Qur'an / Tafsir

Tafsir_surat al-Nisa’ verse 65

Surat al-Nisa’:65

{And never, by your Lord, will they have belief until they make you judge in all they dispute about and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions while accepting them with full submission}.

Surah al-Nisa’:63.

By S. Z. Chowdhury

Summer 2003

***

Imam al-Mawardi in writes in his tafsir:[1] 

قوله تعالى: { فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ} ومعنى { شَجَرَ بَينَهُم } أي وقع بينهم من المشاجرة وهي المنازعة والاختلاف، سُمِّيَ ذلك مشاجرة، لتداخل بعض الكلام كتداخل الشجر بالتفافها. {ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُواْ فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجاً مِمَّا قَضَيتَ } وفي الحرج تأويلان: أحدهما: يعني شكّاً وهو قول مجاهد. والثاني: يعني إثماً، وهو قول الضحاك. واختلف في سبب نزولها على قولين.

أحدهما: أنها نزلت في المنافق واليهودي اللَّذين احتكما إلى الطاغوت، وهذا قول مجاهد، والشعبي.

والثاني: أنها نزلت في الزبير ورجل من الأنصار قد شهد بدراً، تخاصما إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في شراج من الحرّة كانا يسقيان به نخلاً، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” اسْقِ يا زُبَيرُ ثُمَّ أَرسِل المَاءَ إلَى جَارِكَ ” فغضب الأنصاري وقال: يا رسول الله آن كان ابن عمتك، فَتَلَوِّنَ وجه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى عرف أن قد ساءه، ثم قال يا زبير ” احْبسِ المَاءَ إلَى الجُدُرِ أو الكَعْبَينِ ثَمَّ خَلِّ سَبِيلَ المَاءِ ” فنزلت هذه الآية، وهذا قول عبد الله بن الزبير، وعروة، وأم سلمة...

Translation:

“His [swt] saying {And never, by your Lord, will they have belief until they make you judge in all they dispute about…}. And the meaning of {all they dispute about…} means whatever disputes occur between them which are disagreements and differences. The reason for calling it ‘mushajarah’ (‘disputes’) is to emphasise how some of the words interfere [and meddle] like how a tree is by its surroundings. {…and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions…}. Regarding the word ‘haraj’ (‘resistance’), there are two opinions: the first is doubt (shakkan) which is the opinion of Mujahid and the second is ‘sin’ (ithman) which is the opinion of al-Dahhak.

There is also disagreement over the sabab al-nuzul of this verse which also has two opinions: The first [opinion] is that the verse was revealed regarding the hypocrites and Jews who used to rule with ‘taghut’ (‘falsehood’). This was Mujahid and Sha`bi’s opinion.

The second [opinion] is that it was revealed regarding Zubayr and a man from the Ansar who had witnessed Badr. They had a dispute and brought it to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) regarding both using a stream for irrigating date-palms and he said: ‘O Zubayr, irrigate [your garden] and then send it to your neighbour’ . The Ansari man became angry and said: ‘Messenger of Allah, is it because he is the son of your aunt?’ The [noble] face of the Messenger of Allah changed colour [s: out of anger] and he said: ‘O Zubayr, withold the water until it reaches the wall and then release the water [to your neighbour]’. Then the verse was revealed. This was the opnion of `Abd allah ibn al-Zubayr, `Urwa and Umm Salama…” 

Notes

The above verse has come in the form of an oath of negation (qasm al-nafy). In a statement of oath, there exist two parts: 1] the oath (al-qasm) – “wa rabbika” and 2] the reply to the oath (jawab al-qasm) – “la yu’minu”. One of the grammatical rules that govern the oath is that if the negation particle ‘la’ (la al-nafiyyah) attaches to the oath while the reply of the oath (jawab al-qasm) is a negation (munfiyy), then it emphasises the negation of the reply (nafy al-jawab) and in the verse the reply is belief (iman). So, in effect, Allah is negating true belief unless the Prophet (saw) is made judge between all disputes and the particle ‘ma’ here indicates the sense of ‘generality’ (‘umum) meaning ‘all’ and ‘whatever’ disputes there may be.[2]

A further way of illustrating the meaning of the verse is that Allah is equating a deficiency and invalidity to the belief of a person if they do not make the Prophet (which means in effect the revelation) arbiter and decider over every affair and matter. So, to consider an example, the Prophet (saw) said: “there is no Prayer (la salah) without ablution (bi-ghayr al-tuhur).” This now establishes ablution as an obligatory condition (shart wajib) for the Prayer, i.e. one’s prayer will not be complete or valid without it. Thus, one cannot perform the salah unless one has wudu’. Imam ibn Taymiyyah correctly writes: “If the belief (al-iman) is negated unless this end (ghayah) exists, it indicates (dalla) that this end is an obligation (fard) upon the people.”[3] This is a strong indication (qarinah qawiyyah) that obeying Allah and his Messenger (SAW) is one of the most important and serious obligations.

Lastly, regarding the phrase wa yusallimu tasliman (‘and they accept in full submission’), Imam al-Qurtubi writes:

“And Zajjaj has said [that the word] ‘tasliman’ is an emphatic verbal noun (masdar mu’akkad); so if you say, ‘I struck a mighty blow’ (darabtu darban) it is as if you said, ‘I have no doubt regarding it.’ So is the case with [the phrase] wa yusallimu tasliman; in other words it means: ‘they submit to your ruling in full submission with no doubt entering them.’”[4]

{ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً } أي ينقادوا لأمرك في القضاء. وقال الزجاج: { تَسْلِيماً } مصدر مؤكّد؛ فإذا قلت: ضربت ضرباً فكأنك قلت لا أشكّ فيه؛ وكذلك { وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً } أي ويُسلّموا لحكمك تسليماً لا يُدخلون على أنفسهم شكاً.

 

And Allah knows best.

 


[1] See al-Mawardi, al-Nukat wa’l-‘Uyun,

[2] See al-Shawkani, al-Fath al-Qadir: al-Jamibayn al-Fanniyy al-Riwayah wa ‘l-Dirayah, 1st edn. Dar ibn Hazim, Beirut 2000, p.393; & al-Zamakhshari, al-Kashshaf an Haqa’iq al-Tanzil wa Uyun al-Aqawil fi Wujuh al-Ta’wil, ed. Yusuf al-Hamdi, Maktabah Masr, n.d., vol.1, p460. Cf. also the reading of ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan fi Ta’wil al-Qur’an, ed. by Ahmad Muhummad Shakir, 1st edn. Dar al-Ma‘arif bi-Masr, n.d. vol. 8, p.18; Imam al-Baghawi, Maalim al-Tanzil, ed. by Khalid ‘Abd al-Rahman al-‘Aq and Marwan Sawar, 3rd edn. Dar al-Ma‘arif, Beirut 1992, vol.1, pp.448-449; Abu Faraj Jamal al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Ali b. Muhummad b. Jawzi al-Baghdadi, Zad al-Masir fi Ilm al-Tafsir, 1st edn.Dar ibn Hazm, Beirut 2002p.297; al-Nasafi, Madarik al-Tanzil wa Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil, 1st edn. Dar al-Ma‘arif, Beirut 2000, p.236 & al-Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil wa Usrar al-Ta’wil, 1st edn. Dar al-Bayan al-‘Arabi, al-Azhar, Cairo 2002, vol.1, p.222.

[3] Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyyah, Kitab al-Iman, 2nd edn.Damascus 1492 AH, p.43.

[4] al-Qurtubi, al-Jami li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, Dar al-Sha‘b & Dar al-Kutub al-‘Arabi, Cairo 1928, vol.5, p.265. For the full reference, see the commentary by the famous 4th century Grammarian Abu Ishaq Ibrahim b. al-Sirri al-Zajjaj, Maani al-Qur’an wa Irabuhu, ed. by ‘Abd al-Jalil Shalabi, 5 vols. Dar al-Hadith, Cairo 2004, vol.2, pp.57-58.

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