Surah Hujurat (1/3)

Surah Hujurat (1/3)


Qur'anic Exegesis

Tone of the Surah and its Relationship with the Previous one

This surah is an addendum and supplement to the preceding surah: Surah Fath. The last verse of the previous surah mentions with reference to the Torah the following attribute of the Prophet (sws) and his companions (rta):مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗۤ اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَی الۡکُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَیۡنَہُمۡ : 29) 48( (Muhammad, the Messenger of God and those who are with him are stern to the disbelievers but merciful to one another, (48:29)).This whole surah is an explanation of this verse. The importance of this verse has already been elaborated upon in the tafsir of the previous surah. It was the importance of this verse which required that all of its implications and insinuations be elucidated here and which are essential for the reformation of the Muslim society. I have already explained this at a relevant place in this tafsir that these directives were revealed in the Qur'an in accordance with the requirements of the circumstances so that people become aware of their importance. Thus this surah too was revealed in circumstances when certain things emanated from converts that showed that neither were they fully aware of the status and position of the Prophet (sws) nor of their responsibilities in an Islamic society. Thus important directives, which were necessary for the circumstances of those times, were revealed in this supplementarysurah. All these directives relate to the mutual rights of the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims. The matter of the disbelievers is not discussed in it. The attitude which Muslims should adopt towards them has been alluded to in the previous surahs.

The nature of relationship of Surah Nur with Surah Mu'minun in the third group of surahs is the same as the relationship of this surah with that of Surah Fath. Both surahs also have a similar.

Analysis of the Meanings

Verses (1-5): Muslims are warned that Muhammad (sws) is a Messenger of God. Muslims are not allowed to give priority to their own views over the views and directives of the Prophet (sws). They must not raise their voice above his, nor must they address him as they address one another. The Almighty nurtures the seed of piety in only those hearts which have regard and respect for the Prophet (sws). Those who express their superiority while talking to him because they think that they have done Allah and the Prophet (sws) a favour by accepting Islam should be aware that this attitude might render in vain all their deeds while they may not even realize this loss.

Verses (6-10): The dealings of Muslims with one another should be based on brotherhood and fraternity and not on the basis of association with a particular party or group. It is totally forbidden for a Muslim faction to launch an assault over another Muslim faction by trusting the account of an evil doer, something on which they would themselves feel ashamed later on. In all important affairs, they should leave the decision-making to the Prophet (sws) and follow his directives. To obtain the support and sympathy of the Prophet (sws), no party should unduly pressurize him. This would be showing disregard to the blessing of faith the Almighty has bestowed on them . After tasting the flavour of faith, any deed unworthy of it would be tantamount to a return to disbelief and disobedience. The Almighty has endeared faith to them and made disbelief and wrongdoing abhorrent to them precisely to prevent this return. The surah further gives guidance to the believers when two of their parties take up arms against one another. They must not support either of these parties because of their association with it; instead they should view the whole affair with justice and fairness and try to make peace between them. If one of the parties refuses to submit to what has been ascertained as justice, then Muslims should forcibly make it submit to it.

Verses (11-13): Muslims are advised to refrain from all activities which create hatred among them and which ignite the flames of disorder and disruption in the society. No Muslim should mock or make fun of another Muslim or defame him or call him by insulting names. Muslims should avoid immoderate suspicion, and also refrain from hunting down each others' mistakes. Moreover, they must abstain from backbiting. Pride and vanity about one's clan, family or creed are relics of the period of jahiliyyah before Islam and must not be continued. The Almighty has created all mankind from a single pair of man and woman: Adam and Eve. The real aim behind dividing mankind into various groups and tribes is merely to identify each separately. The basis of honour in the sight of Allah is piety and not association with a particular clan or tribe.

Verses (14-18):The concluding verses, in essence, reiterate what had been hinted at the beginning of the surah. It becomes clear from these verses that the people under discussion in the initial verses of the surah are the Bedouins who lived in the vicinity of Madinah and who had accepted Islam only because they were over-awed by its increasing political strength. Therefore, the true essence of faith had not found its way into their hearts and they arrogantly reckoned that they had done the Prophet (sws) a great favour by accepting Islam. As a result, they had developed a conceited attitude and behaviour, about which they have been warned in the beginning of the surah. Here, at the end, the Almighty has asked the Prophet (sws) to convey to these people that they must not think that Islam is indebted to them; the Almighty has full knowledge of their inner and outer selves. Though they have submitted, yet faith has not found its roots in their hearts. They have done Islam no favour by accepting faith; rather the Almighty has done them a favour by guiding them to faith. If they now fulfill the obligations which their faith now imposes on them, they shall be duly rewarded, for the Almighty is watching all their deeds.

Section I: Verses (1-10)

Text and Translation

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تُقَدِّمُوۡا بَیۡنَ یَدَیِ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱﴾ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَرۡفَعُوۡۤا اَصۡوَاتَکُمۡ فَوۡقَ صَوۡتِ النَّبِیِّ وَ لَا تَجۡہَرُوۡا لَہٗ بِالۡقَوۡلِ کَجَہۡرِ بَعۡضِکُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ اَنۡ تَحۡبَطَ اَعۡمَالُکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۲﴾اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَغُضُّوۡنَ اَصۡوَاتَہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰہِ اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ امۡتَحَنَ اللّٰہُ قُلُوۡبَہُمۡ لِلتَّقۡوٰی ؕ لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃٌ وَّ اَجۡرٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۳﴾ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُنَادُوۡنَکَ مِنۡ وَّرَآءِ الۡحُجُرٰتِ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾ وَ لَوۡ اَنَّہُمۡ صَبَرُوۡا حَتّٰی تَخۡرُجَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ لَکَانَ خَیۡرًا لَّہُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۵﴾یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ جَآءَکُمۡ فَاسِقٌۢ بِنَبَاٍ فَتَبَیَّنُوۡۤا اَنۡ تُصِیۡبُوۡا قَوۡمًۢا بِجَہَالَۃٍ فَتُصۡبِحُوۡا عَلٰی مَا فَعَلۡتُمۡ نٰدِمِیۡنَ ﴿۶﴾وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ فِیۡکُمۡ رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰہِ ؕ لَوۡ یُطِیۡعُکُمۡ فِیۡ کَثِیۡرٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡرِ لَعَنِتُّمۡ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ حَبَّبَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡاِیۡمَانَ وَ زَیَّنَہٗ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ کَرَّہَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡکُفۡرَ وَ الۡفُسُوۡقَ وَ الۡعِصۡیَانَ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الرّٰشِدُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۷﴾ فَضۡلًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ نِعۡمَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۸﴾ وَ اِنۡ طَآئِفَتٰنِ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اقۡتَتَلُوۡا فَاَصۡلِحُوۡا بَیۡنَہُمَا ۚ فَاِنۡۢ بَغَتۡ اِحۡدٰىہُمَا عَلَی الۡاُخۡرٰی فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِیۡ تَبۡغِیۡ حَتّٰی تَفِیۡٓءَ اِلٰۤی اَمۡرِ اللّٰہِ ۚ فَاِنۡ فَآءَتۡ فَاَصۡلِحُوۡا بَیۡنَہُمَا بِالۡعَدۡلِ وَ اَقۡسِطُوۡا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُقۡسِطِیۡنَ ﴿۹﴾ اِنَّمَا الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ اِخۡوَۃٌ فَاَصۡلِحُوۡا بَیۡنَ اَخَوَیۡکُمۡ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُرۡحَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾

Believers! Do not give preference to your view over that of God and the Messenger. And have fear of God. Indeed, God hears all and knows all. (1)

Believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor call him the way you call one another lest your deeds should come to nothing without you even being aware of it. Remember that those who speak gently in the presence of God's Prophet are the men whose hearts God has selected to nurture piety. For them are forgiveness and a great reward. (2-3)

Indeed, most of those who call out to you while you are in your chambers are naive. If they waited with patience until you went out to them, it would have been better for them. And God is Forgiving and Merciful. (4-5)

Believers! If a defiant person brings you a piece of news, investigate it thoroughly lest you assail someone unknowingly then regret your action. And fully bear in mind that God's Messenger is among you. If he follows you in many matters, you would encounter many difficulties. But God has endeared faith to you and ingrained it in your hearts and made disbelief, defiance, and disobedience abhorrent to you. These are the people who are rightly guided through God's grace and bounty. And God is All-knowing and Wise. (6-8)

