Period of Revelation
This Surah comprises several discourses which
were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between
the end of A.H. 3 and the end of A.H. 4 or the beginning of A.H. 5. Although it
is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations, yet it is
possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the
Commandments and the events mentioned therein and the Traditions concerning
them. A few instances are given below by way of illustration:
that the instructions about the division of inheritance of the martyrs and for
the safeguard of the rights of the orphans were sent down after the Battle of
Uhd in which 70 Muslims were killed. Then naturally the question of the division
of the inheritance of the martyrs and the safeguard of the rights of their
orphans arose in many families at Al-Madinah. From this we conclude that vv. 1
-28 were revealed on that occasion.
We learn from the Traditions that the
Commandment about salat during war time was given on the occasion of
Zat-ur-Riqa'a, an expedition which took place in A. H. 4. From this we conclude
that the discourse containing v. 102 was revealed on that occasion.
last warning (v. 47) to the Jews was given before the Banu Nadir were exiled
from Al-Madinah in Rabi'-ulAwwal, A. H. 4. From this it may safely be concluded
that the discourse containing v. 47 must have been revealed some time before
The permission about tayammum (the performance of ablutions
with pure dust, in case no water be available) was given during the Bani-al-Mustaliq
expedition, which took place in A. H. 5.. Therefore the probable period of the
revelation of the discourse containing v. 43 was A. H. 5.
Let us now consider the social and historical
considerations of the period in order to understand the Surah. All the
discourses in this Surah deal with three main problems which confronted the Holy
Prophet at the time. First of all, he was engaged in bringing about an all round
development of the Islamic Community that had been formed at the time of his
migration to Al-Madinah. For this purpose he was introducing new moral,
cultural, social, economic and political ways in place of the old ones of the
pre-Islamic period. The second thing that occupied his attention and efforts was
the bitter struggle that was going on with the mushrik Arabs, the Jewish clans
and the hypocrites who were opposing tooth and nail his mission of reform. Above
all he had to propagate Islam in the face of the bitter opposition of these
powers of evil with a view to capturing more and more minds and hearts.
Accordingly, detailed instructions have been given for the consolidation and
strengthening of the Islamic Community in continuation of those given in Al-Baqarah.
Principles for the smooth running of family life have been laid down and ways of
settling family disputes have been taught. Rules have been prescribed for
marriage and rights of wife and husband have been apportioned fairly and
equitably. The status of women in the society has been determined and the
declaration of the rights of orphans has been made laws and regulations have
been laid down for the division of inheritance, and instructions have been given
to reform economic affairs. The foundation of the penal code has been laid down
drinking has been prohibited, and instructions have been given for cleanliness
and purity. The Muslims have been taught the kind of relations good men should
have with their Allah and fellow men. Instructions have been given for the
maintenance of discipline in the Muslim Community.
The moral and
religious condition of the people of the Book has been reviewed to teach lessons
to the Muslims and to forewarn them to refrain from following in their
footsteps. The conduct of the hypocrites has been criticized and the distinctive
features of hypocrisy and true faith have been clearly marked off to enable the
Muslims to distinguish between the two.
In order to cope with the
aftermath of the Battle of Uhd, Inspiring discourses were sent down to urge the
Muslims to face the enemy bravely, for the defeat in the Battle had so
emboldened the mushrik Arab clans and the neighboring Jews and the hypocrites at
home that they were threatening the Muslims on all sides. At this critical
juncture, Allah filled the Muslims with courage and gave them such instructions
as were needed during that period of war clouds. In order to counteract the
fearful rumors that were being spread by the hypocrites and the Muslims of weak
faith, they were asked to make a thorough inquiry into them and to inform the
responsible people about them. Then they were experiencing some difficulties in
offering their salat during the expeditions to some places where no water was
available for performing their ablutions, etc. In such cases they were allowed
to cleanse themselves with pure earth and to shorten the salat or to offer the "Salat
of Fear", when they were faced with danger. Instructions were also given for the
solution of the puzzling problem of those Muslims who were scattered among the
unbelieving Arab clans and were often involved in war. They were asked to
migrate to Al-Madinah, the abode of Islam.
This Surah also deals with the
case of Bani Nadir who were showing a hostile and menacing attitude, in spite of
the peace treaties they had made with the Muslims. They were openly siding with
the enemies of Islam and hatching plots against the Holy Prophet and the Muslim
Community even at Al-Madinah itself. They were taken to task for their inimical
behavior and given a final warning to change their attitude, and were at last
exiled from Al-Madinah on account of their misconduct.
The problem of the
hypocrites, who had become very troublesome at that time, was involving the
Believers in difficulties-- Therefore they were divided into different
categories to enable the Muslims to deal with them appropriately.
instructions were also given regarding the attitude they should adopt towards
the non-belligerent clans. The most important thing needed at that time was to
prepare the Muslims for the bitter struggle with the opponents of Islam. For
this purpose greatest importance was attached to their character building, for
it was obvious that the small Muslim Community could only come out successful,
nay, survive, if the Muslims possessed high moral character. They were,
therefore, enjoined to adopt the highest moral qualities and were severely
criticized whenever any moral weakness was detected in them.
Surah mainly deals with the moral and social reforms, yet due attention has been
paid to propagation of Islam. On the one hand, the superiority of the Islamic
morality and culture has been established over that of the Jews, Christians and
mushriks; on the other hand, their wrong religious conceptions, their wrong
morality and their evil acts have been criticized to prepare the ground for
inviting them to the way of the Truth.
Subject: Consolidation of the
The main object of this Surah is to teach the Muslims
the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for
the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then
they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these,
they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the
importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the
Community has been impressed.
Topics and their Interconnection
Just, fair and equitable laws and regulations for the smooth running of family
life have been laid down for the husband and wife. Detailed instructions have
been given for the division of inheritance and due regard has been paid to the
rights of orphans. 1 - 35
In order to inculcate the right spirit for the
observance of rules and regulations, the Muslims have been enjoined to show
generosity to all around them and to be free from meanness, selfishness,
stinginess of mind, because this is essential for the consolidation of the
Communities and helpful for the propagation of Islam. 36 - 42
The ways of
the purification of mind and body for the offering of Salat have been taught
because it plays the most important part in every scheme of moral and social
After moral preparation, instructions for defense have been
given. First of all, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against
the cunning machinations and vile practices of the local Jews who were hostile
to the New Movement. This caution was necessary for removing some possible
misunderstanding that might have arisen on account of the pre-Islamic alliance
between the people of Al-Madinah and the Jews. 44 - 57
Then they have
been enjoined to place their trusts and offices of trust in the custody of
honest and qualified persons, and to do what is just and right, and to obey
Allah and His Messenger and those among themselves entrusted with the conduct of
their affairs and to turn to Allah and His Messenger for the settlement of their
disputes. As such an attitude and behavior alone can ensure consolidation, they
have been strongly warned that any deviation from this path will lead to their
disintegration. 58 - 72
After this pre-requisite, they have been exhorted
to make preparation for defense and to fight bravely for the cause of Islam,
without showing any kind of cowardice or weakness. They have also been warned to
be on their guard against hypocrites. A line of demarcation has been drawn to
distinguish the intentional shirkers from the helpless devotees. 73 - 100
Here again instructions have been given for the offering of Salat during
military campaigns and actual fighting. This is to impress the importance of
Salat even at the time of fear and danger. 101 - 103
Before proceeding on
to the next topic, the Muslims have been exhorted to persevere in their fight
without showing any kind of weakness. 104
In order to make the Islamic
Community firm and strong for defense, the Muslims have been enjoined to observe
the highest standard of justice. The Muslims are required to deal out strict
justice even in case of the enemy, with whom they might be involved in war. They
should also settle disputes between husband and wife with justice. In order to
ensure this, they should keep their beliefs and deeds absolutely free from every
kind of impurity and should become the standard bearers of justice. 105 - 135
Resuming the theme of defense, the Muslims have been warned to be on their
guard against their enemies. They have been admonished to take necessary
precautions against the machinations of the hypocrites and the unbelievers and
the people of the Book. As belief in Allah, and Revelation and Life-after-death
is the only safeguard against every kind of enemy, they should sincerely believe
in and follow His Messenger, Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). 136 - 175
Though this verse also deals with the family laws contained in verses 1 -
35, it has been added as a supplement at the end of this Surah because it was
revealed long after An-Nisa was being recited as a complete Surah. 176
This introduction beautifully
suits the subsequent laws and regulations about human rights, specially about
the smooth running of the family life. On the one hand, the people have been
urged to fear Allah so as to escape His displeasure; on the other, they have
been reminded that all human beings have sprung from one and the same parents
and are thus closely related to one another. "....He created you of a single
soul".At first one human being was created and then from him the ttumatt race
spread over the earth. Therefore they should strictly observe the ties and
obligations of kin-ship. We learn from another part of the Qur'an that Adam was
that "single soul." He was the first Man from whom the whole of mankind sprang
up and spread over the earth. "....and of the same created his mate:" We have no
definite detailed knowledge of how his mate was created of him. The commentators
generally say that Eve was created from the rib of Adam and the Bible also
contains the same story. The Talmud adds to it that she was created from the
thirteenth rib of Adam. But the Qur'an is silent about it, and the Tradition of
the Holy Prophet that is cited in support of this has a different meaning from
what has been understood. The best thing, therefore, is to leave it undefined as
it has been left in the Qur'an, and not to waste time in determining its
2That is, as long "As the orphans are under age, spend their
property only in their interest; and when they come of age, return their
rightful property to them."
3This is a comprehensive sentence, which may
mean, "Do not make your Income unclean in any unlawful way." It may also mean,
"Do not exchange your worthless things for the valuable things of the orphans."
4The commentators ascribe three meanings to this:
(a) Hadrat 'A '
ishah says that this was revealed to remedy an evil that was prevalent in the
days of "Ignorance." The guardians of the orphan girls used to marry them for
their wealth and beauty, with the intention of keeping them under their power
because they had no one to defend their cause; then they treated them unjustly
without any fear. Therefore when they became Muslims, they had misgivings about
marrying orphan girls. Accordingly, the Qur'an advised them to marry women of
their choice other than orphan girls in their charge, if they feared that they
would not be able to do justice to them. Verse 127 of this Surah also supports
(b) In commenting on this, Hadrat Ibn-i-`Abbas and his
disciple `Ikrimah assert that this Commandment was given to eradicate an
injustice that was prevalent at that time. In pre-Islamic days, there was no
limit to the number of wives and some people would marry even a dozen of them
but when they could not meet the increasing expenses, they were forced to grab
the property of their orphan nephews and other helpless relatives. Therefore,
Allah restricted the maximum number of wives to four, and enjoined that this
too, was subject to the condition that one should do justice to all of them.
(c) SaÆid bin Jubair, Qatadah and some other commentators declare that this
Command was given to safeguard the interests of wives. They say that even before
the advent of Islam, injustice to the orphans was looked upon with disfavor, but
in regard to wives, it was different; they would marry as many as they liked and
would treat them cruelly and unjustly without any fear of the society or pangs
of conscience. Therefore Allah warned them that they should refrain from doing
injustice to their wives as they did in the case of the orphans. Therefore they
should not marry more than four wives and that too, only if they would do
justice to them.
The words of the verse bear all the three meanings and
probably all three are meant. Another meaning also can be: "If you cannot treat
the orphans justly as they normally should be, you may marry the women who have
5The consensus of opinion of all the scholars of the
Muslim law is that this verse limits the number of wives and prohibits the
keeping of more than four at one and the same time. Traditions also support
this. It is related that at the time when Ghailan, the chief of Ta`if, became a
Muslim, he had nine wives. The Holy Prophet asked him to keep only four of them
and divorce all the others. There is another instance of Naufal bin Mu`aviyah,
who was ordered by the Holy Prophet to divorce one of his five wives.
should also be noted that this verse restricts polygamy with the provision of
justice to all the wives; therefore whoever abuses this permission without
fulfilling the condition of justice and marries more wives than one tries to
deceive Allah. The courts of an Islamic State are, therefore, empowered to
enforce justice in order to rectify the wrong done to a wife or wives. At the
same time it is absolutely wrong to conclude from the proviso of justice,
attached to this Commandment, that this verse was really meant to abolish
polygamy. This is not the view of the Qur'an, but of those Muslims who have been
overawed by the Christians of the West. They say that the Qur'an is also against
polygamy but it did trot abolish it directly because it did not consider it
expedient at the time for the custom had become very common. Instead of this, it
allows polygamy provided that justice is done to all the wives. As this
condition is most difficult to fulfill, the recommendation is towards monogamy.
Obviously, this way of thinking is the result of mental slavery, because
polygamy in itself is not an evil for in some cases it becomes a real cultural
and moral necessity. There are Borne people, who, even if they wished, cannot
remain content with one wife. Polygamy comes to their rescue and saves them and
the society in general from the harms of unlicensed sexual indulgences. That is
why the Qur'an allows polygamy to such people with the explicit condition of
doing justice to all the wives.
As regards those who consider polygamy to
be an evil, they are free to oppose the Qur'an and condemn polygamy, but they
have no right to ascribe their own perverted views to the Qur'an, for it makes
this lawful in very clear language without employing any words that might be
stretched in any way to imply that the Qur'an means to abolish it. (For further
explanation, please consult my book .Snnat ki A 'ini Hathiyyat, pp. 307-3161.
6"Those women": slave girls captured in war and distributed among the
people by the government. It tray either mean: "If you cannot bear the expenses
of a free woman, you may marry a slave girl as permitted in.v. 25," or it may
mean: "If you need more wives than one but are afraid that you might not be able
to do justice to your wives from among the free people, you may turn to slave
girls because in that case you will be burdened with less responsibilities. (For
details please refer to E.N. 44 below).
7Hadrat `Umar and Qadi Shuraih
have ruled that if a wife remits the whole of her dowry or a part of it but
later on demands it, the husband shall be compelled to pay it because the very
fact that she demands it is a clear proof that she did not remit it of her own
free will. (For further details, consult my book Huquq-uz-Zaujain, under the
8This verse is very comprehensive in meaning. It teaches
the Muslim ' Community the lesson that in no case should wealth, which is so
important for the maintenance of life, be entrusted to such people as are
feeble-minded and incapable of using or .managing it properly, for they might,
by its wrong use, spoil its cultural and economic system and, in the long run,
its moral system as well. ft is true that the rights of private ownership must
be honored, but at the same time they are not to be so unlimited as to allow one
to use them in any way one likes and create social chaos. As far as one's
necessities of life are concerned, they must be fulfilled but none should be
allowed to use these rights to the extent that is harmful to the collective
moral, cultural and economic good of the Community. According to this verse,
every owner of wealth should consider seriously before entrusting his wealth to
anyone whether that person is capable of using it properly. On the larger scale,
the Islamic State should take into its own custody the property of those who are
found incapable of using it properly, or of those who may be using it in wrong
ways but should arrange for the provision of their necessities of life.
9That is, "When they are about to attain their puberty, keep an eye upon them
and go on testing their intelligence in order to see how far they have become
capable of looking after their own affairs."
10Two conditions of puberty
and capability have been laid down for the return of their property to the
orphans. As to the application of the first condition, there is consensus among
the scholars of law, but in regard to the second condition there is some
difference of opinion. Imam Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that if the orphan
lacks capability when he reaches the age of puberty, his guardian may wait for a
maximum period of seven years, and then he must return this property to him
whether he shows signs of capability or not. But Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad
and Imam Shaf'i are of the opinion that capability is a pre-requisite for .the
return of his property to the orphan. Probably these latter scholars were
inclined to the opinion that the case of such a person should be referred to a
Muslim judge, who would himself arrange for the management of the property of
the one who has not acquired capability of management.
11That is, "He
should charge for his services only that much as may be considered fair by every
unbiased person and that he should charge openly and keep an account of it."
12This verse contains five legal regulations about inheritance. First, that
not only men but the women also have a share in the inheritance. Second, that it
must be divided among all heirs, however little or insignificant it is; so much
so that even if the deceased has left one yard of cloth and there are ten heirs,
it must also be cut into ten parts. However, an heir may buy the shares of
others by mutual consent. Third, that the verse also implies that this law
applies to all sorts of property, transferable or non-transferable, agricultural
or industrial, or of any other type. Fourth, that the right of inheritance
becomes valid only when the deceased leaves some property behind him. Fifth,
that when the nearest relatives are alive the distant relatives have no right in
13Here the heirs of the deceased have been enjoined to
be generous towards distant and near relatives and the indigent members of the
family and orphans who happen to be present on the occasion of the division of
inheritance, though they might have no share in it. They should give them also
something and speak gently to them and avoid using harsh and unkind words as the
narrow minded people generally use on such occasions.
14According to a
Tradition this verses were revealed in response to the request of the widow of
Hadrat Sa'd bin Rubai'. She came to the Holy Prophet with her two daughters and
said, "O Messenger of Allah, here are the daughters of Sa'd who has been
martyred in the battle of Uhd. Their uncle has taken possession of the whole of
his property and has not left a single penny for them. Now who is going to marry
them after this?
15The first guiding principle about the division of
inheritance is that the share of the male shall be double that of the female,
and this is very sound and just. As the Muslim law lays the major burden of the
economic responsibility of the family on the male and keeps the female almost
free from it, justice demands that her share of inheritance should be less than
that of the male.
16The same applies to the case of two daughters as
well. It means that if the deceased leaves no son but only daughters, whether
they are two or more, they shall be entitled to two-thirds of the whole
inheritance and the remaining one-third shall be divided among the other heirs.
As a corollary of this, if the deceased leaves only one son, there is a
consensus of opinion that he shall be entitled to the whole of the inheritance
in the absence of other heirs and if there are other heirs too, he shall receive
the whole of the retraining inheritance after the allotment of their shares.
17Each of the parents of the deceased shall be entitled to one-sixth of the
inheritance, if he leaves behind a child or children whether they are only
daughters or only sons or both sons and daughters, or only one son or only one
daughter. As regards the remaining two-thirds, it shall be divided among the
18The remaining two-thirds shall be given to the father, if
there be no other heir; otherwise the father shall share two-thirds with the
19If the deceased has brothers and sisters, the share of
the mother has been reduced froth one-third to one-sixth. This reduced one-sixth
will be added to the father's share, for in that case the father's
responsibilities are increased. It should be noted that the brothers and sisters
of the deceased are not entitled to any share if the parents are alive.
