4 - An Nisa (The women)

8 Tafsir(s) related to verse 4.58

Al-Jalalayn

Verily, God commands you to restore trusts, that is, the rights entrusted [to you by others], back to their owners: this was revealed when ‘Alī, may God be pleased with him, took the key of the Ka‘ba from its keeper, ‘Uthmān b. Talha al-Hajabī, by force, upon the arrival of the Prophet (s) in Mecca in the year of the Conquest, after he [‘Uthmān] had tried to prevent him [‘Alī from taking it] saying, ‘If I had known that he was the Messenger of God, I would not have prevented him’. The Messenger of God (s) then ordered him [‘Alī] to give it back to him [‘Uthmān] saying to him, ‘Here you are, [it is yours] now and always’. He [‘Uthmān] was amazed by this, whereupon ‘Alī recited to him this verse, and he accepted Islam. Upon his death, he [‘Uthmān] gave it [the key] to his brother, Shayba, and thus it remained in [the keep of] his descendants. Although the verse was revealed regarding a specific occasion, it holds true in general on account of the plural person [to which it is addressed]. And when you judge between people, He commands, that you judge with justice. Excellent is (ni‘immā, the mīm of ni‘ima has been assimilated with the indefinite particle mā, which is the object described, in other words, na‘ima shay’an, ‘an excellent thing [is]’) the admonition God gives you, to restore a trust and to judge with justice. God is ever Hearer, of what is said, Seer, of what is done.

Al-Qushairi

Verily God commands you to restore trusts. And when you judge between people that you judge with justice. Excellent is the admonition God gives you. God is ever Hearer Seer. To return trusts is to surrender intact the states of created beings to them after having watched over them so that you do not act in a corrupt manner with [people]. It is said of God سبحانه وتعالى that He has deposited trusts with you so to return the trust amāna to its rightful owner is to surrender it intact to God سبحانه secure from any breach of faith khiyāna on your part regarding it. To breach faith in the trust of the heart is to make claims with regard to it and to breach faith in the trust of your innermost self is to look to it [rather than to God]. To judge between people with justice is to treat [those] near and distant equally in giving and expending and [also] not to allow pervasive resentment to lead you to take revenge on any soul.

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners…) [4:58]. This verse was revealed about ‘Uthman ibn Talhah al-Hajabi, from the Banu ‘Abd al-Dar. This man was the caretaker of the Ka‘bah. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, entered Mecca upon its conquest. ‘Uthman rushed to lock the door of the Sacred House and climbed up to its roof. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked for the key, he was told that ‘Uthman had it. And when he asked him for it, ‘Uthman refused to give him the key, saying: “If I knew that he was the Messenger of Allah, I would not refuse to give him the key”. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib then twisted the hand of ‘Uthman and took the key from him and opened the door of the Ka‘bah. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, entered the House and performed inside it two units of prayers. When he came out, al-‘Abbas asked for the key of the Ka‘bah, so that he could combine the duty of giving water to the pilgrims and that of caretaker of the Sacred House. But Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse, and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded ‘Ali to give the key back to ‘Uthman and apologize to him, and so he did. ‘Uthman said to him: “O ‘Ali, you forced and hurt me, and now you come to apologize”. ‘Ali said to him: “Allah, exalted is He, has revealed this verse about you”, and he recited it to him. Upon hearing, ‘Uthman said: “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. Gabriel, peace be upon him, then came and said: “As long as this House stands, its key and the duty of taking care of it will stay in the progeny of ‘Uthman”, and so it is up to this day. Abu Hassan al-Muzakki informed us> Harun ibn Muhammad al-Istrabadhi> Abu Muhammad al-Khuza‘i> Abu’l-Walid al-Azraqi> his grandfather> Sufyan> Sa‘id ibn Salim> Ibn Jurayj> Mujahid regarding the words of Allah, exalted is He (Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners…): “This verse was revealed about ‘Uthman ibn Talhah. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, collected from him the key of the Ka‘bah upon the conquest of Mecca. He entered inside it and then came out reciting this verse. He then called ‘Uthman and handed the key over to him. He said to him: ‘Take the key, O household of Talhah, a trust from Allah, none but transgressor will take it from you’ ”. Abu’l-Nasr al-Mihrajani informed us> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Zahid> Abu’l-Qasim al-Muqri’> Ahmad ibn Zuhayr> Mus‘ab> Shaybah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Abi Talhah who said: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave the key of the Ka‘bah to me and ‘Uthman and said: ‘Take it, O children of Abu Talhah, to be eternally kept among your offspring, and none shall take it from you except a transgressor’. Thus, the Banu Talhah who are the caretaker of the Ka‘bah belong to Banu ‘Abd al-Dar”.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Command to Return the Trusts to Whomever They Are Due

Allah commands that the trusts be returned to their rightful owners. Al-Hasan narrated that Samurah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أَدِّ الْأَمَانَةَ إِلى مَنِ ائْتَمَنَكَ، وَلَا تَخُنْ مَنْ خَانَك»

