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#331 [Permalink] Posted on 13th March 2012 08:48
Tafseer Of Suratun Nisaa', Verses 56-57





" Those who have disbelieved in Our verses, We shall certainly make them enter a fire. Whenever their skins are burnt out, We shall give them other skins in their place, so that they may taste the punishment. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. [56] As for those who have believed and have done good deeds, We shall admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, remaining there for ever, for them, there are wives purified. And We shall admit them to a shade ever-stretched."[57] (4:56-57)

Particular believers and disbelievers were mentioned in the previous verses. Stated now is the reward and punishment of a believer and a disbeliever as a universal rule.
Commentary

Explaining the highly apocalyptic statement in verse 56, Sayyidna Mu'adh Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that as soon as their skin is burnt out it will be replaced - and this will be with such speed that the skin will be replaced a hundred times in one moment.

Sayyidna Hasan al-Basri rahmatullaahi 'alaih says: "The fire will eat them everyday seventy thousand times. When it would have eaten them up, they will be commanded: 'Return'. So, they shall return to be as they were." (al-Baihaqi, as quoted by Mazhari)

According to a narration in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: "Lightest in punishment among the people of fire will be the man in the sole of whose feet there will be two smouldering embers the heat from which will keep his brain boiling like a cauldron boiling to the brim." (Almundhiri, al-Targhib v.4, p.239)

An Explanation of 'Purified Wives'


According to Hakim rahimahullah, Sayyidna Abu Sa'id al-Khudri Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him narrated that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'The women of Jannah will be pure, that is, pure from menstruation, defecation, urination and nasal mucus.'

Mujahid rahimahullah adds to the above by saying: 'They shall also be pure and free from procreation and seminal impurity.' (Mazhari)

Let us now look at the last two words: in verse 57. Here, by mentioning after it has been mentioned that the shade in Jannah will be dense and ever-present. This is like saying: or which indicate that the blessings of Paradise will last for ever.

Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him narrates that the Holy Prophet said: "There is a tree in Paradise. If a rider were to ride under its shade for a hundred years, he will still not cross it. Read, if you wish, (A shade, ever-extended, ever-stretched)."

Explaining , Rabi' ibn Anas rahimahullah said: "That is the shade of the Throne (al-'arsh) which will never decline."
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#332 [Permalink] Posted on 14th March 2012 08:47
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 58-59





"Surely, Allah commands you to fulfil trust obligations towards those entitled to them and that, when you judge between people, judge with fairness. Surely, good is what Allah exhorts you with. Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. [58] O those who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. Then, if you quarrel about something, revert it back to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is good, and the best at the end."[59] (4:58-59)

Commentary

The Background of the Revelation of These Verses


The first of the two verses cited above was revealed in the background of a particular event which related to the custodial service of the Ka'bah, an office of great honour even before the advent of Islam. Those who were appointed to serve the House of Allah in a particular area of responsibility were regarded as people of great prestige and distinction in the community. Therefore, different areas of services were distributed over different people. It was from the time of Jahilliyah that, during the days of Hajj, the service of providing drinking water to pilgrims from the well of Zamzam was entrusted to Sayyidna 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, the revered uncle of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. This was known as Siqayah. Some other services similar to this were in the charge of Abu Talib, another uncle of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Likewise, the custodial duty of keeping the keys to the House of Allah and of opening and closing it during fixed days had been given to 'Uthman ibn Talhah.

According to a personal statement of 'Uthman ibn Talhah, the Ka'bah was opened every Monday and Thursday during the period of Jahilliyah and people would use the occasion to have the honour of entering the sacred House. Once before Hijrah, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him came with some of his Companions in order to enter the Ka'bah. 'Uthman ibn Talhah had not embraced Islam until that time. He stopped the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him from going in, displaying an attitude which was very rude. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him showed great restraint, tolerated his harsh words, then said: 'O 'Uthman, a day will come when you would perhaps see this key to the Baytullah in my hands when I shall have the power and choice to give it to anyone I choose.' 'Uthman ibn Talhah said: 'If this happens, the Quraysh will then be all uprooted and disgraced.' He said: 'No, the Quraysh will then be all established and very honourable indeed.' Saying this, he went into the Baytullah. After that, says Talhah, when I did a little soul-searching, I became convinced that whatever he has said is bound to happen. I made up my mind that I am going to embrace Islam then and there. But, my own people around me vehemently opposed the idea and everybody joined in to chide me on my decision. So, I was unable to convert to Islam. When came the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him called for me and asked for the key to Baytullah, which I presented to him.'

In some narrations, it is said that 'Uthman ibn Talhah had climbed over the Baytullah with the key. It was Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him who, in deference to the order of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, had forcibly taken the key from his hand and had given it to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him.
So he went into the Baytullah, offered his prayers there, and when he came out, he returned the key to Talhah saying: 'Here, take it. Now this key will always remain with your family right through the Last Day. Anyone who will take this.key from you will be a tyrant.' (By this he meant that nobody has the right to take back this key from Talhah) He also instructed him to use whatever money or things he may get in return for this service to Baytullah in accordance with the rules set by the Shari'ah of Islam.

'Uthman ibn Talhah says: 'When I, with the key in my hand, started walking off all delighted, he called me again, and said: 'Remember 'Uthman, did I not tell you something way back? Has it come to pass, or has it not?' Now, I remembered what he had said before Hijrah when he had said: 'A day will come when you will see this key in my hand.' I submitted: 'Yes, there is no doubt about it. Your word has come true.' And that was the time when I recited the Kalimah and entered the fold of Islam.' (Mazhari, from Ibn Sa'd).

Sayyidna 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says: 'That day, when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him came out of the Baytullah, he was reciting this very verse, that is, (58). I had never heard him recite this verse before this.' Obviously, this verse was revealed to him inside the Ka'bah exactly at that time. Obeying the Divine command in the verse, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, called 'Uthman ibn Talhah again and made him the trustee of the key, because 'Uthman ibn Talhah when he had given the key to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, had said: 'I hand over this article of trust to you.'

Although, the remark he made was not technically correct as it was the sole right of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to take whatever course of action he deemed fit. But, the Holy Qur'an has, in this verse, taken into consideration the nature of trust involved therein, and directed the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to return the key to none else but 'Uthman, although, that was a time when Sayyidna 'Abbas and Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him had both requested that, since Baytullah's offices of water supply and custodial services (Siqaya and Sidana) were in their respective charge, this service of the Key-Bearer of the Ka'bah may be entrusted to them. But, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him preferred to follow the instruction given in this verse, bypassed their request and returned the key to 'Uthman ibn Talhah. (Tafsir Mazhari)

This was the background in which this verse was revealed. At this point let us bear in mind an impprtant rule on which there is a consensus. The rule is that even if a Qur'anic verse is revealed in a particular background, the rule laid down by it in general terms must be taken as of universal application and must not be restricted to that particular event.

Now, we can turn to the meanings and exegetic aspects of these verses.
The Holy Qur'an says: . It means: 'Surely, Allah commands you to fulfil trust obligations towards those entitled to them.' As to who is the addressee of this command, there are two probabilities: It could have been addressed to the general body of Muslims, or it could have been addressed particularly,to those in authority. What is more obvious here is that the verse is addressed to everyone who holds anything in trust. This includes the masses and also those in authority.


The Emphasis Laid on Fulfilling Trust Obligations


The functional outcome of the command in the verse is that everyone who holds anything in trust with him is duty-bound to see that trust obligations are faithfully fulfilled and that the rightful recipients have in their hands what is their due. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, has laid great stress on the fulfillment of trust obligations. Sayyidna Anas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says: 'It must have been a rare sermon indeed in which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him may not have said the following words:

"One who does not fulfill trust obligations has no Faith ('Iman) with him; and one who does not stand by his word of promise has no religion (Din) with him." (Reported by al-Baihaqi in Shu'ab al-'Iman)


Breach of Trust is a Sign of Hypocrisy


According to narrations from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah and Sayyidna Ibn 'Umar (R.A) appearing in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, while describing the signs of hypocrisy on a certain day, pointed out to a particular sign which was: 'Give him an amanah and he will do khiyanah. ' It means when an hypocrite is charged with a trust obligation, he will commit a breach of trust.

Kinds of Trust Obligations


Here, worth pondering is the Qur'anic use of the word, Amanat which is in the plural form. This is to hint that amanah (trust obligation) is not simply limited to cash or kind which someone may have entrusted to someone else for safe-keeping until demanded, which is the most prevailing and commonly understood form of amanah. The cue is that there are other kinds of amanah as well. For example, the incident mentioned earlier under the background of the revelation of this verse does not have any financial aspect to it. The key to the Baytullah was not a financial asset. Instead, this key was a symbol of the office of the serving keeper of the Baytullah.

The Offices of Authority and Government are Trusts from Allah


This tells us that offices and ranks of government, whatever the may be, are all handed over to the recipients as trust from Allah. Those who receive it are its amin (trustees). This covers all officials and everyone else in authority who wield the powers of appointments and dismissals. For them, it is not permissible that they give any office or job or responsibility to anyone who is not deserving of it in terms of his relevant practical expertise or intellectual capability. Instead of doing that, it is incumbent on those in authority that they must make a serious search for the most deserving person for every job, every office within the jurisdiction of the government.

Cursed is He Who Appoints Somebody Undeserving to Any Office


In case, it is not possible to find the most perfect person for an office, someone with the most desirable qualifications and capabilities, someone who combines in himself all required conditions, then, preference may be given to the one who is superior-most in terms of his capabilities and trustworthiness from among the many of those available.

In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said: If a person, who has been charged with some responsibility relating to the general body of Muslims, gives an office to someone simply on the basis of friendship or connection of some sort, without finding out the capability or merit of the person concerned, the curse of Allah falls on him. Not accepted from him is any act of worship which he has been obligated with (fard) nor any of that which he offers voluntarily (nafl), all along till the time he enters the Hell. (Jam'ul-Fawa'id, p. 325)

In some narrations it is reported that whoever entrusts a person with an office of responsibility, although he knows that there is another person more suited and more deserving for that office, then, he has committed a breach of trust against Allah, against His Messenger and against all Muslims.

The chaos and corruption seen in many systems of governance these days is a sad consequence of ignoring this Qur'anic teaching, as offices are distributed on the basis of connections, recommendations and bribes. The result is that undeserving and unmerited people usurp offices they are not fit to occupy, doing nothing but harassing millions of God's own people, and in the process, destroying the very edifice of the system.

Therefore, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

"When the responsibility of affairs is placed under the charge of those who are not deserving of and fit for it, then, wait for the Day of Doom (that is, there is no solution for this chaos)."

This instruction appears in a hadith from Kitab al-'Ilm of Sahih al-Bukhari.
To recapitulate, let us remember that the Holy Qur'an uses the plural form for trust obligations, that is, 'Amanat', and thus gives the hint that trust obligations do not simply relate to property or other financial assets held in trust by one person on behalf of the other. Instead of that, it has many kinds, included wherein are offices of the government.

There is a hadith where the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: (Meetings are a kind of trust). It means that anything said in a meeting is a matter of trust restricted to it. Reporting and publicizing what transpired there without the permission of participants is not permissible.
Similarly, another hadith says: It means: 'The consultant is a trustee.' It is incumbent on him that the counsel he gives must be, in his best judgement, most beneficial for the seekers of the advice. If he gives an advice which he knows is not in the best interest of the seeker of the advice, he has committed a breach of trust right there. Similarly, if someone confides you with his secret, it becomes an article of trust kept on his behalf. Disclosing it to anyone without his permission is a breach of trust. So, the present verse tells us to be very particular in fulfilling all such trust obligations as due.

It was just the explanation of the first sentence of the first verse which has brought us this far. Now, we proceed with the explanation of the second sentence of the first verse (58) which reads: of (when you judge between people, judge with fairness). What is obvious here is that the mode of address in the verse refers to those in authority who decide cases of dispute. Taking their cue from here, some commentators have concluded that the addressee in the first sentence is the same as in the second, that is, those in authority. This does not take into consideration the leeway that exists here too, very much like it is in the first sentence, that is, the probability exists that both office-holders and masses are included in this address for the simple reason that among the common people at large the usual practice is to appoint a neutral arbitrator to judge and decide between disputing parties. However, there is no doubt that, at the first sight, the addressees of both these sentences appear to be none but those in authority. Therefore, it can be said that their addressees are, primarily, those in authority; while, secondarily, this address is also directed at all those who are keepers of trusts, and who have been appointed to arbitrate in some case.

It should be noted that Allah Almighty, has said: that is, "between people"; and not anything like, 'between Muslims' or 'between believers.' Thus, the hint given is that all human beings are equal in the sight of the decider of cases in dispute. They may be Muslims or non-Muslims, friends or enemies, or they may belong to the same country, colour, language, or may be from another country, differ in colour and speak a different language. Those who have been made responsible to judge between them are duty-bound to cast aside all these connections and give their decision guided by whatever be the dictate of truth, right and just.


Equity and Justice Guarantee World Peace


In a nutshell, it can be said that the first sentence of this verse carries the command to fulfill trust obligations, while equity and justice have been enjoined in the second. Between the two, the fulfilment of trust obligations has been given precedence. Perhaps, the reason for this may be that the establishment of a system that guarantees equity and justice all over a country is just not possible without it. It means that those who hold power in a country must, first of all, fulfill their trust obligations, a bounden duty which has to be discharged correctly and properly. Consequently they must appoint only those to the offices of the government who prove to be the best of the lot in terms of their ability to perform the required job and in terms of their trustworthiness and honesty.

In this matter, no back-doors should be opened by acting on the basis of friendship, relationships, connections, recommendations and bribes. If this is not done, the result will be that gangs of the undeserving, and the incapable, or hosts of usurpers and tyrants will take over all offices and entrench themselves. When this happens, those at the highest level of power and authority cannot, even if they genuinely wish to usher an era of equity and justice in the country, do anything about it. The whole thing will just become impossible because these very officials of the government are supposed to be the functionaries of the government through which it acts. When these officials turn pilferers of the trust or are flatly incapable of performing the duty entrusted to them, how can equity and justice be installed in a system?

Specially worth-remembering in this verse is that Allah Almighty has, by equating offices of the government with the trust obligations, made it clear at the very outset that amanah or whatever is held in trust should be handed over, properly and duly, to the person who is its rightful owner. It is not permissible to dole out what is held in trust to some beggar or someone needy just out of pity or mercy; or, it is also not correct to give out something held in trust just to fulfill the rights of some relative or friend. This is about amanah as it relates to common trust holdings. Not too different from this are trust obligations seen in broader perspective.

Very similar are the offices of the government on which hinges a whole roster of things that have to be done in the best interests of the masses of men and women created by Allah Almighty. These too are trusts. They too have to be returned. But, they must be handed over to those who are its rightful, deserving recipients, those who have the ability to do what is required of them, have the qualification, the capability, and are clearly the best of those suitable and available for this office, and finally, are clearly superior to those in line in terms of their honesty and trustworthiness. If this office is given to anyone else other than these, this will be deemed as a contravention of the Divine instruction, that is, the trust obligations will not have been fulfilled as is their due.


