophet’s wives?” The man said: “No. Rather, he sent similar things to his Qurayshi wives, but some other things to non-Qurayshi wives.” She told him: “Take it back, for the Prophet used to treat his wives equally.” At that `Umar sent all of them similar gifts. And, it is reported of Mu`adh ibn Jabal, who had two wives, that when he was in the house of one, he would not make ablution in the house of the other. When the two died in the famous Syrian plague, he buried them in the same grave. 317. Thus, extending the logic, one should not give up attempting what is within one’s power, despite the fear of inadequacy, in the hope that later, he might be able to summon enough power to do it adequately, for, it might so prove, that never would he have power to do it in a manner that fully justifies the attempt. Procrastination might deprive him of whatever little that he could immediately accomplish (Thanwi).

    وَإِنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغْنِ اللَّهُ كُلًّا مِنْ سَعَتِهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ وَاسِعًا حَكِيمًا (130)

    4|130| But if they separate, Allah will enrich each of them with His bounty. Allah is All-embracing, All-wise.

    وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَلَقَدْ وَصَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَنِ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ وَإِنْ تَكْفُرُوا فَإِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَنِيًّا حَمِيدًا (131)

    4|131| To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. We charged those who were given the Book before you, as (We have charged) you,318 that you fear Allah.319 But if you disbelieve, then to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. Allah is All-sufficient, All-laudable.

    318. That is, it is an old admonition that has been repeated over the ages, and not exclusively addressed to you (Zamakhshari). 319. Some scholars have said that this verse is the axis of the Qur’an. Everything else of the revelation revolves around this verse (Qurtubi).

    وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا (132)

    4|132| To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth.320 And Allah suffices for a Guardian.

    320. Sayyid writes: “To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth”: this is a commonly occurring refrain. At this point it means to say that the family laws that are being dictated are part of one whole system that governs this universe, and therefore, there has to be harmony between the two - the system that governs the world and the system that governs family life. (Otherwise there would be conflict, and conflict would result in tension and unhappiness: Au.).

    إِنْ يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ وَيَأْتِ بِآخَرِينَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ قَدِيرًا (133)

    4|133| If He will, O people, He can put you away, and bring others (in your place).321 Surely, Allah has power over that.

    321. This applies to anyone who has been given wealth, power, influence, knowledge, or any other blessing, that if he does not expend it in the way of Allah, does not do what is expected of him, or does not live by it, then Allah might take away the blessing from him and give it to others (Qurtubi).

    مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا (134)

    4|134| Whosoever desires the reward of this world, (should know that) with Allah are the rewards of this world as well as the next.322 And Allah is All-hearing, All-seeing.323

    322. The same thing has been stated elsewhere more explicitly. For instance, (in 11: 15) Allah said:

    مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ (15) أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ [هود : 15 ، 16]

    “Whoso desires this life and its adornment, We will recompense them fully for their deeds in this world, and they shall not suffer any loss. But, they will have nothing for them in the Hereafter except the Fire. There, their efforts will be lost, and vain all that they were doing” (Ibn Jarir). Thanwi points out: This applies equally to the signs of spiritual gains in this present life, which some people eagerly await. 323. “The section ends with the assertion that God is All-Seeing and All-Hearing. This means that God is fully aware of the action of His creations and is unlike those negligent sovereigns who are blind in lavishing their favours. God governs the universe with full knowledge and awareness. He has an eye on the capacities and ambitions of all human beings and knows their qualities exactly. He is fully aware for the purposes to which people devote their efforts and energies. Anyone who wilfully decides to be dishonest to God should therefore not cherish hopes of receiving the favours reserved for those who obey Him” (Mawdudi). 324. The word in the original is qawwamin, an intensive form, implying that the quality of justice should be of a high order, a permanent phenomenon, and not a passing one (Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi and others).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا (135)

    4|135| Believers! Be you upholders of justice,324 bearers of testimony for Allah,325 even if it is against yourselves, or your parents and kinsmen, whether the person concerned be rich or poor; Allah is closer to both.326 Follow not caprice, lest you swerve; for if you twist (the facts) or refuse (to bear the testimony),327 then, surely, Allah is Aware of what you do.

    325. Ibn Jarir states: “To stand out firmly for justice should be a part of your character and a necessary quality. And the meaning of the whole verse is: ‘Stand out firmly for justice, and bear testimony for the sake of Allah.’” Ibn Jarir also quotes Ibn Shihab (al-Zuhri) as saying that the righteous men of the first few generations (the Salaf al-Salih) were people of such quality that they could be trusted for testimony in cases involving their parents, brothers, wives or other kinsmen. But, after them came a people who could not be trusted to that degree. Therefore, their testimony, where their kinsmen were involved, became unacceptable. It happened in India once, during the time of the British, that there arose a dispute among Muslims and Hindus over a piece of land. Neither of them possessed valid documents in support of their claims. Finally, the Hindus suggested that the testimony of an aged trusted Muslim scholar of the town may be sought because he knew the truth of the matter. But the problem was that after the failed 1857 insurrection against the British rule, spearheaded by Muslims, the said scholar had sworn that he would not look at the face of a British again. The magistrate laughed and said that he could testify without looking at his face. His condition accepted, the aged man came in, stood with his back to the magistrate and testified that the land belonged to the Hindus. Another version says that the magistrate actually went to the Sheikh’s house who testified from behind a half-open door that the land belonged to the Hindus (Au.). Fiqh Point Qurtubi states that Hasan, Nakha`i, Sha`bi, Shurayh, Malik, Thawri, Shafe`i and Ibn Hanbal were of those who did not accept the testimony of a person when his close relatives were involved, although there are others who allowed it on condition that the man meet with the condition of an “`adul” (i.e., one who is trustworthy, religious and without any of those minor blemishes that are unbecoming of a gentleman). Imam Malik and Abu Hanifah do not allow a husband’s or wife’s testimony in favor or against each other. Further, according to a tradition of Abu Da’ud, the Prophet had refused to accept the testimony of a dishonest person, of a person against another with whom he bore a grudge, and of the head of a family, in favor of the family members, which leads us to the rule that wherever a person stands to gain something, in some way or the other, his testimony is not acceptable. 326. That is, poverty of one, or richness of another, should have no bearing upon your testimony, for Allah is a better Protector of either, than you can be (`Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and others: Ibn Jarir). When `Abdullah ibn Rawaha had gone to Khyber to collect jizyah and the Jews tried to bribe him, he said: “By God. I have come to you from a man who is the dearest to me on earth. And you are the most hateful to me as the descendants of pigs and monkeys. But, neither his love nor your hatred, can prevent me from being just to you”. They said, “The heavens and the earth are in their place because of this” (Ibn Kathir). 327. The translation is based on the opinions of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others as found in Ibn Jarir.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا آمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا (136)

    4|136| O those who have believed!328 Believe in Allah and His Messenger, in the Book He has revealed unto His Messenger and in the Book He revealed earlier.329 Whoso disbelieved in Allah, His angels,330 His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, surely, fell into a distant error.331

    328. Ibn Jarir’s opinion is that by the words, “O those who have believed” it is the Jews and Christians who have been addressed who are being told: ‘O those who have believed in the earlier Prophets, believe in this latest Prophet Muhammad and his mission also.’ But the opinion of most of the other commentators is that the address is to the Muslims, who are being asked to seek reaffirmation, purification and a full realization of their faith. 329. Although the rendering here is “revealed” for both the occasions, the original text has nazzala for the Qur’an and anzala for the previous Scriptures. Nazzala implies a gradual revelation, little by little, in pieces, whereas anzala implies a one time revelation, in one whole (Kashshaf, Razi and others). Asad adds: “What is meant here is belief in the fact of earlier revelations, and not in the earlier-revealed scriptures in their present form, which - as repeatedly stated in the Qur’an - is the outcome of far-reaching corruption of the original text”. 330. Since Allah conveys His messages to the Prophets and Messengers through the medium of angels, belief in angels is co-related with belief in Allah and His Messengers. This explains the placement of the statement concerning belief in the angels, between belief in Allah on the one hand, and His Messengers on the other (based on Razi’s and Asad’s notes). 331. That is, whoso disbelieved in any of articles mentioned in the verse, is an unbeliever (Alusi).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَمْ يَكُنِ اللَّهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلًا (137)

    4|137| Surely, those who believed, then they disbelieved, then they believed, and then again disbelieved, and then went on increasing in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them, nor will guide them to (the right) path.332

    بَشِّرِ الْمُنَافِقِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا (138)

    4|138| Give good tidings to the hypocrites that for them awaits a painful chastisement.

    الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِنْدَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا (139)

    4|139| Those who take the unbelievers for friends instead of the believers.333 Do they seek power in them?334 (If so) Then, all power belongs to Allah.

    332. Although the apparent reference is to the hypocrites, Qatadah’s opinion is that the allusion is to the Jews who believed in Musa and then disbelieved in him, to Christians who believed in `Isa and then disbelieved in him - their disbelief was expressed in their abandoning of the Tawrah and Injil - and then they increased their disbelief by not believing in Muhammad Ibn Jarir). 333. It is reported by `A’isha that when a pagan wished to fight along with the believers, the Prophet refused to accept him, telling him:

    ارْجِعْ. إِنَّا لاَ نَسْتَعِينُ بِمُشْرِكٍ.

    “(You may) Return. We do not seek help of a pagan” (Qurtubi). 334. A hadith of Abu Rayhana reported in Ahmad says:

    من انتسب إلى تسعة آباء كفار، يريد بهم عزًّا وفخرًا، فهو عاشرهم في النار

    “Whosoever sought to link himself with nine of his unbelieving fathers and forefathers, out of pride and in search of honor, shall be the tenth of them in the Fire” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِثْلُهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَامِعُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ جَمِيعًا (140)

    4|140| He has already revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s verses being denied and made mockery of, then, do not sit with them until they engage themselves in another topic.335 (If you do not) Then surely, you shall be like them.336 Surely, Allah will gather together the hypocrites and the unbelievers - all of them - in Hell.

    335. Some Muslims used to sit in the company of Jews who poked fun at Islam. This verse was revealed to forbid them. Abu Wa’il is reported to have said: “Sometimes a man utters a single word just to make his companions laugh. But it evokes Allah’s anger.” When Ibrahim Nakha`i was told about Abu Wa’il’s statement he said: “He spoke the truth.” Khawhirzadah has said: “To have no objections to the kufr of a kafir is itself a kind of kufr” (Alusi). 336. It is said that a group of people were caught drinking during the time of `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz. He had them all whipped including one who was actually fasting. `Umar recited this verse when they protested that the man was fasting. His point was that he had brought the punishment on himself by being in their company (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). In fact, a hadith of the Prophet says:

    مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَلَا يَجْلِسْ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُدَارُ عَلَيْهَا بِالْخَمْرِ

    “Let not him who believes in Allah and His Messenger, sit on a table on which wine is served” (Ibn Kathir). Dahhak has said that the rule applies to all innovators and habitual sinners of all times (Qurtubi).

    الَّذِينَ يَتَرَبَّصُونَ بِكُمْ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فَتْحٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَكُنْ مَعَكُمْ وَإِنْ كَانَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ نَصِيبٌ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَسْتَحْوِذْ عَلَيْكُمْ وَنَمْنَعْكُمْ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ فَاللَّهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ وَلَنْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا (141)

    4|141| Those who wait upon you so that if a victory comes to you from Allah, they ask: ‘Were we not with you?’ But if the unbelievers get a share of it they say (to them): ‘Did we not gain the mastery over you,337 and protect you from the believers?’ Allah will judge between you on the Day of Judgment. And He will not grant the unbelievers any way over the believers.338

    337. The meaning is: “Did we not manage to get the upper hand over you, yet, despite that, we identified ourselves with you and helped you in your efforts to overcome the believers, until you achieved your objectives” (Shawkani). 338. When `Ali had suffered the setbacks he suffered, a man came to him and reciting the second half of the verse “And He will not grant the unbelievers any way (of triumph) over the believers,” asked him how he would explain it. `Ali told him to get closer. Then he recited the whole verse to him: “Allah will judge between you on the Day of Judgment. And (that day) He will not grant the unbelievers any way (of triumph) over the believers.” That is, the verse is applicable to the situation in the Hereafter (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, and Shawkani). Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir, however, add that the verse could equally hold good for this life, as Allah will never allow the unbelievers a total dominance over the believers, even though temporary setbacks are not ruled out, as said Allah in (40: 51):

    إِنَّا لَنَنْصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْأَشْهَادُ [غافر : 51]

    “Verily, We shall grant victory to our Messengers and those who believed in them in the life of this world and on the Day when witnesses will stand forth (for testimony).” In fact, according to a report in Muslim, the Prophet supplicated to Allah that He may not give the unbelievers total dominance over this Ummah and the supplication was accepted. The whole hadith runs something like this. The Prophet made three supplications for the Ummah. Two were accepted, third was rejected. He asked that the Ummah never be completely overpowered by its enemies. It was granted. He asked that starvation does not destroy this Ummah. It was granted. Finally, he prayed that they do not fight among themselves. This supplication was rejected (Au.). However, Qurtubi adds the opinion of Ibn al-`Arabi, that excluded is the situation in which the Muslims do not counsel good deeds, do not prohibit evil deeds, and do not repent their own misdeeds, in which case the unbelievers might be granted dominance over them.

    إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ وَإِذَا قَامُوا إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ قَامُوا كُسَالَىٰ يُرَاءُونَ النَّاسَ وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا (142)

    4|142| Verily, the hypocrites (seek to) deceive Allah while it is He who is deceiving them.339 When they stand up to Pray, they stand up lazily,340 putting up a show for the people, and do not remember Allah but a little.341

    339. Allah does not deceive anyone. It is nothing but parity of words, the meanings are different. See ch. 2, note 25 and ch. 86, note 14 (both works of this series) for fuller explanation (Au.). Here, in this world, they are allowed to do what they want to, as a result of which they make some worldly gains which leads them to believe that what they are doing is right. They will be treated in the Hereafter in the like manner. See ch. 57, verse 12-15. A hadith of Bukhari says:

    مَنْ سَمَّعَ سَمَّعَ اللَّهُ بِهِ وَمَنْ يُرَائِي يُرَائِي اللَّهُ بِه

    “He who tried to make people hear (of his knowledge), Allah will expose him (to the people on the Day of Judgment) and he who tried to show off, Allah will show the truth about him thereof.” (Ibn Kathir). Suddi, Hasan and Ibn Jurayj have said however, that the true deception would be in the Hereafter when they would be given light along with the believers, but, a little later, their light will be withdrawn, they will be left in darkness, and a wall would be placed, separating them from the believers (Ibn Jarir). 340. A hadith preserved by the Sahihayn records the Prophet as having said:

    إِنَّ أَثْقَلَ صَلَاةٍ عَلَى الْمُنَافِقِينَ صَلَاةُ الْعِشَاءِ وَصَلَاةُ الْفَجْرِ وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُونَ مَا فِيهِمَا لَأَتَوْهُمَا وَلَوْ حَبْوًا وَلَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ آمُرَ بِالصَّلَاةِ فَتُقَامَ ثُمَّ آمُرَ رَجُلًا فَيُصَلِّيَ بِالنَّاسِ ثُمَّ أَنْطَلِقَ مَعِي بِرِجَالٍ مَعَهُمْ حُزَمٌ مِنْ حَطَبٍ إِلَى قَوْمٍ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الصَّلَاةَ فَأُحَرِّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ بُيُوتَهُمْ بِالنَّارِ.

    “The most difficult of the Prayers for the hypocrites is that of Fajr and `Isha’. But, if they knew what is there in them, they would respond, even if they had to drag themselves. Indeed, I intend to order the Prayer begun, ask another person to lead in the Prayer, and myself go around with a group of people with some wood in search of those who do not come to the Prayer and burn down their homes.” In another report of Muslim he said:

    تِلْكَ صَلاَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ، يَجْلِسُ يَرْقُبُ الشَّمْسَ حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَتْ بَيْنَ قَرْنَىْ شَيْطَانٍ قَامَ فَنَقَرَهَا أَرْبَعًا ، لاَ يَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهَا إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

    “That is the Prayer of a hypocrite. He sits down watching the sun, until, when it is about to set, he gets up and offers four rak`ah of Prayers, striking the ground, bird-like (with his forehead), not remembering Allah therein, but a little” (Qurtubi with Ibn Kathir in greater detail). 341. Zamakhshari observes: It is the same attitude that you will observe in many of those who claim to be Muslims (but whose hearts are enamoured with worldly things). If you happen to be in their company, you will find them endlessly talking of this world and its affairs, seldom glorifying Allah or praising Him: They do not remember Allah, but little.

    مُذَبْذَبِينَ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ لَا إِلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ وَلَا إِلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلًا (143)

    4|143| Wavering between the two: neither with these, nor with those.342 And whomsoever Allah leads astray, you shall not find a way for him.343

    342. The hypocrite - with his physical body with the believers, but the heart with the unbelievers - wavers between the two. The Prophet has said about him (in a hadith of Muslim: Ibn Kathir):

    مَثَلُ الْمُنَافِقِ كَمَثَلِ الشَّاةِ الْعَائِرَةِ بَيْنَ الْغَنَمَيْنِ تَعِيرُ إِلَى هَذِهِ مَرَّةً وَإِلَى هَذِهِ مَرَّةً

    “The example of a hypocrite is similar to a goat wandering between two herds. It wanders sometimes to one, at other times to another” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). 343. Mawdudi comments: “No human being can proceed along any path, whether it be good or evil, unless God lets him proceed along it, and bestows upon him the means to do so. However, it is up to the man himself to choose his own path, and after he has made the choice, God will let him proceed along it, and will even pave the way for him. If a person really cares about God, genuinely seeks the truth and earnestly tries to pursue the path charted by God, God permits him to follow his choice, and even provides the means necessary to proceed along his chosen path. On the other hand, God shuts the door of true guidance on the person who chooses error and strives to proceed only along wrong paths, and further enables him to follow the path of his choice. It is beyond the power of any human being to prevent such a person from thinking wrongly, acting wrongly and using his energies in wrong directions. If a man loses the road to his success and is subsequently deprived of true guidance by God, in whose power it lies, then, to restore to him his lost treasure”?

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا (144)

    4|144| Believers! Do not take the unbelievers as friends344 instead of the believers. Do you want to offer Allah a clear argument against yourselves?

    344. “Friends” is not the right word for “waliyy” (pl. awliya’), rather, only convenient to use. Waliyy is one in whom one places his full trust, from whom he conceals nothing, and who will protect him as he will himself (Au.).

    إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الْأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا (145)

    4|145| Surely, the hypocrites will be in the lowest region of the Fire.345 And you will not find for them a helper.

    345. It is widely reported of the Companions and their followers that the hypocrites will be in the lowest region of Hell, in special chambers, constructed of steel, with lids from the top firmly locked and sealed from all around with no chance of escape (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). When one wishes to express the meaning of ‘one level above the other,’ the word in Arabic would be darj. But if one wants to express the meaning of ‘one level below the other,’ then the word is dark. It is said that of Hell there are various levels (adrak). The first is known as Jahannum, the one below it is Laza, the next al-Hutamah, the next Al-Sa`ir, the next Saqar, the next al-Jahim and finally al-Hawiyyah, which is the lowest region. However, sometimes all the seven are referred to by the name of the top most, i.e., Jahannum (Qurtubi).

    إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِاللَّهِ وَأَخْلَصُوا دِينَهُمْ لِلَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَسَوْفَ يُؤْتِ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (146)

    4|146| Except for those who repented, made amends, held fast to Allah and made their religion sincerely Allah’s,346 such indeed shall be with the believers.347 And Allah will soon grant the believers an immense reward.

    346. The Prophet has said:

    أخلص دينك يكفك القليل من العمل

    “Make your religion purely for Allah, then a little deed will suffice you” (Ibn Kathir). But the hadith has been questioned for its chain of narration (Au.). 347. Allah’s displeasure that they earned in the past because of their evil deeds is apparent in that He did not say: “They are the believers,” rather: “They shall be with the believers” (Qutaybi: Qurtubi, Shawkani).

    مَا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا (147)

    4|147| What would Allah do with chastising you, if you are thankful348 and believe? And Allah is ever Appreciative,349 Knowing.

    348. “The attitude of gratefulness to God consists in acknowledging His benefaction in one’s heart, in confessing it in one’s speech and by manifesting it in one’s deeds” (Mawdudi). 349. “The word used here is shakir ... In the context of the God-man relationship, when the word shukr is used in respect of God, it denotes ‘appreciation of services’. When it is used in respect of man, it denotes his acknowledgement of God’s benefaction and his sense of gratitude to Him” (Mawdudi). The Relationship When Allah spoke of the evil ways of the hypocrites, He followed it up to say that He does not approve of the evil word spoken aloud: including some of such things as were spoken about the hypocrites. But sometimes, when the person is a transgressor, it becomes necessary. Hence He said: “Allah does not approve of an evil word (spoken) aloud, unless a man has been wronged” (Razi). 350. It is another way of saying that Allah is angry with them (Razi, Alusi).

    لَا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلَّا مَنْ ظُلِمَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا (148)

    4|148| Allah does not approve350 of an evil word (spoken) aloud,351 unless a man has been wronged.352 Allah is ever Hearing, ever Knowing.

    351. Although the words are, “spoken aloud,” perhaps the meaning is, “(Allah does not approve of the evil word) ‘spoken out’ (even if it is not spoken aloud)” - Alusi. 352. Ibn `Abbas has said that the prohibition concerns a man supplicating against another, unless he were to be wronged by him. But if he forgives, then that’s better for him. Mujahid and others have illustrated it this way. Supposing a man is mistreated as a guest. When he leaves he can complain that he was not treated well (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). Ibn Kathir quotes a hadith from the Sahihayn to show that Mujahid’s statement has a basis. Once, the Companions complained to the Prophet that sometimes when they stopped at a village, they were not treated well. He told them that they could go to the extent of forcing the host to treat them well. According to another hadith in Ahmad, a night’s shelter and food are the rights of every guest. If he is mistreated he might seek the help of those in the neighborhood against the host. The above shows how important, the rights of a guest upon a host are in an Islamic system of life. (Au.) Hasan al-Busri has advised that if a man is wronged, he should, instead of supplicating against the oppressor, say, “O Allah, help me against him to get back my right” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). A more general meaning is, Allah does not approve that someone speak ill of another, unless he be wronged by the other (Ibn Jarir). At one time when someone stole something from `A’isha’s house, she began to supplicate against him. The Prophet told her: “Do not lighten his burden” (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). A variant reading however, has been zalama (he wronged) instead of zulima (he was wronged) which was the opinion of Zayd b. Aslam, Ibn Abi Is-haq, Dahhak, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Jubayr, `Ata’ ibn Sa’ib. The interpretation in that case would be as follows. Firstly, the answer to the ‘except’ should be assumed, and then the whole to be understood as, ‘(Except for him who commits a wrong) ... against such a person one can speak evil aloud.’ Yet another possible meaning in view of this second reading is that it is only the oppressor who will speak evil aloud (Qurtubi).

    إِنْ تُبْدُوا خَيْرًا أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ أَوْ تَعْفُوا عَنْ سُوءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا قَدِيرًا (149)

    4|149| Whether you do good openly or conceal it, or forgive an evil, surely Allah is ever-Pardoning, ever-Powerful.353

    353. Mawdudi writes: “.... If a wronged person speaks out against a wrong-doer, he is quite justified in doing so. Even though this is a person’s right, it is more meritorious to continue to do good both in public and in private, and to ignore the misdeeds of others. For one’s ideal should be to try to approximate to God’s ways as far as possible. God with whom one wants to be close is lenient and forbearing; He provides sustenance even to the worst criminals and seeks mitigating circumstances in even the most serious offenses. In order to become close to God, one ought to be generous in spirit and full of tolerance.” Shafi` comments: Thus, we see that Islam establishes justice by giving the oppressed the right to seek revenge. However, court rulings normally create a bitter feeling among the contentious parties. Therefore, it recommends the oppressed that he forgive his right. This creates peace and harmony in the society.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا (150)

    4|150| Verily, those who deny Allah and His messengers and wish to make division between Allah and His messengers and say, ‘We shall believe in some and deny others,’ wishing to take between this and that a way,354

    354. Several allusions are possible. It could mean a way in between belief and unbelief. (But they erred because there is no relationship whatsoever between the two: Zamakhshari). In explanation, Alusi quotes the verse (10: 32):

    فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلَّا الضَّلَالُ [يونس : 32]

    “And what (is left) after the truth, but falsehood?” Alternatively, it could mean: a way by which they believe in some prophets and deny others. It could also mean that they wish to find a way by which they believe in God but not in His messengers. Although the immediate reference was (as pointed out by Qatadah and Suddi: Ibn Jarir) to the Jews and Christians, of whom the former believed in Musa but denied `Isa and Muhammad, while the latter believed in Musa and `Isa, but denied Muhammad – peace on them all (Au.). Majid’s comment on “they wish to make division between Allah and His messengers” is: “By professing to believe in Him in the abstract, but rejecting His law as propounded by His prophets and apostles.”

    أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ حَقًّا ۚ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا (151)

    4|151| Such are the true unbelievers.355 We have prepared a humiliating chastisement for the unbelievers.

    355. That is, those whose disbelief is beyond any doubt (Zamakhshari, Razi).

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَمْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ أُولَٰئِكَ سَوْفَ يُؤْتِيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (152)

    4|152| As for those who believed in Allah and His messengers and made no division between any of them - those, He shall give them their reward. And Allah is ever-Forgiving, ever-Merciful.356

    356. So He will forgive their minor sins.

    يَسْأَلُكَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ أَنْ تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ كِتَابًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ۚ فَقَدْ سَأَلُوا مُوسَىٰ أَكْبَرَ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ فَقَالُوا أَرِنَا اللَّهَ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ بِظُلْمِهِمْ ۚ ثُمَّ اتَّخَذُوا الْعِجْلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ فَعَفَوْنَا عَنْ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا (153)

    4|153| The people of the Book ask you to bring down upon them a Book from the heaven.357 Indeed they asked Musa for (something) greater than that. They said, ‘Show us God openly.’ A thunderbolt struck them for their evildoing. Then they took for themselves the calf (for worship) - after the clear signs had come to them. Yet We pardoned them that (crime), and bestowed upon Musa a manifest authority.358

    357. Muhammad b. Ka`b al-Qurazi has said that some Jews went to the Prophet and said: “Musa was given inscribed tablets. If you are a true Prophet, bring something similar.” Others demanded separate writs to several of them. Allah revealed these verses in response (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi). Thanwi adds: “The verse refutes the belief of those who assume that it is in the power of their Shuyukh to bestow spiritual benefits on their followers.” 358. It was because of the authority and power which Musa was granted that he was able to enforce his obedience and execute the punishment ordered subsequent to the crime of heifer-worship committed by the Israelites: viz., slaughtering of those who had worshipped the heifer at the hands of those who had not (Zamakhshari). A hint is also hidden in the verse that such will be the power that Muhammad (saws) will be given in the face of the opposition (Razi).

    وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَاقِهِمْ وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لَا تَعْدُوا فِي السَّبْتِ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُمْ مِيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا (154)

    4|154| We raised above them (Mount) Tur because of the covenant359 and ordered them, ‘Enter at the gate, prostrating (yourselves).’360 We also told them, ‘Do not transgress in the matter of the Sabbath.’ And We took from them a solemn compact.

    359. The Israelites had made a demand on Musa that they also be given a Law as had been given to other nations. They were discouraged from persisting in their demand on grounds that if given, they might not live by it. However, when they insisted, a firm compact was taken from them to the effect that if given they would receive it well. Yet, when the Tawrah was revealed, containing the Law, they refused to accept it on grounds that it contained harsh injunctions. The reference here is to that historical event (Au.). 360. See al-Baqarah, note 141 of this work for explanation.

    فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِمْ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَكُفْرِهِمْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَقَتْلِهِمُ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَقَوْلِهِمْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ ۚ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا (155)

    4|155| Therefore, because of their breaking the compact, their denial of Allah’s signs, their slaughtering of the prophets without right, and their utterance, ‘Our hearts are insulated - ‘361 rather, Allah has set a seal upon them because of their unbelief; therefore, they will not believe but a few.

    361. See al-Baqarah, note 186 of this work for explanation. Mawdudi comments: “In fact, like all ignorant worshippers of falsehood, these people also boasted that their faith in the ideas and prejudices, customs and usages of their forefathers was so firm that they could never be made to forsake them. Whenever the Messengers of God tried to admonish them, they have been told point-blank that no matter what argument or evidence the latter might adduce in support of their message, they would never be prepared to alter their viewpoint.”

    وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ بُهْتَانًا عَظِيمًا (156)

    4|156| And because of their unbelief362 and their uttering against Maryam a mighty calumny.363

    362. Why did Allah repeat the words “because of their disbelief,” when the same thing was stated in the previous verse? It was because of their recurring disbelief (Zamakhshari). 363. That is, by denying the miraculous birth of Jesus, they imputed moral impropriety on the part of Maryam. Majid writes: “In the ancient ‘Life of Jesus’ (the Toldoth Jeshu) occurs the following:- ‘Now over against the door of her house there dwelt a man of fair appearance (a warrior), Joseph the son of Pandra: he cast his eyes upon her. [Seven verses are here omitted which relate the seduction of Mary by Joseph, she being under the impression that he was her betrothed, until he came in later, and the mistake was discovered].’ (According to the Hebrews,’ p. 35). The courageous slander is supported by the Talmud.” See the allegation in the following note also (Au.).

    وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا (157)

    4|157| And because of their saying, ‘Surely we slew the Messiah,364 `Isa son of Maryam, Allah’s Messenger!’365 But they did not slay him, neither crucify him.366 Rather, it appeared so unto them.367 Surely those who are at variance concerning him are in a doubt regarding him.368 They have no knowledge of the affair except the following of surmise. They slew him not on a certainty.369

    364. Majid comments: “It was not only the Christians who made the Jews accountable for the ‘death’ of Jesus, but the Jews themselves spoke with pride and delight of their achievement. ‘... Then all the men of Jerusalem being well-armed and mailed, captured Jesus. And when his disciples saw that he was captive in their hands, and that it was in vain to fight, they took to their legs, and lifted up their voice, and wept bitterly. And the men of Jerusalem waxed stronger and conquered the bastard, the son of a woman in her separation, with his multitude, slaying many of them, while the rest fled to the mountains’ (According to the Hebrews, p. 46 f.n.).” 365. There are two explanations for the addition of the words: “Allah’s Messenger.” First, the Jews added those words despite their disbelief out of derision, as Fir`awn had said (26: 27):

    إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ [الشعراء : 27]

    “The Messenger that has been sent to you is surely mad.” Second, it might be by way of reverence to ‘Isa (asws) in contrast to his belittling by his adversaries (Zamakhshari, Razi). In Majid’s words: “The epithet is appended to emphasize the true rank and status of Jesus...” 366. “Crucifixion is the act of putting to death by nailing to a cross. It was in use, generally restricted to slaves and rebels, amongst the Romans, under whose government Jesus and his prosecutors, the Jews lived” (Majid). 367. Qatadah, Suddi, Ibn abi Buzzah and many others have said that when the Jews came to seize `Isa ibn Maryam, he asked his disciples: “Which of you will accept to be transformed into my physical features on the promise of Paradise?” One of them volunteered. He was taken away and crucified while Allah raised `Isa to the heavens (Mujahid added: “alive”). Wahab b. Munabbih has said however that when the Jews came, all of the disciples of `Isa (asws) were transformed in their physical features into that of `Isa (Ibn Jarir). Zamakhshari says some reports say that the very disciple who had betrayed `Isa was transformed into his physical features. Majid adds: “... Jesus was substituted by another ... for him. This true doctrine regarding Jesus is shared by an early Christian sect. The Basilidian maintained that Jesus ‘changed form with Simon of Cyrene who actually suffered in place.’ (EBr. III, p. 176). ‘Irenaeus says that Basilidians’ account of the crucifixion was that Simon of Cyrene was crucified by mistake, and Jesus himself took the form of Simon, and stood by and laughed at them’ (ERE. IV, p. 833).” 368. The Jews knew that `Isa ibn Maryam was in the company of 12 of his disciples that night in the house in which they had assembled. But by the time they forced their entry into the house `Isa had already been raised up and so they found only twelve people there (instead of thirteen). Although they arrested the one who resembled `Isa, the fact that one person was missing cast a doubt over the person they had captured, whether he was truly the man they were looking for or not (Ibn Jarir). Majid writes: “(The verse refers to) ... the Jews and the various Christian sects disputing among themselves respecting Jesus and his fate.” Imam Razi comments: Major Christian divisions are three: The Nestorians, the Evangelists and the Jacobites, all the three of whom hold different opinions about the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mawdudi writes: “The Christians have dozens of different versions, rather than one universally agreed view regarding the crucifixion of the Messiah. ... (Some) were of the opinion that the one who was crucified was certainly Jesus himself, but that he did not die on the cross and was still alive when brought down from it. Others asserted that though Jesus died on the cross, he later returned to life, met his disciples and conversed with them about ten times. Again, some believe that the human body of Jesus suffered death and was buried, while the spirit of godhead in him was taken up on high. Yet others believe that after his death the Messiah was resurrected physically and was subsequently taken up to heaven in physical form.” It is singularly interesting to note that the best of Christians, including the priestly class, is never very comfortable about the fate of Jesus and therefore, the beliefs arising out of the event. A few minutes of argument shakes even a knowledgeable Christian to the core. The words of Allah therefore, “Surely those who are at variance concerning him are in a doubt regarding him,” have another dimension (Au.). 369. The emphasis in, “They slew him not on a certainty,” is not on “him” (i.e., `Isa) as it is widely presumed (Au.). Ibn `Abbas, Juwaybar and Suddi have said that the emphasis is on “on a certainty.” That is to say, they were not at all certain that they had crucified the right man. A doubt lingered because of the fact that they had found only twelve men in that house although they were pretty sure there should have been thirteen (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا (158)

    4|158| Rather, Allah raised him to Himself.370 Allah is Almighty,371 Wise.

    370. It was His Might that He sent Butros the Roman over them. He massacred a large number of them (Qurtubi). Qurtubi is referring perhaps to Titus, the Roman Governor who, infuriated by the Jewish revolt of the 70 C.E, slaughtered them in tens of thousands and razed Jerusalem to the ground (Au.). 371. See Al-`Imran, notes 100-102 of this work for an explanation.

    وَإِنْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا (159)

    4|159| There is none of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death,372 and on the Day of Judgment he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them.373

    372/ Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Qatadah, Abu Malik and others have said that (since `Isa did not die, rather was taken up to the heavens and will descend again) none would be left of the people of the Book at the time of his second coming, but would have believed in him before his death, that is, before `Isa’s death. Hasan has said: “By God. He is alive with Allah even now. When he descends, everyone will believe in him.” (He is alive and is in the second firmament, as declared in the tradition of Mi`raj: Alusi). However, a second opinion from the same authorities is that none of the people of the book dies, before he has believed in the messengership of `Isa (asws) - Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir. Zamakhshari, Razi and Qurtubi have stated that Shahr ibn Hawshab voiced this opinion before Hajjaj bin Yusuf, who had expressed his puzzle over the verse. Apparently, Hajjaj was impressed by the interpretation and asked Shahr whom he had taken it from. Shahr replied: “From Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Hanafiyyah.” Hajjaj began to draw lines on the ground with a twig in his hand and then said after a while: “You took it from a crystalline eye.” Zamakhshari adds: Kalbi asked Shahr why he had spelt that name when he had not taken it from him. Shahr replied: “I wanted to provoke his anger. He did not like to hear that name.” Referring to the second interpretation, to the effect that every individual of the people of the Book will believe in `Isa before his own death, Shafi` states that with the arrival of the angels of death, everyone begins to see a part of the ghayb (and therefore, in case of the Christians, the dying man realizes that God is one, and Jesus could not have been God). Although Ibn Jarir prefers the former opinion, the two are, obviously, reconcilable (Au.). The Second Coming of Jesus Ibn Kathir says that the second coming of `Isa is proven by ahadith that reach the tawatur status. (Rejection of a mutawatir hadith entails kufr: Au.). At this point he quotes some of them. We shall present a few. The Sahihayn report Abu Hurayrah. The Prophet said:

    والذي نفسي بيده لَيُوشكَنّ أن ينزل فيكم ابن مريم حَكَمًا عدلا فيكسر الصليب، ويقتل الخنزير، ويضع الجزية، ويفيض المال حتى لا يقبله أحد، حتى تكون السجدة خيرا من الدنيا وما فيها". ثم يقول أبو هريرة: اقرؤوا إن شئتم: { وَإِنْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا }

    “By Him in whose hands is my life, surely `Isa son of Mary will come down among you. He will fill the land with justice. He will break the Cross, destroy the hog, annul the jizyah and distribute so much wealth that there would be no one to accept, until a time will come when a man will prefer a single prostration over all that the heaven and earth contain.” Abu Hurayrah then recited this verse: “There is none of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death.” According to another report in Ahmad and Muslim, `Isa will come down to Rawha’ to perform Hajj, `Umrah, or both. Another report in Muslim records Abu Hurayrah reporting the Prophet as having said:

    لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَنْزِلَ الرُّومُ بِالْأَعْمَاقِ أَوْ بِدَابِقٍ فَيَخْرُجُ إِلَيْهِمْ جَيْشٌ مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ مِنْ خِيَارِ أَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَإِذَا تَصَافُّوا قَالَتْ الرُّومُ خَلُّوا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ سَبَوْا مِنَّا نُقَاتِلْهُمْ فَيَقُولُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ لَا وَاللَّهِ لَا نُخَلِّي بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَانِنَا فَيُقَاتِلُونَهُمْ فَيَنْهَزِمُ ثُلُثٌ لَا يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَبَدًا وَيُقْتَلُ ثُلُثُهُمْ أَفْضَلُ الشُّهَدَاءِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَيَفْتَتِحُ الثُّلُثُ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ أَبَدًا فَيَفْتَتِحُونَ قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةَ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ يَقْتَسِمُونَ الْغَنَائِمَ قَدْ عَلَّقُوا سُيُوفَهُمْ بِالزَّيْتُونِ إِذْ صَاحَ فِيهِمْ الشَّيْطَانُ إِنَّ الْمَسِيحَ قَدْ خَلَفَكُمْ فِي أَهْلِيكُمْ فَيَخْرُجُونَ وَذَلِكَ بَاطِلٌ فَإِذَا جَاءُوا الشَّأْمَ خَرَجَ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ يُعِدُّونَ لِلْقِتَالِ يُسَوُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ إِذْ أُقِيمَتْ الصَّلَاةُ فَيَنْزِلُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَمَّهُمْ فَإِذَا رَآهُ عَدُوُّ اللَّهِ ذَابَ كَمَا يَذُوبُ الْمِلْحُ فِي الْمَاءِ فَلَوْ تَرَكَهُ لَانْذَابَ حَتَّى يَهْلِكَ وَلَكِنْ يَقْتُلُهُ اللَّهُ بِيَدِهِ فَيُرِيهِمْ دَمَهُ فِي حَرْبَتِهِ.

