Surah Nisa’ (153-176)

Surah Nisa’ (153-176)


Qur'anic Exegesis

یَسۡـَٔلُکَ اَہۡلُ الۡکِتٰبِ اَنۡ تُنَزِّلَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ کِتٰبًا مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فَقَدۡ سَاَلُوۡا مُوۡسٰۤی اَکۡبَرَ مِنۡ ذٰلِکَ فَقَالُوۡۤا اَرِنَا اللّٰہَ جَہۡرَۃً فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الصّٰعِقَۃُ بِظُلۡمِہِمۡ ۚ ثُمَّ اتَّخَذُوا الۡعِجۡلَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡہُمُ الۡبَیِّنٰتُ فَعَفَوۡنَا عَنۡ ذٰلِکَ ۚ وَ اٰتَیۡنَا مُوۡسٰی سُلۡطٰنًا مُّبِیۡنًا ﴿۱۵۳﴾وَ رَفَعۡنَا فَوۡقَہُمُ الطُّوۡرَ بِمِیۡثَاقِہِمۡ وَ قُلۡنَا لَہُمُ ادۡخُلُوا الۡبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَّ قُلۡنَا لَہُمۡ لَا تَعۡدُوۡا فِی السَّبۡتِ وَ اَخَذۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ مِّیۡثَاقًا غَلِیۡظًا ﴿۱۵۴﴾

These[1] People of the Book ask you to bring down directly to them a book from the heavens [instead of this Qur'an]. [This is no matter of wonder]. Of Moses they made an even greater demand. They said to him: "Show us God face to face." So, for this rebelliousness a thunderbolt struck them.[2] Then they worshipped the calf after obvious signs had come to them; yet We still forgave this and gave Moses clear dominance [on them].[3] And We raised Ṭur over them with a covenant with them[4] and directed them: "Enter the gates [of the city] bowing your heads,"[5] and told them: "Do not be disobedient in the matter of the Sabbath,"[6] and [on all these things] We took from them a firm covenant. (153-154)

فَبِمَا نَقۡضِہِمۡ مِّیۡثَاقَہُمۡ وَ کُفۡرِہِمۡ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ وَ قَتۡلِہِمُ الۡاَنۡۢبِیَآءَ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ وَّ قَوۡلِہِمۡ قُلُوۡبُنَا غُلۡفٌ ؕ بَلۡ طَبَعَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہَا بِکُفۡرِہِمۡ فَلَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۱۵۵﴾۪وَّ بِکُفۡرِہِمۡ وَ قَوۡلِہِمۡ عَلٰی مَرۡیَمَ بُہۡتَانًا عَظِیۡمًا ﴿۱۵۶﴾ۙوَّ قَوۡلِہِمۡ اِنَّا قَتَلۡنَا الۡمَسِیۡحَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ مَا قَتَلُوۡہُ وَ مَا صَلَبُوۡہُوَ لٰکِنۡشُبِّہَ لَہُمۡ ؕوَ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ لَفِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّنۡہُ ؕ مَا لَہُمۡ بِہٖ مِنۡ عِلۡمٍ اِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَ مَا قَتَلُوۡہُ یَقِیۡنًۢا ﴿۱۵۷﴾ۙبَلۡ رَّفَعَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَیۡہِ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۵۸﴾

vThen because they broke their covenant [We laid a curse on them] and because they denied the revelations of God and because they killed the prophets unjustly and because they said: "Our hearts have a covering on them." – [no], in fact, it is God who has sealed their hearts because of their disbelief; so, [now] they will seldom embrace faith – and because of their disbelief[7] and vicious accusation against Mary[8] and because of their claim: "We have killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God."[9] – even though neither did they kill him nor did they crucify him;[10] in fact, the matter was muddled up for them.[11] Those who are disagreeing in this matter[12] are inflicted with doubt about it; they have no knowledge about it; they are only following conjectures. They certainly did not slay him; in fact, God lifted him up to Him.[13] God is Mighty and very Wise. (155-158)

وَ اِنۡ مِّنۡ اَہۡلِ الۡکِتٰبِ اِلَّا لَیُؤۡمِنَنَّ بِہٖ قَبۡلَ مَوۡتِہٖ ۚ وَ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ یَکُوۡنُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ شَہِیۡدًا ﴿۱۵۹﴾ۚ