Giving Offices of Government on the Basis of Regional or Provincial Considerations is an Error of Principle


Furthermore, this sentence of the Wise Qur'an has removed the common error which has be adopted as a rule of law in many countries and constitutions of the world whereby the offices of the government have been declared as the right of the people of a country. Because of this error of principle, laws had to be enacted to guarantee the distribution of government offices on the basis of the ratio of the population. As such, every province or state of a country has fixed quotas. A person from another province or state cannot be appointed on the quota of one province, no matter how deserving and trustworthy he may be and no matter how undeserving and evil-doing the man from the latter may be. The Qur'an has openly proclaimed that these offices are not rights to be claimed by somebody.

Instead, they are trusts which can be given only to those who deserve it. They may belong to one province or the other, one zone or the other. However, there is nothing wrong in preferring to appoint a person belonging to the area where the government has to have an office. Actually, there may be many beneficial considerations behind it, but, the condition is that the essential ability and trustworthiness of the incumbent must be checked and found satisfactory before such an appointment.


State Structure and Some Golden Principles


So, from within the framework of this brief verse, some basic principles emerge. These are:

1. By beginning the first sentence of the verse with (Surely, Allah commands you ...), it has been clearly indicated that the real command and rule is from Allah Almighty. All rulers of the mortal world are the carriers of His command. This establishes that the supreme authority, the ultimate sovereignty belongs to none but Allah Almighty.

2. The offices of the government are not the rights of the residents of a country which could be distributed on the basis of the ratio of population. They are, trust obligations placed on our shoulders by Allah Almighty which can be given only to those who are capable and deserving of them.

3. Man's rule on this earth can be legitimate only as a deputy or trustee. While formulating the laws .of the land, he will have to be bound and guided by the principles laid down by Allah Almighty, the Absolute Sovereign, and which have been given to man through revelation.

4. It is the standing duty of those in authority that they should, whenever a case comes to them, give a judgement based on equity and justice without making any discrimination on the basis of race, country of origin, colour, language, even religion and creed.

After having enunciated these golden principles of state structure, it has been said towards the end of the verse that the counsel thus given to man is good counsel, good as it can be, because Allah hears everyone. He observes the state of a person who does not have the ability to speak, not even the power or means to protest. Therefore, the principles made and given by Him are such as will be practice-worthy in every country, every age, always. Principles and orders made by human minds are restricted within the parameters of their environment. They have to be inevitably changed when circumstances change. So, the way those in authority were the addressees in the first verse (58), people at large have been addressed in the second verse (59) by: 'O those who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.'


'Those in Authority':


Lexically, (uli'l-amr) (translated here as 'those in authority') refers to those in whose hands lies the management and administration of something. Therefore, Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid and Hasan al-Basri the earliest commentators of the Qur'an, may Allah be pleased with them, have said that uli'l-amr fittingly applies to scholars and jurists ('Ulama' and Fuqaha') since, they are the succeeding deputies of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the proper regulation of religion is in their hands.

Then, there is a group of commentators, including Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, which says that uli'l-amr signifies officials and rulers who hold the reins of government in their hands.

However, it appears in Tafsir Ibn Kathir and al-Tafsir al-Mazhari that this expression includes both categories, that is, the scholars and jurists as well as the officials and rulers because the system of command is inevitably connected with these two.

A surface view of this verse shows three 'obediences' being commanded here - of Allah, the Messenger and those in authority. But, other verses of the Holy Qur'an have made it very clear that command and obedience really belong to none but Allah - from Him the command and to Him the obedience. The Qur'an says: 'The command belongs to none but Allah.' But, the practical form of the obedience to His command is divided over four parts.


Forms of Obedience to Allah's Commands


1. First of all come commands about something which Allah Almighty has Himself revealed very explicitly in the Holy Qur'an and which do not need any explanation - for example, the extremely serious crime of shirk and kufr (the ascribing of partners to the divinity of Allah, and disbelief); the worship of Allah, the One; the belief in Akhirah, the life-to-come, and in Qiyamah, the Last Day; and the belief in Sayyidna Muhammd al-Mustafa Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as the Last and True Messenger of Allah; the belief in and the practice of Salah (prayers), Sawm (fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage) and Zakah (alms) as fard (obligatory). All these are direct Divine commands. Carrying these out means a direct obedience to Allah Almighty.

2. Then, there is the second part consisting of ahkam or commands which needs to be explained. Here, the Holy Qur'an often gives a terse or unspecified command the explanation of which is left to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Now, the explanation or enlargement of the subject which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him takes up through his ahadith is also a kind of wahy (revelation). If these explanations, based on personal judgment, miss something or fall short in any way, correction is made through wahy. Finally, the word and deed of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as it is in the end, becomes the interpretation of the Divine command.

Obedience to the Divine commands of this nature is, though, the very obedience, of the commands of Allah Almighty in reality, but, speaking formally, since these commands are not physically and explicitly the Qur'an as such - they have reached the community through the blessed words of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him - therefore, obedience to them is academically said to be an obedience to the Messenger which, in reality, despite being in unison with obedience to the Divine, does have a status of its own if looked at outwardly. Therefore, throughout the Holy Qur'an, the command to obey Allah has the allied command to obey the Messenger as a constant feature.

3. The third category of Ahkam or commands are those which have not been explicitly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an or in the Hadith, or if they do appear in the later, the narrations about such commands found in the enormous treasure-house appear to be conflicting. In the case of such ahkam, Mujtahid 'Ulama (scholars having the highest multi-dimensional expertise in religious knowledge through original sources) delve into the established texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah along with a close study of precedents and parallels offered by the problem in consideration, giving their best thought and concern to arrive at the appropriate rule of conduct while staying within the parameters of the imperatives of the sacred texts. This being so, the obedience to these rules is one and the same as the obedience to the Divine because it has been, in all reality, deduced from the Qur'an and Sunnah. But, when seen formally, these are known as juristic edicts or fatawa as popularly understood and are attributed to religious scholars.

Under this very third category, come the Ahkam which are free of any restrictions from the Qur'an and Sunnah. In fact, here people have the choice to act as they wish. This, in the terminology of the Shari'ah is known as Mubahat (plural of Mubah meaning 'allowed'). The formulation, enforcement and management of orders and rules of this nature has been entrusted with rulers and their officials so that they can make laws in the background of existing conditions and considerations and make everybody follow these. Let us take the example of Karachi, the city where I live. How many post offices should there be in this city?

Fifty or hundred? How many police stations? What transit system will serve the city best? What rules to follow in order to provide shelter for a growing population? All these areas of activity come under Mubahat, the allowed, the open field. None of its aspects are rated Wajib (necessary) or Haram (forbidden). In fact, this whole thing is choice-oriented. But, should this choice be given to masses, no system would work. Therefore, the responsibility of organizing and running the system has been placed on the government.

Now, returning to basics it can be said that, in the present verse, the obedience to those in authority means obedience to both 'ulama' and hukkam (religious scholars and officials). According to this verse, it becomes necessary to obey Muslim jurists in matters which require juristic research, expertise and guidance as it would be equally necessary to obey those in authority in matters relating to administrative affairs.

This obedience too is, in reality, the obedience to the ahkam or commands of Allah Almighty. But, as seen outwardly, these commands are not there in the Qur'an or the Sunnah. Instead, they are either enunciated by religious scholars or the officials. It is for this reason that this particular call for obedience has been separated and placed at number three and given the distinct identity of 'obey those in authority'. Let us keep in mind that, the way it is binding and necessary to follow the Qur'an in the specified textual provisions of the Qur'an and follow the Messenger in the specified textual provisions of the Messenger, so it is necessary to follow Muslim jurists in matters relating to jurisprudence, matters which have not been textually specified, and to follow rulers and officials in matters relating to administration. This is what 'obedience to those in authority' means.


Obedience to Authority in Anti-Shari'ah Activities is Not Permissible


If we look at verse 58 and the command to 'judge between people with fairness' along with the command to 'obey those in authority' in verse 59, we can see a clear hint to the effect: If the Amir, the authority in power, sticks to 'adl (justice), obedience to him is wajib (necessary); and should he forsake justice and promulgate laws against the Shari'ah, the amir will not be obeyed as far as those laws are concerned. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: . Literally, 'there is no obedience to the created in the matter of disobedience to the Creator,' which means that such obedience to the created as makes disobedience to the Creator necessary is not permissible.

Another point which emerges from the statement: "And you judge between people, judge with fairness" (verse 58), is that a person who does not have the ability and the power to maintain equity and justice should not become a Qadi (judge), because "judging with fairness" is amanah, the great charge of the fulfillment of a trust obligation, something which cannot be guarded, defended and fulfilled by a weak and incapable person. Relevant to this is the case of Sayyidna Abu Dharr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him who had requested the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him that he may be appointed as the governor of some place in the Islamic state. In reply, he said:

"O Abu Dharr, you are weak and this is an office of trust, which may, on the Day of Doom, become the cause of disgrace and remorse, except for one who has fulfilled all his trust obligations, fully and duly (that is, he will be spared of that disgrace)." (Muslim, in Mazhari)


The Just Person is the Favourite Servant of Allah


There is a hadith in which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said: 'The just person is loved by Allah and he is the closest to Him, while the unjust person is cast far away from the mercy and grace of Allah.'

According to another hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said to his noble Companions: 'Do you know who will be the first to go under the shade of Allah?' They said: 'Allah and His Messenger know this best.' Then, he said: 'These will be people who, when truth appears, hasten to accept it; and when asked, they spend their wealth; and when they judge (between people), they do it as fairly as they would have done for themselves.'


The Proof of Ijtihad and Qiyas


Finally, let us now refer to the statement: in verse 59 (Then, if you quarrel about something, revert it back to Allah and the Messenger.)

This 'reverting back to Allah and the Messenger' takes two forms:

1. Revert to ahkam, the code of commands as mandated in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.

2. If the textually-mandated ahkam do not exist, the act of reverting back will be accomplished by analogical deduction (Qiyas) as based on their precedents.

The words of the expression: (revert it back) are general, thus being inclusive of both forms.
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#333 [Permalink] Posted on 15th March 2012 11:41
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 60-64








"Have you not seen those who claim that they have believed in what was revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They want to take their disputes to the Taghut while they were ordered to reject it. And the Satan wants to mislead them to a remote wrong way. [60]

And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," you will see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion. [61]

But, how will it be when they will come to suffer a calamity because of the acts of their own hands, then they will come to you swearing by Allah, "We meant nothing but to promote good and bring about harmony." [62]

Those are the ones Allah knows what is in their hearts. So, ignore what they are and give them good counsel and speak to them about themselves in appealing words. [63]

And We did not send any Messenger but to be obeyed by the leave of Allah. And had they, after having wronged themselves, come to you and sought forgiveness from Allah and the Messenger sought forgivenessfor them, they would have certainly found Allah most-relenting, very-merciful."[64]
(4:60-64)

Verses previous to these carried the command to revert back to the mandate given by Allah and the Messenger in all matters. In the present verses which follow, the act of reverting to laws contrary to the Shari'ah has been censured.


Commentary

The Background of the Revelation of These Verses


There is a special incident behind the revelation of these verses, the details of which identify a hypocrite by the name of Bishr. He got into a dispute with a Jew. The Jew said, "Let us go to Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and ask him to settle our dispute.' But, Bishr, the hypocrite, did not accept this proposal. Instead, he came up with a counter-proposal suggesting that they go to a Jew, Ka'b ibn Ashraf and let him give a decision. Ka'b ibn Ashraf was a tribal chief among the Jews and was a sworn enemy of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and his Muslim followers. It was a strange coincidence that a Jew would leave his chief aside and elect to go by the judgement of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, while Bishr, who called himself a Muslim, would bypass him and elect to go by the judgement of the Jewish chief.

But, there was a secret behind it. Both of them were certain that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him will give a judgement which is bound to be true and just. It will be free from apprehensions about any tilt or favour or misunderstanding. Since the Jew was on the right in this dispute, so he had more confidence in the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as compared to his own chief, Ka'b ibn Ashraf. Bishr, the hypocrite was in the wrong, therefore, he knew that the Prophet's judgement will be against him - even though he claimed to be a Muslim while his adversary was a Jew.

However, after some mutual cross talk between them, both of them agreed upon the option of going to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and requesting him to give a decision in their dispute. So, the case went to him. He made relevant investigation in the case which proved that the Jew was in the right. Consequently, he gave a decision in his favour. But, on the other side, there was Bishr, a pretending Muslim, who lost his case before him. He was not pleased with this judgement, so he hit upon a new plan - to persuade the Jew to somehow agree to go to Sayyidna 'Umar ibn al-Khattab Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him and have him give a decision in their case. The Jew agreed. There was a secret here too. Bishr was under the impression that Sayyidna 'Umar is usually hard on disbelievers so he would, rather than decide in favour of the Jew, decide in his favour.

Thus, they both reached Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him. The Jew told him everything about the incident and also narrated to him how the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had already given his decision in this case and that 'this man was not satisfied with it and had, therefore, brought his case before you.'

Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him asked Bishr, "Is this what really happened?" He confessed that this is how it was. Thereupon, Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said: "All right, you wait here, I am coming." He went into the house and came out with a sword which he swung to finish the hypocrite off, saying: "This is the decision for him who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him" (This incident appears in Ruh al-Ma'ani from Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas as narrated by Tha'labi and Ibn Abi Hatim).

Most commentators have also added that, following this incident, the heirs of the hypocrite thus killed filed a suit against Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him accusing him of having killed a Muslim without adequate legal authority as admitted by the Shari'ah of Islam. To strengthen their case, they submitted interpretations of his kufr (disbelief) in words and deeds in order to prove his being a Muslim. In the present verse, Allah Almighty has unfolded the reality behind the case, confirming that the person killed was a hypocrite, and thus it was that Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was absolved.

Also reported are some other incidents of this nature where people had bypassed clear Islamic legal verdict to finally accept the decision of a soothsayer or astrologer. It is possible that the present verse was revealed about all such incidents.


The Explanation of Verses


The first verse (60) exposes the claim of those who say that they have believed in earlier scriptures, the Torah and the Evangile, and now believe in the Book (the Qur'an) revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. That is, earlier in time, they were a part of the community of the people of the Book, then they entered the fold of Islam and became a part of the Muslim community. The verse warns that this claim of theirs is simply a verbal camouflage for their hypocricy. Their hearts are stuffed with the same old disbelief which has come out in the open during this dispute when Bishr, bypassing the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, proposed that the Jewish chief, Ka'b ibn Ashraf be the judge in that dispute and, in addition to that, later when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him gave a clear and just decision, he found it unacceptable.

The comment which follows immediately, employs the word, "Taghut" which has been left untranslated. Lexically, "Taghut" primarily means 'one who exceeds the limits.' In usage, the Satan is referred to as Taghut. In this verse, carrying the dispute to Ka'b ibn Ashraf has been equated with carrying it to the Satan. The reason could be that Ka'b ibn Ashraf was himself a satan personified, or it could be that bypassing a decision under the God-given law and preferring a decision contrary to it can only come from the teaching of the Satan. About anyone who follows this course, it is clear that he has virtually taken his case to the court of none else but the Satan. Therefore, right there in the end of this verse, there appears the warning that those who follow the Satan, the Satan will mislead them to a remote wrong way.

