Tag Archives: quran

Day Sixty (A Journey with Quran)

Surah Al Maidah: Ayats 41–50

Messenger! Don’t lose yourself in grief over those who race each other into rejection, (whether it be from) among those (Arab hypocrites) who say, ‘We believe’ with their lips, but whose hearts are devoid of faith, or it be among the Jews (of Medina), who will listen to any lie and accept (any slander) told to them by people who never even met you! They switch words from their proper sequence, and they say, “If (Muhammad) gives you (what you like to hear,) then take it, but if not, then beware.” If Allah wants to put someone into utter turmoil, you can do nothing for them against Allah (and His plan). (The ones to whom He does that) are those whose hearts Allah has no desire to purify. They’ll have nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the next life they’ll have a severe penalty to pay. [41]

The (Jews of Medina) listen to lies and devour anything that’s been prohibited to them. If they do happen to come to you and ask you to solve their internal disputes, you can either render a verdict or decline to hear the case altogether. If you decline (to get involved), they can’t do any harm to you at all (in their spite). If you choose to adjudicate, then judge fairly between them, for Allah loves fair judges. [42]

However, why are they coming to you for decisions at all when they have their own Torah right there with them? It already contains Allah’s commandments. Yet, they turn away from it even still, for they’re not really all that faithful. [43]

We revealed the Torah, and it contained both guidance and enlightenment (within its pages). The prophets (of old), who surrendered (themselves to Allah’s command), used it to judge among the Jews, and the rabbis and legal scholars (also used it to render their judgments, as well). (They were charged with safeguarding and living by) the portion of Allah’s Book that was entrusted to them, and they witnessed to their duty. Therefore, (you Jews of Medina), don’t be afraid of (disappointing mere) people. Rather, be afraid of (disappointing) Me, and don’t sell My (revealed) verses for a petty price. If anyone judges by any other standard than what Allah has revealed, then they’re truly covering over (the truth). [44]

We decreed for them in (the Torah): “A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and a wound in exchange for a wound.” Now (this principle has been amended,) so if anyone chooses to refrain from retaliating, for (the sake of) charity, then it’s an act of atonement for himself. If anyone judges by any standard other than what Allah has revealed, then they’re truly wrongdoers. [45]

We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, following in their footsteps, to affirm the (truth of the) Torah that had come before him, and We gave him the Gospel, in which there was both guidance and enlightenment, as an affirmation of the Torah that had come before him. (The Gospel) was a source of guidance and also admonition for those who were mindful (of Allah). [46]

Therefore, let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah revealed in it. If anyone judges by any standard other than what Allah has revealed, then they’re truly rebellious. [47]

Now We’ve sent the Book to you, (Muhammad), in all truthfulness, affirming the scriptures that came before you and safeguarding within it (the truth of the previous revelations), so judge between (the Jews and Christians) according to what Allah has revealed (to you). Don’t follow their petty whims and thus swerve away from the truth that’s come to you. We’ve given to each one of you (differing religious groups) a legal tradition and a clear method (for dealing with legal issues). If Allah had wanted, He could’ve made you all into one community, but He tests you in what He’s given you, so forge ahead as if you were racing towards everything virtuous. Your ultimate return is back to Allah, and He’s going to show you (the truth) of those things about which you argued. [48]

Therefore, judge between them according to what Allah has revealed, and don’t follow their petty whims. Be wary of them so they won’t seduce you away from what Allah has sent down to you. If they turn away (and ignore your rulings), then know that Allah wants to punish them for some of their sins. As it is, most people are disobedient! [49]

Are they looking for a (flawed) ruling (that’s similar to how people used to judge) in the ignorant (days before Islam?) For those who are convinced (of the truth in their hearts), who can be a better judge than Allah? [50]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background to Ayat 41:

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)could not read or write Arabic, and he certainly did not know how to read or understand Hebrew. When the rabbis of Medina would quote from the Torah in their discussions with Muhammad, some of them would purposely leave out some lines as they translated from Hebrew into Arabic in order to keep some information secret. Jewish converts to Islam would often point this out to the Prophet. (See 2:100-103.) A Jewish man of Khaybar committed adultery, and based upon his high status his fellow Jews were reluctant to apply any harsh punishment to him. They resolved to send him to Muhammad for judgment on the pretence that if he ruled in favor of the flogging that the Qur’an called for [24:2], then he would be a secular leader in their eyes, and they could follow him. However, if he ruled in favor of stoning, as the Torah prescribed, then he was an actual force to be reckoned with, and the Jews must be on their guard against him. They then went to the Prophet who was sitting with some companions in the mosque and asked what they should do about this adulterer. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) remained silent and either called for some rabbinical students to be brought to him or he himself accompanied them to one of their small yeshivas, or religious schools (the reports do not specify). The Prophet said to the Jewish scholars, “I appeal to you by God who revealed the Torah to Moses. What punishment does the Torah prescribe for an adulterer?” One of the rabbis answered, “They are rubbed with ash, defamed and whipped, and the defamation comes by placing both guilty parties back to back on a donkey that is led around the streets.” The others present affirmed their agreement, but the Prophet noticed that one man among them was keeping silent. The Prophet was told that his name was Ibn Surya, and then he appealed to him for his answer to the question, making him swear an oath to God to be truthful. When Ibn Surya replied that the actual punishment was death, the Prophet further questioned him, saying, “When is the first time in which you disobeyed the order of Almighty God?” Ibn Surya replied, “One of our ancient king’s relatives committed adultery, and the stoning was put off. Then a lesser noble also was found to have been adulterous, and the king wanted him stoned. However, his family objected, saying that they wouldn’t let their relative be stoned unless the king’s relative was stoned first. It was then that they compromised on the punishment among themselves (and lessened it).” The Prophet then asked a rabbi to read from the Torah about adultery, and the man began to read the appropriate section from a scroll, but he kept his finger over the verse calling for stoning and read the verses before and after it. The Jewish convert to Islam, ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, (also a former rabbi) informed the Prophet that the first rabbi had skipped a line, and he asked the man to remove his finger and read the verse. When he did, the Prophet then answered, “I judge by what is in the Torah.” Then he ruled that the adulterers were to be stoned. The adulterous couple was then taken out and stoned, but the Prophet did not take part in it. This verse was revealed concerning this and other similar affairs in which the Jews asked for the Prophet’s rulings on various issues. (Asbab ul-Nuzul)

Background to Ayat 48:

Four leading Jewish men of Medina, including K’ab ibn Asad and Shas ibn Qays, wanted to see if they could corrupt the Prophet away from being sincere in his religion. They went to him and told him that they were the leaders of the Jews, and if they converted then all the Jews would follow them. Their only requirement was that he render a biased judgment in favor of them in a dispute they had with some men of their community. This verse was revealed concerning this incident. (Asbab ul-Nuzul)

Day Fifty Seven (A Journey with Quran)

Surah Al Maidah: Ayats 11–20

All you who believe! Remember the favor of Allah that He bestowed upon you when certain people made plans to move their hands against you, but He restrained their hands from ever reaching you. Therefore, be mindful of Allah, and the believers should trust in Allah. [11]

And so it was that Allah made a covenant with the Children of Israel. We appointed twelve scouts from among them (to go into the land of Canaan to gather intelligence in preparation for their entry). Allah had already told (the Children of Israel), “I’ll be with you as long as you establish regular prayer, give in charity, believe in My messengers, respect them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan. Indeed, I‘ll erase your shortcomings and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow. If any of you cover over (your ability to have faith) after this, then he’s truly wandered far from the even path.” [12]

However, because (the Children of Israel) broke their agreement, We cursed them and allowed their hearts to grow hard. (They manipulated the words of revelation) by rearranging them from their (proper) places, and they forgot a good part of the message that was sent to them. Even still you’ll find many of them engaged in new trickery, but forgive them and try to overlook (their shortcomings), for Allah loves those who are good. [13]

We also took a covenant from those who call themselves Christians, but they forgot most of the message that was sent to them. That’s why We’ve let them become disunited in mutual envy and hatred of each other, even until the Day of Assembly. Allah will soon inform them (of the true meaning) of that in which they were engaged. [14]

Followers of Earlier Revelation! Our Messenger has come to you revealing many things that you used to hide in (your religious) scriptures and passing over many (practices of the past that are now unnecessary). A (new) light and a clear scripture have come to you from Allah. [15]

With these Allah will guide any who seek His good pleasure towards the pathways of peace and safety. Furthermore, He’ll lead them out of darkness and into a light, by His will, and lead them to a straight path. [16]

Those who say that God is Jesus, the Messiah, the son of Mary, are covering over (the real truth). Say to them, “Who has the power to hold back Allah if He wanted to destroy the Messiah, the son of Mary, his mother and everyone else on earth? To Allah belongs the control of the heavens and the earth and everything in between. He creates whatever He wants, for Allah has power over all things.” [17]

The Jews and the Christians say, “We’re the sons of God, and He loves us (above all others).” Then ask them, “So, why will He punish you for your sins (if you don’t repent of them)? By no means! You’re only mortals from among the (many peoples) that He’s created. He forgives whomever He wants, and He punishes whomever He wants. The control of the heavens and the earth and all that’s in between them belongs to Allah, and back to Him is the final destination.” [18]