[This is a list of their crimes; so, if they are now demanding that a book other than the Qur'an be directly revealed to them, just ignore them. O Prophet!] There is none among these People of the Book who will not believe in [this Qur'an] before his death;[14] and on the Day of Judgement it will bear witness against them.[15] (159)

فَبِظُلۡمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا حَرَّمۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ طَیِّبٰتٍ اُحِلَّتۡ لَہُمۡ وَ بِصَدِّہِمۡ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ کَثِیۡرًا ﴿۱۶۰﴾ۙوَّ اَخۡذِہِمُ الرِّبٰوا وَ قَدۡ نُہُوۡا عَنۡہُ وَ اَکۡلِہِمۡ اَمۡوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالۡبَاطِلِ ؕ وَ اَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ مِنۡہُمۡ عَذَابًا اَلِیۡمًا﴿۱۶۱﴾لٰکِنِ الرّٰسِخُوۡنَ فِی الۡعِلۡمِ مِنۡہُمۡ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡکَ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ الۡمُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ سَنُؤۡتِیۡہِمۡ اَجۡرًا عَظِیۡمًا ﴿۱۶۲﴾

Then only because of the iniquity of the Jews, We forbade them wholesome things which had been allowed to them[16] and because they have been stopping others a lot from the path of God and because they have been taking interest even though they had been stopped from it[17] and because they have been unjustly devouring the wealth of others,[18] and it is for their disbelievers that We have prepared a woeful punishment.[19] However, those of deep learning among them[20] and those who have faith[21] believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you and are especially diligent in the prayer[22] and pay thezakah and believe in God and the Last Day. It is these whom We shall soon richly reward. (160-162)

اِنَّاۤ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ کَمَاۤ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلٰی نُوۡحٍ وَّ النَّبِیّٖنَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہٖ ۚ وَ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلٰۤی اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ وَ الۡاَسۡبَاطِ وَ عِیۡسٰی وَ اَیُّوۡبَ وَ یُوۡنُسَ وَ ہٰرُوۡنَ وَ سُلَیۡمٰنَ ۚ وَ اٰتَیۡنَا دَاوٗدَ زَبُوۡرًا ﴿۱۶۳﴾ۚوَ رُسُلًا قَدۡ قَصَصۡنٰہُمۡ عَلَیۡکَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ رُسُلًا لَّمۡ نَقۡصُصۡہُمۡ عَلَیۡکَ ؕ وَ کَلَّمَ اللّٰہُ مُوۡسٰیتَکۡلِیۡمًا ﴿۱۶۴﴾ۚ رُسُلًامُّبَشِّرِیۡنَ وَ مُنۡذِرِیۡنَ لِئَلَّا یَکُوۡنَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَی اللّٰہِ حُجَّۃٌۢ بَعۡدَ الرُّسُلِ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۶۵﴾

[Do not pay heed to them O Prophet!] We have sent revelations to you as We sent revelations to Noah and to the prophets who came after him, and as We sent revelations to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his progeny and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, and We gave the Psalms to David.[23] We have sent revelations to messengers whom We have mentioned to you earlier and to some messengers whom We have not mentioned to you[24]and with Moses God had spoken, the way speech is made:[25]these messengers who were sent as bearers of glad tidings and of warning so that after them people are left with no excuse which they can present before God.[26]God is Mighty and very Wise. (163-165)

لٰکِنِ اللّٰہُ یَشۡہَدُ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اِلَیۡکَ اَنۡزَلَہٗ بِعِلۡمِہٖ ۚ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ یَشۡہَدُوۡنَ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ شَہِیۡدًا ﴿۱۶۶﴾ؕ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَکَفَرُوۡا وَ صَدُّوۡاعَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ قَدۡ ضَلُّوۡاضَلٰلًۢا بَعِیۡدًا﴿۱۶۷﴾اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا وَ ظَلَمُوۡا لَمۡ یَکُنِ اللّٰہُ لِیَغۡفِرَ لَہُمۡ وَ لَا لِیَہۡدِیَہُمۡ طَرِیۡقًا ﴿۱۶۸﴾ۙاِلَّا طَرِیۡقَ جَہَنَّمَ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَاۤ اَبَدًا ؕ وَ کَانَ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ یَسِیۡرًا ﴿۱۶۹﴾