20The mention of the fulfillment of the will precedes the payment of the debt,
for every deceased person may not owe a debt, but he must make his will. As
regards the enforcement of the law, the consensus of opinion of the whole Muslim
Community is that the payment of debt must have priority over the fulfillment of
the will. That is, the debt, if any, must be paid first and then the terms of
the will should be enforced and after this the inheritance should be divided. In
E.N. 182 of Al-Baqarah, it has been stated that one has the right to bequeath by
will one-third of the whole property. This has been permitted to enable a person
to leave for a deserving relative or relatives, who are not entitled to
inheritance, a part of the property. For instance, if there is an orphan
grandson or a grand-daughter, or the widow of a son or an indigent brother or
sister, or a brother's widow, or a nephew, or some other relative, who needs
help, he may leave a part of the inheritance for such a one by means of his
will. One is even allowed to leave by will a share for any deserving person or
for public service. In short, the law regulates the distribution of two-thirds
(or a little more) of one's inheritance and gives option for the disposal of the
remaining (about one-third) by the special circumstances of one's own family.,
(which obviously vary of each individual). At the same time provision has been
made to wrong done by a will to the heirs in any way. The members of the rectify
that wrong by mutual consent or take the case to the Muslim will to suit in the
case redress any family may judge for redress. For further explanation, see my
book: Yatim Potay Ki Warasat.
21This is the answer to all those foolish
people who do not understand the wisdom of the Divine Law of inheritance, and in
their folly propose amendments to it in order to make up for "the deficiency" in
22In case the deceased leaves behind children, his wife or
wives will be entitled to only one-eighth of the inheritance, and if he dies
childless, she or they will he entitled to one-fourth of the whole and this
one-fourth or one-eighth will be divided equally among all of them.
there he any other heir, he shall get share out of the remaining 5/6 or 2/3, as
the case may be; otherwise the deceased will have the right to make his will
about the whole of the remaining 5/6 or 2/3.All the commentators are agreed that
in this verse brothers and sisters refer to half-brothers and half-sisters from
the side of the mother alone. The rule of inheritance about real brothers and
real sisters and half-brothers and half-sisters from the side of the father is
given at the end of the Surah.
24The will shall be considered as
injurious if it affects adversely the rights of the lawful heirs and the debt
will be injurious if the testator acknowledges a debt which he has not actually
taken or plays some trick to deprive the rightful heirs of their due shares.
Such a thing has been declared as one of the most heinous sins according to a
Tradition. Another Tradition of the Holy Prophet says, "There may be a person,
who, throughout his whole life, does deeds that deserve Paradise, but who on the
eve of his death makes an injurious will and thus in the end he does an act that
deserves Hell." Though such an injury is a heinous sin in any case, the warning
has specially been given about it in connection with a person who has neither
children nor parents to inherit his property. This is because such a one is more
prone to squander his property in order to deprive comparatively distant
25The attribute of Allah that He is All-Knowing, has been
mentioned here for two reasons. First, it is to warn the people that none can
escape the consequences of a breach of His Law, for, He has knowledge of
everything. Second, it is to convince people that the shares of inheritance
appointed by Allah are absolutely right, for Allah knows better than they in
what lies their good. The other attribute that He is Lenient has been mentioned
to show that the Laws of .Allah are not harsh but are so lenient that they do
not put the people to hardship.
25aThis stern warning has been given to
save people from the eternal torture of Hell, which they will suffer if they
change the law of inheritance or break other legal limits prescribed by Allah in
His Book. It is a pity that in spite of this stern warning the Muslims changed
and broke the Law of Allah with the same impudence as shown by the Jews. The
transgressions against this law of inheritance are an open rebellion against
Allah. They deprive women of their share of inheritance; they discard the Law of
Allah and adopt the Law of primo-geniture or of joint family system instead:
whenever it suits their whims and interests they make the share of the male and
the female equal in order to rectify the Law of Allah. The latest rebellion
against the Law is that some Muslim States have followed the West and imposed
"Death Duties" which implies that the State is also an heir whom Allah had
forgotten to mention. As a matter of fact, the state is entitled to an
inheritance only if the deceased leaves behind an unclaimed property or himself
allots a portion of it to the state by his will.
26In both these verses
(15-16j, punishment for fornication was prescribed for the first time in Islam.
According to verse 15, the guilty women were to be kept in confinement till
further order, and according to verse I G both the male and the female guilty of
fornication were to be punished, that is rebuked. disgraced, beaten, etc.
Afterwards this punishment was altered by verse 2 of Surah An-Nur (XXIV). Now
both the male and the female are to be scourged with one hundred stripes each.
This gradual enforcement of the criminal law was based on sound practical
wisdom. At that tithe the Arabs were not accustomed to live under a settled
government with a regular system of law and judiciary. Therefore it might have
unwise and too much for them, if the Islamic State had imposed on them its
complete system of criminal laws all at once. That is why at first the sort of
punishment contained in these two verses was enforced acid then gradually
stricter punishments were prescribed for fornication. theft, slander, etc., and
finally that complete system of law was evolved which was in force during the
time of the Holy Prophet and his rightly guided successors.
difference in these two verses has misled commentator Suddi to the conclusion
that verse I S prescribed the punishment for married women and verse I G for
unmarried men and women. Obviously, this flimsy commentary is not supported by
any sound argument. Likewise, the commentary of Abu Muslim Isfahani that verse
15 is about the un-natural crime between two females and verse I G about the
un-natural crime between two males is also wrong. The Qur'an is concerned only
with the fundamental principles of law and morality: therefore it only discusses
those problems which are confronted in normal life and does not concern itself
with the ones that are met with under abnormal circumstances. These latter
problems, as they arise, are left for the people to decide according to their
insight. That is why, when after the death of the Holy Prophet the case of
unnatural crime between two males was brought before the Companions, none of
them turned to these verses for its decision.
27The word taubah means
'to turn back' and 'to turn to'. When a person feels sorry for his sin and turns
back from it, he may be likened to a runaway slave who comes back to his master.
This is his taubah. When the master accepts his repentance, he turns to him
kindly and forgives him. In Arabic this is his taubah to his servant. In this
verse Allah has stated these two aspects of taubah. He says, "I turn only to
those servants of Mine, who, if they commit some un-intentional sin through
ignorance, turn to Me for forgiveness as soon as they realize their folly. For
such repentance, the door of My forgiveness is ever open. It is, however, not so
for those who persist in sin throughout their lives without the least fear of
Allah and offer repentance only when death confronts them". The Holy Prophet
says that Allah accepts the repentance of a person only up to the time, when
there appears no sign of death. It is obvious that after the time of test has
expired, no chance is left for him to turn back from sin. Likewise, if a person
is dying as a disbeliever and seeing with his own eyes the other world, contrary
to his expectations, the question of his repentance does not arise at all.
28This means that the widow of the deceased should not be regarded as a part
of his inheritance. After the death of the husband, his widow is quite free to
live wherever she likes and to marry whomever she chooses after the expiry of
29That is, "You may hurt them for immoral conduct but not for
grabbing their wealth."
30If the wife is not beautiful or has some other
defect that might not be to the husband's liking, it is not right that he should
make up his mind to get rid of her at once without any further consideration. He
should behave coolly and patiently. She may have some other redeeming qualities
that may be more conducive to a happy married life than beautiful looks. It is
just possible that the discovery of those qualities might change his repulsion
at first sight into attraction. In the same way, sometimes it so happens that in
the beginning of married life, the husband takes a dislike to something in the
wife and feels a repulsion towards her but if he is patient with her and lets
her show her better side fully, he himself realizes that her good qualities more
than compensate for her shortcomings. "therefore it is not right for the husband
to cut off his relations with his wife without a good deal of thinking. Divorce
is the very last thing to which one may resort as a necessary social surgery and
that, too, only when it becomes absolutely inevitable. The Holy Prophet says
that of all the lawful things, divorce is the most reprehensible thing in the
sight of Allah. In another Tradition, he admonishes, An-Nisa "Enter into
marriage and divorce not, for Allah does not approve of such men and women as
divorce and marry for mere sexual enjoyment."
31"Solemn pledge" is the
marriage bond on the guarantee of which a woman gives herself up to a man.
Therefore, if the man breaks that pledge of his own accord, he has no right to
get back what he gave her as dower at the time of making that pledge. (Please
see E.N.251, Al-Baqarah, also).
32While forbidding the wrong ways of
`ignorance', the Holy Qur'an usually ends the instruction with such words as:
"though what has happened in the past is excepted." It has two meanings in view.
First, that no action will be taken in regard to those wrong things that one did
in ignorance, provided that one mended ones ways and gave them up after the
receipt of a particular Commandment. Second, that those words meant to give
reassurance that the new instructions had no retrospective effect. For instance,
if a person had married his step-mother before it was declared to be unlawful,
according to these words, the offspring of all such previous marriages did not
automatically become illegitimate by this newly declared prohibition so as to
deprive them of their share of inheritance. Likewise if some from of trade had
been made unlawful, it did not mean that all the previous transactions in that
form had become null and void, and that one would have to return all the wealth
earned in that way or that it had become completely unlawful.
33According to the Islamic Law, it is a criminal offense and is within the
jurisdiction of the police. Some Traditions related in Abu-Da'ud, Nasa'i and
Musnad Ahmad are to the effect that the Holy Prophet confiscated their
properties and sentenced to death those who married their step-mothers.
According to another "Tradition, related by Ibn Majah from Ibn `Abbas, the Holy
Prophet enunciated this fundamental law: "Anyone who commits fornication with
any of the forbidden relations should be put to death." The experts on Muslim
Law, however, differ in regard to this matter. While Imam Ahmad is of the
opinion that such a criminal ,should be put to death and his property
confiscated, Imam Abu Hanifah, (maw Malik and lmam Shafi 'i are of the opinion
that if a person commits fornication with anyone of the prohibited relations, he
should be punished for the offense of fornication and if he marries such a one,
he should be given an exemplary punishment for this heinous sin.
prohibition applies both to the real mother and to the step-mother and both are
unlawful. It also applies to the mother of the father and to the mother of the
Experts have differed as to whether the woman with whom the
father has had illicit relations is also unlawful for the son or not. Some of
the earlier jurists do not consider her unlawful, but some others not only
consider her unlawful for the son but also the woman whom the father has touched
lustfully with the hand. There has also been a difference of opinion as to
whether the woman with whom the son has had an illicit relation is unlawful for
the father and whether the man with whom the mother or the daughter has had
illicit relation becomes unlawful for both the mother and the daughter. There
have been lengthy controversies concerning the legal niceties of this matter,
but a little thinking will show that the existence of a wife who is also coveted
by the husband's father or his son, or whose mother or daughter is also coveted
by the husband himself, cannot bode well for a righteous society. Divine Law in
this matter does not tolerate the legal hair splitting on the basis of which
fine distinctions are made between marriage and after marriage, touching with
the hand and casting of looks, etc. The simple thing is that in family life
existence of sexual relations of the father and the son with one and the same
woman, or of the mother and the daughter with one and the same man, is bound to
corrupt the family, and the Divine Law cannot tolerate it. This is supported by
the following two Traditions of the Holy Prophet:
(1) "The mother and the
daughter of the woman become unlawful for the man who cast a look at her sexual
(2) "God does not like even to look at a man who casts a gaze at
the sexual organs of the mother and of her daughter."
about daughter also applies to the daughter of the son and the daughter of the
daughter. There is, however, a difference of opinion in regard to a girl born of
an illicit relationship. Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik and lmam Ahmad-bin-Hanbal
(may Allah bless them all) are of the opinion that she too is unlawful like the
lawful daughter, but Imam Shafi 'i does not consider an illegitimate daughter
unlawful. But the very idea is repugnant that one should marry a girl about whom
one has the knowledge that she is of one's own seed.
36This applies to
the real sister as well as to the foster sisters from the father's and the
37All these relations are prohibited, irrespective of
whether they are real or step from the father's side or from the mother's side.
The sister of the father or mother, whether real or step, is unlawful for the
son. Similarly the daughters of the brothers and sisters whether they are real
or step are unlawful for a person like his own real daughter.
consensus of opinion is that the woman who suckled a boy or a girl should be
treated as the real mother and her husband as the real father with regard to
this prohibition. All those relations that have been made unlawful in respect of
the real mother and real father are also prohibited in respect of the foster
mother who has suckled and in respect .of her husband. This is based on a
Tradition of the Holy Prophet which is to this effect: "Suckling makes unlawful
what blood makes unlawful. " There is, however, a difference of opinion as to
the minimum quantity of milk that is suckled. According to Imam Abu Hanifah and
Imam Malik, if the child suckles milk equal to that minimum quantity that breaks
the fast, the woman shall be treated as its real mother for marriage relations.
But Imam Ahmad is of the opinion that the prohibition shall take place if the
child suckles the woman at least three times and according to Imam Shafi `i at
least five times. There is also a difference of opinion as to the age of the
child at the time of suckling that brings prohibition. Below are given the
opinions of the jurists:
(1) Hadrat Umm Salamah, Ibn `Abbas, Zuhri, Hasan
Basri, Qatadah, `Ikrimah, and Auza`i are of the opinion that if the child is
suckled during the period when it has not yet been weaned and it lives only on
suckling, the prohibition shall be effective; but if it is suckled after it has
been weaned, it will not apply; for this is like drinking water. There is also a
saying of Hadrat `Ali to the same effect.
(2) Hadrat `Umar, Ibn Mas`ud,
Abu Hurairah and Ibn `Umar (Allah be pleased with them) are of the opinion that
the prohibition will be effective if the child is suckled at any time up to the
age of two. Imam Shaafi `i, Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and Sufyan
Thauri from among the jurists also agree to this. There is also a saying of Imam
Abu Hanifah to the same effect. Imam Malik also agrees to this, but he says that
the prohibition shall apply even if a month or two exceeds the time limit of two
(3) According to a well-known saying of Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam
Zufar, the prohibition shall apply if the child is suckled during the suckling
period, which extends `up to the age of two years and a half
'A' ishah is of the opinion that the prohibition shall apply, if one is suckled
at any time whatsoever, irrespective of age. An authentic saying of Hadrat `Ali
also supports the same and 'Urwah bin Zubair, 'Ata', Laith bin Sa'd and Ibn Hazm
from among the jurists have adopted the same opinion.
39There is a
difference of opinion as to whether the mere event of nikah (marriage ceremony)
with a woman makes her mother unlawful or not. Imam Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad
and Shafi `i are of the opinion that this alone makes her mother unlawful but
Hadrat "Ali is of the opinion that unless one has had any conjugal relation with
her, her mother shall not become unlawful for him.
40The wife's daughter
is unlawful in any case, whether she has been brought up in the house of the
step-father or not. Allah has used these words only to show the great delicacy
of the relation. There is almost a consensus of opinion among the jurists that
the step-daughter is unlawful in any case whether one has brought her up or not.
41The significance of "who are from your loins" is that the widows or the
divorced wives of those whom one has adopted as sons are not unlawful. The
prohibition applies only to the wives of the sons who are of one's own seed.
Likewise, the wives of the grandsons are also unlawful.
42Likewise it is
unlawful to keep the aunt and her real niece as wives at one and the same time.
The principle is that no two women who would have been unlawful for each other
if one of them had been a man should be kept as wives at one and the same time.
43That is, "No action will be taken for the transgression committed
during the days of 'ignorance', by keeping two sisters as wives at one and the
same time." (Please also see E.N. 32 above). However, one shall have to divorce
one of the two sisters thus married during the time of un-belief after one has
become a Muslim.
44That is, those women who become prisoners of war,
while their unbelieving husbands are left behind in the War Zone, are not
unlawful because their marriage ties are broken by the fact that they have come
from the War Zone into the Islamic Zone. It is lawful to marry such women, and
it is also lawful for those, in whose possession they are, to have sexual
relations with them. There is, however, a difference of opinion as to whether
such a woman is lawful, if her husband is also taken a prisoner along with her.
Imam Abu Hanifah and those of his way of thinking are of the opinion that the
marriage tie of such a pair would remain intact but Imam Malik and Shafi 'i, are
of the opinion that it would also break.
As there exist many
misunderstandings in the minds of the people concerning the slave-girls taken as
prisoners of war, the following should be carefully studied:
(1) It is
not lawful for a soldier to have conjugal relations with a prisoner of war as
soon as she falls into his hands. The Islamic Law requires that all such women
should be handed over to the government, which has the right to set them free or
to ransom them, or to exchange them with the Muslim prisoners in the hands of
the enemy, or distribute them among the soldiers. A soldier can cohabit only
with that woman who has been formally given to him by the government.
Even then, he shall have to wait for one monthly course before he can cohabit
with her in order to ensure whether she is pregnant or not; otherwise it shall
be unlawful to cohabit with her before delivery.
(3) It does not matter
whether the female prisoner of war belongs to the people of the Book or not.
Whatever her religion, she becomes lawful for the man to whom she is formally
(4) None but the one to own the slave-girl is given has the right
to "touch her." The offspring of such a woman from his seed shall be his lawful
children and shall have the same legal rights as are given by the Divine Law to
the children from one's loins. After the birth of a child she cannot be sold as
a slave-girl and shall automatically become free after her master's death.
(5) If the master marries his slave-girl with another man, he forfeits his
conjugal rights over her, but retains other rights such as service from her.
(6) The maximum limit of four has not been prescribed for slave-girls as in
the case of wives for the simple reason that the number of female prisoners of
war is unpredictable. The lack of limit does by no means provide a license for
the well-to-do people to buy any number of slave-girls for licentious purposes.
(7) The proprietary rights over a slave, male or female, as given to a
person by the government are transferable like all other legal proprietary
(8) The handing over of the proprietary rights over a slave-girl
to a man formally by the government makes her as much lawful for him as the
giving of the baud of a free woman to a man by her parents or guardian through
nikah (marriage ceremony). Therefore, there is no reason why a man who does not
hold marriage in detestation should hold sexual intercourse with a slave-girl in
(9) When once the government hands over the female prisoner
of war to someone, it has no right whatever to take her back from him, just as
the parent or guardian has no right to take back a woman after she is handed
over to a man through nikah.
(10) It should also be noted well that if a
military commander temporarily distributes female prisoners of war among the
soldiers for sexual purposes, or permits them to have sexual relations for the
time being, such an act shall be unlawful and there is absolutely no difference
between this and fornication, and fornication is a crime according to the
Islamic code. (For detailed discussion please refer to my books, Tafhimat II and
Rasa `il-o-Masa 'il I).
45That is, "The social differences among the
people are merely relative; otherwise all Muslims are equal. As a matter of
fact, the thing that distinguishes one Muslim from another is the quality of his
Faith, and that is not the monopoly of the higher ranks of society. It is just
possible that a Muslim slave-girl is higher in rank in regard to belief and
morality than a free woman of a high family.
46It should be kept in view
that in this section (vv. 2425) the Arabic word muhsanat has been used in two
different senses: (1) "wedded wives", enjoying the protection of their husbands;
and (2) "free Muslim women" enjoying the protection of their families, even
though they might not be married. This is important, because the lack of
differentiation between these two meanings has given rise to a superficial
complication. The Kharijites and those others who do not believe in the stoning
of an adulterous woman have misconstrued this verse (25) to prove their own
point of view. They argue that in this verse, the punishment prescribed for an
adulterous married slave-girl is half of the punishment prescribed for a free
"married" Muslim woman. If the punishment for an adulterous free married woman
had been stoning to death, there could be no half of this punishment for a
guilty slave-girl. Hence, this verse is, according to them, a conclusive proof
that the punishment of stoning does not exist in Islam.
