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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 4 (Al-Nisa’ - The Women) > Section 11 (Verses 77 to 87)



Section/Ruku Ruku 11 [Verses 77 to 87]: Attitude of the hypocrites:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

77 Hast thou not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate. But when fighting is prescribed for them, lo! a party of them fear men as they ought to fear Allah, or with a greater fear, and say: Our Lord, why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? Wouldst Thou not grant us respite to a near term?
a Say: The enjoyment of this world is short, and the Hereafter is better for him who keeps his duty. And you shall not be wronged a whit.

78 Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in towers, raised high. And if good befalls them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from thee. Say: All is from Allah. But what is the matter with these people that they make no effort to understand anything?

79 Whatever good befalls thee (O man), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls thee, it is from thyself.a And We have sent thee (O Prophet) to mankind as a Messenger. And Allah is sufficient as a witness.

80 Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah. And whoever turns away, We have not sent thee as a keeper over them.

81 And they say: Obedience. But when they go out from thy presence, a party of them plan by night doing otherwise than what thou sayest.a And Allah writes down what they plan by night, so turn aside from them and trust in Allah. And Allah is sufficient as having charge of affairs.

82 Will they not then meditate on the Qur’an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.a

83 But if any news of security or fear comes to them, they spread it abroad. And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those of them who can search out knowledge of it would have known it. And were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would certainly have followed the devil save a few.a

84 Fight then in Allah’s way — thou art not responsible except for thyself; and urge on the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve. And Allah is stronger in prowess and stronger to give exemplary punishment.a

85 Whoever intercedes in a good cause has a share of it, and whoever intercedes in an evil cause has a portion of it. And Allah is ever Keeper over all things.a

86 And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it, or return it.a Surely Allah ever takes account of all things.

87 Allah, there is no god but He — He will certainly gather you together on the Resurrection day, there is no doubt in it. And who is more true in word than Allah?

2. Commentary:

77a. The injunction to fight was distasteful, and more particularly so to those who were weak in faith. Had there been any hope of plunder to animate the ranks of Muslims, those who loved this world most (who are here called the hypocrites) would have been foremost in fighting; but as they knew that they were fighting against odds, they considered the execution of this order as equivalent to courting death, and requested to be granted a respite until they died a natural death. [Back to verse 77]

79a. Good and evil, or benefits and misfortunes, proceed from Allah; but while He sends benefits from Himself, i.e. out of His beneficence, no evil or misfortune afflicts a man unless his own hands have called for it. There is no discrepancy in the two statements, the one made at the end of the last verse — All is from Allah — and the other made here. The previous verse states that the hypocrites attributed their misfortunes to the Prophet; they are told that misfortunes were sent by Allah. This verse tells them that, though sent by Allah, the immediate cause of these misfortunes was to be found in their own doings. [Back to verse 79]

81a. The reference here is to the secret counsels of the hypocrites, who were always plotting against the Prophet while they kept an appearance of obedience to him. [Back to verse 81]

82a. The Qur’an was not written out and given on one occasion, but it continued to be delivered in small portions during twenty-three years under the most varying circumstances. From the solitary recluse of the cave of Hira’, the Prophet had to pass through such a variety of circumstances to be the sole monarch and legislator of the whole of Arabia, that the life of no other individual human being affords us such a varying study. It is quite true that the earlier revelation deals mostly with such problems as Divine Unity and Majesty and the responsibility of human actions in general, while the later revelation had to deal with a large number of questions relating to the social and moral well-being of society; but what strikes one throughout the entire revelation is that it

keeps up one and the same strain — absolute submission to Allah, entire trust in Him, perfect confidence of future success, a liberal view of humanity, an attitude of charity towards all nations and religions, and goodness to all alike. The spirit of the revelations to the solitary, persecuted, and rejected preacher of Makkah does not differ in these and a hundred other particulars from the spirit of the revelations to the sole temporal and spiritual monarch of Arabia. There are no discrepancies even in the details of narratives — such, for instance, as are met with in the Bible — and this is especially true of the numerous prophecies which were uttered by the Prophet when an absolutely helpless man. Had they not proceeded from the Omniscient Being, Who knows the future as He knows the past, they could certainly not have been free from numerous discrepancies. [Back to verse 82]

83a. Divine grace and mercy were manifested by raising a prophet who delivered them from the bondage of sin and from the slavery of the devil. [Back to verse 83]

84a. These words show how great was the confidence of the Prophet in the ultimate triumph of the noble cause with which he was entrusted. The primary duty to defend Islam lay on him alone, as against all the hosts of Arabia. This shows that he never put any trust in the prowess of his followers, and his confidence was based solely on Divine help. With no material resources, he was sure not only that he would be able to restrain the fighting of his powerful opponents, but also that they would meet with condign punishment at his hands. [Back to verse 84]

85a. The meaning is that he who joins himself to another and assists him, and becomes to him as one of a pair or an intercessor in doing good or evil, and thus aids him and strengthens him, partakes with him the benefit or the harm of it (R). It is also held by some that shafa‘at here implies “that one institutes for another a way of good or a way of evil, which the other imitates, and thus becomes to him as if he were one of a pair” (LL). The connection is clear; the Prophet made himself an example of good for others to imitate or to aid him. For the meaning of shafa‘at, see 2:48b. [Back to verse 85]

86a. A greeting is a prayer for the good of another, tahiyyah being originally a prayer for one’s long life. The Islamic greeting is al-salamu ‘alai-kum, which means peace be to y o u, so that when two Muslims meet they are required to pray for one another’s good. The minimum requirement is that a greeting must be returned in the same words. Hence the other party says wa ‘alaikum al-salam, meaning and to you be peace. But it is recommended that the greeting should be returned in better words, and hence, to the words of the reply are added the words wa rahmatu-llahi wa barakatuh, i.e. and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. But what is really aimed at is that a Muslim should always wish good for, or do good to, his brother, and the other is required to do greater good in return. [Back to verse 86]


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Chapter 3: Al-'Imran (The Family of Amran)

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 4 (Al-Nisa’ - The Women) > Section 11 (Verses 77 to 87)

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