Tafsir Zone - Surah 4: an-Nisa' (Women )

Tafsir Zone

Surah an-Nisa' 4:130
 

Overview (Verses 130 - 134)

Family Rules Related to Universal Law
 
We have to understand that these rules which are applicable to marriage and family life are only a part of an overall system which regulates human life as a whole. This system is, in turn, part of the law God has laid down for the whole universe to follow. It, therefore, fits well with the nature of the universe as well as with the nature of man who lives in the universe. This profound fact is central to the overall system. Therefore, rules which provided for the regulation of family life are followed by statements which relate them to the universal system, as well as God’s power over, and His ownership of, everything in it. We also have a statement that God has given the same directive to all mankind in all the messages He has sent them, and a reminder of rewards in this life and in the life to come. Indeed, these are the bases upon which the whole system is founded: truth, justice, and fearing God.
 
But if the two separate, God shall provide for each of them out of His abundance: God is indeed Munificent, Wise. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. We have indeed enjoined those who were granted revelations before your time, as well as yourselves, to always be God-fearing. If you disbelieve, know that to God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. God is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy. And to God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. God is your All- Sufficient Guardian. If He so wills, He can take you, mankind, and replace you by others. This He surely has the power to do. If anyone desires the rewards of this world, let him remember that with God are the rewards of this world and those of the life to come. God is indeed All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Verses -130-134)
 
Often rules and injunctions given in the Qur’ān are followed by a statement that to God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth. The two are essentially interrelated: he who owns something has all power and authority over it. He alone has the right to establish the system he wants and to impose it on those who are under his dominion. Since God is the only owner, it follows that He alone has the authority to legislate to people. Of all Divine instructions, the one which is highlighted here and which has been given to all those who received messages from God is that which tells people to always fear God: “To God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. We have indeed enjoined those who were granted revelations before your time, as well as yourselves, to always be God fearing.” (Verse 131)
 
The One who has real power is the one to be feared. Fearing Him ensures purity of motives and a keenness to implement His constitution and system with all its details.
 
The unbelievers are shown their insignificance in the universe which belongs to God. In His esteem, they count for little. He is able to replace them with others: “If you disbelieve, know that to God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. God is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy. And to God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. God is your All-Sufficient Guardian.” (Verses 131-132) As God enjoins them to be God-fearing, He makes it clear that their refusal to turn their back on His admonition will not affect Him in the least. Their disbelief will not decrease His kingdom in any way, for: “To God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth... If He so wills, He can take you, mankind, and replace you by others. This He surely has the power to do.” (Verses 132-133) Moreover, He is able to substitute them for some other people or creature. He only enjoins them to fear Him for their own sake and for their own interest.
 
Islam states very clearly that man has a special position of honour with God, which elevates him over everything in the universe. Equally, Islam states that man sinks to abject depths when he disbelieves, transgresses, tyrannises and tries to usurp God’s power. These are two opposite situations.
 
These comments are concluded with a reminder to those who are keen on having a share of the riches of this life that God’s grace is far greater and more bounteous than that. He can give rewards in this life and in the life to come. Those who limit their hopes and ambitions to this world only, can look far beyond to a greater reward in the hereafter which may he given in addition to what God grants them in this life: “If anyone desires the rewards of this world, let him remember that with God are the rewards of this world and those of the life to come. God is indeed All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (Verse 134)
 
It is indeed stupid and highly unbecoming of man to confine himself and his ambitions to this life only when he is able to seek and look forward to God’s grace in both this life and the life to come. Enjoyment of both is guaranteed by implementing the well-integrated Islamic way of life which combines practicality with idealism. He is indeed capable of achieving the glory of human life, with his feet on the ground and his spirit in heaven. He moves about and conducts his affairs according to the rules which govern the earth while, at the same time, looking up to the sublime.
 
As these comments relate detailed Islamic legislations to God’s law governing the whole of life, they also point to the great importance Islam assigns to the family. Otherwise, God would not have related family matters to these great issues and would not have emphasised the need to fear Him in all religions. God is able to replace erring people with others who follow His system and implement His law. This is a frightful prospect for human beings. Its statement here is indicative of the seriousness God attaches to the family and its importance in the code He has laid down for human life.