22 - Al Hajj (The pilgrimage)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 22.15

Al-Jalalayn

Whoever supposes that God will not help him, namely, Muhammad (s) His Prophet, in this world and the Hereafter, let him extend a rope to the ceiling, [to] the roof of his house, fixing it there and [tying it] to his neck, and let him hang himself, that is, let him choke to death because of it, by severing his soul from [any existence on] the earth, as [reported] in the [various] Sahīh compilations. Then let him see whether his strategy, against the Prophet being helped, dispels that which enrages him, about it. In other words, let him choke to death with rage because of it, for it is inevitable.

Ibn Al Kathir
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This type of man is a time server, who stands on the boundary line between Islam and kufr so that he may join the winning side whether it be Islam or kufr.

As this type of man has a weak character and wavers between kufr and Islam he becomes the slave of his "self". He accepts Islam for the sake of self interest: he is faithful to it if all his wishes are fulfilled and he has a life of ease and comfort; he is well-pleased with his Allah and is "firm" in his faith. On the contrary, if his "faith" demands some sacrifice from him, or he is visited by some affliction, or encounters some hardship and loss in the way of Allah, or he does not have his way, he begins to waver about the Godhead of Allah and the Prophethood of the Messenger and becomes skeptical about everything of the "Faith". Then he is ready to bow down before any power from which he expects some benefit and security from loss.

This is a great moral proposition that has been stated concisely. The fact is that the wavering man remains a loser in this world as well as in the Next World, and fares worse even than an unbeliever. The unbeliever applies himself exclusively to the benefits of this world and becomes more or less successful in his object because he is not handicapped by the fear of Allah, accountability of the Hereafter and restrictions of Divine Law. Likewise a true believer follows the way of Allah with fortitude and perseverance and may as well become successful in this world, but even if he loses it altogether, he is assured of success in the Next Y World. But the "wavering Muslim" becomes a loser both in this world and in the Next World because he is handicapped by doubt and indecision and cannot make his choice between the two worlds. As he cannot decide whether there is Allah and the Hereafter, he cannot apply himself exclusively to the worldly affairs with that single-mindedness which the unbeliever enjoys. And when he thinks of Allah and the Hereafter, the allurements of this world and the fear of the disadvantages here and the abhorrence of observing the Divine restrictions do not let him apply himself exclusively to the demands of the Hereafter. This conflict between "God worship" and "World worship" makes him a loser in this world as well as in the next.

Vv. 12-13 clarify two things about the deities whom the mushriks invoke. Firstly, they can do a person neither any good nor any harm; nay, it is more probable that they do harm rather than good. For when the mushrik invokes other deities than Allah, he loses his faith forthwith. Secondly, the mushrik himself knows that there is no guarantee or probability of any good from his `god' who is utterly helpless and powerless. As regards the occasional grant of his request through his god, this is done by Allah merely to test his faith.

That is, the one, who leads a person to the way of shirk is the worst guardian and the worst comrade, whether he be a human being or a satan.

"Those who believed and did righteous deeds" are quite different from the wavering Muslims, for they have a firm belief in Allah, His Prophet and the Hereafter. Therefore they follow the way of Truth both in prosperity and in adversity.

That is, "Allah's powers are unlimited: He may bestow anything on anyone He wills in this world or in the Hereafter or in both, and bar anything from anyone. None has the power to interfere with what He wills and does.”

There is a great divergence of opinion about the exact meaning of this verse. Some of the interpretations are:

(1) One who presumes that Allah will not help him (Muhammad: Allah's peace be upon him), he should hang himself by a rope from the ceiling.

(2) One who presumes that Allah will not help him (Muhammad: Allah's peace be upon him), he should ascend the sky by a rope and try to stop Allah's help.

(3) One who presumes that Allah will not help him (Muhammad: Allah's peace be upon him), he should ascend the sky and stop the process of Revelations.

(4) One who presumes that Allah will not help him (Muhammad: Allah's peace be upon him), he should ascend the sky and stop his provisions.

(5) The one who presumes that Allah will not help him (the presumer himself), he should hang himself by a rope from the ceiling of his house.

(6) The one who presumes that Allah will not help him (the presumer himself), he should try to ascend the sky to seek help.

The first four interpretations are obviously irrelevant to the context, and the last two, though they might fit in with the context, do not explain the real meaning of the verse. If we consider this in the context, it becomes obvious that the one who presumes is "the one who serves Allah standing on the border". This is to rebuke him, as if to say, "You may do whatever you can to change the decrees of Allah, but you will see that no device of yours can succeed, whether these decrees are favorable to your designs or unfavorable to them. " Obviously, "he should ascend the sky...... cut a hole into it" has not been used in the literal but in the figurative sense.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Whoso is wont to think that Allah will not give him) i.e. Muhammad (pbuh) (victory in the world and the Hereafter) through reason and proof, (let him stretch a rope up to the roof (of his dwelling), and let him hang himself. Then let him see) let him reflect upon (whether his strategy) hanging himself (dispelleth that whereat he rageth!) i.e. regarding Muhammad (pbuh). It is also said that there is another way of understanding this passage: whoever thinks that Allah will not help him in this worldly life with sustenance and in the Hereafter with reward, then let him tie a rope to the roof of his house, hang himself with it and see whether killing himself will dispel his rage regarding sustenance.