Followers of Earlier Revelation! Now Our Messenger has come to you making (things) clear for you after a pause in (the chain of) Our messengers. That way you won’t be able to say, “No bearer (of good news) or warner ever came to us!” Now a bearer (of good news) and a warner has come to you, and Allah has power over all things. [19]

Recall when Moses said to his people, “My people! Remember Allah’s favor towards you when He placed prophets within your midst, and when He placed you in charge (of your own destiny after you were enslaved in Egypt) and how He gave you what He hadn’t given to any other nation. [20]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verse 11: A man named Ghawrath met with the leaders of the hostile tribes of the desert, namely the Muhareb and Ghatafan tribes, and asked if they wanted him to kill Prophet Muhammad, (Peace be upon him). They agreed and asked him how he could possibly accomplish that. He replied that he would take him by surprise. Ghawrath bided his time and kept an eye out for an opportunity to approach his prey. One day, he saw the Prophet sitting alone under the shade of a tree with his sword on his lap. He approached him and casually asked if he could have a look at the blade. The Prophet handed it to him, and Ghawrath drew it and immediately pointed it at the Prophet menacingly, though he couldn’t bring himself to thrust it in for the kill. Finally, he asked him, “Muhammad, aren’t you afraid?” He replied that he was not. Then Ghawrath said two or three times, “Who will protect you from me now?” The Prophet answered, “Allah will.” Ghawrath hesitated and then suddenly dropped the sword. The Prophet picked it up and called to his nearby companions. While the assailant was still sitting there, he narrated the incident and then Ghawrath was allowed to go free.

Some time later, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was visiting the Jewish neighborhood of the Banu Nadir, seeking their assistance in settling a blood-money suit brought by a desert tribe against one of the companions who had killed two of their men. Ka’b ibn Ashraf, the Jewish leader, invited the Prophet into his courtyard and bade him and his companions to sit under the shade of a wall while he ostensibly went to order food to be made. Ka’b then retreated into another room and told a man named ‘Amr ibn Jahsh ibn Ka’b to drop a heavy stone from the roof down upon Muhammad (Peace be upon him)to kill him. Just before the man could do the deed, however, Angel Gabriel came and warned the Prophet, who promptly got up and left. This verse was revealed soon afterwards, referencing both incidents, and was meant to emphasize that Allah would protect this prophet until the end of his mission. (Asbab ul-Nuzul, Ibn Kathir)

Footnote:

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) once said that in the intervening years between Jesus, and himself there were no prophets sent by God. (Bukhari, Muslim)

He said on another occasion that there would be no more prophets after me. Therefore any religions founded between the time of Jesus, and Muhammad, and then after the time of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are not accepted as authentic expressions of divine revelation by Muslims.

DY Fifty Six (A Journey with Quran)

Today the fifth chapter of the Quran starts: Al Maidah which means The Banquet Table. This chapter was revealed over many months in Medina near the later days of the Prophet’s mission. Thus, it addresses a wide variety of issues, many of them reflecting the intense interfaith dialogues going on within the city. The memorable lines contained in the middle of verse three, which speak of the completing of Islam as a way of life, were revealed during the Prophet’s last pilgrimage in the year 632. Some believe that that passage may have been the last Qur’anic revelation the Prophet received. It was this passage that led many of Muhammad’s closest followers to conclude that the ministry of their beloved guide was coming to a close. The Prophet reportedly said of this chapter: “The chapter of the Banquet Table has been revealed as the last stage in the revelation of the Qur’an. Therefore, take what has been pronounced as lawful within it as lawful forever, and take what has been pronounced unlawful in it as unlawful forever.” (Ma’ariful Qur’an)

Surah Al Maidah: Ayats 1–10

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

All you who believe! Fulfill your obligations! You’re allowed (to eat) all domestic livestock, except for (the animals) that have been forbidden to you by mention (of their names or categories). You’re also forbidden to hunt (wild animals) while you’re under (pilgrimage) restrictions, and Allah certainly makes rules that He wants. [1]

All you who believe! Don’t violate (the holiness) of the symbols of Allah, nor violate the holy month (of Hajj) nor (the animals) brought for sacrifice nor the garlands that identify them, nor the safety (of those who visit) the Sacred House looking for the bounty and approval of their Lord. However, when you’re freed from the restrictions of the holy places and pilgrim’s clothes, you may go hunting (animals for food) once more. Don’t let (your) hatred for some people, who once kept you out of the Sacred Mosque, lead you into being spitefully wrong in return. Help each other in righteousness and mindfulness (of Allah), but don’t help each other in sinfulness or aggression. Be mindful of Allah, for Allah is strict in the final outcome. [2]