[Let them deny if they want to] but God bears witness to that what He has revealed to you,[27] He revealed it with His knowledge and His angels also bear witness and sufficient is God alone as witness.[28] Those who disbelieve and debar others from the path of God have strayed far into error. Those who disbelieved and [in this manner] were unjust to [their souls], God will neither forgive them nor will He guide them to any path other than the path of Hell. They shall abide therein forever and this is easy enough for God. (166-169)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ بِالۡحَقِّ مِنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ فَاٰمِنُوۡا خَیۡرًا لَّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تَکۡفُرُوۡا فَاِنَّ لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ کَانَاللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۷۰﴾یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِیۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ وَ لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ اِلَّا الۡحَقَّ ؕ اِنَّمَا الۡمَسِیۡحُ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ وَ کَلِمَتُہٗ ۚاَلۡقٰہَاۤ اِلٰی مَرۡیَمَ وَ رُوۡحٌ مِّنۡہُ ۫ فَاٰمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ رُسُلِہٖ ۚ۟ وَ لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا ثَلٰثَۃٌ ؕ اِنۡتَہُوۡا خَیۡرًا لَّکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّمَا اللّٰہُاِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗۤ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَہٗ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَکَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ وَکِیۡلًا ﴿۱۷۱﴾لَنۡ یَّسۡتَنۡکِفَ الۡمَسِیۡحُ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ عَبۡدًا لِّلّٰہِ وَ لَا الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ الۡمُقَرَّبُوۡنَ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّسۡتَنۡکِفۡ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِہٖ وَ یَسۡتَکۡبِرۡ فَسَیَحۡشُرُہُمۡ اِلَیۡہِ جَمِیۡعًا ﴿۱۷۲﴾فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ فَیُوَفِّیۡہِمۡ اُجُوۡرَہُمۡ وَ یَزِیۡدُہُمۡ مِّنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ۚ وَ اَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اسۡتَنۡکَفُوۡا وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡا فَیُعَذِّبُہُمۡ عَذَابًا اَلِیۡمًا ۬ۙ وَّ لَا یَجِدُوۡنَ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَلِیًّا وَّ لَا نَصِیۡرًا ﴿۱۷۳﴾

People! This Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord.[29] So, profess faith [in him]. Your own benefit lies in this, and if you become adamant on disbelief [then remember that you would not be able to harm God in any way because] whatever is in the heavens and the earth belongs to God. [He will reward each person for his deeds because] God is All-Knowing and Wise. O People of the Book! Do not transgress the bounds of your religion[30] and speak nothing but the truth about God.[31] The fact is that Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was no more than God's Messenger and His Word which He cast into Mary, and a spirit from Him [which He blew into Mary].[32] So, profess faith in God and His messengers and do not make [God] three.[33] Abstain [from this]; this shall be better for you. God is but one God. He is above and beyond having offspring. All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him and He alone is sufficient to oversee their affairs.[34] The Messiah shall never feel ashamed to be a servant of God, nor shall the angels who are close to Him. And if anyone feels ashamed to serve God and is arrogant, then soon He shall gather all before Him. Then those who have professed faith and have done righteous deeds, He shall fully give them their reward and also give them more out of His grace. And those who felt ashamed of this servitude and showed arrogance, He will inflict on them a painful punishment and they will find none besides God to protect or help them.[35] (170-173)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ بُرۡہَانٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکُمۡ نُوۡرًا مُّبِیۡنًا ﴿۱۷۴﴾فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ اعۡتَصَمُوۡا بِہٖ فَسَیُدۡخِلُہُمۡ فِیۡ رَحۡمَۃٍ مِّنۡہُ وَ فَضۡلٍ ۙ وَّ یَہۡدِیۡہِمۡ اِلَیۡہِ صِرَاطًا مُّسۡتَقِیۡمًا ﴿۱۷۵﴾ؕ

People! A clear evidence has come to you from your Lord and We have sent down to you a light which clearly explains [every thing].[36] Therefore, those who have professed faith in God and have held fast to Him, He will soon admit them into [the shades of] His mercy and His grace and will guide them to a straight path that leads to Him.[37] (174-175)

