The Quran

Commentaries for 4.31

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.31 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(If you avoid the great (things) which ye are forbidden) in this surah, (We will remit from you your evil deeds) We will forgive you your sins which are not included among the enormities: the minor sins committed between the period separating a congregational prayer from another, those sins committed in the period separating one Friday Prayer from another, as well as those sins committed in the period separating one month of Ramadan from another, (and make you enter) in the Hereafter (at a noble gate) Paradise.
4.31 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
If you avoid the great sins prohibited to you, We will acquit you of your ugly deeds and admit you to a generous admitting place.
The great sins of the folk of service in the path of the Shariah are what you have heard about. The great sins of the folk of companionship in the street of the Tariqah and in the tongue of allusion are another sort and have another tasting, for the folk of service are one thing, and the folk of companionship something else. Those who serve are the wage-earners, and the companions are the proximate. In the traditions has come the saying, “The beautiful deeds of the pious are the ugly deeds of the proximate.” Of the same sort is the saying of the Pir of the Tariqah, “The hypocrisy of the recognizers is better than the self-purification of the desirers.”
The basis of this rule is the subtle point MuṣṬafā reported about cloudiness and his asking forgiveness for it. He said, “My heart becomes clouded, so I ask forgiveness from God seventy times a day.” Abū Bakr al-ṣiddīq said, “Would that I could witness that for which God's Messenger asked forgiveness.”
The mark of the recognizers' great sins is that lassitude sometimes comes over them in the world of their own traveling, and thereby their innate disposition is overpowered by human attributes. Their life becomes susceptible to customs and habits, and the realities of their faith come to be mixed with the contaminants of personal motives and marks giving witness to their own shares. In this state of theirs, if a messenger of sound discipline, truthful poverty, and the joy of ecstasy does not come out to welcome them and take their hands, they will not emerge from the pit of their own selfhood.
If you want to come out of the pit of status like a man,
grab hold of the pearl-encrusted, musk-wafting chain. [DS 719]
The great ones of the religion have said that as long as a man does not reach this place of danger and leave behind the station of lassitude, he will not become a pir of the Tariqah and will not be suited to take disciples. A man must have lost the road a thousand times and then returned to it if he is to bring someone who has lost the road back to the road. What is needed first is the road to the road, then the road is needed. Someone who has always been on the road knows the road, but he does not know the road to the road. The secret of the slips of the prophets and their falling into lassitude is this. And God knows best. This is knocking at a magnificent gate. Happy is he for whom it is opened and who is guided to it!
4.31 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
If you avoid the grave sins that are forbidden you, those for which the threat of punishment has been prescribed, like murder, fornication or theft — according to Ibn ‘Abbās, these number as much as seven hundred — We will absolve you of your, minor, evil deeds, on account of your acts of obedience, and admit you by an honourable gate (read mudkhalan or madkhalan), that is, [by an honourable] admittance or location, namely, Paradise.
4.31 Kashani - Kashani
If you avoid what is forbidden to you of grave sins, in the way of affirming any other [than God] in existence, that which is an [idolatrous] act of association in essence, in attribute and in fact. For the gravest of sins is the affirmation of an existence other than His existence, exalted be He, as was said [to man]: the sin of your very existence alone is an immeasurable sin; then [the gravest is] to affirm a duality in [His] essence by affirming that the attributes are additional to it, as the Commander of the Believers said: 'Sincere belief in Him [as One] is not to ascribe attributes to Him'; We will absolve you of your evil deeds, by the manifestation of the soul or the heart in the form of one of its attributes sometimes, for after the manifestation of the light of the affirmation of the Oneness, these [attributes] are unable to withstand; and admit you by an honourable gate, being the presence of the source of the union, outside of which there is no glory.
