Surah An-Nisa’ Ayat 84-130

{84. Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you), it may be that Allah will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers. And Allah is Stronger in might and Stronger in punishing.

85. Whosoever intercedes for a good cause, will have the reward thereof; and whosoever intercedes for an evil cause, will have a share in its burden. And Allah is Ever All-Able to do everything.

86. When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things.

87. Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He. Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt. And who is truer in statement than Allah?}

Allah Commands His Messenger to Perform Jihad

Allah commands His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to himself fight in Jihad and not to be concerned about those who do not join Jihad. Hence Allah’s statement, ”you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ishaq said, “I asked Al-Bara bin Azib about a man who meets a hundred enemies and still fights them, would he be one of those referred to in Allah’s statement, ”And do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the cause of Allah)” He said, ‘Allah said to His Prophet, ”Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you).” Imam Ahmad recorded Sulayman bin Dawud saying that Abu Bakr bin Ayyash said that Abu Ishaq said, “I asked Al-Bara, ‘If a man attacks the lines of the idolators, would he be throwing himself to destruction’ He said, ‘No because Allah has sent His Messenger and commanded him, ”Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself” That Ayah is about spending [in Allah’s cause].” (Ahmad 4:281)

Inciting the Believers to Fight

Allah said, ”and incite the believers” to fight, by encouraging them and strengthening their resolve in this regard. For instance, the Prophet said to the believers at the battle of Badr, while organizing their lines, ”Stand up and march forth to a Paradise, as wide as the heavens and Earth.” (Muslim 3:1510) Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ”Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayer, pays the Zakah and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he migrates in Allah’s cause or remains in the land where he is born.” The people said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Shall we acquaint the people with this good news?’ He said, ‘Paradise has one hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His cause, the distance between each two grades is like the distance between the heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask for Al-Firdaws, which is the best and highest part of Paradise, above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent (Allah) and from it originate the rivers of Paradise.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:14)

There are various narrations for this Hadith from Ubadah, Muadh, and Abu Ad- Darda. Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ”O Abu Said! Whoever accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as the Prophet, then he would rightfully acquire Paradise.” Abu Said liked these words and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Repeat them for me.” The Prophet repeated his words, then said,”And (there is) another deed for which Allah raises the servant a hundred grades in Paradise, between each two grades is the distance between heaven and Earth.” Abu Said said, “What is it, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said, ”Jihad in Allah’s cause.” (Muslim 3:1501)

Allah’s statement, ”it may be that Allah will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers.” means, by your encouraging them to fight, their resolve will be strengthened to meet the enemy in battle, to defend Islam and its people and to endure and be patient against the enemy. Allah’s statement, ”And Allah is Stronger in might and Stronger in punishing.” means, He is able over them in this life and the Hereafter, just as He said in another Ayah,

”But if it had been Allah’s will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others” (47:4).

Interceding for a Good or an Evil Cause

Allah said, “Whosoever intercedes for a good cause, will have the reward thereof” meaning, whoever intercedes in a matter that produces good results, will acquire a share in that good. ‘‘And whosoever intercedes for an evil cause, will have a share in its burden.” meaning, he will carry a burden due to what resulted from his intercession and intention. For instance, it is recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Intercede and you will gain a reward of it. Yet, Allah shall decide whatever He wills by the words of His Prophet.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:351)

Mujahid bin Jabr said, “This Ayah was revealed about the intercession of people on behalf of each other.” Allah then said, ”And Allah is Ever Muqit over everything.” Ibn Abbas, Ata’, Atiyah, Qatadah and Matar Al- Warraq said that, ”Muqit” means, “Watcher.” Mujahid said that Muqit means, ‘Witness’, and in another narration, ‘Able to do.’ (At-Tabari 8:583)

Returning the Salam, With a Better Salam

Allah said, ”When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” meaning, if the Muslim greets you with the Salam, then return the greeting with a better Salam, or at least equal to the Salam that was given. Therefore, the better Salam is recommended, while returning it equally is an obligation. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Raja’ Al-Utaridi said that Imran bin Husayn said that a man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum”. The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Ten.” Another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah, O Allah’s Messenger.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Twenty.” Then another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Thirty.” (Ahmad 4:439)

When the Muslim is greeted with the full form of Salam, he is obliged to return the greeting equally. As for Ahl Adh-Dhimmah the Salam should not be initiated nor should the greeting be added to when returning their greeting. Rather, as recorded in the Two Sahihs their greeting is returned to them equally. Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”When the Jews greet you, one of them would say, ‘As-Samu Alayka (death be unto you).’ Therefore, say, ‘Wa Alayka (and the same to you).” (Fath Al-Bari 12:293)

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Do not initiate greeting the Jews and Christians with the Salam, and when you pass by them on a road, force them to its narrowest path.” (Muslim 4:1707)

Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Should I direct you to an action that would direct you to love each other? Spread the Salam among yourselves.” (Abu Dawud 5:378)

Allah said, ”Allah! none has the right to be worshipped but He” informing that He is singled out as the sole God of all creation. Allah then said, ”Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt.” swearing that He will gather the earlier and latter generations in one area, rewarding or punishing each person according to his or her actions. Allah said, ”And who is truer in statement than Allah?” meaning, no one utters more truthful statements than Allah, in His promise, warning, stories of the past and information of what is to come; there is no deity worthy of worship nor Lord except Him.

{88. Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.

89. They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Awliya’ from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Awliya’ nor helpers from them.

90. Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with their breasts restraining from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, then Allah has made no way for you against them.

91. You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people. Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto. If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum. In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them.}

Censuring the Companions for Disagreeing over the Hypocrites who Returned to Al-Madinah Before Uhud

Allah criticizes the believers for disagreeing over the hypocrites. There are conflicting opinions over the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said that Messenger of Allah marched towards Uhud. However, some people who accompanied him went back to Al-Madinah, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah divided into two groups concerning them, one saying they should be killed and the other objecting. Allah sent down, ”Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”She (Al-Madinah) is Taybah, and she expels filth, just as the billow expels rust from iron.” (Ahmad 5:184)

Allah said, ”Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned.” meaning, He made them revert to, and fall into error. Ibn Abbas said that, ”Arkasahum” means, ‘cast them’ . (At-Tabari 9:15) Allah’s statement, ”because of what they have earned” means, because of their defiance and disobedience to the Messenger and following falsehood. ”Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.” meaning, there will be no path for him, or way to guidance. Allah’s statement, ”They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal.” means, they wish that you fall into misguidance, so that you and they are equal in that regard. This is because of their extreme enmity and hatred for you. Therefore, Allah said, ”So take not Awliya’ from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back” if they abandon Hijrah, as Al-Awfi reported from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 9:17) As-Suddi said that this part of the Ayah means, “If they make their disbelief public.”

Combatants and Noncombatants

Allah excluded some people; ”Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace)” meaning, except those who join and take refuge with a people with whom you have a pact of peace, or people of Dhimmah, then treat them as you treat the people with whom you have peace. This is the saying of As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 9:19)

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded the story of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah, where it was mentioned that whoever liked to have peace with Quraysh and conduct a pact with them, then they were allowed. Those who liked to have peace with Muhammad and his Companions and enter a pact with them were allowed. It was reported that Ibn Abbas said that this Ayah was later abrogated by Allah’s statement,

”Then when the Sacred Months have passed, kill the idolators wherever you find them” Allah said, ”or those who approach you with their breasts restraining” referring to another type of people covered by the exclusion from fighting. They are those who approach the Muslims with hesitation in their hearts because of their aversion to fighting the Muslims. They do not have the heart to fight with the Muslims against their own people. Therefore, they are neither with nor against Muslims.

”Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you.” meaning, it is from Allah’s mercy that He has stopped them from fighting you. ”So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace” meaning, they revert to peace, ”then Allah has opened no way for you against them” you do not have the right to kill them, as long as they take this position.