    “The Hour will not be called before the Romans come down to A`maaq or Dabiq. Muslim forces will come out to meet them. The best of the people of the earth of that day will come out of Madinah. When they face each other, the Romans will say, ‘Hand over back to us those of our men who were taken prisoners.’ The Muslims will say, ‘No. By Allah, We shall not hand over our brethren to you.’ A battle will ensue. A third of the Muslim forces will flee. Allah will never forgive them. Another third will be martyred. They would be the best of the martyrs. The last third will overcome them, and Allah will never test them again. They will move on and capture Constantinople. But, while they would be busy dividing the spoils of war, with their swords hung by the olive trees, Satan will cry out from the rear, ”The Antichrist is behind you among your kin." They will turn back. But the news would be false. However, by the time they reach Syria, he would be out. And while they would be readying themselves in rows for a battle with him, Prayer will be commenced. At that moment `Isa son of Mary will descend. He will lead them in the Prayers. As soon as Allah’s enemy (the Antichrist) sees him he would begin to dissolve as salt dissolves in water. So that, were he to leave him alone, he would still dissolve himself and be destroyed. But he will kill him with his hands and show them his blood on his weapon." A tradition in Ahmad says:

    الْأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ لِعَلَّاتٍ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَأَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ لِأَنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُ نَبِيٌّ وَإِنَّهُ نَازِلٌ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَاعْرِفُوهُ رَجُلًا مَرْبُوعًا إِلَى الْحُمْرَةِ وَالْبَيَاضِ عَلَيْهِ ثَوْبَانِ مُمَصَّرَانِ كَأَنَّ رَأْسَهُ يَقْطُرُ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُصِبْهُ بَلَلٌ فَيَدُقُّ الصَّلِيبَ وَيَقْتُلُ الْخِنْزِيرَ وَيَضَعُ الْجِزْيَةَ وَيَدْعُو النَّاسَ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ فَيُهْلِكُ اللَّهُ فِي زَمَانِهِ الْمِلَلَ كُلَّهَا إِلَّا الْإِسْلَامَ وَيُهْلِكُ اللَّهُ فِي زَمَانِهِ الْمَسِيحَ الدَّجَّالَ وَتَقَعُ الْأَمَنَةُ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ حَتَّى تَرْتَعَ الْأُسُودُ مَعَ الْإِبِلِ وَالنِّمَارُ مَعَ الْبَقَرِ وَالذِّئَابُ مَعَ الْغَنَمِ وَيَلْعَبَ الصِّبْيَانُ بِالْحَيَّاتِ لَا تَضُرُّهُمْ فَيَمْكُثُ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ يُتَوَفَّى وَيُصَلِّي عَلَيْهِ الْمُسْلِمُونَ

    “Prophets are brothers, sons of one father, of divergent mothers. Their religion is one. I am closer to `Isa than anyone else, for there was no Prophet between him and me. He is going to descend again. You will recognize him on sight. A man of medium height, he will be between fair and red-complexioned, with two pieces of reddish color cloaks on. His hair would look like it was letting down droplets of water, although not wet. He will break the Cross, destroy the hog, annul the jizyah and invite the people to Islam. In his time Allah will destroy all religions except Islam. In his time too Dajjal the Antichrist will be destroyed. Subsequent to that total peace would reign over the earth so that camels will graze alongside tigers, cheetahs alongside cows, wolves alongside sheep, and children will play with snakes unharmed. He will remain for forty years and die. Muslims will pray over him.” Nuwas b. Sum`an relates the Prophet in Muslim:

    عَنْ النَّوَّاسِ بْنِ سَمْعَانَ قَالَ ذَكَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الدَّجَّالَ ذَاتَ غَدَاةٍ فَخَفَّضَ فِيهِ وَرَفَّعَ حَتَّى ظَنَنَّاهُ فِي طَائِفَةِ النَّخْلِ فَلَمَّا رُحْنَا إِلَيْهِ عَرَفَ ذَلِكَ فِينَا فَقَالَ مَا شَأْنُكُمْ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ذَكَرْتَ الدَّجَّالَ غَدَاةً فَخَفَّضْتَ فِيهِ وَرَفَّعْتَ حَتَّى ظَنَنَّاهُ فِي طَائِفَةِ النَّخْلِ فَقَالَ غَيْرُ الدَّجَّالِ أَخْوَفُنِي عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ يَخْرُجْ وَأَنَا فِيكُمْ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ دُونَكُمْ وَإِنْ يَخْرُجْ وَلَسْتُ فِيكُمْ فَامْرُؤٌ حَجِيجُ نَفْسِهِ وَاللَّهُ خَلِيفَتِي عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ إِنَّهُ شَابٌّ قَطَطٌ عَيْنُهُ طَافِئَةٌ كَأَنِّي أُشَبِّهُهُ بِعَبْدِ الْعُزَّى بْنِ قَطَنٍ فَمَنْ أَدْرَكَهُ مِنْكُمْ فَلْيَقْرَأْ عَلَيْهِ فَوَاتِحَ سُورَةِ الْكَهْفِ إِنَّهُ خَارِجٌ خَلَّةً بَيْنَ الشَّأْمِ وَالْعِرَاقِ فَعَاثَ يَمِينًا وَعَاثَ شِمَالًا يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ فَاثْبُتُوا قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا لَبْثُهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا يَوْمٌ كَسَنَةٍ وَيَوْمٌ كَشَهْرٍ وَيَوْمٌ كَجُمُعَةٍ وَسَائِرُ أَيَّامِهِ كَأَيَّامِكُمْ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَذَلِكَ الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي كَسَنَةٍ أَتَكْفِينَا فِيهِ صَلَاةُ يَوْمٍ قَالَ لَا اقْدُرُوا لَهُ قَدْرَهُ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا إِسْرَاعُهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالَ كَالْغَيْثِ اسْتَدْبَرَتْهُ الرِّيحُ فَيَأْتِي عَلَى الْقَوْمِ فَيَدْعُوهُمْ فَيُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَيَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُ فَيَأْمُرُ السَّمَاءَ فَتُمْطِرُ وَالْأَرْضَ فَتُنْبِتُ فَتَرُوحُ عَلَيْهِمْ سَارِحَتُهُمْ أَطْوَلَ مَا كَانَتْ ذُرًا وَأَسْبَغَهُ ضُرُوعًا وَأَمَدَّهُ خَوَاصِرَ ثُمَّ يَأْتِي الْقَوْمَ فَيَدْعُوهُمْ فَيَرُدُّونَ عَلَيْهِ قَوْلَهُ فَيَنْصَرِفُ عَنْهُمْ فَيُصْبِحُونَ مُمْحِلِينَ لَيْسَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ شَيْءٌ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَيَمُرُّ بِالْخَرِبَةِ فَيَقُولُ لَهَا أَخْرِجِي كُنُوزَكِ فَتَتْبَعُهُ كُنُوزُهَا كَيَعَاسِيبِ النَّحْلِ ثُمَّ يَدْعُو رَجُلًا مُمْتَلِئًا شَبَابًا فَيَضْرِبُهُ بِالسَّيْفِ فَيَقْطَعُهُ جَزْلَتَيْنِ رَمْيَةَ الْغَرَضِ ثُمَّ يَدْعُوهُ فَيُقْبِلُ وَيَتَهَلَّلُ وَجْهُهُ يَضْحَكُ فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ بَعَثَ اللَّهُ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ فَيَنْزِلُ عِنْدَ الْمَنَارَةِ الْبَيْضَاءِ شَرْقِيَّ دِمَشْقَ بَيْنَ مَهْرُودَتَيْنِ وَاضِعًا كَفَّيْهِ عَلَى أَجْنِحَةِ مَلَكَيْنِ إِذَا طَأْطَأَ رَأْسَهُ قَطَرَ وَإِذَا رَفَعَهُ تَحَدَّرَ مِنْهُ جُمَانٌ كَاللُّؤْلُؤِ فَلَا يَحِلُّ لِكَافِرٍ يَجِدُ رِيحَ نَفَسِهِ إِلَّا مَاتَ وَنَفَسُهُ يَنْتَهِي حَيْثُ يَنْتَهِي طَرْفُهُ فَيَطْلُبُهُ حَتَّى يُدْرِكَهُ بِبَابِ لُدٍّ فَيَقْتُلُهُ ثُمَّ يَأْتِي عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ قَوْمٌ قَدْ عَصَمَهُمْ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ فَيَمْسَحُ عَنْ وُجُوهِهِمْ وَيُحَدِّثُهُمْ بِدَرَجَاتِهِمْ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ أَوْحَى اللَّهُ إِلَى عِيسَى إِنِّي قَدْ أَخْرَجْتُ عِبَادًا لِي لَا يَدَانِ لِأَحَدٍ بِقِتَالِهِمْ فَحَرِّزْ عِبَادِي إِلَى الطُّورِ وَيَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَهُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنْسِلُونَ فَيَمُرُّ أَوَائِلُهُمْ عَلَى بُحَيْرَةِ طَبَرِيَّةَ فَيَشْرَبُونَ مَا فِيهَا وَيَمُرُّ آخِرُهُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ لَقَدْ كَانَ بِهَذِهِ مَرَّةً مَاءٌ وَيُحْصَرُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ حَتَّى يَكُونَ رَأْسُ الثَّوْرِ لِأَحَدِهِمْ خَيْرًا مِنْ مِائَةِ دِينَارٍ لِأَحَدِكُمْ الْيَوْمَ فَيَرْغَبُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ فَيُرْسِلُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ النَّغَفَ فِي رِقَابِهِمْ فَيُصْبِحُونَ فَرْسَى كَمَوْتِ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ يَهْبِطُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ فَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَوْضِعَ شِبْرٍ إِلَّا مَلَأَهُ زَهَمُهُمْ وَنَتْنُهُمْ فَيَرْغَبُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَيُرْسِلُ اللَّهُ طَيْرًا كَأَعْنَاقِ الْبُخْتِ فَتَحْمِلُهُمْ فَتَطْرَحُهُمْ حَيْثُ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ يُرْسِلُ اللَّهُ مَطَرًا لَا يَكُنُّ مِنْهُ بَيْتُ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ فَيَغْسِلُ الْأَرْضَ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَهَا كَالزَّلَفَةِ ثُمَّ يُقَالُ لِلْأَرْضِ أَنْبِتِي ثَمَرَتَكِ وَرُدِّي بَرَكَتَكِ فَيَوْمَئِذٍ تَأْكُلُ الْعِصَابَةُ مِنْ الرُّمَّانَةِ وَيَسْتَظِلُّونَ بِقِحْفِهَا وَيُبَارَكُ فِي الرِّسْلِ حَتَّى أَنَّ اللِّقْحَةَ مِنْ الْإِبِلِ لَتَكْفِي الْفِئَامَ مِنْ النَّاسِ وَاللِّقْحَةَ مِنْ الْبَقَرِ لَتَكْفِي الْقَبِيلَةَ مِنْ النَّاسِ وَاللِّقْحَةَ مِنْ الْغَنَمِ لَتَكْفِي الْفَخِذَ مِنْ النَّاسِ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ بَعَثَ اللَّهُ رِيحًا طَيِّبَةً فَتَأْخُذُهُمْ تَحْتَ آبَاطِهِمْ فَتَقْبِضُ رُوحَ كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ وَكُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ وَيَبْقَى شِرَارُ النَّاسِ يَتَهَارَجُونَ فِيهَا تَهَارُجَ الْحُمُرِ فَعَلَيْهِمْ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ

    “One day the Prophet spoke of Dajjal. During his talk he raised his voice and lowered it (to whispers) in such a manner that we began to suspect that he was right there in the date-palm groves. When we went to him (later in the day) he sensed our concern from our faces. He asked what the matter was. We told him that the way he raised his voice and lowered it we thought Dajjal was hiding right there in the date-palm groves. He said, ‘As far as you are concerned it is not Dajjal whose appearance I am concerned with, while I am with you. (If he appears in my presence) I shall suffice him on your behalf. But if he appears and I am not with you then let each of you take care of himself, although Allah is the Khalifah of every Muslim in my absence. “(Let me tell you about him). He will be a young man with short curled hair. One of his eyes would be sightless. He will be quite similar-looking to `Abdul `Uzza b. Qatan. Let anyone of you who encounters him recite the first few verses of surah al-Kahaf. He will first appear on a deserted road between Syria and Iraq creating tumult on his left and on his right. (The Prophet then added), ‘People. Be steadfast.’ We asked him, ‘How long will he reign on the earth?’ He replied: ‘Forty days: a day will be like a year, another like a month, another like a week and the rest of his days like your ordinary days.’ We asked: ‘Messenger of Allah. The day you say will be like a year, will our five Prayers be sufficient in it?’ He replied, ‘No. Rather, assess the time (as best as you can).’ We asked him, ‘Messenger of Allah. How fast will he move about?’ He replied, ‘Like the rain-clouds moved by the winds. He will come to a people, invite them to himself and they will believe in him. So he will order the heavens to rain down on them and it will rain. The earth will throw out its produce. Their cattle will feed on the longest stalk that the earth has thrown out. Those cattle will be the most filled of udders and widest of thighs. Then he will go to another people and invite them to (believe in) him. They will refuse. He will leave them to themselves and move on. But they will experience famine and will be left with no wealth of any sort in their hands. He will pass by a waste patch of land and order: “Throw out your treasures." The treasures would begin to follow him like bees follow the queen-bee. He will beckon a man in the prime of his youth. He will cut him into two and throw the pieces apart. Then he will beckon his head and the torso and the man will rise up smiling. “While he will be in such affairs, Allah will send the Messiah, son of Maryam. He will descend down near the white minaret in the east of Jerusalem, wearing two pieces of reddish-coloured cloaks, resting his hands on the wings of two angels. When he would lower his head, it would let fall droplets (of water), and when he would raise it, they would roll down as pearl-like silver pieces. An unbeliever will not be touched by his breath but will die (of its effects). And his breath will reach the distance his sight will reach. He will start off until he meets Dajjal at the gate of Ludd (present day Lydda in the state of Israel: Au.). He will kill him there. Then `Isa, the Prophet of Allah, will meet a people whom Allah would have saved (from the evils of Dajjal). He will wipe their faces and talk to them about their place in Paradise. He will be in such affairs when Allah will reveal unto him, ‘O `Isa, I have let loose a people that no one can resist. Therefore take your followers to (Mount) Tur.’ Then Allah will let free Yajuj and Majuj, who, as Allah Himself has said “will come (rushing) down from every hill.” Their forerunners will pass by Lake Tabariyyah and drink off its water. When their tail-enders arrive at the spot, they will say, ‘Once there used to be a lake here.’ “`Isa and his followers will remain (on Tur. They will run short of food) until the head of an oxen will be dearer to them than a hundred Dinars of today. `Isa and his followers will pray to Allah. Allah will cause a tumor to grow in their necks and they will fall down dead, rank and file. `Isa and his followers will then come down. They will not find a space equal to the span of a hand but filled with their dead and blood with foul smell all around. They will again pray to Allah. He will send birds with necks as huge as those of camels. They will lift them up and throw them where Allah will. Then He will send down rains that will wash every home, whether of bricks or mud, and render them clean like a mirror. Then it will be said to the earth: ‘Grow your fruits and bring out your blessings.’ “Those days a whole group of people will eat out of one pomegranate, and it will suffice them. They will rest under its shell. People will drink out of a single udder of a camel and it will be enough for a large crowd. The udder of a cow will suffice a whole tribe, and the udder of a goat will suffice a whole clan. Such will be the state when Allah will send through them a fragrant breeze which will affect them under their arm pits. That will take away the life of every believer. Those alone would be left who would copulate as the asses do. It is upon such that the Hour will be struck.” A hadith of Ibn Majah is reported by Abu Umamah al-Bahili. He says,

    عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ الْبَاهِلِيِّ قَالَ خَطَبَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَكَانَ أَكْثَرُ خُطْبَتِهِ حَدِيثًا حَدَّثَنَاهُ عَنْ الدَّجَّالِ وَحَذَّرَنَاهُ فَكَانَ مِنْ قَوْلِهِ أَنْ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُنْذُ ذَرَأَ اللَّهُ ذُرِّيَّةَ آدَمَ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الدَّجَّالِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَبْعَثْ نَبِيًّا إِلَّا حَذَّرَ أُمَّتَهُ الدَّجَّالَ وَأَنَا آخِرُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ وَأَنْتُمْ آخِرُ الْأُمَمِ وَهُوَ خَارِجٌ فِيكُمْ لَا مَحَالَةَ وَإِنْ يَخْرُجْ وَأَنَا بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَيْكُمْ فَأَنَا حَجِيجٌ لِكُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ وَإِنْ يَخْرُجْ مِنْ بَعْدِي فَكُلُّ امْرِئٍ حَجِيجُ نَفْسِهِ وَاللَّهُ خَلِيفَتِي عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ وَإِنَّهُ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خَلَّةٍ بَيْنَ الشَّامِ وَالْعِرَاقِ فَيَعِيثُ يَمِينًا وَيَعِيثُ شِمَالًا يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ فَاثْبُتُوا فَإِنِّي سَأَصِفُهُ لَكُمْ صِفَةً لَمْ يَصِفْهَا إِيَّاهُ نَبِيٌّ قَبْلِي إِنَّهُ يَبْدَأُ فَيَقُولُ أَنَا نَبِيٌّ وَلَا نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي ثُمَّ يُثَنِّي فَيَقُولُ أَنَا رَبُّكُمْ وَلَا تَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ حَتَّى تَمُوتُوا وَإِنَّهُ أَعْوَرُ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَيْسَ بِأَعْوَرَ وَإِنَّهُ مَكْتُوبٌ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ كَافِرٌ يَقْرَؤُهُ كُلُّ مُؤْمِنٍ كَاتِبٍ أَوْ غَيْرِ كَاتِبٍ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنَّ مَعَهُ جَنَّةً وَنَارًا فَنَارُهُ جَنَّةٌ وَجَنَّتُهُ نَارٌ فَمَنْ ابْتُلِيَ بِنَارِهِ فَلْيَسْتَغِثْ بِاللَّهِ وَلْيَقْرَأْ فَوَاتِحَ الْكَهْفِ فَتَكُونَ عَلَيْهِ بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا كَمَا كَانَتْ النَّارُ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يَقُولَ لِأَعْرَابِيٍّ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ بَعَثْتُ لَكَ أَبَاكَ وَأُمَّكَ أَتَشْهَدُ أَنِّي رَبُّكَ فَيَقُولُ نَعَمْ فَيَتَمَثَّلُ لَهُ شَيْطَانَانِ فِي صُورَةِ أَبِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ فَيَقُولَانِ يَا بُنَيَّ اتَّبِعْهُ فَإِنَّهُ رَبُّكَ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يُسَلَّطَ عَلَى نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ فَيَقْتُلَهَا وَيَنْشُرَهَا بِالْمِنْشَارِ حَتَّى يُلْقَى شِقَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يَقُولَ انْظُرُوا إِلَى عَبْدِي هَذَا فَإِنِّي أَبْعَثُهُ الْآنَ ثُمَّ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّ لَهُ رَبًّا غَيْرِي فَيَبْعَثُهُ اللَّهُ وَيَقُولُ لَهُ الْخَبِيثُ مَنْ رَبُّكَ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ وَأَنْتَ عَدُوُّ اللَّهِ أَنْتَ الدَّجَّالُ وَاللَّهِ مَا كُنْتُ بَعْدُ أَشَدَّ بَصِيرَةً بِكَ مِنِّي الْيَوْمَ قَالَ أَبُو الْحَسَنِ الطَّنَافِسِيُّ فَحَدَّثَنَا الْمُحَارِبِيُّ حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْوَلِيدِ الْوَصَّافِيُّ عَنْ عَطِيَّةَ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلُ أَرْفَعُ أُمَّتِي دَرَجَةً فِي الْجَنَّةِ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ وَاللَّهِ مَا كُنَّا نُرَى ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلَ إِلَّا عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ حَتَّى مَضَى لِسَبِيلِهِ قَالَ الْمُحَارِبِيُّ ثُمَّ رَجَعْنَا إِلَى حَدِيثِ أَبِي رَافِعٍ قَالَ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يَأْمُرَ السَّمَاءَ أَنْ تُمْطِرَ فَتُمْطِرَ وَيَأْمُرَ الْأَرْضَ أَنْ تُنْبِتَ فَتُنْبِتَ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يَمُرَّ بِالْحَيِّ فَيُكَذِّبُونَهُ فَلَا تَبْقَى لَهُمْ سَائِمَةٌ إِلَّا هَلَكَتْ وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يَمُرَّ بِالْحَيِّ فَيُصَدِّقُونَهُ فَيَأْمُرَ السَّمَاءَ أَنْ تُمْطِرَ فَتُمْطِرَ وَيَأْمُرَ الْأَرْضَ أَنْ تُنْبِتَ فَتُنْبِتَ حَتَّى تَرُوحَ مَوَاشِيهِمْ مِنْ يَوْمِهِمْ ذَلِكَ أَسْمَنَ مَا كَانَتْ وَأَعْظَمَهُ وَأَمَدَّهُ خَوَاصِرَ وَأَدَرَّهُ ضُرُوعًا وَإِنَّهُ لَا يَبْقَى شَيْءٌ مِنْ الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا وَطِئَهُ وَظَهَرَ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا مَكَّةَ وَالْمَدِينَةَ لَا يَأْتِيهِمَا مِنْ نَقْبٍ مِنْ نِقَابِهِمَا إِلَّا لَقِيَتْهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ بِالسُّيُوفِ صَلْتَةً حَتَّى يَنْزِلَ عِنْدَ الظُّرَيْبِ الْأَحْمَرِ عِنْدَ مُنْقَطَعِ السَّبَخَةِ فَتَرْجُفُ الْمَدِينَةُ بِأَهْلِهَا ثَلَاثَ رَجَفَاتٍ فَلَا يَبْقَى مُنَافِقٌ وَلَا مُنَافِقَةٌ إِلَّا خَرَجَ إِلَيْهِ فَتَنْفِي الْخَبَثَ مِنْهَا كَمَا يَنْفِي الْكِيرُ خَبَثَ الْحَدِيدِ وَيُدْعَى ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمُ يَوْمَ الْخَلَاصِ فَقَالَتْ أُمُّ شَرِيكٍ بِنْتُ أَبِي الْعَكَرِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَأَيْنَ الْعَرَبُ يَوْمَئِذٍ قَالَ هُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ قَلِيلٌ وَجُلُّهُمْ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ وَإِمَامُهُمْ رَجُلٌ صَالِحٌ فَبَيْنَمَا إِمَامُهُمْ قَدْ تَقَدَّمَ يُصَلِّي بِهِمْ الصُّبْحَ إِذْ نَزَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ الصُّبْحَ فَرَجَعَ ذَلِكَ الْإِمَامُ يَنْكُصُ يَمْشِي الْقَهْقَرَى لِيَتَقَدَّمَ عِيسَى يُصَلِّي بِالنَّاسِ فَيَضَعُ عِيسَى يَدَهُ بَيْنَ كَتِفَيْهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ لَهُ تَقَدَّمْ فَصَلِّ فَإِنَّهَا لَكَ أُقِيمَتْ فَيُصَلِّي بِهِمْ إِمَامُهُمْ فَإِذَا انْصَرَفَ قَالَ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام افْتَحُوا الْبَابَ فَيُفْتَحُ وَوَرَاءَهُ الدَّجَّالُ مَعَهُ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفَ يَهُودِيٍّ كُلُّهُمْ ذُو سَيْفٍ مُحَلًّى وَسَاجٍ فَإِذَا نَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ الدَّجَّالُ ذَابَ كَمَا يَذُوبُ الْمِلْحُ فِي الْمَاءِ وَيَنْطَلِقُ هَارِبًا وَيَقُولُ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام إِنَّ لِي فِيكَ ضَرْبَةً لَنْ تَسْبِقَنِي بِهَا فَيُدْرِكُهُ عِنْدَ بَابِ اللُّدِّ الشَّرْقِيِّ فَيَقْتُلُهُ فَيَهْزِمُ اللَّهُ الْيَهُودَ فَلَا يَبْقَى شَيْءٌ مِمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ يَتَوَارَى بِهِ يَهُودِيٌّ إِلَّا أَنْطَقَ اللَّهُ ذَلِكَ الشَّيْءَ لَا حَجَرَ وَلَا شَجَرَ وَلَا حَائِطَ وَلَا دَابَّةَ إِلَّا الْغَرْقَدَةَ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ شَجَرِهِمْ لَا تَنْطِقُ إِلَّا قَالَ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ الْمُسْلِمَ هَذَا يَهُودِيٌّ فَتَعَالَ اقْتُلْهُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَإِنَّ أَيَّامَهُ أَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً السَّنَةُ كَنِصْفِ السَّنَةِ وَالسَّنَةُ كَالشَّهْرِ وَالشَّهْرُ كَالْجُمُعَةِ وَآخِرُ أَيَّامِهِ كَالشَّرَرَةِ يُصْبِحُ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى بَابِ الْمَدِينَةِ فَلَا يَبْلُغُ بَابَهَا الْآخَرَ حَتَّى يُمْسِيَ فَقِيلَ لَهُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ نُصَلِّي فِي تِلْكَ الْأَيَّامِ الْقِصَارِ قَالَ تَقْدُرُونَ فِيهَا الصَّلَاةَ كَمَا تَقْدُرُونَهَا فِي هَذِهِ الْأَيَّامِ الطِّوَالِ ثُمَّ صَلُّوا قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَيَكُونُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام فِي أُمَّتِي حَكَمًا عَدْلًا وَإِمَامًا مُقْسِطًا يَدُقُّ الصَّلِيبَ وَيَذْبَحُ الْخِنْزِيرَ وَيَضَعُ الْجِزْيَةَ وَيَتْرُكُ الصَّدَقَةَ فَلَا يُسْعَى عَلَى شَاةٍ وَلَا بَعِيرٍ وَتُرْفَعُ الشَّحْنَاءُ وَالتَّبَاغُضُ وَتُنْزَعُ حُمَةُ كُلِّ ذَاتِ حُمَةٍ حَتَّى يُدْخِلَ الْوَلِيدُ يَدَهُ فِي فِي الْحَيَّةِ فَلَا تَضُرَّهُ وَتُفِرَّ الْوَلِيدَةُ الْأَسَدَ فَلَا يَضُرُّهَا وَيَكُونَ الذِّئْبُ فِي الْغَنَمِ كَأَنَّهُ كَلْبُهَا وَتُمْلَأُ الْأَرْضُ مِنْ السِّلْمِ كَمَا يُمْلَأُ الْإِنَاءُ مِنْ الْمَاءِ وَتَكُونُ الْكَلِمَةُ وَاحِدَةً فَلَا يُعْبَدُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ

    “Once, the Prophet delivered a speech. (Those days) most of his speeches were about Dajjal, warning us about him. Of the things he said on this occasion was: ‘No tribulation has been of great dimension for the children of Adam since he was created, than that of Dajjal. Allah did not send a prophet but he warned his followers of him. I am last of the prophets and you are the last of the nations. Therefore he has to appear amongst you. If he appears while I’m with you, then I am a protector of every Muslim. If he appears after me, then let each soul take care of itself. And Allah is the protector of every Muslim after me. He will appear on a road between Syria and Iraq and spread corruption on his left and right. People! O slaves of Allah! Stay firm. ‘Let me describe him to you the way no prophet has described him before. He will begin by claiming, “I am a prophet,” whereas I am the last of the prophets. Then he will say, “I am your Lord.” But you cannot see your Lord until you die. He will be one-eyed. But your Lord is not one-eyed. It will be written on his forehead, “Kafir,” that every believer will be able to read: whether lettered or unlettered. One of his temptations will be that he will carry with him the Fire and Paradise. However, his Fire will be Paradise and his Paradise Fire. Therefore whoever is tried out with his Fire, let him seek Allah’s help and recite the opening verses of surah al-Kahaf. It will cool down for him, as it cooled down for Ibrahim. Another of his temptation will be that he will beckon a bedouin and say to him, “Will you testify that I am your Lord if I quicken your parents?” He will say, “Yes.” Shaytan will then put on the appearance of his parents. They will say, “Son! Follow him. He is your Lord.” Another of his enticement will be that he will order a saw through a man from the head downward splitting him into two. Then he will say, “Look at this slave of mine. I am going to quicken him but he is going to deny me.” Allah will quicken him. Dajjal will ask him, “Who’s your Lord?” He will reply, “My Lord is Allah, and you are Allah’s enemy Dajjal. By God, I was never as sure about you as now.” That person (interjected the Prophet) will be the highest of position in Paradise among my followers. [And, Abu Sa`id, interjected], our belief was that it was `Umar ibn al-Khattab he had alluded to, until he died. `Another of his temptations will be that he will order the heavens to rain down, and it will rain. He will order the earth to throw out its produce and it will. Another ordeal would be that he will pass by a village. They will declare their belief in him and he will order the heavens and it will rain. He will order the earth to produce and it will. Their cattle will be the fattest of body with udders filled with milk. ‘No part of the earth will be left which he would not have trampled and overcome except Makkah and Madinah, for he will not try to enter into them by any cleavage but he will find angels with swords guarding them, until he will encamp near the red hill near the barren patch. Thereupon Madinah will shake three times, so that no hypocrite man or woman would be left but would have joined him. Thus Madinah will throw out its dirt as the smith’s hearth throws up the dirt. That day will be called the day of deliverance.’ At that Umm Shurayk bint Abi al-`Akr asked, “Prophet of Allah?” Where will the Arabs be that day?" He replied, “They will be few; mostly in Jerusalem.” (Then he continued), their leader will be a pious person. He will be about to lead them in a morning Prayer when Jesus Christ will descend. The imam would retreat backwards but Jesus will place his hands on his shoulders and say, “Lead them. For the Prayers had been called out for you as the leader.” So their leader will lead them in the Prayers. When he would have left, Jesus will say, “Open the gate.” It will be opened and lo, Dajjal will be right there with 70,000 Jews: all of them with swords, well ornamented and wearing crowns. However, when Dajjal will spot Jesus, he will start melting as salt melts in water and begin to retreat in a hurry. Jesus will tell him, “You are destined to receive a blow from me that you cannot escape.” He will overtake him near the eastern gate of Ludd and kill him. Allah will hand out defeat to the Jews so that, none of Allah’s creation, neither a stone, tree, wall, nor a beast - except the Gharqad tree (extensively grown nowadays in Israel: Au.), for it is a the tree of the Jews - behind which a Jew will be taking shelter but it will cry out, “This is a Jew. Come and kill him.” ‘Those days every day will be equal to 40 years. (Of which) a year will be equal to half a year. A year like a month; a month like a week. Its last days will be like sparks. A man will start off in the morning from the gate of a city and would not have reached another gate but it will be evening. He was asked, “How shall we Pray in those short days?” He replied, “By approximation.” ‘Then he continued, ‘Jesus Christ will establish order and justice. He will break the cross, slaughter the hog, annul jizyah, and will not accept zakah, neither of the camels nor of goats (because there will be no one to accept it). Hatred and envy will be removed from the people and the poison of every poisonous thing will be withdrawn. So that, a child will put his hand into the mouth of a python, but it will not hurt. Children will play with tigers and they will not hurt them. Wolves will live among sheep as if dogs. The earth will be filled with peace as a vessel is filled with water. All the people will be on one religion and no one will be worshipped except Allah’" (shortened). The Musnad of Ahmad and Muslim have another hadith on the subject. Narrated by Hudhyfah (ra), it says:

    عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ الْغِفَارِيِّ قَالَ اطَّلَعَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ فَقَالَ مَا تَذَاكَرُونَ قَالُوا نَذْكُرُ السَّاعَةَ قَالَ إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَقُومَ حَتَّى تَرَوْنَ قَبْلَهَا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ فَذَكَرَ الدُّخَانَ وَالدَّجَّالَ وَالدَّابَّةَ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنُزُولَ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَيَأَجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَثَلَاثَةَ خُسُوفٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَآخِرُ ذَلِكَ نَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنْ الْيَمَنِ تَطْرُدُ النَّاسَ إِلَى مَحْشَرِهِمْ. صجيح مسلم

    “Once we were sitting together and talking amongst ourselves about the Last Hour when the Prophet appeared. He asked us what it was that we were talking about. We told him we were talking about the Hour. He said: ‘It will not be called until ten signs have appeared: Smoke, Dajjal, the Animal (that will speak to the people), rising of the sun from the West, descending down of `Isa, appearance of Yajuj and Majuj, and three sinking incidents: one in the East, another in the West and a third in the Arabian Peninsula. The last (sign) will be that of the Fire that will start from the Yemen and drive the people toward the Field of Reckoning.” The hadith literature also says that the dwellers in Paradise will look similar to Adam and will be of the same age as `Isa (asws), that is, thirty-three years. Ibn `Asakir has stated that after his death, `Isa will be buried in the house (hujrah) of our Prophet. Quote from Ibn Kathir ends here. Alusi states that about his burial site there are two opinions: i) he will be buried in the hujrah of the Prophet and ii) he will be buried in Jerusalem. 373. `Isa ibn Maryam will testify against his people to the effect that he had delivered to them Allah’s message (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    فَبِظُلْمٍ مِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ طَيِّبَاتٍ أُحِلَّتْ لَهُمْ وَبِصَدِّهِمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا (160)

    4|160| Therefore, because of the transgressions of those who Judaized themselves, We made some of those good things unlawful to them that were (originally) declared lawful, and because of their hindering many from the path of Allah.374

    374. The phrase can both be rendered as “their hindering many from the path of Allah,” as well as, “their frequent hindering from the path of Allah” (Zamakhshari). Thanwi says, in effect: The verse implies that sins of a believer can cause cessation or diminution of spiritual gains. The words, “Judaized themselves” alludes to the fact that Allah had not revealed Judaism, but the religion of surrender (islam) through Musa and the Prophets who followed him; but, over time, the Jewish scholars created a new religion called Judaism several centuries after Musa.

    وَأَخْذِهِمُ الرِّبَا وَقَدْ نُهُوا عَنْهُ وَأَكْلِهِمْ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ ۚ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا (161)

    4|161| And, because of their acceptance of usury, although they were prohibited,375 and consuming the wealth of the people without right376 And We have prepared for the unbelievers among them a painful chastisement.377

    375. Majid quotes the Bible: “`But fear thy God: that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase’ (Le. 25: 36, 37).” 376. The word in the original for “without right” is batil. Zamakhshari has explained it as “graft” or “bribe money,” that their rabbis used to accept for interpolations in the Tawrah. 377. Mawdudi writes: “The severe punishment that has befallen the Jews in this world is unique and should serve as a lesson for all. Two thousand years have gone by and they have remained scattered all over the world and have been treated everywhere as outcasts. There has been no period during the last two millennia when they have not been looked down on ignominiously and there is no part of the world where they are respected despite their enormous riches. What is more, this nation has been left dangling between life and death, ... Their condemnation to this state of suspension makes them a lesson for all nations till the end of time. It marks the tragic fate that meets a people who, despite enjoying the guidance of the Book of God, dare to defy Him.”

    لَٰكِنِ الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ مِنْهُمْ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ ۚ وَالْمُقِيمِينَ الصَّلَاةَ ۚ وَالْمُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أُولَٰئِكَ سَنُؤْتِيهِمْ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (162)

    4|162| But those of them who are well-grounded in knowledge,378 and the believers believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, attend to the Prayers, pay the zakah, and those who believe in Allah and the Last Day - on such (of them) We shall surely bestow a mighty reward.

    378. For explanation of the term “well-grounded in knowledge” see Al-`Imran, note 15 of this work. According to a report in Ibn Ishaq, the opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that here the reference is to `Abdullah ibn Sallam, Usayd b. Sho`bah and Tha`labah b. Sho`bah who had abandoned Judaism and joined Islam (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

    إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَىٰ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا (163)

    4|163| Assuredly, We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) as we (earlier) revealed unto Nuh and the prophets after him; as (We also) revealed unto Ibrahim, Isma`il, Is-haq, Ya`qub, the tribes, `Isa, Ayyub, Yunus, Harun and Sulayman.379 And We gave Da’ud the Zabur.380

    379. Reports say that some Jews, notably Sukayn and `Adiy b. Thabit (`Adiy b. Zayd: Qurtubi, Alusi), claimed before the Prophet that God did not reveal anything to anybody after Musa. Allah revealed this verse in refutation. Another report, that of Ka`b al-Qurazi, says that when the Jews heard the previous verses, describing their corruption, some of them denied that anything had ever been revealed to anyone in the world: neither to Musa, `Isa, nor to anyone else (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). 380. Zabur is the name of the Book revealed to Da’ud just as Al-Qur’an is the name of the Book revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (Ibn Jarir). Some parts, or the whole of what is known as the Psalms of David in the Old Testament, might or might not be a remnant of the Zabur given to Da’ud (asws) - Au.

    وَرُسُلًا قَدْ قَصَصْنَاهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَرُسُلًا لَمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ ۚ وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا (164)

    4|164| Messengers of the past, some of whom We have spoken of to you, while others We have not.381 And Allah spoke to Musa directly.382

    381. In all, Allah spoke in the Qur’an of the following (twenty-four) Prophets and Messengers: Adam, Idris, Nuh, Hud, Salih, Ibrahim, Lut, Isma`il, Is-haq, Ya`qub, Yusuf, Ayyub, Shu`ayb, Musa, Harun, Yunus, Da’ud, Sulayman, Ilyas, Al-Yasa`, Zackariyyah, Yahya, `Isa and Dhu al-Kifl, with Muhammad as (the twenty-fifth, and) the most prominent of them all (Ibn Kathir). A long report in Ahmad has come from Abu Dharr. He says, ‘Once I entered the mosque to find the Prophet alone there. I asked him: “Messenger of Allah. (How about) the Prayers that you have commanded?” He said: “Prayer is the best thing. Therefore, Pray as much as you can.” I asked him: “Which is the most virtuous deed.” He said: “Belief in Allah and jihad in His path.” I asked: “Which believer is the best?” He replied: “The best of them in his morals.” I asked him: “Which Muslim is the most submitted?” He said: “One from whose tongue and hands other Muslims feel secure.” I asked him: “Which emigration is the best?” He replied: “He who gave up evil deeds.” I asked him: “Which is the best Prayer?” He said: “The one in which the standing is the longest.” I asked: “Which fast is the best?” He replied: “The obligatory ones which are best rewarded. And Allah has great quantities of reward.” I asked him: “Which jihad is the best?” He said: “He who slaughtered his beast and shed his own blood.” I asked him: “Which freeing (of a slave) is the best?” He replied: “The most expensive and the best among his folk.” I asked him: “Which charity is the best?” He said: “The efforts of the least possessed and the handing over in secrecy to the needy.” I asked him: “Which is the most magnificent verse revealed to you?” He replied: “Ayah al-Kursyyi.” Then he added: “Abu Dharr. The seven heavens are no more before the Kursiyy than a grain of sand in a patch of land. And the Kursiyy is no more before the `Arsh than a grain of sand in a patch of land.” I asked him: “How many Prophets have there been?” He said: “One hundred and twenty-four thousand.” I asked: “How many of them were Messengers?” He replied: “Three hundred and thirteen: a great lot and a good lot.” I asked him: “Who was the first?” He said: “Adam.” I asked: “Was he a Messenger too?” He replied: “Yes. Allah created him with His Hand, blew into him His spirit, and then straightened him up.” Then he added: “Abu Dharr. Four of them were Syrians: Adam, Shith, Khanukh, i.e., Idris who was the first to write with a pen, and Nuh. Four from the Arabs: Hud, Shu`ayb, Salih and your own prophet, O Abu Dharr. The first Prophet among the Israelites was Musa and the last `Isa. The first Messenger was Adam and the last Muhammad.” I asked: “O Messenger of Allah. How many books did Allah reveal?” He replied: “A hundred and four books: to Shith fifty, to Khanukh thirty, to Ibrahim ten. To Musa He revealed ten books before He revealed the Tawrah. And He revealed the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur and the al-Furqan.” I asked: “What was in the Scriptures of Ibrahim.” He replied: “(Allegories and paradigms) such as, ‘O proud, tyrannous, conceited king! I have not appointed you to amass wealth upon wealth. I have placed you there so that you may attend to the complaints of the oppressed. I myself do not reject the petition of the oppressed, even if it were to be from an unbeliever.’ And, ‘An intelligent man should divide his time into parts: A part in which he will address himself to his Lord. A part in which he will take stock of his deeds, another in which he will ponder over the creation of God, and a part devoted to earning his livelihood...’ And, ‘An intelligent man might not engage himself except in three things: Preparing for the Hereafter, working for the livelihood or enjoying that which is not forbidden.’ And, ‘An intelligent man ought to well understand his times, busy himself with his own affairs, safeguard his tongue; and surely, whoever realized that his words are equal to his deeds, will speak little but about affairs of importance.’” I asked him, “What was in the Scriptures of Musa?” He said, “Alert words (`ibar) such as: ‘I wonder at him who is certain of death yet opts for pleasure...’” I asked him, “And do we have such things in our Scripture?” He said, “Yes,” and recited these verses (87: 14-19),

    قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى (14) وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى (15) بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا (16) وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى (17) إِنَّ هَذَا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَى (18) صُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى [الأعلى : 14 ، 19]

    ‘Surely he prospered who cleansed, remembered his Lord’s Name and Prayed. But you prefer the life of this world, whereas, the Hereafter is better and longer lasting. This is in the Scriptures of old - Scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa.’" “I said: "Messenger of Allah. Advise me." He said: “I direct you to observe taqwa, for it is the pinnacle of all your affairs.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Recite the Qur’an and remember Allah much, for you will be remembered in the heavens and it will be a source of light in this life.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Avoid much laughter, for it deadens the heart and takes away the light of your face.” I said: “Tell me more, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “Observe silence for it drives away Satan and helps you in religious causes.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Look at him who is below you and not at him above you, for it is hoped that this way you will not belittle Allah’s favors to you.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Love the poor (masakin) and keep their company. This way it is less likely that you will belittle Allah’s blessings on you.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Join the kin even if they cut you off.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Speak out the truth, even if it were to sound bitter.” I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “Do not fear the censure of the critics in matters of religion” – shortened. Ibn Kathir presents several reports of this nature but points out that all of them may not be too trustworthy. 382. The words “spoke to Musa directly” are to emphasize the fact, and to leave no room for any conjecture, that the speaking was only allegorical (Shawkani).

    رُسُلًا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا (165)

    4|165| Messengers as heralds of glad tidings and as warners, so that the people might have no argument against Allah after the Messengers.383 And Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.

    383. The Sahihayn have preserved a hadith which says:

    لَا أَحَدَ أَغْيَرُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَلِذَلِكَ حَرَّمَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَلَا شَيْءَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ الْمَدْحُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَلِذَلِكَ مَدَحَ نَفْسَهُ

    “No one has greater sense of honor than Allah. Accordingly, He has forbidden the obscene, both the open as well as the concealed. No one loves to be praised more than Him. Accordingly, He has praised Himself.” Another version of Bukhari adds:

    وَلَا أَحَدَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ الْعُذْرُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَمِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ بَعَثَ الْمُبَشِّرِينَ وَالْمُنْذِرِينَ

    “And no one loves to complete the argument more than Him. Hence He sent the Prophets and Messengers, giving glad tidings and warnings” (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

    لَٰكِنِ اللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكَ ۖ أَنْزَلَهُ بِعِلْمِهِ ۖ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يَشْهَدُونَ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا (166)

    4|166| But Allah bears witness384 that whatever He sent to you, He sent with His knowledge. The angels also bear witness, although Allah suffices for a witness.385

    384. The verse starts with a “but” as if to say that people might deny the sending down of Messengers, but Allah bears witness (Zamakhshari). 385. Ibn `Abbas has said that when a group of Jews visited the Prophet he told them: “I think you know in your heart that I am a Messenger of Allah.” The Jews denied this and Allah revealed this verse, which meant to say that even if the Jews denied the fact, Allah Himself bears witness to it (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قَدْ ضَلُّوا ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا (167)

    4|167| Surely, those who disbelieved, and bar (others) from the way of Allah, strayed far away in error.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَظَلَمُوا لَمْ يَكُنِ اللَّهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ طَرِيقًا (168)

    4|168| Surely, those who disbelieved, and committed evil, Allah is not such as to forgive them or show them the way.

    إِلَّا طَرِيقَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا (169)

    4|169| Except the way to Jahannum, dwelling therein for ever. And this is easy for Allah.

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمُ الرَّسُولُ بِالْحَقِّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَآمِنُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ تَكْفُرُوا فَإِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (170)

    4|170| O people! Surely the Messenger has now come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe, that will be better for you. However, if you reject, then to Allah belongs all that is in the heaven and the earth. And Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انْتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا (171)

    4|171| O people of the Book! Do not overstep the bounds of your religion,386 and utter not aught concerning Allah save the truth. Surely Masih, `Isa the son of Maryam, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah,387 His word that He conveyed unto Maryam,388 and a spirit from Him.389 Therefore, believe in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say (God is) ‘three.’390 Desist. It is better for you. Surely Allah is One God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the Heavens and the earth. And Allah suffices for a Guardian.391

    386. Everything has its limits, overstepping which is evil. Mutarrif b. `Abdullah has said that virtue lies between two vices (Qurtubi). 387. Our own Prophet Muhammad (saws) feared that his followers might also commit excesses of the same sort as the previous nations with their prophets, hence he said, in effect, in reports preserved in several books including Bukhari: “(In your veneration of me) Do not commit excesses of the sort the Christians committed with regard to `Isa ibn Maryam. I am no more than a slave, therefore, refer to me as a slave of Allah and His Messenger” (Ibn Kathir). As the Christians committed excesses with regard to Jesus, so did the Jews, who said (slanderous) things about him (Zamakhshari, Shawkani). 388. The “kalimah” of the original either stands for “Messengership,” or, as Qatadah has said, the allusion is to the “Word” of “kun” (i.e., “be”) by which Maryam became pregnant with `Isa (asws) - Ibn Jarir. But there is room to believe that the allusion by the word here is to “the signs” of Allah, as in surah al-Tahrim, verse 12 which says,

    وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا [التحريم : 12]

    “She (Maryam) believed in the signs (kalimat) of her Lord” Or, as in surah Luqman, verse 27,

    مَا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ [لقمان : 27]

    “Allah’s signs would never end” (Qurtubi, Shawkani). 389. Various views have been expressed about the original words “ruhan minhu” (i.e., a Spirit from Him). One opinion is that it means “a blow from Him,” since life was blown into the womb directly, without the part played by a sire. Others have said that it means “a life from Him” (Ibn Jarir). To be sure, there is no strangeness in the combination: “a spirit from Him.” It is in the same vein as: “Allah’s camels” in al-Shams, verse 13, or “Cleanse My House” in al-Baqarah, verse 125 (Ibn Kathir). It is said that a Christian physician in the court of Harun al-Rashid argued that the Qur’an confirmed that Jesus Christ is part of God. He used this verse to substantiate his claim. Hussein al-Waqidi al-Marwazi was present. He rejoined that if that was so then all of the creations have a part of God in them, in view of the verse (45: 13):

    وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مِنْهُ [الجاثية : 13]

