Surah an-Nisa' (Women ) 4 : 95
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
Those of the believers who remain passive, other than the disabled, are not equal to those who strive hard in God’s cause with their possessions and their lives. God has exalted those who strive hard with their possessions and their lives far above the ones who remain passive. To each God has promised the ultimate good, yet God has preferred those who strive hard over those who remain passive with a mighty reward: degrees of honour, forgiveness of sins and His grace. God is Much-Forgiving, Merciful. (Verses 95-6)
This statement addresses a special case within the Muslim community wherein some elements had demonstrated their reluctance to meet the obligations required in striving for God’s cause, requiring sacrifice of both possessions and lives. This may be a reference to those who preferred to stay at home and not migrate to Madinah, so that they could hold on to their property and possessions. The unbelievers did not allow anyone who migrated to Madinah to take any part of their wealth. They had to abandon all their possessions. Others may have preferred to stay at home to spare themselves the hardship and risks of migration. Rarely did the unbelievers allow the Muslims to migrate. In the majority of cases, they imprisoned and ill-treated them, or, more accurately, they intensified their ill-treatment when they suspected that they intended to leave. We are more inclined to this view with regard to what is meant by the reference to those believers who “remain passive”. It may also refer to some people within the Muslim community who did not readily show their willingness to sacrifice their possessions and their lives for God’s cause. This obviously excludes the hypocrites who were mentioned in the preceding passage and who tried to dissuade the Muslims from striving for God’s cause. The description could mean both groups of people in both lands who were not ready to make the necessary sacrifices.
Although this verse addresses a special case, it is phrased in the form of a general principle that is not restricted to a particular time or a particular community. What we have in this verse, then, is a principle, describing how God views the believers at any time or place. A distinction is clearly made between true believers and those who remain passive, reluctant to sacrifice themselves or their possessions for God’s cause despite having no disability to prevent them from joining in the jihād and making the necessary sacrifices. These are certainly unlike those who come forward and strive hard with all they have.
The principle is stated in the most general of terms: “Those of the believers who remain passive, other than the disabled, are not equal to those who strive hard in God’s cause with their possessions and their lives.” (Verse 95) This is followed by a clarification which leaves no room whatsoever for ambiguity: “God has exalted those who strive hard with their possessions and their lives far above the ones who remain passive.” (Verse 95)
This is followed by a restatement of the original principle which is here reaffirmed and expanded by way of encouragement to seek the great reward which is promised to those who strive hard: “Yet God has preferred those who strive hard over those who remain passive with a mighty reward: degrees of honour, forgiveness of sins and His grace. God is Much-Forgiving, Merciful.” (Verses 95-6)
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
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[ edit ]
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[ edit ]
Bara said, "When the Ayah لاَّ يَسْتَوِى الْقَـعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ "Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)" was revealed, the Messenger of Allah called Zayd and commanded him to write it. Then, Ibn Umm Maktum came and mentioned that he was blind. Allah revealed, غَيْرُ أُوْلِى الضَّرَرِ "except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame) ''
Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`di said, "I saw Marwan bin Al-Hakam sitting in the Masjid. I came and sat by his side. He told us that Zayd bin Thabit told him that Allah's Messenger dictated this Ayah to him, لاَّ يَسْتَوِى الْقَـعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ غَيْرُ أُوْلِى الضَّرَرِ وَالْمُجَـهِدُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ "Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah" Ibn Umm Maktum came to the Prophet as he was dictating that very Ayah to me. Ibn Umm Maktum said, `O Allah's Messenger! By Allah, if I had power, I would surely take part in Jihad.' He was a blind man. So Allah sent down revelation to His Messenger while his thigh was on mine and it became so heavy for me that I feared that my thigh would be broken. That ended after Allah revealed, غَيْرُ أُوْلِى الضَّرَرِ "except those who are disabled'' (Bukhari)