The second verse (61) tells us that turning away from the decision of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, given under the dictates of the Shari'ah in matters relating to mutual quarrels and disputes, can never be the response of a Muslim. One who does it has to be a munafiq (hypocrite). Thus, when the disbelief of this hypocrite was practically exposed through his dissatisfaction with the decision of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, his being killed by Sayyidna 'Umar became all the more justified, because he no more remained a munafiq (hypocrite) and, in fact, became an open Kafir (or apostate). Therefore, it was said; 'And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed, and to the Messenger," you will see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion.'

The third verse (62) exposes as false all interpretations advanced by those who bypassed decisions given under God-given laws only to turn to decisions which were contrary to it. Their plea, in gist, was that they did not bypass the Messenger of Allah for any reason of lack of belief in the truth of his station and mission and that they did not prefer the decision of others over his decisions as if it was the ultimate Truth. Rather, they claimed, there were expedient considerations which led them to taking this course of action. For instance, one such expedient consideration was that, a case going to the Messenger of Allah would have meant that the decision would have been strictly legal, true and just - devoid of any options of mutual patch-up and tolerance (of 'other' factors not necessarily just). Naturally, articulating deceptively, they said they took the case somewhere else so that something good shows up for both parties through a mutual conciliation.

As evident, they came up with all these interpretations only when their secret was revealed and their wickedness and hypocricy came out in the open and their man was killed at the hands of Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him. In short, it was a consequence of their evil deed which brought upon them the disgrace or disaster of an accomplice killed, following which they started making statements on oath with all sorts of excuses and interpretations. Allah Almighty, in this verse, makes it very clear that these people are liars in their oaths and interpretations and that everything they have done, they have done, because of their disbelief and hypocricy. Their pattern of behaviour is that, when called to come to the Book of Allah and to His Messenger, they would turn away, all averse - which is no hallmark of a true Muslim. But they, as the verse says, would become all alert once they get into trouble as a result of their own evil deeds - like when the exposure of their breach of trust or hypocricy brings shame on them, or when it leads to the killing of their man - then, they come to the Messenger swearing by Allah that they meant nothing but good. That they took their case to somebody else was not because they did not believe in the Prophet, or that they doubted the veracity of his judgement, but that their aim was to promote good and bring about harmony between the disputing parties.

The fourth verse (63) comes up with the answer. It says that Allahis all-aware of the disbelief and hypocricy rooted in their hearts. All their interpretations are false, and their oaths, an excercise in lying. So, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is being asked to ignore their excuses and reject their charge of excess against Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, as the disbelief of this particular hypocrite had become manifest.
After that, towards the end of this verse (63), the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been asked to give good counsel to the rest of the hypocrites as well, in a way that may touch their hearts, that is, tell them to fear what lies beyond the present life and invite them to follow the path of Islam sincerely, or remind them of their likely worldly punishment in the event they stuck to their hypocricy which might be exposed some day, some time, and they might as well meet the same fate as did Bishr, the hypocrite.

The fifth verse (64) begins by stating a universal Divine principle: 'And We did not send any Messenger but to be obeyed by the leave of Allah.' It means that any Messenger who was sent by Allah was sent so that everyone obeys the rules set by him in accordance with the will and command of Allah Almighty. In that case, the inevitable consequence will be that anyone who opposes the rules set by the Messenger will be dealt with in the manner disbelievers are dealt with. Therefore, whatever Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him did turned out to be correct. Following this appears an advice in the best interest of the hypocrites indicating that they would have done better if, rather than indulge in false oaths and interpretations, they would have confessed their error and presented themselves before him seeking forgiveness from Allah, and the Messenger too prayed for their forgiveness, then, Allah Almighty would have certainly accepted their repentance.

At this place, for the repentance to be acceptable, two things have been made binding: That they present themselves before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and that he then prays for their forgiveness. Perhaps, the first reason is that they violated the great station of prophethood bestowed by Allah Almighty on His noble Messenger Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and caused him undue pain by disregarding the decision given by him. So, in order that their repentance over their crime becomes acceptable, the condition that they present themselves before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and that he prays for their forgiveness was imposed on them.

Although, this verse (64) was revealed in the background of a particular incident relating to the hypocrites, yet its words yield a general ruling which stipulates that anyone who presents himself before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and he prays for his forgiveness he will definitely be forgiven. And 'the presence before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as it would have been during his blessed life in this mortal world, holds the same effect even today as the visit to the sacred precincts of the Mosque of the Prophet and the act of 'presenting' oneself before the blessed resident of the sanctified mausoleum falls within the jurisdiction of this rule.

Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him has said: "Three days after we all had finished with the burial of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him a villager came and fell down close to the blessed grave. Weeping bitterly, he referred to this particular verse of the Qur'an and addressing himself to the blessed grave, he said: 'Allah Almighty has promised in this verse that a sinner, if he presented himself before the Rasul of Allah, and the Rasul elects to pray for his forgiveness, then he will be forgiven. Therefore, here I am, presenting myself before you so that I may be blessed with your prayer for my forgiveness.' People personally present there at that time say that, in response to the pleading of the villager, a voice coming out from the sanctified mausoleum rang around with the words: meaning: You have been forgiven. (al-Bahr al-Muhit)
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#334 [Permalink] Posted on 16th March 2012 11:31
Tafseer Of Suratun Nisaa', Verse 65




"So never, by your Lord, never shall they become believers unless they make you the judge in tho disputes which arise between them, then find no discomfort in their hearts against what you have decided and surrender to it in total submission."[65] (4:65)

Commentary

Not Accepting the Decision of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is Kufr


This verse, while projecting a powerful view of the highly exalted station of the noble Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, presents a very explicit statement concerning the need to obey him, something conclusively proved by so many verses of the Holy Qur'an. The verse opens with the ultimate oath, "by your Lord", following which Allah Almighty proclaims that nobody can become a Muslim unless he accepts the verdict of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him willingly, calmly and fully to the extent that there remains even in his heart not the slightest strain because of this verdict.
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is himself the exerciser of God-given authority over his community in his capacity as the Messenger of Allah and he is thus responsible for adjudicating in every dispute that may arise. The authority he excercises in making decisions certainly does not depend upon his being made a judge by some litigants.

We should also keep in mind that Muslims have been asked to make the prophet their judge because people are generally not satisfied with judgements delivered by someone appointed by the government as compared with an arbitrator they themselves choose to have. But, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is not only the ruler of a state, he is a Messenger of Allah, protected against sins by Him, and sent as mercy for the worlds, and also a loving father for his community - so, the compassionate instruction given is that, whenever a situation of conflict arises in social or religious matters, the contesting parties are duty-bound to make the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him the arbitrator and judge and have him give the final verdict, and once the verdict has been given by him, let them all accept it whole-heartedly and act accordingly.


The Authority of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم Extends to All Times


Commentators say that acting in accordance with this command of the Holy Qur'an is not restricted to the blessed times when he graced this mortal world. After him, the verdict of the sacred Law left by him, is nothing but his own verdict. Therefore, the rule reigns supreme right through the Last Day, the rule that guidance should be sought by turning directly to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him during his blessed life-time, and after him, one must turn to his Shari'ah which is, in all reality, a return to him, may Allah bless him for ever and ever.

Some Problems and Their Solutions


1. To begin with, as already'stated earlier, the rule is that a person who is not satisfied with the decision given by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, in every dispute and in every problem or issue, is not a Muslim. As we already know, this was the reason why Sayyidna 'Umar رضي الله عنه killed the person who was not satisfied with the decision given by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him following which he carried the case to Sayyidna 'Umar for an alternate judgement. The heirs of the person killed went to the court of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him with a suit against Sayyidna 'Umar accusing him of having killed a Muslim without a valid legal reason.

It is important to note here, and this has not been taken up earlier, that the following words, when the case was presented before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, came out spontaneously from his blessed lips: (that is, I never thought 'Umar will ever dareJcilling a believing Muslim). This proves that the higher authority, when approached with an appeal against the decision of a lower authority, should not take sides with his subordinate authority, but should come up with a decision based on justice and fairness alone, as it has been illustrated above where the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him expressed his displeasure over the decision of Sayyidna 'Umar - before the revelation of the verse had a bearing on this incident. Once this verse was revealed, the reality came out in the open that the person killed was not a believing Muslim as confirmed by this verse.

2. The second ruling which emerges from the expression: (in the disputes which arise) settles that it is not restricted to dealings and rights alone; it covers articles of belief, ideas and many other theoretical problems. (al-Bahr al-Muhit) Therefore, given such a wide spectrum of intellectual and social activity, it is not unlikely that things could go to the undesirable limits of mutual differences in views and ways when confronting a certain problem. When this does happen, it is the duty of a Muslim not to continue mutual disputation, instead of which, both parties should revert back to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and when he is not with them personally, they must revert back to his Shari'ah to search for the solution of their problems.

3. The third rule of self-assessment that we find from here is:
Doing something, which was provenly said or done by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, with a heavy heart is a sign of weakness in faith ('Iman). For example, there are occasions when the Shari'ah has allowed the performance of salah by making tayammum in place of the regular wudu with water; now, if a person feels uneasy and not so satisfied with the idea of making the symbolic tayammum in place of a regular wudu he would very much like to do, then, he should not take this attitude of his as a sign of taqwa or piety, instead, he should take it to be caused by some spiritual sickness.

Who can be more muttaqi, more God-fearing than the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him? If the form and condition in which he allowed people to perform their prayers while sitting - and he himself performed it while sitting - does not find favour with a person looking for the satisfaction of his heart, and he elects to undergo unbearable hardship by insisting to stand and perform his prayer in that position, then, he better be sure that there is some sickness is his heart. However, if a person, whose pain or discomfort or need is not that acute, elects not to use the leave (rukhsah) given to him by the Shari'ah and, instead of that, chooses to take the path of high determination ('azimah) which is, then, correct in accordance with the very teaching of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. But feeling any strain in utilizing the leaves (rukhsah) granted by the Shari'ah as some sort of absolute rule is no taqwa. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: (that is, 'the way Allah Almighty is pleased with what is done with high determination, so is He pleased with what is. done by using leaves).'

The best method of general 'Ibadat (acts of worship), Adhkar (plural of dhikr: the remembrance of Allah), Aurad (plural of wird: self-allotted voluntary recitations, made privately in specified hours of the morning or night), Durood (prayer to Allah that peace and blessings be on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and Tasbih (glorification of Allah) is no different than what used to be the routine of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him himself and which was, after him, followed consistently by his noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. All Muslims must, as a matter or personal obligation, find these out from the authentic and sound narrations of hadith so that they can make them an integral part of their daily routine of life.


Special Note


Details given above clearly show that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was not only a reformer and moral leader but was a just ruler as well, an authority of such class and majesty that his judgement was declared to be the very criterion of belief and disbelief, a distinguishing feature between 'Iman and Kufr, as evident from the incident relating to Bishr, the hypocrite. To make this prophetic station more explicit, Allah Almighty has, at many places in His sacred Book made the obedience of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him mandatory along with His own due obedience incumbent on all believers. Thus, the Qur'an says: (Obey Allah and obey the Messenger - 3:32; 3:132; 4:59; 5:92; 24:54; 47:33; 64:12). Then, elsewhere it says: (Whoever obeys the Messenger, he really obeys Allah - 4:80).

[For a detailed treatment of this aspect, please see "The Authority of Sunnah" * by Muhammad Taqi Usmani]

A little deliberation in these verses will unfold the radiant grandeur of his authority, a practical demonstration of which became manifest when Allah Almighty sent to him His Law so that he can decide cases in accordance with it. Therefore, it was said: that is, 'We revealed to you the Book with the truth so that you may judge between people by what Allah makes you see.') (4:105)
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]

See also:

The Authority Of Sunnah * - http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/asunnah1.htm

The Authority Of Sunnah And Hadith, In The Light Of The Holy Quran - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/books/6636/the-authority-of-sunnah-and-hadith%2C-in-the-light-of-the-holy-quran.html
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#335 [Permalink] Posted on 17th March 2012 06:28
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 66-69






"And if We had prescribed for them that they should kill themselves or that they should migrate from their homeland, they would have not done it, except a few of them. And if they had done what they were advised to do it would have been better for them, and more effective in making (them) firm. [66] And in that case, We would have certainly given them a great reward [67] and we would have certainly led them to a straight path."[68] (4:66-68)

The present verses and those appearing immediately earlier were revealed in the background of an incident relating to Bishr, the hypocrite. As we already know, he had first proposed Ka'b Ibn Ashraf, the Jew as the adjudicator of his dispute, but, later on, mutual discussions forced him to go to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him for this purpose. Since the judgement of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was against him, he did not accept it and went to Sayyidna 'UmarRadhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him for a totally fresh decision.

When the news of this incident got around in the city of Madinah, the Jews chided Muslims by saying: 'What sort of people you really are? Here you are believing in a Messenger of Allah and claiming to follow him, yet you do not accept his decisions! Look, in order that their repentance be accepted, the Jews were commanded to kill each other. This was a severe command, but we obeyed it, so much so that seventy thousand of our people were killed. If you were given a command like that, what would you have done?' Thereupon, the verse: (And if We had prescribed for them ...) was revealed. It means: If these hypocrites, or all common people, disbelievers or believers, were charged with some severe command, such as that of self-killing or migration like the Bani Isra'il were ordered to do, very few of them would have, being what they are, obeyed this command.

On the one hand, there is a stern warning here for people who try to seek the solutions of their disputes, not from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, or not from the Law and Way of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, but take it elsewhere. On the other hand, it answers the chiding of the Jews because this state of affairs fits the hypocrites and certainly not those who are firm in their faith as true Muslims. This is proved by what happened when this verse was revealed. Someone from among the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, said: 'Allah did not put us through this trial.' When this statement was relayed to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, he said: 'There are people in my community in whose heart Faith is entrenched firm like mountains.' Ibn Wahab says that this statement was made by Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him.

According to another narration, when Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him heard this verse, he said: 'Had this command been prescribed, by God, I would have been the first to sacrifice myself and my family to obey it.'

According to some other narrations, when this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'If this command to self-kill or migrate had come from Allah, Umm 'Abd (meaning Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him would have definitely acted accordingly.' As for migration, the noble Companions acted faithfully and selfiessly when they left their homes in Makkah, left their properties and businesses, and migrated to Madinah.

Towards the end of the verse (66), it has been said that, difficult though it may seem, yet doing-so in obedience to their Lord's command would turn out to be better for them in the end. This will make their faith more firm, bringing a great reward from Allah, and the blessing of being guided to the straight path.

This great reward promised here in the end of verse 67 for those who obey Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم has been described immediately after in verses 69 and 70 which follow with detailed explanations of the promised ranks.
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#336 [Permalink] Posted on 20th March 2012 06:17
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 69-70





"And those who obey Allah and the Messenger are with those whom Allah has blessed, namely, the prophets, the Siddiqin [Siddiq, lexically means 'very truthful'. In the Islamic terminology, it normally refers to those Companions of a prophet who excel all others in their submission to Allah and His Messenger. They enjoy the highest status of piety after the Prophets, like Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him] , the Shuhada' [Shuhada' (pl. of Shaheed) means the persons who sacrificed their lives in the way of Allah. The word has not been translated here by the word 'martyr' which sometimes is taken as an equivalent of Shahid, because the word 'martyr' is also applied for the persons killed in ethnic or racial wars while they may not be termed as 'Shuhada' in the Islamic terminology.], and the righteous - and what a good company they are. [69] That grace is from Allah and Allah is sufficient being the One who knows."[70] (4:69-70)

In the verses appearing immediately earlier, the promise of a great reward was made to special addressees. What appears in the present verses is a universal promise, that those who obey Allah and His Messenger shall be rewarded as a standing rule.


