The Quran

Commentaries for 4.136

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.136 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O ye who believe) O you who believed on the day of the covenant and disbelieved thereafter! (Believe) now (in Allah and His messenger) it is also said that Allah called them by the name of their forefathers who had believed in the past. This verse was revealed regarding 'Abdullah Ibn Salam, Asad and Usayd the sons of Ka'b, Tha'labah Ibn Qays and Salam and Salamah, the nephews of 'Abdullah Ibn Salam, and Yamin Ibn Yamin. These were the believers from among the people of the Torah. It was said about them: O you who believe in Moses and the Torah, believe in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger) Muhammad, i.e. the Qur'an, (and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime) before Muhammad and the Qur'an upon all past prophets. (Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day) resurrection after death, (he verily hath wandered far astray.) When this verse was revealed all the people mentioned above embraced Islam.
4.136 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
O you who have faith! Have faith in God and His Messenger.
Faith is two sorts, one based on proof, the other on face-to-face vision. Faith by proof is the road of inference, and faith by face-to-face vision is finding the day of union. Faith by proof is to employ the evidence of intellects, and faith by vision is to reach the degrees of arrival. In terms of allusion He is saying: “O you have acquired faith by proof, strive to acquire faith by face-to-face vision!” What is faith by face-to-face vision? Gazing with the eye of response on the Responder, gaz-
ing with the eye of solitariness on the Solitary, gazing with the eye of presence on the Present, being near to God's nearness by being far from self, being present with His generosity by being absent from self. He-majestic is His majesty!-is not far from the strivers nor absent from the desirers. He says, “We are nearer to him than the jugular vein” [50:16].
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O Lord! You are found by the souls of the chevaliers, You are present to the hearts of the rememberers. They give marks of You up close, but You are far beyond that. They fancy You from afar, but You are closer than the spirit.”
Lovely idol! Are you then my beloved?
Now that I look close, You are my spirit.
It is also said that the meaning of the verse is this: O you who have faith by assenting, have faith
by realizing! You have accepted the Shariah, now accept the Haqiqah.
What is the Shariah? What the Haqiqah? The Shariah is a lamp, the Haqiqah a burn. The Shariah is a bond, the Haqiqah advice. The Shariah is need, the Haqiqah joy. The Shariah is the
outer pillars, the Haqiqah the inner pillars. The Shariah is not having evil, the Haqiqah is not having self. The Shariah is service based on conditions, the Haqiqah exile based on witnessing. The Shariah is by intermediaries, the Haqiqah by unveiling.
The folk of the Shariah keep obedience and leave aside disobedience, the folk of the Haqiqah flee from themselves and take joy in oneness. The folk of the Shariah hope for everlastingness and subsistent bliss, the folk of the Haqiqah boldy busy themselves with the Cupbearer.
The Haqiqah begins when He appears. The longing that overcomes you makes the wide world too narrow for you and makes the inside of your shirt a prison. It strikes fire in your spirit and throws thirst into your heart. You see the burning, but not the Burner. You see the tumult, but not Him who stirs it up. There is no one to assist you, no one with whom to speak, no sympathizer with whom you can sit for a while.
Isolated from friends in every land-
the greater the sought, the fewer the helpers.
In the end, the chevalier lets out a sigh in his longing and bewilderment: “O God, my tree has been burnt by thirst. How long will it take before You look after it? O Generous One! I am weeping over You! It is not beneath You to answer. Pour water once on my field!
“O God, if I am not worthy for what I desire, how can I love with a heart plucked of its feathers? If the hand of my need will not reach the branch of hope, how can I get on my feet? If You do not give me access to Yourself, how can I flee to You? O Generous One, give me access, so that I may weep at Your threshold and rejoice in hope mixed with fear. Receive me, O Gentle One, so that I may turn myself over to You. Gaze at me once so that I may throw the two worlds into the ocean.”
The Majestic Lord caresses the traveler with the attribute of generosity: “Fear not! Not every bite is poisoned. When a mother bites her child, she does so because of love.”
4.136 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
O you who believe, believe, with perseverance, in God and His Messenger and the Book which has been revealed to His Messenger, Muhammad (s), and that is the Qur’ān; and the Book which was revealed before, to the messengers, namely, the scriptures (a variant reading [for nuzzila and unzila, ‘was revealed’] has the active form for both verbs [nazzala and anzala, ‘He revealed’]). And whoever disbelieves in God and His angels and His Books, and His messengers, and the Last Day, verily he has strayed far away, from the truth.
4.136 Kashani - Kashani
O you who believe, with a traditional faith, believe, with the faith of realisation, or believe with the faith of knowledge, or believe with individual faith.