This was the position of Banu Hashim (the tribe of the Prophet ), such as Al-Abbas, who accompanied the idolators in the battle of Badr, for they joined the battle with great hesitation. This is why the Prophet commanded that Al-Abbas not be killed, but only captured. Allah’s statement, ”You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people.” refers to a type of people who on the surface appear to be like the type we just mentioned. However, the intention of each type is different, for the latter are hypocrites. They pretend to be Muslims with the Prophet and his Companions, so that they could attain safety with the Muslims for their blood, property and families. However, they support the idolators in secret and worship what they worship, so that they are at peace with them also. These people have secretly sided with the idolators, just as Allah described them, ”But when they are alone with their Shayatin, they say: “Truly, we are with you”. In this Ayah, Allah said, ”Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto.” meaning, they dwell in Fitnah. As-Suddi said that the Fitnah mentioned here refers to Shirk. (At-Tabari 9:28) Ibn Jarir recorded that Mujahid said that the Ayah was revealed about a group from Makkah who used to go to the Prophet [in Al-Madinah] pretending to be Muslims. However, when they went back to Quraysh, they reverted to worshipping idols. They wanted to be at peace with both sides. Allah commanded they should be fought against, unless they withdraw from combat and resort to peace. (At-Tabari 9:27) This is why Allah said, ”If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace” meaning, revert to peaceful and complacent behaviour, ”nor restrain their hands” refrain from fighting you, ”take (hold of) them”, capture them, ”and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum”, wherever you find them, ”In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them”, meaning an unequivocal and plain warrant.

{92. It is not for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake; and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, he must set free a believing slave and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family unless they remit it. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed); and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, then compensation (blood money) must be paid to his family, and a believing slave must be freed. And whoso finds this beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months in order to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

93. And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.}

The Ruling Concerning Killing a Believer by Mistake

Allah states that the believer is not allowed to kill his believing brother under any circumstances. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah said, ”The blood of a Muslim who testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is sacred, except in three instances. (They are:) life for life, the married adulterer, and whoever reverts from the religion and abandons the Jama’ah (community of the faithful believers).” When one commits any of these three offenses, it is not up to ordinary citizens to kill him or her, because this is the responsibility of the Muslim Leader or his deputy. Allah said, ”except by mistake”. There is a difference of opinion concerning the reason behind revealing this part of the Ayah. Mujahid and others said that it was revealed about Ayyash bin Abi Rabiah, Abu Jahl’s half brother, from his mother’s side, Asma bint Makhrabah. Ayyash killed a man called Al-Harith bin Yazid Al-Amiri, out of revenge for torturing him and his brother because of their Islam. That man later embraced Islam and performed Hijrah, but Ayyash did not know this fact. On the Day of the Makkan conquest, Ayyash saw that man and thought that he was still a disbeliever, so he attacked and killed him. Later, Allah sent down this Ayah.

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that this Ayah was revealed about Abu Ad-Darda’ because he killed a man after he embraced the faith, just as Abu Ad-Darda’ held the sword above him. When this matter was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “He only said that to avert death.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to him,

“Have you opened his heart?” (At-Tabari 9:34)

The basis for this story is in the Sahih, but it is not about Abu Ad-Darda’.

Allah said, ”and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, he must set free a believing slave and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family” thus, ordaining two requirements for murder by mistake. The first requirement is the Kaffarah (fine) for the great sin that has been committed, even if it was a mistake. The Kaffarah is to free a Muslim slave, not a non-Muslim slave. Imam Ahmad recorded that a man from the Ansar said that he brought a slave and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I have to free a believing slave, so if you see that this slave is a believer, I will free her.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked her, “Do you testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah?” She said, “Yes.” He asked her, “Do you testify that I am the Messenger of Allah?” She said, “Yes.” He asked, “Do you believe in Resurrection after death?” She said, “Yes.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Then free her.” (Ahmad 3:451) This is an authentic chain of narration, and not knowing the name of the Ansari Companion does not lessen its authenticity.

Allah’s statement, “and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family” is the second obligation which involves the killer and the family of the deceased, who will receive blood money as compensation for their loss. The compensation is only obligatory for the one who possesses one of five; as Imam Ahmad, and the Sunan compilers recorded from Ibn Masud. He said; “Allah’s Messenger determined that the Diyah (blood money) for unintentional murder is twenty camels which entered their fourth year, twenty camels which entered their fifth year, twenty camels which entered their second year, and twenty camels which entered their third year.” (An-Nasa’i no. 4799)  This Diyah is required from the elders of the killer’s tribe, not from his own money.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “Two women from Hudhayl quarreled and one of them threw a stone at the other and killed her and her unborn fetus. They disputed before the Messenger of Allah and he decided that the Diyah of the fetus should be to free a male or a female slave. He also decided that the Diyah of the deceased is required from the elders of the killer’s tribe.” This Hadith indicates that in the case of what appears to be intentional murder, the Diyah is the same as that for killing by virtual mistake. The former type requires three types of Diyah, just like intentional murder, because it is somewhat similar to intentional murder.

Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that Abdullah bin Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to Banu Jadhimah and he called them to Islam, but they did not know how to say, ‘We became Muslims.’ They started saying, ‘Saba’na, Saba’na (we became Sabians). Khalid started killing them, and when this news was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he raised his hands and said, “O Allah! I declare my innocence before You of what Khalid did.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:653)

The Messenger sent Ali to pay the Diyah of those who were killed and to compensate for the property that was destroyed, to the extent of replacing the dog’s bowl. This Hadith indicates that the mistake of the Leader or his deputy (Khalid in this case) is paid from the Muslim Treasury.

Allah said, ”unless they remit it”, meaning, the Diyah must be delivered to the family of the deceased, unless they forfeit their right, in which case the Diyah does not become necessary. Allah’s statement, “If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed)” means, if the murdered person was a believer, yet his family were combatant disbelievers, then they will receive no Diyah. In this case, the murderer only has to free a believing slave. Allah’s statement, “and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance” meaning, if the family of the deceased were from Ahl Adh-Dhimmah or with whom there is a peace treaty, then they deserve his Diyah; full Diyah if the deceased was a believer, in which case the killer is required to free a believing slave also. “And whoso finds this beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months” without breaking the fast (in the days of) the two months. If he breaks the fast without justification, i.e. illness, menstruation, post-natal bleeding, then he has to start all over again. Allah’s statement, “to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.” means, this is how the one who kills by mistake can repent, he fasts two consecutive months if he does not find a slave to free. “And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise”, we mentioned the explanation of this before.

Warning Against Intentional Murder

After Allah mentioned the ruling of unintentional murder, He mentioned the ruling for intentional murder. Allah said, “And whoever kills a believer intentionally” This Ayah carries a stern warning and promise for those who commit so grave a sin that it is mentioned along with Shirk in several Ayat of Allah’s Book. For instance, in Surat Al-Furqan, Allah said, “And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause”. Allah said, “Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him.” (6:151)

There are many Ayat and Hadiths that prohibit murder. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Blood offenses are the first disputes to be judged between the people on the Day of Resurrection.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:402)

In a Hadith that Abu Dawud recorded, Ubadah bin As-Samit states that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”The believer will remain unburdened in righteousness as long as he does not shed prohibited blood. When he sheds forbidden blood, he will become burdened.” (Abu Dawud no.4270)

Another Hadith, states,

”The destruction of this earthly life is less significant before Allah than killing a Muslim man (or woman).” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 4:652)

Will the Repentance of those who Commit Intentional Murder, be Accepted?

