The Quran

Commentaries for 4.171

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.171 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then revealed about the Nestorian Christians of Najran who claimed that Jesus was the son of Allah and that Jesus and the Lord are partners, saying: (O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate) do not be extreme (in your religion) for this is not the right course (nor utter aught concerning Allah save the Truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary) and through His word he became a created being, (and a spirit from Him) and through His command, Jesus became a son without a father. (So believe in Allah and His messengers) all the messengers including Jesus, (and say not “Three”) a son, father and wife. (Cease!) from making such a claim and repent ((it is) better for you!) than such a claim. (Allah is only One God) without a son or partner. (Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth) are His servants. (And Allah is sufficient as Defender) as Lord of all created beings and He is witness of what He says about Jesus.
4.171 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
O People of the Scripture, the Gospel, do not go to extremes, do not go beyond the bounds, in your religion and do not say about God except, the saying of, the truth, such as exalting Him above any associations with a partner or a child: the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word which He cast to, [which] He conveyed to, Mary, and a spirit, that is, one whose spirit is, from Him: he [Jesus] is here attached to God, exalted be He, as an honouring for him, and not as you claim, that he is the son of God, or a god alongside Him, or one of three, because one that possesses a spirit is compound, while God transcends being compound and the attribution of compounds to Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, that the gods are, ‘Three’, God, Jesus and his mother. Refrain, from this and say what, it is better for you, [to say], which is the profession of His Oneness. Verily, God is but One God. Glory be to Him, transcending [the possibility], that He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, as possessions, creatures and servants, and such sovereignty is not compatible with [that] prophethood [of Jesus]. God suffices as a Guardian, a Witness to this.
4.171 Kashani - Kashani
O People of the Scripture, do not go to extremes in your religion: as for [the extremism of] the Jews, it is their absorption in the exoteric and the denial of the esoteric aspects [of things], and [their] demotion of Jesus from the rank of prophethood and the station of the possession of the attributes of lordliness. In the case of the Christians, it is their absorption in the esoteric aspects and their denial of the exoteric as well as the elevation of Jesus to the station of divinity; and do not say about God except the truth, by combining [belief in both] the exoteric and esoteric aspects as well as the union and the differentiation, as is the case with the Muḥammadan affirmation of Oneness and with the statement that Jesus was the locus for the manifestation of the divine attributes, drawing life from His life and calling to the station of the affirmation of descriptions; and [Jesus is] His Word, a disengaged soul, a word from among the words of God, that is, one of His spiritual realities, a spirit from among [many] spirits. So believe in God and His messengers, at the level of union and differentiation, and do not say, 'Three', by adding life and knowledge to the essence such that the divinity becomes three things and Jesus becomes a part of His life at the breathing [into Mary]; or [do not say 'Three'] by differentiating between the essence of the Truth and the world of light and the world of darkness such that Jesus becomes generated by His light; rather believe in all [as one], since He is all and hence knowledge and life constitute His very essence, as well as the world of light and that of darkness, and Jesus becomes annihilated in Him, existing by His existence, alive by His life, knowing by His knowledge, all of which constitutes His essential unity, expressed in His words: Verily, God is but One God. Glory be to Him, exalted above that there should be an existent other than Him such that it can be generated from Him, separate itself [from Him] and share in His genus by being an existent like Him; nay, He is the [only] existent in the sense that He is existence. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens, spirits, [and in] the earth, bodies, being His Names and His exoteric and esoteric aspects; [God suffices] as a Guardian, standing in for creatures in terms of their acts, their attributes and their essences upon their annihilation in the affirmation of the Oneness, as the Commander of the Believers ʿAlī [b. Abī Ṭālib], peace be upon him, said, 'There is no god except God after the annihilation of creatures'.