You’re forbidden to (eat the following things): meat from animals that died by themselves; blood; pork; anything that was dedicated to any other name besides Allah’s name; anything that was killed by strangling, a blunt strike, falling or by being slashed to death, as well as anything that’s been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you’re able to slaughter it (properly); and anything that was sacrificed on stone (altars). You’re also (forbidden) to divide (up meat portions among people) by drawing marked (arrowheads) to make random selections, for that method is immoral. This day, those who cover over (the truth of Allah) have given up all hope of (destroying) your way of life. So don’t be afraid of them; rather, fear only Me. This day, I have perfected your way of life for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your way of life. If anyone is forced by desperate hunger (to eat the forbidden things that were mentioned before), with no desire to do wrong, (then they may eat the forbidden foods for survival purposes only), for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [3]

Now they’re asking you what else is allowed for them (to eat), so tell them, “You’re allowed to (eat) anything that’s healthy and pure, and also what you’ve taught your trained hunting animals (to catch), as you were already directed by Allah. (You may) eat what they capture for you, but be sure to declare the name of Allah over it. Be mindful of Allah, for Allah is quick in taking account.” [4]

This day, everything healthy and pure has been made lawful for you. The (ritually slaughtered) food of those who received scripture in the past is also lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. (With regards to marriage, you’re allowed to marry) virtuous believing women, and (you may also marry) virtuous women from among those who received scripture before your time, but only if you give them their required marriage gifts and only if you desire decency and not lustful behavior or secret affairs. If someone rejects (faith in Allah), then his deeds will be rendered useless, and in the next life he’ll be among the losers. [5]

All you who believe! When you prepare yourselves for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows. Wipe the top of your heads (with water), and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If you’re in a state of greater impurity, then bathe your whole body. However, if you’re sick, on a journey, answered the call of nature or were intimate with the opposite sex and you can’t find any water (to wash yourselves), then you can take either clean sand or earth and use it to wipe your faces and hands. Allah doesn’t want to put you into any hardship; rather, (He wants to) purify you and complete His favor towards you, so you can be thankful. [6]

Remember the favors of Allah that have been bestowed upon you, and remember His covenant that He concluded with you when you said, “We hear, and we obey.” Be mindful (of Allah) for Allah knows what you’re thinking. [7]

All you who believe! Stand forth firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing. Don’t let the hatred of others towards you make you swerve towards injustice or towards being unfair (to them in return). Be fair, for that’s the closest to being mindful (of Allah). So be mindful then, for Allah is well-informed of everything you do. [8]

Allah made a promise to those who believed and who did what was morally right that they’ll receive forgiveness and a great reward. [9]

Whoever rejects (their natural faith in Allah) and denies Our (revealed) verses will be among the companions of the raging blaze. [10]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Footnote to the middle lines in Ayat 3:

This was one of the last passages revealed to Prophet Mohammad, (Peace be upon him) indicating that his ministry was coming to an end. The name of the religion Islam, or surrender to Allah’s will is given in this verse.

It was revealed on a Friday during the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage in the year 632, and recited to the gathering throng of 100,000 people on what is known as the Day of Arafat. While many Muslims were elated at this confident statement of Allah, Umer bin al Khattak began to weep openly. When the Prophet asked him why he was weeping, Umer replied, “This verse signals that your time in this world is drawing to a close“. The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Eighty days later, the Prophet passed away.

Footnote to Ayat four:

All permitted, or halal meats, as well as produce such as fruits, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and grains are considered good, and pure. The Prophet specifically forbade the eating of animals that hunt, and kill other animals with their teeth, such as lions, wolves, snakes, or lizards. He also prohibited eating birds that hunt, and kill others with their claws, such as falcons, and hawks.

Footnote to Ayat 5:

In the Prophet’s time, most Jews, and Christians in Arabia observed some basic slaughtering standards that included mentioning Allah’s name before felling the animal, cutting the jugular vein swiftly, thus minimizing the pain felt by the animals, and then draining the excess blood from the animal. (See Acts 15:29, 21:25, and 1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

While Orthodox Judaism retained this practice, as the centuries progressed, Christian culture has largely abandoned such methods. Meat prepared today by Christians, and others does not meet the requirement of halal meat, and therefore forbidden.

Day Fifty Four (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 161–170

They took interest money, even though they were forbidden to, and they used up people’s wealth foolishly. We’ve prepared a terrible punishment for those among them who reject (the truth). [161]

However, those (Jews) who are firmly educated and who have (true) faith -they believe in what’s been revealed to you, as do those who pray and give in charity to the poor and who believe in Allah and the Last Day. Soon We will grant them a valuable reward. [162]

We’ve sent revelation to you, (Muhammad), in the same way that We sent revelation to Noah and to the messengers who came after him. We sent revelations to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes (of Israel), as well as to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron and Solomon, and We gave the Psalms to David. [163]

We’ve already told you the story of some of the messengers, but of others We haven’t. Allah even spoke directly to Moses. [164]

The messengers gave good news, as well as warnings, so that people (who lived generations) after (the time) of each messenger would have no plea (of ignorance) against Allah, for Allah is powerful and wise. [165]

Allah testifies that what He sent down to you was sent from His Own knowledge, and the angels testify as well, though Allah is enough of a witness Himself! [166]

Those who cover (the light of faith within their hearts) and keep others away from the path of Allah have strayed far away in error. (167)

Allah won’t forgive those who cover over (their ability to have faith in Him) and who do wrong, neither will He guide them towards any pathway, [168]

Except the way of Hell, and there they shall remain forever, and that’s easy for Allah. [169]

All you people! The Messenger has come to you in all truth from Allah, so believe! It’s in your best interest to do so. However, if you reject (the truth, know that) everything in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. [170]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Day Fifty Three (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 152 — 160

To those who believe in Allah and His messengers and who make no distinction between any of the messengers, We will soon give them their reward, for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [152]

The (Jewish leaders among) the Followers of Earlier Revelation (in Medina) are asking you to bring down a (holy) book from the sky for them (to see, before they will accept you as a true prophet). (Their forefathers) asked Moses for an even greater (miracle than that) when they demanded of him, “Show us Allah in the flesh!” They were seized by thunder (and rendered unconscious) for their unjust presumption! Yet, they worshipped the calf even after all the clear proofs that had come to them! Even still We forgave them, and We also gave Moses a clear mandate (to lead them). [153]

For their covenant We (brought them) to the raised heights of the mountain, (and afterwards, while they were traveling,) We had commanded them, “Enter this (city’s) gate with humility.” We also commanded them, “Don’t violate the Sabbath,” and We took from them a solemn promise. [154]

However, they broke their promise, rejected the signs of Allah, killed the prophets against all right, and now they’re saying, “Our hearts are the covers (within which are written Allah’s truth, so we don’t need any other revelations).” But no! Allah has set a seal upon (their hearts) on account of their rejection, and they have only a little faith. (Furthermore, they’re in such a state because) they suppressed (Allah’s truth), made unfounded accusations against Mary, and boasted, “We killed Jesus, the Messiah, the son of Mary.” However, they didn’t kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear to them that they did. Those who argue about it are full of doubts and have no (concrete) information. On the contrary, they only follow theories, for they certainly didn’t kill him. [157]

Certainly not! Allah raised (Jesus) up to Himself, for Allah is powerful and wise. [158] Each of the Followers of Earlier Revelation must believe in (Jesus) before they die, for on the Day of Assembly, (Jesus) will be a witness against them. [159]

For the misbehavior of the Jews, We made certain (foods) forbidden to them that were (otherwise) good and wholesome – (food) that was allowed to them (before), but they had hindered too many people from Allah’s path, (and were thus given these harsh dietary guidelines as a punishment). [160]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verse 153: A group of Jews in Medina challenged Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to bring down a scripture from the sky, even as Moses received his revelation on Mount Tur from the hand of Allah. Only then, they said, would they believe that he was a true prophet. This verse references this challenge. (Asbab ul-Nuzul)

Footnote:

The followers of Judaism do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, and hold that a man, possibly a paramour, must have impregnated Mary, mother of Jesus. However, both Islam, and Christianity hold that God caused her pregnancy miraculously. Mention of the charge against Mary is found in 19: 27 —28.

Footnote to Ayat 157:

European Christians have long persecuted Jews on the ground that they killed their god Jesus. Muslims do not believe that Jesus was killed, or crucified: thus Muslims never held a religious grudge against the Jews. If someone did die on the cross two thousand years ago, it might have been Judas Iscariot, or someone the Romans thought looked like Jesus. Only Allah knows the truth.

Records from early Christians sect (like Basilidians) reveal that some believers thought that Jesus escaped to safety before being raised to Allah. The clear statement of the Quran is that Jesus was neither killed, or crucified.

This is of course is unacceptable to modern Christian theology whose view is based that a man god died to assuage the anger of father god, and then a ghost god entered the world to save humans from their sins. Jesus said, “the first of all commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.” (Mark 12:29)

Jesus himself said in 12:44-50 (Quran) . In verse 44 he makes a clear distinction between a person believing in him, and believing in God. From the Quranic point of view is: he was God’s Messenger, not His biological son. The saying of a son, or child of God was never meant that someone was a biological son of a god. Jesus said in John 1:12 : “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.” It was only a beautiful metaphor that later people took too literally!

Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) said, “Don’t overly praise me like the Christians exaggerated Jesus, the son of Mary, for I’m only a servant, so say ‘God’s servant, and Messenger.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet also said, “Whoever testifies that there is no god but God, alone with no partners, that Mohammad is His servant, and messenger, that Jesus is God’s servant, and messenger, and His word bestowed upon Mary a spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hellfire is real, then God will admit him to Paradise with whatever deeds he has done. (Bukhari)

Day Forty Nine (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 111 — 120

If anyone earns a sin, he earns it against his own soul. Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. [111]

If anyone earns a fault or a sin and then blames it on someone else who is innocent, he will carry (upon himself both) the lie and an obvious sin. [112]

If it wasn’t for Allah’s favor and mercy towards you, a group of (the hypocrites) would’ve certainly schemed to lead you astray, but they’ve only succeeded in leading their own souls astray. They’re incapable of causing you any real harm, for Allah has sent down the Book to you and (the standard of prophetic) wisdom, and He taught you) what you didn’t know (before). Allah’s favor is powerfully inclined towards you. [113]

In most of their secret discussions there’s nothing good (being said or planned). However, if someone is encouraging a charitable deed, (planning) an exemplary (act that will help many) or (devising ways to) make peace between people, (then being secretive is allowed). Whoever engages (in secret discussions) for these (ends), while looking only for the pleasure of Allah, soon shall We give him a valuable reward. [114]

If anyone works against the Messenger, even after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of a believer, We’ll leave him on the path he’s chosen and then lead him into Hellfire – what a terrible destination! [115]

Allah doesn’t forgive (the sin of) making others equal with Him, but He forgives any other sins besides this for whomever He wants. Whoever makes others equal with Allah has made a huge mistake and gone far off into error. [116]

They (the idol-worshippers) call upon goddesses (for favors) in place of Him, but they’re really calling upon a relentless devil! [117]

Allah had cursed Satan, but he (was defiant and challenged Allah), saying, “I will ensnare a certain number of Your servants. [118]

I’ll mislead them and urge them (to sin). I’ll order them to slit the ears of cattle (for the sake of mindless superstition) and to disfigure what Allah created.” Whoever takes Satan for a protector in place of Allah is clearly lost in bewilderment! [119]

Satan makes them promises and urges them (to commit sins), but Satan’s promises are nothing more than deception. [120]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verse 115:

The brother of a man named Maqees ibn Dubabah was killed in the countryside in a district known as an-Najjar, and Maqees went to the Prophet seeking justice. The Prophet sent him along with a representative to the tribe of Fihr to ask them to produce the murderer, so he could be brought to justice. The tribal elders said they didn’t know who killed Maqees’s brother, but they would pay the penalty or blood-money to him to compensate him for his loss. Maqees was given one hundred camels. As he was riding back with them towards Medina, he thought that it wouldn’t look honorable in the eyes of the Arabs to accept the blood-money and that someone had to die for the killing of his brother. He looked at the Prophet’s representative who was riding with him and concluded that since he was also a man of the Fihr tribe, he could revenge himself upon him. So, he beat the man to death with a rock and took his camels to Mecca where he renounced Islam and boasted of his exploits to the approving idol-worshippers. Some years later, when the Muslims compelled the bloodless surrender of Mecca, Maqees was found, arrested and executed for the brazen murder. This verse references that man and his actions.

Footnote to verse 119

Arab superstitions caused them to follow a great many odd, and even macabre customs. Slitting the ears of cattle to mark their sacred status was just one of them.

This custom has echoes today in the modern world where slitting a portion of cow’s ears, and tagging them is used as a way to identify them. The term earmarked is derived from this practice.

Verse 119: Disfigure

This refers to the practice of castration, and people tattooing their bodies. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) forbade people from doing both practices.

Getting a tattoo was a common pre Islamic custom. A tattoo defaces the physical appearance with which Allah has graced a person. Having a tattoo means the appearance Allah give is not good enough, and must be masked over.

Those who had them were not sanctioned for it upon conversion to Islam, as conversion caused a person’s record of deeds to be wiped clean.