یَسۡتَفۡتُوۡنَکَ ؕ قُلِ اللّٰہُ یُفۡتِیۡکُمۡ فِی الۡکَلٰلَۃِ ؕ اِنِ امۡرُؤٌا ہَلَکَ لَیۡسَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ لَہٗۤ اُخۡتٌ فَلَہَا نِصۡفُ مَا تَرَکَ ۚ وَ ہُوَ یَرِثُہَاۤ اِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہَا وَلَدٌ ؕ فَاِنۡ کَانَتَا اثۡنَتَیۡنِ فَلَہُمَا الثُّلُثٰنِ مِمَّا تَرَکَ ؕ وَ اِنۡ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَۃً رِّجَالًا وَّ نِسَآءً فَلِلذَّکَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ الۡاُنۡثَیَیۡنِ ؕ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ اَنۡ تَضِلُّوۡا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۷۶﴾

People ask your verdict. Tell [them]: "God gives His verdict to you about your kalalah heirs:[38] 'If a person dies childless[39] and he has only a sister, then she shall inherit half of what he leaves and if a sister dies childless, then her brother shall be her heir; and if there are two sisters, then they shall inherit two- thirds of what he [or she] leaves. And if there are many brothers and sisters, then the share of each male shall be that of two females.'"[40] God explains to you so that you err not and God has knowledge of all things. (176)

[1]. The first question was from the common Muslims and the second one was from the Hypocrites. Now this is the third question which in response to the call of this surahwas posed by the People of the Book in the form of a demand. They demanded that instead of the Qur'an, they wanted a Book directly revealed to them from the heavens. Only after that would they be willing to embrace faith. The answer given to them is couched in such warning that in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi anger is exuding from each and every word. He writes:

… The whole speech from the beginning to the end is based only on the charge sheet against them and the force and flow of the discourse is such that it becomes difficult to ascertain where exactly the speech has ended. In such a forceful and furious discourse, the enunciative (khabar) is generally suppressed. It is as if the rage of the speaker has taken the place of this enunciative and it becomes evident from the inchoative (mubtada) as to what the speaker intends to say. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 415)

[2].If the desire to observe God is for satisfaction and assurance, then this is not condemnable. However, this demand of the Israelites was a mere display of their uncertainty and skepticism and an excuse for their rejection and denial. They could not be convinced in any manner that God conversed with Moses (sws). Hence they were reprimanded. The Qur'anic words used to convey this meaning are: فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الصّٰعِقَۃُ بِظُلۡمِہِمۡ.These words imply that God was not unjust to them in any way; it is they who were unjust to themselves. They were insisting on an experience which they would never have been able to bear. The result was that they were made to suffer the consequences.

[3].This was achieved by cleansing the Israelites of the criminals at the behest of Moses (sws) and no one could dare utter a word before him. In the book of Exodus of the Bible, this incident is recorded thus:

… Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said: "Who is on the LORD's side [ie. firm in faith]? Come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.And he said to them: "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: "Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of youkill his brother and his companion and his neighbour." And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.And Moses said: "Today you have beenordained for the service of the LORD], each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day." (Exodus, 32:26-29)

[4]. It is evident from the Qur'an and the Bible that this covenant was taken from the Israelites in the valley of Ṭur where the mountain was extracted from its place and made to hang aloft on their heads like a roof, and it seemed to them that it would fall on them. It is this situation which the Qur'an has termed as raising Ṭur over them. The Qur'anic words which state this are: وَ رَفَعۡنَا فَوۡقَہُمُ الطُّوۡرَ بِمِیۡثَاقِہِمۡ. The letter بis for mulabasah. Its purpose, in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, is to portray the fact that the Lord Almighty raised aloft mount Ṭur over them as well as the covenant to show the covenant and mount Ṭur; if the covenant was violated, their heads would be crushed by that very mountain.

[5]. This was a city of Palestine after conquering which they were directed to enter it in a manner that showed their humility and modesty.

