Surah an-Nisa' (Women ) 4 : 70

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْفَضْلُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ عَلِيمًا


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
That is the bounty from Allāh, and sufficient is Allāh as Knower.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

At the end of this passage, the sūrah once again tries to arouse people’s feelings, raising before them the prospect of the most noble companionship in the life to come: “All who obey God and the Messenger shall be among those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings: the prophets, and those who never deviate from the truth, and the martyrs and the righteous ones. How goodly a company are these! Such is God’s bounty, and sufficient it is that God knows all.” (Verses 69-70) It is a prospect to tempt every heart, even with the slightest degree of goodness and the faintest hope of attaining a good position in the life to come, with noble companions, enjoying God’s endless favours. To be in the company of such a group can only come about by God’s grace. No human being, devout as he or she may be, can ever hope to attain such a grade merely by their devotion. They attain it only through God’s abounding grace.
It is fitting here that we should reflect on how the Prophet’s Companions yearned for his company in the life to come as well. Some of them could not even contemplate parting with him, when he was still alive among them. When this verse was revealed, their hearts were filled with hope.
Al-Ţabarī relates on the authority of Sa`īd ibn Jubayr that a man from the Anşār looked depressed when he came to the Prophet. The Prophet asked him the cause of his sorrow. He said: “It is something that I have been thinking of.” When the Prophet asked him about it, the man said: “We come to see you in the morning and in the evening, look at you and sit with you. Tomorrow, you will be raised to be in the company of other prophets in Heaven,
b and we cannot attain to you.” The Prophet gave him no reply. Then this verse was revealed, stating: “All who obey God and the Messenger shall be among those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings: the prophets...” The Prophet sent someone to the man to give him this happy news.
A different version of this report is given by Abū Bakr ibn Mardawaih on `Ā’ishah’s authority: “A man said to the Prophet, ‘Messenger of God, you are dearer to me than myself, my family and my children. I may be at home when I mention you, and I cannot wait to come and see you. When I remember my death and your death, I realise that when you are admitted to heaven, your position will be high among the rest of the prophets. Should I be admitted to heaven, I fear that I may not see you.” The Prophet did not answer him until this verse was revealed: “All who obey God and the Messenger shall be among those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings: the prophets, and those who never deviate from the truth, and the martyrs and the righteous ones. How goodly a company are these!” (Verse 69)
Rabī`ah ibn Ka`b al-Aslamī reports: “I used to stay some nights at the Prophet’s home. One night I brought him water for his ablution and purification. He said to me, ‘Tell me your request.’ I said, ‘Messenger of God, I seek to be your companion in heaven.’ He said, ‘Say something else.’ I said, ‘That is my request.’ He said, `Then help me to triumph over yourself by frequent prayer and prostration.” (Related by Muslim.)
Al-Bukhārī relates on the authority of several of the Prophet’s Companions that God’s Messenger was asked about a person who loves a certain company, but whose actions leave him unable to catch up with them. He said: “A person is grouped [in the hereafter] with those whom he loves.” Anas reports, “Muslims were never happier than when they heard this ĥadīth.”
Those Companions of the Prophet were genuinely concerned about the life to come and with whom they would be there, because they had experienced the Prophet’s company in this life. This is, indeed, a matter of concern to everyone who truly loves God’s Messenger. The last ĥadīth spreads its light over us, providing hope and reassurance.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *

3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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This Surah comprises several discourses which were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between the end of year 3 A.H. and the end of 4 A.H. or the beginning of 5 A.H. Although it is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations it is possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the Commandments and the events mentioned therein. A few instances are given below by way of illustration:

1. We know that the inheritance law for those martyred and protection for the rights of the orphans was sent down after the Battle of Uhud (in which 70 Muslims were martyred). From this we conclude that v. 1 -28 were revealed on that occasion.

2. We learn from the traditions that the ruling regarding the prayer (Salah) during war time was given on the occasion of the Zat-ur-Riqa’aan expedition. This took place in 4 A.H. From this we conclude that the discourse containing v. 102 was revealed on that occasion.

3. The last warning to the Jews was given before the Banu-Nadheer were exiled from Madinah in Rabi’-ulAwwal 4 A.H. It may therefore be assumed that the discourse containing v. 47 was revealed before that date.

