Sura A-Nisaa
سورة النساء

Asbab Nuzul: Sura A-Nisaa – سورة النساء
Tafsir and Asbab Al-Nuzul
004| Sura A-Nisaa – سورة النساء

Decorative Lines

Surah An-Nisaa is the Fourth
Chapter of the Qur’an

Sura An-Nisa (Arabic: سورة النساء, Sūratu an-Nisā, “Women”) is the fourth chapter of the Qur’an, with 176 verses. The title of the sura derives from the numerous references to women throughout the chapter, including verses 3-4 and 127-130. It is a Medinan sura, as confirmed by Allamah Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai, who states that the sura must have been revealed after the hijah based on the subject matter.

Although An- Nisa typically appears as the fourth sura, according to the Nöldeke classification of suras, based on Islamic traditions, “The Women” was approximately revealed as the hundredth sura. Amir-Ali places it as the 94th sura, while Hz. Osman and Ibn`Abbas believe it is the 92nd. Ja`fer es-Sadik places it as the 91st sura revealed. Based on the legislation concerning orphans, the sura was most likely revealed after many Muslims were killed at the Battle of Uhud, leaving numerous dependents in the new Muslim community.

An-Nisa’ – Women

  • Classification: Medinan
  • Position: Juz’ 4–6

Structure

  • Rukus: 24
  • Verses: 176

The revelation therefore began around the year three, according to the Islamic calendar, but was not completed until the year eight. Consequently, parts of this sura, the second longest in the Qur’an, were revealed concurrently with portions of the longest sura in the Qur’an, “The Examined Woman,” sura 60. However, the sura shows some thematic coherence, despite its disjointed and ongoing revelation.

Asbāb al-Nuzūl

By: Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wāhidī

4:2.| Give unto orphans their wealth…

[4:2]. Muqatil and al-Kalbi said: “This was revealed about a man from Ghatafan who had in his possession an abundant fortune which belonged to his orphaned nephew. When this orphan reached the age of puberty he claimed this fortune but his uncle refused to give it to him. As a result they took their dispute to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and then this verse was revealed. When the uncle heard this verse he said: ‘We obey Allah and we obey His Messenger; we seek refuge in Allah from the great peril’, and he handed the wealth over to his nephew.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Whoever is saved from the stinginess of his ego and turn it over like thus will abide in Allah’s Garden’. When the youth received his fortune, he spent it in the way of Allah, exalted is He, which prompted the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to say: ‘The reward is confirmed but the sin still persists’. Some asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! We know that the reward is confirmed, but how is it that the sin still persists when he is spending his wealth in the way of Allah?’ He said: ‘The reward is confirmed for the youth while the sin persists for his father’ ”.

4:3.| And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans…

[4:3]. Abu Bakr al-Tamimi informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad> Abu Yahya> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> Yahya ibn Za’idah> Hisham ibn ‘Urwah> his father> ‘A’ishah who said, regarding the words of Allah (And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans):

“This was revealed about any custodian under whose care is a female orphan who possesses some wealth and does not have anyone to defend her rights. The custodian refuses to give this orphan in marriage out of greed for her money, harms her and treats her badly. And so Allah, exalted is He, says (And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans marry of the women, who seem good to you…) as long as they are lawful to you and leave this one”.

This was narrated by Muslim> Abu Kurayb> Abu Usamah> Hisham. Sa‘id ibn Jubayr, Qatadah, al-Rabi‘, al-Dahhak and al-Suddi said: “People used to be wary of the wealth of orphans but took liberty with women and married whoever they liked. And sometimes they were fair to them and sometimes they were not. So when they asked about the orphans and the verse (Give unto orphans their wealth), regarding the orphans, was revealed, Allah, exalted is He, also revealed (And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans).

He says here: ‘Just as you fear that you will not deal fairly by the orphan, so should you fear that you do not deal fairly by women. Therefore, marry only as many as you can fulfil their rights, for women are like orphans as far as weakness and incapacity are concerned’. This is the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbas according to the narration of al-Walibi”.

4:6.| Prove orphans…

[4:6]. This was revealed about Thabit ibn Rifa‘ah and his uncle. Rifa‘ah died when his son Thabit was very young. The uncle of Thabit went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: “The son of my brother is an orphan under my care, what is lawful for me from his wealth? And when should I give him back his wealth?” And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse.

4:7.| Unto the men (of a family) belongeth a share of that which parents and near kindred leave…

[4:7]. The commentators of the Qur’an said: “Aws ibn Thabit al-Ansari died and was survived by a wife whose name was Umm Kujjah and three daughters he had from her. Two men, who were the cousins and executors of Thabit, whose names were Suwayd and ‘Arfajah, took all his wealth and failed to give anything to his wife or

daughters. This is because in the pre-Islamic period women and children, even if they were male, did not inherit anything, for only older man did.

They used to say: ‘Only those who fight riding horses and capture booty are entitled to inherit’.

Umm Kujjah went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I am the widow of Aws ibn Malik and he has left me with daughters on whom I do not have anything to spend. Their father had left behind a considerable fortune which is now with Suwayd and ‘Arfajah who have failed to give me, or my daughters, anything when they are still under my care.

They do not feed me or even care about them’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, summoned them, and in their defence they said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Her children cannot ride a horse, withstand any responsibility or harm an enemy!’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Leave for now, I shall wait for what Allah relates to me concerning their matter’, and they left. Then Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

4:10.| Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully…

[4:10]. Said Muqatil ibn Hayyan: “This verse was revealed about a man from Ghatafan called Marthad ibn Zayd. This man had devoured the fortune of his young, orphaned nephew who was under his charge, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse

about him”.

4:11.| Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children…

[4:11]. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ja’far informed us> al-Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Makhladi> al-Mu’ammil ibn al-Hasan ibn ‘Isa> al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Sabbah> Hajjaj> Ibn Jurayj> Ibn al-Munkadir> Jabir who said: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and Abu Bakr came on foot to visit me at Banu Salamah when I was sick. He found me unconscious.

He asked for some water, performed minor ritual ablution and then sprinkled some of the water on me and I woke up. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What shall I do with my wealth?’ And so the verse (Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females…)”.

This was narrated by Bukhari> Ibrahim ibn Musa> Hisham, and also by Muslim> Muhammad ibn Hatim> Hajjaj; and both Hisham and Hajjaj related this tradition from Ibn Jurayj. Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mansuri informed us> ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar ibn Mahdi> Yahya ibn Sa’id>> Ahmad ibn al-Miqdam> Bishr ibn al-Mufaddal> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Aqil> Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah who said:

“A woman came to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, with her two daughters and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! These are the daughters of Thabit ibn Qays, or perhaps she said Sa’d ibn al-Rabi’, who was killed fighting on your side at the Battle of Uhud. Their uncle has taken possession of their fortune and inheritance and did not leave anything belonging to them except that he took it to himself, so what do you think, O Messenger of Allah? For by Allah, they will never get married unless they have some money’.

The Messenger of Allah said to her:

‘Allah will judge for you concerning this’.

And so Surah al-Nisa’ was revealed which contains (Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females…). The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, then said to me: ‘Summon for me the woman and her adversary’. He said to the uncle of the girls:

‘Give the girls two third of the fortune, their mother one eighth and keep the remainder’ ”.

4:19.| O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen)…

[4:19]. Abu Bakr al-Asfahani informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Asfahani> Abu Yahya> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> Asbat ibn Muhammad> al-Shaybani> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas (Abu Ishaq al-Shaybani mentioned that ‘Ata’ ibn al-Husayn al-Suwa‘i also related this tradition, and I do not think he related it from other than Ibn ‘Abbas) who said regarding the verse (O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen):

“It was the habit that, when a man died, his heirs had a better right to his wife, if one of them wished he would marry her, if not they married her off to somebody else or, alternately, leave her unmarried, for they had a better right to her than her own family. This verse was revealed about this issue”. This was related by Bukhari in the chapter on Tafsir from Muhammad ibn Muqatil and he also related it in the chapter on Coercion from Husayn ibn Mansur and both his narrators related it from Asbat.

The commentators of the Qur’an said: “In the pre-Islamic and beginning of the Islamic eras, if a man died and was survived by his wife, it was the custom that his son from another wife or his relative from his clan would come and throw his cloak on that woman, and this gesture entailed that he had a better right over her than she had on her own person or that anyone else had on her.