Day Forty Eight (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 101— 110

When you travel through the open countryside, it isn’t wrong if you shorten your prayers out of the fear that the faithless might ambush you, for those who cover over (their ability to have faith) are clearly your enemies. [101]

When you’re with (other Muslims on a journey), and you stand up to lead them in prayer, assign one group of the (believers) to stand (for prayer) with you, taking their weapons with them, (while the others stand guard). When they finish their prostrations, let them set up (their guard-positions) in the rear, and let the other group which didn’t pray yet come forward and pray with you – taking all precautions and holding their weapons. The faithless would eagerly attack you in a single rush, if they (saw that) you were without your weapons or away from your gear. It isn’t wrong, however, if you pack your weapons away when it’s raining or if you’re too ill to carry them, but even still take every precaution for yourselves. Truly, Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for those who suppress (their awareness of the truth). [102]

When you’ve concluded the prayer, remember Allah while standing, sitting or lying down on your sides, and when you’re free from danger, perform the prayer-ritual (in the normal way), for prayers are a duty upon the faithful at set times. [103]

Don’t hesitate in pursuing the enemy. If you’re suffering from hardship, (know that) they’re suffering similar hardships, too. (Remember that) you have hope in Allah, while they have hope in nothing. Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. [104]

We sent the Book down to you in all truth, so you can judge between people as directed by Allah. Therefore, don’t let yourself be (used) as an advocate by traitors. [105]

Rather, seek the forgiveness of Allah, for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [106]

Offer no defense on behalf of those who’ve betrayed their own souls, for truly Allah has no love for underhanded sinners. [107]

They may hide (their intentions) from other people, but they can’t hide (them) from Allah, for He’s in their midst when they plot in the night – using the kinds (of vile) words that He detests! Allah surrounds them in everything they do! [108]

They’re the kind of people on whose behalf you may offer a defense in this world, but who is going to defend them against Allah on the Day of Assembly, and who will take care of things for them then? [109]

If anyone commits an offense or otherwise wrongs his own soul, but then later seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah to be forgiving and merciful. [110]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verses 101-104: The Prophet led a group of Muslims on patrol near a place named Asafan. The time for the early afternoon prayer arrived, and the Muslims were praying in congregation when a party of Meccan raiders (led by Khalid ibn Waleed) appeared in the distance. One of the pagans counseled that this was the best time to attack the Muslims, while another suggested that there was a second prayer (the late afternoon) in which the Muslims took even more interest, and the man suggested that that would be a better time to strike. While the idol-worshippers were debating when to strike, the Prophet concluded the group prayer and recited this newly revealed passage, explaining what the idol-worshippers were plotting. When the next prayer time came, the Prophet ordered his men to pray while holding their weapons, and the two rows of men alternated standing and bowing, so there would always be one line able to respond to the enemy if need be.

Day Forty Five (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa. Ayats 71 — 80

All you who believe! Be cautious and only venture out (into dangerous places) either in groups or all together. [71] Indeed, there are some among you who try to lag behind (when you’re on the road). If misfortune befalls you, they say, “Allah was gracious to us by not keeping us among them to witness (their misfortune).” [72] However, if some good fortune befalls you from Allah, he’ll say, as if he didn’t know you closely, “Oh, how I wish I could’ve been there with them because I would’ve had a great time!” [73]

Let them fight in the cause of Allah, those who sell the life of this world for the life of the Hereafter. To the one who fights in the cause of Allah, whether he’s killed or achieves victory, We’re soon going to give him a great reward. [74] And why shouldn’t you fight in the cause of Allah and in the cause of those who, being weak, are mistreated: the men, women and children whose only cry is, “Our Lord! Deliver us from this land whose people are oppressors.

Send us someone from You who will protect us, and send us someone from You who will help!” (75) Those who have faith (in Allah) fight in the cause of Allah, while those who cover over (their ability to have faith) fight in the cause of falsehood, so fight against the allies of Satan, for truly Satan’s plan is weak. (76)

Haven’t you seen the people who were told to restrain their hands (from fighting) and who were counseled instead (to concentrate on) establishing prayer and giving in charity? When the order finally came for them to fight, a bunch of them became more scared of people than they were scared of Allah!

“Our Lord!” they cried out. “Why have You ordered us to fight? Won’t you postpone it for us, at least for a while longer?” Say to them, “The enjoyment of this world is indeed short.

The next life is better for the one who is mindful (of Allah). You won’t be wronged by as much as the string of a date seed! [77] Wherever you are, death will find you, even if you lodge yourselves in mighty towers!”

Whenever good fortune befalls them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if they’re ever hit with misfortune they say, “This is all your fault, (Muhammad).” Say to them, “Every (outcome) is from Allah.”

So what is it with these people that they don’t understand a single phrase? [78] Any good that comes your way is from Allah, while any misfortune that befalls you is your own fault. We sent a messenger to people, and Allah is enough of a witness for that! [79] Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys Allah, while whoever turns away (from you, Muhammad,) well, We didn’t send you to be their caretaker. [80]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background behind versus:

Background on verses 71-73: Due to the constant raiding and attacks of the pagans in the countryside, the Muslims were discouraged from moving about in the land alone. When the Prophet organized patrols or sent out skirmishers to clear an area of raiders, some men of Medina would go absent without leave or otherwise conveniently get “lost” to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. If the patrols were successful and drove off pagan raiders, capturing booty in the process, these laggards would lament their loss of material gains. That is the subject matter of this passage.