Commentary:

Deeds Will be the Criterion in Ranks of Paradise


Those who do everything Allah and His Messenger have asked them to do and stay away from everything Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, shall receive different ranks in terms of their deeds. The foremost among them will be blessed with the highest stations of Paradise alongwith the noble prophets, may peace be upon them all. Next to them will come those who will be blessed with the rank of those who are only next to prophets. They are known as the Siddiqin, that is, the great Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him who came forward to believe in the very initial stage without any hesitation or hostility, like Sayyidna Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه. Then, there will be a third rank of people who will be with the noble Shuhada'. The Shuhada' are people who sacrificed their lives and wealth in the way of Allah.

Then, those in the fourth rank will be with the revered Righteous. The Salihin or the Righteous are people who restrict themselves, outwardly and inwardly, to doing only what is good and right.

In short, all those who are totally obedient to Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم shall be in the company of those who are the most exalted and the most favoured in the sight of Allah Almighty and who have been identified here under four ranks: Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام, Siddiqeen, Shuhadaa' and Saliheen (righteous).


The Background of Revelation


This verse was revealed in the background of a special event which has been reported by the great commentator, Ibn Kathir as based on several sound authorities.

It so happened, narrates Sayyidah 'A'ishah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her, that a Companion came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, one day and said to him: 'Ya Rasulallah, I hold you dear, dearer than my own life, even more than my wife and more than my children. There are times when I do not seem to be at peace with myself even in my house until I come to you and have the pleasure of looking at you. That finally gives me the peace I missed. Now, I am worried about the time when you will leave this mortal world and I too will be taken away by death. In that case, what I know for sure is that you will be in Paradise with the blessed prophets housed in its most exalted stations. As for myself, first of all, I just do not know whether or not I shall be able to reach Paradise. Even if I do reach there, the level where I shall be will be way below from where you are. If I am unable to visit you and have the pleasure of seeing you there, how am I going to put this impatient heart of mine at rest?'

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him quietly heard what he said, but made no response, until came the revelation of this particular verse (69):

It was only then that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him gave him the glad tidings that the obedient ones shall have occasions to meet with the prophets, the Siddiqin, the Shuhada' and the righteous. In other words, despite the relative precedence of ranks in Paradise, there will be occasions of meeting and sitting together.


Some Forms of 'Meeting' in Paradise


One such form will be that people will see each other from where they are, as it has been reported in Mu'atta of Imam Malik on the authority of a narration from Sayyidna Abu Said al-Khudri Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'The inmates of Paradise will see those in the strata above them like you see stars in the physical world.'

Also there will be yet another form when visits will be made to the strata where they are, as Ibn Jarir has reported on the authority of a narration from Sayyidna Rabi' that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, while explaining this verse, said: 'Those of the strata above will come down to those of the strata below to meet and sit with them.'

It it also possible that those of the strata below have the permission to visit and meet those of the higher strata, as the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has, on the basis of this verse, given many people the glad tidings of being with him in the Paradise.

It appears in Sahih Muslim that Sayyidna Ka'b ibn Aslami Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him used to spend nights in the company of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. At the time of Tahajjud on one of such nights, Sayyidna Ka'b Aslami brought water for wudu, the miswak and other things he might need at that time. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, quite pleased with him, said: 'Is there anything I can do for you? Go ahead, ask.' Sayyidna Ka'b Aslami said: 'I wish to have your company in Paradise.' He said: 'Anything else?' Sayyidna Ka'b said: 'Nothing else.' Thereupon, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'If you want to be with me in Paradise, then (literally - 'help me by taking upon yourself the doing of plenty of prostrations'). The elegant prophetic expression means that 'your wish shall be granted, but you can also help me in this by offering plenty of prostrations (sujud, sajdah) that is, plenty of voluntary prayers (nawafil).

According to the Musnad of Ahmad, a man came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and said: 'Ya Rasulallah, I have testified that there is none worthy of worship other than Allah, and that you are the true Messenger of Allah, and I dutifully perform the five prescribed prayers every day, pay the Zakah due on me and fast during the month of Ramadan.' Hearing this, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Anyone who dies in this state will be with the prophets, the Siddiqin and the Shuhad - only if he does not disobey his parents.'

Similarly, there is another hadith from Tirmidhi in which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is reported to have said: (The businessman who is truthful and trusty will be with the prophets and the Siddiqin and the Shuhada').


Love is the Sine Qua Non of Nearness


The blessed company of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him can be acquired by loving him. This is conclusively proved by what has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of many uninterrupted chains of narrations from a large body of the noble Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him that he, on being asked as to what will be the status of a person who does belong to a group emotionally but fails to achieve the standards of deeds set by it, said: (on the Day of Resurrection) everyone will be with the ones whom he loves.

Sayyidna Anas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that the Noble Companions were never so pleased with anything else in this mortal world as they were when they heard this hadlth, because it gave them the most wonderful news, a delightful prophecy indeed, that those who love the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him will be with their noble master on the plains of Resurrection and in the gardens of Paradise.

The company of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is not restricted to any colour or race

In al-Mu'jim al-Kabir al-Tabarani has reported from Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that an Ethiopian came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and said: 'Ya Rasulallah, may His blessings be upon you, not only that you are distinct from us in the beauty of your physique and the colour of your skin but you also have the distinction of being a prophet and messenger of Allah. Now, if I were to believe in what you believe and do what you do, can I too have the honour of being with you in the Paradise?'

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Definitely yes (forget about your being black). I swear by the Power whose hands hold my life that all members of the black race will become fair and beautiful in Paradise radiating in their presence from a distance which might take a thousand years to cover. Then, Allah takes upon Himself the success and salvation of a person who says and believes in (There is no god but Allah) and a person who recites (Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi: 'Pure is Allah and praised is He') has one hundred and twenty four thousand virtues written in his Book of Deeds.'

Hearing this, someone present there said: 'Ya Rasulallah, when Allah is generous in giving such enormous awards on such minor good deeds, how can we ever perish or be punished?' He said: '(That is not the point), the truth is that some people will come up on the Day of Doom with so many virtues and good deeds, so many that, should all these be placed on a mountain, even the mountain would find their weight too heavy to hold. But, when they are compared to the blessings from Allah (bestowed on them in the worldly life), man's deeds and virtues remain no match to them - unless Allah Almighty Himself elects to be generous and merciful to him.

It was this question and answer with the Ethiopian brother which caused the revelation of the following verse of Surah Ad-Dahr: (that is, man has indeed been through a period of time being nothing - 76:1). Surprised, the Ethiopian gentleman asked: Ya Rasulallah, will my eyes be seeing the same blessing which your blessed eyes will be witnessing?'

He said: 'Definitely yes.' Hearing this, the newly converted Muslim from Ethiopia started weeping and so much so that he died in that very state - weeping his heart out. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him performed his last rites, bathing and shrouding and offering salatul-janazah and burial, all with his own blessed hands.


Ranks of Paradise: Some Details


Now that we have gone through an explanation of the verse, including the background of its revelation and related clarifications, the only thing that remains to be determined is the nature of the four ranks of people blessed by Allah. We have to find out as to what is the basis on which these ranks have been established, how they are interconnected and how are they different from each other, and whether or not can these converge into one person.

Commentators have written in great details about this subject. Some say that all these four ranks can be found in one person. According to them, all these attributes are overlapping because the one identified as 'prophet' in the Holy Qur'an has also been called by the title of 'siddiq'. For example, it has been said about Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S): (Surely, he was a man of truth, a prophet - 19:41); and about Sayyidna Yahya (A.S): (and a prophet from among the righteous - 3:39); and similarly, about Sayyidna' Isa (A.S): (and he shall speak to the people in the cradle) 'as well as in middle age, and shall be one of the righteous' - 3:46.

The outcome is that, though these four attributes and ranks are distinct in terms of meaning and sense, yet it is possible to find all these combined in one person. Let us take an example to illustrate the proposition. Religious scholars, the 'ulama' are identified by their attributions, such as a Mufassir (commentator of the Holy Qur'an), a Muhaddith (scholar of hadith), a Faqih (Muslim jurist), a Muwarrikh (historian). But, there could be some scholars who may combine in their person the excellence of all these fields. In our own time, when the trend is towards inter-disciplinary education and training, it is not so difficult to conceive the convergence of the attributes of a doctor, an engineer and a pilot, all in one person.

However, in accordance with commonly recognized practice, a person gets to be identified with an attribute which comes to take a dominating position in his life-work because of which such a person is usually associated with that particular field. It is for this reason that commentators generally take. 'Siddiqin' to mean the most illustrious Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and Shuhada' to mean the martyrs of the battle of Uhud and Salihin as signifying the general run of righteous Muslims.

Imam Raghib al-Isfahani has determined that all these four ranks are different. The same things find mention in Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, Ruh al-Ma'ani and Mazhari. The sense of this approach is that Allah Almighty has, in this verse classified true Muslims in four categories or ranks and for each He has appointed stations of precedence, and common Muslims have been induced to see that they do not lag far behind in their efforts to achieve the rankings of any of these ideal ones. Waging the best of their intellectual and practical struggle, they must do the best they can to reach such stations of excellence. However, the station of prophethood is something which can never be acquired by effort and struggle, but there is something one still gets to have and that is the company of the prophets.

Imam Raghib (may Allaah have mercy on him)says that the highest among these ranks is that of the prophets, may peace be upon them. They enjoy the support of the Divine power. They are like someone who is seeing something from a close range.

Therefore, Allah Almighty has said about such people: (Do you argue with him over what he sees? - 53:12).


The Definition of the Siddiqeen


The second rank is that of the Siddiqin. These are people close to the blessed prophets in the quality of spiritual excellence. They are like someone seeing something from a distance. Somebody asked Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him: 'Have you seen Allah Almighty?' He said: 'I cannot worship something I have not seen.' Then, he further said: 'Though people have not seen Allah Almighty with their eyes, but their hearts have seen Him through the realities of faith.' By his act of 'seeing', Sayyidna 'Ali meant the kind of sighting he has referred to later, for such intellectual or intuitive perception is like seeing.

The Definition of the Shuhada'


The third rank is that of the Shuhada'. These are people who recognize their ultimate objective through the chain of reasons and proofs. They have no access to direct vision, that is, mushahada is what they miss. They are like someone seeing something in a mirror from a close range - very similar to what Sayyidna Harithah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said: 'I feel I am seeing the Throne of my most sublime Lord.'

The expression (That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him) in the famous hadith may also be interpreted to mean this very kind of 'seeing'.


The Definition of the Saliheen


The third rank is that of the Salihin. These are people who recognize their ultimate objective through following the precepts of Shari'ah. It is like someone sees something in a mirror from a distance. In the other part of the famous hadith quoted above: (And if you cannot see Him, then, He sees you anyway) the reference may be to this very level of 'seeing'. In short, this investigative approach taken by Imam Raghib al-Isfahani shows that all these ranks are ranks that reflect the quantum of knowledge one has of His Lord, and that the different gradations that are there are based on the respective rankings of this knowledge. As for the subject of the verse, it is clear enough. Here, all Muslims have been given the glad tidings that those who are totally obedient to Allah and His Messenger shall be with those who hold higher ranks in Paradise. May Allah Almighty bless us all with this love. Amin. [Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#337 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd March 2012 10:58
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 71-74







"O those who believe, take your precautions and march in groups or march off all together. [71] And among you there is one who shall invariably fall back; then, if some calamity befalls you, he would say, "Allah has been so generous to me since I was not present with them." [72] And if there comes to you some bounty from Allah, he shall be saying - as if there was no friendship between you and him - "O that I would have been with them, then, I would have achieved a great success." [73] So, those who sell the worldly life for the Hereafter should fight in the way of Allah. And whoever fights in the way of Allah then gets killed or prevails, to him We shall give a great reward."[74] (4:71-74)

Before this, there was the command to obey Allah and His Messenger. Now, in the present verses, Jihad has been prescribed for the obedient and faithful so that they can vitalize their Faith and raise the word of Allah high and supreme. (Qurtubi)


Commentary

Important Notes


In the first part of the verse: (O those who believe, take your precautions ...), appears the command to ensure the supply of weapons, while the later part refers to the launching of Jihad action. This tells us two things right away. Firstly, as already clarified at several places, the act of getting together functional means to achieve a good purpose is not contrary to tawakkul or trust in God. Secondly, we see that the text limits itself to the command to ensure the supply of weapons, but it does not promise that, because of this support, Muslims will have any guaranteed security against their enemies. By doing so, it has been indicated that the choice of using means is for nothing but a certain peace of mind, otherwise, the use of means as such does not carry any operational gain or loss. The Qur'an has said: (O Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) say: "Nothing will befall us except what Allah has prescribed for us." (9:51)

2. Let us look at the first verse again. It opens up with the command to get ready for Jihad followed by a description of the marching plan; the later has been expressed in two sentences, that is, (... and march in groups, or march off all together.)

Here, the word, 'thubatin' is the plural form of 'thubatun which means a small group and is used to denote a military company and was called a Sariyyah in the military campaigns of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. In that sense, it is being said here that Muslims, when they go out for Jihad, should not start off all alone. They should, rather, set out in the formation of small groups. The other alternative is to march as a large army: 'jami'an' because, in fighting, going alone is very likely to hurt --- the enemy is not going to let this opportunity slip out of their hands.

No doubt, this instruction has been given to Muslims for the particular occasion of Jihad, but, even in normal circumstances, this is what the Shari'ah teaches - do not travel alone. In a hadith, therefore, a lone traveller is called one satan and two of them two satans and three of them become a group or party. Similarly, there is another hadith which says:

'The best companions are four and the best military company is that of four hundred and the best army is that of four thousand.' (From Mishkat as reported by Al-Tabarani)

3. Seen outwardly, the words of the verse 72 seem to suggest that this too is addressed to the believers, although the characteristics described later on cannot be taken to be those of the believers. Therefore, al-Qurtubi says that they signify hypocrites.

Since, they were the ones who used to claim being Muslims, at least outwardly. This is why they have been identified as a group from among the believers.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#338 [Permalink] Posted on 26th March 2012 07:08
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 75-76





"What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, "Our Lord, take us out from this town whose people are cruel. And make for us from Your own a supporter, and make for us from Your own a helper." [75] Those who believe fight in the way of Allah and those who disbelieve fight in the way of Taghut. [1. cf. Verse 55] So, fight the friends of Satan. No doubt, the guile of Satan is feeble."[76) (4:75-76)

Commentary

Answering the Call of the Oppressed


Left behind in Makkah were Muslims who were unable to migrate because of physical weakness and insufficiency of resources. Later on, the disbelievers themselves stopped them from going and started hurting and harassing them in all sorts of ways so that they turn away from their faith in Islam. The names of some of these are preserved in exegetic works, for example, Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas and his mother, Sulyma ibn Hisham, Walid ibn Walid and Abu Jandal ibn Sahl, may Allah be pleased with them all (Qurtubi).