[6]. This originally was Friday which the Israelites had changed to Saturday. For generations, this day was specified for them to worship God signifying their covenant with Him. On this day, working, going out and hunting etc, so much so as lighting fire in their houses and taking service from slave men and maidens was prohibited to them. This verse mentions the people of one of their cities and refers to the various subterfuges they had invented to liberate themselves from its restrictions and in this manner made fun of God's shari'ah.

[7]. This part is co-ordinated to the previous discourse. However, a parenthetical sentence has occurred in between after which the charge sheet against the People of the Book has resumed once again.

[8]. The Jews made this false accusation against Mary after Jesus (sws) had passed away. They did not have the guts to do this in his lifetime.

[9]. The words رَسُوۡلَ اللّٰہِ (the Messenger of God) in my opinion are not part of the words uttered by the Jews. These words have been inserted by the Almighty and they serve to point out the severity of their sin.

[10].This is another parenthetical sentence in which the claim of the Jews that they had killed Jesus (sws) is rebutted forthwith. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

This immediate rebuttal brings to light two aspects: first, the messengers of God are in His protection. He does not let their enemies succeed in their plans against them. For this reason, the claim of the Jews that they killed him or crucified him is totally baseless. They totally failed in this mischievous scheme of theirs. However, by accepting a false claim they ended up eternally cursed and earned the constant wrath of God. Second, neither did any incident of killing the Messiah nor of crucifying him took place but the followers among Christians of Saint Paul got hold of this cooked up story and authored a whole mythology on its basis and in this manner, in order to please others, harmed their own selves. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 420)

[11].I.e., the situation that was created made the Jews believe that they had actually crucified Jesus (sws). What then did actually happen? The most likely of scenarios is the one depicted in the Gospel of Barnabas. As per its account, when Judas Iscariot after being bribed by the chief priest of the Jews came over with some guards to arrest Jesus (sws), four angels at the behest of the Almighty took him away and transformed the voice and face of Judas into exactly those of Jesus (sws). It was he who was crucified. No one was able to even touch Jesus (sws). It is while pointing to this scenario that perhaps the Qur'an has dubbed it as being made muddled up for the Jews.

[12].The actual words are: اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡہِ. They refer to the Christians. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi while explaining them writes:

… It is thus a fact that about the nature of the incident itself Christians … greatly differ with one another, and the mythology they have fashioned out has many discrepancies. These discrepancies are the obvious outcome of the fact that they have based their version and its reasoning on conjecture instead of reality, and in this manner the Christians crucified themselves on the cross from which the Almighty saved Jesus (sws). (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 421)

[13]. The actual words are: بَلۡ رَّفَعَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَیۡہِ. This raising up has been explained by the Almighty in verse 55 of Surah Al-i 'Imran: after giving death to Jesus (sws), He will lift him up to Himself. This means that after claiming his soul, his body too would be claimed so that his enemies were not able to mutilate it. Jesus (sws) was a Messenger of God and about the messengers the law has been stated in the Qur'an that they are protected by God and unless their mission is complete their enemies are not able to harm them. Similarly, their humiliation and disgrace is also not tolerated by God, and those who are bent upon doing this are given respite by Him till a certain time period and after that the messengers are necessarily protected from any harm these people may cause.

[14].The actual words are: لَیُؤۡمِنَنَّ بِہٖ.The particle لis for emphasis and oath and the word iman here means to be convinced of something. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi while explaining them writes:

… The only acceptable type of faith (iman) in religion is one which is based on conviction, attestation and acknowledgment – all three. Besides this, there is another type of faith which does not constitute conviction and attestation but is based on mere acknowledgement. This is the faith of the Hypocrites. Similarly, there is another type of faith which has conviction in it but it is devoid of the constituents of attestation and acknowledgement. This is the faith of the arrogant and the haughty. The truth is fully evident to them yet because of their arrogance and mischief they evade attesting to and acknowledging it, and try to hide this mischief of theirs under the veil of various excuses. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 421)

It should also be kept in mind that this sentence sounds warning and threat: in other words, today what the Prophet (sws) is trying to make them understand through the force of reasoning will materialize into reality in the near future; they should contemplate on what they will do at that time; they will have no option then but to accept it.

[15].This sentence too sounds warning and threat the way the previous sentence did.

[16].It is evident from verse 146 of Surah al-An'am that all animals which have nails were forbidden to the Jews. Similarly, the fat of cows and goats was also forbidden to them. In the verse under discussion, the words used are: فَبِظُلۡمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا حَرَّمۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ طَیِّبٰتٍ اُحِلَّتۡ لَہُمۡ. The fact that the word فَبِظُلۡمٍ (because of iniquity) is mentioned at the beginning refers to the fact that these things were prohibited for the Jews because they were guilty of being unjust to their own souls, and not because God had in any way been unjust to them.

[17]. This directive of prohibition of interest is explicitly mentioned in Exodus (22:25-27) and in Leviticus (35:35-38).

[18]. This verse refers to means which are against justice, honesty, fairness and against the good conventions of a society, and dealings which are not based on the true consent of the parties involved and in fact in them the interest of one of the parties is necessarily safeguarded and by taking advantage of the helplessness of the second party it is made a target of deceit or damage.

[19]. All these things relate to the list of crimes which has been referred to earlier. The eloquence in this whole discourse is worthy of attention. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… Though a long list of the crimes of the Israelites has been narrated, the purpose of this narration has not been mentioned in words. Within the list of these crimes a parenthetical sentence has occurred and after it the enumeration of crimes resumes. This style of discourse expresses the force of articulation and the vim and vigour of the speaker as well as the intelligence and attentiveness of the addressee. It also expresses the clarity of the claim and the lack of need to express the decision. Several examples of this style can be seen in the orations of Arab orators. Some very eloquent examples of this style can be seen in some forthcoming surahs of the Qur'an as well. A perspicacious listener can understand such a forceful discourse; however, it is impossible to translate its force and eloquence into another language. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 419)

[20]. This refers to the scholars from among the Jews who had true knowledge of religion, were austere in practicing it and were also morally upright and sound in all aspects.

[21]. Ie., the common masses who though are not scholars yet because of their upright nature and noble character adhere to the Torah to the best of their knowledge and in this manner can be regarded as true believers. This character of the People of the Book has also been referred to in verse 113 of Surah Al-i 'Imran earlier.

[22]. The actual words are: وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ. The word الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ is co-ordinated to الۡمُؤۡتُوۡنَ; however, according to linguistic principle of 'ala sabil al-ikhtisas (on the basis of specifying) or 'ala sabil al-madh (on the basis of praise) is declined in the accusative. While referring to the eloquence found in this principle, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The effect this change in style casts on the listener is that this variation directs his attention to the word and with regard to the meaning the benefit reaped is that without adding a single letter by mere change of style the meaning of specifying or praising the entity under discussion is achieved. Thus for example, if the general style of والمقيمون الصَّلٰوۃَ had been adopted in this regard, the meaning would only have been "and those who are diligent in the prayer;" however, when after change of style the words وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِیۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ were said, the meaning was changed to "and especially those who are diligent in the prayer." This change highly praised the believers and also brought out their special trait, and also highlighted the importance which the prayer has in the whole edifice of religion. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 425)

[23].The word زَبُوْرoccurs in the verse as an indefinite noun. This is meant to highlight the exalted status of the Psalms among other divine books.

[24].While explaining the nature of arrangement in which the names of the messengers are mentioned in this verse as well as the purpose of this comprehensive reference, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahiwrites:

… The arrangement from Noah (sws) to Jacob (sws) with the mention of his progeny occurs in chronological order; after that the arrangement is based on the attributes of the respective messengers. Jesus (sws), Job (sws), Jonah (sws) and Aaron (sws) possess broad similarity in the specific category of trials they went through and in the help of God they received. Solomon (sws) and David (sws) are both prophets and kings. The latter has been mentioned after the former to emphatically refer to the Psalms. Moses (sws) is mentioned at the very end because he and Muhammad (sws) have close similarity. This fact is alluded to both in the Qur'an and in the Hadith.

… The purpose of the Qur'an behind all this mention is that these are the prophets whose names and missions have also been mentioned in the Torah and this was the way in which the Almighty blessed His prophets with His revelations and words; the people of the Book are aware of all these prophets; where in this mention is there any reference of the fact that the Almighty revealed a Book to His prophet in such a manner that its sending down be witnessed by all? Indeed, God spoke to Moses (sws) the way one is spoken to. However, the Jews were not satisfied even by this; on this too, they raised the objection that unless God also speaks to them face to face how can they believe that He speaks to him? (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 431)

[25]. This is a special distinction of Moses (sws). It is evident from this that the nature of conversation with him was different to that with other prophets. However, this conversation never took place face to face; it took place from behind a veil (مِنۡ وَّرَآءِ حِجَابٍ).