Ibn Abbas held the view that the repentance of one who intentionally murders a believer, will not be accepted. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Jubayr said, “The people of knowledge of Al- Kufah differed on this subject, I traveled to Ibn Abbas to ask him about it. He said, ‘This Ayah, ”And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell” was the last revealed [on this subject] and nothing abrogated it.”’ (Fath Al-Bari 8:106) However, the majority of scholars of the earlier and later generations said that the killer’s repentance can be accepted. If he repents, and goes back to Allah humbly, submissively, and performing righteous deeds, then Allah will change his evil deeds into good deeds and compensate the deceased for his loss by rewarding him for his suffering. Allah said, “And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah”, until, “Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds”.

The Ayah we just mentioned should not be considered abrogated or only applicable to the disbelievers [who become Muslim], for this contradicts the general, encompassing indications of the Ayah and requires evidence to support it. Allah knows best.

Allah said, “Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah”. This Ayah is general, covering all types of sins, including Kufr, Shirk, doubt, hypocrisy, murder, sin, and so forth. Therefore, everyone who repents sincerely from any of these errors, then Allah will forgive him. Allah said, “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills”. This Ayah is general and includes every sin except Shirk, and it has been mentioned in this Surah, both after this Ayah and before it, in order to encourage hope in Allah, and Allah knows best. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs, that an Israeli killed one hundred people then he asked a scholar, “Is it possible for me to repent” So he replied, “What is there that would prevent you from repentance” So he told him to go to another land where Allah was worshipped. He began to emigrate to it but died on the way, and the angel of mercy was the one to take him. Although this Hadith is about an Israeli, it is even more suitable for the Muslim community that their repentance be accepted. Indeed, Allah relieved Muslims from the burdens and restrictions that were placed on the Jews, and He sent our Prophet with the easy Hanifiyyah way (Islamic Monotheism).

As for the honorable Ayah, “And whoever kills a believer intentionally”, Abu Hurayrah and several among the Salaf said that this is his punishment, if Allah decides to punish him. And this is the case with every threat that is issued for every sin. For instance, there could be good deeds that this person has done that would prevent him from being punished for that, and Allah knows best. Even if the murderer inevitably enters the Fire – as Ibn Abbas stated because his repentance was not accepted, or he did not have good deeds to save him, he will not remain there for eternity, but only for a long time. There are Mutawatir Hadiths stating that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “Whoever has the least speck of faith in his heart shall ultimately depart the Fire.” (Al-Bukhari no.44)

{94. O you who believe! When you go (to fight) in the cause of Allah, verify (the truth), and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer;” seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life. There is much more benefit with Allah. Even as he is now, so were you yourselves before, till Allah conferred on you His Favors, therefore, be cautious in discrimination. Allah is Ever Well-Aware of what you do.}

Greeting with the Salam is a Sign of Islam

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ikrimah said that Ibn Abbas said, “A man from Bani Sulaym, who was tending a flock of sheep, passed by some of the Companions of the Prophet and said Salam to them. They said (to each other), ‘He only said Salam to protect himself from us.’ Then they attacked him and killed him. They brought his sheep to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and this Ayah was revealed, “O you who believe!”, until the end of the Ayah.”  (Ahmad 1:272)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas commented; “and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer”, “A man was tending his sheep and the Muslims caught up with him. He said, ‘As-Salamu Alaykum.’ However, they killed him and took his sheep. Allah revealed the Ayah; “And say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer; seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life.” Ibn Abbas said; “The goods of this world were those sheep.” And he recited, “Peace” (Fath Al-Bari 8:107)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Al-Miqdad,

“You killed a believing man who hid his faith with disbelieving people, after he had announced his faith to you. Remember that you used to hide your faith in Makkah before.”

Al-Bukhari recorded this shorter version without a complete chain of narrators. (Al-Bukhari no.6866) However a longer version with a connected chain of narrators has also been recorded. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah sent a military expedition under the authority of Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad and when they reached the designated area, they found the people had dispersed. However, a man with a lot of wealth did not leave and said, ‘I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ Yet, Al-Miqdad killed him, and a man said to him, ‘You killed a man after he proclaimed: “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. By Allah I will mention what you did to the Prophet .’ When they went back to the Messenger of Allah, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Al-Miqdad killed a man who testified that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ He said, ”Summon Al-Miqdad before me. O Miqdad! Did you kill a man who proclaimed, “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah” What would you do when you face, “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah tomorrow?” Allah then revealed; “O you who believe! When you go (to fight) in the cause of Allah, verify (the truth), and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer;” seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life. There are much more profits and booties with Allah. Even as he is now, so were you yourselves before till Allah conferred on you His Favors, therefore, be cautious in discrimination”.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Al-Miqdad,

 “He was a believing man who hid his faith among disbelieving people, and he announced his faith to you, but you killed him, although you used to hide your faith before, in Makkah.” (Majma’ Az-Zawaid 7:9)

Allah’s statement, “There is much more benefit with Allah.” means, better than what you desired of worldly possessions which made you kill the one who greeted you with the Salam and pronounced his faith to you. Yet, you ignored all this and accused him of hypocrisy, to acquire the gains of this life. However, the pure wealth with Allah is far better than what you acquired. Allah’s statement, “so were you yourselves before, till Allah conferred on you His Favours.” means, beforehand, you used to be in the same situation like this person who hid his faith from his people. We mentioned the relevant Hadiths above. Allah said, “And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land”.

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Said bin Jubayr commented about Allah’s statement, “so were you yourselves before”, “You used to hide your faith, just as this shepherd hid his faith.” (Abdur-Razzaq 1:170) Allah said, “Allah is Ever Well-Aware of what you do.” and this part of the Ayah contains a threat and a warning, as Said bin Jubayr stated.

{95. Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home), by a huge reward.

96. Degrees of (higher) grades from Him, and forgiveness and mercy. And Allah is Ever Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

The Mujahid and those Who Do not Join Jihad are Not the Same, [and Jihad is Fard Kifayah]

Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara’ said, “When the Ayah, ”Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)” was revealed, the Messenger of Allah called Zayd and commanded him to write it. Then, Ibn Umm Maktum came and mentioned that he was blind. Allah revealed, ”except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame).” (Fath Al-Bari 8:108)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Sahl bin Sad As-Sadi said, “I saw Marwan bin Al-Hakam sitting in the Masjid. I came and sat by his side. He told us that Zayd bin Thabit told him that Allah’s Messenger dictated this Ayah to him, ”Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah”

Ibn Umm Maktum came to the Prophet as he was dictating that very Ayah to me. Ibn Umm Maktum said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, if I had power, I would surely take part in Jihad.’ He was a blind man. So Allah sent down revelation to His Messenger while his thigh was on mine and it became so heavy for me that I feared that my thigh would be broken. That ended after Allah revealed, ”except those who are disabled.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:108) At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn Abbas said, ”Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled”, refers to those who did not go to the battle of Badr and those who went to Badr. When the battle of Badr was about to occur, Abu Ahmad bin Jahsh and Ibn Umm Maktum said, ‘We are blind, O Messenger of Allah! Do we have an excuse?’ The Ayah, ”Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled” was revealed.

Allah made those who fight, above those who sit in their homes not hindered by disability. ”but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home), by a huge reward. Degrees of (higher) grades from Him”, above the believers who sit at home without a disability hindering them.” This is the wording recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said, “Hasan Gharib”. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:388)

Allah’s statement, “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)” this is general. Soon after, the revelation came down with, ”except those who are disabled”. So whoever has a disability, such as blindness, a limp, or an illness that prevents them from joining Jihad, they were not compared to the Mujahidin who strive in Allah’s cause with their selves and wealth, as those who are not disabled and did not join the Jihad were.

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There are people who remained in Al-Madinah, who were with you in every march you marched and every valley you crossed.”

They said, “While they are still in Al-Madinah, O Messenger of Allah?” He said,

‘Yes. Only their disability hindered them (from joining you)” (Fath Al-Bari 7:732)

Allah said, ”Unto each, Allah has promised good” meaning, Paradise and tremendous rewards. This Ayah indicates that Jihad is not Fard on each and every individual, but it is Fard Kifayah (which is a collective duty). Allah then said, ”but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home), by a huge reward”.

Allah mentions what He has given them rooms in Paradise, along with His forgiveness and the descent of mercy and blessing on them, as a favor and honor from Him. So He said; ”Degrees of (higher) grades from Him, and forgiveness and mercy. And Allah is Ever Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful”.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”There are a hundred grades in Paradise that Allah has prepared for the Mujahidin in His cause, between each two grades is the distance between heaven and Earth.” (Muslim 3:1501)

 {97. Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves, they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! 

98. Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way.

99. These are they whom Allah is likely to forgive them, and Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.

100. He who emigrates in the cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

The Prohibition of Residing Among the Disbelievers While Able to Emigrate

Al-Bukhari recorded that Muhammad bin Abdur-Rahman, Abu Al-Aswad, said, “The people of Al-Madinah were forced to prepare an army (to fight against the people of Ash-Sham during the Khilafah of Abdullah bin Az-Zubayir at Makkah), and I was enlisted in it. Then I met Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn Abbas, and informed him (about it), and he forbade me strongly from doing so (i.e., to enlist in that army), and then he said to me, Ibn Abbas told me that some Muslims used to go out with the idolators increasing the size of their army against the Messenger of Allah . Then, an arrow would hit one of them and kill him, or he would be struck on his neck (with a sword) and killed, and Allah sent down the Ayah, ”Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:111)

Ad- Dahhak stated that this Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who did not join the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, but remained in Makkah and went out with the idolators for the battle of Badr. They were killed among those who were killed. Thus, this honorable Ayah was revealed (At-Tabari 9:108) about those who reside among the idolators, while able to perform Hijrah and unable to practice the faith. Such people will be committing injustice against themselves and falling into a prohibition according to the consensus and also according to this Ayah, ”Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves” by refraining from Hijrah, ”They (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” meaning, why did you remain here and not perform Hijrah ”They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.” meaning, we are unable to leave the land or move about in the earth, ”They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you?”

Abu Dawud recorded that Samurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Whoever mingles with the idolator and resides with him, he is just like him.” (Abu Dawud 3:224)

Allah’s statement, ”Except the weak” until the end of the Ayah, is an excuse that Allah gives for this type of people not to emigrate, because they are unable to free themselves from the idolators. And even if they did, they would not know which way to go. This is why Allah said, ”Who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way?”, meaning, they do not find the way to emigrate, as Mujahid, Ikrimah and As-Suddi stated. (At-Tabari 9:111) Allah’s statement, ”These are they whom Allah is likely to forgive them” means, pardon them for not migrating, and here, ‘likely’ means He shall, ”and Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving”.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “While the Messenger of Allah was praying Isha’, he said, Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah.’ He then said before he prostrated,

”O Allah! Save Ayyash bin Abi Rabiah. O Allah! Save Salamah bin Hisham. O Allah! Save Al- Walid bin Al-Walid. O Allah! Save the weak Muslims. O Allah! Be very hard on Mudar tribe. O Allah! Afflict them with years (of famine) similar to the (famine) years of the time of Prophet Yusuf.” (Al-Bukhari no.804)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu An-Numan said that Hammad bin Zayd said that Ayyub narrated that Ibn Abi Mulaykah said that Ibn Abbas commented on the verse, ”Except the weak ones among men’‘, “I and my mother were among those (weak ones) whom Allah excused.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:113)

Allah’s statement, ”He who emigrates in the cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.” this encourages the believers to perform Hijrah and abandon the idolators, for wherever the believer emigrates, he will find a safe refuge to resort to. Mujahid said that, ”many dwelling places” means, he will find a way out of what he dislikes. Allah’s statement, ”…will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.”  refers to provision. Qatadah also said that, “… will find on the earth many places to live by.” means, Allah will take him from misguidance to guidance and from poverty to richness. Allah’s statement, ”And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely, incumbent upon Allah.” means, whoever starts emigrating and dies on the way, he will acquire the reward of those who emigrate for Allah. The Two Sahihs, along with the Musnad and Sunan compilers, recorded that Umar bin Al- Khattab said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will be rewarded according to what he has intended. So, whoever emigrated to Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration is for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for what he emigrated for.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:164)

This Hadith is general, it applies to Hijrah as well as every other deed. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that a man killed ninety-nine people and completed the number one hundred when he killed a worshipper. He then asked a scholar if he has a chance to repent. The scholar said, “What prevents you from repentance?” The scholar told the killer to emigrate from his land to another land where Allah is worshipped. When he left his land and started on the migration to the other land, death overtook him on the way. The angels of mercy and the angels of torment disputed about the man, whereas the former said that he went out in repentance, while the latter said that he did not arrive at his destination. They were commanded to measure the distance between the two lands and to whichever land he is closer to, he will be considered part of that land. Allah commanded that the righteous land to move closer and the land of evil to move farther. The angels found that he died closer to the land that he intended to emigrate to by a hand-span, and thus the angels of mercy captured his soul. In another narration, when death came to that man, he moved his chest towards the righteous village that he emigrated to. (Fath Al-Bari 6:591)

{101. And when you Darabtum in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten the Salah if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial, verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.}

Salat Al-Qasr, Shortening the Prayer

Allah said, ”And when you Darabtum in the land” meaning if you travel in the land. In another Ayah, Allah said,

”He knows that there will be some among you sick, others Yadribuna (traveling) through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty…” (73:20).

Allah’s statement, ”there is no sin on you if you shorten the Salah (prayer)” by reducing (the units of the prayer) from four to two. Allah’s statement, ”if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you)”, refers to the typical type of fear prevalent when this Ayah was revealed. In the beginning of Islam, and after the Hijrah, Muslims used to experience fear during most of their travels. Rather, they restricted their movements to large or short military expeditions. During that era, most areas were areas of combatant enemies of Islam and its people. But when the prevalent circumstances cease, or a new situation is prevalent, decrees of this nature may not be understood, as Allah said; ”And force not your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity”. And His saying; ”And your stepdaughters, under your guardianship, born of your wives whom you have gone into”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Yala bin Umayyah said, “I asked Umar bin Al-Khattab about the verse: ”there is no sin on you if you shorten the prayer. If you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial” ‘Allah granted Muslims safety now?’ Umar said to me, ‘I wondered about the same thing and asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, about it and he said,

 “A gift that Allah has bestowed on you, so accept His gift.” (Muslim 1:478)

Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded that Abu Hanzalah Al-Hadha said, “I asked Ibn Umar about the Qasr prayer and he said, ‘It consists of two Rakahs. ‘I said, what about Allah’s statement, “if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you)?” ‘We are safe now.’ He said, ‘This is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.” (Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:447)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said, “We went out with the Messenger of Allah from Al-Madinah to Makkah; he used to pray two Rakahs until we went back to Al-Madinah.” When he was asked how long they remained in Makkah, he said, “We remained in Makkah for ten days.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:653)  Imam Ahmad recorded that Harithah bin Wahb Al-Khuzai said, “I prayed behind the Prophet for the Zuhr and Asr prayers in Mina, when the people were numerous and very safe, and he prayed two Rakahs.” (Ahmad 4:306)

Al-Bukhari’s narration of this Hadith reads, “The Prophet led us in the prayer at Mina during the peace period by offering two Rakahs.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:655)

 {102. When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in Salah, let one party of them stand up [in prayer] with you, taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you, taking all the precautions and bearing arms. Those who disbelieve wish, if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to attack you in a single rush, but there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves. Verily, Allah has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers.}

The Description of The Fear Prayer

The Fear prayer has different forms, for the enemy is sometimes in the direction of the Qiblah and sometimes in another direction. The Fear prayer consists sometimes of four Rakahs, three Rakahs, as for Maghrib, and sometimes two Rakah like Fajr and prayer during travel. The Fear prayer is sometimes prayed in congregation, but when the battle is raging, congregational prayer may not be possible. In this case, they pray each by himself, facing the Qiblah or otherwise, riding or on foot. In this situation, they are allowed to walk and fight, all the while performing the acts of the prayer.