These blessed people kept facing tyranny and torture because of their unflinching faith showing no signs that they would ever surrender their firm stand on Islam. However, they did continue praying to Allah Almighty for deliverance from this hard life which was finally accepted by Him when He commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against the disbelievers and rescue the oppressed from their coercion and persecution.

According to this verse, Muslims had requested Allah Almighty the favour of two things - that they be rescued from that town (meaning Makkah) and that they be blessed with some supporter and helper. The fact is that Allah Almighty granted both these prayers when He provided some of them with the opportunity to move out from there which was the fulfillment of their first wish. However, some of them remained staying right there until the Conquest of Makkah. At that time, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him appointed Sayyidna 'Attab ibn Asid as their caretaker and who had the oppressed Muslims delivered from their oppressors. Thus, granted was their second wish as well. It will be noted that the Holy Qur'an, rather than give a straightforward command to fight in this verse, has elected to use the words: (What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah?). Here the hint given is that fighting and Jihad is a natural duty under such conditions,, not doing which is certainly far from a reasonable man.


Praying to Allah is the Panacea for All Hardships


The words of prayer in verse 75: tell us that one of the reasons why the command to fight came was the prayer made by these weak Muslim men and women. Allah Almighty responded to their prayer and commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against their oppressors and which put an end to their hardships immediately.

The Objectives of War


Verse 76 says that 'those who believe fight in the way of Allah and those who disbelieve fight in the way of Taghoot.' This clearly shows that the purpose for which a believer strives is to see that the Divine Law becomes operative in this world and that the authority of Allah Almighty reigns supreme, because He is the master of all. He has created the universe in His infinite wisdom, and His Law is based on pure justice, and when the rule of justice is established, there will be peace which sustains. In order that there be peace in the world, it is necessary that it is run under a law which is the Law of the Lord. So, when a true and perfect Muslim fights in a war, this is the purpose before him.

But, in sharp contrast to him, disbelievers seek to spread the message of kufr, give it the widest possible currency, and work to bring about the ascendency of disbelief. They are all too eager to see that satanic powers rule the world so that everything that constitutes kufr and shirk can be enforced in the universal order giving it the sheen and glamour of something seemingly positive. Since kufr and shirk are the ways of the Satan, therefore, the disbelievers help the Satan in doing his job.


The Guile of Shaytan is Feeble


The last sentence of verse 76: assures that the deceptive plans made by Satan are weak and insubstantial because of which he cannot harm or hurt true Muslims in any way whatsoever. So, Muslims should really not demur when it comes to fighting against the friends of Satan, that is, against the disbelievers. This is because their helper is none other but Allah Himself and, with Allah on their side, the game plan of the Satan is not going to work for them. And this is what happened at the battle of Badr. There was the Satan by the side of the disbelievers, dishing out his tall claims before them, telling them; - 'this day, nobody is going to overpower you' - because: (I am your helper by your side. I shall be there with my armies to support you.) When the actual fighting began, he did advance with his army, but no sooner did he notice that angels have arrived to help Muslims, all plans he had made were frustrated and he took to his heels, saying to his disbelieving accomplices: (I bear no responsibility for you. I see what you do not see. I fear Allah for Allah is severe when punishing.) (Mazhari)

That the guile of Satan has been called 'feeble' in this verse (76) is not an isolated statement. There emerge two conditions right from this verse which provide us with an exception. The first one is that the person against whom the Satan is trying his guile must be a Muslim. Then, the second one is that the effort being made by that Muslim must be for the pleasure of Allah alone. In other words, he may not have any selfish motive behind his effort. The first condition emerges from the words: (those who believe) and the second from: (fight in the way of Allah). If either of the two conditions stop existing, then, it is not necessary that the guile of the Satan remains 'feeble' against him.

Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him has said: 'When you see Satan, do not think twice. Attack him.' After that, he recited this very verse: (No doubt, the guile of Shaytan is feeble.) (al-Qurtubi)
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#339 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2012 10:28
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisaa', Verses 77-79






"Have you not seen those to whom it was said, "Hold your hands (from fighting) and he steadfast in Salah and pay Zakah." However, when fighting is enjoined upon them, surprisingly, a group from them, starts fearing people as one would fear Allah, or fearing even more. And they say, "Our Lord, why have you enjoined fighting upon us? Would you have not spared us for a little more time?" Say, "The enjoyment of the world is but a little, and the Hereafter is far better for the one who fears Allah. And you shall not be wronged even to the measure of a fibre. [77] Wherever you will be, Death will overtake you, even though you are in fortified castles." And if some good comes to them, they say, 'This is from Allah." And if some evil visits them, they say, 'This is from you." Say, "All is from Allah." So, what is wrong with these people, they do not seem to understand a word? [78] Whatever good comes to you, it is from Allah and whatever evil visits you it comes from your own selves. And We have sent you to be a Messenger for the people. And Allah is enough to be a witness."[79] (4:77-79)

Commentary

The Background of Revelation


Verse 77 beginning with the words: (Have you not seen those to whom it was said, "Hold your hands (from fighting)...) was revealed in a particular background. Before their migration from Makkah, Muslims were regularly persecuted by disbelievers. Harassed Muslims used to visit the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him complaining to him about the high-handed treatment meted out to them and asking for his permission to fight back in self-defence and put an end to the Kafir reign of terror. He advised patience holding them back from direct confrontation on the plea that he has not been commanded to fight, in fact, he told them, he has been commanded to stay patient, forgo and forgive. He also told them to continue observing the instructions of Salah and zakah, already given to them, consistently and devotedly.

He impressed upon them the virtues of the present pattern of their behaviour, even though the odds were against them, for the simple reason that , unless man is conditioned to fight against his own evil desires in obedience to the command of Allah and is also used to bearing physical pain and financial sacrifice, he finds joining Jihad and sacrificing his life very difficult a proposition. This was an advice Muslims had accepted. But when they migrated from Makkah to Madinah, and Jihad was enjoined upon them, they should have been pleased with it, as it was something that had answered their own prayers. But, there were some infirm Muslims around who started fearing the prospects of a fight against the disbelievers as one would fear the punishment of Allah, rather more than this.

Caught in that peevish state of mind, they started pining for a little more respite, a possible postponement of the command to fight to some later day which may have given them more time to live and to enjoy. Thereupon, these verses were revealed. (Ruh al-Ma'ani)


Why Did the Muslims Wish for the Postponement of Jihad


The wish for respite expressed by Muslims following the command to fight was not an objection to the command of Jihad. It was, rather, a benign and subtle complaint. The reason may lie in the usual pattern of human psyche in such situations. When hurt and harassed to the extreme, one is very likely to flare up and go for a revenge. But, once man is used to a life of physical comfort and peace, he does not feel like going out to fight. This is no more than a simple human reaction. So, these Muslims, while they were in Makkah, all fed up with pains inflicted on them by the disbelievers at that time, were naturally looking forward most eagerly for the command of Jihad to come. But, when they reached Madinah, they found peace and comfort which they had missed for long. Now the command to fight, when it came in that state of theirs, found them no more moved by their old fire, therefore, they simply wished that it would have been better if the call for Jihad was just not there at that point of time.

Now, to take this 'wish' as an 'objection' and to attribute an act of sin to those Muslims is not correct. However, this explanation is limited to the assumption that they had pronounced this complaint verbally. But, if they said nothing verbally, and it was simply a thought which crossed their mind, then, thoughts in the mind and doubts in the heart are happenings which the Shari'ah of Islam simply does not count as sins. Here, both probabilities exist. Then, the word, "Qalu" (They say) in the verse should not lead one to presume that they had said this verbally, for it may be taken to mean that they may have said it within their hearts, (abridged from Bayan al-Qur'an by Maulana Thanavi). According to some commentators, in which case, no explanation is called for. (Tafsir Kabir)


Self-Correction Should Precede Collective Reform


In (verse 77), Allah Almighty has first mentioned the command to establish the prescribed prayers and pay the fixed zakah which are the medium of self-correction. The command of Jihad comes after that, which is the medium of political and collective correction, that is, through it the forces of coercion and injustice are eliminated as a result of which peace prevails in the country. From here we learn that, well before worrying about correcting others, one should start correcting himself. So, seen from the angle of a relative degree of importance, the first command is an absolute individual obligation (fard al-'ayn) while the second is an obligation which, if performed by some, will absolve others (fard al-kifayah). This highlights the importance of self-correction and makes its precedence obvious enough (Mazhari).

The Difference Between the Blessings of the Present World and Those of the Hereafter


In this verse, the blessings of the Hereafter have been declared to be more bountiful and certainly better as compared with the blessings of the present world of our experience. Some reasons why this is so are given below:

1. The blessings of the present world are few, while the blessings of the Hereafter are many.

2. The blessings of dunya (the present world) are perishable, while the blessings of Akhirah (Hereafter) are eternal.

3. The blessings of dunya are laced with all sorts of botherations, while the blessings of Akhirah are free of such impurities.

4. The acquisition of the blessings of dunya is not certain, while the blessings of Akhirah will most certainly reach everyone who is Godfearing (Muttaqi: the observer of Taqwa). (al-Tafsir al-Kabir)

There is no gain in dunya for the one who has no share in the eternal abode from Allah. Still, if dunya does attract some people, then (beware) it is a short-lived enjoyment and its decline is near (that is, once eyes close in death, the Akhirah is there to see).


There is No Escape from Death:


In (verse 78) (Wherever you will be death will overtake you), Allah Almighty removes any doubts the deserters from Jihad may entertain. They think that, perhaps by dodging Jihad, they can also dodge death. Therefore, it was said that there will be a day of death, a day when it must come, no matter where you are; it will come exactly where you are. When' this is settled, there is no sense in backing out from Jihad.

Hafiz Ibn Kathir, may Allaah have mercy on him, the famous commentator, while discussing this verse, has reported a lesson-filled event on the authority of Mujahid as narrated by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim. He recounts the event concerning a woman from an earlier community. Soon after her pregnancy matured, she gave birth to a child and sent her servant out to fetch some fire. As soon as the servant stepped out of the door of the house, he saw a man appear suddenly before him. He asked: 'What baby this woman has given birth to?' The servant told him that it was a baby girl. Thereupon, the man said: 'You must remember that this girl will sleep with a hundred men and will finally die through a spider.' Hearing this, the servant returned immediate with a knife and slit the abdomen of that girl open. Taking her to be dead, he ran away from the house. But, a little later, the mother of the girl stitched up the skin of the abdomen slit by the servant. Then came the day when this girl grew to be young and beautiful, so beautiful that she was considered to be the jewel of the city.

As for the servant, he escaped overseas where he stayed for a long time and, in the meantime, assembled a fortune for himself. When he planned to get married, he returned to his old city. There he met an old woman. He told her that he was looking for a bride, but that he was eager to marry the most beautiful "woman in town. The old woman told him about a certain girl whose beauty was unmatched in the whole city and insisted that he should marry her. The servant, now a rich man, made efforts and finally got married to that girl. While getting to know each other, the girl asked him as to who he was and where did he live. He told her: 'Actually, I belong to this very city, but I had to run away because I had slit the abdomen of a girl open.' Then he narrated the whole event. Hearing this, she said: 'I am that girl.' She showed him her abdomen. The cut mark was still there. Seeing this, the man said: 'If you are the same woman, I disclose two things about you. The first one is that you will sleep ,with a hundred men.' Thereupon, the woman confessed that she has done that, but she could not remember the number. The man said: 'The number is hundred. And the second one is that you will die through a spider.'

The man who was now rich-had a grand palace built for her which was absolutely free of any spider webs. On a certain day, while they were resting in their room in the palace, they noticed a spider on the wall. The woman said: 'Is this the spider you scare me of?' The man said: 'Yes.' Thereupon, she sprang up from the bed saying: 'Then, this one I am going to kill right now.' Having said that, she downed the spider on the floor and trampled her dead under her feet.
The spider died all right but the poison from her infected her feet and nails and the. message of death became all too clear for her. (Ibn Kathir)

Here was a woman living in a palace, new and very clean, but she died through a spider all of a sudden. Compare her case with many others who spent a life-time in fighting battles yet death did not come to them there. Think of Sayyidna Khalid ibn Walid Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, the famous soldier and general of Islam known by his oft-repeated title, Saifullah - the Sword of Allah. He had a burning desire to die as martyr in the way of Allah. So, he kept fighting all his life, engaging in one Jihad after another and longing to become a Shahid. He killed thousands of disbelievers on the battlefields, living dangerously and daringly against many a trial, always praying and pleading that he be saved from the fate of dying in bed like women and praying and pleding that Allah favour him with the death of a fearless soldier in the heat of some Jihad. But, as'decreed by Allah, he finally died nowhere else but on his own bed in the house.

The lesson is that the arrangement of life and death stays in the hands of our creator whose decisions are final. There is nothing we can do aboutit. It is He who can, if He wills, give us death on a luxury bed at the hands of a spider; or, if He elects to save us, he can keep us alive amid swinging swords or zooming fires.


Building Secure Houses is Not Against Tawakkul


Let us now consider: in verse 78. It says: 'Wherever you will be Death will overtake you, even though you are in fortified castles.' This tells us that building a good and strong house to live with ensured security of person and things is not contrary to the dictates of tawakkul or trust in Allah and that it is not against the rules of Shari'ah either. (Qurtubi)

A Blessing Comes Only By the Grace of Allah


In (verse 79), translated as: 'whatever good comes to you is from Allah,' the word, 'hasanatin' means 'blessing' (Mazhari). The verse points out to the fact that any blessing which reaches man, any good that comes to him, does not get to him as a matter of his right. This is, on the contrary, nothing but the grace of Allah Almighty, His 'fadl', in common Islamic terminology. No matter how much, he devotes to the many acts of worship he is obligated with, man cannot claim to deserve that blessing on the basis of his deeds alone. The reason is simple, because the very ability to engage in acts of worship comes from none but Allah Himself, which is. known as the Taufiq of Allah. Then the blessings of Allah are countless, how could they be 'procured' by limited acts of worship and other expressions of obedience to His commands? Specially so, when whatever we do in the name of the worship of Allah is'hardly worthy of the supreme mastery and power of our Lord, the Lord of the universe of our experience and the Lord of universes beyond? This point has been made more succinctly in a hadith, where the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said:

'No one shall enter Paradise unless it be with the mercy of Allah.' The narrator asked: 'Not even you?' He said, 'Not even me.'


Calamities are the Result of Misdeeds


In (verse 79), translated as: 'and whatever evil visits you, it comes from your own selves,' the word, 'sayyi'atun means 'musibah', evil, hardship, (misfortune, calamity, disaster) according to Mazhari.