If he then wished to marry her, he married her without giving her any dowry, except for the dowry which was given to her by her deceased husband. Alternately, he could marry her to someone else and take all her dowry, giving her nothing in exchange. Or, he could leave her unmarried to hurt her so that she would buy herself from him in exchange for what she inherited from her deceased husband, or wait until she died so that he inherits her.

When Abu Qays ibn al-Aslat al-Ansari died, he was survived by his wife Kubayshah bint Ma‘an al-Ansariyyah. One of his sons, from another wife, by the name of Hisn (Muqatil stated that his name was Qays ibn Abi Qays) placed his cloak on her and, thus, inherited the right to her marriage. But then he left her untouched and failed to provide for her. He did this to hurt her in order to drive her to buy herself from him with her money.

This led Kubayshah to go to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. She said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Abu Qays has died and his son has inherited the right to marry me. But he has harmed me and is taking his time. He has failed to provide for me, to consummate the marriage or to let me go free’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to her: ‘Remain in your home until Allah reveals something about your matter’.

When she left and the women of Medina heard of this, they went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘We are in the same situation as Kubayshah except that it is the cousins who had married us instead of the sons’. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse”.

4:22.| And marry not those women whom your fathers married…

[4:22]. This was revealed about Hisn ibn Abi al-Qays who married the wife of his father Kubayshah bint Ma’an, al-Aswad ibn Khalaf who married the wife of his father, Safwan ibn Umayyah who married his father’s wife Fakhitah bint al-Aswad ibn al-Muttalib and also about Manzur ibn Zabban who married the wife of his father Mulaykah bint Kharijah. Said Ash‘at ibn Sawwar: “When Abu Qays who was one of the righteous people of Medina died, his son Qays proposed to the wife of his father. She said to him: ‘But I consider you like my son. I will consult the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, to see what he commands’. When she went and informed him, Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

4:24.| And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess…

[4:24]. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Bunani informed us> Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hamdan> Abu Ya‘la> ‘Amr al-Naqid> Abu Ahmad al-Zubayri> Sufyan> ‘Uthman al-Batti> Abu’l-Khalil> Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri who said: “We had captured female prisoners of war on the day of Awtas and because they were already married we disliked having any physical relationship with them.

Then we asked the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, about them. And the verse (And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess) was then revealed, as a result of which we consider it lawful to have a physical relationship with them”. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn al-Harith informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ja‘far> Abu Yahya> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> ‘Abd al-Rahim> Ash‘ath ibn Sawwar> ‘Uthman al-Batti> Abu’l-Khalil> Abu Sa‘id who said:

“When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, captured the people of Awtas as prisoners of war we said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! How can we possibly have physical relationships with women whose lineage and husband we know very well?’ And so this verse was revealed (And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess)”.

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Isa ibn ‘Amrawayh> Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Sufyan> Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Umar al-Qawariri> Yazid ibn Zuray‘> Sa‘id ibn Abi ‘Arubah> Qatadah> Abu Salih Abu Khalil> Abu ‘Alqamah al-Hashimi> Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri who reported that on the day of Hunayn the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent an army to Awtas.

This army met the enemy in a battle, defeated them and captured many female prisoners from them. But some of the Companions of the Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, were uncomfortable about having physical relations with these prisoners because they had husbands who were idolaters, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed about this (And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess).

4:32.| And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others…

[4:32] Isma‘il ibn Abi al-Qasim al-Sufi informed us> Isma‘il ibn Najid> Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Sawwar> Qutaybah> Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah> Ibn Abi Najih> Mujahid who reported that Umm Salamah asked: “O Messenger of Allah! [how is it that] the men go out in military conquests and we do not; and how come we have half of the inheritance”.

And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others). Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz informed us> Muhammad ibn al-Husayn> Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Yazid> Ishaq ibn Ibrahim> ‘Attab ibn Bashir> Khusayf> ‘Ikrimah who reported that the women asked about Jihad, saying: “We wish that Allah had prescribed military conquest for us so that we acquire the same reward that men do”, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others).

Said Qatadah and al-Suddi: “When the words of Allah (… unto the male the equivalent of the share of two females…) [4:176], the men said: ‘We hope that we shall be preferred over women through our rewards in the Afterlife just as we were preferred over them in the division of estate so that our reward is double the reward of women’. The women, on the other hand, said: ‘We hope that our onus will be half that of men in the Afterlife just as our share of estate is half that of men in this world’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others)”.

4:33.| And unto each We have appointed heirs and near kindred …

[4:33]. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamawayh al-Harawi> ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al- Khuza‘i> Abu’l-Yaman al-Hakam ibn Nafi‘> Shu‘ayb ibn Abi Hamzah> al-Zuhri> Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab who said: “The verse (And unto each We have appointed heirs) was revealed about those who used to adopt men who were not their natural sons and then make them inherit from them.

Allah, exalted is He, revealed about them that something should be apportioned for them in the bequest while the division of estate He specifically allocated for the heirs who were immediate family relatives or close relatives. He denied a share of the estate to those who were adopted and, instead, allowed them to have a portion of the bequest”.

4:34.| Men are in charge of women…

[4:34]. Said Muqatil: “This verse (Men are in charge of women…) was revealed about Sa‘d ibn al-Rabi‘, who was one of the leaders of the Helpers (nuqaba’), and his wife Habibah bint Zayd ibn Abi Zuhayr, both of whom from the Helpers. It happened Sa‘d hit his wife on the face because she rebelled against him. Then her father went with her to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He said to him: ‘I gave him my daughter in marriage and he slapped her’.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Let her have retaliation against her husband’. As she was leaving with her father to execute retaliation, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, called them and said: ‘Come back; Gabriel has come to me’, and Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something while Allah wanted something else, and that which Allah wants is good’.

Retaliation was then suspended”. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> Zahir ibn Ahmad> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn Junayd> Ziyad ibn Ayyub> Hushaym> Yunus ibn al-Hasan who reported that a man slapped his wife and she complained about him to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Her family who went with her said: “O Messenger of Allah! So-and-so has slapped our girl”.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, kept saying: “Retaliation! Retaliation! And there is no other judgement to be held”. But then this verse (Men are in charge of women…) was revealed and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We wanted something and Allah wanted something else”. Abu Bakr al-Harithi informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl al-‘Askari> ‘Ali ibn Hashim> Isma‘il> al-Hasan who said: “Around the time when the verse on retaliation was revealed amongst the Muslims, a man had slapped his wife.

She went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace and said: ‘My husband has slapped me and I want retaliation’. So he said: ‘Let there be retaliation’. As he was still dealing with her, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other…). Upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different. O man, take your wife by the hand’ ”.

4:37.| Who hoard their wealth and enjoin avarice on others…

[4:37]. Most Qur’anic exegetes said: “This was revealed about the Jews when they concealed the description of Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, and did not reveal it to people despite the fact that they had it written in their Scriptures”. And al-Kalbi said: “This refers to the Jews; they failed to be truthful to those who came to them with regard to the description of Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, despite the fact that they had it written down in their Scriptures”.

Said Mujahid: “The three verses up to His saying (…when Allah is ever Aware of them) [4:39] were revealed about the Jews”. And Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Zayd said: “This was revealed about a group of Jews who used to go to some men from the Helpers, mixing with them and giving them advice. They used to say to them: ‘Do not spend your wealth for we fear poverty for you’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Who hoard their wealth and enjoin avarice on others)”.

4:43.| O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken…

[4:43]. This was revealed about some people who were Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. They were in the habit of drinking wine and then going to pray while still drunk. Because e of this they did not know how many units of prayer they performed or what they said in their prayers. Abu Bakr al-Asfahani informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya> Sahl Ibn ‘Uthman> Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Afriqi> ‘Ata’> Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman who said:

“One day, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf prepared food and invited some Companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. They ate and drank and when the time for the Maghrib prayer was due they stood up to pray. One of them stepped forward to lead the prayer.

He recited (Say: O disbelievers…) [Surah 109] but did not recite correctly, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter…)”. (…and if ye find not water, then go to high clean soil…) [4:43].

Abu ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Ishaq informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Matar> Ibrahim ibn ‘Ali al-Dhuhli> Yahya ibn Yahya> Malik ibn Anas> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Qasim> his father> ‘A’ishah who said: “We travelled with the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, in one of his travels and when we reached al-Bayda’ or Dhat al-Jaysh I dropped my necklace and so the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give peace, set camp to look for it and people camped with him too, except that that area did not have water and they did not carry water with them either.