The fallacy of
the above argument becomes obvious, if one uses common sense in the application
of the appropriate meaning of muhsanat. In the case of the guilty slave-girl, it
has been used in the sense of "married woman", enjoying the protection of the
husband, as is plain from the subsequent clause; "after they have been fortified
in wedlock". But in the case of the guilty Muslim woman, half of whose
punishment is to be given, it means "free Muslim woman" enjoying the protection
of her family, and does not mean a "free married Muslim woman", as has been
misconstrued by the opponents of the punishment of stoning.
the lighter punishment for an adulterous slave-girl than for a free Muslim
woman, it is based on the fact that the latter enjoys double protection as
compared with the former the protection of the family (even though she be
unmarried) and the protection of the husband, which reinforces the protection of
the family she already enjoys. In contrast to a free woman, a slave-girl does
not enjoy any protection at all, if she is unmarried, and even after marriage
her position does not become equal to that of an un-married free Muslim woman,
for the latter enjoys the protection of her status, her family, her clan, etc.
On the other hand, a slave-girl still remains, to some extent, under the bondage
of slavery and has no protection of the family, clan, etc. Therefore, her
punishment should be half of an un-married free woman and not half of a free
Furthermore this also shows that the punishment of one
hundred stripes as prescribed in An-Nur, XXIV : 2, is for an un-married free
Muslim woman guilty of fornication half of which has been prescribed here for a
slave married girl. As for an adulterous married free woman she deserves capital
punishment for this heinous crime because she enjoys the double protection of
the family and of the husband, and that punishment is "stoning her to death."
Though the Qur'an does not explicitly mention the punishment of stoning to
death, it does indicate it in a subtle manner, which the Holy Prophet understood
and enforced. And who else could understand the Qur'an better?
"concession" is to marry one of the slave-girls with the consent of her master
if one cannot afford to marry a free Muslim woman.
48The "way" refer to
all those instructions that have been given from the beginning of the Surah to
this point, and to those already given in Al-Baqarah about cultural and social
problems. Allah is telling the believers that it is His bounty that He is taking
them out of the ways of "ignorance" and guiding them to the moral ways of good
people, that have always been followed by the Prophets of every age and their
49Those who intended to turn the believers back from
the Right Way to the ways of error were the hypocrites, the ignorant people of
the old ways, and the Jews living in the suburbs of Madinah The first two groups
strongly disliked the changes that were being made to reform their centuries old
prejudices, rites and customs. They were opposed to (a) the share of the
daughters in inheritance; (b) the freedom of the widow from the restrictions
placed on her by her husband's people, and to marry the husband of her liking
after the expiry of the term, (c) the prohibition of marriage with step-mother,
and with two real sisters simultaneously. They were averse to the reform of the
institution of adoption which abolished the share of the adopted sons in
inheritance and removed the restriction on the marriage of their divorced wives
or their widows with their adopted fathers. These and such other reforms so
upset the worshipers of the old traditions and customs that they cried
themselves hoarse with protests against them. The mischief mongers criticized
bitterly the Holy Prophet and incited the people against his person and his
invitation. For instance, if there was a person who was born as a result of a
marriage which had become unlawful by the application of the reformed laws, they
would incite him by saying that he had been declared illegitimate by the Holy
Prophet. Thus the foolish people were opposing the work of reform which was
being carried out under Divine Guidance.
Then there were the Jews who
were engaged in vicious propaganda against this reformative work which went
against their self-made laws. They demanded that the Qur'an should declare these
laws to be the Divine Laws, even though they had changed their very character
and substance, by making fine and unnecessary distinctions, by introducing into
it their own superstitious customs as laws, by imposing their own restrictions
and hard conditions and making many lawful things unlawful. They, therefore,
could not appreciate the simple rules and regulations that were being presented
by the Qur'an. That is why their rabbis, scribes and common people did not
accept the Qur'an as the Book of Allah. They were so upset by its reformative
laws that they made each and every Commandment of the Qur'an the target of their
criticism and opposed and rejected it.
For instance, the Jews considered
the women utterly unclean during the menses. They would not take the meals
cooked by them nor drink water touched by their hands nor even sit on the same
carpet with them. In short, the women were practically made untouchables in
their homes. As the Ansar had also adopted the same customs when the Holy
Prophet migrated to Madinah, they asked him about the monthly course. In answer
to this question, v. 222 of Al-Bagarah was sent down; accordingly the Holy
Prophet instructed that during the monthly course only cohabitation was
prohibited and all other relations with the women would remain the same as
before. At this, the Jews raised a great hue and cry, saying, "This man is bent
upon opposing us in everything ants making lawful what is unlawful with us and
unlawful what is lawful with us."
50"Unlawful ways" include all the ways
that are against the Islamic law and principles and are false and immoral.
"Business" comprises all those transactions that are carried out for profit,
benefit, etc., as in trade, commerce, industry, etc., by which one satisfies the
needs of another who pays for the service rendered.
implies that those transactions should be carried out by mutual agreement and
not by coercion or fraud. For instance, although apparently there is a mutual
agreement in interest and bribery,. yet it is obvious that the needy party is
compelled by circumstances to agree to such transactions. In gambling also each
participant is deluded by the false hope of "winning". Neither would agree to
gamble if he knew that he would lose. The same is true of every case of
transaction which involves fraud. The defrauded one agrees under the
misunderstanding that there is no fraud in it. If he knew that he was being
deceived, he would never agree to this.
51"Do not kill yourselves" may
be complementary to the preceding sentence t or may, in itself, be an
independent sentence. In the first case, it would mean that the one who devours
unlawfully the property of others; does in fact lead himself to his own
destruction, for such an evil deed ruins the social order to such an extent that
ultimately he himself cannot escape its evil consequences, and in the Here after
most surely he incurs severe punishment.
In the second case, it would
mean, "Do not kill each other", or "Do not commit suicide". Allah has used such
comprehensive words that in the context they occur, they imply all the three
senses, and all these are correct.
52That is, "Allah is your well-wisher
and wishes you well: it is only His compassion that He forbids you such deeds as
cause your ruin."
53That is, "We are not narrow-minded and prejudiced
that We should take Our servants to task for each and every trivial offense. But
if you commit wicked and heinous sins, then you shall have to render an account
of the trivial offenses as well. "
Here it will be worthwhile to
understand the basic differences between the "heinous sins" and the "trivial
offenses". As far as I have understood from a critical study of the Qur'an and
the Sunnah (and the correct and right knowledge is only with Allah), I have
.come to the conclusion that the following three things make a sin heinous:
(1) The violation of the rights of Allah, or of parents, or of other human
beings, or one's own rights. The wickedness of the sin increases in proportion
to the sanctity of the right that is violated. That is why the Qur'an calls a
sin Zulm (iniquity) and declares shirk to be a gross iniquity.
(2) A sin
becomes heinous, if it is committed to defy the Divine Laws. This is because the
offender deliberately, boldly and shamelessly discards the Commandments and
Prohibitions of Allah and intentionally does that which He prohibits, merely for
the sake of disobedience, and impudently does not do that which He has
commanded. The gravity of this sin increases in proportion to the impudence that
is shown towards Allah in disobeying and discarding His Law. That is why the
Qur'an calls sin fisq (disobedience) and ma` siyat (arrogance).
violation of those relations and the cutting off of those connections on the
unification and integrity of which depends the peace of human life, makes a sin
heinous whether these relations are between man and Allah or between man and
man. The gravity of the sin of violation or the cutting off of a connection
increases in proportion to the importance of the relation, and to the security
contained in it. For instance, fornication in its different forms is in itself a
heinous sin, for it corrupts human society. But in some forms it becomes far
more heinous than in others. The sin of adultery committed by a married man is
far more heinous than that committed by an unmarried man. Likewise, adultery
with a married woman is a far greater sin than fornication with an unmarried
woman. In the same way, sexual intercourse with the womenfolk of a neighbour is
far more heinous than with others and incest with mother, sister or daughter
become the most heinous sin conceivable because of the security and sanctity the
relation provides. For the same reason the sin committed in the mosque is far
more wicked than elsewhere. In the above instances, the difference in the
gravity of the same sin is due to the difference in the nature of the sanctity
of the relations and the security contained in them. This is why, sin is also
called fujur (violation of relations).
54In this verse Allah has given a
very important moral instruction, which, if observed, would bring great peace in
the troubled social life of today. Allah has taught people not to be covetous
for and be envious of the possessions of others, for He has not; in His wisdom,
created all men alike. But for this disparity life would have become dull.
As Allah has perfect knowledge of everything, He has created one beautiful
and another ugly. He has given to one a melodious voice and to another a harsh
voice. He has made one of strong physique and another of weak constitution. He
has endowed one with some good qualities of mind and body and another with other
qualities. He has created one in straitened and another in opulent
circumstances. He has provided one with ample resources and another with scanty
ones. A little thinking will convince a person that the variety in human culture
is due only to those very differences and distinctions which are based on wisdom
and perfect knowledge. That is why chaos of one sort or the other results
whenever people artificially try either to aggravate these differences and
distinctions or to eliminate them totally. The human tendency to envy others
because of their superiority in anything generates jealousy, cut-throat
competition, enmity, class struggle and the like with the resulting
consequences. One who suffers from such a mentality tries to grab unlawfully
that which Allah has not given him through His bounty. In this verse Allah has
advised the Muslims to avoid such a mentality and keep themselves free from
envying others. One should, however, pray to Allah for His bounty, for He will
bestow upon him whatever He considers proper for him, because He has perfect
knowledge of everything.
As regards "The men shall have their due share
according to what they have earned, and the women shall have their share
according to what they have earned," in my opinion it means that women should
not envy men and men should not envy women because of any superiority the one
has over the other because of Allah's bounty. They should make full use of
whatever Allah has given them and rest assured that each one will get one's due
share according to what good or evil one earns and of the same quality that one
55The Arabs would enter into agreements of friendship and
brotherhood with each other and on that score were entitled to the inheritance
of each other. Thus, a god-son became heir of his god-father. Here this custom
of "ignorance" has been abolished, and it has been enjoined that the inheritance
should be divided among the heirs according to the law prescribed by Allah. They
are, however, allowed to give to such people, whatever they like during their
56The Arabic word qawam or qawam stands for a person who is
responsible for the right conduct, safeguard and maintenance of the affairs of
an individual, an institution or an organization. Thus, than is governor,
director, protector and manager of the affairs of women.
superior to women in the sense that they have been endowed with certain natural
qualities and powers that have not been given to women or have been given in a
less degree, and not in the sense that they are above them in honor and
excellence. Man has been made qawam (governor) of the family because of his
natural qualities and woman has been made his dependent for her own safety and
protection because of her natural drawbacks.
58A tradition of the Holy
Prophet is the best commentary on this, He said, "The best wife is the one who
pleases you when you see her; who obeys your orders and who guards your property
and her own honor when you are not at home. "
In this connection, it is
necessary to give a warning. Obedience to Allah is of far greater importance
than obedience to the husband and has precedence over it. 'therefore, it is the
duty of the wife to refuse to obey her husband, if and when he orders her to do
a thing which amounts to Allah's disobedience. In that case it shall be a sin to
obey him. On the contrary, if the husband orders her not to observe a certain
voluntary religious devotion, she must obey him, otherwise her devotion will not
59If the wife is defiant and does trot obey her husband or
does not guard his rights, three measures have been mentioned, but it does not
mean that all the three are to be taken at one and the same time. Though these
have been permitted, they are to be administered with a sense of proportion
according to the nature and extent of the offense. if a mere light admonition
proves effective, there is no need to resort to a severer step. As to a beating,
the Holy Prophet allowed it very reluctantly and even then did not like it. But
the fact is that there are certain women who do not mend their ways without a
beating. In such a case, the Holy Prophet has instructed that she would not be
beaten on the face, or cruelly, or with anything which might leave a mark on the
60"The two sides" refers both to the arbiters and to the spouses.
Reconciliation can be effected in every quarrel, if the parties concerned desire
it and if the arbiters try to effect it sincerely and justly.
verse, a plan has been put forward for settling disputes between husband and
wife within the family. An effort should be made to effect a reconciliation
before resorting to a court of law or making the final breach. The plan is to
appoint one arbiter from the family of each spouse for this purpose. The two
should probe into the real cause or causes of the dispute and then try to find a
way out of it. Of course, the relatives are best qualified for it, knowing as
they do the true conditions of the spouses.
Allah has left it unanswered
as to who should appoint the arbiters so that each spouse may appoint one
arbiter from his or her relatives, if they desire to patch up their differences,
or the leaders of the two families may take the initiative and entrust the work
of reconciliation to two arbiters, or if the case goes to the court, it may
appoint two arbiters before taking any action.
There is a difference of
opinion regarding the powers of the arbiters. According to the Hanafi and the
Shafi `i schools of thought, the arbiters are not authorized to pass any final
decree but may recommend measures for reconciliation, which tray be accepted or
rejected by the spouses. Of course, if the spouses themselves authorize them to
effect divorce or khula' or take any other measure, then they shall be bound to
accept their decision. Hasan Basri, Qatadah and some other jurists are of the
opinion that the arbiters are authorized to enforce reconciliation but not
separation. Ibn `Abbas, Said bin Jubair, Ibrahim Nakha 'i, Sha 'bi, Muhammad bin
Sirin and some other jurists are of the opinion that the arbiters have full
authority to enforce their decision about reconciliation or separation whichever
they consider to be proper.
Caliph Uthman and Caliph 'Ali used to
authorize the arbiters appointed by theta with full powers to effect
reconciliation or separation as required by the circumstances. For instance,
when the case of 'Aqil, son of Abu Talib, and his wife Fatimah, daughter of 'Utbah
bin Rabi'ah, was brought in the court of Caliph Uthman, he appointed as arbiter
Ibn 'Abbas from the family of the husband and Mu'aviyah bin Abi Sufyan from the
family of the wife and told them that they ware authorized to cause separation
between them, if required by circumstances. Likewise, Caliph `Ali appointed
arbiters in a similar case and authorized them to effect reconciliation between
the spouses or separate them. This shows that the arbiters as such do not
possess judicial powers, but if at the tithe of their appointment, the authority
concerned empowers them with judicial powers, their decision shall be binding
and enforced like other judicial decisions.
62"Assahib-i-bil -janb" as
used in the Text may imply an intimate friend and also a person who accompanies
one at any time. For instance, he may happen to accompany one in the street, or
be a fellow customer at a shop, or be a fellow passenger in the bus or in the
railway train, etc. Even such a temporary neighborhood requires a civilized and
noble person to treat the companion as far as possible kindly, and scrupulously
avoid giving him any sort of trouble.
63"To conceal the bounty of Allah"
is to live in a way as if Allah has not bestowed His bounty upon him. For
instance, a rich person conceals Allah's bounty, if he lives below his standard:
neither spends money on his own person nor on the members of his family nor on
the needy nor for any other good work. In short, his appearance would show him
to be in very straitened circumstances. Obviously that is gross ingratitude to
A Tradition of the Holy Prophet says, "When Allah bestows His
bounty on anyone, He likes that he should show it". That is, he should live the
life of a well-to-do person who spends money on food, dress, house, furniture,
etc., according to his means, and also in the way of Allah in order to show the
blessing on him.
64That is, the Prophet of every age will give evidence
in the Court of Allah, saying: "Lord, I duly delivered Your message to my people
and taught them the right way of life and the right mode of thought and practice
which You taught me." Last of all, the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's
peace and blessings) will give this same evidence regarding the people of his
term. and his term, according to the Qur'an extends from the time of his
appointment as Prophet till Resurrection. (E.N. 69, Al-`Imran)
the second Commandment about drinking. The first Commandment (Al-Baqarah: 219)
was that drinking is an evil thing and Allah does not approve of it. Accordingly
some of the Muslims began to refrain from it from that time. The majority of
them, however, did not give it up and often offered the Prayer in a state of
intoxication and made blunders in their recitations. Probably, this second
Commandment came in the beginning of A.H. 4 and prohibited the offering of the
Prayer while one was drunk. As a result they changed the timings of their
drinking so as not to clash with the timings of the Prayers. Some time after
this, the Commandment about total prohibition as contained in Al-Ma'idah: 90-91
was sent down.
Incidentally, the word sukr (state of intoxication) as
used in the Text also implies that this Commandment prohibits not only drinkig
but every kind of intoxicant. Moreover, though every intoxicating thing is in
itself unlawful, the offence of intoxication is doubled and becomes more
heinous, when the Prayer is offered in such a state.
66For the same
reason, the Holy Prophet has instructed that when one feels sleepy, and doses
again and again during the Prayer, one should give up his Prayer and go to
Some people from this verse argue that the Prayer of the one who
does not know the meaning of its Arabic Text, is no Prayer at all. But apart
from the fact that it is an unnecessary hardship, the Arabic words of the Qur'an
do not support this version. The Qur'an does not say, "unless you understand its
meaning" or "unless you understand what you are saying" but it says "unless you
know what you are saying". That is, one should be in his senses to know what he
is uttering with his tongue lest he should recite, say, a poem, instead of the
text of the Prayer.
67The Arabic word janabat literally means being far
off and stranger, and the word ajnabi (stranger) is derived from the same root.
As an Islamic term it refers to that state of uncleanliness and impurity that is
caused by the emission of seed by sexual intercourse or in sleep because this
makes a person stranger to cleanliness.
68A section of the jurists and
commentators,such as 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Anas bin Malik, Hasan Basri and
Ibrahim Nakha'i and others deduce from the words, "when passing on the way,"
that one should not enter a mosque in a state of "uncleanliness" except when one
has to pass through it for some urgent piece of business. Another section of
them, such as Hadrat 'Ali, Ibn 'Abbas, Said bin Jubair and some others conclude
from this that if one becomes "unclean" when on a journey, one may cleanse
oneself by wiping one's face and hands with pure dust, if water is not
available. As regards entering a mosque in such a state of "uncleanliness", the
latter section is of the opinion that one may sit in the mosque after performing
his ablutions ( wudu). But there is almost a consensus of opinion that if one
becomes "unclean" on a journey and water is not available for a bath, one may
cleanse oneself with pure dust and offer the Prayer. However, the former section
derives this opinion from the Traditions and the latter bases this concession on
this part of verse 43.
69There is a difference of opinion as to
implication of "if you have touched women." Hadrat 'Ali, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Mesa
Ash'ari, Ubaiyy Ibn Ka`b, Said bin Jubair, Hasan Basri and several other jurists
are of the opinion that here "have touched" means "have had sexual intercourse".