4. The permission about performing ablution with dust in the event of no water (tayammum) verse 43, was given during the Bani-al-Mustaliq expedition which took place in 5 A.H. [REF: Mawdudi]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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Let us now consider the social and historical considerations of the period in order to understand the Surah. All the discourses in this Surah deal with three main problems which confronted the Prophet at the time. First of all he was engaged in bringing about an all round development of the islamic Community that had been formed at the time of his migration to Madinah. For this purpose he was introducing new moral cultural social economic and political ways in place of the old ones of the pre-islamic period. The second thing that occupied his attention and efforts was the bitter struggle that was going on with the polytheist Arabs, the Jewish clans and the hypocrites who were opposing tooth and nail his mission of reform. Above all, he had to propagate Islam in the face of the bitter opposition of these powers of evil with a view to capturing more and more minds and hearts.

Accordingly detailed instructions have been given for the consolidation and strengthening of the islamic Community in continuation of those given in Surah 2: Al-Baqarah (The Cow). Principles for the smooth running of family life have been laid down and ways of settling family disputes have been taught. Rules have been prescribed for marriage and rights of wife and husband have been apportioned fairly and equitably. The status of women in the society has been determined and the declaration of the rights of orphans has been made. Laws and regulations have been laid down for the division of inheritance and instructions have been given to reform economic affairs. The foundation of the penal code has been laid down, drinking has been prohibited and instructions have been given for cleanliness and purity. The Muslims have been taught the kind of relations good men should have with their God and fellow men. Instructions have been given for the maintenance of discipline in the Muslim Community.

The moral and religious condition of The People of the Book (Jews and Christians) has been reviewed to teach lessons to the Muslims and to forewarn them to refrain from following in their footsteps. The conduct of the hypocrites has been criticized and the distinctive features of hypocrisy and true faith have been clearly marked off to enable the Muslims to distinguish between the two. In order to cope with the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud, Inspiring discourses were sent down to urge the Muslims to face the enemy bravely, for defeat in the Battle had so emboldened the polytheist Arab clans and the neighbouring Jews and the hypocrites at home, that they were threatening the Muslims on all sides. At this critical juncture God filled the Muslims with courage and gave them such instructions as were needed during that period of war clouds. In order to counteract the fearful rumours that were being spread by the hypocrites and the Muslims of weak faith they were asked to make a thorough enquiry into them and to inform the responsible people about them. Then they were experiencing some difficulties in offering their prayer during the expeditions to some places where no water was available for performing their ablutions etc. In such cases they were allowed to cleanse themselves with pure earth and to shorten the prayer or to offer the “Prayer of Fear” when they were faced with danger. Instructions were also given for the solution of the puzzling problem of those Muslims who were scattered among the unbelieving Arab clans and were often involved in war. They were asked to migrate to Madinah the abode of Islam.

This Surah also deals with the case of Banu nadir who were showing a hostile and menacing attitude in spite of the peace treaties they had made with the Muslims. They were openly siding with the enemies of Islam and hatching plots against the Prophet and the Muslim Community even at Madinah itself. They were taken to task for their inimical behaviour and given a final warning to change their attitude and were at last exiled from Madinah on account of their misconduct.

The problem of the hypocrites, who had become very troublesome at that time, was involving the Believers in difficulties. Therefore, they were divided into different categories to enable the Muslims to deal with them appropriately. Clear instructions were also given regarding the attitude they should adopt towards the non-belligerent clans. The most important thing needed at that time was to prepare the Muslims for the bitter struggle with the opponents of Islam. For this purpose greatest importance was attached to their character building, for it was obvious that the small Muslim Community could only come out successful, nay, survive, if the Muslims possessed high moral character. They were, therefore, enjoined to adopt the highest moral qualities and were severely criticized whenever any moral weakness was detected in them.

Though this Surah mainly deals with the moral and social reforms, yet due attention has been paid to propagation of Islam. On the one hand, the superiority of the islamic morality and culture has been established over that of the Jews, Christians and polytheists; on the other hand, their wrong religious conceptions, their wrong morality and their evil acts have been criticized to prepare the ground for inviting them to the way of the Truth. 

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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