So people went to Abu Bakr and said: ‘Did you see what ‘A’ishah has done? She made the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, camp along with people when they have no water with them and this area does not have any water?’ And so Abu Bakr came. He found the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sleeping with his head on my thigh. He said: ‘You have held back the Messenger of Allah and people with him when this area has no water and people have no water with them either’.

Abu Bakr kept rebuking me, saying whatever Allah willed him to say all while poking me with his hand in my waist. The only thing that prevented me from moving was the head of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, on my thigh. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, slept until dawn and when he woke up, he had no water. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed the verse on dry ablution (Tayammum). Usayd ibn Huday, who was one of the leaders, said then: ‘This is not your first blessing, O household of Abu Bakr’.

When the camel which I was riding was made to rise, we found my necklace beneath it”. This was narrated by al-Bukhari from Isma‘il ibn Abi Uways and also by Muslim from Yahya ibn Yahya, and both Ibn Abi Uways and Ibn Yahya related it from Malik. Abu Muhammad al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Fadl> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Hafiz> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Ya‘qub ibn Ibrahim ibn Sa‘d> his father> Abu Salih> Ibn Shihab> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Utbah> Ibn ‘Abbas> ‘Ammar ibn Yasir who said:

“The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, camped once in Dhat al-Jaysh. He had with him then ‘A’ishah his wife who dropped a necklace made of gems from Dhafar and so he held back people to look for it and they remained there until dawn. Because people did not have water with them, Abu Bakr got very angry with her. Then Allah, exalted is He, revealed to his Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, the story of purifying oneself with clean soil.

The Muslims got up, struck the soil with their hands and then lifted them up without retaining any soil on them and wiped their faces and hands up to the shoulders as well as the palms of their hands up to the armpits”. Said al-Zuhri: “We heard that Abu Bakr then said to ‘A’ishah: ‘By Allah, I know that you are blessed’ ”.

4:49.| Hast thou not seen those who praise themselves for purity..?

[4:49]. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about a group of Jewish men who went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Muhammad! Do these children of ours incur any sins?’ ‘No!’ he replied. They said: ‘By Him by means of Whom we swear, we are just like them; there is no sin that we commit during the day except that it is expiated comes the night, and there is no sin that we commit at night except that it is expiated comes the day’. This is how they praised themselves for purity”.

4:51.| Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities…

[4:51]. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> his father> Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Thaqafi> ‘Abd al-Jabbar ibn al-‘Ala’> Sufyan> ‘Amr>> ‘Ikrimah who said: “When Huyayy ibn Akhtab and Ka’b al-Ashraf went to the people of Mecca they were asked: ‘You are people of Scripture and ancient knowledge, so tell us about us and Muhammad?’ ‘What do you have to do with Muhammad?’ he said. They said: ‘We slaughter high-humped camels, give milk on top of water for others to drink, we assist those who are wronged, we do not severe ties of kinship and give water to the pilgrims and our religion is ancient while Muhammad’s religion is new’.

The Jews said: ‘Rather, you are better than him and more guided in your way’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities) up to His words, exalted is He, (… and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper) [4:52]”. The commentators of the Qur’an said: “After the Battle of Uhud, Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf went to Mecca, accompanied by seventy riders, in order to ally themselves with Quraysh against the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and break the covenant which they had with Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Ka’b was the guest of Abu Sufyan while the other Jews were accommodated in the houses of Quraysh. The people of Mecca said: ‘Your are people of Scripture and Muhammad has a Scripture and we are not completely sure that this is a scheme that you devised. So if you want us to go along with you, you have to prostrate to these two idols and believe in them’, hence Allah’s saying (they believe in idols and false deities). Ka’b then said to the people of Mecca: ‘Let there be thirty of us and thirty of you; we shall all go to the Ka’bah and cling to it and promise the Lord of the House that we will do our best to fight Muhammad’.

When they finished doing that, Abu Sufyan asked Ka’b: ‘You are a man who reads the Scripture and has knowledge while we are unlettered people who have no knowledge. Tell me: who is more guided in his way and closer to the truth, is it us or Muhammad?’ Ka’b said: ‘Tell me about your religion’. Abu Sufyan said: ‘We slaughter high-humped camels for the benefit of pilgrims, we give them water to drink, we welcome the guest, assist the wronged, keep our ties of kinship un-severed, populate the House of our Lord, circumambulate around it, and we are the inhabitants of the Sacred Precinct.

Muhammad, on the other hand, is someone who has left the religion of his forefathers, severed his ties of kinship and went away from the Sacred Precinct. Moreover, our religion is ancient while his is new’. Ka’b said: ‘By Allah, you are more guided in your way than he is’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities), meaning Ka’b an his companions”.

4:52.| and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper…

[4:52]. Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri’ informed us> Sufyan ibn Muhammad> Makki ibn ‘Abdan> Abu’l-Azhar> Rawh> Sa’id>> Qatadah who said: “This verse was revealed about Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf and Huyayy ibn Akhtab, two Jews from

Banu’l-Nadir, who met the people of Quraysh in the season of pilgrimage and were asked by the idolaters: ‘Who is more guided to the way of the truth us or Muhammad? For we are the custodians of the Sacred Precinct, we provide water for the pilgrims and we are the inhabitants of the Sacred Precinct’. They said: ‘No

indeed, you are more guided than Muhammad’. They said this while knowing very well they were lying. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Those are they whom Allah hath cursed, and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper). When they went back to their people, the latter told them: ‘Muhammad claims that such-and-such was revealed about you’. They said: ‘He has said the truth. By Allah, the hatred and resentful envy that we have for him drove us to do so’ ”.

4:58.| Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners…

[4:58]. This verse was revealed about ‘Uthman ibn Talhah al-Hajabi, from the Banu ‘Abd al-Dar. This man was the caretaker of the Ka‘bah. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, entered Mecca upon its conquest. ‘Uthman rushed to lock the door of the Sacred House and climbed up to its roof.

When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked for the key, he was told that ‘Uthman had it. And when he asked him for it, ‘Uthman refused to give him the key, saying: “If I knew that he was the Messenger of Allah, I would not refuse to give him the key”. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib then twisted the hand of ‘Uthman and took the key from him and opened the door of the Ka‘bah. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, entered the House and performed inside it two units of prayers.

When he came out, al-‘Abbas asked for the key of the Ka‘bah, so that he could combine the duty of giving water to the pilgrims and that of caretaker of the Sacred House. But Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse, and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded ‘Ali to give the key back to ‘Uthman and apologize to him, and so he did. ‘Uthman said to him: “O ‘Ali, you forced and hurt me, and now you come to apologize”.

‘Ali said to him: “Allah, exalted is He, has revealed this verse about you”, and he recited it to him. Upon hearing, ‘Uthman said: “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. Gabriel, peace be upon him, then came and said:

“As long as this House stands, its key and the duty of taking care of it will stay in the progeny of ‘Uthman”, and so it is up to this day. Abu Hassan al-Muzakki informed us> Harun ibn Muhammad al-Istrabadhi> Abu Muhammad al-Khuza‘i> Abu’l-Walid al-Azraqi> his grandfather> Sufyan> Sa‘id ibn Salim> Ibn Jurayj> Mujahid regarding the words of Allah, exalted is He (Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners…): “This verse was revealed about ‘Uthman ibn Talhah.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, collected from him the key of the Ka‘bah upon the conquest of Mecca. He entered inside it and then came out reciting this verse. He then called ‘Uthman and handed the key over to him. He said to him: ‘Take the key, O household of Talhah, a trust from Allah, none but transgressor will take it from you’ ”.

Abu’l-Nasr al-Mihrajani informed us> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Zahid> Abu’l-Qasim al-Muqri’> Ahmad ibn Zuhayr> Mus‘ab> Shaybah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Abi Talhah who said: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave the key of the Ka‘bah to me and ‘Uthman and said:

‘Take it, O children of Abu Talhah, to be eternally kept among your offspring, and none shall take it from you except a transgressor’. Thus, the Banu Talhah who are the caretaker of the Ka‘bah belong to Banu ‘Abd al-Dar”.

4:59.| O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority…

[4:59]. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abu Hamid al-‘Adl informed us> Abu Bakr ibn Abi Zakariyya al-Hafiz> Abu Hamid ibn al-Sharqi> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Hajjaj ibn Muhammad> Ibn Jurayj> Ya‘la ibn Muslim> Sa‘id ibn Jubayr> Ibn ‘Abbas that he said regarding the saying of Allah, exalted is He, (O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority): “It was revealed about Hudhafah ibn Qays ibn ‘Adiyy who was sent by the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, in a military expedition”.

