Tuesday 26 April 2022

Believers!! Beware of enemies within (A verse specially for Reverts)

Today, in our series of posts on Selected Verses from Qur'ān, we share a very sensitive issue, which may be taken by some very lightly but it is very serious in nature. The path to Paradise is not easy for it is infested with many stumbling blocks, problems and issues relating to one's very own family including one's wife and children. This post is more applicable to the new reverts who when embrace Islam draw a severe backlash from their immediate family members, specially wife and children.

So read this verse (14th verse from Surah 64. At-Tagabun ) carefully and its explanation by many eminent scholars and exegetists of Qur'ān, for it may ease sufferings of those who have to confront their families when reverting to Islam.

​يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنَّ مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجِكُمۡ وَاَوۡلَادِكُمۡ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمۡ فَاحۡذَرُوۡهُمۡ​ۚ وَاِنۡ تَعۡفُوۡا وَتَصۡفَحُوۡا وَتَغۡفِرُوۡا فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 14 )   O you who have believed, indeed, among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

This verse has two meanings:
According to the first meaning, it applies to most of those difficulties which are encountered by many believing men from their wives and the women from their husbands and the parents from their children in following the way of God. It seldom so happens in the world that a man has a wife or a wife has a husband, who are full companions and helpers of each other in the matter of faith and righteousness, and that both may also have such children as may be the comfort of their eyes as regards to faith and deeds, morals and conduct. But generally it so happens that if the husband is righteous and honest, the wife and children look upon his honesty and piety and righteousness as a misfortune for themselves, and want that the husband and the father should earn Hell for their sake, and, by giving up the distinction between the lawful and the unlawful, should provide means of luxury and enjoyment, sin and vice, for them in every passable way. On the contrary, many a time a pious believing woman happens to have a husband, who does not at all approve her obedience to the laws of God. And the children, following in the footsteps of the father, make the life of the mother miserable by their deviation and evil deeds. Then, particularly, when during the conflict between Islam and unbelief a man’s faith demands that he should suffer losses for the sake of Allah and this religion, run risks, emigrate from the country or even endanger his life by joining the war against unbelief, the greatest hindrance in his way are the people of his own household.
The second meaning relates to those special circumstances which most of the Muslims were facing at the time these verses were sent down, and also today they are faced by every person who embraces Islam in a non-Muslim society. At that time in Makkah and in other parts of Arabia a situation that was commonly being experienced was that a man would embrace Islam but his wife and children would not only be disinclined to accept it but would try their best to press him to give up Islam. And similar were the situation encountered by the women who alone embraced Islam in the family.
Addressing the believers who may be confronted with either situation, three things have been impressed:

First, they have been warned as if to say: Although from the worldly point of view these are the dearest relations of man, yet from the religious point of view, they are your enemies. This enmity may be for the reason that they hinder you from good and induce you to do evil, or that they restrain you from belief and pull you towards unbelief, or that their sympathies are with he unbelievers, and through you if they ever come to know any of the war secrets of the Muslims, they convey it to the enemies of Islam. Owing to these the nature and quality of enmity may vary, but in any case it is enmity; and if you hold your faith dearer to your heart, you should regard them as your enemies. In their love you should never forget that between you and them there stands the barrier of belief and unbelief, or of obedience and disobedience.

Then, it is said: Beware of them. That is, you should not ruin your eternal life for the sake of their worldly life. Let not their love so overwhelm you that they become a hindrance for you in your relationship with Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and your loyalty to Islam. Do not place such reliance on them that the secrets of the Muslim community should come to their notice and through them reach your enemies only by your negligence and carelessness. This is the first thing of which the Prophet (peace be upon him) has warned the Muslims in a Hadith: A person will be brought up on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be proclaimed: His wife and children ate up all his good deeds.

In the end, it is said: If you pardon and overlook and forgive, Allah is surely All-Forgiving, All-Merciful. It means: You are being made aware of their enmity so that you may beware of them and do your best to save your faith from them. This warning does not, however, mean that you should treat your wife and children harshly, or strain your relations with them so as to make your own and their domestic lift miserable and wretched. For if you did so, two of the disadvantages would obviously result: First, it may close down every avenue to the reformation of the wife and children forever; second, it may give rise to suspicions and misgivings against Islam in the society and the people around may form the impression that a Muslim turns unduly rigid and ill-tempered for his own children in his own house as soon as he has embraced Islam. In this connection, one should also keep in mind that in the beginning when the people became Muslims, they encountered a special difficulty if their parents were unbelievers. They would press their children to give up the new faith. They would face another difficulty when their wives and children (or in case of women, their husbands and children) persisted unbelief and would force them to abandon the faith of truth. About the first difficulty, instruction was given in (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 8) and (Surah Luqman, Ayat 14-15), saying: Treat your parents well but if they press you to join with Me another about whom you have no knowledge, do not obey them at all. About the second difficulty the instruction has been given here, saying: You must try to save your faith from your children and family members but do not treat them harshly, but rather politely and leniently. 

