Thursday 27 February 2020

Surah An Nisa: 4th Chapter of Quran (Exegesis Part III)

Sürah An-Nisa' " ٱلنِّسَاء‎ " - The Women, is the fourth chapter of the Qur'an part of the Juz' 4-5 with 176 āyāt (verses) and 24 Ruku / sections. The title of the surah is mainly attributed to  numerous references to women throughout the chapter, including verses 4:34 and 4:127-130.

This Sürah closely connected chronologically with Sürah 3 Al i Imran  and the subject matter deals with social problems which Muslim community had to face immediately after Uhud.

The main object of this Sürah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.

Owing to the length  of the Sürah and varied subjects discussed therein, the Sürah has been divided into six parts parts for better understanding, as already explained in the Overview.  We now begin with  the Part II which generally and specifically deals with subjects as mentioned herein under:

In Part III, verses 57 - 70, the discourse is about believers who have been enjoined to place their trusts and offices of trust in the custody of honest and qualified persons, and to do what is just and right, and to obey Allah and His Messenger and those among themselves entrusted with the conduct of their affairs and to turn to Allah and His Messenger for the settlement of their disputes. As such an attitude and behavior alone can ensure consolidation, they have been strongly warned that any deviation from this path will lead to their disintegration.   
Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer of Part III in English. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku / Section 7 [Verses 57-70]
Verses 56-59 Fate of the unbelievers and the believers and Who should the believers obey?

وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ سَنُدۡخِلُهُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِىۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِهَا الۡاَنۡهٰرُ خٰلِدِيۡنَ فِيۡهَاۤ اَبَدًا​ ؕ لَـهُمۡ فِيۡهَاۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ  وَّنُدۡخِلُهُمۡ ظِلًّا ظَلِيۡلًا‏ 
( 57 )   But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. For them therein are purified spouses, and We will admit them to deepening shade.
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاۡمُرُكُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤَدُّوا الۡاَمٰنٰتِ اِلٰٓى اَهۡلِهَا ۙ وَاِذَا حَكَمۡتُمۡ بَيۡنَ النَّاسِ اَنۡ تَحۡكُمُوۡا بِالۡعَدۡلِ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمۡ بِهٖ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ سَمِيۡعًۢا بَصِيۡرًا‏  
( 58 )   Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.
Here the Muslims are forewarned against the evils which had afflicted the Israelites. One of the fundamental mistakes committed by the Israelites was that in the time of their degeneration they had handed over positions of trust (i.e. religious and political leadership) to incompetent, mean, immoral, dishonest and corrupt people. The result was that corruption spread throughout the nation. The Muslims are directed to take heed of this, and to entrust positions of responsibility only to those who are capable of shouldering the burdens of such positions. The other major weakness of the Israelites was that they completely lost their sense of justice. In their pursuit of either personal or national interests, honesty and good faith were often sacrificed. The Muslims, in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him), were themselves subjected to gross injustice at their hands. On the one side were the Prophet (peace be on him) and his followers, to whose purity of life and conduct the Jews were themselves witnesses. On the other side were those who worshiped idols, buried their daughters alive, married their step-mothers and circumambulated the Ka'bah naked. Despite this, these so-called People of the Book felt no shame in declaring that the latter were closer to righteousness than the Muslims. After informing the Muslims of the iniquity of the Jews, God now warns them against committing similar injustices. They should rather declare what is right in the face of friend and foe alike, and judge between people with equity and justice.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi explanation:
The word “trusts” is used for things which are entrusted to a person. Here they refer to the responsibilities and posts created in a collective system. The implication is that the people to whom this kingdom was granted before the Muslims had proved to be thieves; however, Muslims must not be like them. Their foremost responsibility is that after acquiring this great gift, they should hand over the trusts of the nation to people on the basis of merit and strive to establish justice in its ultimate form in every walk of life. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi comments on this verse in the following words:

… This is a delineation of the most important aspect of the trust referred to as well as an explanation of the responsibility attached to political authority. The foremost responsibility of those who are blessed with political authority by the Almighty is that they should decide all disputes that arise among their people with justice and fairness. Justice means that there should be no discrimination in the eyes of the law between the various classes of society like the rich and the poor or the upper and the lower class. Justice should not be a commodity that can be bought or sold. Partiality and bias should not creep into it nor should indifference and apathy arise in dispensing it. No power or influence, greed or fear of any kind should affect justice in any manner.