Some scholars said that in the latter case, they pray only one Rakah, for Ibn Abbas narrated, “By the words of your Prophet, Allah has ordained the prayer of four Rakah while residing, two Rakah during travel, and one Rakah during fear.” (Muslim: 687)  Abu Asim Al-Abadi mentioned that Muhammad bin Nasr Al-Marwazi said the Fajr prayer also becomes one Rakah during fear. This is also the opinion of Ibn Hazm. Ishaq bin Rahwayh said, “When a battle is raging, one Rakah during which you nod your head is sufficient for you. If you are unable, then one prostration is sufficient, because the prostration is remembrance of Allah.”

The Reason behind Revealing this Ayah

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Ayyash Az-Zuraqi said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah in the area of Usfan (a well known place near Makkah), when the idolators met us under the command of Khalid bin Al-Walid, and they were between us and the Qiblah. The Messenger of Allah led us in Zuhr prayer, and the idolators said, ‘They were busy with something during which we had a chance to attack them.’ They then said, ‘Next, there will come a prayer (Asr) that is dearer to them than their children and themselves.’ However, Jibril came down with these Ayat between the prayers of Zuhr and Asr, “When you (O Messenger Muhammad ) are among them, and lead them in Salah (prayer)”.

When the time for prayer came, the Messenger of Allah commanded Muslims to hold their weapons and he made us stand in two lines behind him. When he bowed, we all bowed behind him. When he raised his head, we all raised our heads. The Prophet then prostrated with the line that was behind him while the rest stood in guard. When they finished with the prostration and stood up, the rest sat and performed prostration, while those who performed it stood up in guard after the two lines exchanged position. The Prophet then bowed and they all bowed after him, then raised their heads after he raised his head. Then the Prophet performed prostration with the line that was behind him, while the rest stood in guard. When those who made prostration sat, the rest prostrated. The Prophet then performed the Taslim and ended the prayer. The Messenger of Allah performed this prayer twice, once in Usfan and once in the land of Banu Sulaym.” (Ahmad 4:59-60)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Once the Prophet led the Fear prayer and the people stood behind him. He said Allahu-Akbar and the people said the same. He bowed and some of them bowed. Then he prostrated and they also prostrated. Then he stood for the second Rakah and those who had prayed the first Rakah left and guarded their brothers. The second party joined him and performed bowing and prostration with him. All the people were in prayer, but they were guarding one another during the prayer.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:502)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah led them in the Fear prayer. A group of them stood before him and a group behind him. The Prophet led those who were behind him with one Rakah and two prostrations. They then moved to the position of those who did not pray, while the others stood in their place, and the Messenger of Allah performed one Rakah and two prostrations and then said the Salam. Therefore, the Prophet prayed two Rakah while they prayed one. (Ahmad 3:298)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Salim said that his father said, “When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in Salah (prayer)” refers to the Fear prayer. The Messenger of Allah led one group and prayed one Rakah, while the second group faced the enemy. Then the second group that faced the enemy came and Allah’s Messenger led them, praying one Rakah, and then said the Salam. Each of the two groups then stood up and prayed one more Rakah each (while the other group stood in guard).” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 2:375)

As for the command to hold the weapons during the Fear prayer, a group of scholars said that it is obligatory according to the Ayah. What testifies to this is that Allah said; “But there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves” meaning, so that when necessary, you will be able to get to your weapons easily, “Verily, Allah has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers”.

 {103. When you have finished the Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting down, and on your sides, but when you are free from danger, perform the Salah. Verily, Salah is kitaban on the believers at fixed hours.

104. And don’t be weak in the pursuit of the enemy; if you are suffering (hardships) then surely they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah (for the reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.}

The Order for Ample Remembrance After the Fear Prayer

Allah commands Dhikr after finishing the Fear prayer, in particular, even though such Dhikr is encouraged after finishing other types of prayer in general. In the case of Fear prayer, Dhikr is encouraged even more because the pillars of the prayer are diminished since they move about while performing it, etc., unlike other prayers. Allah said about the Sacred Months, “so wrong not yourselves therein”, even though injustice is prohibited all year long. However, injustice is particularly outlawed during the Sacred Months due to their sanctity and honor. So Allah’s statement, “When you have finished Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting down, and on your sides” means, in all conditions, “But when you are free from danger perform the Salah” when you are safe, tranquil and fear subsides, “perform the Salah” by performing it as you were commanded; fulfilling its obligations, with humbleness, completing the bowing and prostration positions etc. Allah’s statement, “Verily, the Salah is Kitaban on the believers at fixed hours.” means, enjoined, as Ibn Abbas stated. Ibn Abbas also said, “The prayer has a fixed time, just as the case with Hajj.” (At-Tabari 9:169)

The Encouragement to Pursue the Enemy Despite Injuries

Allah’s statement, “And don’t be weak in the pursuit of the enemy” means, do not weaken your resolve in pursuit of your enemy. Rather, pursue them vigorously, fight them and be wary of them. “if you are suffering then surely they are suffering as you are suffering” meaning, just as you suffer from injuries and death, the same happens to the enemy. In another Ayah, Allah said, “If you suffer a harm, be sure a similar harm has struck the others”. Allah then said, “but you have a hope from Allah that for which they hope not” meaning, you and they are equal regarding the injuries and pain that you suffer from. However, you hope for Allah’s reward, victory and aid, just as He has promised you in His Book and by the words of His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Surely, Allah’s promise is true. On the other hand, your enemies do not have hope for any of this. So, it is you, not they, who should be eager to fight so that you establish the Word of Allah and raise it high.  “And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise” means, He is most knowledgeable and wise in all what He decides, decrees, wills and acts on concerning various worldly and religious ordainments, and He is worthy of praise in all conditions.

{105. Surely, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book in truth that you might judge between men by that which Allah has shown you, so be not a pleader for the treacherous.

106. And seek the forgiveness of Allah, certainly, Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

107. And argue not on behalf of those who deceive themselves. Verily, Allah does not like anyone who is a betrayer, sinner.

108. They may hide (their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (them) from Allah; for He is with them (by His knowledge), when they plot by night in words that He does not approve. And Allah ever encompasses what they do.

109. Lo! You are those who have argued for them in the life of this world, but who will argue for them on the Day of Resurrection against Allah, or who will then be their defender?}

The Necessity of Referring to What Allah has Revealed for Judgement

Allah says to His Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Surely, We have sent down to you the Book in truth” meaning, it truly came from Allah and its narrations and commandments are true. Allah then said, “that you might judge between men by that which Allah has shown you” In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Zaynab bint Umm Salamah said that Umm Salamah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, heard the noise of disputing people close to the door of his room, and he went out to them saying,

”Verily, I am only human and I judge based on what I hear. Some of you might be more eloquent in presenting his case than others, so that I judge in his favor. If I judge in one’s favour concerning the right of another Muslim, then it is a piece of the Fire. So let one take it or leave it.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:128)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah said, “Two men from the Ansar came to the Messenger of Allah with a dispute regarding some old inheritance, but they did not have evidence. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“You bring your disputes to me, but I am only human. Some of you might be more persuasive in their arguments than others. I only judge between you according to what I hear. Therefore, whomever I judge in his favour and give him a part of his brother’s right, let him not take it, for it is a part of the Fire that I am giving him and it will be tied around his neck on the Day of Resurrection.”

The two men cried and each one of them said, ‘I forfeit my right to my brother.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Since you said that, then go and divide the inheritance, and try to be just in your division. Then draw lots, and each one of you should forgive his brother thereafter (regardless of who got the best share).” (Ahmad 6:320)

Allah’s statement, “They may hide (their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (them) from Allah” chastises the hypocrites because they hide their evil works from the people so that they will not criticize them. Yet, the hypocrites disclose this evil with Allah, Who has perfect watch over their secrets and knows what is in their hearts. This is why Allah said, “for He is with them (by His knowledge), when they plot by night in words that He does not approve. And Allah ever encompasses what they do” threatening and warning them.

Allah then said,

“Lo! You are those who have argued for them in the life of this world” meaning, suppose these people gain the verdict from the rulers in their favor in this life, since the rulers judge according to what is apparent to them. However, what will their condition be on the Day of Resurrection before Allah, Who knows the secret and what is even more hidden Who will be his advocate on that Day Verily, none will support them that Day. Hence, Allah’s statement , “or who will then be their defender?”

 {110. And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

111. And whoever earns sin, he earns it only against himself. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

112. And whoever earns a fault or a sin and then blames it on someone innocent, he has indeed burdened himself with falsehood and a manifest sin.

113. Had not the grace of Allah and His mercy been upon you, a party of them would certainly have made a decision to mislead you, but they mislead none except their own selves, and no harm can they do to you in the least. Allah has sent down to you the Book, and the Hikmah, and taught you that which you knew not. And ever great is the grace of Allah unto you.}

The Encouragement to Seek Allah’s Forgiveness, and Warning those who Falsely Accuse Innocent People

Allah emphasizes His generosity and kindness, in that He forgives whoever repents to Him from whatever evil they commit. Allah said, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas commented about this Ayah, “Allah informs His servants of His forgiveness, forbearing generosity and expansive mercy. So whoever commits a sin, whether minor or major, “but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” even if his sins were greater than the heavens, the earth and the mountains.” (At-Tabari 9:195)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ali said, “Whenever I hear anything from the Messenger of Allah, Allah benefits me with whatever He wills of that. Abu Bakr told me, and Abu Bakr has said the truth, that the Messenger of Allah said,

”No Muslim commits a sin and then performs ablution, prays two Rakahs and begs Allah for forgiveness for that sin, but He forgives him.”

He then recited these two Ayat, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself”, and, “And those who, when they have committed Fahishah or wronged themselves with evil.” (Ahmad 1:8)

Allah’s statement, “And whoever earns sin, he earns it only against himself.” is similar to His statement, “And no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another”. So no one will avail anyone else. Rather, every soul, and none else, shall carry its own burden. This is why Allah said, “And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.” meaning, this occurs due to His knowledge, wisdom, fairness and mercy. “and taught you that which you knew not”, before this revelation was sent down to you. Similarly, Allah said, “And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) a Ruh (a revelation, and a mercy) of Our command. You knew not what is the Book” unt il the end of the Surah. Allah said, “And you were not expecting that the Book (this Qur’an) would be sent down to you, but it is a mercy from your Lord”. So Allah said; “And ever great is the grace of Allah unto you (O Muhammad).”

{114. There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah, or goodness, or conciliation between mankind; and he who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward.

115. And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell what an evil destination!}

Righteous Najwa, Secret Talk

Allah said, “There is no good in most of their secret talks” meaning, what the people say to each other. “save him who orders Sadaqah (charity), or goodness, or reconciliation between mankind” meaning, except for this type of talk.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah said that she heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

”He who brings about reconciliation between people by embellishing good or saying good things, is not a liar.”

She also said, “I never heard him allow what the people say (lies) except in three cases: in war, bringing peace between people and the man’s speech (invented compliments) to his wife and her speech to her husband.” Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah was among the immigrant women who gave their pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (Ahmad 6:403)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Should I tell you what is better than the grade of fasting, praying and Sadaqah?” They said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger!” He said, ”Bringing reconciliation between people.” He also said, ”Spoiling the relationship (between people) is the destroyer.” (Ahmad 6:444)

Allah said, “and he who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allah” with sincerity and awaiting the reward with Allah, the Exalted and Most Honoured, “We shall give him a great reward” meaning, an immense, enormous and tremendous reward.

The Punishment for Contradicting and Opposing the Messenger and Following a Path Other than That of the Believers

Allah’s statement, “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him.” refers to whoever intentionally takes a path other than the path of the Law revealed to the Messenger, after the truth has been made clear, apparent and plain to him. Allah’s statement, “and follows other than the believers’ way,” refers to a type of conduct that is closely related to contradicting the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This contradiction could be in the form of contradicting a text (from the Qur’an or Sunnah) or contradicting what the Ummah of Muhammad has agreed on. The Ummah of Muhammad is immune from error when they all agree on something, a miracle that serves to increase their honor, due to the greatness of their Prophet.

There are many authentic Hadiths on this subject. Allah warned against the evil of contradicting the Prophet and his Ummah, when He said, “We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination!” meaning, when one goes on this wicked path, We will punish him by making the evil path appear good in his heart, and will beautify it for him so that he is tempted further. For instance, Allah said,

“Then leave Me Alone with such as belie this Qur’an. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not”.

“So when they turned away (from the path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away”, and,

“And We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly”. Allah made the Fire the destination of such people in the Hereafter. Indeed, the path of those who avoid the right guidance will only lead to the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, as evident by Allah’s statements,

“(It will be said to the angels): “Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils)”, and,

“And the criminals, shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall therein. And they will find no way of escape from there”

 

{116. Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.

117. They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaytan, a persistent rebel!

118. Allah cursed him. And he [Shaytan] said: “I will take an appointed portion of your servants.”

119. “Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.

120. He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.

121. The dwelling of such (people) is Hell, and they will find no way of escape from it.

122. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, We shall admit them to the Gardens under which rivers flow (i.e. in Paradise) to dwell therein forever. Allah’s promise is the truth; and whose words can be truer than those of Allah}

Shirk Shall not be Forgiven, in Reality the Idolators Worship Shaytan

We talked about Allah’s statement, “Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that” before and mentioned the relevant Hadiths in the beginning of this Surah. Allah’s statement, “and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.” means, he will have taken other than the true path, deviated from guidance and righteousness, destroyed himself in this life and the Hereafter, and lost contentment in this life and the Hereafter. Juwaybir said that Ad-Dahhak said about Allah’s statement, “They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah),” “The idolators claimed that the angels are Allah’s daughters, saying, ‘We only worship them so that they bring us closer to Allah.’ So they took the angels as gods, made the shapes of girls and decided, ‘These (idols) resemble the daughters of Allah (i.e., the angels), Whom we worship.” This is similar to Allah’s statements,

“Have you then considered Al-Lat and Al-Uzza?” 

“And they make the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious (Allah) females” and,

“And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn?”.

Allah’s statement, “and they invoke nothing but Shaytan, a persistent rebel!” means, Shaytan has commanded them to do this and made it seem fair and beautiful in their eyes. Consequently, they are worshipping Shaytan in reality, just as Allah said in another Ayah, “Did I not command you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan?”

Allah said that, on the Day of Resurrection, the angels shall proclaim about the idolators who worshipped them in this life: “Nay, but they used to worship the Jinn; most of them were believers in them”. Allah’s statement, “Allah cursed him”, means, He expelled him and banished him from His mercy and His grace. “I will take an appointed portion of your servants” means, a fixed and known share. Muqatil bin Hayyan commented, “From every one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine will go to the Fire and one to Paradise.”

