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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 23 (Verses 163 to 171)



Section/Ruku Ruku 23 [Verses 163 to 171]: Previous revelation bears out Quranic statements:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

163 Surely We have revealed to thee as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David a scripture.

164 And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to thee before and messengers We have not mentioned to thee. And to Moses Allah addressed His word, speaking (to him) —a

165 Messengers, bearers of good news and warners, so that the people may have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) messengers. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.

166 But Allah bears witness by that which He has revealed to thee that He has revealed it with His knowledge, and the angels (also) bear witness. And Allah is sufficient as a witness.

167 Those who disbelieve and hinder (others) from Allah’s way, they indeed have erred, going far astray.

168 Those who disbelieve and act unjustly, Allah will never forgive them, nor guide them to a path,

169 Except the path of hell, to abide in it for a long time. And that is easy to Allah.

170 O mankind, the Messenger has indeed come to you with truth from your Lord, so believe, it is better for you. And if you disbelieve, then surely to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

171 O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion nor speak anything about Allah, but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His worda which He communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him.b So believe in Allah and His messengers. And say not, Three.c Desist, it is better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory to have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as having charge of affairs.

2. Commentary:

164a. TThe prophets spoken of here all belong to the Israelite race. Abraham and his immediate descendants are mentioned first; then follow the three prophets of Israel who suffered great tribulations, viz. Jesus, Job, and Jonah. The next group is that of the four who were both rulers and prophets, viz. Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon. But as David and Moses stand in a special relation to the Holy Prophet, the former singing his praises throughout his Psalms and the latter prophesying his advent in the clearest words, they are spoken of separately at the end. The good news which they brought relates as much to the peace and happiness which is granted to the righteous as to the advent of one who, coming at the end, should unite the qualifications of all the prophets in his own person, and accordingly make the nations of the earth as one nation. [Back to verse 164]

171a. Kalimah, or word, is here equivalent to prophecy, in which sense the word is frequently used in the Holy Qur’an. Jesus is called a prophecy because he was born in accordance with a prophecy from Allah, just as in a saying the Holy Prophet speaks of himself as “the prayer of my father Abraham”, the significance being that he appeared in fulfilment of Abraham’s prayer. For a fuller explanation see 3:45a. And the significance of ilqa’ varies according to its object. When its object is a tangible thing, it implies the act of throwing or casting. But you say alqaitu ilai-hi khair-an, i.e., I did good to him, and alqaitu ilai-hi-l-mawaddata, i.e., I offered love to him (T, LL), and alqa ilayya sirra - hu, i.e., he revealed to me his secret (T in art. sirr), and alqaitu ilai-hi-l-qaula which corresponds to what is said here, the object of the verb being kalimah instead of qaul, both having the same meaning, must be rendered I communicated to him the saying. Sale’s and Rodwell’s conveying into Mary and Palmer’s casting into Mary, as if the object were a tangible one, are foreign to the real sense of the word. [Back to verse 171]

171b. Rauh and ruh both mean mercy of Allah, according to Az (LL under rauh), this being the proper significance of the word in the passage under discussion. Ruh also signifies inspiration or Divine revelation (T, LL). If this significance is adopted, it would be an explanation of what is said in the foregoing words, i.e. His prophecy which He communicated to Mary. The passage would thus mean that the advent of Jesus was in accordance with a prophecy and an inspiration from the Divine Being. Even if we take spirit to be the meaning of the word ruh, it does in no way carry Jesus a step beyond the limits of mortality, for of Adam also it has been said, I breathed My spirit into him (15:29). In fact, according to the Holy Qur’an the spirit of God is breathed into every man: “Then He made him complete and breathed into him of His spirit and gave you ears and eyes and hearts” (32:9). Further we have a saying referred to by LL under rauh, haya al-nasa bi-ruhi-hi, where the correct reading is ruh, and not rauh, meaning He (God) has quickened all men with His spirit. And ruh-un min-hu, which could only mean a spirit from Him, is further evidence that even in this sense the word is not exclusively applicable to Jesus, for he is not the word of God or the spirit from Him, but only a word or a spirit. [Back to verse 171]

171c. The doctrine of Trinity is plainly rejected here. There are not three persons in Godhead, but only one: Allah is only one God. The Holy Qur’an nowhere says that the Christian Trinity is formed of Jesus, Mary, and God, although it no doubt refers to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the worship of Mary in 5:116, for which see 5:116a. [Back to verse 171]



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

Chapter 5: Al-Ma’idah (The Food)

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 23 (Verses 163 to 171)

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