Whoever is blessed with political authority by the Almighty in this world has been blessed so that he may discharge justice. Therefore, this is his primary responsibility. A just ruler will receive great reward from the Almighty, and an unjust one will be punished grievously [on the Day of Judgement]. Consequently, the verse says that this is an excellent admonition from the Almighty to the believers, who, therefore, must not show slackness in following it. The attributes of the Almighty mentioned at the end of the verse (one who hears and sees all things) caution us that even the most concealed injustice is in His knowledge. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 323)

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَطِيۡـعُوا اللّٰهَ وَاَطِيۡـعُوا الرَّسُوۡلَ وَاُولِى الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡكُمۡ​ۚ فَاِنۡ تَنَازَعۡتُمۡ فِىۡ شَىۡءٍ فَرُدُّوۡهُ اِلَى اللّٰهِ وَالرَّسُوۡلِ اِنۡ كُنۡـتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَـوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ​ؕ ذٰ لِكَ خَيۡرٌ وَّاَحۡسَنُ تَاۡوِيۡلًا  
( 59 )   O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.
This verse is the cornerstone of the entire religious, social and political structure of Islam, and the very first clause of the constitution of an Islamic state. It lays down the following principles as permanent guidelines:

(1) In the Islamic order of life, God alone is the focus of loyalty and obedience. A Muslim is the servant of God before anything else, and obedience and loyalty to God constitute the centre and axis of both the individual and collective life of a Muslim. Other claims to loyalty and obedience are acceptable only insofar as they remain secondary and subservient, and do not compete with those owed to God. All loyalties which may tend to challenge the primacy of man's loyalty to God must be rejected. This has been expressed by the Prophet (peace be on him) in the following words: 'There may be no obedience to any creature in disobedience to the Creator.' (Muslim, 'Iman', 37; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 472 - Ed.)

(2) Another basic principle of the Islamic order of life is obedience to the Prophet (peace be on him). No Prophet, of course, is entitled to obedience in his own right. Obedience to Prophets, however, is the only practical way of obeying God, since they are the only authentic means by which He communicates His injunctions and ordinances to men. Hence, we can obey God only if we obey a Prophet. Independent obedience to God is not acceptable, and to turn one's back on the Prophets amounts to rebellion against God. The following tradition from the Prophet (peace be on him) explains this: 'Whoever obeyed me, indeed obeyed God; and whoever disobeyed me, indeed disobeyed God.' (Bukhari, 'Jihad', 109; 'I'tisam', 2; Muslim, 'Amarah', 32, 33; Nasa'i, 'Bay'ah', 27; etc. - Ed.) We shall see this explained in more detail a little further on in the Qur'an.

(3) In the Islamic order of life Muslims are further required to obey fellow Muslims in authority. This obedience follows, and is subordinate to, obedience to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). Those invested with authority (ulu al-amr) include all those entrusted with directing Muslims in matters of common concern. Hence, persons 'invested with authority' include the intellectual and political leaders of the community, as well as administrative officials, judges of the courts, tribal chiefs and regional representatives. In all these capacities, those 'invested with authority' are entitled to obedience, and it is improper for Muslims to cause dislocation in their collective life by engaging in strife and conflict with them. This obedience is contingent, however, on two conditions: first, that these men should be believers; and second, that they should themselves be obedient to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). These two conditions are not only clearly mentioned in this verse they have also been elucidated at length by the Prophet (peace be on him) and can be found in the Hadith. Let us consider, for example, the following traditions: A Muslim is obliged to heed and to obey an order whether he likes it or not, as long as he is not ordered to carry out an act of disobedience to God (ma'siyah). When ordered to carry out an act of disobedience-to God he need neither heed nor obey.