The very next verse is again a warning in continuity of the verse 14 stated above:

اِنَّمَاۤ اَمۡوَالُـكُمۡ وَاَوۡلَادُكُمۡ فِتۡنَةٌ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عِنۡدَهٗۤ اَجۡرٌ عَظِيۡمٌ‏ 
(64:15) Your possessions and your offspring are nothing but a trial for you. And there awaits a great reward30 for you with Allah.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: Warning against the Fitnah of Spouses and Offspring:
Allah states that some wives and children are enemies to their husbands and fathers, in that they might be busied with them rather than with performing the good deeds. 

Allah said in another Ayah, (O you who believe! Let not your properties or you children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that then they are the losers.) (63:9) 

Allah the Exalted said here, ( فَاحْذَرُوهُ therefore, beware of them!) for your religion, according to Ibn Zayd. 

Mujahid explained the Ayah, ( إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَجِكُمْ وَأَوْلـدِكُمْ عَدُوّاً لَّكُمْ Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you;) by saying, "They might direct the man to sever his relation or disobey his Lord. The man, who loves his wives and children, might obey them in this case.'' 

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said to a man who asked him about this Ayah, ( يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَجِكُمْ وَأَوْلـدِكُمْ عَدُوّاً لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you; therefore beware of them!) "There were men who embraced Islam in Makkah and wanted to migrate to Allah's Messenger . However, their wives and children refused to allow them. Later when they joined Allah's Messenger , they found that those who were with him (the Companions) have gained knowledge in the religion, so they were about to punish their wives and children. 

Allah the Exalted sent down this Ayah, ( وَإِن تَعْفُواْ وَتَصْفَحُواْ وَتَغْفِرُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive, then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)'' At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said that it is Hasan Sahih. Allah's statement,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
In some cases the demands of families, i.e., wife and children may conflict with a man's moral and spiritual convictions and duties. In such cases he must guard against the abandonment of his convictions, duties, and ideals to their requests or desires. But he must not treat them harshly. He must make reasonable provision for them, and if they persist in opposing his clear duties and convictions, he must forgive them and not expose them to shame or ridicule, while at the same time holding on to his clear duty. Such cases occurred when godly men undertook exile from their native city of Makkah to follow the Faith in Madinah. In some cases their families murmured, but all came right in the end.

For the different words for "forgiveness", see explanation of ii. 109 (reproduced herein under):
There words are used in the Qur'an, with a meaning asking to "forgive" but each with a different shade of meaning. Afa (here translated "forgive") means to forget, to obliterate from one's mind. Safaha (here translated "overlook") means to turn away from, to ignore, to treat a matter as if it did not affect one. Gafara (which does not occur in this verse) means to cover up something as God does to our sins with His grace; this word is particularly appropriate in God's attribute of Gaffar, the One who forgives again and again.
Muhammad Asad Explanation
I.e., "sometimes, your spouses...", etc. Since, in the teachings of the Qur'an, all moral duties are binding on women as well as on men, it is obvious that the term azwajikum " أَزْوَٲجِكُمْ " must not be rendered as "your wives", but is to be understood - according to classical Arabic usage - as applying equally to both the male and the female partners in a marriage.

Love of his or her family may sometimes tempt a believer to act contrary to the demands of conscience and faith; and, occasionally, one or another of the loved ones - whether wife or husband or child - may consciously try to induce the person concerned to abandon some of his or her moral commitments in order to satisfy some real or imaginary "family interest", and thus becomes the other's spiritual "enemy". It is to this latter eventuality that the next sentence alludes.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation
Here the Qur’an has explained the whole context of the previous verses of the surah: though disbelievers are also addressed in them, the real addressees are the Muslims whose wife and children had embraced faith yet true faith had yet to enter the hearts of some of them. So when they would see their husbands and fathers losing the pleasures of this world in hope of gaining in the Hereafter and sacrificing their personal interests and generously spending the wealth they have earned for the cause of God, they would try to stop them. They would also try to create uncertainty in their minds about the Hereafter by raising objections similar to the ones raised by the disbelievers before them. In order to streamline the minds and hearts of these Muslims, the Qur’an first reminded them about the Hereafter and the arguments that substantiate it, then addressed the disbelievers for a short while to remove the confusions created by them about the Hereafter, and then warned these Muslims by saying that the enemies of their faith and religion are present in their houses and that they should protect themselves from them.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān 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 Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
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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