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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 5 (Verses 26 to 33)


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Section/Ruku Ruku 5 [Verses 26 to 33]: Women’s rights over their earnings:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

26 Allah desires to explain to you, and to guide you into the ways of those before you, and to turn to you (mercifully). And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

27 And Allah desires to turn to you (mercifully). And those who follow (their) lusts desire that you should deviate (with) a great deviation.

28 Allah desires to make light your burdens,a and man is created weak.b

29 O you who believe, devour not your property among yourselves by illegal methods except that it be trading by your mutual consent.a And kill not your people. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you.

30 And whoso does this aggressively and unjustly, We shall soon cast him into fire. And this is ever easy for Allah.

31 If you shun the great things which you are forbidden, We shall do away with your evil (inclinations)a and cause you to enter an honourable place of entering.

32 And covet not that by which Allah has made some of you excel others. For men is the benefit of what they earn. And for women is the benefit of what they earn. And ask Allah of His grace. Surely Allah is ever Knower of all things.

33 And to everyone We have appointed heirsa of that which parents and near relatives leave. And as to those with whom your right hands have ratified agreements, give them their due.b Surely Allah is ever Witness over all things.

2. Commentary:

28a. Not only is the rigour of the Jewish and other previous laws greatly modified in Islam, but all principles of right action are stated with such completeness, devoid of unnecessary details, that the real burden of man is actually much more lightened in Islam than in any other religion. It, moreover, points out the right way for man’s freedom from the bondage of sin, and thus reduces his burden, not by false assurance, but by actually saving him from falling into evil ways. [Back to verse 28]

28b. These verses speak of Allah’s great mercy in having shown man the way to truth and guidance, for man, being created weak, could not chalk out a way for himself which was free from error. That is all that man’s weakness here signifies. [Back to verse 28]

29a. In the first part of this verse all illegal methods of acquiring property are forbidden, but the seeking of gain one from another by trading, which implies mutual consent, is allowed, being a legal method. Though the words are general, the passage is particularly directed to guard women’s right to property, because it was women’s and orphans’ property that was generally devoured aggressively and unjustly.

The second part forbids the killing of anfusa-kum, which means your people or yourselves. In the first case, the significance is that life must also be protected; in the second case, it is an injunction against suicide which according to the law of Islam is a grave sin. [Back to verse 29]

31a. Sayyi’ah or su’ signifies an evil deed as well as an evil affection (LL). The context requires the latter significance to be adopted here. All that is meant is that if a man avoids the commission of sins, the evil inclinations within him die also. Division of sin into kabirah and saghirah is unwarranted. [Back to verse 31]

33a. Mawali is plural of maula, which conveys a number of significances, such as lord or chief, a cousin, a freed man, a slave, an heir. The last of these significances is adopted here by the best authorities (B. 65: iv, 7), and only this suits the context. [Back to verse 33]

33b. In the pre-Islamic days, people were accustomed to enter into covenants one with another, by which they undertook to defend and inherit one another; and when one of them died, the other was considered entitled to one-sixth of the property of the deceased (AH). When the Muslims .ed to Madinah, the Prophet made every Makkan emigrant enter into a close relationship of brotherhood with one of the Madinah citizens, so that under the old custom one of them would have become an heir to the other on his decease. Inheritance was abolished by this verse, and the words give them their due mean the rendering of assistance in general, doing acts of kindness and the giving of good advice, while something may be settled by testament (B. 39:2). [Back to verse 33]

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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 5 (Verses 26 to 33)


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