There is no obedience in sin; obedience is only in what is good (ma'ruf). (For these traditions see Bukhari, 'Ahkam', 4; 'Jihad', 108; Muslim, 'Amarah', 39; Tirmidhi, 'Jihad', 29; Ibn Majah, 'Jihad', 40; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 17 and 142 - Ed.)

There will be rulers over you, some of whose actions you will consider good and others abominable. Who even disapproves of their abominable acts will be acquitted of all blame, and whoever resents them he too will remain secure (from all blame); not so one who approves and follows them in their abominable acts. They (i.e. the Companions) asked: 'Should we not fight against them?' The Prophet (peace be on him) said: 'No, not as long as they continue to pray.' (See Bukhari, 'Jihad', 108 - Ed.)

This means that their abandonment of Prayer will be a clear sign of their having forsaken obedience to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). Thereafter it becomes proper to fight against them. In another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) says:

Your worst leaders are those whom you hate and who hate you; whom you curse and who curse you. We asked: 'O Messenger of God! Should we not rise against them?' The Prophet (peace be on him) said: 'No, not as long as they establish Prayer among you: not as long as they establish Prayer among you.' (See Muslim, 'Amarah', 65, 66; Tirmidhi, 'Fitan', 77; Darimi, 'Riqaq, 78; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, pp. 24, 28 - Ed.)

In this tradition the position is further clarified. The earlier tradition could have created the impression that it was not permissible to revolt against rulers as long as they observed their Prayers privately. But the latter tradition makes it clear that what is really meant by 'praying' is the establishment of the system of congregational Prayers in the collective life of Muslims. This means that it is by no means sufficient that the rulers merely continue observing their Prayers: it is also necessary that the system run by them should at least be concerned with the establishment of Prayer. This concern with Prayer is a definite indication that a government is essentially an Islamic one. But if no concern for establishing Prayer is noticed, it shows that the government has drifted far away from Islam making it permissible to overthrow it. The same principle is also enunciated by the Prophet (peace be on him) in another tradition, in which the narrator says: 'The Prophet (peace be on him) also made us pledge not to rise against our rulers unless we see them involved in open disbelief, so that we have definite evidence against them to lay before God' (Bukhari and Muslim).

(4) In an Islamic order the injunctions of God and the way of the Prophet (peace be on him) constitute the basic law and paramount authority in all matters. Whenever there is any dispute among Muslims or between the rulers and the ruled the matter should be referred to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and all concerned should accept with sincerity whatever judgement results. In fact, willingness to take the Book of God and the Sunnah of His Messenger as the common point of reference, and to treat the judgement of the Qur'an and the Sunnah as the last word on all matters, is a central characteristic which distinguishes an Islamic system from un-Islamic ones. Some people question the principle that we should refer everything to the Book of God and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be on him). They wonder how we can possibly do so when there are numerous practical questions involved, for example, rules and regulations relating to municipal administration, the management of railways and postal services and so on which are not treated at all in these sources. This doubt arises, however, from a misapprehension about Islam. The basic difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is that whereas the latter feels free to do as he wishes, the basic characteristic of a Muslim is that he always looks to God and to His Prophet for guidance, and where such guidance is available, a Muslim is bound by it. On the other hand, it is also quite important to remember that when no specific guidance is available, a Muslim feels free to exercise his discretion because the silence of the Law indicates that God Himself has deliberately granted man the freedom to make his decision.