Imam Abu Hanifah and those of his way of thinking and Imam Sufyan Thauri have
adopted the same interpretation. On the contrary, Hadrat `Abdullah bin Mas`ud
and 'Abdullah bin 'Umar and (according to some traditions) Hadrat `Umar also are
of the opinion that the word "touched" actually means "touching with the hand"
and Imam Shafi`i has adopted this version. Some jurists, such as Imam Malik,
have adopted a middle course and expressed the opinion that if the touch between
a man and a woman is of sexual nature, they shall have to make fresh ablutions
for the Prayer but if. their bodies touch each others without any feeling of
sensuality, there is nothing wrong in this.
70If one has to perform
ablutions or take a bath before offering one's Salat and water is not available,
one is allowed to resort to tayammum; or, if one is sick and there is a danger
that the disease would worsen if one performs ablutions or takes a bath, one is
allowed to resort to tayammum even if water is available.
tayammum means "to turn to"; that is, one should turn to pure dust when water is
not available, or if its use is harmful. There is a difference of opinion
concerning the method of performing tayammum. The majority of the jurists, such
as Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi`i and Imam Malik, prescribe that one should
strike one's hands on pure dust and wipe one's face with them; then one should
again strike one's hands and wipe one's hands up to the elbows with them. This
method has been prescribed by some Companions of the Holy Prophet and their
followers such as Hadrat `Ali, `Abdullah bin `Umar, Hasan Basri, Sha'bi and
Salim bin `Abdullah and others. But some jurists such as `Ata', Mak-hul, Auza`i
and Ahmad bin Hanbal consider it enough to strike one's hands only once on pure
dust and wipe the face and the hands up to the wrists and not up to the elbows.
The Ahl-i-Hadith, in general, follow this method.
For the performance of
tayammum, it is not essential only to strike one's hands on pure earth: any
dusty thing or dry piece of earth suffices for this purpose. Some people object
to this method of cleansing; they say, "How can one be cleansed by striking
one's hands on dust and wiping the face and hands up to the elbows with these?
Let them look upon this method from the psychological point of view. Tayammum
helps keep alive the feelings of cleansing oneself and of the sanctity of the
Prayer, even if one is not able to use water for a long time. Thus, a Muslim
will always keep in view the rules of purity and cleanliness prescribed by the
Islamic Code and will scrupulously be mindful of his state of cleanliness and
purity for the observance of the Prayer.
71About the scholars of the
people of the Book the Qur'an at many places has used words to the effect: "They
have been given a part of the knowledge of the Scripture". These words have been
used because the scholars had actually lost a portion of their Scriptures and
had become strangers to the spirit and the real aim and object of the portion
left with them. The only interest they took, in these was confined to polemical
controversies, minor details of Commandments and philosophical subtleties of
creed. That is why they were ignorant of the true nature of religion and were
void of its essence, though they were called "Divines" and "Rabbis" and were the
acknowledged leaders of their community.
72The words used are: "who have
become Jews" and not "who are Jews," for originally they were "Muslims" just as
the community of every Prophet is Muslim. Then afterwards they degenerated and
became merely "Jews".
73They were guilty of perversion in three ways:
(1) They effected changes in the words of the Scriptures; (2) they distorted the
meanings of the text with false interpretations, and (3) they would sit in the
assemblies of the Holy Prophet and his Companions and afterwards make false
reports of what they heard there in order to create mischief against them by
distortion. They would thus spread misunderstandings about Islam and pervert
people from joining the Islamic Community.
74That is, when the
Commandments of Allah are recited to them, they 'say. sami`na (we have heard)
aloud and `asaina (we have rejected) in a low voice, of they pronounce the word
ata `na (we have obeyed) with such a twist of the tongue that it sounds as `asaina.
75During their talk with the Holy Prophet, they would invite his attention,
saying, Isma `a (please listen to us), and would add ghaira musma ` in, which
has several meanings. It may mean : "You are such a respectable man that one
cannot utter any word before you against your will", but it may also imply :
"You are not worthy that one may speak to you." Another meaning is : "May Allah
make you deaf!"
76For this please refer to E.N. 105, Al-Baqarah.
77Please refer to E.N. 2, AI -i-`Imran.
78Please refer to E.N.'s 82 and
79The people of the Book have been admonished for being
guilty of shirk, though they professed to believe in the Prophets and the
80This does not mean that if one refrains from shirk,
then one may freely indulge in other sins. This is merely to bring home to them
the gravity of this heinous sin, which they regarded as a trivial thing. That is
why the warning has been given that shirk is the most heinous of all sins; so
much so that this is the only sin for which forgiveness is not possible.
The Jewish Rabbis were very particular in the observance of minor laws;nay, they
spent most of their time in measuring and weighing those regulations which were
not explicitly mentioned in their Scriptures but were derived from them. On the
contrary, they regarded shirk as a trivial matter: they not only themselves were
involved in it but they did not try to save their community from .shirk and acts
of shirk. Accordingly, they did not consider that there was anything wrong in
entering into alliance with mushrik communities and helping them.
81Literally, jibt means an unreal, baseless and useless thing. In the Islamic
terminology, sorcery, magic, divination, omen-taking and the like superstitious
practices are called jibt. A Tradition of the Holy Prophet says, "Taking omens
from the sounds of the birds and the footmarks of the animals and all other
methods of divination are jibt." Thus jibt is the equivalent of superstition.
82Please refer to E.N.'s 286 and 288, Al-Baqarah.
Rabbis had gone so low in their opposition to Islam that' they regarded the
followers of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) as more misguided than even
the Arab Mushriks, and declared the latter to be more rightly guided though it
was quite obvious to them that on one side there was the worship of One God
without any tinge of shirk, and on the other, idolatry white had been .
thoroughly condemned in the Bible.
84That is, "Do they possess any
portion of Divine Authority that they are sitting in judgment on the case to
decide who is rightly guided and who is not?" "Had they any part in it, they
would never have given a farthing to anyone else because they are so narrow
minded that they are not even ready to acknowledge the Truth"
It may also
imply: Do they possess the kingdom of a country from which others are demanding
a share, and they are finding it hard to part with it? What is being demanded of
them is merely the acknowledgment of the Truth, and this they are refusing on
account of jealousy.
85Here they are being rebuked for showing jealousy
against the Holy Prophet and his followers because they were blessed with
Allah's Bounty (Prophethood) for which they themselves were looking forward in
spite of being unworthy of it. Instead of showing regret for their own
unworthiness which caused the loss of the Bounty, they were showing resentment
against the Holy Prophet who had by His Bounty brought about the greatest
spiritual, moral and intellectual revolution in Arabia with its resulting
leadership and greatness. It was their jealousy that was urging them to side
with the mushrik, and to Criticize the Muslims.
86"Mulk-i-azim " refers
to the leadership and guidance of the world and to the superiority over other
nations that is gained by putting into practice the knowledge and wisdom of the
87It must be kept in mind that this is the answer to the
jealous talk of the children of Israel. It implies this: "Why do you feel
jealous of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) and his followers? You are
the descendants of the Prophet Abraham (upon whom be peace) and so are the
children of Ishmael his descendants. We promised the Prophet Abraham that We
would bestow leadership of the world upon those of his descendants who would
follow the Book and the Wisdom sent dawn by Us. At first We sent down the Book
and the Wisdom to you, who belong to one line of his descendants, but you proved
incapable of this. Now We have sent down the same to the children of Ishmael the
second line of .Abraham's descendants. They have accepted it, believed in it and
followed it practically. Now answer for yourselves whether you have any ground
of jealousy and resentment against the children of Ishmael.
Muslims have been fore-warned that they should avoid those evils in which the
children of Israel were involved. Their basic error was that during their
degeneration they entrusted the positions of trust to incompetent people. They
began to entrust positions of responsibility and religious and political
leadership to inefficient, narrow-minded, immoral, dishonest and wicked people.
As a result, the whole community became corrupt. The Muslims are being cautioned
against this evil and enjoined to entrust positions of responsibility to
qualified and competent people of good moral character.
Another evil that
was prevalent among the Jews was injustice. They had lost the very sense and
spirit of justice and become utterly unjust, openly dishonest, and sinfully
obdurate and would commit acts of gross injustice without any pangs of
conscience. The Muslims were personally having a bitter experience of this. The
Jews were siding with the idolatrous Quraish against the Believers in one God
though the lives of the two clearly showed "who was more rightly guided."On the
one side, they saw the pure lives of the Holy Prophet and his followers; on the
other, they witnessed the immoral lives of their enemies, who buried their
daughters alive, married their step mothers and went round the Ka`bah in naked
state. Still these "people of the Book" preferred the idolatrous people to the.
Believers and brazen-facedly declared that the former were more rightly guided
than the latter. Allah warns the Believers against this sort of injustice and
enjoins them always to say what is just and right and judge between the people
with justice whether they be friends or foes.
89This verse is the basis
of the whole religious, cultural and political system of Islam and is the first
and foremost article of the constitution of an Islamic State. It lays down
permanently the following fundamental principles:
(1) In the Islamic
system, Allah is the real Authority who must be obeyed. A Muslim is first of all
the servant of Allah; all his other capacities come after this. Therefore, a
Muslim as an individual and the Muslims as a community owe their first loyalty
to Allah and they must subordinate all other loyalties to this. Allegiance and
obedience to anyone else shall be acknowledged only if these are not opposed to
the allegiance and obedience to Allah but are subordinate to it. All other
allegiances that are opposed to this basic allegiance shall be broken asunder.
The Holy Prophet has explained the same thing in a Tradition: "There is no
obedience to any of His creatures in what involves disobedience to the Creator."
(2) The second fundamental principle of the Islamic system is allegiance and
obedience to the Holy Prophet. This obedience is not inherent in Prophethood but
is only practical shape of obedience to Allah. A Messenger is to be obeyed
because he is the authentic means through which we can receive Commandments and
instructions from Allah. Hence, we can obey Allah only by obeying His Messenger,
for no other way of obedience is genuine. As a corollary of this, the breach of
allegiance to the Messenger shall be a rebellion against the Sovereign, Whom he
represents. A Tradition explains the same thing thus: "Whoever obeys me, obeys
Allah and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah." The same thing has also been
explicitly stated in v. 80 of this Surah.
(3) After the first and the
second allegiance, and subordinate to these, the Muslims owe allegiance to those
invested with authority from among themselves. The Arabic word ulil-amr is very
comprehensive, which comprises all those persons who are in any way at the helm
of the affairs of the Muslims-religious scholars, thinkers, political leaders,
administrators, judges of law courts, tribal chiefs and the like. In short, all
those, who are in any way invested with authority from among the Muslims, are to
be obeyed, and it is not right to disturb the peace of the community life of the
Muslims by entering into conflict with them, provided that (a) they are from
among the Muslims, and (b) they are obedient to Allah and His Messenger. These
two conditions are a pre-requisite for obedience to them, and these have been
explicitly laid down in the verse and have also been fully explained by the Holy
Prophet. In support of this some Traditions are cited below:
(a) "It is
obligatory on a Muslim to listen to and obey orders of those invested with
authority, whether he likes it or dislikes it, provided that it is not sinful.
However, if he is ordered to do a sinful thing, he should neither listen to the
rulers nor obey their orders." (Bukhari, Muslim).
(b) "Obedience to
anyone in a sinful thing is forbidden. Obedience is obligatory only in what is
right." (Bukhari, Muslim).
(c) The Holy Prophet said, "There will be
rulers over you who will practice right things as well as wrong things: (In such
a case) whoever protests against the wrong things, shall be absolved from the
responsibility and whoever dislikes the wrong things, also shall escape
(punishment). But whoever approves of and follows them, shall incur punishment."
The Companions asked, "Should we not then fight against such rulers?" The Holy
Prophet answered, "No, as long as they offer the Salat." (Muslim)
is, if they discard the Salat, it will be a clear proof of their disobedience to
Allah and His Messenger. Then it will be right to rise against them
The Holy Prophet said, "Your worst rulers are those whom you hate and who hate
you, whom you curse and who curse you." The Companions asked, "O Messenger of
God, should we not rise against such rulers?" The Holy Prophet answered, "No, as
long as they establish the Salat among you." (Muslim)
In this Tradition,
the condition about the Salat laid down in the preceding one, has been made more
explicit. One might have inferred from (c) that if they offered the Salat in
their individual capacities, no rising should be organized against them. But
Tradition (d) explicitly lays down that the condition for obedience to those in
authority is the establishment of the system of Salat by them in the Muslim
Community. The rulers should not only themselves offer the Salat regularly, but
they should also establish the Salat in the system of government run by them.
This is the minimum condition that ' makes a government Islamic in principle. If
a government lacks this, it will mean that such a government has discarded
Islam, and the Muslims will be justified in overthrowing it. This same thing has
also been stated in another Tradition thus: "The Holy Prophet took a covenant
from us regarding certain things. One of these was that we would not engage in a
dispute with those invested with authority unless we saw in them clear signs of
disbelief, which may provide us with a cogent reason to present before Allah."
(4) The fourth thing that has been laid down as an
absolute and permanent principle is that the Commandments of Allah and the
Sunnah of His Messenger are the fundamentals of law and final authority in the
Islamic system. Hence, if a dispute arises about any matter between the Muslims
or between the rulers and the ruled, they should turn to the Qur'an and the
Sunnah for a decision and they should all submit to the decision. Thus, the
essential element in the Islamic system that distinguishes it from un-Islamic
systems is to acknowledge the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger as
the final authority and to turn to these and to submit to their decisions in all
problems of life. Any system void of this is most surely an un lslamic system.
Some people doubt the soundness of this principle. They say that it fails in
practical life for the simple reason that there are many aspects of life (e.g.,
Local Self department. Railway department, Postal department, etc. etc.,) for
which there are no rules and regulations at all in the Book of Allah and the
Sunnah of His Messenger. How then can they find the solution of the problems
they meet with in such aspects of life as concern such departments? This doubt
arises because they do not, understand the fundamental principles of Islam.
Islam allows freedom of action in all those things about which the Book of Allah
and the Sunnah of His Messenger are silent. What distinguishes a Muslim from a
non-Muslim is that the latter claims absolute freedom but the former considers
himself to be the servant of Allah and uses only that amount of freedom which
Islam allows him. The non-Muslim judges all matters in accordance with the rules
and regulations made by himself and does not believe that he stands in need of
Divine Guidance. In contrast to him, the Muslim, first of all, turns to Allah
and His Messenger for guidance about everything and abides by their decision.
But if he does not find any commandment therein about a certain thing, only then
he is free to act in a manner he considers to be right. The very fact that the
Law is silent about a certain thing, is a proof that it allows freedom of action
in that particular matter.
90In the first part of this verse, the Qur'an
enunciates the tour fundamental principles of the Islamic Constitution, and in
the second part teaches the wisdom that underlies them. The Muslims have been
enjoined to follow the four fundamental principles if they are true believers;
otherwise their profession of Islam will become doubtful. Then they have been
taught to build their system of life on these because therein also lies their
well-being; for this alone can keep them on the right path in this world and
lead them to a happy life in the Hereafter.
It should also be noted that
this piece of advice follows the critical review of the moral and religious
condition of the Jews and warns the Muslims in a subtle manner to learn a lesson
from their deplorable condition. It says that whenever a community flings the
Book of Allah and the guidance of His Messenger behind its back and follows such
leaders as are disobedient to Allah and His Messenger, and blindly obeys its
rulers and religious leaders without demanding from thetas the authority of the
Book and the Sunnah, it can never escape those evils in which the children of
Israel were involved.
91In this verse, Taghut clearly stands for the
authority that makes decisions in accordance with laws other than Divine and the
system of judiciary which acknowledges neither Allah as the Supreme Sovereign
nor His Book as the final authority. Hence, this verse is explained that it is
contrary to Faith to take one's case for decision to a law court which by its
nature is, that of taghut Belief in Allah and His Book makes it obligatory on
the Believer that he should refuse to acknowledge such a court as lawful.
According to the Qur'an, belief in Allah and disbelief in taghut are
correlatives; therefore to acknowledge both at one and the same time is nothing
but hypocrisy itself.
92This shows that the hypocrites used to bring
only such cases before the Holy Prophet as were likely to be decided in their
favor, but would refrain from bringing such cases, which they feared, would be
decided against them. The same is true of many hypocrites of today: they are
ever ready to submit to the decisions of the Islamic Law if and whenever it goes
in their favor; otherwise they resort to any law, any custom, and any law court
which, they expect, will ensure their interests.
93Probably it means
that when their hypocritical deeds are exposed and they fear that action will be
taken against them; they take oaths to assure the Believers of their innocence.
94It clearly defines the position of the Messenger: the Messenger does
not come from Allah so that the people should simply acknowledge him as a
Messenger and then continue to obey anyone they like. The Messenger is sent with
the sole object that the code of life brought by him only should be followed
instead of all other codes, and the commandments brought by him from Allah only
should be obeyed instead of all other commandments. If anyone does not
acknowledge the Messenger in this sense, his acknowledging him merely as a
Messenger would be meaningless.
95The commandment contained in verse 65
was not meant to be confined to the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, but it was to
hold good up to the Last Day. Whatever the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace)
brought from Allah and whatever way of life he followed and practiced under His
guidance and inspiration, shall remain the final authority among Muslims for
ever and the acknowledgment of that authority alone determines whether one is a
true Muslim or not. According to a Tradition, the Holy Prophet said: "None of
you can claim to be a believer unless he subordinates his desires and lusts to
the way that I have brought."
96In verse 65, they have been admonished
to submit gracefully and sincerely to the way of life brought by the Holy
Prophet and to subordinate their desires and interests to his decision. In this
verse they have been warned that if they cannot sacrifice even their small
interests in following the Islamic Law, they can never be expected to make any
bigger sacrifice. if they were asked to sacrifice their lives or leave their
homes in the way of God, they would then discard totally the way of Faith and
obedience and follow the ways of disbelief and disobedience instead.
97That is, "If they had given up doubt, hesitation and indecision and obeyed and
followed the Messenger without any mental reservation, their position would have
become firm and stable and their thoughts, their morals and their affairs would
have secured a strong and permanent foundation. In short, they would have
enjoyed all those blessings that are obtained by following steadfastly a
straight royal road. On the contrary, the one who wavers in indecision and
irresolution, and sometimes takes one road and then another, without faith in
either, his whole life passes without any achievement and becomes an object
lesson of failure."
98That is, if they had resolved to obey the Holy
Messenger sincerely without harboring any doubts in their minds, the right way
of life would have become very clear to them by the grace of Allah, and they
would have clearly seen as to how they should employ their energy and effort so
as to get further and further close to their real goal in life.
is one who is upright and just: who is always actuated by truth and
righteousness; who is fair and equitable in all his dealings; who always sides
with truth and justice from the core of his heart; who opposes tooth and nail
all that is unfair, without showing the least weakness; who is so pure and so
unselfish that both friends and foes expect nothing but impartiality from him.