4.171 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Prohibiting the People of the Book From Going to Extremes in Religion
Allah forbids the People of the Scriptures from going to extremes in religion, which is a common trait of theirs, especially among the Christians. The Christians exaggerated over `Isa until they elevated him above the grade that Allah gave him. They elevated him from the rank of prophethood to being a god, whom they worshipped just as they worshipped Allah. They exaggerated even more in the case of those who they claim were his followers, claiming that they were inspired, thus following every word they uttered whether true or false, be it guidance or misguidance, truth or lies. This is why Allah said,
اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَـرَهُمْ وَرُهْبَـنَهُمْ أَرْبَاباً مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ
(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَا تُطْرُونِي كَمَا أَطْرَتِ النَّصَارَىِ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ. فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا عَبْدٌفَقُولُوا: عَبْدُاللهِ وَرَسُولُه»
(Do not unduly praise me like the Christians exaggerated over `Isa, son of Maryam. Verily, I am only a servant, so say, `Allah's servant and His Messenger.') This is the wording of Al-Bukhari. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that a man once said, "O Muhammad! You are our master and the son of our master, our most righteous person and the son of our most righteous person...'' The Messenger of Allah said,
«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عَلَيْكُمْ بِقَوْلِكُمْ، وَلَا يَسْتَهْوِيَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ،أَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِاللهِ، عَبْدُاللهِ وَرَسُولُهُ، وَاللهِ مَا أُحِبُّ أَنْ تَرْفَعُونِي فَوْقَ مَنْزِلَتِي الَّتِي أَنْزَلَنِي اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَل»
(O people! Say what you have to say, but do not allow Shaytan to trick you. I am Muhammad bin `Abdullah, Allah's servant and Messenger. By Allah! I do not like that you elevate me above the rank that Allah has granted me.) Allah's statement,
وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقَّ
(nor say of Allah except the truth.) means, do not lie and claim that Allah has a wife or a son, Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. Allah is glorified, praised, and honored in His might, grandure and greatness, and there is no deity worthy of worship nor Lord but Him. Allah said;
إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَـهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ
(Al-Masih `Isa, son of Maryam, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from created by Him;) `Isa is only one of Allah's servants and one of His creatures. Allah said to him, `Be', and he was, and He sent him as a Messenger. `Isa was a word from Allah that He bestowed on Maryam, meaning He created him with the word `Be' that He sent with Jibril to Maryam. Jibril blew the life of `Isa into Maryam by Allah's leave, and `Isa came to existence as a result. This incident was in place of the normal conception between man and woman that results in children. This is why `Isa was a word and a Ruh (spirit) created by Allah, as he had no father to conceive him. Rather, he came to existence through the word that Allah uttered, `Be,' and he was, through the life that Allah sent with Jibril. Allah said,
مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ كَانَا يَأْكُلاَنِ الطَّعَامَ
(Al-Masih `Isa, son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother Maryam was a Siddiqah. They both ate food.) And Allah said,
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ ءَادَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
(Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be! ـ and he was.)
وَالَّتِى أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَـهَا وَابْنَهَآ ءَايَةً لِّلْعَـلَمِينَ
(And she who guarded her chastity, We breathed into her (garment) and We made her and her son `Isa a sign for all that exits.) (21:91)
وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَةَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِى أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا
(And Maryam, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity,) and Allah said concerning the Messiah,
إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ عَبْدٌ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَيْهِ
(He `Isa was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him.)
The Meaning of "His Word and a spirit from Him
`Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said that the Ayah,
وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَـهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ
(And His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from created by Him;) means, He said,
(Be) and he was. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ahmad bin Sinan Al-Wasiti said that he heard Shadh bin Yahya saying about Allah's statement,
وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَـهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ
(and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from created by Him;) "`Isa was not the word. Rather, `Isa came to existence because of the word.'' Al-Bukhari recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Prophet said,
«مَنْ شَهِدَ أَنْ لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ، وَأَنَّ عِيسَى عَبْدُاللهِ وَرَسُولُهُ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ، وَأَنَّ الْجَنَّةَ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّارَ حَقٌّ، أَدْخَلَهُ اللهُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى مَا كَانَ مِنَ الْعَمَل»
(If anyone testifies that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and that `Isa is Allah's servant and Messenger and His Word which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true and Hell is true, then Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he performed.) In another narration, the Prophet said,
«مِنْ أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ الثَّمَانِيَّةِ يَدْخُلُ مِنْ أَيِّهَا شَاء»
(...through any of the eight doors of Paradise he wishes.) Muslim also recorded it. Therefore, `Ruh from Allah', in the Ayah and the Hadith is similar to Allah's statement,
وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَّا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً مِّنْهُ
(And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all from Him.) meaning, from His creation. `from Him' does not mean that it is a part of Him, as the Christians claim, may Allah's continued curses be upon them. Saying that something is from Allah, such as the spirit of Allah, the she-camel of Allah or the House of Allah, is meant to honor such items. Allah said,
هَـذِهِ نَاقَةُ اللَّهِ
(This is the she-camel of Allah...) and,
وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِينَ
(and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it.) An authentic Hadith states,
«فَأَدْخُلُ عَلَى رَبِّي فِي دَارِه»
(I will enter on my Lord in His Home) All these examples are meant to honor such items when they are attributed to Allah in this manner. Allah said,
فَـَامِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ
(so believe in Allah and His Messengers.) believe that Allah is One and Alone and that He does not have a son or wife. Know and be certain that `Isa is the servant and Messenger of Allah. Allah said after that,
وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلَـثَةٌ
(Say not: "Three!") do not elevate `Isa and his mother to be gods with Allah. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. In Surat Al-Ma'idah (chapter 5), Allah said,
لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَـلِثُ ثَلَـثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَـهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَـهٌ وَحِدٌ
(Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allah is the third of the three.'' But there is none who has the right to be worshipped but One God.) Allah said by the end of the same Surah,
وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يعِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَءَنتَ قُلتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِى
(And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O `Isa, son of Maryam! Did you say unto men: `Worship me''') and in its beginning,
لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَآلُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ
(Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam.) The Christians, may Allah curse them, have no limit to their disbelief because of their ignorance, so their deviant statements and their misguidance grows. Some of them believe that `Isa is Allah, some believe that he is one in a trinity and some believe that he is the son of Allah. Their beliefs and creeds are numerous and contradict each other, prompting some people to say that if ten Christians meet, they would end up with eleven sects!