And if two groups from among the believers take up arms against one another, make peace between them. Then if one of them unjustly attacks the other, fight against the aggressor till it submits to God's judgement. So if it submits, reconcile them with fairness and administer full justice. Indeed, God loves those who exercise justice. Muslims are brothers to one another so reconcile your brothers and fear God that you may be shown mercy. (9-10)

Explanation

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تُقَدِّمُوۡا بَیۡنَ یَدَیِ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱﴾[1]

Though common Muslims are addressed, yet the attitude of the Muslim Bedouins of the environs of Madinah is discussed in this surah, as will gradually become evident from the later verses; they had accepted faith after having witnessed the emerging strength of Islam, and faith had not fully found its roots in their hearts. The first reason for this was that they had not embraced Islam after understanding it but because they were over-awed by it. Secondly, since they were cut off from the centre, they could not be properly educated and instructed. They were also afflicted with the conceited notion that since they had showed obedience to the Prophet (sws) without being attacked, they had done him a great favour. As a result of this notion when their leaders came to Madinah their attitude towards the Prophet (sws) was as though they had a done a great favour and service to Islam. Even without being asked for advice, they would take the initiative to assertively give suggestions. To express their own superiority, they would raise their own voice above that of the Prophet (sws). Whenever they came, they would desire that the Prophet (sws), leaving aside all his activities, immediately attend to them and in case of any delay, they would shout unhesitatingly near his chamber to call him the way one calls an ordinary person. Each person would try to win the support of the Prophet (sws) in their various rifts and jealousies against each other prevailing ever since the days of jahiliyyah. To achieve this end, they would at times try to give such information to the Prophet (sws) regarding their adversaries which would create a wrong perception about them in his mind. If, on the basis of this information, the Muslims of Madinah had taken some step, it could have been very harmful to the collective life of the Muslims.

It is these circumstances in which this surah was revealed. Though the attitude of a specific group of Muslims is discussed in it, as was indicated earlier, the words of address of the Qur'an are general so that this group is not put to too much disgrace and all doors are closed for Satan to ignite mischief and nuisance in the society.

It needs to be kept in consideration that the prohibition stated here is to take the initiative before the Messenger of God in presenting one's view or to give preference to one's view to that of God and His Messenger; the prohibition does not relate to mere presentation of one's opinion to the Prophet (sws). The Prophet (sws) would often ask for the opinions of the Companions (rta) in various affairs and they would also present them to him. Similarly, at times, the Companions (rta) would say to him that in case a certain measure of his was not based on divine revelation, then in their opinion, a certain other plan would be better. At times, the Prophet (sws) would even accept their opinion. This verse does not forbid such things. The Prophet (sws) through his very attitude encouraged this. It is mentioned in certain narratives that the Prophet (sws) was one who would seek consultation from people the most. The Almighty too, as is evident from:وَ شَاوِرۡہُمۡ فِی الۡاَمۡرِ (159: 3) (and consultthem in affairs, (3:159)), had directed the Prophet (sws) to keep consulting people.

The prohibition relates to what we have referred to earlier: a person while regarding the Messenger of God to be a common person or a mere leader and regarding his own self to be superior to him tries to influence the Messenger with his opinion which was not asked for in the first place and to give preference to it over that of the Messenger. If someone does this, then his attitude bears evidence to the fact that he is absolutely unaware of the real position and status of the Prophet (sws). A messenger of God is His representative and whatever he does or says is at the bidding of God. If a person is bold enough to give preference to his own views over his, then this, in other words, would mean that he regards his own view to be superior to that of God; this will lay waste all his beliefs and deeds without him even knowing it.

The words بَیۡنَ یَدَیِ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ show that the matters of God and His Messenger are not distinct from one another. A messenger of God is His representative and envoy. Giving him unasked for advice is like giving advice to God; giving preference to one's own opinion over his is like giving preference to one's own opinion over God's opinion and to regard oneself to be more wise is to regard one self to be wiser than the all-knowing God. These are the necessary consequences of this attitude of a person. It is possible that because of foolishness a person does not realize these consequences, but it cannot be refuted that these are the necessary consequences.