This was narrated by Bukhari from Sadaqah ibn al-Fadl and also by Muslim from Zuhayr ibn Harb and both transmitter related it from Hajjaj. Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the narration of Badhan: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent Khalid ibn al-Walid in a military expedition to one of the Arab clans. He was accompanied in this expedition by ‘Ammar ibn Yasir. When he drew closer to them at night, he stopped to camp in order to try to conquer them the following morning.

Meanwhile this clan was warned about the approaching military expedition which made them flee the area, except for one man who was a Muslim. This man asked his family to get ready to move and then he went to the camp of Khalid and entered in on ‘Ammar. He said to him: ‘O Abu’l-Yaqzan! I am one of you. But my people ran away when they heard you were coming.

I stayed because I am Muslim. Is this of any benefit to me, or shall I flee as my people did?’ ‘Ammar said: ‘Stay, for it is beneficial to you’. The man returned to his family and told them to stay. The following morning, Khalid invaded the clan but found no one except this man, and so he imprisoned him and seized his property. ‘Ammar went to him and said: ‘Let the man go, for he is a Muslim and I have already given him amnesty and told him to stay’.

Khalid said: ‘You give protection from me to others while I am the leader!’ Ammar said: ‘Yes, I give protection from you to others while you are the leader’. And they exchanged angry words. Then they both went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him about the man.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave the man amnesty, sanctioned the amnesty that ‘Ammar had given to the man and then forbade him from giving amnesty to anyone in the future without the express permission of his leader. ‘Ammar and Khalid insulted each other in the presence of Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, and when ‘Ammar spoke very rudely to Khalid, the latter became very angry and said:

‘O Messenger of Allah, will you allow this slave to insult me? By Allah, if it were not for you, he would not insult me’. ‘Ammar, by the way, was a client of Hashim ibn al-Mughirah. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘O Khalid, leave ‘Ammar alone, for whoever insults ‘Ammar, Allah will insult him, and whoever hates ‘Ammar, Allah will hate him’. Upon which ‘Ammar left. Khalid followed him, and held him by his cloak and asked him to forgive him, which he did. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse, enjoining obedience to those who are in authority”.

4:60.| Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee and that which was revealed before thee, how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities when they have been ordered to abjure them..?

[4:60]. Sa’id ibn Muhammad al-‘Adl informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Hamdan> al-Hasan ibn Sufyan> Ibrahim ibn Sa’d al-Jawhari> Abu’l-Yaman> Safwan ibn ‘Amr>> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who said: “Abu Burdah al-Aslami was a soothsayer who used to settle the disputes that the Jews had amongst themselves. When a group of people from Aslam took their dispute to him, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Hast thou not seen those who pretend…) up to his saying (… were seeking naught but harmony and kindness) [4:62]”.

Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim> Abu Salih Shu’ayb ibn Muhammad> Abu Hatim al-Tamimi> Abu’l-Azhar> Ruwaym> Sa’id ibn Qatadah who said: “We were told that this verse was revealed about a dispute regarding a certain property in which were involved a man from the Helpers called Qays and a Jewish man. They took their dispute to a soothsayer in Medina to judge between them while leaving the Prophet of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Allah, exalted is He, rebuked them for doing so. In fact the Jew was urging the Muslim to take their dispute to the Prophet of Allah, because he knew he will not wrong him. But the Helper refused to, even though he was a Muslim, and insisted to go to the soothsayer. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse censoring the person who was pretending to be Muslim as well as the Jew who belonged to the people of the Book, saying (Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee…) up to His words (… thou seest the hypocrites turn from thee with aversion) [4:61]”.

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Marwazi informed us in writing> Muhammad ibn al-Husayn> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Ishaq al-Hanzali> al-Mu’ammil> Yazid ibn Zuray’> Dawud> al-Sha’bi who said: “One certain hypocrite had a dispute with a Jewish man. The Jew invited the hypocrite to take their dispute to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, because he knew that he did not accept bribery.

The hypocrite, on the other hand, called the Jewish man to take their dispute to their own arbiters because he knew that they took bribery for the judgments they issued. When they both rejected each other’s choice, they made a compromise and decided to take their dispute to a soothsayer in Juhaynah.

And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed about this (Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee) referring to the hypocrite (and that which was revealed before thee) in reference to the Jew (how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities) up to his saying (… and submit with full submission) [4:65]”.

Al-Kalbi reported from Abu Salih that Ibn ‘Abbas reported that this verse was revealed about a hypocrite who had a dispute with a Jewish man. The Jew said to him: “Let us go to Muhammad [to settle our dispute]”. The hypocrite said: “Rather, let us go to Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf (whom Allah described as a false deity) to settle our dispute”. The Jew insisted that their dispute should be settled by the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace.

When the hypocrite saw his insistence, he went with him to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and his judgement was in favour of the Jew. When they left, the hypocrite stuck to the Jew and said to him: “Let us go to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab”, and they went to him. The Jew said to him: “I and this man took our dispute to Muhammad and his judgement was in my favour, but this man is not happy with his judgement and claimed that he wants you to judge between us. And since he did not let me go, I came with him”.

‘Umar said to the hypocrite: “Is this the case?” “Yes!” replied the hypocrite. ‘Umar said: “Wait for me a moment until I come back”. ‘Umar then entered his house, got his sword went back to the hypocrite and killed him. He said: “This is how I judge for he who does not accept Allah’s judgement and the judgement of His Messenger”.

The Jew ran away. This verse was then revealed. Gabriel, peace be upon him, said: “’Umar has differentiated between the truth and falsehood”, and so he was named al-Faruq [the distinguisher]. Said al-Suddi: “Some Jewish people had embraced Islam while others were mere hypocrites. In the pre-Islamic period the custom between the clans of Qurayzah and al-Nadir was that if a man from Banu Qurayzah killed another from Banu’l-Nadir, the killer was killed in retaliation and a hundred wasq [pl. Awsuq; one wasq = 60 sa’] of dates were paid in surplus as blood money.

But when a man from Banu’l-Nadir killed another from Banu Qurayzah, the killer was not killed in retaliation and only sixty wasq of dates were paid as blood money. Banu’l-Nadir were the allies of the Aws. They were larger and their pedigree nobler than that of Banu Qurayzah who were the allies of the Khazraj. Then it happened that a man from the Banu’l-Nadir killed another from Banu Qurayzah and a dispute ensued because of this.

Banu’l-Nadir said: ‘We had an agreement in the pre-Islamic period that retaliation is exacted from you but not from us and that your blood money is sixty wasq while the blood money due to us is one hundred wasq. And so we will give you your due’. The Khazraj said: ‘This is something you did in the pre-Islamic period because you were greater in number and we were few. Today, we are brothers and our religion is the same as yours. You do not have any merit over us’.

The hypocrites said: ”Let us go to Abu Burdah al-Aslami, the soothsayer, to judge between us. The Muslims said: ‘No, but rather let us go to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace’. The hypocrites refused and went instead to Abu Burdah to judge between them. Abu Burdah said to them: ‘Increase the bribe!’ They said: ‘We will give you ten awsuq!’

He said: ‘I will take a hundred as my blood money, for I fear if I judge in favour of the man from Banu’l-Nadir, Banu Qurayzah will kill me; and if I judge in favour of the man from Banu Qurayzah, Banu’l-Nadir will kill me’. When they refused to give him more than ten awsuq, he refused to judge between them. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, called the soothsayer of Aslam to embrace Islam. He refused to do so and left.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to the two sons of the soothsayer: ‘Go after your father, for if he goes beyond such-and-such limit he will never accept Islam’. They caught up with him and kept persuading him until he went back and embraced Islam. The Prophet, Allah, bless him and give him peace, commanded a crier to go round and cry: ‘The soothsayer of Aslam has embraced Islam’ ”.

4:65.| But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them…

[4:65]. This was revealed about al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam and his adversary Hatib ibn Abi Balta’ah, and it was also said that his adversary was Tha’labah ibn Hatib. Abu Sa’id ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Hamdan informed us> Ahmad ibn Ja’far ibn Malik> ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal> his father> Abu’l-Yaman> Shu’ayb> al-Zuhri> ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr> his father that he used to relate that he once went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to settle a dispute he had with one of the Helpers who had participated in the Battle of Badr regarding a water conduit which they both used to water their land.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to al-Zubayr: “Water your land first and then let the water flow to your neighbour”. The Helper got angry and said: “O Messenger of Allah! You judged in this way because he is the son of your maternal aunt”. Upon hearing this, the face of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, flushed. He then said to al-Zubayr: “Water your land and then block the water until it goes back to its source”.