Since the Qur'an is not merely a legal code, but also seeks to instruct, educate, admonish and exhort, the earlier sentence which enunciates a legal principle is followed by another which explains its underlying purpose and wisdom. Two things are laid down. First, that faithful adherence to the above four principles is a necessary requirement of faith. Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and yet disregards the principles of Islam involves himself in gross self-contradiction. Second, the well-being of Muslims lies in basing their lives on those principles. This alone can keep them on the straight path in this life, and will lead to their salvation in the Next. It is significant that this admonition follows immediately after the section which embodies comments about the moral and religious condition of the Jews. Thus the Muslims were subtly directed to draw a lesson from the depths to which the Jews had sunk, as a result of their deviation from the fundamental principles of true faith just mentioned. Any community that turns its back upon the Book of God and the guidance of His Prophets, that willingly follows rulers and leaders who are heedless of God and His Prophets, and that obeys its religious and political authorities blindly without seeking authority for their actions either in the Book of God or in the practice of the Prophets, will inevitably fall into the same evil and corruption as the Israelites.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi explanation:
This directive was given to the Muslims when the Qur’an was being revealed and the Prophet (sws) was present among them. Consequently, they had the opportunity to refer back all their disagreements to him and through him to God whenever they wanted. Obviously, since the authority of God and His Prophet (sws) is eternal, therefore in all affairs in which an eternal directive has been given by them, it is now incumbent upon those in authority, whether they are the rulers or members of parliament, to submit to them forever. The orders and directives of these rulers can only be carried out subsequent to obeying God and His Prophet (sws), and only if they do not overrule or exceed the limits adjudicated by God and His Prophet (sws). Therefore, Muslims cannot enact any law in their country which is contrary to the Qur’an and Sunnah or without taking into consideration the guidance these sources provide.

It is evident from the context of the verse that the directive of obeying those in authority mentioned in it relates to Muslim rulers only. It does not relate to those who openly commit disbelief, are rebellious to God and His Messenger or forsake the religion of God and practically adopt some other religion for themselves. Such people cannot demand obedience from the Muslims by reciting this verse to them.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
Ulu-l-amr = those charged with authority or responsibility or decision, or the settlement of affairs. All ultimate authority rests in Allah. Prophets of Allah derive their authority from Him. As Islam makes no sharp division between sacred and secular affairs, it expects governments to be imbued with righteousness. Likewise Islam expects Muslims to respect the authority of such government for otherwise there can be no order or discipline.

Verses 60-63 Hypocrites' attitude towards the decision of the Prophet:

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَى الَّذِيۡنَ يَزۡعُمُوۡنَ اَنَّهُمۡ اٰمَنُوۡا بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَيۡكَ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِكَ يُرِيۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ يَّتَحَاكَمُوۡۤا اِلَى الطَّاغُوۡتِ وَقَدۡ اُمِرُوۡۤا اَنۡ يَّكۡفُرُوۡا بِهٖ ؕ وَيُرِيۡدُ الشَّيۡـطٰنُ اَنۡ يُّضِلَّهُمۡ ضَلٰلًاۢ بَعِيۡدًا‏ 
( 60 )   Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray.
Taghut clearly signifies here a sovereign who judges things according to criteria other than the law of God. It also stands for a legal and judicial system which acknowledges neither the sovereignty of God nor the paramount authority of the Book of God. This verse categorically proclaims that to refer disputes to the judgement of a court of law which is essentially taghut contravenes the dictates of a believer's faith. In fact, true faith in God and His Book necessarily requires that a man should refuse to recognize the legitimacy of such courts. According to the Qur'an, belief in God necessitates repudiation of the authority of taghut. To try to submit both to God and to taghut at the same time is hypocrisy.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
The immediate reference was to the Hypocrites (Munafiqin) of Madinah 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. Facing-both-ways in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." Such men declare that they are always with the Right, but calmly intrigue with Evil and Injustice, and even make Injustice their judge if their personal interests are served in that way.