The words وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ sound a warning to these people that they should keep fearing God and not be in the craze of regarding themselves to be wiser and more sagacious than God and His Messenger. God is all-hearing and all-knowing; He is listening to what they are saying and is also fully aware of the motives behind them. What is implied is that when He sees and knows all, the law of retribution will definitely come into play. The succeeding verse mentions this law.

This verse warns the people of our times as well who, while claiming to serve Islam, are distorting its values and tampering with its laws. They are of the view that the form in which God and His Messenger has given Islam has gone obsolete and that it is essential that it be adapted to the needs of the current era. Thus they are changing the directives of the shari'ah as per their own view. The only difference is that the verse mentions people who wanted to take the lead in presenting their suggestions to God and His Messenger, while the claimants to Islam of this era did not get this chance so they are now, God forbid, correcting the mistakes made by God and His Messenger regarding religion.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَرۡفَعُوۡۤا اَصۡوَاتَکُمۡ فَوۡقَ صَوۡتِ النَّبِیِّ وَ لَا تَجۡہَرُوۡا لَہٗ بِالۡقَوۡلِ کَجَہۡرِ بَعۡضِکُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ اَنۡ تَحۡبَطَ اَعۡمَالُکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۲﴾[2]

This verse alludes to another aspect of what is said above: those who were inflicted with the satanic thought that they were in a position to give advice to God and His Messenger or those who vainly reckoned that they had done a great favour to Islam and the Prophet (sws) by embracing faith could not be humble and courteous in their conversation with the Prophet (sws). In fact, a reflection of this vanity in their conversation was quite natural. Thus when these people spoke to the Prophet (sws) it would become evident from their style that instead of learning from the Messenger of God they had actually come to teach him. Consequently, just as they would take the lead in presenting their views, they would also try that their voice be loud and imposing on the Prophet (sws) and when they would address him, then instead of respectfully addressing him by the words "O Messenger of God!", they would say "O Muhammad!" as if they were conversing with some of their own common compatriots. Here, they are stopped from addressing the Prophet (sws) in such a disrespectful way because this attitude clearly showed that they had not yet recognized his true position and status; moreover, hidden in them was the pride of their own superiority which would ultimately lay waste their deeds.

I have been referring to the fact that the words to the effect كراهة or مخافة are suppressed before اَنۡ تَحۡبَطَ اَعۡمَالُکُمۡ. If this suppression is unfolded, the discourse would be something to the effect: You are being stopped from this disrespectful behaviour lest this lay waste all your deeds before God.

The implication of the words وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ is that though these people conceitedly reckoned that they had done a great service to Islam and their anxiety to benefit the Prophet (sws) from their opinion was due to their zeal to serve religion, yet all the deeds which they reckoned to have done for the cause of religion would be of no use to them and they not even be aware of this.

It is evident from this that at times a person in his own view does a lot of things which he thinks are a service to religion, however, if he has the conceited notion that he is doing a favour to God or His messenger or His religion and as a result he neither pays true regard to the exaltedness of God nor show the true respect His Messenger deserves, then all his deeds will come to nothing and he will only come out of this unawareness in the Hereafter. God is not dependent on anyone for the service of His religion so that a person thinks himself to have done a favour to Him and His Messenger. Only the deeds of those people will be blessed enough to be accepted by Him who serve the cause of His religion only to please Him in accordance with the bounds and limits set by Him; at the same time, they acknowledge wholeheartedly that by doing this service they do not do any favour to God or His Messenger; on the contrary, God has done them a favour in that He gave them the urge to be of some service to His religion.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَغُضُّوۡنَ اَصۡوَاتَہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰہِ اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ امۡتَحَنَ اللّٰہُ قُلُوۡبَہُمۡ لِلتَّقۡوٰی ؕ لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃٌ وَّ اَجۡرٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۳﴾[3]