4.136 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Order to Have Faith after Believing
Allah commands His faithful servants to adhere to all the elements of faith, its branches, pillars and cornerstones. This is not stated as mere redundancy, but from the view of completing faith and the continual maintenence of it. For instance, the believer proclaims in every prayer,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight way.) which means, make us aware of the straight path and increase us in guidance and strengthen us on it. In this Ayah 4:136, Allah commands the believers to believe in Him and in His Messenger, just as He said elsewhere,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَءَامِنُواْ بِرَسُولِهِ
(O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah, and believe in His Messenger, ). Allah's statement,
وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى نَزَّلَ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ
(and the Book which He has sent down to His Messenger,) refers to the Qur'an, while,
وَالْكِتَـبِ الَّذِى أَنَزلَ مِن قَبْلُ
(and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him);) refers to the previously revealed divine Books. Allah then said,
وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَـئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَـلاً بَعِيداً
(and whosoever disbelieves in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away.) meaning, he will have deviated from the correct guidance and strayed far away from its path.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ ءَامَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُواْ كُفْراً لَّمْ يَكُنْ اللَّهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلاَ لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلاً - بَشِّرِ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
4.136-141 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
To ask believers to believe might at first seem strange. The fact is, however, that belief as used here has two meanings. First, belief denotes that a man has preferred to acknowledge the soundness of true guidance, to distance himself from the fold of those who disbelieve, and to join the camp of the believers. Second, belief denotes faith, a man's believing in the truth with all his heart, with full earnestness and sincerity. It denotes man's sincere determination to mold his way of thinking, his taste and temperament, his likes and dislikes, his conduct and character, his friendship and enmity, and the direction of his efforts and striving, in conformity with the creed which he has resolved to embrace. This verse is addressed to all those who are 'believers' in the first sense of the term, and they are asked to change themselves into true believers, i.e. believers in the second sense.
Here kufr implies two things:
(1) a person may reject Islam outright;
(2) one may pay lip service to Islam but may not (sincerely) believe in it or may show one's conduct that one does not, in fact, believe in Islam, in spite of one's profession.
Here kufr implies both these things, and the verse warns that neither kind of kufr can go side by side with the fundamental articles of Islamic Faith and will mislead the one who adopts it, away from the Truth into the paths of deviation.
These are the people who do not consider Faith a serious matter but play with it like a toy to gratify their whims and lusts. They adopt Islam, if and when they are swayed to it by some fanciful notion, and become disbelievers, if another notion moves them away to the opposite side. Or, they become Muslims when their interests demand it and become disbelievers, without the least hesitation, if their interests lie in disbelief. Obviously, for such people there is neither forgiveness nor guidance from Allah. They do not stop at their own disbelief but go much further in it. They strive to turn other Muslims also away from Islam, conspire against it and make open designs to harm it so as to raise the standard of kufr high up and to pull down the standard of Islam. As this is an addition to the sin of one's personal disbelief, it deserves much severe punishment than the offense of the one who disbelieves in Islam but is not antagonistic to it.
The Arabic word 'izzat is more comprehensive than the English word honor, "the regard in which one is held by one's followers". Izzat refers to such a high regard and secure position as is inviolable.
The Command to the Believers to quit the company of the disbelievers, as soon as they get engaged in ridiculing Islam, is contained in v. 68 of Al-An'am which was revealed earlier than An-Nisa'. If a Believer sits in the company of disbelievers and coolly listens to the ridicule of Divine Revelations he becomes a partner in that blasphemy, and there remains little difference between him and the disbelievers.
The hypocrites of every age have always enjoyed all the benefits conferred by Islam, by professing it with their tongue, and nominally joining the Muslim Community. At the same time they enjoy all the benefits they can derive from the disbelievers, by mixing with them and assuring them, "We are not bigoted Muslims though we are nominally connected with them. We are akin to you in culture, in thoughts and in the way of life and our interests and loyalties are the same as yours. Therefore, you should rest assured that we will side with you in the conflict between Islam and kufr."
4.136 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
O you who believe believe in God and His Messenger and the Book which has been revealed to His Messenger; and the Book which was revealed before. And whoever disbelieves in God and His angels and His Books and His messengers and the Last Day verily he has strayed far away. “O you who believe from the point of view of demonstrative proof burhān believe from the point of view of clear evidence bayān until you believe from the point of view of unveiling kashf and eyewitnessing ʿiyān.” It is said: “O you who believe through affirmation taṣdīq believe by recognizing the truth taḥqīq that your salvation comes through His favor not through your belief.” It is said: “O you who believe in the present ḥāl believe with unwavering belief up to the end maÌāl.” It is said: “O you who believe believe that He is beyond every union and separation waṣl wa-faṣl finding and losing wajd wa-faqd.” It is said “O you who believe through the use of the proofs of intellects adillat al-ʿuqūl: When you alight in the courtyard of arriving and the bewilderment of sudden intuition and the forces of perplexity take possession of you and you then awaken from this state of absence [from creation] believe that that which overwhelmed you was the witness of the Real kāna shāhida al-ḥaqq not the reality Itself lā ḥaqīqata al-dhāt for the Eternal is too sanctified and holy for any nearness and distance union and separation.”
4.136 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger…) [4:136]. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Salam, Asad and Usayd the sons of Ka‘b, Tha‘labah ibn Qays and a group of believers from the people of the Book. These people said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we believe in you and in your Scripture, just as we believe in Moses, the Torah and Ezra, but we disbelieve in other messengers and Scriptures other than these’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.