[26]. Here the Almighty has cited the reason for which the messengers were sent and the need which required their advent: they come as warners and as bearers of glad tidings in order to awaken people from their slumber of ignorance and indifference, and the reason for sending them was to present another evidence – after the evidence of knowledge and reason – which highlighted the truth to such an extent that none was left with an excuse to deny it.

[27]. This sentence has begun with the particle of emendation (istidrak). This emendation is on the overall meaning of previous verses.

[28]. Ie., witness to the fact that this is from God; He has revealed it with His knowledge. Hence it is pure and unadulterated in every sense; there is no possibility of any role or interference in it of Satan's suggestions or one's own desires.

The Qur'an has stated this to assure the Prophet (sws). However, it is also a proof of the veracity of divine revelation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The argument cited above to prove the veracity of divine revelation is historical in nature. In other words, by judging the Qur'an and the Prophet (sws) on the criteria of history of the prophets and of the revelation that came to them, the status of the Qur'an and the Prophet (sws) is ascertained. Now a new argument is stated which by nature is an internal one. It means that a prophet hears, understands and evaluates the testimony of God and the angels in His inner self to such an extent that there remains no doubt in him about the veracity of the revelations which come to him. Such testimony is not procured by any non-prophet. For this reason, there is a world of difference between the inspiration of a prophet and a non-prophet. It is possible that what a person considers to be a divine inspiration is actually an inspiration from his own self or from Satan. However, the source from which a revelation comes to a prophet, the force with which it comes and the patronage and testimony with which it comes from God and His angels is in itself such manifest proof of its veracity that there remains no doubt in it. It is due to this aspect of the veracity of revelation even if the whole wide world refutes a prophet, his confidence is not shaken. His real life and vitality lies in his inner self where He finds himself in companionship with God and Gabriel. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 433)

[29].Although the address is general, it is evident from subsequent verses that it is directed towards the People of the Book, in particular the Christians.

[30].The word غُلُوwhen used in relation to religion means "to enhance the status and weight of some part of religion far beyond what is correct and required." Here the reference is to the excesses committed by the Christians as a result of which they completely distorted their religion. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahiwrites:

… Jesus (sws) was God's servant and messenger. They made him the son of God and then elevated him to the status of divinity. Mary (sws) was his mother. They regarded her, God forbid, to be the mother of God. Gabriel is God's servant and angel. He was given the status of one of the three and made part of the concept of the holy trinity. Jesus (sws) urged them to safeguard themselves from the riches and luxuries of both this world and the next. As a result of this directive, they fashioned out the whole system of monasticism. In other words, because of this غُلُو no aspect of religion remained in its original form and place. Everything at the bottom was elevated to the top and everything at the top was relegated to the bottom. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 435).

[31].The evil of غُلُو arises in religion by not giving due regard tothis attitude. If only those things are ascribed to God which He Himself has said, then such an evil never arises.

[32].Ie., Jesus (sws) was God's word kun and a spirit from Him which was blown the way it was blown in Adam and Eve. How can Jesus (sws) be given the status of God on account of this?

[33].This refers to the Christian dogma of trinity. It is an innovation of Saint Paul. As per this dogma, the father, the son and the holy ghost share Godhead. However, it has been interpreted in such a way that claim to belief in monotheism is also upheld.

[34]. Ie., when God alone is sufficient to oversee His creation and their affairs, then from where does the option of associating some others in Godhead arise?