In this way the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave al-Zubayr his full right. His first command to al-Zubayr was made because he wanted to make it easy on both al-Zubayr and the Helper. But when the Helper protested against the judgement of the Messenger of Allah, he gave al-Zubayr his full right as he deserved this judgement in the first place.

Said ‘Urwah: “By Allah, I do not think that this verse (But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission) was revealed about other than this incident”. This was narrated by Bukhari> ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd Allah> Muhammad ibn Ja’far> Ma’mar, and also by Muslim> Qutaybah> al-Layth and both al-Layth and Ma’mar related it from al-Zuhri.

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Hamid informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Hafiz> Abu Ahmad Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani> Ahmad ibn Hammad ibn Zughbah> Hamid ibn Yahya ibn Hani’ al-Balkhi> Sufyan> ‘Amr ibn Dinar> Abu Salamah> Umm Salamah who related that al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam had a dispute with a man and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, judged in his favour. The man said that he judged in his favour because he was his cousin. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe…).

4:69.| Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger…

[4:69]. Said al-Kalbi: “This verse was revealed about Thawban, the client of Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. Thawban loved the Prophet dearly such that he could not bear not seeing him for long periods. One day Thawban showed up with his complexion changed, he had lost weight and the signs of sadness were evident on his face.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to him: ‘O Thawban, what has made your complexion change?’ He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am not suffering from any harm or pain, except that when I do not see you, I miss you and feel intense longing for you which does not cease until I meet you.

Then I remember the Afterlife and I fear that I will not see you there. I know that you will be raised high up with the Prophets whereas if I enter the Garden, I will be in a rank much lower than yours, and if I do not enter the Garden, it will be certain that I will never see you’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

Isma‘il ibn Abi Nasr informed us> Ibrahim al-Nasrabadhi> ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali al-Jawhari> ‘Abd Allah ibn Mahmud al-Sa‘di> Musa ibn Yahya> ‘Ubaydah> Mansur> Muslim ibn Subayh> Masruq who reported that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We should not part your company in this world, for if you were to leave us, you will be raised above us”, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous…).

Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim informed us> Shu‘ayb> Makki> Abu’l-Azhar> Rawh> Sa‘id> Shu‘bah> Qatadah who said: “It was mentioned to us that some men said to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: ‘O Prophet of Allah, we now see you in this world. But in the Afterlife you shall be raised above us because of your merit and we will not see you then’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

Abu Nu‘aym al-Hafiz informed, among that which he gave me authorisation to relate from him>Sulayman ibn Ahmad al-Lakhmi> Ahmad ibn ‘Amr al-Khallal> ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Imran al-‘Abidi> Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad> Mansur> Ibrahim> al-Aswad> ‘A’ishah who said: “A man came to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you are more beloved to me than my own person, wife and children. Whenever I remember you when I am sitting in my house I do not rest until I come and look at you.

And when I remember my eventual death and yours, I realise that when you enter the Garden you will be raised with the Prophets, while, even if I do enter it, I fear that I will not see you’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not answer him until Gabriel, peace be upon him, came down with this verse (Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous…)”.

4:77.| Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands…

[4:77]. Said al-Kalbi: “This verse was revealed about some Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, among whom were ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, Qudamah ibn Maz‘un and Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas. These Companions were subjected to a lot of harm from the idolaters. They used to say: ‘O Messenger of Allah, allow us to fight them’, but his answer was always: ‘Keep your hands off them, for I have not been commanded to fight them’.

When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, migrated to Medina and Allah, exalted is He, commanded them to fight the idolaters, some of them disliked fighting and found it very hard. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-‘Adl informed us> Abu ‘Amr Hamdan> al-Hasan ibn Sufyan> Muhammad ibn ‘Ali> his father> al-Husayn ibn Waqid> ‘Amr ibn Dinar> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who related that ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf and some of his fellow companions went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, in Mecca and said: “O Prophet of Allah, we were mighty when we were idolaters but now that we are believers we became humiliated”.

He said to them: “I am commanded to pardon, do not fight these people”. But when Allah, exalted is He, made him move to Medina, He commanded him to fight, they withheld their hands, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands…).

4:78.| Wheresoever ye may be, death will overtake you…

[4:78]. Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the narration of Abu Salih: “When some Muslims were martyred in Uhud, the hypocrites who failed to join in the fighting said: ‘If our brothers who were killed remained with us, they would not have died or been killed’. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse”.

4:88.| What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites…

[4:88]. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Abu ‘Amr Isma’il ibn Najid> Yusuf ibn Ya’qub al-Qadi> ‘Amr ibn Marzuq> Shu’bah> ‘Adiyy ibn Thabit> ‘Abd Allah ibn Yazid ibn Thabit who reported that a group of people initially accompanied the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, to Uhud but then turned back and returned to Medina.

The Muslims were divided in their opinions about them. Some of them were of the opinion that they should be killed while others thought they should be spared, and so this verse was revealed. This was revealed by Bukhari> Bundar> Ghundar and also by Muslim> ‘Abd Allah ibn Mu’adh> his father; and both transmitters (Ghundar and Ibn Mu’adh’s father) related it from Shu’bah.

‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Hamdan al-‘Adl informed us> Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ja’far ibn Malik> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal> his father> al-Aswad ibn ‘Amir> Hammad ibn Salamah> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Yazid ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Qusayt> Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman> his father who related that a group of Arabs came to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and embraced Islam.

Then they contracted the illness and fever that was going round in Medina and, as a result, renounced Islam and left Medina. They were met by a group among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace who asked them: “Why did you leave Medina?” They replied: “We contracted the illness of Medina and for this reason we disliked remaining there”. The Companions said: “Do you not have a good example in the person of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace?” Some of the Companions were of the opinion that these Arabs were hypocrites while others thought they were still Muslims.

And because of this difference of opinion, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites…). Mujahid said apropos this verse: “This was revealed about some people who left Mecca to Medina, claiming to be Emigrants. They then renounced Islam and asked permission from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to go to Mecca to bring some merchandise with which to trade. The believers were divided in their opinions about this matter. Some thought that these people were hypocrites while others were of the opinion they were believers.

Allah, exalted is He, then revealed their hypocrisy by means of this verse and commanded that they be executed in His saying (if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them…) [4:89]. They took their merchandise intending to go to Hilal ibn ‘Uwaymir al-Aslami, who had a treaty of alliance with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and it is he who was vexed to fight the believers, and so fighting was suspended by the saying of Allah, exalted is He, (Except those who seek refuge with a people between whom and you there is a covenant…) [4:90]”.

4:92.| It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake…

[4:92]. Abu ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Ishaq informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Nujayd> Abu Muslim Ibrahim ibn ‘Abd Allah> Ibn Hajjaj> Hammad> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Qasim> his father who reported that al-Harith ibn Shadid was hard on the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He was on his way to embrace Islam when he was met by ‘Ayyash ibn Abi Rabi‘ah, and not realising that al-Harith wanted to embrace Islam, he killed him.

And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake…). Al-Kalbi explained this event, saying: “‘Ayyash ibn Abi Rabi‘ah al-Makhzumi had embraced Islam but was fearful of coming in the open about it. He fled to Medina and took refuge in one of its fortresses. His mother was distressed a great deal.

She said to her two sons Abu Jahl and al-Harith ibn Hisham, who were his half brothers from his mother’s side: ‘By Allah, I will stay outside in the sun, not eating or drinking, until you bring him back to me’. And they went looking for him, accompanied by al-Harith ibn Zayd ibn Abi Anisah, until they reached Medina. They went to ‘Ayyash in his fortress, and said to him: ‘Come down, your mother has not entered the confines of a house since you left. She has also sworn that she will not eat or drink until you go back to her.

By Allah we give you assurance that we will not coerce you to do anything nor will we come between you and your religion’. When they mentioned his mother’s distress and gave him their assurance, he came down to them. They took him out of Medina, tied him up with strings and whipped him a hundred lashes each, and then took him to his mother. His mother said to him: ‘I will not untie your fetters until you disbelieve in that which you have believed’, and he was left fettered in the sun until he gave them some of what they had wanted.