وَاِذَا قِيۡلَ لَهُمۡ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰى مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَاِلَى الرَّسُوۡلِ رَاَيۡتَ الۡمُنٰفِقِيۡنَ يَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡكَ صُدُوۡدًا​ ۚ‏  
( 61 )   And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," you see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion.
This shows that the hypocrites were inclined to refer to the Prophet (peace be on him) those cases in which they expected a favourable decision. When they feared an adverse judgement they refused to refer to the Prophet (peace be on him). This continues to be the practice of many hypocrites even now. Whenever they feel that Islamic Law would further their interests they turn to it but when they feel it would militate against them they refer their disputes to whichever legal systems and courts of law, customs and usages they anticipate most likely to give them a favourable decision.

فَكَيۡفَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَتۡهُمۡ مُّصِيۡبَةٌ ۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ ثُمَّ جَآءُوۡكَ يَحۡلِفُوۡنَ​ۖ بِاللّٰهِ اِنۡ اَرَدۡنَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اِحۡسَانًـا وَّتَوۡفِيۡقًا‏   
( 62 )   So how [will it be] when disaster strikes them because of what their hands have put forth and then they come to you swearing by Allah, "We intended nothing but good conduct and accommodation."
This may mean that when Muslims become aware of their hypocritical activities and they feel afraid of being caught, censured, and eventually punished, the hypocrites resort to every stratagem, including oaths, in order to assure people that they are true believers.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ الَّذِيۡنَ يَعۡلَمُ اللّٰهُ مَا فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِهِمۡ فَاَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡهُمۡ وَعِظۡهُمۡ وَقُلْ لَّهُمۡ فِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ قَوۡلًاۢ بَلِيۡغًا‏  
( 63 )   Those are the ones of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts, so turn away from them but admonish them and speak to them a far-reaching word.
Yusuf Ali explanation:
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 Prophet of Allah 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 Allah.

Verses 64-68 One who disputes the decision of the Prophet is not a believer:

وَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا لِـيُـطَاعَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ ​ؕ وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ اِذْ ظَّلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ جَآءُوۡكَ فَاسۡتَغۡفَرُوا اللّٰهَ وَاسۡتَغۡفَرَ لَـهُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ لَوَجَدُوا اللّٰهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيۡمًا‏ 
( 64 )   And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
This is to impress upon us that Prophets are not sent so that people may pay lip-service to their Prophethood, and then obey whoever they wish. The purpose of sending Prophets is that people should follow the laws of God as brought and expounded by them rather than laws devised by man, and that they should obey the commands of God as revealed to the Prophets to the exclusion of the commands of others.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi explanation:
This verse explains the status of a messenger. He is not merely a person who is the fountainhead of attachment and devotion; he is also the fountainhead of obedience. He does not come so that people merely accept him as a prophet and messenger without any further obligation. His status is not that of a mere preacher or counselor. He is a guide who people must obey. The very purpose of his advent is to follow without any hesitation whatever guidance he gives in all affairs of life. The reason for this is that God does not deal directly with His servants. He guides them through prophets and messengers. No doubt, the real objective is to obey God; but the way to obey Him is to obey His Messenger. Moreover, this obedience is not a ritualistic thing. The Qur’an requires from a believer to obey him with the spirit of following him and with full sincerity and full reverence and devotion. If a person wants to achieve God’s love, he has to obey and follow him.

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ حَتّٰى يُحَكِّمُوۡكَ فِيۡمَا شَجَرَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوۡا فِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيۡتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِيۡمًا‏   
( 65 )   But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.
The application of the injunction embodied in this verse is not confined to the life-time of the Prophet (peace be on him). It will remain in force until the Day of Judgement. The guidance the Prophet (peace be on him) proclaimed on God's behalf, and the manner in which he followed God's direction and inspiration, will for ever remain the universal touchstone for Muslims. In fact, recognition of that guidance as the final authority is the criterion of true belief. This principle was pronounced by the Prophet (peace be on him) in the following words: 'None of you can become a believer until his desires become subservient to what I have brought (i.e. my teachings).' (Cited by al-Nawawi in al-Arba'in, see the tradition no. 41, transmitted on their authority of Abu al-Qasim Isma'il b. Muhammad al-Isfahani, Kitab al-Hujjah with the opinion that it is a 'good' and 'sound' tradition, with a sound chain of transmission - Ed.)