Although, calamities are created by Allah, yet their cause lies nowhere else but in the very misdeeds of man himself. Now if this man is a disbeliever, a kafir, the evil that hits him in this mortal world is only an ordinary sample of the ultimate punishment, the punishment of the world-to-come, which is much much more than the worldly punishment. And if this man is a believer, a mu'min, all his misfortunes become an expiation (kaffarah) of his sins in that case, and thereby become the very cause of his salvation in the Hereafter. Thus, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said in a hadith:

"No evil ever touches a Muslim, but it becomes a source of forgiveness for him - even the pinch of a thorn in his feet." (Mazhari from Tirmidhi)

In another hadith, reported by Abu Musa Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him he said:

"No hardship befalls a servant of Allah, be it light or tough, but it is always due to his sin - and the sins Allah forgives (without afflicting with a calamity) are much more." (Mazhari, from Tirmidhi)


The Prophet of Islam صلى الله عليه وسلم: His Prophethood is Universal


The words: (And We have sent you to be a Messenger for the people) appearing at the end of verse 79 prove that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been sent as a Messenger of Allah (Rasul) for all peoples of the world. He was not simply a Messenger for Arabs alone.

In fact, his prophethood is universal, open to all human beings of this entire universe, whether they are present at this point of time, or may come to be there right through the Qiyamah, the fateful Last Day of this universe of ours. (Mazhari)
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#340 [Permalink] Posted on 28th March 2012 10:08
Tafseer Of Suratun Nisaa', Verse 80




"Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys Allah and whoever turns away, then, We did not send you to stand guard over them."[80] (4:80)

Previous to this, there was the affirmation of prophethood. Now comes the statement which establishes the right of prophethood - it calls for compulsory obedience. In case hostile people refuse to obey, there are words of comfort for the noble Prophet of Islam who has been absolved of any responsibility for their lack of obedience.

The opening statement in the verse presents a very important principle bearing on the authority of the blessed Rasul of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Here, the obedience to the Prophet has been equated with obedience to Allah. From this it follows that whoever disobeys the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, invariably disobeys the command of Allah. Since, obedience to Allah is obligatory, even rationally - so, obedience to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also turns out to be equally obligatory.

As for the person who, inspite of the truth being all too manifest, elects to turn his back and reject the message given by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, then, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has been asked not to worry about the callous behaviour of such people because Allah has not sent His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to stand guard over their behaviour for which he is not responsible. It means that the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم is not duty-bound to see that they do not indulge in disbelief. He is simply not charged with the mission of stopping them from disbelieving. His mission is to deliver the Message. Once this is done, his duty as a Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stands fulfilled.

After that, if they still go about disbelieving, it is their business for which he is in no way accountable. (Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Tahaanwi رحمه الله, Bayan al-Qur'an)
[Ma'ariful Qur'aan]
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#341 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2012 11:19
Tafseer Of Suratun Nisaa', Verses 81-82





"And they say, "Obedience (we observe)." But when they go away from you, a group of them conspires at night contrary to what they say. And Allah records what they conspire. So ignore them and put your trust in Allah. And Allah is enough to trust in. [81] Do they not, then, ponder in the Qur'an? Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it a great deal of contradiction."[82] (4:81-82)

That obedience to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is obligatory was the subject of verse 80. Here, the Prophet was comforted in case the disbelievers rejected his message. Now comes a mention of some hypocrites who used to wriggle out of this obligation.


Commentary


The first verse (81) which begins with the words: (And they say, "Obedience (we observe)..." condemns those who practice a policy of double-dealing. They will say something verbally and have something else hidden in their hearts. Once this is established, what should be the attitude of the Messenger of Allah towards such a set of people? The latter part of the verse carries a special instruction about it.

An Important Instruction for a Leader


The verse: refers to the hypocrites who, when they came face to face with the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, said that they were quite obedient to him and had accepted what he had commanded them with. But, when they left his company, they got together and conspired as to how they could disobey him. This duplicity of theirs caused great pain to him. Thereupon, Allah Almighty instructed him to ignore them and continue with his mission placing his trust in Allah because Allah is all-sufficient for him.

From here we know that one who leads people has to go through all sorts of hardships. People tend to level absurd allegations against him. Then, there are enemies in the garb of friendship and trust around him. Despite the presence of all such obstacles, this leader must display determination and steadfastness and devote to his mission with full trust in Allah. If his objective and orientation is right, he will, Inshallah, succeed.


Deliberation in the Qur'an


Verse 82 begins with: (Do they not, then, ponder in the Qur'an?) Through this verse, Allah Almighty invites people to deliberate in the Qur'an. Noteworthy here are a few points. First of all, the words used are: (Do they not, then, ponder ...) and not (Do they not, then, recite.) Obviously, there is a delicate hint being given through this verse which is suggesting that if they were to look at the Qur'an deeply, they would find no discrepancy in its words and meanings. This sense can come only through the use of the word, 'tadabbur which means to ponder or deliberate. A plain recitation which is devoid of deliberation and deep thinking may lead one to start seeing contradictions which really do not exist there.

The second point which emerges from this verse is that the Qur'an itself demands that every human being should ponder over its meanings.

Therefore, to suppose that pondering in the Qur'an is the exclusive domain of its highest and the ablest exponents (the Imams and Mujtahids) is not correct. However, it is also true that the levels of deliberation will be different in terms of the different levels of knowledge and understanding. The deliberation of the great exponents will deduce the solution of thousands of problems from every single verse, while the deliberation of a common scholar will reach only as far as the very comprehension of such problems and their solutions. When common people recite the Qur'an and deliberate in its meanings through the medium of its translation and explanation in their own language, this will impress upon their hearts the greatness of Allah Almighty, develop love for Him and implant there a concern for the life-to-come, the Akhirah. This is the master key to success.

However, in order that common people stay safe from falling into doubts and misunderstandings, it is better that they should study the Qur'an, lesson by lesson, under the guidance of an 'alim. If this cannot be done, take to the study of some authentic and reliable tafsir (commentary, exegesis). Should some doubt arise during the course of such study, the wiser course is not to go for a solution on the basis of personal opinion, instead of which, one should consult expert scholars.


No Group or Individual Holds Monopoly on the Exegesis and Explication of Qur'an and Sunnah, but there are Conditions for it


The verse under reference tells us that everyone has the right to ponder in the Qur'an. But, as we have said earlier, the levels of tadabbur (deliberation) are different. Each one is governed by a separate rule. Let us take the serious deliberation of a great exponent, the 'tadabbur' of a master mujtahid. Through this methodology, solutions to problems are deduced from the Holy Qur'an at the highest level. For this purpose, it is necessary that one who is pondering in the Qur'an, should first acquaint himself with the basic rules employed in such deduction in order that the results he achieves are correct and sound. In case, he fails to arm himself with the basic postulates to begin with, or in case, his education and training in this discipline remain faulty; and in case, he does not ultimately possess the qualifications and conditions that must be found in a mujtahid exponent, then, it is obvious that he would come up with the wrong set of results. Now, this is a situation in which better-equipped scholars may challenge and contradict them, something they would be doing rightfully.

Think of a person who has never even walked the corridors of a medical college, yet he starts objecting as to why only trained doctors have been allowed to hold a monopoly of all medical treatment in the country, and why is it that he as a human being has not been allowed to exercise the right of treating patients?
Or, there may be a person who gags his reason and starts challenging as to why all contracts to build canals, bridges and dams are given to expert engineers only? Since, he is a citizen of the country, therefore, he too is fully deserving of discharging this service!

Or, there may be that person, devoid of reason who stands up raising an objection as to why legal experts alone have been allowed to hold monopoly over the interpretation and application of the law of the land, while he too, being sane and adult, can do the same job? Obviously, to that person, it would be said that, no doubt he has a right to do all such things as a citizen .of the country, but it is also true that one has to undergo the difficult stages of education, training and experience for years and years together in order to imbibe the ability to accomplish such tasks. This is not what one can do all by himself. One has to assimilate an enormous body of arts and sciences under expert teachers on his way to established degrees and subsequent recognition in the field. If this person is ready to first go through this grind, and come out successful therefrom, then, he too could certainly become an arm of law in these fields.

But, when this analogy is applied to the interpretation and application of Qur'an and Sunnah, a highly intricate and very delicate job indeed, we come across a barrage of taunts and accusations that the 'ulama' (religious scholars) hold a monopoly over the job! Is it that the interpretation and application of Qur'an and Sunnah requires no ability, no qualification? Are we saying that, in this wide world of ours, the knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah alone has come to be so orphaned, so heirless that everyone can start getting away with his own interpretation and application as a matter of right, even though the claimant has not spent even a few months devoted to learning the great discipline of Qur'an and Sunnah? This is terrible.


The Proof of Qiyas


It is from this verse that we also come to know an important rule, that is, when we do not find an explicit statement in the Qur'an and Sunnah about a certain problem, we should make the best of efforts to find a solution by a serious deliberation within these. This method is technically known as Qiyas or analogical deduction (Qurtubi).

See also:


The Need For Qiyas - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/2506_29-01-2012/12%29-seekers-quest-series-.-the-need-for-qiyas-%28analogy%29-in-fiqh.html

Qiyas, Shar'i Analogy & Taqleed - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/abu+mohammed/428_05-10-2010/qiyas,-shar%27i-analogy-%26amp%3B-taqleed.html

"A Great Deal of Contradiction"


The last sentence of verse 82: translated as 'Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it a great deal of contradiction' needs some explanation. Here, a great deal of contradiction' means: Had there been a contradiction in one subject, the contradiction in many subjects would obviously have become a great deal of contradiction (Bayan al-Qur'an). But, the truth of the matter is that there is just no contradiction anywhere in the Qur'an. So, this is the word of Allah Almighty.

This perfect uniformity cannot be found in the word of man. Then there is its unmatched eloquence which never tapers. It talks about the Oneness of Allah and the disbelief of men and lays down rules for the lawful and the unlawful, yet there is no inconsistency, no discrepancy in the process. It offers information about the unseen but there is not one bit of information which does not match with reality. Then there is the very order of the Qur'an which retains the quality of its diction all along, never ever touching a pitch which is low. The speech or writing of man is affected by circumstances. It varies with peace and distraction and happiness and sorrow. But, Qur'an is free of all sorts of incongruities and contradictions - actually, it is beyond any such thing. And this is a clear proof of its being the word of God.
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#342 [Permalink] Posted on 31st March 2012 08:10
Tafseer Of Suratun Nisaa', Verse 83




"And when there conies to them a matter about peace or fear, they spread it. Had they referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those of them who were to investigate it would have certainly known it (the truth of the matter). But for Allah's grace upon you, and mercy, you would have followed the Satan, save a few."[83] (4:83)

Commentary

The Background of Revelation


According to Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas, Dahhak and Abu Mu'adh (R.A), the verse: (And when there comes to them a matter about peace or fear, they spread it) was revealed about the hypocrites; and, according to Sayyidna Hasan and many others, this verse was revealed about weak Muslims (Ruh al-Ma'ani).

After having reported events relating to this verse, the famous commentator, Ibn Kathir has stressed on the importance of referring to the hadith of Sayyidna 'Umar ibn al-Khattab Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him while considering the background in which this verse was revealed. According to this, when Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him heard that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has divorced his wives, he left his house heading for the Masjid. While still at its door steps, he heard that people inside there were also talking about the matter. Seeing this, he said that this was something which must first be investigated. So, he went to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and asked him if he had divorced his wives. He said, "No." Sayyidna 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) says, "After having found out the truth of the matter, I returned to the Masjid and, standing on the door, I made an announcement that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has not divorced his wives. Whatever you are saying is wrong." Thereupon, the verse was revealed (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).


To Spread Rumours, Without Verification


This verse tells us that hearsay should not be repeated without prior investigation into its credibility. Thus, in a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said that 'for a man to be a liar, it is enough that he repeats everything he hears without first verifying its truth'. In another hadith, he said 'Whoever relates something he thinks is a lie,-then, he too is one of the two liars.' (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

See also:
Ascertain The Truth! - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/629_02-12-2010/ascertain-the-truth!.html


Who Are "Those in authority"?


Let us now determine the meaning of two expressions appearing in the sentence: which has been translated as: 'and had they referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those of them who were to investigate it would have certainly known it (the truth of the matter).' Literally, the later word, "istinbat" here refers to the act of drawing out water from the depth of a well. When a well is dug, the water that oozes out first is called mustambat water. But, the usage in this context means to get to the bottom of something and find out the truth of the matter. (Qurtubi)

As for the correct signification of the expression: (those in authority), positions taken by scholars vary. Sayyidna Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn Abi Laila, may Allah have mercy on them, say that this refers to Muslim scholars and jurists . Al-Suddi says that it means rulers and officials . After reporting both these statements, Abu Bakr al-Jassas takes a general view and maintains that the expression means both, which is the correct approach, because applies to all of them. However, some scholars doubt the possibility that could refer to Muslim jurists because , in its literal sense, means people whose orders are carried out administratively. Obviously, this is not what the Muslim jurists (. lu) do. Let us look at the reality of the thing. The implementation of authority takes two forms. Firstly, it can be done by using force, coercion and oppression. This is something which can only be done by those in authority.

The second from of obedience to authority comes from reliance and trust, and that stands reposed in revered Muslim jurists only, a demonstration of which has been all too visible in the lives of Muslims' in general in all ages where the general body of Muslims have been, by their own free will and choice, taking the decision and authority of religious scholars as the mandatory mode of action in all matters of religion. Then, according to the percepts of the Shari'ah, obedience to rules set by them is obligatory (wajib) on them as such. So, given this reason, the application of the term (those in authority) to them as well is correct. (al-Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jassas)

Details on this subject have already appeared, under the commentary on verse: (Say, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you - 4:59).



Qiyas and Ijtihad in Modern Problems


From this verse, we find out that rulings on problems not specifically mentioned in the authoritative texts (technically, nass) of the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah will be deduced in the light of the Qur'an using the principle of Ijtihad and Qiyas because this verse carries the command to turn to'the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him for the resolution of any new problems - if he is present at that time. And if he is not present, the command is to turn to religious scholars and jurists of the Muslim community , because they have the required ability to extract and formulate religious injunctions from the authoritative texts of the Qur'an and Hadith.

Points of guidance which emerge from the statement made above are:

1. In the absence of nass, explicit textual authority from the Qur'an and Hadith, the course of action is to turn to Fuqaha, and 'Ulama' (Muslim jurists and scholars).

2. The injunctions given by Allah are of two kinds. Some of them are there in the form of explicit textual imperatives (mansus and sarih). Then, there are some others which are not explicit and carry meanings which are hidden in the depths of the verses as willed by Allah in his infinite wisdom.

3. It is the duty of the 'Ulama' (religious scholars) to extract and formulate such meanings through the established methodology of Ijtihad and Qiyas.

4. For the great masses of Muslims, it is necessary that they should follow the guidance given by the 'Ulama' in such problems. (Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jasas)


The Prophetic Function of Deducing Injunctions


The statement: : 'those of them who were to investigate it would have certainly known it (the truth of the matter),' shows that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, too was obligated to the percept of extracting, formulating and reasoning out with proofs all injunctions that needed to be so handled. This is so because earlier in the verse the command was to turn towards two sources. Firstly, it was to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and secondly, to those in authority. After that it was said: (those of them who were to investigate it would have certainly known it.) And this injunction is general which covers both of the two parties cited above. So, it proves that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was also obligated with the function of deducing injunctions. (Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jassas)

An Important Note


If this verse makes someone suspect or assume that it has no relation with deducing injunctions of Shari'ah, it does not say anymore than give an instruction to people that they should not indulge in rumour-mongering in situations of peace and fear when faced with an enemy, instead of which, one should turn to the knowledgeable and trustworthy and act in accordance with the advice they give after due deliberation and that it has no connection with juristic or new legal problems.

