The Quran

Commentaries for 47.20

Muhammad - محمد

47.20 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And those who believe) in Muhammad (pbuh) and in the Qur'an, the sincere ones, (say: If only a surah were revealed) if only Gabriel would bring down a surah! They said this out of longing for the remembrance of Allah and wishing to engage in more acts of obedience. (But when a decisive surah is revealed) explaining the lawful and unlawful, the commands and prohibitions (and war is mentioned therein) and fighting is commanded therein, (thou seest those in whose hearts is a disease) i.e. doubt and hypocrisy (looking at thee) upon mentioning fighting (with the look of men fainting unto death) as people who are suffering the pangs of death because of their dislike of fighting the enemies. (Therefore woe unto them!) This is a threat to them with Allah's chastisement.
47.20 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And those who believe say, seeking to take part in the struggle: ‘Why has a sūra not been revealed?’, [one] in which there is mention of the [command to participate in the] struggle. But when a definitive sūra is revealed, one in which nothing is abrogated (naskh), and fighting, that is to say, requirement for it, is mentioned in it, you see those in whose hearts is a sickness, that is, doubt — and they are the hypocrites — looking at you with the look of someone fainting at [the point of] death, because of [their] fear of it and [their] aversion to it; in other words, they fear fighting and are averse to it. Yet more fitting for them (fa-awlā lahum is a subject, the predicate of which [is the following, tā‘atun wa-qawlun ma‘rūfun])
47.20-23 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Situation of the True Believer and the Sick-Hearted when the Command for Jihad was revealed
Allah mentions that the believers were hoping that Jihad would be legislated. But when Allah ordained it, many of the people turned back, as Allah says,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَءَاتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ قُلْ مَتَـعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالاٌّخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنِ اتَّقَى وَلاَ تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً
(Have you not seen those who were told: "Restrain your hands (from fighting), establish the Salah, and give Zakah.'' But then when fighting was ordained for them, you find a party of them fearing the people as they fear Allah or more. They said: "Our Lord! Why have You decreed fighting upon us If only You have postponed us for a short period.'' Say: "The enjoyment of this world is little. The Hereafter is far better for him who had Taqwa of (Allah), and you will not be dealt with unjustly, even as much as a thin thread (inside a date's pit).'')(4:77) Similarly, Allah says here,
وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَوْلاَ نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ
(Those who believe say: "Why is not a Surah sent down (for us)'') means, a Surah containing an order to fight. Then He says,
فَإِذَآ أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُّحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّرَضٌ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ نَظَرَ الْمَغْشِىِّ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ
(But now that a decisive Surah is sent down mentioning fighting, you can see those in whose hearts is disease looking at you with the look of one who is about to faint for fear of death.) meaning, due to their fear, terror, and cowardice concerning meeting the enemies. Allah then encourages them by saying,
فَأَوْلَى لَهُمْطَاعَةٌ وَقَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ
(But it was better for them, obedience and good words.) which means that it would have been better for them to listen and obey in that present situation.
فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الاٌّمْرُ
(When the matter (of fighting) is resolved.) which means when the situation becomes serious and the time of fighting truly arrives.
فَلَوْ صَدَقُواْ اللَّهَ
(if they had been true to Allah,) meaning, by making their intentions sincerely for Him.
لَكَانَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ
(it would have been better for them) Allah then says,
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ
(So would you perhaps, if you turned away) meaning, from Jihad and you withdrew from it.