“Verily, I will mislead them” from the true path, “and surely, I will arouse in them false desires” tempting them to feign repentance, arousing false hopes in them, encouraging them to delay and procrastinate with righteous deeds, deceiving them. “and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle” meaning, slitting their ears to designate them as Bahirah, Sa’ibah, and a Wasilah, as Qatadah and As-Suddi stated. “And indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah” means tattooing, according to Al-Hasan bin Abi Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded the prohibition of tattooing the face, which in one of its wordings states: “May Allah curse whoever does this.” (Muslim 3:1618) It is also recorded in the Sahih that Ibn Masud said, “May Allah curse those who have tattoos and those who do it, who pluck their (facial) hairs and the one who does it for them, and those who make spaces between their teeth for the purpose of beauty, changing what Allah has created.” He t hen said, “Why should not I curse whom the Messenger of Allah has cursed, when the Book of Allah commands it,” referring to the Ayah, ”And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” (Fath Al-Bari 8:498).

Allah’s statement, “And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.” means, he will have lost this life and the Hereafter. Indeed, this is a type of loss that cannot be compensated or restored. Allah’s statement, “He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires” explains the true reality. Surely, Shaytan deceitfully promises his supporters and tempts them into believing that they are winners in this and the Hereafter. This is why Allah said, “and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.”

Allah states that on the Day of Return, “And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you”, until, “Verily, there is a painful torment for the wrongdoers.” Allah’s statement, “of such (people)” refers to those who like and prefer what Shaytan is promising and assuring them of, “The dwelling of such (people) is Hell”, as their destination and abode on the Day of Resurrection, “and they will find no way of escape from it”, meaning, they will not be able to avoid, avert, evade or elude the Hellfire.

The Reward of Righteous Believers

Allah then mentions the condition of the content righteous believers and the perfect honor they will earn in the end. Allah said, “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds” meaning, their hearts were truthful and their limbs obedient with the righteous acts they were commanded, all the while abandoning the evil they were prohibited from doing.

“We shall admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)” meaning, they will think of where they want these rivers to flow and they will flow there, ”to dwell therein forever”, without end or being removed from it. ”Allah’s promise is the truth”, meaning, this is a true promise from Allah, and verily, Allah’s promise shall come to pass. Allah then said, ”and whose words can be truer than those of Allah” meaning, none is more truthful in statement and narration than Allah. There is no deity worthy of worship, or Lord except Him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to proclaim in his speech,

”The most truthful speech is Allah’s Speech, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst matters are the newly invented (in religion), every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a heresy, and every heresy is in the Fire.”

 

{123. It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah.

124. And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a believer, such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a Naqir, will be done to them.

125. And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah; and he is a Muhsin (a doer of good). And follows the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist). And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!

126. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is Ever Encompassing all things.}

 

Success is Only Achieved by Performing Righteous Deeds, not Wishful Thinking

Qatadah said, “We were told that the Muslims and the People of the Scriptures mentioned their own virtues to each other. People of the Scriptures said, ‘Our Prophet came before your Prophet and our Book before your Book. Therefore, we should have more right to Allah than you have.’ Muslims said, ‘Rather, we have more right to Allah than you, our Prophet is the Final Prophet and our Book supersedes all the Books before it.’ Allah sent down,

”It will not be in accordance with your desires (Muslims), nor those of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”,

”And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah; and he is a Muhsin.”

Allah then supported the argument of the Muslims against their opponents of the other religions.” (At-Tabari 9:229) Similar statements were attributed to As-Suddi, Masruq, Ad-Dahhak and Abu Salih. Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas commented on this Ayah [4:123] , “The followers of various religions disputed, the people of the Tawrah said, ‘Our Book is the best Book and our Prophet (Musa) is the best Prophet.’ The people of the Injil said similarly, the people of Islam said, ‘There is no religion except Islam, our Book has abrogated every other Book, our Prophet is the Final Prophet, and you were commanded to believe in your Books and adhere to our Book.’ Allah judged between them, saying, ”It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof.” (At-Tabari 9:230)

This Ayah indicates that the religion is not accepted on account of wishful thinking or mere hopes. Rather, the accepted religion relies on what resides in the heart and which is made truthful through actions. It is not true that when one utters a claim to something, he attains it merely on account of his claim. It is not true that every person who claims to be on the truth is considered as such, merely on account of his words, until his claim gains merit with proof from Allah. Hence Allah’s statement, “It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”, meaning safety will not be acquired by you or them just by wishful thinking. Rather, the key is in obeying Allah and following what He has legislated through the words of His honorable Messengers. This is why Allah said afterwards, “whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”

Similarly, Allah said, “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.” and it was reported that when these Ayat were revealed, they became hard on many Companions. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that A’ishah said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I know the hardest Ayah in the Qur’an.’ He said, ‘What is it, O A’ishah!’ I said, “whoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof” He said, “That is what strikes the believing servant, even the problems that bother him.” (At-Tabari 9:244)

Said bin Mansur recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “When the Ayah, “whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof” was revealed, it was hard on Muslims. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to them,

“Be steadfast and seek closeness. Everything that afflicts the Muslim, even the thorn that pierces his skin and the hardship he suffers, will be an expiation for him.” (Ahmad 2:248)

Allah’s statement, “and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said; “Unless he repents and Allah forgives him.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded it. (At-Tabari 9:239)

Allah then said, “And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a believer”. Allah mentions the recompense for evil actions and that He will surely inflict its punishment on the servant, either in this life, which is better for him, or in the Hereafter, we seek refuge with Allah from this end. We also beg Allah for our well-being in this life and the Hereafter and for His forgiveness, mercy and pardon.

Allah then mentions His kindness, generosity and mercy in accepting the good deeds from His servants, whether male or female, with the condition that they embrace the faith. He also stated that He will admit the believers into Paradise and will not withhold any of their righteous deeds, even the weight of a Naqir – speck on the back of a date-stone. Earlier, we discussed the Fatil – the scalish thread in the long slit of a date-stone, and both of these, along with the Qitmir – the thin membrane over the date-stone were mentioned in the Qur’an.

Allah then said, “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face to Allah” meaning, performs the good actions in sincerity for his Lord with faith and awaiting the reward with Allah, “and he is a Muhsin” following the correct guidance that Allah legislated in the religion of truth which He sent His Messenger with. These are the two conditions, in the absence of which no deed will be accepted from anyone; sincerity and correctness. The work is sincere when it is performed for Allah alone and it becomes correct when it conforms to the Shariah. So, the deed becomes outwardly correct with following the Sunnah and inwardly correct with sincerity. When any deed lacks either of these two conditions, the deed becomes null and void. For instance, when one lacks the pillar of sincerity in his work, he becomes a hypocrite who shows off for people. Whoever does not follow the Shariah, he becomes an ignorant, wicked person. When one combines both pillars, his actions will be the deeds of the faithful believers whose best deeds are accepted from them and their errors erased. Consequently, Allah said, “And follows the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist).” referring to Muhammad and his following, until the Day of Resurrection. Allah said, “Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet”, and, “Then, We have sent the Revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist) and he was not of the Mushrikin”. The Hanif, intentionally and with knowledge, avoids Shirk, he goes attentively to the truth, allowing no one to hinder him or stop him from it.

