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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 18 (Verses 116 to 126)



Section/Ruku Ruku 18 [Verses 116 to 126]: Idolatry condemned:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

116 Surely Allah forgives not setting up partners with Him, and He forgives all besides this to whom He pleases. And whoever sets up a partner with Allah, he indeed goes far astray.

117 Besides Him they call on nothing but female divinitiesa and they call on nothing but a rebellious devil,b

118 Whom Allah has cursed. And he said: Certainly I will take of Thy servants an appointed portion;

119 And certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires and bid them so that they will slit the ears of the cattle,a and bid them so that they will alter Allah’s creation.b And whoever takes the devil for a friend, forsaking Allah, he indeed suffers a manifest loss.

120 He promises them and excites vain desires in them. And the devil promises them only to deceive.

121 These — their refuge is hell, and they will find no way of escape from it.

122 And those who believe and do good, We shall make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide therein for ever. It is Allah’s promise, in truth. And who is more truthful in word than Allah?

123 It will not be in accordance with your vain desiresa nor the vain desires of the People of the Book. Whoever does evil, will be requited for it and will not find for himself besides Allah a friend or a helper.

124 And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and he (or she) is a believer — these will enter the Garden, and they will not be dealt with a whit unjustly.

125 And who is better in religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah while doing good (to others) and follows the faith of Abraham, the upright one? And Allah took Abraham for a friend.

126 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah ever encompasses all things.

2. Commentary:

117a. Inath has two significances, either of which may be adopted. (1) It signifies inanimate things, as trees and stones and wood. (2) It also means idols, because they named the idols as females, for instance Lat, ‘Uzza, Manat, (LL). Hasan says every one of the Arabian tribes had an idol, which they called the untha (lit., female) of such a tribe (Rz). Hence the word may also be translated as feminine divinities. [Back to verse 117]

117b. Marid and marid have both the same significances, viz., one devoid of all good (R). According to LL the significance of marid is insolent or rebellious. [Back to verse 117]

119a. The practice of slitting or cutting off the ear of certain animals was a prevalent form of polytheism in Arabia, for such an animal was looked upon as devoted to certain idols. See further 5:103a. [Back to verse 119]

119b. A comparison with 30:30 will show clearly that by Allah’s creation is here meant the religion of Allah, because the true religion is the natural religion of man. In 30:30 we have: “So set thy face for religion, being upright, the nature made by Allah in which He has created men. There is no altering Allah’s creation. That is the right religion — but most people know not”. By the devil’s changing the creation of Allah is therefore meant the changing of the natural religion of man which requires obedience to Allah and His laws. Some commentators understand by changing the creation of Allah the using of His created things for an object other than that for which they were created, and worshipping objects such as the sun, etc., which were really created to be subservient to man. [Back to verse 119]

123a. The vain desires of the idolaters were that they would not be raised after death: “And they say: There is nothing but our life of this world, and we shall not be raised again” (6:29). As regards the People of the Book: “And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones” (5:18). The true law — the law of nature — is described in what follows, that evil or good has its own reward. [Back to verse 123]



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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 18 (Verses 116 to 126)

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