In order to answer this doubt, it can be said that the sentence: (And when there comes to them a matter about peace or fear) in this verse makes no mention of an enemy. So, the state of peace and fear is universal. The way it relates to an enemy, so it does with day to day problems as well. This is so because the appearance of a problem before a commoner, a problem about which no textual authority relating to its being lawful or unlawful exists, throws him into a fix and he cannot decide which side to take as both sides hold the probability of gain and loss. The smartest way out devised by the Shari'ah of Islam in this impasse is that one should turn to those capable of extracting and formulating injunctions and act in accordance with the via media laid out by them. (Abridged from Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jassas)


The Outcome of Ijtihad


The legal ruling extracted by Muslim jurists from the texts through Istinbat (and Ijtihad) cannot categorically be declared as being the absolute truth in the sight of Allah. Instead of that, the probability always exists that this ruling might as well turn out to be not true. But, of course, what one gains out of it is positive, overwhelming and weightier opinion about its being true and correct, something which is good enough to act upon. (al-Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jasas and Tafsir Kabir) [Ma'aariful Qur'aan]
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#343 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd April 2012 09:23
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisa, Verse 84




"So, fight in the way of Allah. You are not responsible hut for yourself. And persuade the believers. It is likely that Allah will prevent the mischief of those who disbelieve. And Allah is the strongest in war and the mightiest in punishing."[84] (4:84)

Commentary

The Background of Revelation


When the battle of Uhud came to pass in the month of Shawwal, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, in keeping with the promised date set by the disbelievers, started preparations to confront them at Badr in the month of Dhi-Qa'dah (historians identify which as the minor Badr). At that time, some people betrayed a little hesitation in going along because of having been recently wounded, while some others did so because of rumours.

Thereupon, Allah Almighty revealed this verse where guidance has been given to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him that he should ignore the infirm and the scared among Muslims and show no hesitation in marching on to Jihad even if it has to be all alone, for Allah is his helper. With this guidance on hand, he went ahead to Badr Minor with seventy Companions as promised to Abu Sufyan after the battle of Uhud. There it so happened that Allah Almighty put awe and fear in the hearts of Abu Sufyan and his disbelieving accomplices from the tribe of Quraysh. Not one of them showed up for the fight as a result of which they turned out to be false in their solemn promise. Thus, as the text says, Allah Almighty prevented the mischief of the disbelievers and the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him returned back with his companions safely (Qurtubi & Mazhari).


The Eloquent Style of Qur'anic Injunctions


The verse begins with the command to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him: 'So, fight in the way of Allah'. This direction is addressed to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him which implies that he should fight alone - irrespective of whether anyone is ready to go with him. But, in the second sentence following immediately, it was also said that he should not shelve or surrender the mission of inducing other Muslims to join in the Jihad. However, if they remain unresponsive even after the effort of persuasion, the mission of the prophet has been accomplished who, from that point onwards, will not be responsible for what they do.

In addition to this, the possible danger in having to fight alone has been removed by saying: 'It is likely that Allah will prevent the mischief of those who disbelieve': May be He puts awe in their hearts and they stand subdued and he succeeds all alone. How could such success become possible? The proof follows immediately when it is declared that he is being helped and supported by Allah Almighty whose strength and might at war far exceeds those of such disbelievers, therefore, it is certain that success has got to be his. After that, coupled with this statement about the Divine strength in war, the text relates how Allah is the mightiest in punishing. This punishment may be on the Day of Judgement as obvious, or may come right here in this mortal world as stated by some commentators. Whichever the case, 'Allah is the strongest in war and the mightiest in punishing.'
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#344 [Permalink] Posted on 3rd April 2012 08:34
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisa, Verses 85-87






"And whoever makes a good recommendation, there shall be for him a share from it (in the Hereafter). And whoever makes a bad recommendation, there shall be for him a share from it. And Allah is powerful over everything. [85] And when you are greeted with a salutation, greet with one better than it, or return the same. Surely, Allah is the reckoner over everything. [86] Allah: There is no god but He. He shall, certainly, gather you towards the Day of Doom. There is no doubt about it. And who is more true, than Allah, in his word?"[87] (4:85-87)

Commentary

The Reality of Recommendation and its Rules and Kinds


Verse 85 beginning with points out to the act of : 'shafa'ah' (recommendation) under two heads, the good and the bad, a division which helps clarify its nature. The added message here is that no recommendation is universally good or bad. What has to be realized is that one who makes a good recommendation shall have a share in the reward it brings and whoever makes a bad recommendation shall have a share in the punishment it brings. It will be noted that the word : 'nasibun' (share) has been used with : 'shafa'atan hasanatan' (good recommendation) while the word : 'kiflun' (share) has been used with : 'shafa'atan sayyiatan' (bad recommendation). Lexically, both words carry the some meaning, that is, a share of something. But, in common usage, 'nasib' refers to a good share while the word 'kifl' is, more than often, used to identify a bad share, although there are occasions when 'kifl' is also used for a good share as well, like (two shares from His mercy) in the Holy Qur'an.

The literal meaning of 'shafa'ah' is to meet, to join; or, cause to meet or join. This is why the word 'shaf means an even number, a pair or couple in Arabic, the antonym of which is referred to as 'witr' or odd. So, speaking literally, 'shafa'ah' means the coupling of one's strength with that of a weak seeker of justice and thus making it stronger in appeal. Or, in other words, joining in with some helpless solitary person and thus giving him the strength of a pair.

From here we find out that for recommendation to be fair and permissible the condition is that the claim of the person being recommended be true and permissible. Then, in the second place, it may be that a person cannot carry his claim all by himself to those in authority because of his weakness or lack of resource, something which you may do for him. Thus, we can clearly see that making a recommendation for what is not true and rightful, or forcibly influencing others to accept it, is included under bad recommendation. Consequently, we also know that pressure or authority exerted through the channels of one's connections and influence is also not permissible because it is an act of injustice. Therefore, this too will be counted as 'bad recommendation'.

To sum up the meaning of the verse, it can be said that one who makes a recommendation following the permissible way for someone's permissible claim or job, will have a share in its reward. Similarly, one who makes a recommendation for something impermissible or uses an impermissible method to do so, will have a share in its punishment.

Having a share means that, should the person to whom the recommendation has been made do the needful for the one oppressed or deprived, the person making the recommendation will be rewarded very much like the official who has listened to the recommendation and removed the injustice or deprivation cited therein. Similarly, one who makes a recommendation for something impermissible will obviously become a sinner - we already know that the reward or punishment of the maker of a recommendation does not depend on his recommendation becoming effective and fruitful; he will get his share in any case.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: that is, a person who brings someone around to do a good deed gets a reward similar to that received by the doer of the good deed. In another hadith from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him appearing in Ibn Majah, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said:

Whoever helps in the killing of a Muslim even by part of a word will face Allah with a sign written (on his forehead) in between his eyes: (This man is) "deprived from the mercy of Allah)".

From here we find out that prompting someone to do a good deed is a good deed in its own right and carries an identical reward for having done it and, by the same token, prompting someone to do an evil deed or to indulge in an act of sin is also a sin of equal gravity.

Towards the end of verse 85, it was said: which has been translated as: 'And Allah is powerful over everything'. Lexically, the word, : 'muqit' means powerful as well as the observer and the dispenser of sustenance. All these three meanings can be deduced from this statement. In the first sense, the meaning would be that Allah is powerful over everything. For Him the rewarding and punishing of the one who makes a recommendation and the one who executes it is not difficult.

Taken in the second sense, the meaning would be that Allah is ever-present observing everything. He knows best who is making a recommendation with what intention, such as, is it being done sincerely to help out some brother-in-faith just for the sake of Allah and His pleasure, or the purpose is to make him a target of self-interest and get some advantage out of him as a bribe. Taken in the third sense, the meaning would be that Allah Almighty is Himself responsible for the dispensation of sustenance; whatever He has written for someone has got to reach him. A recommendation by someone is not going to leave Him. choiceless. In fact, He will bestow on whomsoever He wills as much of sustenance as He wills. However, the maker of a good recommendation gets a reward for free because he has extended a helping hand to the helpless.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said:

Allah keeps helping His servant as long as he keeps helping his brother.

It is on this basis that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said as reported in a hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari:

Recommend and be rewarded and then be pleased with whatever Allah decides through His prophet.

While this hadith declares recommendation as a source of Divine reward, it also defines the limit of such recommendation. If a weak person cannot carry his problem onward to a higher authority, or is incapable of explaining correctly what he needs, then, you do it for him. Further from that what happens is none of your business. The recommendation may be accepted or it may be rejected. What a person needs to be done may be done, or it may remain undone. These are possibilities and you should not interfere in the process of decisionmaking in any manner whatsoever. Should the final outcome turn out to be against the recommendation made, you should never end up being displeased or disgusted.
The last sentence of the hadith quoted above: means just this.

Also, due to this reason, the words of the Holy Qur'an carry a hint in this direction, that is, the reward or punishment on the making of a recommendation does not depend on a successful recommendation. Such reward or punishment relates to the initial act of making a recommendation in the absolute sense. If you make a good recommendation, you become deserving of a reward and if you make a bad recommendation, you become liable to punishment - the approval or rejection of your recommendation does not matter.

The commentators of Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit and Bayan al-Qur'an and several others take the word 'minha' in verse 85 as indicative of cause and see a hint in this direction. Al-Tafsir al-Mazhari reports from the great exegete Mujahid that one who makes a recommendation will get a reward for having made it, even though the recommendation may not have been accepted. Then, this approach is not specially related to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in person. Any recommendation made to any other human being should be bound by this principle - make the recommendation and be done with it. Moving any further to compel the addressee of the recommendation to accept it is not right and fair.

This is illustrated by an incident in the blessed life of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. He made a recommendation to Sayyidah Barirah, a bondwoman freed by Sayyidah 'A'ishah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her that her husband Mughith from whom she had dissolved her marriage was really disturbed emotionally because he loved her, so she may think of remarrying him. Sayyidah Barirah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her said: 'Ya Rasulallah, if this is your command, I am all for it; but, if this is a recommendation, then, I just do not feel like accepting it at all.' The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Yes, this is a recommendation and not a command.' Sayyidah Barirah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her, may Allah be pleased with her, knew that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him will not feel bad about what is against the set rule. Therefore, in all frankness, she said: 'Then I do not accept this recommendation.' He took it very gracefully and let her stay the way she was.

This was the whole reality behind the act of recommendation, something which brought merit and reward under the legal code of Islam. But, in our day, people have so mutilated the whole thing that no 'shafa'ah' or recommendation remains what it was intended to be. What we witness now is a pushy exercise of cashing on the basis of connections, acquaintance and VIP influence for which relentless pressure is exerted. This is why people become angry when their recommendation is not accepted. Some would even stoop down to open hostility, although pressurizing a person to a limit where he is compelled to do something against his conscience and good discretion is included under compulsion and coercion and is a grave sin.

This is just like someone forcibly usurping the claim, right or property belonging to the other person. Wasn't that person free and independent as established by the law of Islam? Here comes someone who deprives him of his freedom of action by pressing him to do something against his free will and conscience. This would be like stealing from someone and giving it to a destitute in order to fulfil his need.


Receiving Payment Against a Recommendation is Bribe and is Absolutely Forbidden


A recommendation against which anything is taken in return becomes a bribe. The hadith declares it to be an ill-gotten property which is haram (forbidden). This includes all kinds of bribe whether money-oriented or job-related, for instance, harnessing someone to do a personal chore in return for having done something for him.

According to Tafsir al-Kashshaf, a good recommendation is that which aims at fulfilling the right of a Muslim, or to bring some permissible benefit to him, or to shield him from harm or loss. Furthermore, this act of recommendation should not be for any worldly expediency. It should be aimed at helping a weak person exclusively for seeking the pleasure of Allah. Then no bribe, financial or physical, should be taken against this recommendation and that this recommendation should also not be about things not permissible. In addition to all that, the purpose of this recommendation should not be to seek pardon for a proven crime the punishment for which stands fixed in the Holy Qur'an.

It appears in Tafsir Al-Bahr Al-Muhit and al-Mazhari that praying to Allah that the need of some Muslim be fulfilled is also included under 'good recommendation', the reward for which reaches the maker of the prayer as well. According to a hadith, when someone prays for the good of his brother-in-faith, the angel says 'may Allah fulfill your need as well.'


Salam and Islam: The Bliss of Muslim Greeting


In verse 86 Allah Almighty tells us the etiquette of offering and returning greetings known as Salam among Muslims.

Lexically, : 'Tahiyyah' means saying : 'Hayyakallah', that is, 'may Allah keep you alive'. In pre-Islam Arabia, when people met, they used to greet each other by saying 'Hayyakallah' or An'amallahu bika 'aynan' or 'An'im sabahan' or other expression of this nature. When Islam came, it changed this style of greeting and replaced it with a standard form of greeting which is : 'As-Salamu 'Alaikum' Commonly, though incompletely, translated in English as 'peace be on you', the greeting means: 'May you remain safe from every pain, sorrow and distress.'

In Ahkam al-Qur'an, Ibn 'Arabi says: The word Salam is one of the good names of Allah Almighty and 'As-Salamu Alaikum' means that is, Allah Almighty is your guardian and caretaker.

See also:


Salaam Do's and Dont's - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/virtues/5855/assalaamu-alaykum-do-s-dont-s.html

The Islamic Greeting is Unique


All civilized people around the world have the custom of saying something to express mutual familiarity or affection when they meet each other. If compared with these broadmindedly, the Islamic form of greeting will stand out significantly for its comprehensiveness because it does not simply restrict itself to an expression of affection alone. It rather combines it with the fulfillment of the demands of love and affection. It means that we pray to Allah that He keep you safe against all calamities and sorrows. Then, this is no bland prayer for long life alone as was the way with pre-Islam Arabs. Instead of that, here we have a prayer for good life, that is, a life which is secure against all calamities and sorrows. Along with it, the Islamic salam is an expression of the reality of our relation with Allah Almighty - that we, the greeter and the greeted, are all dependent on Allah Almighty needing Him all the time and no one can bring any benefit to someone else without His will and leave. Taken in this sense, this form of greeting is an act of worship in its own right and, quite functionally indeed, a medium of reminding a brother-in-faith of Allah Almighty, the object of his obedience and love.

Staying with this line of presentation, let us imagine a person praying to Allah that his acquaintance remain safe against all calamities and sorrows. When doing so, is it not that he is sort of making a promise as well that the person being greeted is safe against his own hands and tongue. In other words, he is saying that he, in his place, is the guardian and protector of the person's life, property and honour.
In Ahkam al-Qur'an, Ibn al-'Arabi has reported the following saying of Imam Ibn 'Uyaynah:

Do you know what salam is? The greeter by salam says: 'You are safe from me.'