The Christian Sects
Sa`id bin Batriq, the Patriarch of Alexandria and a famous Christian scholar, mentioned in the year four hundred after the Hijrah, that a Christian Council convened during the reign of Constantine, who built the city that bears his name. In this Council, the Christians came up with what they called the Great Trust, which in reality is the Great Treachery. There were more than two thousand patriarchs in this Council, and they were in such disarray that they divided into many sects, where some sects had twenty, fifty or a hundred members, etc.! When the king saw that there were more than three hundred Patriarchs who had the same idea, he agreed with them and adopted their creed. Constantine who was a deviant philosopher -- gave his support to this sect for which, as an honor, churches were built and doctrines were taught to young children, who were baptized on this creed, and books were written about it. Meanwhile, the king oppressed all other sects. Another Council produced the sect known as the Jacobites, while the Nestorians were formed in a third Council. These three sects agreed that `Isa was divine, but disputed regarding the manner in which `Isa's divinity was related to his humanity; were they in unity or did Allah incarnate in `Isa! All three of these sects accuse each other of heresy and, we believe that all three of them are disbelievers. Allah said,
انتَهُواْ خَيْراً لَّكُمْ
(Cease! (it is) better for you.) meaning, it will be better for you,
إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَـهٌ وَحِدٌ سُبْحَـنَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ
(For Allah is (the only) One God, hallowed be He above having a son.) and He is holier than such claim,
وَللَّهِ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلاً
(To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs,) for all are creatures, property and servants under His control and disposal, and He is the Disposer of the affairs. Therefore, how can He have a wife or a son among them,
بَدِيعُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ
(He is the originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children.) and
وَقَالُواْ اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَـنُ وَلَداً - لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئاً إِدّاً
(And they say: "The Most Gracious (Allah) has begotten a son. Indeed you have brought forth (said) a terrible evil thing.'') Up to His saying,
4.171 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here "The people of the Book" refers to the Christians who went beyond the bounds in their religion and regarded Jesus as God in their exaggerated reverence and love of him. This was a contrast to the Jews (the other people of the Book) who had gone to the other extreme in their denial of an enmity against Jesus.
The Prophet Jesus has specially been called God's "Command" (Kalimah) because he was born without the usual agency of a father. God sent a Command that Mary should become pregnant without the semen of a man and she conceived. Although in the very beginning, the Christians were told that Christ had been born without a father by the Command of God, yet they were so misled by the Alexandrian Philosophy of Philo that they first mistook Kalimah (Command) for the "Divine Word"; then changed the "Divine Word" into the "Logos"; then they built on the Logos Doctrine which misguided them to the false belief in the divine nature of Jesus Christ. That is how they came to believe that God had revealed Himself or His eternal attribute of speech in the person of Jesus. (See John I : 1, 14).
Here Jesus has been called "A spirit from God" and in Al-Baqarah, 11 : 253, it is stated that God supported him (Jesus) with the "Holy Spirit". In both cases, it means that Allah had bestowed upon the Prophet Jesus a Holy Spirit that.was imbued with high moral values and was a perfection of truth and righteousness without any tinge of evil. The Christians were taught this very thing, but they exaggerated the notion: they took "a spirit from God" for "the Spirit of God" and perverted the meaning of the Holy Ghost into "the Spirit of God Himself" which had entered into Jesus Christ. Thus, a third god, "the Holy Ghost", was created along with God and Christ. This was their second transgression which led the Christians astray.
The perversion of "a spirit from God" into "the Spirit of God" (Holy Ghost) has been made in spite of the fact that according to the Gospel of Matthew, "The angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Joseph) in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost," and not the Holy Ghost (1 : 20).