This verse teaches the right etiquette essential for every believer to adopt regarding the Prophet (sws). The verse says that those who keep down their voices before the Prophet (sws) are the ones whose hearts the Almighty has selected to nurture the seeds of piety. The word امۡتَحَنَ encompasses the meaning of the word اِصْطَفَي or some word of similar meaning. It is evident from this that not every heart is appropriate for sowing and nurturing the seeds of piety; the Almighty selects such hearts by making them pass through a test. The real thing which becomes a reason for preference in this is whether a person has the true zeal to submit before God and His messenger and has the awareness to be humble before them. The more a person has this the more he is blessed with piety and the more a person is devoid of it the farther away is he from piety. Raising one's voce is mentioned here as a reflection of a person's inner self, as has been indicated earlier. A person who tries to raise his voice over that of another shows by this very act of his that he regards himself to be superior to him. This attitude closes doors to gain and to acquiring more. Anyone who adopts this attitude with the Messenger of God will not only be deprived of the blessings and benefits of the Messenger but also of the urge from God because the Messenger is God's Messenger.

The same status is occupied by God's Book and the Sunnah of the Messenger. Only those hearts are selected by God for nurturing piety which are humble and submit themselves before the Book and Sunnah the way Muslims have been directed to be humble in the presence of God's Messenger. A person who has the sincere zeal of submitting himself to every directive of God and His Messenger will find before him many opportunities to grow in his piety as well as divine help at every step. If a person conceitedly reckons that he is in a position to reform the Qur'an and the Hadith, then this vanity of his will lay waste his deeds and lead him to a grievous fate in the Hereafter.

Consider now the next part of the verse: لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃٌ وَّ اَجۡرٌ عَظِیۡمٌ. In the earlier verse, it was stated that people who raised their voice above that of the Prophet's voice would find their deeds going waste. Now, here, in contrast, the fate of people who keep down their voices before that of the Prophet (sws) is mentioned: for them is forgiveness and great reward. In other words, God will forgive their faults because they remained humble before God and His Messenger. Their vanity and haughtiness did not make them bold enough to regard themselves to be superior to God and His Messenger. The reward they got for this attitude was that God chose their hearts to nurture the seed of piety in them – something ofwhich the reward in turn is great in the eyes of God.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُنَادُوۡنَکَ مِنۡ وَّرَآءِ الۡحُجُرٰتِ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾[4]

Just as these people were disrespectful to the Prophet (sws) in his gatherings, they were also discourteous in shouting to him from outside his chambers to call him to gatherings where he had not come. Such behaviour is disrespectful in itself; however, its inner motive was even more ignominious than its outer expression. These people, as I have alluded to earlier with more details forthcoming, thought wrongly, that since they had embraced Islam without any war or armed struggle they had done a great favour to Islam and the Prophet (sws). For this reason, they thought that it was their right that when they came to the Prophet (sws), he should greet them without any delay. If he was not present at that moment, they would not wait for him and start encircling the chambers of the wives of the Prophet (sws) and call out his name in a very disrespectful manner. The verse says that most of them have no sense. The words اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ harbour in them a rebuke on their foolishness and also very subtly hint to the Prophet (sws) to overlook this foolishness of theirs: even though they are guilty of doing something very ill-mannered yet their majority is neither aware of the status of the Prophet (sws) nor of the fate of this behaviour; so they need instruction and training and should be ignored.

The word وَرَآءِ(behind) in the expression مِنۡ وَّرَآءِ الۡحُجُرٰتِ does not necessarily say that they used to call out from behind the chambers and this was the reason for the rebuke. This word does not specifically mean "behind." In the Arabic language, the expression نَادَانِي مِنْ وَرَآ الدَّار would only mean "he called out to me from outside the house" regardless of whether from the back of the house or from the front. What made this act objectionable was the way in which they addressed the Prophet (sws). It needs to be kept in consideration that it is against respect to call even a common person in this manner not to speak of the Prophet (sws). The proper way of addressing people to meet them has already been delineated in Surah Nur.

وَ لَوۡ اَنَّہُمۡ صَبَرُوۡا حَتّٰی تَخۡرُجَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ لَکَانَ خَیۡرًا لَّہُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۵﴾[5]

This verse informs them of the correct etiquette they should have adopted: had they been patient enough to wait for him to come out, this would have earned them great blessings. The style of the verse is to express sorrow at their deprivation. The implication is that had they recognized and valued the fountain that they had reached, their thirst would have been quenched; it is their loss that because of not duly honouring this opportunity they lost what they had, much less gain something from it.

