The Quran

Commentaries for 4.141

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.141 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then explained who these people are, saying: (Those who wait upon occasion in regard to you) those who lay in wait for hardship and the turn of events to befall you (and, if a victory) triumph and booty (cometh unto you from Allah, say) i.e. the hypocrites say to the sincere believers: (Are we not with you?) are we not following the same religion? Give us then of the booty, (and if the disbelievers) the Jews (meet with a success) fortune turn in their favour (say: Had we not the mastery of you) did we not divulge, and inform you about, the secrets of Muhammad, (and did we not protect you from the believers?) and did we not protect you from fighting the believers and informed you about them (Allah will judge between you) O congregation of Jews and hypocrites (at the Day of Resurrection, and Allah will not give the disbelievers) the Jews (any way (of success) against the believers) He will not always let fortune turn in favour of the Jews to the detriment of the believers.
4.141 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Those who (alladhīna, substitutes for the previous alladhīna [of verse 139]) wait in watch for you, [hoping] for misfortunes [to befall you], and, if a victory, such as a conquest or booty, comes to you from God, say, to you: ‘Were we not with you?’, in religion and in the struggle? So give us from the booty; but if the disbelievers have some luck, by gaining a victory over you, they say, to them: ‘Did we not gain mastery, authority, over you, capable of capturing you and slaying you, but we spared you, and did we not defend you against the believers?’, lest they be victorious over you, by forsaking them and apprising you of their plans, and thus have we not done you a favour? God, exalted be He, says: God will judge between you, and them, on the Day of Resurrection, admitting you into Paradise and them into the Fire; and God will never grant the disbelievers a way, a means [to success], over the believers, by annihilating them.
4.141 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Hypocrites Wait and Watch what Happens to Muslims
Allah states that the hypocrites watch and await the harm that occurs to the believers, awaiting the time when the Muslim circumstances and religion are dissolved and the state of Kufr takes over.
فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ فَتْحٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ
(if you gain a victory from Allah) triumph, aid and booty,
قَالُواْ أَلَمْ نَكُنْ مَّعَكُمْ
(they say, "Were we not with you'') trying to come closer to the believers with this statement. However,
وَإِن كَانَ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ نَصِيبٌ
(But if the disbelievers gain a success,) by gaining victory over the believers sometimes, just as occurred during Uhud, for surely, the Messengers are tested, but the final victory is theirs.
قَالُواْ أَلَمْ نَسْتَحْوِذْ عَلَيْكُمْ وَنَمْنَعْكُمْ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
(they say (to them), "Did we not gain mastery over you and did we not protect you from the believers'') meaning, did we not help you in secret and try our best to confuse the believers and weaken their resolve, until you gained victory over them This statement of the hypocrites is an attempt to strengthen relations with the disbelievers, because they pretend to be friends with both parties so that they will be safe from their harm, due to their weak faith and lack of certainty. Allah said,
فَاللَّهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ
(Allah will judge between you (all) on the Day of Resurrection) meaning, by what He knows about you, O hypocrites. Therefore, do not be deceived by being shaded under the protection of Islamic Law in this life, which is such only out of Allah's wisdom. Surely, on the Day of Resurrection, your pretending shall not benefit you, because on that Day, the secrets of the souls will be disclosed and the contents of the hearts will be collected. Allah said,
وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلاً
(And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers). `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Yasi` Al-Kindi said, "A man came to `Ali bin Abi Talib and said, `What about this Ayah,
وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلاً
(And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers.) `Ali said, `Come closer, come closer. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection, and He will not grant victory for the disbelievers over the believers.' '' Ibn Jurayj recorded that `Ata' Al-Khurasani said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلاً
(And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers.) "Will occur on the Day of Resurrection.'' As-Suddi recorded that Abu Malik Al-Ashja`i said that it occurs on the Day of Resurrection. As-Suddi said that "way'' means, proof. It is possible that the meaning of, `and never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers', is in this life by being unable to exterminate the believers completely, although they sometimes gain victory over some Muslims. However, the Final Triumph will be for the believers in this life and the Hereafter. Allah said,
إِنَّا لَنَنصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فِى الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا
(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in the worldly life) This provides a rebuttal to the wishes of the hypocrites for the destruction of the believers, and their loyalty to the disbelievers, fearing for themselves if they are victorious. In another Ayah, Allah said,
فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يُسَـرِعُونَ فِيهِمْ
(And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease (of hypocrisy), they hurry to their friendship), until,
نَـدِمِينَ
(Regretful)
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."
4.141 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Those who wait in watch for you and if a victory comes to you from God say “Were we not with youḍ”; but if the disbelievers have some luck they say “did we not gain mastery over you and did we not defend you against the believersḍ” God will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection and God will never grant the disbelievers a way over the believers. Because they lacked sincerity ikhlāṣ in the truest sense and had not tasted true conviction ʿaqīda they showed themselves to be of a different character from those who in the [divine] decree submitted. [Those who submitted] and the disbelievers are not the same. It is necessary for the people of the Real to be wary of [the disbelievers] and to stay aloof from them. Then He سبحانه included a beautiful expression of His sufficiency for them by His saying “God will never grant the disbelievers a way over the believers” which is an all-encompassing statement. Surely the evil of their deception is diverted back to them fa-inna wabāla kaydihim ilayhim maṣrūfun and the requital for their plotting is reserved for them wa-jazāÌa makrihim ʿalayhim mawqūfun. The right and true reality-its people are aided from the power of the Real سبحانه wa-l-ḥaqqu min qibali al-ḥaqqi subḥānihi manṣūrun ahluhu. The false-its foundation is uprooted through the help of the Real سبحانه wa-l-bāṬilu bi-naṣri al-ḥaqqi subḥānihi mujtaththun aṣluhu.
4.141 Tustari - Al-Tustari
…Did we not gain mastery over you?...That is, conquer and overcome you.His words: