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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 42 (Al-Shura- The Counsel) > Section 4 (Verses 30 to 43)



Section/Ruku 4 [Verses 30 to 43]: Believers should be patient:
Chapter 42: (Al-Shura: The Counsel)
(Revealed at Makkah: 5 sections; 53 verses)

1. Translation:

30 And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought and He pardons much.

31 And you cannot escape in the earth, and besides Allah you have no protector nor helper.

32 And of His signs are the ships, like mountains on the sea.

33 If He will, He stills the wind so that they lie motionless on its back. Surely there are signs in this for every patient, grateful one,

34 Or He causes them to perish for what they have earned, and He pardons much;a

35 And (that) those who dispute about Our messages may know. There is no refuge for them.

36 So whatever you are given is but a provision of this world’s life, and that which Allah has is better and more lasting for those who believe and rely on their Lord;

37 And those who shun the great sins and indecencies, and whenever they are angry they forgive;

38 And those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer, and whose affairs are (decided) by counsel among themselves, and who spend out of what We have given them;a

39 And those who, when great wrong afflicts them, defend themselves.a

40 And the recompense of evil is punishment like it; but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah. Surely He loves not the wrongdoers.a

41 And whoever defends himself after his being oppressed, these it is against whom there is no way (of blame).

42 The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress men and revolt in the earth unjustly. For such there is a painful chastisement.

43 And whoever is patient and forgives — that surely is an affair of great resolution.

 2. Commentary:

34a. The ship in these two verses is the ship of the affairs of the disbelievers, which was ultimately to be wrecked, yet Allah dealt with them mercifully by pardoning most of the wicked things they did. The next verse makes the significance clear by drawing attention to the fact that the statement is a warning to those who dispute about the messages of Allah, that they will find no refuge when their ship is wrecked. [Back to verse 34]

38a. The occurrence in an early Makkan revelation of the words whose affairs are decided by counsel among themselves is very significant. The Muslims are here enjoined as usual to observe prayer and to spend out of what Allah has given them. Yet between these two injunctions, which always go together in the Holy Qur’an, is placed a third: whose affairs are decided by counsel among themselves. It is clear that at this early period the Muslims had no important matters to decide for which they might have stood in need of counsel, yet between two injunctions which are the basis of a true Islamic life, a third is inserted enjoining that, as a rule, counsel should be taken. The injunction is clearly meant to prepare them for transacting the momentous affairs of State and all matters connected with national weal or woe. In fact, the word amr, which I have translated as affairs, means command; and amr Allah, or Allah’s command, often signifies the establishment of the kingdom of God, which stands for an Islamic kingdom. The use of the word amr, therefore, here refers to the Islamic kingdom, the affairs of which must be transacted by counsel. In this Islam has laid the basis of Government by parliaments, and the idea found a clear practical expression in the early days of the Caliphate, when the Khalifah had to refer every important affair to counsel. It is strange indeed that Government by parliament is now looked upon by Europeans as an institution which is quite foreign to Islam and unsuited for the Muslim people. [Back to verse 38]

39a. Intasara alone signifies he defended himself against his injurer (LL); followed by min, it signifies the taking of revenge. The first meaning is applicable here, as it is not followed by min. [Back to verse 39]

40a. A golden rule relating to forgiveness of evil is given here. The rule laid down is that evil must be requited by punishment proportionate thereto. Note that punishment which is meted out for an evil is called a sayyi‘ah or an evil, because the Arabs speak of the requital of an evil in terms of that evil; see 2:15a. Also note that the punishment must be proportionate to the evil. A very just and necessary restriction. And this beautiful maxim is given by a man whose people were in the habit of slaughtering whole tribes for the most trifling fault of one member. Again, forgiveness is not neglected, nor preached in such a manner as to make it impracticable. There is in Islam neither the one extreme of tooth for tooth or the opposite one of turning the left cheek when the right is smitten or giving away the cloak to one who has already wrongfully taken the coat of his brother; it is the golden and beautiful mean that forgiveness may be exercised, if forgiveness will mend the matter and do good to the wrongdoer himself. The object to be kept in view is to amend, whether it is attained by giving proportionate punishment or by exercising forgiveness. [Back to verse 40]



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Chapter 41: Ha Mim

Chapter 43: Zukhruf (Gold)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 42 (Al-Shura- The Counsel) > Section 4 (Verses 30 to 43)

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