That is, "As Jesus is only a spirit from God and has no part of Godhead in him, do not go beyond the bounds but believe in Allah as One God and accept all His Messengers including the Messiah." This was what the Prophet Jesus himself really taught and this is the truth which a true Christian should believe.
The Christians have been rebuked for their wrong belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and advised to refrain from transgression. Strange though it may appear, the fact is that the Christians believe both in the Oneness of God and in the Trinity at one and the same time; for no Christian can deny that according to the clear sayings of Jesus in the Gospels, God is One Being and there is no other god than He. They cannot but admit that Unity of God is the real basis of religion. But the introduction of the doctrine of the Logos at an early stage of Christianity misled them into believing in the Godhead of Christ in union with God and the Holy Ghost. Since then it has always remained an enigma for them to reconcile these two contradictory doctrines and for the last eighteen hundred years or so the Christian scholars have been vainly engaged in solving this self-created baffling puzzle. Not only this, many Christian denominations have been founded upon different interpretations of this doctrine and it has given rise to many religious disputes in which one denomination accuses the other of blasphemy. In short, their scholars and interpreters have been spending all their efforts and energies in solving this enigma which was neither created by God nor by Christ. It is also obvious that there is no solution to it, because no one can prove that three persons share Godhead and also that God is One Being and has no partners in His Godhead. As this enigma is the result of their own transgression beyond the Divine limits, it can only be solved if they refrain from going beyond the limits and give up the belief of the Godhead of the Messiah and of the Holy Ghost, and acknowledge Allah as the sole object of worship, adoration and devotion and believe in the Messiah as a Messenger of God and not as a partner in the Godhead of Allah.
This refutes the fourth transgression of the Christians who believed that Christ was the Son of God. In this belief they had gone beyond the limits of their own religion. According to the first three Books of The New Testament (even if the traditions therein be accepted as authentic), the Prophet Jesus merely likened the relationship between Man and Allah to the relationship between father and son, and used the word father for God metaphorically, just as it was in vogue among the Israelites. There are many instances of this in the Old Testament the Prophet Jesus also used the word "father" in the sense it was used by his people. He called God not only his father but the father of all human beings. But, the Christians again went beyond the limits and declared Jesus to be the only Son of God. They based this strange belief on the assumption that Messiah was the manifestation of God and the incarnation of His Word and His Holy Ghost. They also transgressed in believing that God had sent His only Son to the earth so that he might take the burden of the sins of mankind on his own shoulders and go to his crucifixion and atone for the sins of Man with his own blood. Obviously, this belief is the creation of their own imagination, for there is no saying of Christ to support this.
Here, Allah has not refuted the doctrine of the "Atonement" because it is not a fundamental article of the Christian religion, but is a mere bye-product of (a) the belief that Christ is the Son of God and (b) a philosophical and mystical explanation of the objection that if Christ was the Son of God, why did he die a cursed death of crucifixion? It is thus obvious that this doctrine is refuted automatically, if it is shown that Christ was not the Son of God and that he did not die on the cross.
As all things in the heavens and the earth belong to Allah, none of them has any such relation with Him as of father and son, but only that of Master and slave.
Allah suffices for the management of His Kingdom and does not stand in need of the help of a son for this purpose.
4.171 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
O people of the scripture do not go to extremes in your religion and do not say about God except the truth: the Messiah Jesus the son of Mary was only the Messenger of God and His word which He cast to Mary and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say “Three.” Refrain it is better for you. Verily God is but One God. Glory be to Him that He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. God suffices as a Guardian. Their going to extremes in their religion [refers to] their following their own opinion since they described what they worshiped in the likeness of created beings. [This] was also contradictory since they said one is three and three is one. To persevere in what is false only increases the falseness.
4.171 Tustari - Al-Tustari
O People of the Scripture do not go to excess in your religion…That is, do not exceed the limits in your religion through innovations (bidaʿ), or by deviating from the truth, which is the Book, the Sunna and consensus (ijmāʿ), by inclining towards the desire of your lower selves.And he [Sahl] said:The backbone (qiwām) of religion and this world is in three things: knowledge (ʿilm), propriety (adab) and initiative (mubādara). However, the ruin of religion and this world comes from three things: ignorance (jahl), folly (khurq) and laziness (kasal).On another occasion, I heard him say:There are four things which are among the buttresses (daʿāʾim) of the religion: to uphold the truth even against your own self and others; to renounce falsehood in yourself or others; to love the people who are obedient to God and to detest those who disobey Him.He was asked about His words, Exalted is He:
4.171 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion…) [4:171]. This was revealed about some Christian denominations who claimed that Jesus is the son of Allah, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth…).