Background on verses 74-75: Even though the Muslims had migrated to the safe haven of Medina, Muslims were not allowed yet to defend themselves from the Meccans, who harassed, tortured and killed Muslims with impunity both within Mecca and in the countryside. This quoted supplication in verse 75 was what the Muslims were asking of Allah. This passage was then revealed, giving Muslims permission to defend themselves.

Background on verses 77-79: This passage was revealed with regards to several of Prophet Muhammad’s ( Peace be upon him) followers who were severely persecuted in the early days of the Meccan period. At that time they were begging Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon him) to let them fight back against the idol-worshippers who would daily assault them in the streets and vandalize their property. He always refused their request and counseled them to be patient and engage in more religious activity. After the Migration to Medina, the order finally came to fight the Meccans, and many of these same men became reluctant to go to war.

Day Forty Four (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 61 —- 70

When they’re told, “Come to what Allah has revealed, and come to the Messenger,” you can see how the hypocrites turn their faces away from you in disgust. [61] How will it be then when they’re trapped with misfortune on account of what their hands have prepared? Then they’ll come to you, swearing to Allah, saying, “We only meant the best and to (help people) reconcile.” [62] Allah knows what’s in the hearts of those who are like that, so steer clear of them. Yet, still speak words that will touch their souls. [63]

We only sent messengers so they could be obeyed according to the will of Allah. Now if they would’ve just come to you, (Muhammad), when they were being wrong to their own souls and asked for Allah’s forgiveness – and the Messenger had asked for their forgiveness, they would’ve found that Allah accepts repentance and is merciful. [64] But no, by your Lord, they have no faith unless and until they make you, (Muhammad), the judge between them in all their disagreements. They must not allow any resistance towards your decisions to appear in their souls, but rather they should accept (your decisions) with the greatest conviction. (65)

If We had ordered them to sacrifice their lives or to leave their homes (and migrate to a new land), very few of them would’ve done it. If they just would’ve done (the little) that they were asked to do, it would’ve been better for them, and their resolve would’ve been strengthened. [66] Then We would’ve given them a great reward from Our presence [67] and guided them towards a straight path. [68]

Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those who have the favor of Allah upon them, (among whom are) the prophets, the true (in faith), the witnesses (who sacrificed their lives in Allah’s cause) and the righteous. What a beautiful fellowship! [69] This is the bounty of Allah, and it’s enough that Allah knows (about all things). [70]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Messengers are to be Obeyed Background on verses 64-65:

Two Muslims in Medina had a dispute over irrigation rights. The first man (Tha’laba) was a native of the city, while the second man (az-Zubayr) was a cousin of the Prophet who had immigrated from Mecca. The Prophet listened to both men and found in favor of Az-Zubayr. (The settlement essentially was a compromise that said that the men must take turns irrigating their fields.) Tha’laba became angry and accused the Prophet of merely siding with his cousin. That remark upset the Prophet, and he became saddened. This passage was revealed in response. (Asbab ul-Nuzul)

Footnote:

The true in Faith are those who worship Allah unseen, realizing that even if they don’t see Him, He sees them all. A man once asked Ali Ibn Abi Talib if he has seen Allah, he replied in the negative. The man declared that he can’t worship something he had never seen. Even though no one has seen Allah with eyes, yet their hearts have seen Him through the realities of Faith.

The anology we can’t see air, but we can see it’s effects through wind, and temperature changes. In the same way we can feel in our hearts the presence, and effects of Allah, even as we feel the effects of sinister forces which tug our hearts in different directions. If we recognize evil is real, we can recognize that goodness, and justice is real also.

Day Forty Three (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa. Ayats 51—-60

51. Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who were given a portion of the Book? They believe in sorcery and Evil, and say to the Unbelievers that they are better guided in the (right) way Than the believers!

52. They are (men) whom Allah hath cursed: And those whom Allah Hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help.

53. Have they a share in dominion or power? Behold, they give not a farthing to their fellow-men?

54. Or do they envy mankind for what Allah hath given them of his bounty? but We had already given the people of Abraham the Book and Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom.

55. Some of them believed, and some of them averted their faces from him: And enough is Hell for a burning fire.

56. Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

57. But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,—their eternal home: Therein shall they have companions pure and holy: We shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening.

58. Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; And when ye judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice: Verily how excellent is the teaching which He giveth you! For Allah is He Who heareth and seeth all things.

59. O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.

60. Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who declare that they believe in the revelations that have come to thee and to those before thee? Their (real) wish is to resort together for judgment (in their disputes) to the Evil One, though they were ordered to reject him. But Satan’s wish is to lead them astray far away (from the right).

Translation: Abdullah Yusuf