By the words وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ the Almighty has reminded the Prophet (sws) of His attributes of forgiveness and mercy and the purpose is to subtly direct his attention to the fact that even though those people were guilty of such unworthy acts, they were people bereft of sense and reason; so, for that time, he should ignore those acts. God was forgiving and merciful and it was but appropriate that His Prophet too should be forgiving and merciful.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ جَآءَکُمۡ فَاسِقٌۢ بِنَبَاٍ فَتَبَیَّنُوۡۤا اَنۡ تُصِیۡبُوۡا قَوۡمًۢا بِجَہَالَۃٍ فَتُصۡبِحُوۡا عَلٰی مَا فَعَلۡتُمۡ نٰدِمِیۡنَ ﴿۶﴾[6]

This verse informs the Muslims of Madinah of a certain political threat: I have referred to earlier that the behaviour of the leaders of certain Bedouin tribes of the environs of Madinah is discussed here. Just as those people were bereft of the awareness of the high stature of the Prophet (sws), they were also until then bereft of the sentiments of Islamic brotherhood. The effects of the jealousy and hate they harboured for one another in the days of ignorance were still found in them. When they came to Madinah, some of them would give all kinds of right and wrong news about their adversaries in order to influence the Prophet's opinion about them. They would also try to win the support of the Companions (rta) they could influence in this matter so that they were able to use the central power of Madinah in their favour. This was a very precarious situation. The government of Madinah in the first place was not yet fully stable. Secondly, any action on the basis of the baseless rumours, especially against some Muslim faction would have been against both justice and collective welfare. This situation necessitated that the centre of the Muslims be directed that in all such important affairs they altogether leave the decision to the discretion of the Prophet (sws); they should also not trust the reports of unreliable people thereby influencing the opinion of the Prophet (sws) in accordance with their own. Consequently, they were directed that if an insolent person brought news of some important event, then without thoroughly investigating the matter they were not to take any step relying on that news lest being over-awed with zeal they end up attacking an innocent faction and then later regret it.

The word فَاسِقٌۢ (insolent)here refers to people who are indifferent to the bounds and limits of the shari'ah. I have already presented my research on the word نَبَأ at a relevant place in this tafsir that it refers to important news accepting which or acting on which may have far reaching consequences. If such important news is given by someone who is not reliable as regards his faith and morals, then both sense and morality entail that his piece of information not be believed until both the information and the person giving it are thoroughly investigated. It may be that such a person gave the information because of evil motives and the information may either be totally baseless or because of some ill-intention has been changed and adapted to inflame the emotions of the listeners. The word جَهَالةis used in the meaning of emotional frenzy and rage. I have presented research on this word as well at a relevant place in this tafsir.

وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ فِیۡکُمۡ رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰہِ ؕ لَوۡ یُطِیۡعُکُمۡ فِیۡ کَثِیۡرٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡرِ لَعَنِتُّمۡ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ حَبَّبَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡاِیۡمَانَ وَ زَیَّنَہٗ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ کَرَّہَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡکُفۡرَ وَ الۡفُسُوۡقَ وَ الۡعِصۡیَانَ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الرّٰشِدُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۷﴾ فَضۡلًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ نِعۡمَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۸﴾[7]

These verses further emphasize the warning meted out earlier to the Muslims: the Messenger of God was present among them; hence they were not to give so much importance to their opinions that they try to convince him into following them; on the contrary, they were to follow him. Whatever steps he took, he took in the guidance of God. Hence their success both in this world and in the next was in following him and not in following their own feelings and emotions. If they wanted to present their opinion, they were to respectfully do so and leave the decision to his discretion and not desire that all their opinions be necessarily accepted. They were to fully bear in mind that a lot of their opinions were raw; if the Messenger of God accepted those opinions, they would end up in a lot of bother; he only accepted the correct opinions they put forth. Because of the Messenger of God they were lucky enough to be divinely guided at every step; hence they should duly value this favour and show gratitude to God.

The word عَنِت means "difficulty and hardship". Thus لَعَنِتُّمۡ would mean "you will get caught in great difficulty and hardship". If a patient instead of following the doctor wants that the doctor follow his opinion, then it is very obvious that such a patient will end up in a lot of danger.