Al-Harith ibn Yazid went to him and said: ‘O ‘Ayyash, by Allah, if that which you followed was guidance, you have now left it, and if it was error, you were already in error’. ‘Ayyash got very angry because of what al-Harith said to him and this prompted him to say to him: ‘By Allah, I will kill you if I find you alone’. Afterwards, ‘Ayyash embraced Islam and migrated to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, in Medina. Al-Harith ibn Yazid also embraced Islam and migrated to Medina. This happened at a time when ‘Ayyash was not present. As such, he was unaware of al-Harith becoming Muslim.

As he was walking outside Quba’, he met al-Harith ibn Yazid. When he saw him, he attacked and killed him. People said to him: ‘What on earth have you done? He had become Muslim!’ ‘Ayyash went back to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you know what happened between me and al-Harith; I was unaware of his acceptance of Islam and I killed him’. And so Gabriel, peace be upon him, came down with the words of Allah, exalted is He, (It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake…)”.

4:93.| Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose…

[4:93]. Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the report of al-Kalbi from Abu Salih: “Maqis ibn Subabah, who was Muslim, found his brother Hisham murdered at Banu’l-Najjar. He went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and mentioned what had happened to him.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent with him an emissary from Banu Fihr and said to him: ‘Go to Banu’l-Najjar, greet them with the greeting of peace and say to them: ‘The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commands you, if you know the killer of Hisham ibn Subabah, to hand him over to his brother to exact his retaliation; and if you do not know the killer, to pay him the blood money’.

‘The man from Fihr conveyed to them the message of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and they said: ‘We hear and obey Allah and His Messenger. By Allah, we do not know who the killer is, but we are willing to pay the blood money’. They gave him one hundred camels and they headed toward Medina. When they were very close to Medina, the devil whispered to Miqyas:

‘What have you done? Your acceptance of your brother’s blood money will be a slur on you. Kill the person who is with you and it would be as if you have avenged your brother in surplus of the blood money’. Miqyas did just that. He fractured the skull of the man from Fihr with a rock, rode a camel and drove away the rest to Mecca.

He went back to Mecca as a disbeliever. Through him I avenged Fihr and charged his blood-wit To the chiefs of Banu’l-Najjar, the lords of Fari‘ castle. By killing him I gave vent to my vengeance and eased my tension, And was the first to return to the idols. This verse was then revealed (Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose…). The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, sentenced him to death upon the conquest of Mecca. He was chased and captured by some people in the market place and executed”.

4:94.| O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate…

[4:94]. Abu Ibrahim Isma’il ibn Ibrahim al-Wa’iz informed me> Abu’l-Husayn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hamid> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Muhammad ibn ‘Abbad> Sufyan> ‘Amr>> ‘Ata’> Ibn ‘Abbas who said: “Some Muslims chased a man for his booty. When they got to him, he said: ‘Peace be with you’. But they killed him and took his booty.

The verse was then revealed (… and say not unto one who offereth you peace: “Thou art not a believer”, seeking the chance profits of this life), i.e. that booty”. This was narrated by Bukhari from ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd Allah and also by Muslim from Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah; and both transmitters related it from Sufyan. Isma’il informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Nujayd> Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Khalil> Abu Kurayb> ‘Ubayd Allah> Isra’il> Simak> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who said:

“A man from Sulaym who had sheep with him passed by a group of Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. He greeted them with the greeting of peace, but they said to each other: ‘He greeted you with the greeting of peace only to seek refuge from you’. And so they killed him and took his sheep and went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, after which Allah, exalted is He, revealed (O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate)”.

Abu Bakr al-Asfahani informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> Waki’> Sufyan> Habib ibn Abi ‘Amrah> Sa’id ibn Jubayr who said: “Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad went out one day at the head of a military expedition and they came across a man with some possession. They wanted to kill him, but the man said: ‘There is no god but Allah!’ Despite this, al-Miqdad went ahead and killed him. He was told: ‘How can you kill a man who has said, there is no god but Allah? He would have rather fled with his family and property’.

When they went back to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, they mentioned what had happened, and the verse (O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate) was revealed”. Said al-Hasan: “The Companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, went out in a reconnaissance patrol. While they were there, they met with some idolaters whom they fought and defeated.

One of the men ran away and a Muslim man followed him, in pursuit of his stuff. When he was about to strike him with his sword, the man said: ‘I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim!’ The Muslim man did not believe him. He killed him and took his possessions which were paltry. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was informed of this. He said to the man: ‘You killed him even though he claimed he was Muslim!’ The man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, he said it only to protect himself’.

The Messenger said: ‘Why did you not split his heart open?’ ‘Why, O Messenger of Allah’, asked the man. He said: ‘So that we see whether he was truthful or not’. The man said: ‘How was I supposed to know he was telling the truth, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘You did not know that but he expressed it with his words’. This killer did not live long after this event. When he died, they buried him but the following morning they found his corpse on the side of his grave.

They dug another grave and buried him, and the following day they found his corpse on the side of the grave. They did this twice or three times, and when they saw that the earth did not accept his corpse, they threw him in some mountain trails. And then this verse was revealed”. Al-Hasan commented on this: “The earth contains those who are more evil than this man. However, this was an admonition to them so that they would never do this again”.

Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Muzakki informed us> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Battah> Abu’l-Qasim al-Baghawi> Sa’id ibn Yahya al-Umawi> his father> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Yazid ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Qusayt> al-Qa’qa’ ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Hadrad> his father who said: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent us in a military expedition to Idam.

This was before his conquest of Mecca. It happened that ‘Amir ibn al-Adbat al-Ashja’i passed by us and greeted us with the greeting of Islam, but we mistrusted him. Muhallim ibn Jathamah attacked him, due to some feud that they had with each other in the pre-Islamic era, and killed him. He seized from him as booty a camel, a bedding to sleep on and some provision. We then reported to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him about this incident.

Allah, exalted is He, revealed (O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate…) up to the end of this verse”. Said al-Suddi: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent Usamah ibn Zayd at the head of a military expedition during which he encountered Mirdas ibn Nuhayk al-Damri and killed him. This man was from Fadak, and he was the only person who accepted Islam from amongst all his people.

He used to say: ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, and greeted them with the greeting of peace. Usamah said: ‘When I went back to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him of what had happened, he exclaimed: ‘You killed a man who says: there is no god but Allah’. I said: He said it only to protect himself’. He said: ‘What will you do when he comes on the Day of Judgement to dispute with you by means of ‘there is no god but Allah”.

And he kept repeating: ‘You killed a man who says: there is no god but Allah’, until I wished that I had only embraced Islam on that day. Then the verse (O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate) was revealed”. Al-Kalbi and Qatadah also reported something of this effect. The authenticity of this tradition is evidenced by the following tradition.

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Isa ibn ‘Amrawayh> Ibrahim ibn Sufyan> Muslim> Ya’qub al-Dawraqi> Hushaym> Ibn Hasin> Abu Zubyan> Usamah ibn Zayd ibn Harithah relating the following: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent us to al-Hirqah close by Juhaynah. We raided them in the morning and defeated them. I and one of the Helpers chased one of their men and when we caught up with him, he said: there is no god but Allah.

The Helper stopped but I stabbed him with my spear and killed him. When we went back the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, he heard of what had happened. He said to me: ‘O Usamah, you killed him after he said, there is no god but Allah’. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, he said it to protect himself’. He said: ‘You killed him after he said, there is no god but Allah’, and he kept repeating it until I wished that I had embraced Islam only that day”.

4:95.| Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah…

[4:95]. Abu ‘Uthman Sa‘id ibn Muhammad al-‘Adl informed us> his grandfather> Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Sarraj> Muhammad ibn Humayd al-Razi> Salamah ibn al-Fadl> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> al-Zuhri> Sahl ibn Sa‘d> Marwan ibn al-Hakam> Zayd ibn Thabit who said:

“I was with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, when the verse (Those of the believers who sit still are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah) and did not mention (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt). Ibn Umm Maktum said: ‘How is this so when I am blind and unable to see?’