أَن تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُواْ أَرْحَامَكُمْ
(spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship) which means, would you then go back to your old practices of the time of ignorance: shedding blood and severing kinship ties Allah then says,
أَوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فَأَصَمَّهُمْ وَأَعْمَى أَبْصَـرَهُمْ
(Such are the ones whom Allah has cursed, so He has made them deaf and blinded their vision.) This involves a general prohibition of spreading corruption on earth, and a specific prohibition of severing the ties of kinship. In fact, Allah has commanded the people to establish righteousness on earth, as well as to join the ties of kinship by treating the relatives well in speech, actions, and spending wealth in charity. Many authentic and sound Hadiths have been reported through numerous routes of transmission from Allah's Messenger in this regard. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
«خَلَقَ اللهُ تَعَالَى الْخَلْقَ فَلَمَّا فَرَغَ مِنْهُ قَامَتِ الرَّحِمُ فَأَخَذَتْ بِحَقْوِ الرَّحْمنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَقَالَ: مَهْ، فَقَالَتْ: هذَا مَقَامُ الْعَائِذِ بِكَ مِنَ الْقَطِيعَةِ، فَقَالَ تَعَالَى: أَلَا تَرْضَيْنَ أَنْ أَصِلَ مَنْ وَصَلَكِ وَأَقْطَعَ مَنْ قَطَعَكِ؟ قَالَتْ: بَلَى، قَالَ: فَذَاكِ لَك»
(After Allah completed creating the creation, the womb stood up and pulled at the lower garment of the Most Merciful. He said, 'Stop that!' It replied, 'My stand here is the stand of one seeking refuge in you from severance of ties.' Allah said, 'Would it not please you that I join whoever joins you and sever whoever severs you' It replied, 'Yes indeed!' He said, 'You are granted that!') Abu Hurayrah then added, "Read if you wish:
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُواْ أَرْحَامَكُمْ
(So would you perhaps, if you turned away, spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship)'' Then Al-Bukhari recorded it with another wording which states that the Messenger of Allah said,
«اقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُواْ أَرْحَامَكُمْ »
(Read if you wish: (So would you perhaps, if you turned away, spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship)) Muslim also recorded it. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said:
«مَا مِنْ ذَنْبٍ أَحْرَى أَنْ يُعَجِّلَ اللهُ تَعَالَى عُقُوبَتَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا، مَعَ مَا يَدَّخِرُ لِصَاحِبِهِ فِي الْاخِرَةِ، مِنَ الْبَغْيِ وَقَطِيعَةِ الرَّحِم»
(No sin deserves that Allah hasten its punishment in the worldly life, in addition to what He reserves in the Hereafter for those who commit it, more than injustice and severance of the ties of kinship.) This was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Sahih.'' Imam Ahmad recorded from Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
«مَنْ سَرَّهُ النَّسَاءُ فِي الْأَجَلِ وَالزِّيَادَةُ فِي الرِّزْقِ،فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَه»
(Whoever likes for his life to be extended, and his provision increased, let him connect his ties of kinship.) Ahmad was alone in recording this narration, but it has a supporting narration in the Sahih. Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
«إِنَّ الرَّحِمَ مُعَلَّقَةٌ بِالْعَرْشِ، وَلَيْسَ الْوَاصِلُ بِالْمُكَافِىءِ، وَلكِنِ الْوَاصِلُ الَّذِي إِذَا قُطِعَتْ رَحِمُهُ وَصَلَهَا»
(Verily, the womb is attached to the Throne. And connecting its ties does not mean dealing evenly (with the kinsfolk), but it rather means that if one's kinsfolk sever the ties, he connects them.) This Hadith was also recorded by Al-Bukhari. Ahmad also recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
«تُوضَعُ الرَّحِمُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَهَا (حُجْنَةٌ كَحُجْنَةِ) الْمِغْزَلِ تَكَلَّمُ بِلِسَانٍ طَلِقٍ ذَلِقٍ، فَتَقْطَعُ مَنْ قَطَعَهَا وَتَصِلُ مَنْ وَصَلَهَا»
(The womb will be placed on the Day of Resurrection, curved like a spinning wheel, speaking with an eloquent fluent tongue, calling to severing whoever had severed it, and joining whoever had joined it.) Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
«الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمنُ، ارْحَمُوا أَهْلَ الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ أَهْلُ السَّمَاءِ، وَالرَّحِمُ شُجْنَةٌ مِنَ الرَّحْمنِ، مَنْ وَصَلَهَا وَصَلَتْهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَهَا بَتَّتْه»
(The merciful ones will be granted mercy from the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those on earth -- the One above the heavens will then have mercy on you. And Ar-Rahim (the womb) is from Ar-Rahman, so whoever joins it, it joins him; and whoever severs it, it severs him.) Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi both recorded this Hadith and it has been reported with continuous chains of transmission. At-Trimidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.'' There are numerous other Hadiths in this regard.