The words وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ حَبَّبَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡاِیۡمَانَ وَ زَیَّنَہٗ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ کَرَّہَ اِلَیۡکُمُ الۡکُفۡرَ وَ الۡفُسُوۡقَ وَ الۡعِصۡیَانَ say that precisely to save them from difficulty and hardship had the Almighty endeared faith to them and made it find roots in their hearts and had made disbelief and disobedience hateful and odious to them. The obligation they owe to this arrangement is that they should continue to love and hold dear their faith and none of their words and deeds be stained with disbelief and disobedience.

The preposition اِلَی after حَبَّبَ and كَرَّهَ refers to the special arrangement made by the Almighty through His Messenger to endear faith to them and to engender in them an abhorrence of disbelief and defiance. In the age of jahiliyyah, all moral values had been muddled. Satan had made faith hateful and endeared disbelief and disobedience to people. Faith was so deeply concealed beneath multi-layers that to unveil its true beauty and radiance to people by slicing away these layers had become an onerous task. Similarly, Satan had made disbelief so deceptively beautiful by various lures that to show its real horrendous face had become virtually impossible. It was a blessing of God that He sent His Messenger who after a long struggle and jihad unveiled faith in its true attractive form and made its majesty take root in their hearts. Similarly, he scraped away the artificial embellishments from the horrible face of disbelief and showed them its real hideous and abhorrent face and made them detest it. This topic is discussed here by the words اِلَيحَبَّبَ and اِلَيكَرَّهَ. In other words, he presented belief and disbelief in their original form to them as a result of which they became desirous of belief and hated disbelief. It is as if both these verbs comprise the meaning of اِلَي and the preposition is pointing towards this meaning.

Here the object of the verb حَبَّبَ is faith alone while there are three objects of the verb كَرَّهَ :كُفْرَ (disbelief) and فُسُوْقَ (defiance) and عِصْيَانَ (disobedience)The reason for this, as is indicated earlier, is that the people whose character is under discussion here were the ones who had till then not yet become fully aware of the opposite of disbelief. As a result, it required that they be told that it is not merely كُفْرَ (disbelief) which was contrary to belief; things belonging to the category of فُسُوْقَ (defiance) and عِصْيَانَ (disobedience) were also off shoots of disbelief and for this reason the Almighty regarded them to be detestable as well.

Though the word فِسْق has been used in the Qur'an to connote كُفْر, yet since here it is used with كُفْر, it would refer to defiance shown to God by a person while laying claim to belief. The word عِصْيَانَ as per its context and occasion refers to disobeying the Messenger. Since disobeying his representatives is also an act of indirect disobedience to Him, hence this thing is also included in its meaning.

The words اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الرّٰشِدُوۡنَ.فَضۡلًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ نِعۡمَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ state that it is these people in whose hearts the majesty of faith has taken roots and who abhor the slightest trace of كُفْرَ (disbelief) and فُسُوْقَ (defiance) and عِصْيَانَ (disobedience). They are, in reality, rightly guided and they received this guidance as a favour and blessing of God. Thus, they should remain thankful to God alone. Like the naïve, they should not think that these favours are the result of their own endeavours and that they have done a favour to God and His Messenger. The attributes are meant to emphasize that every act of God is based on His knowledge and wisdom. He does not blindly apportion things. He blesses only those with the gift of faith whom He finds worthy of it.

[1]. Believers! Do not given preference to your view over that of God and the Messenger. And Have fear of God. Indeed, God hears all and knows all.

[2]. Believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor call him the way you call one another lest your deeds should come to nothing without you even being aware of it.

[3]. Remember that those who speak gently in the presence of God's Prophet are the men whose hearts God has selected to nurture piety. For them are forgiveness and a great reward.

[4]. Indeed, most of those who call out to you while you are in your chambers are naive.

[5]. If they waited with patience until you went out to them, it would have been better for them. And God is Forgiving and Merciful.

[6]. Believers! If a defiant person brings you a piece of news, investigate it thoroughly lest you assail someone unknowingly then regretting your action.

[7]. Fully bear in mind that God's Messenger is among you. If he follows you in many matters, you would encounter many difficulties. But God has endeared faith to you and ingrained it in your hearts and made disbelief, defiance, and disobedience abhorrent to you. These are the people who are rightly guided through God's grace and bounty. And God is all-Knowing and Wise.

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