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was overwhelmed with revelation in this assembly and he leaned on my thigh. By Him in whose Hand is my soul, his weight grew so much on my thigh that I feared he would crush it. Then he was relieved, upon which he said:

‘Write: (Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah)’, and I wrote it down”. This was narrated by Bukhari> Isma‘il ibn ‘Abd Allah> Ibrahim ibn Sa‘d> Salih> al-Zuhri. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Muhammad ibn Ja‘far ibn Matar> Abu Khalifah> Abu’l-Walid> Shu‘bah> Abu Ishaq> al-Bara’ who said:

“When the verse (Those of the believers who sit still are not on an equality…), the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, called Zayd who went to him with a shoulder blade and wrote on it this verse. But Ibn Umm Maktum complained about the fact that he is blind, and so the verse (Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah) was revealed”.

This was narrated by Bukhari from Abu’l-Walid and by Muslim from Bundar from Ghundar, and both Abu’l-Walid and Ghundar related it from Shu‘bah. Isma’il ibn Abi al-Qasim al-Nasrabadhi informed us> Isma’il ibn Najid> Muhammad ibn ‘Abdus> ‘Ali ibn al-Ja’d> Zuhayr> Abu Ishaq> al-Bara’ that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Call Zayd for me and ask him to bring with him a shoulder blade and an inkwell”, or he said: “a slate”.

When he came, he said to him: “Write for me (Those of the believers who sit still are not on an equality)” I think he said: (with those who strive in the way of Allah). Ibn Umm Maktum said: “O Messenger of Allah, but I have hurt in my eyes, and before he left it was revealed (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt)”. This was narrated by Bukhari> Muhammad ibn Yusuf> Isra’il> Abu Ishaq.

4:97.| Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves…

[4:97]. This verse was revealed about some people in Mecca who professed Islam but did not migrate; they showed faith outwardly but were hypocrites inwardly. At the Battle of Badr, they joined the idolaters in their fight against the Muslims and were killed therein. The angels struck their faces and backs and said to them that which Allah, exalted is He, has mentioned in this verse.

Abu Bakr al-Harithi informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman> Ash’ath ibn Sawad> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who said with regard to the verse (Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves…) which he recited to the end: “They were Muslims who were in Mecca. They went out with the idolaters to fight and were killed with them, and so this verse was revealed”.

4:100.|and whoso forsaketh his home, a fugitive unto Allah and His messenger

[4:100]. Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the report of ‘Ata’: “’Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf was used to inform the [Muslims from among the] people of Mecca about anything that was revealed about them in the Qur’an. And so he wrote the verse, (Lo! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves…) [4:97].

When the Muslims read it, Habib ibn Damrah al-Laythi, who was an old man, said to his sons: ‘I am not one of the oppressed so take me, for I would not be able to find the way on my own’. His sons transported him on an elevated seat and headed toward Medina. When he got to al-Tan’im, death descended on him. He clapped his right hand on his left and said:

‘O Allah, this is for you and this is for your Messenger. I pledge allegiance to you regarding that which I pledge allegiance to your Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace’, and he died an easy death. When his news reached the Companions of the Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, they said: ‘His reward would have been more complete had he reached Medina’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

Abu Hassan al-Muzani informed us> Harun ibn Muhammad ibn Harun> Ishaq ibn Muhammad al-Khuza’i> Abu’l-Walid al-Azraqi> his grandfather> Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah> ‘Amr ibn Dinar> ‘Ikrimah who said: “There were some people in Mecca who were convinced in Islam but could not migrate. When the Battle of Badr happened, they were forced to take part in it and were killed fighting with the idolaters, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Lo! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves) up to His words (As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them…) [4:99].

Those in Medina wrote to those Muslims in Mecca, informing them of this. A man from Banu Bakr, who was sick, said: ‘Take me to al-Rawha’ ‘, and they took him there. He left with the intention of going to Medina. But when he reached al-Hashas he died, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (… and whoso forsaketh his home, a fugitive unto Allah and His messenger…)”.

4:102.| And when thou (O Muhammad) art among them and arrangest (their) worship for them…

[4:102]. The teacher Abu ‘Uthman al-Za‘farani al-Muqri’ informed us in the year [4]25> Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Ziyad al-Suddi in the year 363> Abu Sa‘id al-Fadl ibn Muhammad al-Jazari in the Sacred Mosque, Mecca, in 304> ‘Ali ibn Ziyad al-Lahji> Abu Qurrah Musa ibn Tariq> Sufyan> Mansur> Mujahid> Abu ‘Ayyash al-Zurraqi who said:

“We performed the prayer of Zuhr with the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, upon which the idolaters exclaimed: ‘They were in a vulnerable situation, why did we not attack them by surprise?’ Then they said: ‘There shall come another prayer which is more beloved to them than their own fathers, which is the midafternoon (‘Asr) prayer’. Gabriel, peace be upon him, then came down with these verses between the Zuhr and the ‘Asr prayers.

(And when thou (O Muhammad) art among them and arrangest (their) worship for them) in ‘Usfan, while the idolaters were led by Khalid ibn al-Walid; they were between us and the qiblah, and then He mentioned the prayer of fear”. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abdan informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Dabbi> Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub> Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Yunus ibn Bukayr> al-Nadr Abu ‘Umar> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who said:

“The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, went out and met the idolaters in ‘Usfan. When he performed the Zuhr prayer, and the idolaters saw him bowing and prostrating, they said to each other: ‘This was a missed opportunity for you. If you had raided them then, they would not have felt you coming until you had effectively attacked them’.

One of them said: ‘They have another prayer which is more beloved to them than their wives and wealth, so get ready to raid them when they are performing it’. Allah, glorious and majestic is He, then revealed to His Prophet, (And when thou (O Muhammad) art among them and arrangest (their) worship for them) up to the end of the verse, and informed him about the plot of the idolaters and mentioned therein the prayer of fear”.

4:116.| Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, that thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee.

[4:105] up to His words (… Whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah hath wandered far astray) [4:116]. All these verses were revealed regarding one incident. One man from the Helpers by the name of Tu‘mah ibn Ubayriq, from Banu Zafar ibn al-Harith, stole an armour from his neighbour who was called Qatadah ibn al-Nu‘man. The armour was in a sack of ground wheat. When he took the armour, the ground wheat was strewn about from a hole in the sack.

Traces of ground wheat were left in his house. Tu‘mah then took the armour and hid it with a Jew by the name of Zayd ibn al-Samin. When people looked for the armour in the house of Tu‘mah, they could not find it. He swore to them by Allah that he did not take the armour or have any knowledge about it. The owners of the armour said: “No indeed, by Allah he entered our house and took it. We followed him until he entered his house and, therein, we saw traces of wheat”.

When he swore by Allah that he did not steal it, they left him and followed the trail of ground wheat which led them to the house of the Jewish man. When they took him, he said that it was Tu‘mah ibn Ubayriq who had left the armour with him, and some Jewish people testified that this was the case. Banu Zafar, the clan of Tu‘mah, said: “Let us go to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace”.

They spoke to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and requested him to argue in favour of their man, saying: “If you do not do so, our man will be doomed and exposed and the Jew will come out of this as an innocent man”. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was on the verge of doing as he was requested — for his heart was with them — and punish the Jew when Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth) up to the end of the verse. This is the view of a number of Qur’anic commentators.

4:123.| It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Scripture…

[4:123]. Abu Bakr al-Tamimi informed us> Abu Muhammad ibn Hayyan> Abu Yahya> Sahl> ‘Ali ibn Mushir> Isma‘il ibn Abi Khalid> Abu Salih who said: “The people of the Book, the adherents of the Torah and the adherents of the Gospel, as well as the adherents of other religions sat together one day and each claimed that they were better than the others. This verse was revealed regarding this”.

Said Masruq and Qatadah: “One day, the Muslims and the people of the Book argued with each other. The people of the Book said: ‘We are more guided than you; our Prophet came before yours and our Scripture was revealed before your Scripture. Moreover, we have a better right to Allah than you’. The Muslims said: ‘We are more guided than you and have a better right to Allah than you. Our Prophet is the seal of prophets and our Scripture makes all the Scriptures before it outmoded’.

And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. Allah, exalted is He, later backed the argument of the Muslims against their opponents from amongst the adherents of other religions with His words (And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female…) [4:124] and His words (Who is better in religion than he who surrendereth his purpose to Allah…) [4:125]”.

4:125.|and followeth the tradition of Abraham, the upright? Allah (Himself) chose Abraham for friend.

[4:125]. There is a difference of opinion regarding the reason for which Allah chose Abraham for friend. Abu Sa’id al-Nasruyiyy informed me> Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Sarraj> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hadrami> Musa ibn Ibrahim al-Marwazi> Ibn Lahi’ah> Abu Qabil> ‘Abd Allah> ‘Umar who said:

“The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked Gabriel: ‘Why did Allah chose Abraham as a friend?’ He said: ‘O Muhammad, it was because of his feeding of others’ ”.