[35].In order to understand the true meaning of this, readers should keep in mind the verse: لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِیۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has elaborated it. He writes:

One of the primary reasons for being inflicted with غُلُو is arrogance. If people who accept and acknowledge a thing or a person are unaware of the bounds and limits or do not have the tendency to follow these bounds and limits, are bent upon and desirous of proving the superiority of that thing or person on all the rest. Then they begin elevating and exalting them to the extent that they are able to satisfy their arrogance by making sure that no other entity can pose a threat or challenge this superiority. The Christians were confronted with this trial. When they accepted Jesus (sws), they could not confine themselves to accepting him as a creature and messenger of God. They reckoned that there were many creatures and messengers of God. If Jesus (sws) too was a creature and messenger of God, then what distinction did he have from the rest? The manifest arrogance found in this argumentation pushed them to go to unreasonable lengths to prove that he was God's associate. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 437)

[36].This refers to the Qur'an for which the words بُرۡہَان and نُوۡرًا مُّبِیۡنًا are used. The first of these words explains the intellectual and argumentative nature of the Qur'an: its reasoning and arguments are so powerful that no one can oppose them. The second of these words explains its practical side: it guides man in all affairs of life in such a way that it brings him into light from darkness.

[37].Ie., the Almighty on the Day of Judgement will guide people to His nearness. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahiwrites:

… The fact that this guidance refers to the guidance in the Hereafter emanates from the fact that it is mentioned with the word فَسَیُدۡخِلُہُمۡ (He shall soon admit them) which obviously refers to the Hereafter; similarly, the fact that this guidance is towards one's goal and objective emanates from this word. In other words, people who profess faith in God and hold fast to the rope of God which in the form of the Qur'an has been revealed to them, the Almighty will not only admit them to His mercy and infinite grace but He will also guide them to His nearness through the straight and true path. This is the greatest of favours of the Hereafter. This is because the real objective of all divine directives and revealed guidance and the real purpose of all the efforts of the believers is to procure the nearness of God. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 2, 438)

[38].Research on the word kalalah has already been mentioned in the explanation of verses 11 and 12 of this surah. From here begins the answer to the fourth and last question. It arose about the shares of the brothers and sisters in the absence of children. Though a hint of an answer to this question was also found in verses 11 and 12, but when people could not understand it and they posed this question, the Qur'an answered it with full clarity. The verse begins with the words: قُلِ اللّٰہُ یُفۡتِیۡکُمۡ فِی الۡکَلٰلَۃِ (God enjoins you about your kalalah relatives. These words are of the same style and pattern as یُوۡصِیۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ فِیۡۤ اَوۡلَادِکُمۡ (God enjoins you about your children). In the latter case, the directive is about the children as the heirs of a deceased while in the former case, the pronouncement is about کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives as the heirs of a deceased. The articleال(alif lam) defines the word کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) in this verse, which testifies to the fact that the question concerns some specific relations among the کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives and the answer shows that these specific relations are the deceased's brothers and sisters. Verse 12 of Surah al-Nisa' has already empowered a person to bequeath a part of his legacy in favour of کَلٰلَۃ (kalalah) relatives like uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Here, a particular case is mentioned after the general directive. Considering this, the correct meaning of the verse is: "Say, God gives you a pronouncement about brothers and sisters among the kalalah relatives."

[39].The actual words are: اِنِ امۡرُؤٌا ہَلَکَ لَیۡسَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ. They merely impose a condition which must be fulfilled if the brothers and sisters are to receive a share in a legacy. Just as in the verse فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ وَرِثَہٗۤ اَبَوٰہُ (and if he does not have children, and his parents are his heirs), a condition is imposed that if the deceased is childless and only his parents are his heirs, then they shall receive such and such shares. Similarly, in the given verse, a condition is stated that if a person dies childless, and he has brothers and sisters, then their share is such and such. Also evident from the condition in the verse is that brothers and sisters are heirs of a deceased, only in case he dies childless. If he leaves children, then they do not have any share in his legacy except if a deceased makes a bequest in their favour according to the general directive mentioned in verse 12 of Surah al-Nisa'.

[40].The shares of brothers and sisters stated here are the same as those of the children stated earlier. Also, the style found in the verse وَ اِنۡ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَۃً رِّجَالًا وَّ نِسَآءً فَلِلذَّکَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ الۡاُنۡثَیَیۡنِ (and if there are many brothers and sisters, then the share of each male shall be equal to that of two females') bears witness to the fact that these shares also shall be given after the parents and the spouses are handed over their shares. The relevant arguments are presented in the explanation of verse 11 of this surah. Hence, if the deceased only has sisters, then two-thirds or one half (whatever the case may be) of the share meant for the brothers and sisters shall be given to the sister or sisters.

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