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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 15 (Verses 101 to 104)



Section/Ruku Ruku 15 [Verses 101 to 104]: Prayer when fighting:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

101 And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will give you trouble.
a Surely the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.

102 And when thou art among them and leadest the prayer for them, let a party of them stand up with thee, and let them take their arms. Then when they have performed their prostration, let them go to your rear, and let another party who have not prayed come forward and pray with thee, and let them take their precautions and their arms. Those who disbelieve long that you may neglect your arms and your baggage, that they may attack you with a sudden united attack. And there is no blame on you, if you are inconvenienced on account of rain or if you are sick, to put away your arms; and take your precautions. Surely Allah has prepared abasing chastisement for the disbelievers.a

103 So when you have finished the prayer, remember Allah standing and sitting and reclining. But when you are secure (from danger) keep up (regular) prayer. Prayer indeed has been enjoined on the believers at fixed times.a

104 And be not weak-hearted in pursuit of the enemy. If you suffer, they (too) suffer as you suffer, and you hope from Allah what they hope not. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

2. Commentary:

101a. It is agreed that the prayer service on a journey is shorter than the ordinary prayer service in the zuhr, ‘ asr and ‘isha’ prayers and consists of two rak‘ahs fard instead of four. It is further clear from reports that this was so before the revelation of this verse. According to ‘A’ishah, prayer as instituted from the first consisted of two rak‘ahs only, whether one was journeying or not, and later on ordinary service in these three prayers was increased to four (B. 8:1). According to I‘Ab, prayer as enjoined from the first consisted of four rak‘ahs in these three prayers ordinarily, and two rak‘ahs when journeying (Ms. 6:5). According to both these views, the shortening of prayer as mentioned in this verse is quite different from the ordinary shorter service of the journey, and its details are given in the next verse. According to ‘Umar, however, the shortening on a journey was a result of the revelation of this verse, and though originally this shortening was allowed only when there was danger from the enemy, it was later on allowed on every journey, whether there was any danger or not. When a question was put to him why prayer was being shortened on a journey when there was no longer any danger, there being peace all around, he replied that he put the same question to the Prophet of God and was told that the shortening “was a sadaqah (or charitable gift) of God, so accept His gift” (AD. 4:1). [Back to verse 101]

102a. This verse and the previous one show the importance of prayer in Islam, which could not be neglected even when facing the enemy. The soldiers of Islam were not men with whom fighting was a primary occupation; the chief object of their lives, as these verses show, was to hold communion with the Diving Being, forgetting even their imminent danger, when the time of holding such communion arrived.

According to what is stated in this verse, the congregation performed only one rak‘ah of prayer with the Prophet who was leading the prayer and said two rak‘ahs, but we are told in a hadith that the other rak‘ah was said by each part of the congregation separately (B. 12:1). This shows the importance of offering prayer in congregation which could not be neglected even on the field of battle. [Back to verse 102]

103a. By kitab mauqut, or a timed ordinance, is meant an ordinance regulated as to time, or ordained to be performed at fixed times. The hours of prayer were therefore fixed by the Prophet under Divine guidance, and the observance of the hours of prayer is an essential part of the due observance of prayer. It is this feature of the Islamic prayer which makes it a unique force in the unification of the human race. [Back to verse 103]



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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 15 (Verses 101 to 104)

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