Said ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abza: “One day Abraham went to his house all of a sudden and found there the angel of death in the form of a young man whom he did not know.

Abraham said to him: ‘Who gave you the permission to enter?’

He said: ‘The Lord of the house did!’

At that point Abraham, peace be upon him, recognized him.

The angel of death then said to him: ‘Your Lord has chosen one person from among His servants as a friend’.

Abraham asked: ‘And who could that be..?’

‘Why, what will you do?’ asked the angel.

Abraham said: ‘I will be his servant until I die’.

The angel said: ‘In that case, it is you!’

” Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the report of al-Kalbi from Abu Salih: “One year, people suffered immensely because of the drought which had hit them. They gathered at the door of Abraham, peace be upon him, requesting food. Usually, he received once a year supplies from a friend of his in Egypt. He therefore sent his servants with camels to his friend in Egypt, requesting the supplies.

His friend said: ‘If Abraham wanted the supplies for himself, we would have borne the burden and gave them to him, since we too have been hit by the same hardship that people are suffering from’. And so Abraham’s emissaries returned empty handed. When they crossed a certain open country, they said: ‘Let us load our camels from this open country so that people could see that we have brought the supplies with us, for we feel embarrassed to pass by them with unloaded camels’. And so they filled their containers with sand.

They went to Abraham, peace be upon him, while Sarah was asleep and informed him. Abraham, peace be upon him, was worried for the people. Sleep then overcame him. When Sarah woke up, she proceeded to those containers and, upon opening them, she found white ground wheat of the best quality. She ordered the bakers to bake bread and people were fed.

When Abraham, peace be upon him, woke up, he smelt the odour of food, and he asked: ‘O Sarah, where did you get this food?’ She said: ‘It is from your Egyptian friend’. He said: ‘No, it is rather from my friend Allah’. On that day Allah chose Abraham as friend”.

Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Muzakki informed us> Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Yazid al-Jawzi> Ibrahim ibn Sharik> Ahmad ibn Yunus> Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ayyash> Abu’l-Muhallab al-Kinani> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Zahr> ‘Ali ibn Yazid> al-Qasim ibn Umamah who reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Allah has chosen me as a friend just as He had chosen Abraham as a friend. And there is no prophet except that he has a friend and my friend is Abu Bakr”.

The descendent of the Prophet, Abu Isma’il ibn al-Hasan al-Naqib informed me> Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Hammad> Abu Isma’il Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Tirmidhi> Sa’id ibn Abi Maryam> Salamah> Zayd ibn Waqid> al-Qasim ibn Mukhaymarah> Abu Hurayrah who reported that the Messenger of Allah, bless him and give him peace, said: “Allah had chosen Abraham as a friend, Moses as His interlocutor and He has chosen me as His beloved; and then Allah said: ‘By My might and majesty, I shall prefer My beloved over My friend and My interlocutor’ ”.

4:127.| They consult thee concerning women

[4:127]. The judge Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan informed us> Muhammad ibn Ya’qub>> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam> Ibn Wahb> Yunus> Ibn Shihab> ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr> ‘A’ishah who said: “People asked the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, for the legal ruling concerning them after the revelation of this verse about them, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (They consult thee concerning women.

Say: Allah giveth you decree concerning them, and the Scripture which hath been recited unto you (giveth decree)…)”. That which has been recited unto him in the Scripture refers to the first verse in which He says (And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans…) [4:3].

And Allah, exalted is He, says in the other verse (though ye desire to marry them), i.e. one of you desires to marry the orphan under his care when she is not of great beauty or possesses a lot of wealth. Thus, men were warned against marrying the orphaned because of their beauty or out of desire for their wealth, unless one was prepared to deal with them fairly, for the trend was that men shunned those orphans who had no wealth or were not beautiful. This was narrated by Muslim from Harmalah from Ibn Wahb.

4:128.| If a woman feareth ill treatment

[4:128]. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn al-Harith informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ja’far> Abu Yahya> Sahl> ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman> Hisham> ‘Urwah> ‘A’ishah who said concerning the words of Allah, exalted is He, (If a woman feareth ill treatment from her husband…):

“This was revealed regarding the case of a woman who does not bear children for her husband and, because of this, he wants to divorce her; or it could be about a women who has friends and children whom she does not like to be separated from and so she tells her husband who intends to divorce her: ‘Do not divorce me; keep me with you and, in exchange, I forgo all the rights due to me’. And so this verse was revealed”. This was narrated by Bukhari> Muhammad ibn Muqatil> Ibn al-Mubarak, and also by Muslim from Abu Kurayb> Abu Usamah, and both Ibn al-Mubarak and Abu Usamah related it from Hisham.

Abu Bakr al-Hiri informed us> Muhammad ibn Ya’qub>> al-Rabi’> al-Shafi’i> Ibn ‘Uyaynah> al-Zuhri> Ibn al-Musayyab who related that the daughter of Muhammad ibn Maslamah was married to Rafi’ ibn Khadij but he wanted to divorce her because of something he disliked in her, it was either arrogance or something else. She said to him: “Do not divorce me, and you are free to apportion for me whatever you like”. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (If a woman feareth ill treatment from her husband…).

4:135.| O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice

[4:135]. Asbat related that al-Suddi said: “This was revealed about the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. A poor man and a rich man went to him to settle a dispute. He was inclined to judge in favour of the poor man because he thought that a poor man cannot wrong a rich person. But Allah, exalted is He, wanted to establish justice regarding the poor and rich alike. He said: (O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice) up to His words (whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer unto both (than ye are)…)”.

4:136.| O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger

[4:136]. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Salam, Asad and Usayd the sons of Ka‘b, Tha‘labah ibn Qays and a group of believers from the people of the Book. These people said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we believe in you and in your Scripture, just as we believe in Moses, the Torah and Ezra, but we disbelieve in other messengers and Scriptures other than these’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.

4:148.| Allah loveth not the utterance of harsh speech

[4:148]. Said Mujahid: “One man sought hospitality with some people. However, because they did not show him proper hospitality, he complained about them. And so this verse was revealed, giving him dispensation to complain”.

4:153.| The people of the Scripture ask of thee that thou shouldst cause an (actual) Book to descend upon them from heaven

[4:153]. This was revealed about the Jews. They said to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: “If you are truly a prophet, bring us an actual Book from heaven as Moses did”, and so this verse was revealed.

4:166.| But Allah (Himself) testifieth concerning that which He hath revealeth unto thee

[4:166]. Said al-Kalbi: “The leaders of Mecca went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said to him: ‘We have asked the Jews about you and they claimed they do not know you. Therefore, bring us somebody who would testify to us that Allah has sent you to us as a messenger’, and so this verse was revealed”.

4:171.| ‘O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion

[4:171]. This was revealed about some Christian denominations who claimed that Jesus is the son of Allah, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth…

4:172.| The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah

[4:172]. Said al-Kalbi: “The delegation of Najran said: ‘O Muhammad, why do you insult our lord?’ He said: ‘And who is your lord?’ They said: ‘It is Jesus’. ‘Why, what do I say about him?’ he asked. They said: ‘You say he is the salve and messenger of Allah!’ He said to them: ‘It is not shameful for Jesus to be the slave of Allah’. But they said: ‘It is shameful’, and then the verse (The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah) was revealed”.

4:176.| They ask thee for a pronouncement. Say: Allah hath pronounced for you concerning distant kindred

[4:176]. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Hamid informed us>Zahir ibn Ahmad> al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Mus‘ab> Yahya ibn Hakim> Ibn Abi ‘Adiyy> Hisham ibn Abi ‘Abd Allah> Abu’l-Zubayr> Jabir who said: “I had seven sisters and I fell ill. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, came to visit me. [He found me unconscious and so] he spit on my face and I woke up.

I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, can I bequest for my sister two thirds of my wealth’.

He said: ‘Hold back!’

I said: ‘What about half?’

He said: ‘Hold back!’ and then he went out and left me. Then he came back and said to me: ‘O Jabir, you are not going to die as a result of your present illness. Allah has revealed verses explaining the share your sister should have. He has apportioned two thirds for them’ ”. Jabir used to say: “This verse (They ask thee for a pronouncement. Say: Allah hath pronounced for you concerning distant kindred…) was revealed about me”.