The literal meaning of shahid is "a witness" .It implies the one who bears
witness to the 'truth of his Faith by following it in all aspects of his life. A
martyr also is a shahid because he willingly suffers death by fighting in the
cause of Allah. By sacrificing his life for the cause he believes to be true, he
gives a practical demonstration of the sincerity of his Faith. Those righteous
people who are so trustworthy that their mere evidence for anything to be true
is a sufficient proof of its genuineness are also shahid.
Salih is one
who is upright in his beliefs, intentions, words and actions and adopts the
right attitude in every aspect of life.
100That is, "Undoubtedly the
person who enjoys the company of such people in this world and rises with them
in the Hereafter is really very fortunate." Unless one's feelings are totally
deadened, one is bound to feel that the company of evil and immoral people is a
painful torment even in this world and it would be .
101It should be
noted that this address was revealed at the time when the neighboring tribes had
been emboldened by the defeat of the Muslims at Uhd. They were surrounded by
danger on all sides and were hearing persistent rumors about the active
hostilities of, and imminent attacks from, different quarters. There were cases
of treachery also. The Muslim missionaries were invited cunningly to the
outskirts of Madinah. These circumstances urgently required that the Muslims
should struggle hard to save the Islamic Movement from failure and destruction
in the face of such overwhelming threats.
102The other meanings are that
not only he himself shows lack of courage to face danger but also discourages
and dissuades others from Jihad.
103That is, "Let them clearly
understand that those people, who hanker after worldly benefits only, are not
fit to fight in the way of Allah. On the contrary, only those people are worthy
of fighting in the way of Allah who have no other desire or object than to
please Him and who have perfect belief in Allah and the Hereafter and are,
therefore, ready to sacrifice all interests and all chances of prosperity and
enjoyment in this world for the sake of pleasing their Lord. They sincerely
believe that their sacrifices will not go in vain in the Hereafter, even if they
might not have been- "successful" in this life. Thus it is obvious that those
who attach real importance only to their worldly interests cannot tread the path
104This was the cry of the poor and helpless children, men and
women who had accepted Islam at Makkah and at other places but had no means of
migrating to Madinah, or defending themselves from persecution. They were being
persecuted and oppressed in all sorts of manners and were invoking the help of
Allah to deliver them from that horrible state.
105In the sight of
Allah, there are two distinct parties of fighters. One party is that of the
Believers who fight for the cause of Allah in order to establish his way on His
earth, and every sincere Believer is bound to perform this duty. The other party
is that of unbelievers who fight in the way of Taghut so as to establish the
rule of the rebels against Allah on His earth and no Believer would side with
them in this evil work.
106The Believers have been assured that they
should not be cowed and terrified by the apparent grand preparations and evil
designs of Satan and his companions: because ultimately they are bound to fail.
107This verse has three meanings, and all three are equally correct.
First, it means that those very people who were then showing cowardice were very
impatient to fight before permission was given for this. They would repeat the
tales of their persecution and oppression and say, "Give us permission to fight,
for we have no more patience left to bear these wrongs. " At that time when they
were advised to be patient for the time being and to purify themselves by means
of Salat and Zakat, they would resent such pieces of advice. But when the
Command to fight was given, some of those very people began to show cowardice
when they confronted the enemy armies and the dangers of war.
meaning is that those people were very 'religious' as long as such harmless
demands as the offering of Salat and the payment of Zakat were made; but no
sooner was the demand to fight in the way of Allah made on them than they were
filled with terror and fear for their lives, and they forgot all about their
The third meaning is that during the pre-Islamic period,
they were ready to fight for the sake of the spoils or for the gratification of
their whims, and were engaged day and night in war. That is why, after embracing
Islam, they were enjoined to desist a while from fighting and to reform their
souls by means of the Salat and Zakat. But when they were enjoined to fight in
the way of Allah, the same people who showed reckless bravery in fighting for
the sake of false pride, were showing timidity, and those who were dare-devils
turned into milksops and shirked fight.
The above mentioned three
meanings apply to the three different categories of people and the words of the
Arabic text are so comprehensive that they fit equally into all the three cases.
108That is, "You need not worry about your reward from Allah for the service
you render to His cause. If you exert your utmost in His way, Allah will not let
your work go waste. "
109They have been admonished for their attitude
towards the Holy Prophet. When there was success and victory, they would
attribute it to Allah's grace and forgot that Allah had blessed them with grace
through him. But when they suffered a defeat or had a set-back because of their
own errors and weaknesses, they would lay the whole blame on the Holy Prophet,
and would absolve themselves from all responsibility.
110That is, "They
themselves are responsible for their deeds and you will not be answerable for
them. What you have been entrusted with, is to convey to them the commandments
and instructions from God. And you have done that admirably well. Now it is not
your obligation to force them to adopt the right way, and if they do not follow
the Guidance they are receiving through you, you shall not be held responsible
for their disobedience."
111The main cause of the wrong attitude of the
hypocrites and the people of weak faith, who had been warned in the foregoing
verses, was that they had doubts that the Qur'an was from Allah. They could not
believe that it was being sent down by Allah to the Holy Prophet and that the
Commandments contained in it were directly coming from Him. That is why they are
being admonished to consider the Qur'an by giving close attention to it, and to
verify whether their doubts are genuine and whether it is from Allah or not. The
Qur'an itself bears witness to the truth that it is from none other than Allah,
for none else, however wise and intelligent he might be, could have gone on
delivering addresses under different circumstances about variant topics so as to
form a connected, balanced and coherent Book at the end of twenty-three years
and that too, without showing any contradiction whatever from the beginning to
the end, and without there arising any need to revise or make any change in it.
112During the period of excitement, rumors were on the air from many
quarters. Sometimes baseless and exaggerated reports were received that caused
alarm in Madinah and its outskirts. Then some cunning enemy would send news that
all was quiet in the enemy camp, merely to conceal some impending danger and to
keep the Muslims off their guard. Only those people who loved excitement, took
keen interest in such rumors; who did not take the conflict between Islam and
un-Islam to be a serious matter; and who did not realize the grave consequences
of indulging in such baseless rumors. Whenever they heard any rumor, they would
spread it from place to place, without considering the great harm their pastime
In this verse, such people have been warned of the gravity
of their offense and strictly admonished to refrain from spreading rumors. They
have been told to report any news they heard to the responsible people and then
keep silent about it.
113Different people behave differently and with
different results. Some urge on others to exert themselves for the cause of
Allah and to exalt His Word and they get its reward. There are others who spread
misunderstandings among the people about Allah's cause, discourage the Muslims
and try to dissuade them from exalting the Word of Allah and thus incur
114The Muslims were specially exhorted to be very civil and
polite to the non-Muslims because at that time their relations were strained on
account of the conflict between them. In that state of tension, they were
forewarned to be on their guard against incivility and impoliteness. They were,
therefore, taught to be equally civil and polite to them when they greeted them
respectfully. Nay, they should be even more civil and polite than their
Harsh behavior and harsh words do no good to anyone but they
are specially unsuited to the work of those missionaries of Allah's Message, who
have dedicated themselves to one day invite the world to the Truth and exerted
themselves to reform the ways of the people. Such ill behavior may satisfy one's
vanity, but it does great harm to one's mission.
115That is, "The
misbehaviour of the unbelievers, atheists, polytheists and the like can do no
damage to the Godhead of Allah, for they cannot alter the fact that He is the
One and All-Powerful Sovereign, and that, one day He will assemble together all
human beings and deal with them in accordance with their deeds and none will be
able to escape from His retribution. Therefore, Allah does not stand in need of
anyone to defend Him against His rebels by showing incivility and impoliteness
That is the bearing of this verse on the preceding verse. But
this verse also serves as an appendix to the passage that began from verse 60.
In that case it means: Let any body follow any way he chooses and work in any
way he likes in this world but he should not forget that one Day everyone shall
have to go in the presence of Allah Who is the sole Sovereign. Then everyone
shall see the result of his actions and deeds.
116This passage deals
with the problem of those hypocritical Muslims who had accepted Islam in Makkah
and other parts of Arabia but had not emigrated, to Madinah. They lived as
before with their people, and took more or less a practical part in all their
hostile activities against Islam and the Muslims. They had become a very
difficult problem for the Muslims who did not know how to deal with them. Some
Muslims were of the opinion that they were after all "Muslim" because they
recited the kalimah (the article of the Muslims' Faith), offered the Salat,
observed the Fast and recited the Qur'an. Then how could they be dealt with like
the disbelievers? Allah in this passage has removed that difference of opinion
from among the Muslims and told them how to deal with them.
At this place
one should clearly understand why those Muslims who did not emigrate to Madinah
were declared to be hypocrites; otherwise one might not be able to interpret
correctly this passage and the like passages of the Qur'an. The fact of the
matter is that when the Holy Prophet migrated to Madinah and conditions were
created there for the fulfillment of the requirements of Islam, a general order
was given that all those Muslims who were oppressed in any place and in any
tribe or clan and could not freely carry out their Islamic obligations, should
migrate to Madinah, "the Abode of Islam." As a result, all those who could
emigrate but did not do so because they loved their homes, their relatives and
their interests more than Islam, were declared to be hypocrites. Only such of
those as were really being prevented by impediments were declared to be helpless
in verse 97 of this Surah.
It is obvious that the Muslims living in the
"abode of unbelief" may be declared hypocrites for not migrating only if a
general invitation is extended to them by the people living in "the Abode of
Islam", or at least the doors of" the Abode of Islam" are kept open for them. In
such a case all those Muslims who may be doing nothing to change "the abode of
unbelief" into "the Abode of Islam", nor emigrate to "the Abode of Islam", even
if they could, would be declared hypocrites.
117Allah turned the
hypocrites back to their former unbelief because they followed a double-faced
policy and were time-servers. As they preferred the life of this world to that
of the Hereafter, they had entered the fold of Islam with some mental
reservations. They were not prepared to sacrifice those interests which came
into conflict with the requirements of the Faith and they did not have that firm
belief in the Hereafter which makes one sacrifice with perfect peace of mind
this world for the sake of the Next World: It has thus become obvious that the
line of demarcation was so clearcut that there ought not to have been two
opinions about hypocrisy.
118Here the Muslims have been asked to catch
hold of those hypocrites who belonged to the belligerent disbelievers and were
actually engaged in hostile activities against the Islamic State.
exception is only concerning the first part of the Command. Though the blood of
such a hypocrite is lawful, he is not to be pursued and killed, if he has sought
asylum in the territory of a non-Muslim State, which is an ally to the Islamic
State. This is not because of the sanctity of the blood of the hypocrite but
because of the sanctity of the treaty.
120This does not refer to the
category of the above-mentioned hypocrites whose blood has been made lawful, but
to the sincere Muslims who lived either in "the Abode of Islam", or in "the war
zone" or "the abode of unbelief", against whom there was no proof that they had
taken part in the hostile activities of the enemies of Islam: such a warning was
necessary because there were many people who had accepted Islam sincerely but
were still forced by circumstances to live among the foes of Islam; and there
had been cases when some of them were accidentally killed by their Muslim
brethren during an attack on an enemy clan. Therefore, Allah has enjoined what a
Muslim, who kills a Muslim by mis-chance, must do to expiate such an accidental
121As the slain person was a Believer, a believing slave is to be
set free as expiation for his accidental murder.
122The Holy Prophet
prescribed one hundred camels or two hundred cows or two thousand goats as
blood-money to be paid to the survivors of the slain man. If one desired to pay
it in any other form, he would have to calculate it in terms of the market price
of these animals. For instance, the blood-money paid in cash during the time of
the Holy Prophet was eight hundred gold dinars or eight thousand silver dirhams.
During his Caliphate, Hadrat 'Umar declared, "Now that the price of a camel has
gone up, one thousand dinars or twelve thousand dirhams should be paid as
blood-money. " It should, however,, be noted that the blood money prescribed
here is not for a willful murder but for an accidental one.
the following are the Commandments contained in v. 92:
If the slain
person is an inhabitant of "the Abode of Islam," his murderer shall have to pay
blood-money as compensation and also to set free a slave to earn his forgiveness
And if he is an inhabitant of a "war zone", the murderer shall
have only to set free a slave and not to pay any blood-money.
And if he
belongs to an "abode of unbelief" which is an ally of the Islamic State, the
murderer shall have to set free a slave and also have to pay blood-money equal
to the amount of the blood-money of a non-Muslim victim as contained in the
124These fasts must be consecutive without a single day's break;
if there is a single break, except if it be in accordance with the Law, one
shall have to begin the prescribed fasting anew for two full months.
125That is, "The freeing of a slave or the payment of blood-money or the fasting
for two consecutive months is not a penalty but is repentance and kaffarah
(cover) for the offense. The difference between the two is that in the case of
penalty, there is no feeling of self-reproach, compunction, contrition and
self-reform, but there is a feeling of disgust and aversion, and it leaves
disgust and bitterness behind it. That is why Allah enjoins kaffarah and
repentance so that the offender may be able to purify his soul by means of good
deeds, devotion and fulfillment of the rights, and turn to Allah through
self-reproach and compunction. in this way the sinner will not only atone for
his present sin but will also refrain in future from such errors.
Kaffarah literally means a cover; a good deed that is performed as kaffarah for
a sin, so to say, covers it just as a white-wash covers a blot on a wall.
126In the early days of Islam, Assalam-u-alaikum (peace be upon you) was a
symbol of recognition for Muslims. When a Muslim met another Muslim, he greeted
him with this salutation, as if to say, "I belong to your own community; I am
your friend and well-wisher. I have nothing but peace and security for you; so
you should not show enmity towards me nor fear enmity and harm from me." It was
like a "pass-word" used in the army while passing through a line of guards at
night so as to discern between friends and foes.
The importance of the
salutation of peace as a symbol of recognition was specially great at that time
because there was no apparent mark of distinction between a Muslim Arab and a
non-Muslim Arab, as they wore the same kind of dress and spoke the semi
language. Still a difficulty arose when the Muslims attacked some clan and a
local Muslim also became the target of attack. Then he would cry out, Asalam-u-alaikum
or La llaha illallah (there is no god but Allah). But the attacking Muslims
would suspect him to be a disbeliever who was using the password as a trick
merely to save his life. They would, therefore, often kill him and take
possession of his belongings as spoils. Although the Holy Prophet would severely
admonish the offenders on such occasions, yet there was a recurrence of such
incidents. Then Allah solved the difficulty in this verse, which means, "You
have no right to judge cursorily that the man, who is declaring himself to be a
Muslim, is telling a lie merely to save his life. It is equally possible that he
may be speaking the truth, or telling a lie, and one cannot know the reality
without making a thorough investigation. Thus, while there is a chance of
letting off a disbeliever by accepting his salutations of peace as genuine,
there is also the more horrible chance of killing an innocent Believer. In any
case, it is far better to let off a disbeliever by mistake than to kill a
Reliever by error.
127That is, There was a time when you yourselves were
scattered as individuals among different clans of disbelievers. You were then
hiding your Islam for fear of oppression and persecution and you could offer no
other proof of your Faith except by an oral expression. Now it is the bounty of
Allah that you are enjoying community life and are able to raise the banner of
Islam against the disbelievers. The right way of showing gratitude to Allah for
this bounty is to show kindness and leniency to those Muslims who are still in
the same state in which you were before this.
128In this passage, the
relative status of true Muslims has been assigned according as they behave when
they are asked to go to Jihad on a voluntary basis, when the leader of the
Islamic forces does not require the whole Muslim force. Those who offer
themselves and their wealth and go to Jihad have been assigned a higher rank
than those who stay at home, even though the latter might have been engaged in
other good works; moreover, there is, for the former a `promise of a good
reward.' As regards those who stay at home, when they are ordered to go to
Jihad, by making excuses or even those who shirk Jihad, when a general order is
given for Jihad and Jihad becomes an obligatory duty in these two cases those
who are engaged in other works and do not go to Jihad are hypocrites and are not
entitled to the benefit of the 'promise of a good reward' except that they stay
behind for any genuine excuse.
129"Those who were doing wrong to their
own souls" were the people who had accepted Islam but were still living among
their own clans, which had not yet embraced Islam, without any genuine excuse or
compulsion. They were doing wrong to their own selves by living in a state of
semi-Islam, although "the Abode of Islam" had come into existence where they
could migrate and live the full life of a Muslim. They were quite content to
live such a wretched life of semi-unbelief, according to their faith because
they preferred their comforts, their families, their properties and their
interests to their Faith. That is why their excuse, "We were weak and helpless
in the land", has not been accepted. (Please also see E.N.116).
is, "Why did you continue to live in a place which was oppressed by the rebels
against Allah and where it was not possible to live in accordance with the Law
of Allah? And why did you not migrate to a place where you could follow the
Divine Law without any hindrance?"
131As regards "migration in the way
of Allah", it is an obligation with two exceptions: one may remain there to
struggle for the establishment of Islam and to change the system of life based
on unbelief into the system of Islam; just as the Prophets and their immediate
followers did in the initial stages of their mission; or one may remain there in
a state of great disgust and repugnance as long as one is unable to find any way
out of it. With the exception of the above two cases, it will be a life of
continuous sin to live in an "abode of unbelief". The excuse that "We could not
find any `Abode of Islam' for migration" shall not be accepted and will be met
with the rebuff: "If there was no `Abode of Islam', was there no forest or
mountain where you could live on the leaves of trees and the milk of goats in
order to escape from submission to the laws of unbelief?"
connection, a misunderstanding about the Tradition, "No migration after the
conquest of Makkah", may also be removed. This was not a permanent command
concerning migration but only a temporary instruction that suited the changed
conditions of Arabia after the conquest of Makkah. As long as the major portion
of Arabia was the "abode of unbelief", the Muslims were enjoined to migrate to
Madinah, which was the only "Abode of Islam" at the time. But when almost all
the parts of Arabia came under Islam, the Holy Prophet so to say, merely
canceled the first command under which migration was compulsory, saying, "There
is no more (compulsory) migration (to Madinah) after the conquest of Makkah."
The Tradition was never meant to be a prohibitory command for all the Muslims of
the world for all times to come up to the Last Day.
132The shortening of
the obligatory part of the Salat during a journey in peace time is, `to reduce
four rak'ats to two rak`ats"but there is no prescribed limit to the reduction
during actual fighting. The Salat must be offered any-how in any form as the
circumstances on the occasion permit. If it is possible to offer the Salat in
congregation, it should be offered in congregation; otherwise the soldiers
should say it individually. If it is not possible to turn the face to the qiblah,
it may be offered facing any other direction. If it is not possible to remain
stationary for the Salat, it may be offered while riding or walking. If it is
not possible to bend down or prostrate, one should do so symbolically. If,
during the Salat, it becomes necessary to move from that place, one may continue
the Prayer even during the movement. There is no harm in offering the Salat,
even if one's clothes become stained with blood. And even if in spite of all
these concessions, it is not possible to offer it at all, it may then be
reluctantly postponed, as was done during the course of the "Battle of the
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the obligatory
parts (fara `id) only are to be offered in a journey or those parts (sunnats)
also that were practised by the Holy Prophet in addition to the former. When on
a journey the Holy Prophet used to offer without fail two rak`ats in addition to
the obligatory rak`ats of Salat-ul-Fajr (Morning Prayers) and three rak`ats of
witr with Salat-ul- 'Isha' (Night Prayer). At other times he only offered the
obligatory parts; there is no proof of his offering the sonnet parts. He,
however, used to offer "additional prayers" (nawafil), whenever he got time for
these even while he was riding. That is why Hadrat 'Abdullah bin `Umar
prohibited the people from offering the sunnats during a journey except with the
Morning Prayer. But the majority of the scholars leave it to the individual's
option to offer or not to offer the sunnats on a journey. The Hanafis are of the
opinion that it is better to leave them during the actual journey but one must
offer them at a halting place, if one can get the necessary peace of mind.
As regards the nature of the journey in which the Salat may be
shortened,some scholars (Ibn 'Umar, Ibn Mas'ud and 'Ata) have imposed the
condition that it should he in the way of Allah, e.g., for Jihad, Hajj, `Umrah,
or in quest of knowledge, etc. Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad are of the opinion
that the journey should be for some lawful purpose; otherwise one has no right
of enjoying the concession of reduction in Salat. The Hanafi s are of the
opinion that the Salat may be shortened during any kind of journey, irrespective
of the purpose for which it is undertaken. As regards the nature of the journey,
it may merit reward or punishment by itself, but it does not affect the
concession of reduction in Salat.
Some of the Imams have interpreted
words "there is no harm" to mean that "reduction in the Prayer" is not
obligatory but merely optional. One may make use of the permission and shorten
his Salat or may not. Imam Shafi'i holds the same view, though he considers it
better to shorten it. He is of the opinion that one who does not make use of the
"reduction", gives up the higher thing and adopts a lower thing. Imam Ahmad is
of the opinion that although "reduction" is not obligatory, yet it is improper
not to make use of the concession. Imam Abu Hanifah considers "reduction"
obligatory and there is also a tradition from Imam Malik to the same effect. All
the traditions from the Holy Prophet show that in his Journeys he always
shortened his Salat and there is no authentic Tradition to show that he ever
offered four rak`ats on a journey. Ibn `Umar says, "During the journeys I
accompanied the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr, `Umar or ` Uthman (may Allah be pleased
with them all), and I witnessed that they always shortened their Salat and never
offered four rak`ats. " The same view is also supported by authentic traditions
from Ibn `Abbas and several other Companions.
Once during Hajj, Hadrat `Uthman
performed four rak ats while he was leading the Salat at Mina and the Companions
objected to it. He satisfied them, saying, "I have taken a wife from Makkah and
I have heard from the Holy Prophet that whoever marries at a place becomes a
citizen of that place. Therefore I have . not shortened my prayer."
are, however, two traditions against this from Hadrat `A'ishah which show that
it is equally right to make a "reduction" in the Salat or to say it in full. But
these traditions are weak in authenticity and contrary to her own practice, for
she herself practiced "reduction".
In this connection, it may also be
noted that sometimes one feels oneself to be "on a journey" as well as "at home"
when one may shorten the Salat or offer it in full at one and the same halting
place according to the circumstances. Most probably Hadrat `A'ishah referred to
such a state, saying: "When on a journey, the Holy Prophet sometimes shortened
his Salat and sometimes offered it in full. "
As regards the words,
"There is no harm if you shorten your Prayer", it is not correct to conclude
that the "Command" is optional. The same words have been used in connection with
running between Safa and Marwa on the occasion of Hajj, in verse 158 of Al-Baqarah,
although this is an essential part of Hajj. As a matter of fact, these words
have been used in both the places to allay the fear that shortening of the
Prayer or running between Safa and Marwa might entail a sin or lessen one's
As regards the length of the journey, the Zahirites are of the
opinion that "reduction" may be made in any journey irrespective of the
distance. According to Imam Malik, the minimum distance of the journey should be
48 miles, or its duration should be at least one day and one night. Hadrat Ibn
`Abbas and Imam Ahmad are also of the same opinion and a saying of Imam Shafi`i
also supports the same. But the minimum distance for "reduction" according to
Hadrat Anas is 15 miles, while Imam Auza`i and Imam Zuhri follow the opinion of
Hadrat `Umar that one day's journey suffices for "reduction" . According to
Hadrat Hasan Basri and Imam Abu Yusuf, the minimum journey of two days entitles
one to shorten one's Salat. Imam Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that "reduction"
may be made in a journey of a minimum distance of 54 miles. The same is the
opinion of Ibn `Umar, Ibn Mas`ud and Hadrat `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with
Opinions differ regarding the "reduction" in a halt during the
course of a journey. Imam Ahmad is of the opinion that if one intends to halt at
a place for four days, one will have to offer the Prayer in full. According to
Imam Malik and lmam Shafe`i, "reduction" is not lawful at a place where one
intends to halt for more than four days. Imam Auza`i extends it to 13 days and
Imam Abu Hanifah to 15 days or more and enjoins offering of the full Prayer
during such a halt. But there is no explicit command of the Holy Prophet about
this. However, there is a consensus of opinion that if one is forced by
circumstances to halt at a place but intends to leave it for home at any time,
one may go on practising "reduction" for an indefinite period of time. There are
instances when some Companions practiced "reduction" continuously even for two
years for the same reason. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal allows a prisoner to make
"reduction" during the whole term of his imprisonment.
and the Kharijites interpret this sentence to mean that reduction in the Salat
may be made only during state of war and that reduction in a journey during
peace time is against the Qur'an. But we learn from an authentic "Tradition that
once when Hadrat `Umar presented the same objection before the Holy Prophet, he
answered, "The concession of 'reduction' is a bounty from Allah; therefore,
enjoy it". This is a well known fact that the Holy Prophet availed of the
concession in every journey both during war time and during peace time.
Another tradition from Ibn `Abbas makes the position clear, saying, "The Holy
Prophet went to Makkah from Madinah and there was no fear of anyone except of
God but he reduced tour rak' ats of the Salat to two rak'ats ". That is the
reason why the word "especially" has been added in brackets in the translation.
134From the words. "And when you, O Prophet, are among the Muslims",
Imam Abu Yusuf and Hasan bin Ziyad have concluded that the commandment about the
"Salat of Fear" was meant to be in force only during the lifetime of the Holy
Prophet. But there are many instances in the Qur'an that a commandment has been
addressed to the Holy Prophet and the same also holds good for his successors
after him. Therefore, there is no reason why the commandment about the "Salat of
Fear" be restricted to the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. Then there are
instances that many of the great Companions offered the "Salat of Fear" after
his death and no difference of opinion in this regard has been reported from any
135This Commandment about the "Salat of Fear" applies to that
state when there is a threat of imminent attack from the enemy but no actual
fighting is going on. As regards the state of actual fighting, according to the
Hanfis the Salat will be postponed to a later time, and according to Imam Malik
and Imam Thauri, if it is not possible to bow and to prostrate, it should be
performed by symbolic gestures. According to Imam Shaf`i, one may even during
the "Salat of Fear". remain engaged a little in the conflict, if need be.
We learn from authentic Traditions that the Holy Prophet postponed four
consecutive Salats during the Battle of the Trench, and afterwards when he got
respite, he performed these in the respective order although the Commandment
about the "Salat of Fear" had been sent down before this.
136The form of
the "Salat of Fear" mainly depends upon the conditions of war. As the Holy
Prophet led it in various ways, according to the different conditions, the
Muslim leader of the time has the option of adopting any of those ways,
according as it suits a certain occasion.
One way is that one section of
the army should offer the Salat with the leader and the other should remain
engaged in fighting against the enemy. After the performance of one rak stand
after bringing the prayer to an end formally that section should fall back to
the fighting line and the second section should perform the second rak at with
the Imam. Thus, the leader will perform two rak 'ats while the sections will
perform one rak`at each.
The second way is that one section should
perform one rak `at with the Imam and fall back, then the second section should
offer one rak at with the Imam and tall back; then each section should come
back, turn by turn, and complete the second (i. e. the missed) rak at
individually. In this way each section will perform the first rak`at behind the
Imam and the second individually.
The third way is that one section of
the army should perform two rak`ats with the Imam and after salutation should
fall back to the fighting line. Then the second section should join in the third
rak at and complete the Prayer with the Imam. Thus, the Imam will perform four
rak`ats and each section of the army two rak ats each. v The fourth way is that
one section should perform one rak `at behind the lmam and when the Imam stands
up for the second rak at the followers should complete the second rak`at by
themselves and then join the ranks. As regards the Imam, he should prolong his
second rak`at so that the other section tray join him and perform their first
rak`at behind him and complete their second rak`at by themselves.
first way has been related by Ibn `Abbas, Jabir bin `Abdullah and Mujahid, and
the second by `Abdullah bin Mas`ud and the Hanafis give preference to this. The
third way has been related by Hasan Basri from Abu Bakrah and the fourth by Sahl
bin Abi Hathmah and accepted by Imam Shafi`i and lmam Malik with a little
There are other ways of offering the "salat of Fear"
details of which may be had froth any of the numerous books of the Islamic Law
137The Muslims have been reassured that Allah Himself
will deal severely with the disbelievers who are opposing the Truth with their
false machinations and will bring ignominy to them. The precautionary measures
that are being enjoined are merely from the practical point of view to teach
them that they should, in their turn, exert their utmost and leave the result to
Allah, in Whose hands really lies victory or defeat.
the disbelievers who were opposing the Islamic mission and doing their utmost to
prevent the establishment of the Islamic system of life.
139That is, "It
is really strange that the believers should not bear bravely as many hardships
for the sake of Truth as the disbelievers were bearing for falsehood, though the
latter have no other object than this world and its transitory benefits. Whereas
the believers have the highest object of pleasing the Lord of the heavens and
the earth and expect to get everlasting rewards from Him."
105-115, very important issues concerning an event that occurred at that time
have been discussed.
There was in the Bani Zafar clan of the Ansar, a man
known as Ta'mah or Bashir bin-Ubairiq. He stole the armor of another Ansari and
hid it in the house of a Jew. When an investigation started into the theft, the
owner of the armor placed the matter before the Holy Prophet and told him that
he suspected Ta'mah of the theft. But the accused and his relatives and many
other people of the Bani Zafar clan conspired and laid the guilt at the door of
the Jew, who asserted that he was innocent of the thing. But Ta'mah's people
went on pleading his case vehemently. They argued: "The statement of the Jew who
is an enemy of the Truth and who disbelieves in Allah and His Messenger cannot
be trusted; whereas we are Muslims, and, therefore, should be trusted." The Holy
Prophet was naturally influenced by the seeming correctness of the argument and
was about to acquit Ta'mah and give a warning to the plaintiff for bringing a
false charge against a Muslim, and decide the case against the Jew, when this
Revelation came and disclosed the reality of the matter.
It is true that
even if the Holy Prophet had, as a judge, decided the case in the light of the
evidence produced before him, he would not have incurred any blame, for judges
have to give their decision according to the evidence that is presented before
them and sometimes people do succeed in getting wrong judgments in their favor
by misrepresentation. But the matter had another side: if the Holy Prophet had
decided the case against the Jew at that time, when a bitter convict was raging
between Islam and kufr, the enemies of Islam would have got a strong moral
weapon against him, nay, against the Islamic Community and the Islamic Mission.
They would have carried on a bitter propaganda against Islam, saying, "There is
no justice among the Muslims; they practice prejudices and partisanship inspire
of the fact that they preach against them as has been shown by this decision
against the Jew". That is why, Allah directly intervened in the case to save
them from this danger.
In this passage (vv. 105 - 115) on the one hand,
those Muslims who tried to shield the guilty one of their own clan, have been
strongly rebuked for their partisanship, and, on the other, the Muslims in
general have been taught that they should not allow partisanship to stand in the
way of justice. It is sheer dishonesty that one should plead the cause of one's
own party man, even though he may he in the wrong, and oppose the man of the
opposite party, even though he may he right.
141He who is dishonest to
others is in reality dishonest to himself because he forces all his faculties of
head and heart, which have been given to him as a trust, to help him in his
dishonesty. Moreover, he suppresses his conscience, which Allah has given him to
safeguard his morality, so as to disable it from functioning rightly and
preventing him from being dishonest. Thus a man is dishonest to others only when
at first he becomes unjust to himself.
142That is,'Even if they had
succeeded in deceiving you by making a false report in regard to the case, and
in getting your decision in their own favor, they would not have done any harm
to you but to themselves, for even in that case they themselves would have been
guilty in the sight of Allah, and not you". This is obvious because the real
offender is the one who deceives the judge and gets a wrong judgment in his own
favor, and not the judge who has to decide the case on the basis of the evidence
presented before him. Moreover, such a one might delude himself that he has got
"the right" on his side by his cunning devices, but in reality the "real right"
remains the `right' in the record of Allah. (See also E.N. 192, Al-Baqarah).
143That is, "The dishonest 'Muslim' turned on the way of anti-Islam: so
Allah also turned him on that way". It happened like this: when the facts of the
case of theft were revealed by Allah and the innocent Jew was acquitted and
Ta'amah was found guilty, this hypocrite left Madinah in anger and joined the
enemies of the Holy Prophet at Makkah and began to oppose him openly.
144In continuation of the foregoing theme, it has been stated that the
hypocrite, who had in his anger gone to the side of the mushriks, did not fully
realize the consequences of his foolish action. For this purpose, evils of the
way he adopted and the nature of the fellows he accompanied have been pointed
145Though none worships Satan by performing devotional ceremonies
before him, the one who surrenders oneself entirely to him and follows him
wherever he misleads, does act like a devotee of Satan. This also makes it plain
that one who obeys any other blindly, in fact, worships him.
"I will mark off for myself a portion of their time, their labor and their
efforts, their energies and their abilities, their wealth and their offspring,
and will entice them by deception so that they will devote the major portion of
these in my way."
147This alludes to one of the superstitious customs of
the pagan Arabs. After a she-camel had given birth to five or ten young ones,
they would slit her ears and dedicate her to their god and consider it unlawful
to get any work from her. Likewise, if a camel had been a partner in the birth
of ten young ones, his ears were also slit to mark that he had been dedicated to
148This does not condemn the alterations that man makes in the
creation of God for their right and proper use, for in that case the whole of
human civilization will stand condemned as a seduction of Satan. It is obvious
that the civilization is nothing but the right and proper use of the things
created by God. What the Qur'an describes as devilish alterations is to make
wrong and improper use of things against human nature and against their natural
functions. Hence, all those forms that are adopted as an escape from the designs
of Nature are the results of the enticement of Satan e.g. sodomy, birth control,
asceticism, etc. It is equally devilish that females should be made to give up
their proper functions and to perform those duties which nature has assigned to
males. Instances can be multiplied to show that the disciples of Satan consider
the laws of the Creator of the Universe wrong and, therefore, are trying to
149The success of Satan depends entirely upon false
promises and deceit In order to mislead individuals and communities, he presents
very rosy pictures of his wrong ways to re-assure his victims. He tempts one by
holding out the promise of pleasure and success. He allures some by giving the
surety of national power and prosperity, while he deludes others by the prospect
of the welfare of humanity. and deceives still others by telling them that his
is the right way of arriving at the Truth. He also entices some by assuring them
that there is no God and Hereafter and that life ends with death and others by
giving them a guarantee that they would escape the consequences in the
Hereafter, if there is Hereafter by the intercession of this or that saint.
150Since everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah, the best
thing for man is to surrender his independence completely to Him, and to submit
to Him unreservedly. He will come nearer to Nature, if he willingly becomes His
servant and obeys Him without showing any kind of rebellion against him.
151That is, if man does not submit and surrender to Allah, he cannot escape
His punishment, for Allah encircles him on all sides.
152It has not been
stated here what the people were asking concerning women, but the answer given
to it in verse 128 points out the nature of the question.
153This is not
the answer to the question but a sort of reminder of the commandments that have
already been enjoined in vv. i-14 of this Surah about orphan girls in particular
and the orphans in general in order to stress the importance of this matter in
any scheme of social reform. It is because of its importance in the solution of
social problems that before giving a verdict concerning marriage problems which
were raised, Allah has again laid emphasis on the rights of orphans.
154The allusion is to v.3 of this Surah: "If you are afraid of doing injustice
to the orphans...."
155The words of the Text may also mean, "......whom
you desire to marry." We learn from a Tradition of Hadrat 'A'ishah that the Text
implies both the meanings. She says, "Those people who had the charge of the
orphan girls who inherited wealth, employed different methods of doing injustice
to them. If an orphan girl was wealthy and also beautiful, they would desire to
marry her so that they might exploit her wealth and enjoy her beauty without
incurring any financial liability. If she was wealthy but ugly, they would
neither themselves marry her no let anyone else marry her, so that she might not
get a protector who might claim tor her right from the guardian."
allusion is to the Commandments concerning the rights of orphans, given in vv.
1-14 of the Surah.
157This verdict mentioned in v.127 as been given in
this paragraph tw.l28-134). In order to understand it, one should grasp the
nature of the problems to which this is the answer.
one liked without
conceding any rights to them. But these verses limited the maximum number of
wives to four and conceded the rights of dower to them and laid down the
conditions of justice and equitable treatment for marrying more than one wife.
As it appeared impossible to fulfill these conditions in certain cases, e.g.. if
one's wife was barren or invalid or had lost attraction for him or was not fit
for conjugal relationship, some problems arose when one married the second wife:
was it a compulsory condition that one should show equal inclination towards
both the wives or love them equally or show equality in the conjugal relations
with them? Or, if this was not possible, did justice require that one should
divorce the first wife before marrying the second? Or, if the first wife did not
wish to part with her husband, would it be against the requirement of justice if
she gave up some of her own rights to prevent her husband from divorcing her''
This para answers such questions.
158That is, it is better for a woman
to make a settlement with him by yielding some of her rights and live with the
husband with whom she had lived a part of her life than to get a divorce and
separate from him.
159Narrow-mindedness on the part of the wife is that
even when she knows that she has lost those qualities that make a wife
attractive to her husband, she should expect and demand the same kind of
treatment that is shown only to a beloved wife. On the other hand, the husband
shall be narrow-minded if he suppresses too much the rights of the wife who has
lost attraction for him but who still wants to live with him, and reduces her
rights to an unbearable point.
160Allah has again appealed to the
husband as He generally does in such matters, 'to show generosity to the wife.
He has urged him to be generous to her, for she has been his companion for years
even though she might have lost charm for him. He should tear God and imagine
how he would fare if God withheld His favors from him on account of some defects
161Allah has made it clear that the husband cannot literally
keep equality between two or more wives because they themselves cannot be equal
in all respects. It is too much to demand from a husband that he should mete out
equal treatment to a beautiful wife and to an ugly wife, to a young wife and to
an old wife, to a healthy wife and to an invalid wife and to a good natured wife
and to an ill-natured wife. These and like things naturally make a husband more
inclined towards one wife than towards the other. In such cases, the Islamic Law
does not demand equal treatment between them in affection and love. What it does
demand is that a wife should not be so neglected as to be practically reduced to
the position of the woman who has no husband at all. If the husband does not
divorce her for any reason or at her own request, she should at least be treated
as a wife. It is true that under such circumstances the husband is naturally
more inclined towards a favorite wife, but he should not, so to say, keep the
other in such a state of suspense as if she were not his wife.
verse some people wrongly conclude that though the Qur'an allows more than one
wife, it practically cancels this permission by asserting, ".:....it is not
possible for you to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your
wives...." They forget that this is only a part of the whole instruction and the
Qur'an does not stop at this but adds, "....do not lean towards one wife...." As
this Commandment takes into consideration the existence of more than one wife
allowed by the Qur'an, it leaves no loophole of escape for the followers of
Christian Europe from the fact that Islam does allow polygamy under certain
162As Allah is Forgiving and Compassionate, He will forgive
any of the shortcomings that are unavoidable because of natural factors,
provided that one is not guilty of deliberate injustice, and tries his best to
be just as far as it is humanly possible
163In order to urge the Muslims
to observe strictly the Commandments concerning justice to women and orphans,
Allah has, as usual, in the conclusion (Ivv. 130-134) given a brief but
effective address by way of admonition, and has impressed upon the Believers the
(1) You should never be under the delusion that you can
make or mar the fate of any one, and that if you withdraw or withhold your help
and support from anyone, that person will become utterly helpless. As a matter
of fact, your own fate and the fate of those whom you support, is entirely in
the hands of Allah and you alone are not the only means by which He supports His
servants or maid servants. The resources of the Owner of the earth and the
heavens are vast and limitless and He is also All-Wise and has full power to
adopt means for helping anyone He wills.
(2) Allah has enjoined you, as
He always enjoined the communities of the former Prophets, to conduct your
affairs with fear of God in your hearts. In this lies your own good and not of
God. If you do not carry out these instructions, you can do no harm to Allah but
you yourselves will go the way of the former disobedient communities. The
Sovereign of the Universe has never stood in need of the people. If you will not
behave properly, He will remove you from leadership and appoint another
community in your place. And your removal will not in the least diminish
anything from the greatness of His Kingdom.
(3) Allah has in His
possession all the benefits and rewards of this world and of the Next World,
benefits which are temporary and transitory or permanent and ever-lasting. It is
for you to make your choice from among these according to your own capacity and
courage. If you are enamored of the temporary good things of this world and are
even prepared to sacrifice the permanent blessings of the Hereafter, Allah will
bestow upon you the same here and now, but in that case, you will have no
portion in the permanent blessings of the Hereafter. You should not forget that
owing to your own lack of capability and lack of courage, you have chosen to
acquire only a drop out of the ocean of the blessings of God. Therefore it is
better for you to adopt that way of obedience and submission which may enable
you to acquire the vast benefits of this world and of the Hereafter.
concluding words of this piece of admonition, "He hears everything and sees
everything", have a very deep significance. As Allah is neither deaf nor blind,
He makes a fine distinction between the good and the bad in the distribution of
His blessings. He is fully aware of what is happening in the universe over which
He is ruling and of the capabilities, efforts and intentions of everyone.
Therefore, one who is disobedient to Him, should not expect those blessings
which He has reserved for those who are obedient to Him.
164The words, "
.....be you the standard-bearers of justice", are very significant. They imply,
"You not only have to do justice but have also to bear the standard of justice
in order to eradicate injustice and establish right and justice in its place. As
Believers, you have to gird up your loins to support justice, whenever your
support is needed."
165That is, "The sole aim of your testimony should
be to please Allah, without any tinge of partiality, self-interest, fear or
favor in it."
166To ask believers to believe might at first seem
strange. The fact is, however, that belief as used here has two meanings. First,
belief denotes that a man has preferred to acknowledge the soundness of true
guidance, to distance himself from the fold of those who disbelieve, and to join
the camp of the believers. Second, belief denotes faith, a man's believing in
the truth with all his heart, with full earnestness and sincerity. It denotes
man's sincere determination to mold his way of thinking, his taste and
temperament, his likes and dislikes, his conduct and character, his friendship
and enmity, and the direction of his efforts and striving, in conformity with
the creed which he has resolved to embrace. This verse is addressed to all those
who are 'believers' in the first sense of the term, and they are asked to change
themselves into true believers, i.e. believers in the second sense.
167Here kufr implies two things:
(1) a person may reject Islam outright;
(2) one may pay lip service to Islam but may not (sincerely) believe in it
or may show one's conduct that one does not, in fact, believe in Islam, in spite
of one's profession.
Here kufr implies both these things, and the verse
warns that neither kind of kufr can go side by side with the fundamental
articles of Islamic Faith and will mislead the one who adopts it, away from the
Truth into the paths of deviation.
168These are the people who do not
consider Faith a serious matter but play with it like a toy to gratify their
whims and lusts. They adopt Islam, if and when they are swayed to it by some
fanciful notion, and become disbelievers, if another notion moves them away to
the opposite side. Or, they become Muslims when their interests demand it and
become disbelievers, without the least hesitation, if their interests lie in
disbelief. Obviously, for such people there is neither forgiveness nor guidance
from Allah. They do not stop at their own disbelief but go much further in it.
They strive to turn other Muslims also away from Islam, conspire against it and
make open designs to harm it so as to raise the standard of kufr high up and to
pull down the standard of Islam. As this is an addition to the sin of one's
personal disbelief, it deserves much severe punishment than the offense of the
one who disbelieves in Islam but is not antagonistic to it.
Arabic word 'izzat is more comprehensive than the English word honor, "the
regard in which one is held by one's followers". Izzat refers to such a high
regard and secure position as is inviolable.
170The Command to the
Believers to quit the company of the disbelievers, as soon as they get engaged
in ridiculing Islam, is contained in v. 68 of Al-An'am which was revealed
earlier than An-Nisa'. If a Believer sits in the company of disbelievers and
coolly listens to the ridicule of Divine Revelations he becomes a partner in
that blasphemy, and there remains little difference between him and the
171The hypocrites of every age have always enjoyed all the
benefits conferred by Islam, by professing it with their tongue, and nominally
joining the Muslim Community. At the same time they enjoy all the benefits they
can derive from the disbelievers, by mixing with them and assuring them, "We are
not bigoted Muslims though we are nominally connected with them. We are akin to
you in culture, in thoughts and in the way of life and our interests and
loyalties are the same as yours. Therefore, you should rest assured that we will
side with you in the conflict between Islam and kufr."
172The offering of
the Salat in congregation has been held out as a test of one's being a sincere
Believer or a hypocrite because during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet one
could not be considered a member of the Islamic Community unless one offered the
Salat regularly and punctually. Just as every association or organization
considers the absence of a member without genuine excuse from its meetings a
sign of his lack of interest, and expels him from it for continuous absence, so
if a Muslim absented himself from the Salat in congregation, it was considered a
clear sign of his lack of interest in Islam. And if he continuously absented
himself from it, this was taken as a proof of his desertion from Islam. That is
why even the confirmed hypocrites of that time had to join the Salat in
congregation five times a day; otherwise they could not be counted as members of
the Islamic Community. But what distinguished them from the true Believers was
that the true Believers went to the mosques with great enthusiasm before time
and stayed there even after the Prayer was over which was a clear proof of their
genuine interest in it. On the other hand, the very call to the Prayer sounded
like a death knell to a hypocrite. He would rise up reluctantly to join the
congregation, but his whole demeanor clearly showed that he was offering his
Salat unwillingly. Then after the Prayer he would leave the mosque in haste as
if he had been released from prison. Thus, all his movements showed that he had
no interest in the remembrance of Allah.
173It declares that no human
being has the power to guide to the right way the one who himself does not
intend to get guidance from the Book of Allah and the excellent pattern of His
Messenger; whom Allah turns to the wrong way to which he himself is inclined and
shuts all the doors of guidance against him because of his own quest for
deviation. And this happens in accordance with the Divine Law that man gets what
he seeks and strives for. For instance, if one seeks to make one's provisions by
lawful means and strives for the same, God provides lawful means for him and
shuts unlawful doors against him, in proportion to the intensity of the
sincerity of his intention. On the contrary, if one has the intention of making
one's provisions by unlawful means and strives for the same, Allah provides him
with the same through unlawful means. Allah alone has the power to guide any
individual on any way whatsoever, and no one can take any course, right or
wrong, without His permission and without His help, but He allows and helps
every one to proceed on the way he chooses for himself. If one loves Allah and
is a seeker after Truth and sincerely strives to follow His way, He allows him
and helps him to think and act on the right lines leading to the right way and
provides means for him to proceed on the same way. But if one chooses to follow
wrong ways and strives to proceed on wrong ways, Allah shuts the way of guidance
against him and opens before him evil ways which he chooses for himself. No one
has the power to prevent such a one from evil thoughts and evil deeds and from
spending his energies in evil ways. It is thus obvious that none can guide to
the right way the wretched one who deliberately loses it and whom Allah leads
astray in consequence of his intentional deviation.
174That person, who
dedicates his Faith to Allah, devotes his whole life earnestly and faithfully
for Him and reserves all his loyalties, interests, and affections for Him alone.
In short, his attachment to Allah becomes so intense that he is ready to
sacrifice anything for Him.
175That is, "If you show your sincere
gratitude to Allah and do not adopt an attitude of ingratitude and treachery
towards Him in regard to the benefits and blessings you have received from Him,
there is no reason why He should punish you for nothing."
attitude of gratitude is that one should sincerely appreciate the kindness of
the benefactor, acknowledge it with his tongue and show his gratitude by his
conduct. This implies three things: First, the grateful person should attribute
the kindness to the real benefactor and should not associate anyone else with
him in gratitude and acknowledgment. Second, he should be full of the feelings
of love and loyalty for his benefactor and should not cherish any such feelings
for the opponents of the benefactor. Third, he should be obedient to his
benefactor, and should not in any way use or employ the benefits conferred on
him against the will of the benefactor.
176The word shakir, when applied
to Allah, means that He appreciates the worth of the services of His servant;
and when applied to the servant, it means that he expresses his gratitude to his
Lord for His blessings. Allah appreciates fully the quantity and the quality of
the services that are rendered by His servants for His cause and deprives none
of them of the due rewards: nay, He rewards their services most generously and
gives much more than they deserve. Of course, His treatment of His servants is
quite different from their own treatment of their fellow-men. They
under-estimate the worth of the services rendered by a fellow- man and take him
to task severely for an omission. Allah in His bounty rewards much more
generously than His servant deserves for any service rendered by him in His
cause, but is very lenient and forgiving for any omission or neglect of duty
shown by His servants.
177The moral instructions contained in this verse
are of the highest standard. The Muslims have been taught to practice virtue or
at least to show forbearance even in the face of . revocation. At the time of
its revelation, the hypocrites, the Jews and the idolaters were all engaged in
opposing Islam by all possible means and were maltreating its followers in every
conceivable way. Therefore it was but natural that the Muslims should be tilled
with feelings of anger and hatred. When Allah noticed the storm of emotion
rising in their hearts, he warned them that He did not like that they give vent
to their feelings, though they were wronged and therefore justified, if in
retaliation they gave expression to their bitter feelings. They were taught that
they, as Muslims, were expected to go on doing good openly and secretly or at
least refrain from doing evil for evil. They were instructed, "You should try to
mold your character after that of your Allah, Who is so Forbearing that He does
not withhold His provisions even from the most wicked culprits and shows
forbearance to the most sinful offenders. You should, therefore, have a big
heart and show forbearance even in the most critical and provocative
178That is, there is absolutely no doubt that all those
people are equally disbelievers, who deny Allah all His Messengers: who
acknowledge Allah but deny His Messengers: who accept some of the Messengers and
reject others: each and everyone of such people is a confirmed disbeliever.
179Full assurance has been given to those who acknowledge Allah as their
sole Sovereign and Deity, and submit to and follow all His Messengers, that they
deserve to be rewarded according to the quality of their good deeds. In contrast
to them, there is ignominious punishment for those who do not acknowledge Allah
as the sole Sovereign and Sustainer, or for those who adopted the rebellious way
by accepting some of His representatives and rejecting others. Allah does not
accept any of the apparently good deeds of such people because it has no legal
status in His sight.
180As Allah is Forgiving and Compassionate, He will
be very lenient in judging the deeds of those who believe in Him and His
Messengers and will not be hard on them.
181This was one of the strange
demands of the Jews of Madinah. They said to the Holy Prophet, "We will not
accept you as a Prophet unless you cause a written Book to come down to us from
heaven before our very eyes or cause a written message to come down to each one
of us to this effect: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Our Messenger; so believe
182A mere mention of this incident has been made in the short
list of the crimes of the Israelites to which reference has been made here to
show how impertinent they had become. This incident has already been mentioned
in v. 55 of AI-Baqarah (For details, please see E.N. 17, Al-Baqarah).
183"Clear signs": the signs which the children of Israel had seen, one after the
other, since the time of the Prophet Moses appointment as a Messenger. They had
also witnessed the drowning of Pharaoh and his army and many other signs during
their exodus froth Egypt. Therefore, they knew full well that it was Allah, Lord
of the Universe, and not a calf, Who had rescued them froth the tyranny of a
powerful ruler like Pharaoh. Yet they were so enamored of false gods that they
forsook God, their real Benefactor, and made the calf of gold the object of
184"Clear Commandment": the Commandments inscribed on the
tablets which were given to the Prophet Moses. (See also Al-Baqarah 11:63 and
The "Covenant" was the pledge taken from the chiefs of
Israel at the foot of Mount Tur. This has already been mentioned in Al-Baqarah,II:
63 and is also referred to in AI-A' raf VII:171.
185Please refer to vv.
58-89 and E.N. 75 of Al-Baqarah.
186Please see v. 65 and E.N.'s 82 and
83 of Al-Baqarah.
187Reference has already been made to such a saying of
the Jews in Al Baqarah II:88. Just as all the worshipers of falsehood are proud
of their obduracy against the truth, so were the Jews proud of their beliefs,
prejudices, rituals and customs that they had inherited from their forefathers
and could not be persuaded to give them up. That is why they always turned a
deaf ear to the Message of the Prophets of Allah with the answer: "We are
determined to reject your invitation, even though you bring strong arguments in
support thereof. We will adhere strongly and faithfully to what we believe and
practice." (Also see E.N. 94 of Al-Baqarah).
188This is a parenthetical
189This is in continuation of the theme under discussion.
190The calumny against Mary concerning the birth of Jesus has been declared
here as "disbelief" because it was not directed against the person of innocent
Mary or her son but against Jesus Christ, the Messenger of God. The Jews had
absolutely no ground for suspicion about his miraculous birth without father,
because God had caused the whole Community to stand as witness to the miracle.
When Virgin Mary, who belonged to the noble and well-known religious family of
the Israelites, came home with the new-born child, a large crowd gathered there
and demanded an explanation from her. But she simply pointed to the child. The
crowd could not understand how a child in the cradle could speak, but to their
utter astonishment, the child began to speak clearly and fluently and addressing
the crowd, he declared, "I am Allah's servant: Allah has given me the Book and
made me a Prophet." (Maryam, XIX : 30) Thus Allah cut at the very root of the
slander about his birth. That is why none ever accused Mary of fornication nor
taunted Jesus with being an illegitimate son until he stained his maturity. But
when at the age of thirty, he started his mission to invite the people to the
way of God and rebuked the Jews for their evil deeds and exposed the hypocrisies
of their scholars and jurists and warned the whole community of the consequences
of moral degradation, they turned against him. Instead of accepting his message
and making sacrifices for the cause of God, and reforming their evil ways, these
impudent and unscrupulous criminals resorted to all sorts of dirty tricks and
devilish designs to suppress the voice of Truth. It was then that they made that
monstrous calumny which they had never uttered before during the previous thirty
years of his life, because they knew it for certain that Mary and her son were
absolutely free from this taint. Thus their calumny, in fact, was not due to any
real suspicion, which they might be harboring in their hearts, but it was a pure
calumny, which they deliberately invented for opposing the Truth. That is why
Allah declared it to be disbelief instead of wickedness and falsehood, for their
real aim by this accusation was to hinder the people from the Way of God and not
merely to slander an innocent lady.
191The fact that they bragged of
slaying Jesus, knowing him to be a Messenger of God, shows how bold they had
become in their crimes. We have shown in the previous Note that the miracle of
his speech in the cradle had let no doubt whatsoever to remain in the minds of
the Jews about his Prophethood. Then the clear signs that they witnessed from
him (III : 49) were a conclusive proof that he was really a Prophet of God.
Therefore their wicked behavior towards him was not the result of any
misunderstanding about his Prophethood, but was an intentional crime against the
one who had been appointed by Allah as Messenger.
Though it appears very
strange that a community should slay a person whom they know to be and
acknowledge a Prophet of Allah, yet it is so, for the ways of wicked communities
are strange. They cannot and do not tolerate a person who criticizes them for
their evil ways and prohibits unlawful things. Such people, even though they be
the Prophets of Allah, have always been persecuted, imprisoned and slain by
their own wicked people.
As a proof thereof, the following is quoted from
the Talmud: "When the city (Jerusalem) had been captured, Nebuchadnezzar marched
with the princes and officers of the Temple...... On one of the walls he found
the mark of an arrow's head as though somebody had been killed or hit nearby,
and he asked who was killed there.
"Zachariah, the son of Yehoyadah, the
high priest", answered the people. "He rebuked us incessantly on account of our
transgressions and we were tired of his words and put him to death."
according to the Bible, when the Prophet Jeremiah rebuked the Jews on account of
their transgressions, they accused him of being in conspiracy with the Chaldeans
and traitor against his people and sent him to prison. Likewise had the Jews
treated John the Baptist a couple of years before the crucifixion of the Prophet
Jesus. They counted John as a Prophet and acknowledged him as one of the most
righteous men of their community, but when he criticized Herod (the ruler of
Judea) for his evil ways, he was not tolerated. He was first sent to prison,
then beheaded on the demand of Herod's beloved, the dancing girl.
therefore, obvious from their record that when they presumed that they had
crucified Jesus Christ, they bragged: "We have slain a Messenger of Allah. "
192This is another parenthesis.
193This verse is explicit on the
point that the Prophet Jesus Christ was rescued from crucifixion and that the
Christians and the Jews are both wrong in believing that he died on the cross. A
comparative study of the Qur'an and the Bible shows that most probably it was
Jesus himself who stood his trial in the court of Pilate, who sentenced him to
death, but they could not kill or crucify him, for Allah raised him to Himself.
This is what happened, Pilate knew fully well that Christ was innocent and
had been brought in his court out of jealousy. So he asked the crowd whether
Jesus Christ should be released on the occasion of the Festival or Barabbas, a
notorious robber. But the high priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for
the release of Barabbas and for the crucifixion of Jesus. After this, God, Who
can do any and everything He wills, raised Jesus to Himself and rescued him from
crucifixion and the one who was crucified afterwards was somehow or other taken
for Chris. Nevertheless, his miraculous escape does not lessen the wicked crime
of the Jews, because they knew it well that the one, whom they crowned with a
crown of thorns, and on whose face they spat and whom they crucified with
disgrace was Christ, the son of Mary. As regards the matter how "it was made
doubtful for them" that they had crucified Jesus, we have no means of
ascertaining. Therefore it is not right to base on mere guess-work and rumors an
answer to the question how the Jews were made to believe that they had crucified
him, whereas in fact, Jesus, the son of Mary, had escaped from them.
194"Those who have differed": the Christians. They do not agree in their
versions of crucifixion. The very fact that they offer so many different
accounts of the matter is by itself a proof that they possess no definite
knowledge of it and are, therefore, in doubt about it. One version is that the
person who was crucified was not Jesus but someone who bore his likeness, whom
the Jews and the Romans had disgracefully put on the cross, while Jesus was
standing nearby and laughing at their folly. Another version is that the one who
was nailed to the cross was Jesus, but he did not die on the cross and was alive
when he was taken down from it. Some others say that he died on the cross but
came to life afterwards and met his disciples more than ten times and talked to
them. Still others say that death due to crucifixion occurred on the physical
body of Jesus and he was buried but the Divine Spirit within him was raised.
There are still others who say that after his death Jesus came to life with his
body and was raised with his body. Obviously, if the Christians had any
knowledge of the truth, they would not have given so many different versions of
195Here Allah has told the fact of the matter. The Qur'an explicitly
states that the Jews did not succeed in putting Jesus to death and that Allah
raised him to Himself, but it is silent about the nature and details of the
matter and does neither say explicitly whether Allah raised him body and soul
together from the earth to some place in heaven, nor that he died like other
mortals and only his soul was raised to heaven. Therefore, on the basis of the
Qur'an neither aspect can be definitely denied or affirmed. But a study of the
style clearly shows that whatever be the nature of being raised in any case
Allah certainly treated the Prophet Jesus in an extraordinary way. The following
considerations lead to the conclusion that the incident was extraordinary:
First, the belief in the ascension of the Prophet Jesus, body and soul
together, was already prevalent among the Christians, and was one of the causes
which misled a large section of them to believe in his divinity. But, in spite
of it, the Qur'an not only has not clearly refuted it but has used the same word
"ascension" for the incident that the Christians use for it. Had it not been an
extraordinary incident factually the Qur'an would not have used such ambiguous
words as help support a doctrine of the divinity of Jesus.
Allah meant by the words used in verse 158 that "Allah caused his death", or
that "Allah raised him in rank", more explicit words would have been used. In
the first case, more appropriate words would be: "No doubt they did not slay him
nor crucified him but Allah rescued him alive from them and then gave him
natural death", and in the second: "The Jews intended to dishonor him by
crucifixion, but Allah raised him very high in rank", as have been used in tire
case of the Prophet Idris: "And We raised him to a high position". (Maryam, XlX
Third, if the incident related here meant merely the natural death
of Christ, the words, "And Allah is All-Powerful and All-Wise", after it would
be meaningless. These words can be appropriately used only in connection with
some extraordinary manifestation of the power and wisdom of Allah.
only argument that can be cited in support of the interpretation of verse 158
that Jesus died a natural death is the use of the word mutawaffika in verse 55
of A1-`Imran, in connection with the incident. But as we have explained in the
corresponding E.N. 51, the word is not explicit in the meaning of natural death
but can be applied both to take the soul and to take the body and soul together.
As there is scope for both the interpretations in this word, its use cannot
refute the above mentioned arguments against the meaning: "Allah caused his
death". Those who insist on this interpretation argue that there is no other
instance in which tawaffa might have been used for the seizure of both body and
soul together. This is meaningless, for this is the only incident of its kind in
the whole human history. The only thing to be considered is whether this word
may lexically be used in this sense or not. If it can be used, we have to face
the question: Why does the Qur'an not use a direct word for death instead of a
word which is liable to support the doctrine of Ascension, which its turn, has
given rise to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus'? The use of this word is a
clear proof that there was something extraordinary about the incident. Above
all, the doctrine of Ascension is further strengthened by the Traditions
according to which the Prophet Jesus, son of Mary, will come again to the earth
before the Resurrection and fight the Dajjal. (These Traditions have been cited
in the Appendix to the commentary of Surah Al Ahzab). These categorically prove
the second coming of Jesus. Therefore, it would be snore rational to believe
that he is living somewhere in the universe before this second coming than that
he lies dead and buried somewhere before his advent.
196This has been
interpreted in two ways and both are likely. (Here by the people of the Book are
meant the Jews and may also be the Christians). According to the first
interpretation, as adopted in the Translation, it means: "All the people of the
Book, alive at the time of the natural death of Christ, will have believed in
him, that is, in his Prophethood." The second interpretation of "There shall be
none among the people of the Book but will believe in him before his death" is
that all the people of the Book before their death do realize and believe that
Christ is really a Messenger of God, though that belief will be of no avail at
the time. Both these interpretations have been put forward by several Companions
and their followers and renowned commentators, but its real meaning is only
known to Allah.
197That is, "In the court of God, Christ will give
testimony against the Jews and the Christians that they rejected, neglected and
distorted the Message brought by him." Some details of this testimony are given
in vv. 116-117 of AI Ma'idah.
198The main theme that was broken by the
parenthesis, which ends here, has been resumed
199It is an irony that
the Jews, who possessed a Divine Book and the heritage of the Prophets, should
not only have themselves discarded the way of God but also frequently stood in
the way of God. It is a fact that they have always been opposing and placing
obstacles in the way of those movements that have ever been started for the
promulgation of the Truth and have been starting or helping start movements
against the way of God. Their latest crime in this connection is Communism which
has for the first time in history based a system of life and a system of
government on the deliberate and explicit denial of God in open opposition to
His Law for the eradication God-worship as its declared aims. The author of
another perverted doctrine of the modern age, Freudianism, which has helped
mislead the people from the way of Allah, is also a Jew.
200Here is the
Biblical law that clearly prohibits interest: "If thou lend money to any of my
people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither
shalt thou lay upon him usury."
"If thou at all take thy neighbor's
raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that time the sun goeth
For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin
wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that
I will hear: for I am gracious." (Exodus 22 : 25-27).
interest has also been prohibited at several other places in the Torah, but in
spite of these prohibitive decrees, the Jews, who profess to believe in the same
Torah, are the biggest usurers in the world and have become proverbially
notorious for their narrow-mindedness and hard-heartedness.
this refers to the same thing that occurs in AI-An`am, V 1:146, that is, all
animals with claws, and the fat of sheep and oxen were forbidden to the Jews.
Besides this, possibly it may also refer to the restrictions and hardships which
are contained in the law books composed by their own Jurists. Indeed, it is a
great punishment that the bounds of life should be narrowed for any community.
(For details please see E.N. 122, Al-An`am).
202History bears witness to
the exemplary punishment that Allah has prepared for those Jews who have
discarded the Divine Faith and given up obedience to Allah and adopted the
attitude of disbelief and rebellion. For the last two thousand years, they have
never possessed a place where they could live with honor. They have been
scattered all over the world and are treated like foreigners and disgracefully,
cruelly and oppressively in one country or the other, and there is no place in
the world, where they are sincerely respected, in spite of their great wealth.
Above all, this community has remained a living object lesson for the other
nations, for it has been kept in existence in spite of its degradation, whereas
other nations are exterminated when they become worthless. Thus Allah is causing
them to taste in this very world a bit of the torment of Hell where the
evil-doers "will neither be in a state of death nor in a state of life." This is
because they have been showing the audacity of rebelling against Allah while
they were at the same time carrying the Book of Allah with them. As regards
punishment in the Hereafter, it may safely be predicted that it shall be much
more painful than this. In order to remove any misunderstanding that might arise
regarding the existence of the State of Israel, it will be worthwhile to refer
to v. 112 of Al-`Imran, and the corresponding E.N.90.
is to those learned Jews who are fully acquainted with the real nature of the
Divine Books, who are just, fair and free from every kind of prejudice, obduracy
and self-worship, who do not blindly follow their fore-fathers but readily
accept the Truth that they learn from the revealed Books. Therefore they are
able to recognize easily that the teachings of the Qur'an are the same as were
taught by the former Prophets, and then sincerely believe in both.
204This is to emphasize the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace)
has not come with a new thing and that he does not claim to present something
for the first time, but he has, in fact, received Guidance from the same source
of knowledge from which all the Prophets before him had received, and that he
too is presenting the same Truth and Reality that has always been presented by
the Prophets, who were raised from different corners of the Earth.
literal meaning of wahi is: (1) to give hint of, (2) to communicate to the mind,
(3) to convey by covert suggestion, and (4) to send a message.
part of the Book of Psalms in the existing Bible consists of the Psalms of the
Prophet David, and they bear his name. Its remaining constituent parts are the
psalms of other people, and have been attributed to their authors. It should
also be noted that the study of the real Zabur, the Psalms of David, shows that
it is a Revelation of God. Likewise, additions have been made in the Book of the
Proverbs of Solomon and the last two chapters were obviously added afterwards.
But, in spite of this, the major portion of the Proverbs contains gems of Truth
and Wisdom. The same is true of the Book of Job. A study of this reveals that,
though it contains gems of wisdom, it is wrong to attribute the whole of it to
the Prophet Job. Whereas the Qur'an and the introductory chapters of this very
Book bear witness to the great fortitude shown by the Prophet Job, its
subsequent chapters show that he was an embodiment of grievance against God, and
that, in vain, did his companions try their best to convince him that God was
Besides these, the major portions of the seventeen Books of
the Israelite Prophets in the Old Testament are evidently genuine Revelations;
especially the Books of Joshua, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and some others contain
many such passages that show the grandeur of Divine Revelation and move one to
ecstasy. Their high moral teachings, their campaign against idolatry and their
sound arguments prove the Oneness of God, and their strong criticism of the
degeneration of Israel clearly shows that these and the sermons of Jesus Christ
in the New Testament and the Qur'an came from one and the same source.
206The way Revelation was communicated to the Prophet Moses was different from
that of the other Prophets. They heard either a voice or a Message from an
angel, but the Prophet Moses had this privilege that Allah Himself had a direct
talk with him as in a dialogue, e.g., the dialogue cited in Ta Ha, XX :11-48 in
the Qur'an. This privilege has also been mentioned in the Bible: "......And the
Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus
207That is, all the Prophets had one and the same mission. They
gave good news to those who believed in the Divine Message and mended their ways
in accordance with it and warning to those who adopted wrong ways of thought and
action that they would meet with serious sequences in the end.
Prophets were sent with the sole object that they should set forth before
mankind the Right Way, both theoretically and practically, so that on the Day of
Judgment no evil-doer should be in a position to offer the excuse that he was
ignorant of the Truth. That is why Allah appointed Messengers in different parts
of the world and sent down Books. These Messengers imparted the knowledge of the
truth to a large number of people and left behind them Books of which one or the
other has always existed for the guidance of mankind. Now if one goes astray in
spite of this arrangement, one cannot throw the blame on Allah and His
Messengers. He himself is responsible for this because he did not accept the
Truth when it came to him, or the responsibility is of those who had the
knowledge of it but did not impart it to others who had gone astray.
209That is, "You will harm none but yourselves by your disbelief and
disobedience, for you can do no harm to the Master of the heavens and the
210That is, "Your Allah is fully aware of everything: you cannot
do mischief with impunity in His Kingdom; He is also Wise: He knows how to deal
with those who disobey His Commands."
211Here "The people of the Book"
refers to the Christians who went beyond the bounds in their religion and
regarded Jesus as God in their exaggerated reverence and love of him. This was a
contrast to the Jews (the other people of the Book) who had gone to the other
extreme in their denial of an enmity against Jesus.
212The Prophet Jesus
has specially been called God's "Command" (Kalimah) because he was born without
the usual agency of a father. God sent a Command that Mary should become
pregnant without the semen of a man and she conceived. Although in the very
beginning, the Christians were told that Christ had been born without a father
by the Command of God, yet they were so misled by the Alexandrian Philosophy of
Philo that they first mistook Kalimah (Command) for the "Divine Word"; then
changed the "Divine Word" into the "Logos"; then they built on the Logos
Doctrine which misguided them to the false belief in the divine nature of Jesus
Christ. That is how they came to believe that God had revealed Himself or His
eternal attribute of speech in the person of Jesus. (See John I : 1, 14).
213Here Jesus has been called "A spirit from God" and in Al-Baqarah, 11 :
253, it is stated that God supported him (Jesus) with the "Holy Spirit". In both
cases, it means that Allah had bestowed upon the Prophet Jesus a Holy Spirit
that .was imbued with high moral values and was a perfection of truth and
righteousness without any tinge of evil. The Christians were taught this very
thing, but they exaggerated the notion: they took "a spirit from God" for "the
Spirit of God" and perverted the meaning of the Holy Ghost into "the Spirit of
God Himself" which had entered into Jesus Christ. Thus, a third god, "the Holy
Ghost", was created along with God and Christ. This was their second
transgression which led the Christians astray.
The perversion of "a
spirit from God" into "the Spirit of God" (Holy Ghost) has been made in spite of
the fact that according to the Gospel of Matthew, "The angel of the Lord
appeared unto him (Joseph) in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear
not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of
the Holy Ghost," and not the Holy Ghost (1 : 20).
214That is, "As Jesus
is only a spirit from God and has no part of Godhead in him, do not go beyond
the bounds but believe in Allah as One God and accept all His Messengers
including the Messiah." This was what the Prophet Jesus himself really taught
and this is the truth which a true Christian should believe.
Christians have been rebuked for their wrong belief in the doctrine of the
Trinity and advised to refrain from transgression. Strange though it may appear,
the fact is that the Christians believe both in the Oneness of God and in the
Trinity at one and the same time; for no Christian can deny that according to
the clear sayings of Jesus in the Gospels, God is One Being and there is no
other god than He. They cannot but admit that Unity of God is the real basis of
religion. But the introduction of the doctrine of the Logos at an early stage of
Christianity misled them into believing in the Godhead of Christ in union with
God and the Holy Ghost. Since then it has always remained an enigma for them to
reconcile these two contradictory doctrines and for the last eighteen hundred
years or so the Christian scholars have been vainly engaged in solving this
self-created baffling puzzle. Not only this, many Christian denominations have
been founded upon different interpretations of this doctrine and it has given
rise to many religious disputes in which one denomination accuses the other of
blasphemy. In short, their scholars and interpreters have been spending all
their efforts and energies in solving this enigma which was neither created by
God nor by Christ. It is also obvious that there is no solution to it, because
no one can prove that three persons share Godhead and also that God is One Being
and has no partners in His Godhead. As this enigma is the result of their own
transgression beyond the Divine limits, it can only be solved if they refrain
from going beyond the limits and give up the belief of the Godhead of the
Messiah and of the Holy Ghost, and acknowledge Allah as the sole object of
worship, adoration and devotion and believe in the Messiah as a Messenger of God
and not as a partner in the Godhead of Allah.
216This refutes the fourth
transgression of the Christians who believed that Christ was the Son of God. In
this belief they had gone beyond the limits of their own religion. According to
the first three Books of The New Testament (even if the traditions therein be
accepted as authentic), the Prophet Jesus merely likened the relationship
between Man and Allah to the relationship between father and son, and used the
word father for God metaphorically, just as it was in vogue among the
Israelites. There are many instances of this in the Old Testament the Prophet
Jesus also used the word "father" in the sense it was used by his people. He
called God not only his father but the father of all human beings. But, the
Christians again went beyond the limits and declared Jesus to be the only Son of
God. They based this strange belief on the assumption that Messiah was the
manifestation of God and the incarnation of His Word and His Holy Ghost. They
also transgressed in believing that God had sent His only Son to the earth so
that he might take the burden of the sins of mankind on his own shoulders and go
to his crucifixion and atone for the sins of Man with his own blood. Obviously,
this belief is the creation of their own imagination, for there is no saying of
Christ to support this.
Here, Allah has not refuted the doctrine of the
"Atonement" because it is not a fundamental article of the Christian religion,
but is a mere bye-product of (a) the belief that Christ is the Son of God and
(b) a philosophical and mystical explanation of the objection that if Christ was
the Son of God, why did he die a cursed death of crucifixion? It is thus obvious
that this doctrine is refuted automatically, if it is shown that Christ was not
the Son of God and that he did not die on the cross.
217As all things in
the heavens and the earth belong to Allah, none of them has any such relation
with Him as of father and son, but only that of Master and slave.
218Allah suffices for the management of His Kingdom and does not stand in need
of the help of a son for this purpose.
219Verse 176 was sent down long
after the revelation of this Surah; so much so that according to some traditions
this was the last verse of the Qur'an. Anyhow, according to most authentic
traditions, it was revealed in A.H. 9 when An-Nisa' was already being recited as
a complete Surah. That is why this verse was not included in the verses about
inheritance contained in the first portion of the Surah, but was added to it as
220There is a difference of opinion about the meaning of
kalalah. According to some scholars, kalalah is the person who dies childless
and whose father and grandfather also are dead. But according to others, kalalah
is one who dies childless irrespective of whether his father and grandfather are
alive or dead. Hadrat `Umar also could not come to any definite decision about
its meaning till the last. The majority of the jurists, however, have accepted
the opinion of Hadrat Abu Bakr that kalalah is the person who dies childless and
whose father and grandfather had died before his death. This opinion is also
supported by the Qur'an which awards half of the inheritance of the kalalah to
the sister who cannot be entitled to any share at all if the father is alive.
221There is a consensus of opinion that this refers to the inheritance
of sisters and brothers who have the relation of common parents or only common
father with the deceased. Once Hadrat Abu Bakr gave this- explanation and none
of the Companions differed from it.
222The brother will inherit the
whole inheritance in case there is no other heir to it. For instance, if the
husband of the childless woman is alive her brother will be entitled to the
whole of the remaining inheritance after the payment of the share of the
223The same also applies to the case of more than two sisters.