Ibrahim is Allah’s Khalil

Allah’s statement, “And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!” encourages following Ibrahim Al- Khalil, because he was and still is an Imam whose conduct is followed and imitated. Indeed, Ibrahim reached the ultimate closeness to Allah that the servants seek, for he attained the grade of Khalil, which is the highest grade of love. He acquired all this due to his obedience to His Lord, just as Allah has described him, “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled”, and, “Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah, obedient to Allah, a Hanif, and he was not one of the Mushrikin”.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Amr bin Maymun said that when Muadh came back from Yemen, he led them in the Fajr prayer and recited, “And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil!” One of the men present commented, “Surely, the eye of Ibrahim’s mother has been comforted.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:662)

Ibrahim was called Allah’s Khalil due to his Lord’s great love towards him, on account of the acts of obedience he performed that Allah loves and prefers. We should mention here that in the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that when the Messenger of Allah gave them his last speech, he said,

”O people! If I were to take a Khalil from the people of the earth, I would have taken Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah as my Khalil. However, your companion (meaning himself) is the Khalil of Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:15)

Jundub bin Abdullah Al-Bajali, Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Asand Abdullah bin Masud narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah has chosen me as His Khalil, just as He has chosen Ibrahim as His Khalil.” (Muslim 1:377)

Allah’s statement, “And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth.” means, everything and everyone are His property, servants and creation, and He has full authority over all of this. There is no one who can avert Allah’s decision or question His judgment. He is never asked about what He does due to His might, ability, fairness, wisdom, compassion and mercy. Allah’s statement, “And Allah is Ever Encompassing all things” means, His knowledge encompasses everything and nothing concerning His servants is ever hidden from Him. Nothing, even the weight of an atom, ever escapes His observation in the heavens and earth, nor anything smaller or bigger than that.

 

{127. They ask your legal instruction concerning women. Say: “Allah instructs you about them, and about what is recited unto you in the Book concerning the orphan girls whom you give not what they deserve and yet whom you desire to marry, and the children who are weak and oppressed, and that you stand firm for justice to orphans. And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All-Aware of it.}

 

The Ruling Concerning Female Orphans

Al-Bukhari recorded that A’ishah said about the Ayah, “They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, “Allah instructs you about them…” until, “whom you desire to marry…” “It is about the man who is taking care of a female orphan, being her caretaker and inheritor. Her money is joined with his money to such an extent, that she shares with him even the branch of a date that he has. So he likes (for material gain) to marry her himself, and hates to marry her to another man who would have a share in his money, on account of her share in his money. Therefore, he refuses to let her marry anyone else. So, this Ayah was revealed.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:114)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that A’ishah said, “The people asked Allah’s Messenger (about orphan girls), so Allah revealed, “They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, “Allah instructs you about them and about what is recited unto you in the Book…”

What is meant by Allah’s saying, ‘And about what is recited unto you in the Book’ is the former verse which said, “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice.” (At-Tabari 9:258)

A’ishah said, “Allah’s statement, “whom you desire to marry…” also refers to the desire of the guardian not to marry an orphan girl under his supervision when she lacks property or beauty. The guardians were forbidden to marry their orphan girls possessing property and beauty without being just to them, as they generally refrain from marrying them (when they are neither beautiful nor wealthy).” (Fath Al-Bari 9:6) The basis of this is recorded in Two Sahihs.

Consequently, when a man is the caretaker of a female orphan, he might like to marry her himself. In this case, Allah commands him to give her a suitable dowry that other women of her status get. If he does not want to do that, then let him marry other women, for Allah has made this matter easy for Muslims. Sometimes, the caretaker does not desire to marry the orphan under his care, because she is not attractive to his eye. In this case, Allah forbids the caretaker from preventing the female orphan from marrying another man for fear that her husband would share in the money that is mutually shared between the caretaker and the girl.

Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, the caretaker of a female orphan would cover her with his rope, and when he did that, no man would marry her. If she was beautiful and he desired to marry her, he married her and took control of her wealth. If she was not beautiful, he did not allow her to marry until she died, and when she died he inherited her money. Allah prohibited and outlawed this pract ice.” (At-Tabari 9:264)

He also said about Allah’s statement, “and the children who are weak and oppressed” that during the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to deny young children and females a share of inheritance. So Allah’s statement, “you give not what they deserve” thus prohibiting this practice and designating a fixed share for each, “To the male, a portion equal to that of two females.” whether they were young or old, as Said bin Jubayr and others stated.  Said bin Jubayr said about Allah’s statement, “and that you stand firm for justice to orphans.” “Just as when she is beautiful and wealthy you would want to marry her and have her for yourself, so when she is not wealthy or beautiful, marry her and have her for yourself.” (At-Tabari 9:255)

Allah’s statement, “And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All-Aware of it.” encourages performing the good deeds and fulfilling the commandments, and states that Allah is knowledgeable of all of this and He will reward for it in the best and most perfect manner.

{128. And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better. And human souls are swayed by greed. But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well- Acquainted with what you do.

129. You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them so as to leave the other hanging. And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

130. But if they separate (by divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.}

 

The Ruling Concerning Desertion on the Part of the Husband

Allah states, and thus legislates accordingly, that sometimes, the man inclines away from his wife, sometimes towards her and sometimes he parts with her. In the first case, when the wife fears that her husband is steering away from her or deserting her, she is allowed to forfeit all or part of her rights, such as provisions, clothing, dwelling, and so forth, and the husband is allowed to accept such concessions from her. Hence, there is no harm if she offers such concessions, and if her husband accepts them. This is why Allah said, “there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves” He then said, “And human souls are swayed by greed” means, coming to peaceful terms, even when it involves forfeiting some rights, is better than parting.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to A’ishah.’ And he did, and later on Allah sent down, “And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both” Ibn Abbas said, “Whatever (legal agreement) the spouses mutually agree to is allowed.”. (Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi:349)

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that A’ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zamah became old, she forfeited her day to A’ishah, and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to spend Sawdah’s night with A’ishah. (Fath Al-Bari 9:223) Al-Bukhari also recorded that A’ishah commented, “And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part”, that it refers to, “A man who is married to an old woman, and he does not desire her and wants to divorce her. So she says, ‘I forfeit my right on you.’ So this Ayah was revealed, ”and making peace is better” than divorce.

Meaning of “Making Peace is Better”

Allah said, “And making peace is better”. Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah refers to, “When the husband gives his wife the choice between staying with him or leaving him, as this is better than the husband preferring other wives to her.” However, the apparent wording of the Ayah refers to the settlement where the wife forfeits some of the rights she has over her husband, with the husband agreeing to this concession, and that this settlement is better than divorce. For instance, the Prophet kept Sawdah bint Zamah as his wife after she offered to forfeit her day for A’ishah. By keeping her among his wives, his Ummah may follow this kind of settlement. Since settlement and peace are better with Allah than parting, Allah said, “and making peace is better”. Divorce is not preferred with Allah. The meaning of Allah’s statement, “But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do” if you are patient with the wife you dislike and treat her as other wives are treated, then Allah knows what you do and will reward you for it perfectly. Allah’s statement, “You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire” means, O people! You will never be able to be perfectly just between wives in every respect. Even when one divides the nights justly between wives, there will still be various degrees concerning love, desire and sexual intimacy. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah used to treat his wives equally and proclaim, “O Allah! This is my division in what I own, so do not blame me for what You own and I do not own” referring to his heart. This was the wording that Abu Dawud collected, and its chain of narrators is Sahih. (Abu Dawud:2134)

Allah’s statement, “so do not incline too much to one of them” means, when you like one of your wives more than others, do not exaggerate in treating her that way, “so as to leave the other hanging” referring to the other wives. Ibn Abbas, Mujahid Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Muallaqah ‘hanging’ means, “She is neither divorced nor married.” (At-Tabari 9:290-292)

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever has two wives and inclines to one of them (too much), will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides dragging.” (Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi:322)

Allah’s statement, “And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Ayah states: If you do justice and divide equally in what you have power over, while fearing Allah in all conditions, then Allah will forgive you the favoritism that you showed to some of your wives. Allah then said, “But if they separate (divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.” This is the third case between husband and wife, in which divorce occurs. Allah states that if the spouses separate by divorce, then Allah will suffice them by giving him a better wife and her a better husband. The meaning of, “And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.” is: His favour is tremendous, His bounty is enormous and He is All-Wise in all His actions, decisions and commandments.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 2 (Abridged) Pages 579-603

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