    “And He subjected to you what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, all together, from Him.” That convinced the man and he embraced Islam pleasing Harun so much that he rewarded Waqidi heftily (Alusi). Asad adds: “As regards the expression ”a soul from Him" ... it is to be noted that among the various meanings that the word ruh bears in the Qur’an (e.g., “inspiration” in 2: 87 and 253), it is also used in its primary significance of “breath of life”, “soul”, or “spirit”: thus, for instance, in 32: 9, where the ever-recurring evolution of the human embryo is spoken of: “and then He forms him [i.e., man] ... and breathes into him of His spirit” - that is, endows him with a conscious soul which represents God’s supreme gift to man and is, therefore, described as “a breath of His spirit”. In the verse under discussion, which stresses the purely human nature of Jesus and refutes the belief in his divinity, the Qur’an points out that Jesus, like all other human beings, was “a soul created by Him”. Rashid Rida writes: (If by the word Ruh we understand Ruh al-Qudus, (Holy Ghost) then the usage of the word is wide and varied in the New Testament. It has been used both in association with and without Jesus Christ. Matthew 1: 18 for instance, says: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Or, in Luke 1: 34-35: “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee ...” Or, in Luke 2: 25 it says: “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was upon him.” The first two quotes above clearly show that Jesus Christ was created through the agency of the Ruh al-Qudus (or Jibril). 390. The belief in Trinity is one of the several variant beliefs that various Christians hold as true. There are numerous such groundless notions. For example, some of them believe that Jesus was the son of God, others that He was God Himself, and so on. In fact, someone has put it aptly when he said that if ten Christians were to get together (and express their opinions about God) they would do it in eleven contradictory ways (Ibn Kathir). Thanwi adds: “The verse also refutes the entirely baseless notion of hulul held by the ignorant Sufis.” Trinity Rashid Rida writes: The belief in Trinity is not a novelty of the Christians. Researches undertaken by Western scholars show the idea prevalent among many peoples of the past. The Hindus, for instance, believe in the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They call it “Trimurthy.” The Chinese Buddhists believe in a Trinity of their own. The basis of Tau beliefs and philosophy is also in trinity. Ancient Egyptian religious system, whose most holy temple was at Memphis, started the initiation of the freshers with the catechism that originally there was one God. He created the second. Then the two created the third and thus the “Holy Trinity” achieved completion. In fact, when their ruler asked the chief priest about God, he replied that the Godhead constituted of a Triad consisting of God, the Word and the Holy Ghost. Ancient Persians had their own trinity of Gods: Ozmerd, Matrat and Ahraman, although later they developed duality, with a god of good and a god of evil. Similarly, the writer of “The Development of Religious Thoughts” details that the ancient Greeks believed that god has three hypostasis. Therefore, when their chief priest offered the sacrifices of the worshippers to the deities they sprayed the sacrifice with three holy sprinkles, sprinkling those present three times, drawing incense with the help of three fingers, under the belief that everything holy has an aspect of three in it. The Hebrew dictionary says that the barbarians who lived in the north of Prussia worshipped a deity that had three heads. It was called “Triclave,” where “Tri” is three and “Clave” perhaps for god. Likewise the ancient Scandinavians worshipped three gods called Odin, Thor and Freyr which they believed were three aspects of one reality. Their temples as well as those found in Denmark used to be decorated with the figures of these three gods. With these findings before us, can we ask: Did the Europeans accept the religion of the Prophets of Israel who believed in One God, or did they continue with their ancient religions, adding Jesus Christ to the long list of deities?! Surely, had the Christians nothing else to check their beliefs against, except the Gospels, even then they should have been led to One God. The Gospel of John says, in ch.17, v.3: “(Jesus spoke thus) And this life is eternal, that they might know thee, the true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” And in Mark, ch.12, v.29, when Jesus was asked about God’s commandments, replied: “The first of all his commandment is, Hear O Israel: The Lord, our God, is one Lord.” To the above, this author would like to add the following: Although the importance of the subject demands an exhaustive presentation, we shall for the moment content ourselves with a few remarks. Any unprejudiced person who looks into the Gospels, will be amazed to find no support whatsoever for the concept of Trinity or the nature and mission of Jesus Christ as incorporated in the Christian creed. Nowhere does Christ claim himself a son of God, or possessed with divinity, or claim a part in a trinity of gods. It is true that he refers to God as the Father, and to himself as the Son, but the Scriptures use the terms in reference to many others. As for Trinity, the word does not find mention once in the Gospels. A single verse on which the Church rests its argument, could be speaking of anything but Trinity and which Biblical scholars have shown as of later introduction. The concept of Trinity, therefore, has its origin in anything but the Gospels. Western scholars have shown that early adherents of the Christian church from the northern sphere, were already familiar with the concept as a creed of their pagan religions, and so it was readily accepted by them when adopted by the Church, but opposed by the Eastern churches. Gibbon feels that Greek philosophy had influenced the early churchmen. Whatever the origin, one or many, historical accounts tell us that it was Paul of Jerusalem, formerly a Jew and persecutor of the Christians, who was the first to introduce the concept into Christian thought and non-Gospel Scriptures. Although initially a disciple of the disciples of Christ, he later claimed independence following revelations and inspirations to him. Ultimately he parted ways with a disciple, but not without a quarrel. Significantly, there must have been something seriously wrong, for a disciple of Christ, one who shared the Last Supper with his Master, whose feet his Master had washed, and who, after him, journeyed across the lands spreading his message on his bidding, should have disapproved of Paul. But, at least on this score, Paul, who never saw Christ, has been dearer to the Catholic Church than an Apostle of Christ. Expectedly, the ideas introduced by Paul were never accepted whole-heartedly by the Christians anytime in their entire history. Early Church was as divided over the nature of Christ, as the fingers of a hand. From the beginning, there was a strong faction opposed to Paul’s ideas. They held the belief that Christ was no more than a human and a Prophet. This faction came to be symbolized in the fourth century by a learned religious figure called Arius, whose piety no one ever questioned; it was of such order that he declined to contest for the grand office of the episcopal throne. He stood firm against Pauline ideas. He and his followers waged a struggle against the established Church. A large majority of the bishops of Asia appeared to support or favor his cause. In fact, the most learned seemed to be on his side. Arius’ ideas however, were not the only ones that were different from those of the established Church. Hillary, a Bishop of the fourth century, lamented that in the ten provinces of Asia that he had visited, “there could be found very few prelates who had preserved the knowledge of the true God.” The statement implies that either the prelates subscribed to the Arian creed, which refused to accept Jesus Christ as the son of God, or believed in Trinity. If we assume that the bishop was referring to Arian creeds, then we get some idea of the popularity of his beliefs. But if he was referring to the prevalence of Trinity, then his words acquire a chilling note, “there could be found very few prelates who had preserved the knowledge of the true God.” Such were the conditions when churchmen from over the world, gathered in Nicene in 325 A.C., to agree on a Christian creed. Arius was there. There are differences in opinion as to how many supported the Arian creed. Some accounts say they were in minority, while one or two accounts say they were actually in majority. Perhaps the confusion about the numbers is because of the fact that several such conferences were held and votes counted. According to one account, supporters to Arian cause at Nicene included two Bishops, seven presbyters, twelve deacons, and, as Gibbon mentioned, seven hundred virgins. The stand taken by the Arians was that since the nature of controversy was too complicated and, in fact, incomprehensive to most who spoke on it in passionate terms, moderation was to be observed, and therefore, such terms of definitions must be avoided which could not be found in the Scriptures. Could he have asked for less? Yet, despite the plea, Homoousion (consubstantiality in a different guise) of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost was established in the council of Nicea and declared a fundamental article of Christian faith. Arian was declared a heretic - for claiming oneness of Divinity! A modern scholar Brenton wrote: “Official Christianity finally accepted in 325 at the Council of Nicaea, near Constantinople, the Trinitarian, or Athanasian, position. According to this the persons of the Trinity, God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost are real persons, three in number, and yet they are also one. Christianity remained a monotheism, its Trinity well above Mathematics.” And, “... But the point must be made again firmly, for if Christianity is so regarded one would expect the triumphant Christianity of the Council of Nicaea, the official faith of the world’s greatest empire, to be quite different from Christianity of the fishermen of Galilee. On the other hand, if one takes the New Testament as the final assertion of Christian truth, one is bound to conclude, not just that the Christianity of the fourth century was different from that of the first, but that the Christianity of the fourth century was not Christian” (Ideas and Men, Brinton, Prentice Hall, p. 127). Arian’s cause however did not die out. When the next Council met in Rimini, forty of the bishops, of the total of four hundred bishops were Arians. Most of the non-Arians were, significantly, from the northern regions, who for the first time in their history, after emerging from their forests and caves as pagans, had embraced a divinely revealed religion. In contrast, Arian bishops were highly learned men of the East, from a region where Jesus Christ had appeared about whom the controversy was raging. In truth, the Western bishops, docile followers of the commands of the Latin Church, ignorant of the language of the texts, should have been disqualified from voting. Nevertheless, it seems the Arians seem to have had a better field day, and a more persuasive turn. The word “Homoousion” was dropped by common consent. It was only when the Western bishops had returned home, and perhaps held discussions with the lower clergy in the respective regions, that they realized that they had all become Arians by agreeing to expel the word. Homoousion was therefore hurriedly and more firmly replanted into the churches of the West. Yet, the issue was far from settled and had not gained popularity. Thirty years after the council, even Hillary the important religious figure we have quoted above, was himself unaware of the exact requirements of the Nicene Creed. The following excerpt from him gives us a view of the then Christian world’s confusion over its creeds: “It is a thing, equally deplorable and dangerous that there are so many creeds as opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily and explain them as arbitrarily. The Homoousion (consubstantiality: Au.) is rejected, and received, and explained away by successive synods. The partial or total resemblance of the Father and of the Son is a subject of dispute for these unhappy times. Every year, nay every moon, we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We repent of what we have done, we defend those who repent, and anathematize those whom we defended. We condemn either the doctrine of others in ourselves, or our own in that of others; and, reciprocally tearing one another to pieces, we have been the cause of each other’s ruin” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, abridged version, p. 397). The divisions among the Christians, the infighting, the struggle to control the Church, were threatening to tear apart the Roman Empire in the fourth century. The emperor, Constantine, could not sit idle while the inner turmoil weakened the strength of his empire. He decided to act. He called for another conference and got three hundred bishops assembled together for a fresh attempt at the resolution of the problem of creed. This time, the recent convert to the faith – the Emperor - decided to be the arbiter and the judge. What was to many a question of life and death, hell or heaven, he attributed its origins to a trifle point, at best a subtle question but incomprehensible to the best minds. Ignorant, not of the language of the holy texts, but of the text itself, and disadvantaged by translations into erroneous Latin, he was far from qualified to judge over a credal matter and its metaphysical dimensions. While the issue was being debated hotly, he must have listened more with curiosity than with a sharp sense of right and wrong. Yet, in his resolve to end all controversies, he ratified the older Nicene creed and threatened those who disagreed with him with exile and confiscation of all property. The Arian votes immediately dropped down from seventeen to two. If majority counts in religion, the Nicene creed was reconfirmed by the majority. Arius himself was banished to a distant province, his writings put to flame and capital punishment pronounced for anyone in possession of them. However, the edict ink had hardly dried when the Emperor discovered that his own sister was an Arian. We do not know of the happenings, discussions and talks within the palace, but, to be sure, Arian was recalled and reinstated in Royal favor. He was received in court respectfully and his creed approved by the synod of Jerusalem, the seat of Christian learning, if not of political power. But the day he was to be readmitted into the Church of Constantinople, Arius suddenly collapsed and died while walking through the streets of the capitol. It was suspected that the holy Church personalities had done more than merely praying for his death. Three principal enemies of Arius, who had opposed him tooth and nail for decades, Athanasius, Eusthatius and Paul (of Constantinople) were deposed by the Church councils on various counts and banished to distant lands. Constantine himself, the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, who was the author of the Christian creed as held true by the Catholic Church, received the rites of baptism from an Arian bishop shortly before his death. His sons who ascended the throne, and grandsons, remained Arian and the faith of the royals spilled into the following centuries. But the ultimate triumph, thanks for the numbers in the West, was for the Nicene Creed, and for consubstantiality. Such are the ironic historical details of a Creed held dear and true by the Roman Catholic Church (Au.). 391. That is, Jesus is not the Guardian of the people, rather, it is Allah who is the Guardian, and One who suffices as a Guardian. (Nevertheless, the word “wakil” can also lend the meaning of “a Disposer of affairs.” In that case the interpretation would be: Au.): Allah does not need a son to dispose off His affairs. He suffices for that Himself (Alusi).

    لَنْ يَسْتَنْكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَبْدًا لِلَّهِ وَلَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ يَسْتَنْكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيْهِ جَمِيعًا (172)

    4|172| Masih would never disdain to be a slave of Allah, neither would the angels nearest (to Allah).392 Whosoever disdained to worship Him and waxed proud, He shall surely muster them together to Himself.

    392. The “angels nearest” have, at various times in history, been worshipped by men, hence their inclusion (Ibn Kathir). Some scholars have argued that since in the Arabic language a well-known rule of rhetoric is that the superior (afdal) is always mentioned after the inferior, the verse proves by implication that the angels nearest to Allah are superior to Prophets. This, however, is a minority opinion, since there can be several explanations to the order in the verse. Nonetheless, the best thing in such matters, where reason does not play a role, rather, the dependence is entirely on the received reports, and since, in this case, there is no report (from the Prophet or the Companions), the best course is silence. The sensitiveness of the issue also demands extreme care (Alusi).

    فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَيُوَفِّيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدُهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْتَنْكَفُوا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فَيُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا (173)

    4|173| Then, as for those who believed and worked righteousness, He shall award them their wages in full - granting them more out of His grace. As for those who disdained and waxed proud, He shall chastise them with a painful chastisement.393 And they shall not find for themselves besides Allah, a friend or helper.

    393. A hadith of Muslim says:

    قَالَ « لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِى قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ ». قَالَ رَجُلٌ إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَكُونَ ثَوْبُهُ حَسَنًا وَنَعْلُهُ حَسَنَةً. قَالَ: إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الْجَمَالَ الْكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الْحَقِّ وَغَمْطُ النَّاسِ.

    “Whoever harboured pride equal to a mustard seed in his heart will not enter Paradise.” Upon this someone asked: “Messenger of Allah. A man wishes that his clothes be good, his shoes be good (is that pride)?” He replied: “Allah is beautiful and loves the beautiful. Pride is to counter the truth haughtily and look down upon the people” (Alusi).

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بُرْهَانٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُبِينًا (174)

    4|174| O Mankind! Verily, a convincing proof has come to you from your Lord.394 And We have sent down to you a clear Light.395

    394. The “burhan” of the original, translated as “proof” here, has been widely interpreted as alluding to the Prophet, since it is his personality which demands an explanation and is, consequently, a proof of Allah’s existence (Au.). 395. Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj have said that by the word “nur” (light) the allusion is to the Qur’an (Ibn Jarir).

    فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِهِ فَسَيُدْخِلُهُمْ فِي رَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَفَضْلٍ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَيْهِ صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا (175)

    4|175| Those then who believed in Allah and held fast unto Him,396 He shall admit them into a mercy from Himself and grace, and shall guide them unto Himself397 (along) a Straight Path.

    396. Ibn Jurayj has said that the pronoun in the “bihi” of the original refers to the Qur’an (Ibn Jarir). Therefore a variant translation could be: “Those who hold fast unto it,” i.e., “unto the Qur’an.” 397. The expression “Guide them to Himself” means He will guide them to the ways of His worship (Zamakhshari).

    يَسْتَفْتُونَكَ قُلِ اللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِي الْكَلَالَةِ ۚ إِنِ امْرُؤٌ هَلَكَ لَيْسَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَهُ أُخْتٌ فَلَهَا نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ ۚ وَهُوَ يَرِثُهَا إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهَا وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَتَا اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُمَا الثُّلُثَانِ مِمَّا تَرَكَ ۚ وَإِنْ كَانُوا إِخْوَةً رِجَالًا وَنِسَاءً فَلِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ ۗ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَضِلُّوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (176)

    4|176| They consult you (O Prophet).398 Tell them Allah directs you thus in the matter of a person without a heir in the direct line:399 If a man dies without leaving a child, but he has a sister, then her share will be one half of what he leaves.400 And (conversely) he would inherit her (wholly) if she were (to die) childless.401 However, if there be two (sisters, to the deceased), then they share two-thirds of what he leaves. But, if they be brothers and sisters then the share of the male shall be twice that of the females. Allah makes clear to you so that you might not run into error. Allah has knowledge of all things.402

    398. “The seemingly abrupt transition from the preceding passages - dealing with questions of theology - to this one is in accord with the Qur’anic principle of deliberately interweaving moral exhortation with practical legislation: and this in pursuance of the teaching that man’s life - spiritual and moral, individual and social - is one integral whole, and therefore requires simultaneous consideration of all its aspects if the concept of ‘the good life’ is to be realized” (Asad). 399. For an explanation of the term kalalah see note 54 above. Ibn `Umar has reported that (when `Umar was asked about kalalah when he was on the pulpit), he replied, “People! I wish I had asked the Prophet about three things: (Share of) the grandfather, (who) kalalah (is) and details about riba.” Several other reports say that he had on several occasions asked the Prophet about who kalalah is, but he only directed him to refer to the last verse of surah al-Nisa’. (It was `Umar’s extreme caution in matters of religion that without sufficient grounds, he refused to lend the weight of his personality to an opinion: Manar). And Jabir b. `Abdullah reports that he became the cause of revelation of this verse. He says he was seriously ill. The Prophet visited him. He was unconscious. The Prophet made ablution and then sprinkled water on him from his mouth (some reports say he asked others also to do it). With that Jabir recovered. He asked the Prophet: “How should my wealth be divided?” (According to other versions, he had nine sisters but no brother). Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). The first and the last of the above mentioned reports are in the Sahihayn while the middle one is in Muslim and others (Ibn Kathir). 400. The other half will http://www.islamicencyclopedia.org/public/admin/index/addTafsir/go to distant relatives known as “`Asabah” (Ibn Jarir); which of course, if the man is parentless (Ibn Kathir). It is reported in Ahmad that a case was brought before Zayd b. Thabit of a man who had left a wife and a sister by the same father and mother. He ruled that both the wife and sister will get one half each and remarked that that is how the Prophet had also judged (Ibn Kathir). 401. However, if she has a father, and is childless, then the father inherits all, to the exclusion of the brother(s) - Ibn Kathir. 402. Bara’ ibn al-`Azib has said (in a report in Muslim) that this was the last verse of the Qur’an to be revealed, although, the last complete surah to be revealed was al-Tawbah (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). The report about this is in the Sahihayn. And, Jalaluddin Suyuti has pointed out that it is significant to note that the last verse to be revealed is concerned with what the last thing a man is concerned with before he dies (Alusi).