47.20-25 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "In view of the conditions through which the Muslims were passing and the attitude that the disbelievers had adopted towards Islam and the Muslims at that time the believers were generally of the opinion that they should be permitted to fight even before fighting was actually enjoined by Allah. Rather they were asking Allah's Command in this regard impatiently and were awaiting again and again: "Why are we not permitted to fight these wicked people '?" But the condition of the people who had joined the ranks of the Muslims hypocritically was quite different from that of the believers. They held their lives and their properties as dearer to themselves than Allah and His Religion, and were not prepared to risk them at any cost. Therefore, as soon as fighting was enjoined they were clearly sorted out from the true believers. fill the time fighting had not been enjoined, the hypocrites and the common believers could not be distinguished one from the other. The hypocrites offered the Prayer just as the true believers did: they observed the Fast just like them, and practiced every article of the Faith as made no demand of a sacrifice on them. But when time came for making the supreme sacrifice of life for the sake of Islam, their hypocrisy was exposed and their veil of false display of the Faith was rent asunder. In Surah An-Nisa', their this state has been described thus: "Have you marked those to whom it was said: To withhold your hands a while and establish the salat and pay the zakat? Now that the fighting has been enjoined for them,some of them fear the people as they should fear Allah, or even snore than that; they say: Our Lord, why have You enjoined fighting for us? Why have You not given us a brief respite?" (v. 77)
Another translation of the words in the original can be; "If you became rulers over the people, "
Its one meaning is; 'If at this time you shirk supporting and defending Islam and refrain from fighting with your life and wealth for the cause of me great reformist revolution which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) and his Companions are struggling to bring about, there will be no other consequence of this than that you would return to the same system of ignorance in which you have been cutting each other's throat since centuries, burying your children alive and filling God's earth with injustice and wickedness." Its other meaning is: 'You are a people of depraved character. You are not at all sincere in your claim of having affirmed the Faith, because you are not prepared to make any sacrifice in its cause. Now, is Allah gives you power in the land and entrusts the affairs of the world to you when morally you are unsound and unreliable, what else can be expected of you than that you would commit tyranny and mischief and resort to killing of your own near and dear ones.
This verse clearly points out that Islam forbids severing of relations with the kindred. On the other hand, in positive terms also, at several places in the Qur'an, treating the relatives kindly and well has been enjoined and counted among the major virtues. (For instance, see AI-Baqarah: 83, 177: An-Nisa': 8, 36; An-Nahl: 90. Bani Isra'il: 26; An-Nur: 22). The word rahm in Arabic is used far kinship and relationship by blood metaphorically. AII the relations of a person, whether near or distant, are his kinsmen (dhwil-arham). The nearer the relationship the greater the right one has upon the other and graver the sin of severing the ties of blood. To treat the kindred well implies that one should do one's utmost in doing whatever good one possibly can to one's relative, should avoid doing any ill or harm to him. Reasoning from this very verse Hadrat 'Umar had forbidden as unlawful selling of the slave girl who had given birth to a child from her master, and the Companions had concurred with him in this. Hakim in his Musradrik has related on the authority of Hadrat Buraidah that one day when he was sitting among the audience of Hadrat 'Umar, suddenly a clamor arose in the street. On inquiring it was known that a slave girl was being sold and her daughter was crying, Hadrat 'Umar immediately got the Ansar and the Muhajirin together and put before them the question: ¦Do you find in the Religion that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) has brought any room for severing of relations between the blood relationships?" Everybody replied in the negative. Thereupon, Hadrat 'Umar said: Then, how is it that in your houses a mother is being separated from her daughter? Could there be a greater and more serious instance of the cutting of these relationships? Then he recited this verse. The people said: You may adopt whatever measure you deem fit to stop this practice. At this Hadrat 'Umar issued this decree for enforcement in all the Islamic territories: "No slave-girl who has given birth to a child from her master is to be sold because this is breaking of kinship ties which is not lawful."
That is, 'Either these people do not ponder over the Qur'an at all, or if they try to ponder over it, its teachings and meaning do not enter their hearts, because they have put locks on them." As for this that "there are their locks upon the hearts," it means this: "There are such locks on them as are specially meant for the hearts which are not susceptible to the truth."