Exposition of the Holy Quran – 04 Surah An-Nisa (G A Parwez)
Surah 4: An-Nisa’
(1) O humanity! Adhere to the laws of your sustainer who initiated your creation with a single life-cell (6:99, 39:6) which split into two parts – one male and the other female – and through them spread so many men and women in the world.
(It is clear from this example that the origin of all mankind is one and the same and, therefore, subsequent man-made divisions have no justification. You must consider entire humanity as one entity) And follow the laws of Nizam-e-Rabubiyya (system of sustenance), through which all those necessities of yours are fulfilled for which you seek each other’s assistance (14:34). The first step, while establishing this nizam (system), would be with your own kith and kin and if you succeed in doing this, you will see how Allah’s laws continue to keep watch over you!
(2) To begin with, if those persons who are alone in society e.g., orphans, come under your guardianship, you should make over to them what belongs to them. Do not substitute worthless stuff for what is valuable. Do not consume their property by amalgamating it with your own. This is a grave sin.
(3) But the problem of orphans (or those left alone in the society) is not solved simply by taking care of their property – it has other implications as well. For instance, if a situation arises, out of a war or otherwise – where a large number of men die, leaving behind widows and orphans, or you have a large number of marriageable women who cannot find husbands (4:127) and they cannot marry outside your circle; so if you cannot find an equitable solution to this problem then permission is hereby given to you to relax the law of monogamy and those amongst you who can afford it and can treat all justly can marry two or three or four women of their liking. But if you fear that you cannot do justice, then only one or the female captives who are already in your charge. This will relieve you from the burden of a large family.
(4) Give your wives their dower willingly since they have a right to it (4:20). If they forego a part of it out of their own free will, you may utilize it as you like.
(5) Wealth is the mainstay of a nation, so take good care of it. And, do not entrust to those who are immature and of weak understanding the possessions which Allah has placed in your charge for their support, but let them have their sustenance and clothe them, give them good education and explain to them in a gentle way why their property is not being returned to them.
(6) With regards to the orphans in your care, ascertain if they are of sound understanding. If so, hand over their property to them when they attain the age of marriage. Thinking that you may have to return the property of orphans to them after a short time, do not devour it or expend it wastefully. Those who have means should not charge anything for their stewardship and those who are in need may charge a fair and reasonable sum. When you are going to return the property of orphans to them, call witnesses and keep in mind that you are accountable to Allah.
(7) As regards the distribution of inheritance, men have a share in what their parents and nearest kin have left, and women also have a share in what their parents and nearest kin have left, whether it is little or much. This is their legal share.
(8) At the time of the distribution of inheritance, if some relatives, orphans or those in want (who have no legal share in the inheritance) are present, give them something out of kindness and speak to them gently.
(9) Those responsible for the distribution of inheritance should do so strictly in accordance with Allah’s laws. They should keep in mind how they would feel if, in case of their death, someone were to treat their helpless dependents unjustly: therefore speak to them in straight, clear and proper language.
(10) Those who devour the property of orphans unjustly, fill their bellies with fire which will burn them into ashes.
(11) Now Allah explains to you the laws of inheritance:
- The portion of a son is equal to the portion of two daughters
- If there are two or more daughters, they shall have together 2:3rds of the inheritance
- If there is only one daughter, her share shall be one half of the inheritance
- The father and mother of the deceased shall each have one-sixth of the inheritance, if he has any surviving children
- If the deceased has no children and his parents alone are the heirs, his mother shall have one-third (and his father two-thirds) of the inheritance, but if he has brothers or sisters along with his parents, his mother shall have one-sixth of the inheritance. The shares of his brothers and sisters are determined under 12(3) below.
The distribution of inheritance, in all cases, is after the provisions of the deceased’s will have been fulfilled and his debts have been paid. Allah has appointed these shares because you could not know who amongst the inheritors of the deceased are deserving and to what extent. Certainly, Allah is all-knowing, wise.
(12) 1. You shall have one-half of what your wives leave behind if they leave no children, otherwise you shall have one-fourth of what they have left behind. This is after the provisions of the deceased’s will have been fulfilled and her debts have been paid.
- Your wives shall have one-fourth of what you have leave behind if you have no children, otherwise they shall have one-eighth of what you leave behind, after the provisions of your will have been fulfilled and your debts have been paid.
- If the deceased leaves no children and his heirs are parents and brothers and sisters(1), then:
- a) In case there is one brother and one sister, each of them gets one-sixth of the inheritance,
- b) in case there are more than two then together they will get one-third of the inheritance.
This is after the provisions of the deceased’s will have been fulfilled and his debts have been paid.
The distribution of the inheritance should be in such a way that no loss is caused to anyone. This is an injunction from Allah who knows all and is not carried away by emotions.
(13) These are the limits set by Allah. Whoever obeys Allah’s system, will be admitted to gardens where streams flow to abide therein. This will be a great achievement(2).
(14) Whosoever disobeys Allah’s system and transgresses the limits prescribed by Him, will be thrown into hell to abide therein and lead a life of great degradation.
(15) If any of your women commit indecency, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst yourselves. If they are proven guilty, restrict their movement by confining them to their houses for life or until Allah opens out a way for them.
(16) If two men from amongst you are found guilty of something similar, punish them. But if they repent and make amends, then leave them alone. The divine system makes room for repentance and thereafter the restoration of the means of development.
(17) Repentance (taubah) is only accepted from those who do something wrong in ignorance and repent immediately thereafter: for Allah is all-knowing, wise.