4.29-31 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Prohibiting Unlawfully Earned Money
Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, prohibits His believing servants from illegally acquiring each other's property using various dishonest methods such as Riba, gambling and other wicked methods that appear to be legal, but Allah knows that, in reality, those involved seek to deal in interest. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented on a man who buys a garment, saying that if he likes it he will keep it, or he will return it along with an extra Dirham, "This is what Allah meant, when He said, o
وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَلَكُمْ بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ
(Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly.'') `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When Allah sent down,
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَلَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَـطِلِ
(O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly) some Muslims said, `Allah has forbidden us from eating up each other's property unjustly, and food is our best property. Therefore, none among us is allowed to eat from anyone else's food.' After that Allah sent down,
لَّيْسَ عَلَى الاٌّعْمَى حَرَجٌ
(There is no restriction on the blind) (until the end of the Ayah). 24:61.''' Qatadah said similarly. Allah's statement,
إِلاَّ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَـرَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْكُمْ
(except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent.) means, do not revert to illegal ways and means to acquire money. However, there is no harm in commercial transactions that transpire between the buyer and the seller with mutual consent, so that money is legally earned from these transactions. Mujahid said that,
إِلاَّ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَـرَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْكُمْ
(except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent.) means, "By selling and buying, or giving someone a gift.'' Ibn Jarir recorded this statement.
The Option to Buy or Sell Before Parting, is Part of `Mutual Consent' in Trading
Mutual agreement in various transactions is attained when both parties have the right to uphold or dissolve the agreement before they part. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,
«الْبَيِّعَانِ بِالْخِيَارِ مَالَمْ يَتَفَرَّقَا»
(The seller and the buyer retain the (right to change their mind) as long as they have not parted.) Al-Bukhari's wording for this Hadith reads,
«إِذَا تَبَايَعَ الرَّجُلانِ فَكُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا بِالْخِيَارِ، مَالَمْ يَتَفَرَّقَا»
(When two men conduct a transaction, they retain their (right to change their mind) as long as they have not parted.)
Forbidding Murder and Suicide
Allah said,
وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ
(And do not kill yourselves.) by committing Allah's prohibitions, falling into sin and eating up each other's property unjustly,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيماً
(Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.) in what He commanded you and prohibited you from. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amr bin Al-`As said that when the Prophet sent him for the battle of Dhat As-Salasil, "I had a wet dream during a very cold night and feared that if I bathed, I would die. So I performed Tayammum (with pure earth) and led my company in the Dawn prayer. When I went back to the Messenger of Allah, I mentioned what had happened to me and he said,
«يَا عَمْرُو صَلَّيْتَ بِأَصْحَابِكَ وَأَنْتَ جُنُب»
(O `Amr! Have you led your people in prayer while you were in a state of sexual impurity) I said, 'O Messenger of Allah! I had a wet dream on a very cold night and feared that if I bathed I would perish, and I remembered Allah's statement,
وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيماً
(And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you). So I performed Tayammum and prayed.' The Messenger of Allah smiled and did not say anything.'' This is the narration reported by Abu Dawud. Ibn Marduwyah mentioned this honorable Ayah and then reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بَحَدِيدَةٍ، فَحَدِيدَتُهُ فِي يَدِهِ، يَجَأُ بِهَا بطْنَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ، خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا، ومَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بِسُمَ فَسُمُّهُ فِي يَدِهِ، يَتَحَسَّاهُ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ، خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا، وَمَنْ تَرَدَّى مِنْ جَبَلٍ فَقَتلَ نَفْسَهُ، فَهُوَ مُتَرَدَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ، خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا»
(Whoever kills himself with an iron tool, then his tool will be in his hand and he will keep stabbing himself with it in the Fire of Jahannam, forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with poison, then his poison will be in his hand and he will keep taking it in the Fire of Jahannam forever and ever. Whoever kills himself by throwing himself from a mountain, will keep falling in the Fire of Jahannam forever and ever.) This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. Abu Qilabah said that Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بِشَيْءٍ، عُذِّبَ بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة»
(Whoever kills himself with an instrument, will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.) This Hadith was collected by the Group. This is why Allah said,
وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذلِكَ عُدْوَناً وَظُلْماً
(And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, ) meaning, whoever commits what Allah has forbidden for him transgression and injustice - while knowing that it is forbidden for him, yet he still dares to commit it,
فَسَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِ نَاراً
(We shall cast him into the Fire,). This Ayah carries a stern warning and a truthful promise. Therefore, every sane person should beware of it, those who hear the speech with full comprehension.