(Return the trust to those who entrusted you, and do not betray those who betrayed you.) Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan recorded this Hadith. This command refers to all things that one is expected to look after, such as Allah's rights on His servants: praying, Zakah, fasting, penalties for sins, vows and so forth. The command also includes the rights of the servants on each other, such as what they entrust each other with, including the cases that are not recorded or documented. Allah commands that all types of trusts be fulfillled. Those who do not implement this command in this life, it will be extracted from them on the Day of Resurrection. It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَتُؤَدَّنَّ الْحُقُوقُ إِلى أَهْلِهَا حَتَّى يُقْتَصَّ لِلشَّاةِ الْجَمَّاءِ مِنَ الْقَرْنَاء»

(The rights will be rendered back to those to whom they are due, and even the sheep that does not have horns will take revenge from the horned sheep.) Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Jurayj said about this Ayah, "It was revealed concerning `Uthman bin Talhah from whom the Messenger of Allah took the key of the Ka`bah and entered it on the Day of the victory of Makkah. When the Prophet went out, he was reciting this Ayah,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الاحَمَـنَـتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا

(Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due). He then called `Uthman and gave the key back to him.'' Ibn Jarir also narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "When the Messenger of Allah went out of the Ka`bah, he was reciting this Ayah,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الاحَمَـنَـتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا

(Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due). May I sacrifice my father and mother for him, I never heard him recite this Ayah before that.'' It is popular that this is the reason behind revealing the Ayah (4:58). Yet, the application of the Ayah is general, and this is why Ibn `Abbas and Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah said, "This Ayah is for the righteous and wicked,'' meaning it is a command that encompasses everyone.

The Order to Be Just

Allah said,

وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُواْ بِالْعَدْلِ

(and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.) commanding justice when judging between people. Muhammad bin Ka`b, Zayd bin Aslam and Shahr bin Hawshab said; "This Ayah was revealed about those in authority'', meaning those who judge between people. A Hadith states,

«إِنَّ اللهَ مَعَ الْحَاكِمِ مَا لَمْ يَجُرْ، فَإِذَا جَارَ وَكَلَهُ اللهُ إِلى نَفْسِه»

(Allah is with the judge as long as he does not commit injustice, for when he does, Allah will make him reliant on himself.) A statement goes, "One day of justice equals forty years of worship.'' Allah said,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ

(Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you!) meaning, His commands to return the trusts to their owners, to judge between people with justice, and all of His complete, perfect and great commandments and laws. Allah's statement,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعاً بَصِيراً

(Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.) means, He hears your statements and knows your actions.

Kashani

Verily, God commands you to restore trusts back to their owners, that is, [to give] what is due to the person to whom it is due by fulfilling what is due of preparedness first, then by fulfilling what is due to all of the faculties in terms of the perfections which they entail, then by fulfilling what is due to God, exalted be He, in terms of restoring to Him the attributes, then by restoring [to Him] existence, so that you are then annihilated in the Oneness and so that when you return to subsistence after annihilation and judge between people, you will do things with God in mind, upholding justice, possessing the attributes of God's justice such that no injustice can issue from you. The least degree of justness is to effaced in terms of one's own attributes, since the one who does things of his own soul can never be just. God is ever Hearer, of the statements you make in arbitrations between people, and whether these are truth-inspired and sound or soul-inspired and corrupt; Seer, of your deeds and whether they issue from the attributes of your souls or from the attributes of the Truth.

Kashf Al-Asrar

Surely God commands you to deliver trusts back to their owners.

In this verse the lovingly kind Lord, the generous and right-knowing, the care-taker of the servants, commands His servants to give back trusts. He is saying, “Return the trusts at your own liability to their folk.” In other words, do not intervene in them, and avoid betrayal, for after the faith and recognition of the servant, there is no attribute greater than holding in trust; and after unbelief, there is no attribute uglier than betrayal. The servant's obedience comes forth from holding in trust, and disobedience comes from betrayal. Betrayal is the basis of corruption, the beginning of every misfortune, and the foundation of disobedience. Holding in trust is the pillar of the religion, the perfection of tawḤīd, and the attribute of the prophets and the angels. In the firm text of the revealed book, the Lord of the Worlds describes Gabriel by saying, “brought down by the trustworthy spirit” [26:193]. In another place He says, “obeyed, and also trustworthy” [81:21]. He reported from the daughter of Shuʿayb that she said to her father about Moses, God's speaking companion, “O my father, hire him! Surely the best you can hire is the strong, the trustworthy” [28:26]. And in describing Joseph the sincerely truthful He says, quoting the king of Egypt, “Surely today with us thou art emplaced, trustworthy” [12:54].

The trusts about which the Book and the Sunnah talk are three things: One is obedience and the religion, for the Lord of the Worlds calls them a trust. He says, “Surely We offered the Trust”

[33:72]. Next are women, who are held as a trust by men. MuṣṬafā said, “You have taken them as a trust from God, and you have made their private parts lawful to you by God's word.” Third is the property you leave with someone, or the secret you tell to him, for that is a trust. The Lord of the Worlds says, “Let him who has been entrusted deliver back his trust” [2:283]. MuṣṬafā said, “Deliver the trust back to the one who entrusted you.” He also said, “If a man relates some words, pay regard, for it is his trust.”