Yusuf Ali explanation:
The test of true Faith is not mere lip profession, but bringing all our doubts and disputes to the one in whom we profess faith. Further, when a decision is given we are not only to accept it, but find in our inmost souls no difficulty and no resistance, but on the contrary a joyful acceptance springing from the conviction of our own faith.

وَلَوۡ اَنَّا كَتَبۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ اَنِ اقۡتُلُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ اَوِ اخۡرُجُوۡا مِنۡ دِيَارِكُمۡ مَّا فَعَلُوۡهُ اِلَّا قَلِيۡلٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ​ ؕ وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ فَعَلُوۡا مَا يُوۡعَظُوۡنَ بِهٖ لَـكَانَ خَيۡرًا لَّهُمۡ وَاَشَدَّ تَثۡبِيۡتًا ۙ‏  
( 66 )   And if We had decreed upon them, "Kill yourselves" or "Leave your homes," they would not have done it, except for a few of them. But if they had done what they were instructed, it would have been better for them and a firmer position [for them in faith].
As these people are not prepared to endure even minor losses and inconveniences in order to follow the law of God, they can never be expected to make big sacrifices. If asked either to lay down their lives or to give up their homes and families for the sake of the Truth they would fly straight back to unbelief and disobedience.

Had these people been able to free themselves of uncertainty, hesitation and ambivalence, and to resolve firmly to follow and obey the Prophet (peace be on him), their lives would have been spared the instability from which they suffer. Their way of thinking, their morals and their practical dealings would all have found permanent and stable foundations, and they would have enjoyed the blessings granted only to those who follow the one straight path with firmness and resolution. For one who is subject to indecision and hesitation, who keeps changing from one direction to another in a state of uncertainty, life is a continuous exercise in futility.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
The highest in faith willingly sacrifice their lives, their homes, and all that they hold dearest, in the cause of Allah. Those whose faith is not so strong are expected at least to do what a loyal member of any society does, submit his doubts and disputes to the head of the society and cheerfully accept his decision and submit to it. The contrast is between the Hypocrites who will not even do this, and the really devoted men and women who would voluntarily sacrifice their lives.

 وَّاِذًا لَّاٰتَيۡنٰهُمۡ مِّنۡ لَّدُنَّاۤ اَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا ۙ‏ 
( 67 )   And then We would have given them from Us a great reward.
 وَّلَهَدَيۡنٰهُمۡ صِرَاطًا مُّسۡتَقِيۡمًا‏ 
( 68 )   And We would have guided them to a straight path.
By giving up uncertainty, and deciding with complete faith and conviction to follow the Prophet (peace be on him), the straight path of their endeavours would have opened up before them. They would have been able to perceive clearly the channels into which their energies should be directed, so that each step they took would be a step towards the true goal.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
Four advantages of obedience to Allah are mentioned, in the order in which they will appeal to the beginner in faith: (1) his own benefit ("best for them"): (2) strengthening of his faith, as he becomes more and more at home in the world of faith: (3) reward from Allah's own Presence, such intense conviction that no further arguments are needed: (4) the Straight Way, in which there is no doubt or difficulty whatever in our practical conduct.
Verses 69-70 Believers will be in excellent company in the hereafter:

وَمَنۡ يُّطِعِ اللّٰهَ وَالرَّسُوۡلَ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِيّٖنَ وَالصِّدِّيۡقِيۡنَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ وَالصّٰلِحِيۡنَ​ۚ وَحَسُنَ اُولٰٓـئِكَ رَفِيۡقًا ؕ‏ 
( 69 )   And he who obeys Allah and the Messenger -they shall be with those whom Allah has favoured -the Prophets, those steadfast in truthfulness, the martyrs, and the righteous." How excellent will they be for companions!.
Siddiq denotes someone who is utterly honest, someone whose devotion to truth has reached a very high point. Such a person is always upright and straightforward in his dealings. He supports nothing but right and justice and does so with sincerity. He opposes whatever is contrary to truth, and does not waver in his opposition to falsehood. His life is so unblemished and selfless that even enemies, let alone friends, expect of him unadulterated probity and justice.