Minor Sins Will be Pardoned if One Refrains from Major Sins
Allah said,
إِن تَجْتَنِبُواْ كَبَآئِرَ مَا تُنهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَـتِكُمْ
(If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit from you your (small) sins,) meaning, if you avoid the major evil deeds that you were prohibited We will forgive you the minor evil deeds and will admit you into Paradise. This is why Allah said,
وَنُدْخِلْكُمْ مُّدْخَلاً كَرِيماً
(and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise).) There are several Hadiths on the subject of this honorable Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salman Al-Farisi said, "The Prophet said to me, `Do you know what the day of Al-Jumu`ah is' I said, `It is the day during which Allah brought together the creation of your father (Adam).' He said,
«لكِنْ أَدْرِي مَا يَوْمُ الْجُمُعَةِ، لَا يَتَطَهَّرُ الرَّجُلُ فَيُحْسِنُ طُهُورَهُ، ثُمَّ يَأْتِي الْجُمُعَةَ فَيُنْصِتُ حَتَّى يَقْضِيَ الْإمَامُ صَلَاتَهُ، إِلَّا كَانَ كَفَّارَةً لَهُ مَا بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجُمُعَةِ الْمُقْبِلَةِ، مَا اجْتُنِبَتِ الْمَقْتَلَة»
(I know what the day of Jumu`ah is. Anyone who takes a bath and cleans himself as much as he can and then proceeds for the Friday prayer and remains quiet until the Imam finishes the prayer, all his sins in between the present and the next Friday will be forgiven, as long as major sins were avoided.)'' Al-Bukhari recorded similar wording from Salman Al-Farisi.
The Seven Destructive Sins
What are the Seven Destructive Sins In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَات»
(Avoid the seven great destructive sins.) The people inquired, 'O Allah's Messenger! What are they' He said,
«الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلَات»
(To join others in worship along with Allah, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, magic, to consume Riba, to consume an orphan's wealth, to turn away from the enemy and flee from the battlefield when the battle begins, and to accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything that would tarnish their chastity and are good believers.) Another Hadith that mentions False Witness Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "The Messenger of Allah mentioned the major sins, or was asked about the major sins. He said,
«الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ، وَعُقُوقُ الْوَالِدَيْن»
(Associating others with Allah in worship, killing the life, and being undutiful to the parents.) He then said,
«أَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَكْبَرِ الْكَبَائِرِ؟»
قال:
«قَوْلُ الزُّورِ أَوْ شَهَادَةُ الزُّورِ »
(Should I tell you about the biggest of the major sins The false statement - or the false testimony.)'' Shu`bah - one of the narrators of the Hadith - said, "Most likely, in my opinion, he said, `False testimony.''' The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith from Shu`bah from Anas. Another Hadith In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakrah said that his father said, "The Prophet said,
«أَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَكْبَرِ الْكَبَائِرِ؟»
(Should I inform you about the greatest of the great sins) We said, `Yes, O Allah's Messenger !' He said,
«الِإشْرَاكُ بِاللهِ، وَعُقُوقُ الْوَالِدَيْن»
(To join others in worship with Allah and to be undutiful to one's parents.) He was reclining, then he sat up and said;
«أَلَا وَشَهَادَةُ الزُّورِ، أَلَا وَقَوْلُ الزُّور»
(And I warn you against false testimony and false speech.) and he continued repeating it until we wished that he would stop.'' Another Hadith that mentions killing the Offspring In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "I asked, `O Allah's Messenger! What is the greatest sin' (in one narration) the biggest sin' He said,
«أَنْ تَجْعَلَ للهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَك»
(To make a rival for Allah while He Alone created you.) I said, `Then' He said,
«أَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ خَشْيَةَ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَك»
(To kill your offspring for fear that he might share your food with you. ) I said, `Then' He said,
«أَنْ تُزَانِيَ حَلِيلَةَ جَارِك»
(To commit adultery with your neighbor's wife.) He then recited,
وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـهَا ءَاخَرَ
(And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah), until,
إِلاَّ مَن تَابَ
(Except those who repent).'' Another Hadith from `Abdullah bin `Amr Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr said that the Prophet said,
«أَكْبَرُ الْكَبَائِرِ: الِإشْرَاكُ بِاللهِ، وَعُقُوقُ الْوَالِدَيْنِ أَوْ قَتْلُ النَّفْسِ شعبة الشاك وَالْيَمِينُ الْغَمُوس»
(The greatest sins are: To join others in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one's parents - or to take a life) Shu`bah was uncertain of which one - (and the false oath). Recorded by Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasai. Another Hadith by `Abdullah bin `Amr about Causing one's Parents to be Cursed `Abdullah bin `Amr said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّ مِنْ أَكْبَرِ الْكَبَائِرِ أَنْ يَلْعَنَ الرَّجُلُ وَالِدَيْه»
(Among the worst of the major sins is for a man to curse his own parents.) They said, "How can one curse his own parents'' He said,
«يَسُبُّ الرَّجُلُ أَبَا الرَّجُلِ، فَيَسُبُّ أَبَاهُ، وَيَسُبُّ أُمَّهُ فَيَسُبُّ أُمَّه»
(One curses another man's father, and that man curses his father in retaliation, or he curses someone's mother and that man curses his mother.) This is the wording of Muslim. At-Tirmidhi said, "Sahih.'' It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,
«سِبَابُ الْمُسْلِمِ فُسُوقٌ، وَقِتَالُهُ كُفْر»
(Cursing a Muslim is a sin and fighting him is Kufr.)