(18) Of no avail is the repentance (taubah) of those who persist in wrong- doing until they are confronted by death and they say, “Now we have repented indeed.” These people as well as those who die in the state of kufr will suffer a most grievous punishment.
(19) O Jamat-ul-Momineen, you cannot marry women against their will and become their master instead of their companion. Do not treat them harshly in order to appropriate a part of their dower unless they are guilty of open indecency. On the contrary, live with them honourably. If you dislike something about them do not resolve immediately to separate from them. It is possible that something you dislike may bring about abundant good for you.
(20-21) If you intend to marry another woman in place of your present wife and you have given the latter a whole treasure as dower you should not take back even a portion of it. You should not slander her or accuse her of open wrong in order to compel her to surrender a part of her dower. How can you do that when your wives have taken a solemn covenant from you, and you also have enjoyed marital relations with each other?
(22) Marry not women whom your fathers had married. What is past is past, but this was a very shameful, indecent, and abominable custom indeed!
(23) Forbidden to you in marriage are:
- Your mothers
- 2.Your daughters
- Your sisters
- 4.Your father’s sisters
- 5.Your mother’s sisters
- 6.Your brothers’ daughters
- 7.Your sister’s daughters
- 8.Your foster mothers
- 9.Your foster sisters
- Mothers of your wives
- 11.Your step-daughters, who have been brought up under your guardianship and are born of wives with whom you have had marital relations. If you have not had marital relations, then the prohibition does not apply.
- Wives of your real sons
- It is also prohibited to have in marriage two sisters at the same time.
However, what is past is past. Allah overlooks your shortcomings, but remember that the protection and nourishment of your personality can only be if you follow His laws.
(24) Also forbidden to you in marriage are those women who are already married except those whom you already possess.
These are the divine laws.
Except for these women, all others are lawful for you in marriage provided you pay them their dower and marry them for the purpose of leading a conjugal life and not for the mere satisfaction of your lust. Pay the dower to the women whom you take into marriage. By mutual agreement, the original dower may be altered.
Allah’s laws are based upon knowledge and wisdom.
(25) Whoever amongst you cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, may marry a believing woman who is a captive. If you marry a captive woman, do not treat her as an inferior. Allah knows all about your eiman (and eiman is the only consideration for distinction, otherwise the one of you is as the other). Marry captive women with the permission of their custodians and pay them their appropriate dowers. If you marry these women, marry them for the purpose of leading a conjugal life and not for the mere satisfaction of your lust. Do not have a secret relationship with them.
If captive women are guilty of adultery, after they have entered into wedlock, their punishment is one-half that of free believing women3 (24:2).
Permission to marry captive women is given only to those men who fear that they might falter if they remain unmarried but it is better for them if they practise continence (24:33). Remember Allah is the protector and Raheem.
(26-27) These family laws have been explained to you in detail and with clarity because they pertain not only to individuals but also have great impact upon the life of nations. The history of earlier nations testifies to this those who obeyed these laws led blissful lives while those who disobeyed them were ruined. Allah is all-knowing, wise.
Allah wants that you to be protected from such ruin. Lewdness and indecency are prevalent in the present society and people who act thus, would like to see you drift away from the right path and become like them.
(28) Allah wants to lighten your burdens.
He knows that if your emotions are not channelled by means of the divine laws and
you are left to yourselves, you would be overpowered by your emotions, which would result in destruction and there would be chaos in society. Limitations are essential to control emotions.
(29-30) O Jamat-ul-Momineen, do not devour each other’s wealth unlawfully. You will destroy each other that way whereas Allah desires the nourishment of all of you. But if you defy Allah’s laws, it would be tantamount to zulm (usurpation, injustice) which brings about society’s ruin according to the Law of Mukafat. This can happen very easily. Trade by mutual agreement is the proper way for exchanging wealth.
(31) Should you abstain from the serious crimes, which you have been forbidden to commit, it will save your society from chaos and you will lead an honourable life.
(32) The earning capacity of individuals differs but each person should strive hard to increase his or her capacity to earn. Men shall have what they earn and women shall have whatever they earn. Allah has knowledge of all things.
(33) Men and women own not only what they earn but also have their prescribed shares in inheritance as explained earlier (4:12-13). Regarding the distribution of inheritance, contractual relatives have precedence over blood relatives. Truly Allah is witness to all things.
(34) As stated earlier, women own what they earn but, due to biological reasons, they are incapacitated for considerable periods of time to earn a living. Due to this fact, it is obvious and natural that the responsibility for maintaining the family is vested in men.(4)
When women are given such protection, they must fulfil their functions as women faithfully and safeguard their potentialities.
If, notwithstanding all this, those in authority apprehend defiance on the part of women with regard to the performance of their natural functions, they should, in order to correct such behaviour, first admonish the women, then, if required, separate them temporarily from their husbands, or intern them, and finally, if necessary, punish them otherwise. Allah’s laws must prevail; if they submit to them, then seek no occasion against them.(5)
(35) The above directive concerns men and women in general. As regards husbands and wives, if you apprehend a breach between the couple, then the concerned authority should constitute a board of arbitration consisting of two members, one from the husband’s family and the other from the wife’s. If they want to reach a settlement, appropriate reconciliation should be effected between the couple. Surely, Allah is the Knowing and is apprised of everything. (If a settlement cannot be reached, divorce is to be resorted to, for which directives have been given separately.)
(36) Next, comes the matter of relatives other than spouses. In dealing with them, Allah’s laws must be adhered to strictly and no man-made laws should be mixed with them.
According to these laws, you should do good to:
others in need
neighbours, irrespective of whether they are your relatives or not wayfarers who stand in need of your help, and those in your charge or those who work under you. Allah does not like those who are proud and boastful.
(37) These people are those who try to keep as much as possible for themselves. They bid others to do likewise and try to keep hidden whatever bounty Allah has given them. For such ungrateful people Allah has prepared a humiliating life.
(38) As regards those who spend for the sake of making a show and do not believe in Allah and the hereafter, Satan becomes their companion. What a dreadful companion he is!
(39) If these people had believed in Allah and the hereafter, and spent in the cause of Allah instead of their own glory, what harm would have come to them? Surely, Allah has full knowledge of them.
(40) Allah does not lessen aught from the compensation given to those who spend in His cause, but doubles the compensation of His own accord.
(41) Those who act hypocritically think that their hypocrisy will remain unknown. Ask them what their situation would be when they are confronted by a meeting of representatives from each group presided over by the Rasool.
(42) Those people who were bent upon denying the truth and also paid no heed to the Rasool’s directives would wish that they had been levelled to the ground so that their hypocrisy had remained secret, but nothing shall remain concealed from Allah!
(43) In order to establish the Qur’anic order, congregational meetings of sala are necessary. O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Do not come to such an assembly:
- With a befogged mind when you do not understand what you say(6)
- Until you have washed yourselves if you have had sexual intercourse, except when you do not participate in the meeting but simply pass by it
- If you cannot wash yourself due to sickness when water is harmful to you
- When you are on a journey; or you have returned from the call of nature and water is not available or you have touched a woman
In these cases, you can cleanse yourselves by using soil and wiping your hands and face. Such a relaxation is given by Allah Who is lenient and protective.
(44) Have you pondered over the case of those who were earlier given a part of the code? (Instead of accepting the whole truth) they are adopting the wrong path and wish that you should also go off the right track.
(45) Allah knows who your enemies are but you need not be afraid of them. Allah is sufficient for you as guard and helper.
(46) Amongst the Jews there are some who pervert the words of their scriptures and, while talking to you, use homonymous language. For instance, instead of saying Samaina wa ataina (i.e., we have heard what you have said and we will obey) they say Samaina wa asaina (i.e., we have heard but we will not obey, or you listen to us, though you would not be listened to and they say raaina – by twisting their tongues. Their intention is to scoff at your deen (2:104)). If they had been well-intentioned and had said in clear words, “We have heard what you have said and we will obey,” or “Please listen to what we say and give it due regard,” this would have been better and more befitting for them. But they will not follow this path and will deprive themselves of Allah’s blessings. This is why only a few of them have accepted this deen.
(47) Ask these Ahl-ul-Kitab to believe in what Allah has revealed which validates the claims made in their scriptures, before there is a confrontation in which they will suffer a crushing defeat and be defaced beyond recognition, being cast away from Allah as the Sabbath-breakers were (2:65). This will certainly come to pass.
(48) If anyone falters due to ignorance or error, the possibility of protection from the ill consequences of his action exists. But it is impossible for those who accept the authority of others alongside Allah to secure this protection. He who has set up a peer to Allah has indeed committed a grievous calumny (shirk- obedience to other than Allah).(7)
(49-50) Have you not taken note of those who consider themselves very pure and pious? Purity and piety can be achieved only by following the laws of Allah and in that process none shall be wronged a whit. These people invent lies about Allah and this, in itself, is an obvious crime.
(51-52) Have you not marked those who were given a portion of the book but they follow self-made rituals and obey authorities which they have set up alongside Allah? They say that the kafireen are better guided than the momineen. They deprive themselves of Allah’s blessings. Those who are thus deprived can have no helper.
(53) It is fortunate that people with this mentality do not have worldly power. If they had any share in it they would not have given even a farthing to their fellow men.
(54) The reason for their attitude is that they are envious of those to whom Allah has bestowed His bounties. Allah had given the people of Abraham not only the revealed code of life but also wisdom and had conferred upon them a great kingdom.
(55-57) Some of them believed in Allah and some of them turned away from Him. For the latter, the life of hell is appropriate.
Tell those who discredit Our laws, that they will be ruined. Gathering all their forces they will come to the battlefield and be defeated. They will again amass their forces and return to the battlefield and be defeated again. Surely, Allah is mighty and wise.
(The Jamat-ul-Momineen will achieve success after success because they possess both power and vision as a result of following Allah’s laws.) They will be admitted into gardens in which streams flow and where there is thick shade, to abide therein forever. There they shall have companions of pure and sublime character.
(58) In order to establish the Qur’anic system, it is necessary to entrust responsibility to those who are capable of discharging it. All matters should be decided justly. This is excellent counsel which Allah is giving you for Allah hears and sees all.
(59) O Jamat-ul-Momineen you should obey the system established by the Rasool in accordance with Allah’s laws, and obey the local authorities appointed by this order. In case of a dispute with the local officers, an appeal can be made to the Order (the central government). This will constitute evidence that you believe in Allah and the hereafter. This is the best and fairest way to reach a settlement.
(60) This is the way of the true momineen. On the other hand, you will find people who assert that they believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before but desire to take their disputes to authorities other than Allah although they were asked to reject such authorities. Indeed it is Satan who leads them astray.
(61) When these munafiqeen (hypocrites) are told that they should refer their disputes to the divine order, they turn away in disgust.
(62) When they are seized by some calamity which they have brought upon themselves they come to you (O Rasool,) swearing by Allah that they had gone to authorities other than Allah in good faith and to create harmony.
(63) They are liars and Allah knows what they say and what they conceal. Stay clear of them but continue to give them good counsel which reaches their heart.
(64) Deen is not an abstract ideology or mere theoretical values. It is a practical way of living a collective life. For this purpose, an order or system is essential. This is why Allah has sent a Rasool along with His revelation. The responsibility of the Rasool is to establish that order. Obedience to Allah is through obedience to the Rasool. For example, if anyone falters, he is required to go to the Rasool to seek forgiveness. The Rasool cannot decide the matter in his personal capacity. He will decide it in accordance with Allah’s laws. In deen this is the procedure for securing forgiveness from Allah.
(65) Allah stands witness that these persons cannot claim to be momineen until they make you (O Rasool) the judge in their disputes and thereafter do not find any vexation in their hearts over what you decide, and submit to your decisions wholeheartedly.
(66-68) Those who do not accept deen in this way, if asked to leave their homes or go to the battlefield for the cause of Allah, will not do so, excepting a few. If they had done what Allah had counselled them to do, it would have been better for them and their eiman would have become more firm. Allah has surely given them a great reward and guided them to the straight path.
(69-70) If they had obeyed the divine order they would have joined the caravan of those following the straight path whom Allah had blessed. In the caravan, led by anbiya, would be those who validate their eiman by action, those who safeguard the system vigilantly, and saliheen (the virtuous, righteous). How blessed and pleasant is this company! Such is the bounty from Allah and it is sufficient that Allah knows all.
(71) You should take every precaution in order to safeguard the system. When you go to war you can advance in detachments or altogether as may seem necessary.
(72) There are certainly those among you who will lag behind. If any misfortune befalls you, they will say, “It was Allah’s favour to us in that we were not present with you.”
(73) But if success comes to you they are sure to say as if they had never been amongst you before, “How well it would have been if we were with them; we could also have shared in their gains and achievements.”
(74) The fact is that only they can fight in the cause of Allah who barter the life of the present for the life to come. Whether they are slain in battle or come back victorious, Allah will give them a great reward in the near future.
(75) War in the cause of Allah is for the help of oppressed people. Allah helps oppressed people through human agency and not directly. This is illustrated by the following: In Al-Madinah, the momineen had established their own state but those who could not leave Makkah were greatly oppressed. They cried to Allah for help and Allah said to the momineen in Al-Madinah, “What has happened to you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah? Do you not hear the cries of the helpless men, women and children in Makkah who entreat Allah, ‘O our Rabb! Rescue us from this city whose inhabitants are oppressors. Send us someone who will protect and defend us.’”
(76) This is fighting in Allah’s cause which is undertaken by the momineen. On the contrary, the kafireen fight for the cause of ungodly authorities. So, O Jamat-ul-Momineen, you should fight the friends of Satan. Mark! The cunning of Satan proves futile.
(77) In the initial phase of the establishment of the system of sala and zaka the programme was only concerned with teaching and training with no occasion for confrontation. During this phase, these people were very enthusiastic, but when fighting was required of them, a group from amongst them became fearful and said to Allah, “Why have You enjoined war upon us? Could You not postpone it for a while?” Tell them O Rasool, “Very little is the enjoyment of this world and the future is all good for those who have lived according to the laws of Allah. They will never be dealt with unjustly, not in the very least.”
(78-80) Also tell them, “Death is sure to overtake you wherever you may be even though you may be in strong towers.”
Their mentality is such that if something good happens to them they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil betides them they say, “It is because of you, O Rasool.”
Say to them O Rasool, “If you want to understand the correct position, I will explain it to you.” The fact is that everything in the universe happens in accordance with Allah’s laws. If you act according to these laws the results will be good and if you act contrary to these laws you will bring about your misfortune. Good and evil do not come from the Rasool. His function is only to communicate to you the laws of Allah and to establish an order based on them. Obedience to Allah’s laws will be through this order. It is up to you whether you obey these laws or not. If you turn away from them it will not be for the Rasool to compel you to obey them. You will face the consequences of your actions yourselves.
(81) Amongst them there are people who profess to obey you O Rasool, but when they meet at night they plot against what you had said – Allah records their plots. You should keep clear of them and put your trust in Allah Who is all-sufficient as a protector. (82) Do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? Were it from anyone other than Allah they would have found many inconsistencies therein.
(83) These people are not habituated to a disciplined life. Whenever they hear any news of peace or danger they broadcast it directly. Had they brought the news to the notice of the Rasool or the local authority, those who have been charged with the responsibility of scrutinizing news would have found out the truth. Were it not for Allah’s goodness towards you, the majority amongst you would have followed Satan.
(84) O Rasool, you should fight in the cause of Allah, for you are not responsible except for yourself. You should train the momineen to enable them to fight. The time will soon come when the onslaught of the kafireen will be checked. Allah is the stronger in power and the stronger to restrain them. (85) As already stated, you will implement your programme depending on yourself alone. If anyone stands by you he will have a share in the good results which accrue and if anyone stands by your opponents he will have a share in the evil consequences which follow. Allah is the dispenser of all things.
(86) If you receive life-giving help from someone you must repay in the like measure if not more. Allah takes account of all things.
(87) Whether anyone stands by you or not, you should remain firm in your conviction that power and authority in the entire universe belong to Allah alone. The confrontation between truth and falsehood will certainly take place. There is no doubt about this. Whose word can be truer than Allah’s?
(88) There should be no difference of opinion regarding the munafiqeen whom Allah has cast away for their actions. Do you desire to bring back to the right path those who have intentionally taken up the wrong path? As long as the latter are determined to follow the wrong path, none can guide them.
(89-90) You desire to bring them to the right path but their effort is that they should make you kafireen like themselves so that you would be on their level. Do not take any of them for friends until they forsake their homes in the cause of Allah. If they turn traitor, seize them and slay them whenever you find them. Mark again! Do not take any of them for friends and helpers except those who have taken asylum with a people with whom you have an alliance or those who come over to you saying, “We wish to remain neutral.” The fact is that if the latter had sufficient power they would have fought you. Nevertheless, if they come to you professing to be neutral you should accept their offer of peace and should not proceed against them.
(91) Amongst them there are those who profess neutrality but if there is a call from their people to join them in creating disorder, they plunge into mischief-making. If they neither withdraw from you nor give you a guarantee for peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. You have a clear sanction from Allah against them.
(92) A momin would never kill another momin except by mistake. If he kills another momin by mistake he should set free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the family of the deceased unless they forego it as an act of grace. If the deceased belongs to a people hostile to you, setting free a slave is enough. If the deceased belongs to a people with whom you have an alliance, a believing slave should be freed and blood-money should also be paid. One who finds this beyond his means should fast for two consecutive months. His repentance will be accepted. Allah is wise and knows well why He so enjoins.
(93) But whoever kills a momin with full intention, his punishment will be as stated in 2:178. He will receive this punishment in this world. In the life hereafter his recompense will be jahannam to abide in. He will be cast away by Allah Who will prepare for him a dreadful torment.
(94) When you go forth to fight in the cause of Allah, make sure that you know who your friends and enemies are. If anyone sends you an offer of peace do not say to him, “You are not sincere in your offer,” and wage war against him. In this way you may get some spoils of war but do not forget that whatever you will get by obeying Allah’s laws will be much more. You used to look for such excuses in the pre-Islam period. Allah has shown you the right path. You should therefore probe carefully before taking a decision. Allah is well-aware of what you do.
(95-96) When an order is given for war, some amongst the momineen respond very enthusiastically and prepare to fight with all their means and their persons, while others are rather slow. It is obvious that the former and the latter cannot be esteemed alike. Allah will grant a higher place to the former. The good promise of Allah however extends to both. The distinction is only in the grant of a higher reward to some ranks; protection and means of development are all granted by Allah according to the measures appointed by Him.
(97) Hijra (migration) plays a very important role in the life of momineen. Those who are content to live a wretched and oppressed life in an ungodly society will be asked by the malaika at the time of their death, “Why did you lead such a wretched life?” They will answer, “We were weak and helpless.” The malaika will then say, “Was not the earth of Allah vast enough for you to undertake hijra to some favourable place”? These people lead a life of jahannam in this world and, in the hereafter also they will abide in jahannam.
(98-99) The exception is those men, women and children who were truly weak and unable to seek means of escape and did not know where to go. For them there is hope of leniency from Allah Who is forbearing and protective.
(100) Whoever undertakes hijra (migration) for the cause of Allah will find a place of refuge and plentiful resources. Whoever leaves home to undertake hijra to a place where the Qur’anic order is established and is overtaken by death on the way, will be fully rewarded by Allah for Allah is the Protector and the Raheem.
(101) When you set out on a journey and apprehend danger from your enemy, there is no harm if you shorten your sala (because) the kafireen are your open enemies.
(102) O Rasool! If you are with your jama while they are on a march and you arrange their sala, it should be in the following manner: let a batch of your followers join in the sala, retaining their arms. When they have done their sajda, let them retreat to the rear and let another batch join the sala. They should, however, take every precaution and retain their arms. Your enemies desire that you should become inattentive towards your arms and provisions so that they can fall upon you suddenly. If it is not convenient for you to retain your arms due to rain or illness, you may set them aside but even then you should be very watchful of your enemies. There is no doubt that, ultimately, your enemies will face a humiliating defeat, but you have to be very cautious about them.
(103) When you have finished sala in this state of insecurity, you should be mindful of the code of divine law at all times – sitting, standing or lying down. When you feel secure, perform your sala in the regular way. It should be noted that assemblies of sala are held at appointed times and participation in these assemblies is obligatory.
(104) Be prompt in pursuing your enemies in the battlefield. If you face hardships in war remember that your enemies also face similar hardships. In this way you are on the same footing. However, they cannot aspire for what you hope from Allah. This assurance is given to you by Allah Who is indeed all-knowing, wise.
(105-106) From the discussion regarding war affairs, We now turn to social problems. For this purpose, O Rasool, We have sent down to you the code of laws based on truth so that you might judge between people in the light of what Allah has revealed to you. Do not be an advocate for those who betray their trust. Awarding judgment between people is a grave responsibility and the protection of divine laws must be sought at all times, for certainly it is Allah alone Who is the protector and the Raheem.
(107) Do not plead on behalf of those who are false to themselves or harbour deceit in their hearts, for Allah does not like those who betray their trust and persist in sinful ways. (They think that by deceit they have gained something, whereas they have weakened their nafs (see in Glossary item nafs) by such actions, and this in actual fact amounts to betraying themselves.)
(108) These people can hide their crimes from others but not from Allah, for He is with them when they hold their nightly conference in secret to discuss such matters which He does not approve of. Allah’s law of Mukafat encompasses their entire doings.
(109-110) Those who plead on behalf of such people should remember that they can plead for them in this world but no one will be able to do so in the hereafter. None can be their champion then. Allah’s law of Mukafat (retribution) is that whoever wrongs another or himself, shall have to suffer the consequences thereof, except those who secure protection through adherence to divine laws, for most certainly you will find that it is Allah Who is the protector and the Raheem.
(111) To reiterate: whoever commits a wrong, wrongs himself. Allah is ever-knowing, wise.
(112) If a person commits a crime himself and then foists it on the innocent, he takes upon himself the burden of a calumny and a heinous crime.
(113) It is Allah’s favour and rahma that He has sent down to you a code of laws, explained its rationale to you, and given you knowledge of what you did not know before. Had it not been for this grace, a party of your enemies, who plotted against you to lead you astray, would have been successful.
Now, they can neither lead you astray nor do you any harm. They can only lead themselves astray. This is a great blessing for you from Allah.
(114) These munafiqeen hold secret consultations but not for a good cause. Their consultation would be good only if they were to enjoin contributions for the betterment of humanity or that which is right and conducive to promoting goodwill amongst people. Those who do the above without any ulterior motive shall have a mighty reward and blessings of the highest value from Allah.
(115) If anyone, after receiving such clear guidance, sets himself up in opposition to the Rasool, or follows any path other than that of the momineen, he will become the companion of those whom he has himself chosen and they will lead a life of hell. And what an evil end of a journey that is!
(116) There is a possibility that the ill-effects of minor shortcomings may be removed through good action but no protection is available to those who commit shirk. Shirk takes a person very far away from the right path (4:48).
(117-119) Look at the stupidity of those who commit shirk that they invoke lifeless goddesses instead of Allah. They are indeed motivated by Satan, the castaway, whom Allah had condemned, him having said, “I will certainly draw to myself a definite portion of your devotees. I will mislead them and raise false hopes in them (that their goddesses will grant them what they want). I will command them to slit the ears of cattle and deface Allah’s creation.”
Allah has cast Satan away and whoever takes him for a friend shall suffer a manifest loss.
(120-121) Satan makes false promises to and raises vain hopes in those who follow him. However, his promises are nothing but delusion. Hell shall be the abode of those who are duped by him and they shall find no escape from it.
(122) Those who believe in divine laws and act accordingly, will be admitted to gardens in which streams flow to dwell therein forever. This is a promise from Allah which always holds good. Whose word can be truer than Allah’s?
(123) Mark it that a paradise-like life cannot be achieved through wishful thinking – be it yours or that of Ahl-ul-Kitab. Whoever does wrong shall reap the consequence thereof and shall not find anyone to protect and help him except Allah.
(124) On the other hand, those men or women who are momin and do good shall enter janna, and not the least injustice will be done to them.
(125) In view of what has been stated above, ask them as to which deen is better than one in which every individual surrenders to the laws of Allah, does good to others, and follows the path of Abraham the Haneef ! And, Allah had taken Abraham for a friend.
(126) The deen referred to above prevails throughout the universe and encompasses everything (a similar nizam should prevail in human society as well).
(127) A significant part of this deen relates to family life concerning which We have already given you instructions (4:3). Allah supplements those instructions, which relate to women without husbands, whether widows or unmarried. You wish to marry these women but deny their legal dues. It is essential to pay these dues. Similarly, the dues of orphans and those who are unprotected in society must be paid justly. Allah is aware of whatever good you do.
(128) If circumstances are such that a woman fears ill-treatment or aversion on her husband’s part, the two may settle their affairs amicably, for amicable settlement is always good. Self-interest is the main hurdle in the way of such a settlement, for the human mind is prone to it. If you also keep the other person’s interest in view and adhere to Allah’s laws, this hurdle may be overcome. Allah is well aware of what you do.
(129) Permission to marry more than one wife was given subject to the condition that you do justice to (all) your wives (4:3). Allah knows that it will not be possible for you to hold this balance evenly (as far as romantic emotions are concerned), however keen you may be to do so. Justice will be secured if you do not incline towards one wife so much that another is left, as it were, suspended. If you observe fairness and be mindful of Allah’s laws you will secure protection and nurture from Him.
(130) If the efforts for settlement are unsuccessful you may separate (divorce) in accordance with the instructions given by Allah (4:35). Do not let the fear of being left without provision become a hurdle in separation. The divine system will provide for you in abundance. Allah is bountiful and wise.
(131-132) Everything in the universe is busily engaged in carrying out Allah’s plan. His plan should be similarly implemented in the human sphere. We had enjoined this upon the people who were given the Book before you and similarly you also are being enjoined to be mindful of Allah’s laws. Even if you do not do so, Allah’s laws will continue to operate in the universe as they do now. And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. And Allah alone is sufficient to carry out His affairs.
(133) If He wills, He could put all humanity away and bring in some others. Undoubtedly, Allah has the power to do this.
(134) Those who desire provisions of this world should know that if they adhere to Allah’s laws they can have provisions of this world as well as those of the hereafter, for Allah is all-hearing and all-seeing.
(135) For this purpose justice should prevail. Justice depends mainly on evidence. O Jamat-ul-Momineen, if you are called upon to give evidence, do not appear as a witness on behalf of either party, but for Allah. Be truthful in giving evidence even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinfolk, whether the party concerned be rich or poor. Allah safeguards the interests of both parties. Do not follow your own inclinations lest you should swerve from justice. Do not foist your statements nor show aversion to appearing as a witness. Allah is well aware of what you do.
(136) O you who profess to believe! Hold fast unto your belief in Allah, His rusul, the book which He has sent to this Rasool, and those which He had sent earlier. He who denies Allah, His malaika, His books, His rusul and the hereafter has surely gone far astray.
(137) Those who believe, then disbelieve, and then believe again, and disbelieve once more, and then grow stubborn in their denial of the truth, will not find protection from Allah nor the straight path.
(138) O Rasool! Announce to the munafiqeen that a very severe chastisement awaits them.
(139) Do those who take for friends kuffar instead of momineen seek power and prestige from them? Tell them that all power and prestige comes from Allah and can be had by adherence to His laws.
(140) Leave aside friendship with the kuffar. It has already been communicated to you in the Book that if you hear Allah’s laws being rejected and scoffed at, do not sit in such company until it changes its discourse. If you do not do so, you will be reckoned as one of them. Allah will surely gather together all munafiqeen and kuffar in hell. (6:68).
(141) The munafiqeen (hypocrites) wait and watch about you. If victory is granted to you, they say to you, “Were we not with you?” and if success falls to the lot of the unbelievers (Kuffar), they say to them, “Did we not encourage you to attack the believers and protect you from them?” Tell them that Allah will judge between you on the Day of Reckoning. Never will Allah allow the unbelievers the upper hand over the believers.
(142) They adopt two-faced tactics towards Allah’s system and delude themselves into thinking that they are deceiving Allah. In fact, they are deceiving themselves (2:9). When they join the assembly of sala, they do so grudgingly. They ignore the purpose of sala, paying attention only to its formal aspect in order to be seen by others (2:54, 107:4-7).
(143) They belong sincerely neither to one party nor to the other but hover like a fly between the two. Those who discard the path shown by Allah will never find a way.
(144) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Befriend only the momineen and not the kafireen. If you befriend the latter, this action alone will be sufficient as evidence against you.
(145-146) The munafiqeen will surely be in the lowest depths of jahannam where they will find no helpers. The exception is those who make amends and hold fast to Allah’s laws, adhering to the deen sincerely. Only then will they be reckoned amongst you. The momineen will soon be rewarded abundantly by Allah.
(147) Why should Allah deal out chastisement to you if you believe in His laws and adhere to them sincerely? Allah knows about every sincere action and rewards it.
(148) Publicizing evil is not liked by Allah but it is permissible for one who has been wronged to talk about the injustice done to him. Surely Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing (as to the intent for such publicity).
(149) As for good, there is no harm if you publicize it or conceal it. To be forbearing towards others’ shortcomings is a good thing. See how Allah, with all His power, is forbearing.
(150-151) Those who deny Allah and His rusul, those who believe in the laws of Allah operating in the outer universe (i.e., the laws of nature) but do not believe in the laws given by Him through His rusul for the guidance of mankind, and those who accept a part of these laws, rejecting the others and desire to take a course in between, all of them are truly unbelievers. Allah has prepared a humiliating chastisement for them.
(152) On the other hand, those who believe in Allah and His rusul and make no distinction amongst them are momineen. They will be rewarded by Allah, who is the protector and nourisher.
(153) The Ahl-ul-Kitab demand that a ready-made book should be sent to them from above. They had made an even greater demand of Moses asking him, “Show us Allah visibly.” They were so bold in making such a demand but so weak that they were terrified even of the thundering noise of the earthquake (2:55, 7:155).
They deified a calf after they had received clear guidance from Allah. But even thereafter Allah was forbearing towards them and conferred unquestioned authority upon Moses.
(154) They were afterwards given security by being placed in a valley with a mountain protecting them from the back. A covenant was taken from them to enter the city submissively (2:63) and also not to transgress the prohibitions imposed in relation to the Sabbath (2:65). This was a very firm covenant taken from them.
(155) They violated their covenant, denied the laws of Allah, murdered their anbiya unjustly and professed boastfully that their hearts were sealed and nothing new would enter them. The seal upon their hearts was the result of their wrong-doings and now they do not profess eiman but for a few of them.
(156-157) They charged Mary with a grave calumny. They boasted that they had murdered Jesus, son of Mary, Rasool of Allah, although the fact is that they neither murdered him nor crucified him. What they took for reality was merely something which appeared to them as such.
On the other hand, those who differ from Jews (i.e., Christians) are also in doubt about the matter. Their knowledge is no more than surmise. It is certain that they (i.e., Jews) did not murder Jesus.
(158) The Jews say that by crucifying him they had inflicted a degrading death upon him. Allah has raised Jesus very high in His ranks. He had power enough to protect Jesus from his enemies and He did so with great sagacity (3:54).
(159) The Christians are so firm in their belief that each one confesses before his death that Jesus was crucified and atoned for their sins. On the Day of Reckoning, Jesus himself will bear witness against them (5:116-117).
(160-161) Due to the wrong-doings of the Jews, they were forbidden to partake of what was lawful earlier (6:147).
Their wrong-doings included obstructing many from following the path of Allah, taking riba (usury) although it was forbidden and devouring others’ property unlawfully. Allah has prepared a grievous torment for unbelievers amongst them.
(162) Amongst them, however, there are people who acquire true knowledge and then believe in what has been sent down to you, O Rasool and what was revealed earlier, and cooperate in establishing the order of sala and zaka. They really believe in Allah and the hereafter and to them We will give a great reward.
(163-164) (Islam is not a new deen.) We have, O Rasool sent Revelation to you as We sent it to Noah and the anbiya after him, e.g., Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their progeny, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron and Solomon, and We gave Zaboor (Psalms) to David. We have sent similar revelations to the anbiya mentioned to you earlier including Moses, as well as to those who have not been mentioned specifically.
(165) The mission of the rusul was to give people tidings to the effect that if they adhered to Allah’s laws they would lead a blissful life and to warn them that if they did not do so they would lead a life of degradation and ruin. The rusul were sent so that people would not say that they had not been told by Allah how they should lead their lives. None should have a plea against Allah after clear guidance had been given to them through rusul. Allah is indeed almighty, wise.
(166) Allah bears witness to the truth of what, out of His Own wisdom, has been sent down to you O Rasool, and the malaika (i.e., the magnificent system prevailing in the universe) also bear witness to that effect. Allah is sufficient as a witness.
(167) Those who do not believe in the revelation and create obstructions in the way of Allah, assuredly go far astray.
(168-169) Those who reject Allah’s laws and perpetrate zulm will not find protection from Allah nor the straight path to the destination prescribed by Him. The path which they follow will lead them to hell where they will abide for a long time; indeed, it is easy according to the law of Mukafat.
(170) O Mankind! Now that a Rasool has come to you bearing truth from your Rabb, believe in him, it will be good for you. But if you do not believe, mark that no harm will be done to Allah. The entire universe is busy in carrying out Allah’s plan which is based on knowledge and wisdom.
(171) O Ahl-ul-Kitab do not exceed the limits prescribed by your deen [i.e., keep everyone in his proper place (5:77)]. Speak nothing but the truth about Allah. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, is nothing but a rasool from Allah who was raised according to Allah’s law which was conveyed to Mary. His teachings were based upon revelation which was the source of his strength. So you believe in Allah and His rusul, including Jesus, and do not believe in the Trinity. If you refrain from believing in the latter it will be good for you. Bear in mind that Allah is the only authority, far above the concept of having a son (as already stated 2:116). The entire universe is busy in accomplishing His plan and He is sufficient as a guardian.
(172-173) You deify Jesus and the malaika but neither of them disdain to be Allah’s servants. Allah will gather all those who are arrogant and disdain to be His servants. But to those who believe in Him and act according to His laws, He will give compensation in full and much more out of His bounty. However, those who have been disdainful and stiff-necked will face a grievous chastisement and find no helper or friend besides Allah.
(174-175) O Mankind! Allah has sent to you a manifest light (the Qur’an) which is a clear proof of the truth of His laws. Allah will admit those who believe in Him and hold fast to His laws, to His rahma and blessings and will show them the path which leads to His blessings.
(176) At the beginning of this surah (chapter) instructions were given regarding the distribution of inheritance of a deceased who leaves no children but has brothers, sisters and parents (4:12). The inheritance of a deceased who leaves neither children nor parents should be distributed as follows:
- Should the deceased be a man having only one sister, she will have one-half of the inheritance
- Should the deceased be a woman, her brother shall be her sole heir
- Should the deceased be a man having two (or more) sisters, they will together have two-thirds of the inheritance (4:11)
- If there are several brothers and sisters, distribution should be made according to the law that the share of a male is twice that of a female
Allah has made these laws clear to you so that you may not err. Allah knows all things.
(1) The directive regarding the distribution of inheritance when a deceased leaves behind neither children nor parents, and his heirs are only his brothers or sisters, is given in 4:176.
(2) It should be noted that in case the deceased leaves behind no heirs or if something is left over after the distribution of inheritance, it will go to the state.
(3) The reason for this is that captive women had a different background and upbringing from free women and some allowance had to be made for this difference which might have been responsible for a lower standard of morality.
(4) Qawwaamoona is generally translated as ‘men are protectors, guardians, managers over women and superior to them.
Generically, some people don’t give enough credence to women in the world. Culturally women are doubtlessly thought of as an inferior creation, whereas the Qur’an considers both sexes equal. However, from a Qur’anic perspective, the female has a position perhaps far greater than her counterpart. Not only does she give birth, nurturing the very miracle of life, but also fashions the very future of a nation. The child she brings into the world is surely one of the greatest responsibilities, if not the greatest; its nourishment, education, development are all in the hands of the mother.
(5) Pickthal, Yousaf Ali, Maududi and Asad Leopold translated the word Wa-izriboohunna ‘Beat them’ but the interpretation presented by G. A. Parwez – that women found guilty of the offence may be punished physically – is the best one in the light of the Qur’an’s overall stance and temperament. It must be borne in mind, however, that the verse in question concerns men and women in society and not husbands and wives, as conventional Islam has been taking it up to now. Therefore, administration of the punitive measures mentioned in the verse is the responsibility of the Islamic society and state and NOT the privilege of a Muslim husband Moreover, why should Muslims feel embarrassed over 4:34? After all, the Qur’an does dictate physical punishment for women fornicators in 24:2, doesn’t it? So, if the Islamic State has the power and allowance to implement 24:2, why can’t it do the same with 4:34? One should try to see the Qur’an in its own light and must not shy away from whatever outcome one may have to face as a result of independent but rational, logical and scientific investigation and study. Regarding ill-treatement by men, see 4:128.
(6) It is clear from the above that the purpose of salah is served only when one understands what he is saying.
(7) The only unpardonable offence according to the Qur’an is the association of partners with Allah (i.e. polytheism), whether it is anyone or anything in the human or physical world, or the obedience to laws in contradiction of the Qur’an. This includes divisions within the Muslim community through sectarianism. People who do so are called Mushrikeen.
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