To sum up, it can be said that this Islamic form of greeting has a universal comprehensiveness as it is a medium of the remembrance of Allah while reminding the person greeted of Him. It is a vehicle of expressing love and affection for a brother-in-faith and, in fact, a wonderful prayer for him. Then, it also carries a commitment that the greeted will in no way face harm or discomfort from the greeter as it appears is a sound hadith where the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

A Muslim is the one from whom all Muslims remain safe - (safe) from his tongue and (safe) from his hands. (Tirmidhi, Kitabul-'Iman)

At this point one may fondly wish that Muslims would not utter the words of this greeting as some sort of habitual custom which commonly prevails among other people of the world. How beneficial it would be if this greeting is offered out of a full understanding of its reality which, perhaps, may turn out to be enough for the reform of whole community. This is the reason why the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him laid great emphasis on popularizing the practice of Muslims in greeting each other with salam, and he identified it as the best of deeds and took time to explain its merits, graces, blessings and rewards.

In a hadith of Sahih Muslim narrated by Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said:

"You cannot enter Paradise until you are a believer and your belief cannot be complete until you love each other. I tell you something which, if you put it in practice, will establish bonds of love among you all, and that is: Make salam a common practice among you which should include every Muslim, whether an acquaintance or a stranger."

Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that someone asked the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him: 'Out of the practices of Islam which is the worthiest?' He said: 'Feed people and spread the practice of salam, whether you know or do not know a person.' (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud report from Sayyidna Abu Umamah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Nearest to Allah is the person who is the first one to offer salam.'

A hadith from Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him appearing in Musnad al-Bazzar and al-Mu'jim al-Kabir of al-Tabarani reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Salam is one of the names of Allah Almighty with which He has blessed the people of the earth. So, make salam a common practice among you because, when a Muslim goes to a gathering of people and offers his salam to them, he is blessed with a station of distinction in the sight of Allah Almighty as he reminded everyone of Salam, that is, reminded everyone of Allah Almighty. If people in the gathering do not return his greeting, others will respond who are better than the people of this gathering, that is, the angels of Allah Almighty.'

In another hadith from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is reported to have said: 'A big miser is the man who acts miserly in offering salam. (Tabarani, al-Mu'jim al-Kabir)*

The effect that those teachings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had on his noble Companions can be gauged from a narration about Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him who would frequently go to the bazar just for the single purpose of having a chance to meet any Muslim there in the hope of offering salam to him and thus become deserving of the reward of an act of worship. Incidentally, he never intended to buy or sell anything while there. This narration from Sayyidna Tufayl ibn Ubayy ibn Ka'b Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him appears in Mu'atta' of Imam Malik.

Verse 4:86 of the Holy Qur'an which says: 'And when you are greeted with a salutation, greet with one better than it, or return the same', was explained by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him through his own action in the following manner. Once someone came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and said: 'As-Salamu 'Alaikum Ya Rasulallah' (peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah). While returning the greeting, he added a word and said: 'Wa Alaikumus-Salam wa RahmatuWah (And peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah). Then someone else came and offered his salam using the following words: 'As-Salamu Alaika Ya Rasulallah wa Rahmatullah.'

In response, he added yet another word and said: 'Wa Alaikumus-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh (And peace be on you too, and the mercy of Allah, and His blessings). Then came a third person. He combined all three salutations in his initial salam and greeted him by saying the whole thing, that is: 'As-Salamu Alaik Ya Rasulallah wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.' In response, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said only one word 'Wa Alaik' (and on you). Disappointed in his heart, he said: 'Ya Rasulallah, ransomed be my parents for you, you said many words of prayer while returning the greeting of those who came before me. But, when I greeted you with all those words, you limited your response to 'wa 'alaik' (and on you).' He said: 'You left nothing for me to add in the response! Since you used up all those words in your initial salam, I found it sufficient to return your greeting on the principle of like for like in accordance with the teaching of the Qur'an.' This narration has been reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim with different chains of authorities.

There are three things we find out from this hadith: Words appearing in the verse under comment mean that a salam offered should be returned by adding more words to it. If someone says As-salamu 'Alaikum (peace be on you), you respond by saying Wa Alaikumus-Salam wa Rahmatullah (And peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah). If he says As-Salamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullah (peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah), then, in response, you say Wa 'Alaikumus-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh (And peace be on you, and the mercy of Allah, and His blessings).

2. This addition of words is restricted to three words only as a masnun act, that is, conforming to the blessed practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Going beyond that is not masnun. The logic behind it is obvious. The occasion for salam requires that the verbal exchange be brief. Any excess in this connection which interferes with ongoing business or which becomes heavy on the listener is not appropriate. Therefore, when the person visiting the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him combined all three words in his very initial salam, he elected to abstain from any further addition of words. This was further explained by Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him by saying that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him stopped the man who went beyond the limit of the three words with the following statement: (Mazhari from al-Baghawi). It means that salam ends at the word, barakah. Saying anything beyond that was not the practice of the blessed Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him (Ibn Kathir)

3. If someone makes his salam with three words spoken at the same time, returning it with only one word will be correct. That too comes under the principle of like for like and is sufficient in obedience to the Qur'anic command (or return the same) as the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has, in this hadith, considered a one-word response as sufficient. (Tafsir Mazhari)
In summation, we can say that it is obligatory on a Muslim to return the salam offered to him. If he fails to do so without any valid excuse admitted by the Shari'ah of Islam, he will become a sinner. However, he has the option to choose the mode. He can either respond with words better than those used in offering the salam; or, the response could be in identical words.

It will be noticed that this verse very clearly states that returning a salam is obligatory but it is not explicit on the nature of offering a salam initially. However, in the Qur'anic expression (And when you are greeted .. ) there does lie a hint pointing towards this rule of conduct. That this statement is in the passive voice without identifying the subject precisely could be suggestive of salam being something all Muslims already do habitually and commonly.

The Musnad of Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud report that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Nearest to Allah is the person who is the first to offer salam.' So, from the emphasis on salam and its many merits you have learnt from the teachings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him cited earlier, we get to understand that offering the initial salam has also been emphasized as part of the practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. According to Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, the initial salam is actually a sunnah mu'akkadah (emphasized practice of the Prophet of Islam) as held by the majority of 'Ulama. And Hasan al-Basri Rahmatullahi 'Alayh: Allah have mercy upon him 'the initial salam is voluntary while returning it is an obligation.'

Some more detailed explanations of this Qur'anic injunctions about salam and its answer have been given by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, which the reader may wish to know briefly. According to a hadith in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the person riding should himself offer salam to the person walking; and the person walking should offer salam to the person sitting; and a small group of persons walking near a larger group should be the first to offer salam.

According to a hadith in Tirmidhi, when a person enters his house, he should offer salam to the members of his family as this act of grace will bring blessings for him as well as for his family.

According to a hadith in Abu Dawud, when one meets a Muslim more than once, he should offer salam every time; and the way offering salam is masnun (a requirement of sunnah) at the time of the initial meeting, so it is at the time of seeking leave when offering salam is in line with the practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him , and a source of reward as well. This rule of guidance appears in Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud as narrated by Sayyidna Qatadah and Abu HurairahRadhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him.
Now a note of caution about the rule: It is obligatory to answer salam - however, there are certain exceptions to it.

For instance, if someone says salam to a person who is offering salah, an answer is not obligatory. Indeed, it is a spoiler of salah. Similarly, a person may be delivering a religious sermon, or is busy in reciting the Holy Qur'an, or is calling the adhan or iqamah, or is teaching religious texts, or is busy with his human compulsions - in all such conditions, even offering the initial salam is not permissible, and he is not responsible for answering it as a matter of obligation either.

Towards the end of verse 86, it was said: (Surely, Allah is the Reckoner over everything). It means that with Allah rests the reckoning of everything which includes all human and Islamic rights such as salam and its answer. These too will have to be accounted for before Allah Almighty.

After that comes verse 87 which means that there is no object worthy of worship other than Allah. So, it exhorts: Believe in Him as the only object of your worship and whatever you do let that be with the intention of an act of worship or 'ibadah before Him. He will gather everyone on the Day of Qiyamah, the fateful Day of Doom, in which there is no doubt. That will be the Day when He will give everyone the return for whatever deeds he will come up with the promise that Qiyamah will come and the news that there will be reward and punishment at that time is all true. This is true because this 'news' of what will happen is given by Allah, - and whose word can be more true than that of Allah?
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#345 [Permalink] Posted on 4th April 2012 11:38
Tafseer Of Surah an-Nisa, Verses 88-91







"So, what is the matter with you that you have become two groups about the hypocrites, while Allah has upturned them because of what they did. Do you want to guide the one whom Allah has let go astray? And the one whom Allah lets go astray, for him you shall never find a way. [88]

They wish that you should disbelieve, as they have disbelieved, and thus you become all alike. So, do not take friends from among them unless they migrate in the way of Allah. Then, if they turn away, sieze them, and kill them wherever you find them, and do not take from among them a friend or a helper. [89]

Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty, or who come to you their hearts declining to fight you or to fight their people -- And if Allah had so willed, He would have given them power over you, then they would have fought you -- so, if they stay away from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them. [90]

You will find others who want to be secure from you, and secure from their own people. Whenever they are called back to the mischief, they are thrown into it. So, if they do not stay away from you and do not offer peace to you, and do not restrain their hands, then seize them, and kill them wherever you find them, and against these we have given you an open authority."[91]
(4:88-91)

Commentary


The verses quoted above describe three groups of people about whom two injunctions have been given. The following narrations clarify events surrounding these groups:

1. 'Abdullah ibn Hamid (may Allaah have mercy on him) has narrated from Mujahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) that some disbelievers of Makkah came to Madinah. They pretended to have become Muslims and claimed to have come there as emigrants. Later, they turned into apostates. They went to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, told him about their plan to go to Makkah to buy merchandise from there. Having made their false excuse, they departed for Makkah and never returned. There arose a difference of opinion about their behaviour among the Muslims of Madinah. Some said that they were believers. It was in verse 88: (So what is the matter with you that you have become two groups about the hypocrites) where Allah Almighty declared that they were disbelievers and should be killed.

Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanavi (may Allaah have mercy on him) has explained the Qur'anic word, 'munafiq' (hypocrite) by saying that they were hypocrites when they claimed to have become Muslims - they had never believed in their hearts.

The fact was that hypocrites were not killed because they concealed their inner disbelief. But, the case of these people was different as their apostacy had come out in the open. As for those who took them to be Muslims, they may have, perhaps, taken a benign view of their action under some interpretation. However, this interpretation was based on sheer opinion not supported by any proof from the Shari'ah. That is why no reliance was placed on it.

2. Ibn Abi Shaybah (may Allaah have mercy on him) has narrated from Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) that Suraqah ibn Malik al-Mudlaji visited the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him after the events of Badr and Uhud and requested him to make peace with his tribe, Bani Mudlaj. Thereupon, he sent Sayyidna Khalid Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him to them to conclude a peace treaty. The terms of the treaty were as follows:

"We will not support anyone against the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. If the Quraysh become Muslims, We too shall become Muslims. All tribes who enter into alliance with us, they too shall become a party with us in this treaty."

Thereupon, this verse: -- (They wish that you disbelieve like they have disbelieved) was revealed.

3. It has been narrated from Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that the people mentioned in the verse: (You will find others who want to be secure from you) are those belonging to the tribes of Asad and Ghitfan who, when they came to Madinah, professed Islam outwardly, but to their own people they would confide that they had really believed in monkeys and scorpions while before Muslims they would piously declare that they were followers of their faith.

However, Dahhak (may Allaah have mercy on him) ascribes this conduct to the tribe of 'Abd al-Dar according to a report from Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas (radiallaahu 'anhuma). The first and the second narration appears in Ruh al-Ma'ani, while the third narration can be seen in Ma'alim.

Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanavi (may Allaah have mercy on him) likens the state of those mentioned in the third narration as that of the first one since it proves that they were no Muslims to begin with, therefore, they fall under the injunction governing disbelievers in general, that is, 'do not fight them in the presence of a peace treaty - otherwise, do.' Thus, regarding those mentioned in the first narration, the second verse (89): (then if they turn away, sieze them and kill them) carries the injunction that they be arrested and killed, while the statement in the third verse (90): (except those who join a group with whom you have a treaty) gives them a clear exemption in the event of peace, a situation which finds mention in the second narration. This exemption has been emphasised once again in (if they stay away from you) later in the same verse (90).

Regarding those mentioned in the third narration, it has been said in the fourth verse (91): (you will find others ....) which means that should these people refuse to leave you alone and insist on fighting, then do fight against them. From this, it can be deduced that in the event they make peace, there should be no fighting against them. (Bayan al-Qur'an)

In short, the three groups mentioned here are:

1. Those who do not emigrate despite their ability to do so in a period of time when emigration was a pre-requisite of faith in Islam. Or, after having emigrated, they go out of the new abode of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and return to the abode of disbelief (Dar al-Kufr).

2. Those who themselves enter a no-war pact with Muslims or those who join hands with those entering into such a pact.

3. Those who make peace to buy time and once there comes an occasion to fight a war against Muslims, they would readily join the enemy camp throwing all treaty obligations to winds.

The injunction governing the first group is similar to that which governs the disbelievers in general. The second groups is exempted from being arrested and killed. The third group deserves the same punishment as fixed for the first. These verses yield a total of two injunctions, that is, fighting in the absence of peace; and not fighting in the event of peace.


Different Forms of Emigration and Their Rules


Hijrah (Emigration) mentioned in verse 89 has been taken up in detail under the commentary on verse 100 of Surah al-Nisa' which appears a little later. At this point, it is sufficient to know that Emigration from the homeland of Disbelief (Darul-kufr) was enjoined on all Muslims during the early period of Islam. It is for this reason that Allah Almighty has prohibited treating those who fail to carry out this obligation as Muslims. Consequently, when Makkah was conquered, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him declared: (There is no Hijrah after the Victory). It means: 'Now that the Conquest of Makkah has made it the Abode of Islam, emigration from there was no more obligatory.'

This rule related to the period of time when Emigration was considered to be a pre-condition of anyone's faith. During those days, anyone who did not emigrate despite having the ability to do so was not taken to be a Muslim. But, later on, this injunction was abrogated [It means that emigration no longer remained a pre-requisite for his being Muslim. However, if a Muslim lives in a non-Muslim country where he cannot fulfill his religious obligations, it is incumbent on him to emigrate if he has the means to do so. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)] and now this mode of Emigration has ceased to exist.

There remains, however, another form of Hijrah which has been identified in a hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari where it was said: . It means that Hijrah (not in the sense of abandoning one's homeland, but in the sense of abandoning one's sins) will continue to exist until there remains the time to repent.

'Allamah 'Ayni, the commentator of al-Bukhari has said about this Hijrah: (This later Hijrah means the abandonment of sins). This subject also finds elucidation in a hadith of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him where he is reported to have said: It means that a Muhajir (Emigrant) is one who emigrates ('hajara': abandon, leave) from everything prohibited by Allah Almighty (al-Mirqat, v.l)

The discussion appearing above tells us that, technically, the word, Hijrah is applied in a dual sense:

1. To leave one's homeland in order to save one's faith as was done by the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all - they left their homeland of Makkah and emigrated to Madinah and Ethiopia.

2. To leave one's sins.

The words of the verse 89: (and do not take from them a friend or a helper) tell us that seeking help from disbelievers is forbidden (Haram). Pursuant to this, it appears in a narration that the Ansars of Madinah sought the permission of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to seek help from the Jews to offset disbelievers whereupon he said: (The bad ones! We do not need them). (Mazhari, v.2)
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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