Mustāfā also said, “Sitting together is a trust.” In other words, when you sit with people, it must be on condition of holding in trust.

Keep whatever you hear in your heart, and do not repeat what should not be said. The Lord of the Worlds created the Adamite's ears open, without bonds. Whether he wants it or not, his ears hear and his heart knows. Hence he will not be called to account for hearing or knowing in the heart, for the servant has no choice in that. As for eyes and tongue, He created both with bonds. The Adamite is able not to look at what should not be looked at and not to say what should not be said. He can bring into place the condition of holding what is seen and said in trust, thereby taking care of God's trust in these two. This is why MuṣṬafā said, “Sitting together is a trust.”

Moreover, at the end of the era of the submission, the first thing that will be decreased from the unswerving religion and turn its face back to the veil of unneediness will be trust. God's Messenger said, “The first thing you will lose of your religion is trust, and the last thing you will lose is the ritual prayer.”

The explanation I just gave was in terms of the outward Shariah. In terms of allusion and according to the tasting of the chevaliers of the Tariqah, the trusts are first submission, placed in the servant's breast; second faith, placed in the servant's mindful heart; third recognition, put in the servant's heart; and fourth love, concealed in the secret core. Each of these trusts has room for betrayal. Disquieting thoughts find room in the breast from the direction of the devil. Uncertainty finds room in the mindful heart from the direction of the soul. Swerving finds room in the heart from the direction of caprice. Angels go into the secret core, and seeing angels when making the secret core ready is a betrayal of the trust of love. This is why Junayd, when asked about making the secret core ready, said, “It is a secret between God and the servant, not known by the angel that he should write it down, nor by Satan that he should corrupt it, nor by caprice that it should make it deviate.”

Keep the hand of the devil away from the breast by remembering the Real, for He says, “[Surely the godwary,] when a visitation from Satan touches them, remember, and then see clearly” [7:201].

Keep the hand of the soul away from the mindful heart with the weapon of struggle, for He says, “Those who struggle in Us, We will guide them on Our paths” [29:69]. Keep the hand of caprice away from the heart by surrender, for He says, “We have faith in it; all is from our Lord” [3:7]. Keep the angel away from the secret core by jealousy, for jealousy is the precondition of friendship, just as love is the pillar of friendship. Sometimes loving kindness lifts the curtain so that the traveler comes to happiness and rest, and sometimes jealousy lets down the curtain so that the traveler comes to pleading. Sometimes love opens the door so as to caress the traveler with face-to-face vision, sometimes jealousy closes the door so the servant weeps in hope of face-toface vision.

When someone must have face-to-face vision, reports are absurd for him.

When a heart is secluded with vision, how can it look at reports?

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

Here the Muslims have been fore-warned that they should avoid those evils in which the children of Israel were involved. Their basic error was that during their degeneration they entrusted the positions of trust to incompetent people. They began to entrust positions of responsibility and religious and political leadership to inefficient, narrow-minded, immoral, dishonest and wicked people. As a result, the whole community became corrupt. The Muslims are being cautioned against this evil and enjoined to entrust positions of responsibility to qualified and competent people of good moral character.

Another evil that was prevalent among the Jews was injustice. They had lost the very sense and spirit of justice and become utterly unjust, openly dishonest, and sinfully obdurate and would commit acts of gross injustice without any pangs of conscience. The Muslims were personally having a bitter experience of this. The Jews were siding with the idolatrous Quraish against the Believers in one God though the lives of the two clearly showed "who was more rightly guided."On the one side, they saw the pure lives of the Holy Prophet and his followers; on the other, they witnessed the immoral lives of their enemies, who buried their daughters alive, married their step mothers and went round the Ka`bah in naked state. Still these "people of the Book" preferred the idolatrous people to the. Believers and brazen-facedly declared that the former were more rightly guided than the latter. Allah warns the Believers against this sort of injustice and enjoins them always to say what is just and right and judge between the people with justice whether they be friends or foes.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Regarding the key that the Prophet (pbuh) took from 'Uthman Ibn Talhah as a deposit, Allah commanded His Messenger to give back deposits to their owner, saying: (Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits) to give back the key (to their owners) to 'Uthman Ibn Talhah, (and, if ye judge between mankind) between 'Uthman Ibn Talhah and 'Abbas Ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib, (that you judge justly) that you give back to 'Uthman and the providing of water (siqaya) to al-'Abbas. (Lo! comely is this which Allah admonisheth you) comely is this which Allah commands you, of giving back deposits to their owners and judging justly. (Lo! Allah is ever Hearer) when al-'Abbas said: O Messenger of Allah! give me both the key and the providing of water, (Seer) of what 'Uthman Ibn Talhah did when he refused to give the key and said: By Allah's trust! Give me my right, O Messenger of Allah!