The term shahid (pi. shuhada') means 'witness'. It signifies one who attests to the truth of his faith with his whole life. He who lays down his life fighting for God is called a shahid because by this sacrifice he confirms that his confession of faith was backed by a deep, genuine conviction of its truth, and that he valued it above his own life. The term shahid is also applied to those outstandingly honest people who are so trustworthy that their testimony, on any matter, is accepted without hesitation. Salih denotes one whose belief and thinking, motives and intentions, words and deeds, are based on righteousness. In short, he is a person whose life as a whole is oriented to righteousness.

He who enjoys, in this world, the company of the kind of people mentioned in this verse, and whom God judges worthy of the same company in the Hereafter is fortunate. The fact is that unless a man's natural sensitivity has atrophied, the companionship of corrupt and wicked people is a painful punishment even in this transient world, let alone that one should be subjected to the perpetual companionship of such people in the abiding life of the Hereafter. Good people have always longed for the company of like people, both in this world and the Next.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi explanation:
Here the word الصِّدِّیۡقِیۡن refers to people who are truthful in their knowledge and deeds, and at every instance prove this truthfulness through their words and actions, and the word الشُّہَدَآء refers to those who bear witness to the truth even if this means endangering their lives.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
A passage of the deepest devotional meaning. Even the humblest man who accepts Faith and does good becomes an accepted member of a great and beautiful company in the Hereafter. It is a company which lives perpetually in the sunshine of God's Grace. (This passage partly illustrates Q. i. 5). It is a glorious hierarchy, of which four grades are specified: (1) The highest is that of the Prophets or Apostles, who get plenary inspiration from God, and who teach mankind by example and precept. That rank in Islam is held by Muhammad Al-Mustafa. (2) The next are those whose badge is sincerity and truth: they love and support the truth with their person, their means, their influence, and all that is theirs. That rank was held by the special Companions of Muhammad, among whom the type was that of Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. (3) The next are the noble army of Witnesses, who testify to the truth. The testimony may be by martyrdom, Or it may be by the tongue of the true Preacher or the pen of the devoted scholar, or the life of the man devoted to service, (4) Lastly, there is the large company of Righteous people, the ordinary folk who do their ordinary business, but always in a righteous Way.

ذٰ لِكَ الۡـفَضۡلُ مِنَ اللّٰهِ​ ؕ وَكَفٰى بِاللّٰهِ عَلِيۡمًا‏  
( 70 )   That is the bounty from Allah, and sufficient is Allah as Knower.
Ie., sufficient is the knowledge of God regarding who deserves His blessings. He knows His people and is not unaware of them.

Yusuf Ali explanation:
If a generous General gives the private soldier the privilege of sitting with his comrades and officers, high and low, in one common Brotherhood, people may perhaps wonder: how may this be? If we are admitted to that Company, we want to know no more. It is enough to us that Allah knows our humility and our unworthiness, and with His full knowledge admits us to that glorious Company!

Here we come to the end of Part III of the exegesis of Sürah An-Nisa'.

In Part IV, Muslims have been exhorted to make preparation for defense and to fight bravely for the cause of Islam, without showing any kind of cowardice or weakness. They have also been warned to be on their guard against hypocrites. A line of demarcation has been drawn to distinguish the intentional shirkers from the helpless devotees. 71 - 100

Here again instructions have been given for the offering of Salat during military campaigns and actual fighting. This is to impress the importance of Salat even at the time of fear and danger. 101 - 103

Before proceeding on to the next topic, the Muslims have been exhorted to persevere in their fight without showing any kind of weakness. 104

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah An-Nisa' with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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