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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Surat Al-Nisaa -4- Medinian –Ayats 176 – Section – Five – Verses 46-63


(Verse 46)– (See Surat Al-Bagara 2- verse 93). A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of Faith. Where they should have said: “We hear and we obey”, they said aloud: “we hear” and whispered: “We disobey”. Where they should have said respectfully:” we hear” then added in whisper: “what is not heard”, by way of ridicule. Where they claimed the attention of the Teacher, they used an ambiguous word apparently harmless, but in their intention disrespectful. (Also see Suart Al-Bagara 2- verse 104)- (Ra’ina=راعنا) - if the word used respectfully in the Arabic way, would have meant:”please attention to us”, but with a twist of their tongues, they suggested an insulting meaning, such as “O’ YOU THAT TAKES US TO PASTURE” or in Hebrew: “THE BAD ONE”. 

(Verse 47)- Literally:”before we obliterate some features (or faces) and turn them front to back or back to front”, an Arabic idiom, which must be translated freely to yield its proper meaning in English. The face is the chief expression of a man’s own real essence; it is also the index of his fame and estimation. The People of the Book had been specially favored by God with spiritual revelation. If they proved themselves unworthy, they lost their “face”. Their eminence would –owing to their own conduct- be turned into degradation. Others would take their place. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. (See Matt. 19-30). (Also see Al-Bagara 2- verse 65).

(Verse 48)- Just as in an earthly kingdom the worst crime is that of treason, as it cuts –at the very existence of the State, so in the spiritual kingdom, the unforgivable sin is that of contumacious treason against God by putting up God’s creatures in rivalry against Him. This is rebellion against the essence and source of spiritual Life. It is what Plato would call:”the lie in the soul”. But even here, if the rebellion is through ignorance, and is followed by sincere repentance and amendment, God’s Mercy is always open. (See verse 17).

(Verse 49-50)- The sanctimonious or self-sanctified people are the farthest from sanctity or purity, which can only proceed from God. They cannot play with God’s Truth and yet go on claiming to be guided and purified or justified by God. Their falsehood in itself condemns them; no further proof is needed of their selfishness and evil. Literally: Fateela=فتيلا - the small skin in the groove of a date stone, a thing of no value.

 (Verse 51)- See Surat Al-Imran 3- verse 23. The phrase also occurred in verse 44. The word which I have translated {Sorcery} is Jibt, which may mean: divination, sorcery, magic, or any false object of belief or worship, such as an idol. The word which I have translated Evil -here and in Surat Al-Bagara 2- verse 256) is Taqut, which means the Evil One, the one who exceeds all bounds, Satan; or it may refer to some idol worshipped by the Pagan Arabs, with whom the Jews of Al-Medina were intriguing against the Holy Apostle [Muhammad PPBUH]. The Jews had taken much to sorcery, Magic, divination, and such superstitions.   

(Verse 52)- The Jews were then seeking the aid of the Meccan Pagans against Muhammad [PPBUH], but so far from getting any help from them, they and the Pagans were both overthrown. That was the immediate occasion, but the words having a perfectly general – a universal- meaning.

(Verse 53)- The word (Naqir) which translated as farthing- a tiny speck/spot on the date pit, the groove in a date stone, a thing of no value whatever. Close-fistedness and envy are among the worst forms of selfishness, and appear especially incongruous in people of power, authority, or influence, from whom is expected generosity in giving and generosity in seeing other people’s prosperity and happiness.

(Verse 54)- Such as the Kingdom of David and Solomon, for they had international fame.

(Verses 55-56)- Envy is like an internal fire, which is in itself a Hell.

(Verse 57) – See Surat Al-Bagara 2- verse 25. The Garden is contrasted with the Fire; the shade is contrasted with the roasting. Evil grows with what it feeds on. So goodness and felicity grow with their practice. The good may be alone to start with, but –unlike evil ones- they get holy companions, wives, and mates. Just as spiritual agony increases with what it suffers [typified by fresh skins growing as the old ones burn out], so spiritual felicity finds deeper and deeper meaning [typified by the shades in a Garden, which grow deeper and cooler as you proceed into the interior].

(Verses 58-59)- Ulul-amir=أولوالامر: Those charged with authority or responsibility or decision making, or the settlement of affairs. All ultimate authority rests in God. Men of God derive their authority from Him. As Islam makes no sharp division between sacred and secular affairs, it expects ordinary governments to be imbued with righteousness, and stand in the place of the righteous Imam, and we must respect and obey such authority; otherwise there will be no order or discipline. Where-in actual fact- there is a sharp division between law and morality, between secular and religious affairs, as is the case in most countries at present day. Islam still expects secular authority to be exercised in righteousness, and on that condition, enjoins obedience to such authority.

(Verse 60)- The immediate reference was to the Hypocrites (Munafiqin=منافقين) of Al-Medina, but the words are general, and the evil of hypocrisy has to be dealt with in all ages. The type of these men is what is called (Mr. Facinorous ways). Such men declare that they are always with the Right, but calmly intrigue with Evil and Injustice, and even they make Injustice their judgment if their personal interests are served in that way.

(Verses 61-62-63)- How should Hypocrites be treated? To take them into your confidence would –of course- be foolish. To wage unrelenting war against them may destroy the hope of reforming them and purging them of their hypocrisy. The man of God keeps clear of their wiles, but at the same time, does not hesitate to show them the error of their ways; nor to put in a word in season, to penetrate their hearts and win them back to God.