4.31 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "We are not narrow-minded and prejudiced that We should take Our servants to task for each and every trivial offense. But if you commit wicked and heinous sins, then you shall have to render an account of the trivial offenses as well. "
Here it will be worthwhile to understand the basic differences between the "heinous sins" and the "trivial offenses". As far as I have understood from a critical study of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (and the correct and right knowledge is only with Allah), I have.come to the conclusion that the following three things make a sin heinous:
(1) The violation of the rights of Allah, or of parents, or of other human beings, or one's own rights. The wickedness of the sin increases in proportion to the sanctity of the right that is violated. That is why the Qur'an calls a sin Zulm (iniquity) and declares shirk to be a gross iniquity.
(2) A sin becomes heinous, if it is committed to defy the Divine Laws. This is because the offender deliberately, boldly and shamelessly discards the Commandments and Prohibitions of Allah and intentionally does that which He prohibits, merely for the sake of disobedience, and impudently does not do that which He has commanded. The gravity of this sin increases in proportion to the impudence that is shown towards Allah in disobeying and discarding His Law. That is why the Qur'an calls sin fisq (disobedience) and ma` siyat (arrogance).
(3) The violation of those relations and the cutting off of those connections on the unification and integrity of which depends the peace of human life, makes a sin heinous whether these relations are between man and Allah or between man and man. The gravity of the sin of violation or the cutting off of a connection increases in proportion to the importance of the relation, and to the security contained in it. For instance, fornication in its different forms is in itself a heinous sin, for it corrupts human society. But in some forms it becomes far more heinous than in others. The sin of adultery committed by a married man is far more heinous than that committed by an unmarried man. Likewise, adultery with a married woman is a far greater sin than fornication with an unmarried woman. In the same way, sexual intercourse with the womenfolk of a neighbour is far more heinous than with others and incest with mother, sister or daughter become the most heinous sin conceivable because of the security and sanctity the relation provides. For the same reason the sin committed in the mosque is far more wicked than elsewhere. In the above instances, the difference in the gravity of the same sin is due to the difference in the nature of the sanctity of the relations and the security contained in them. This is why, sin is also called fujur (violation of relations).
4.31 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
If you avoid the grave sins that are forbidden you We will absolve you of your evil deeds and admit you by an honorable gate. The grave sins here according to scholars are those of associating partners with God shirk. According to the explanation by allusion bayān al-ishāra they [also] include acts of hidden idolatry. Included within this is paying heed to creatures seeking the pleasure of their acceptance courting their affection and shutting one's eyes to the right and reality ḥaqq of God because of them. It is said that once one commits to the covenant one is safe from being charged with disbelief because of transgressions. It is said that the worst of the grave sins is for you to affirm your lower self nafs. When you have experienced its negation you will be delivered from the captivity of tribulations. We will admit you in your affairs and states by an honorable gate [that is] a beautiful admission. You will no longer see your comings and goings as being from yourselves but rather you will see the One who has free disposal muṣarrif over your affairs.
4.31 Tustari - Al-Tustari
If you avoid the grave sins that you are forbidden, We shall absolve you of your [minor] misdeeds…[Concerning that] he [Sahl?] said:It was related that Ibn Masʿūd said, ‘The grave sins (kabāʾir) are those mentioned from the beginning of Sūrat al-Nisāʾ up to this verse.’And Sahl added:The major sins are those that carry God’s threat of the Fire within His Book, Exalted is He.His words: