The Quran

Commentaries for 4.48

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.48 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him) if one dies in such a state. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will) to whomever repents. (Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin) a tremendous lie. This verse was revealed about Wahshiyy, the murderer of Hamzah, the uncle of the Prophet (pbuh).
4.48 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Surely God does not forgive that anything be associated with Him, but less than that He forgives for whomsoever He wills.
The associationism of the common people is one thing, and the associationism of the elect something else. The associationism of the common people is the greater associationism, and the associationism of the elect the lesser associationism.
The greater associationism is that they should say that the tremendous Enactor, the eternal Artisan, has an associate and partner, or they should consider Him to have an equal and peer, or they should make Him similar to something of creation. Whenever someone says this, he is not a worshiper of God, for he has called upon an idol. In reality, he has been held back from the religion of guidance. The right belief and pure religion is that you consider the God of the world's folk and Creator of all to be pure of and incomparable with spouse, child, and partner. He did not give birth, nor did anyone give birth to Him. He is free of new arrival, change, and birth, hallowed beyond defect, incapacity, and need, pure in attribute, fitting in artisanry, sweet in speech, and complete in love. He is pure of fault in attributes, pure of blunder in deeds, pure of negligence in speech, and pure of doubt in love. He is a God who is outside of imaginations, and no one knows how He is. He is worthy of Godhood, knower of God-work, separate from faults, without peer in Essence and attributes. Whoever believes this has been released from the greater associationism and has joined with the root of faith.
As for the lesser associationism, it is of two sorts and belongs to two groups. For the faithful it is eye-service and letting go of self-purification in deeds. For the recognizers, it is paying regard to deeds and seeking deliverance thereby. Its trace in the faithful is to decrease their faith, to bring fissures into their certainty, and to close down the door of clarity. MuṣṬafā said, “I am very fright-
ened of the ancient associationism for my community.” He was asked what ancient associationism was, and he said, “That someone does good deeds along with eye-service in the deeds.”
Shaddād ibn Aws said, “I saw God's Messenger weeping.
I asked him why he was weeping and he said, 'I fear that my community will bring forth associationism. Not that they will worship idols, or worship the sun and moon, but that they will worship with eye-service, thus making people God's partner in their deeds.'”
Also, God says, “Of the associates, I am the least in need of associationism. If someone does a deed in which he associates another with Me, I am quit of it, and it belongs to the one who is associated.” He is saying: “Whenever someone does a deed and takes someone as My partner in that deed, I have less need than all the partners, so I will give the deed to the partner.”
The commander of the Faithful ʿAlī saw a man with his head turned down, meaning “I am pious.” He said, “O chevalier! Bring this crick in your neck into your heart, for God looks at the heart.”
He also said, “On the Day of Resurrection, it will be said to hypocritical Qur'an-reciters, 'Are you not the ones to whom the goods of the world were sold more cheaply? Are you not the ones at the doors of whose houses people stood? Are you not the ones whom they greeted first? This belongs to the recompense of your deeds that We have conveyed to you. Today nothing rightfully due remains for you.'”
This is why some of the great ones of the religion did not accept the benevolence of friends during distress and poverty. Thus several days passed during which Sufyān Thawrī had no food in his house. On the last day a man brought him two money-bags and said, “You know that my father was your friend and was scrupulous in livelihood. This is the inheritance that he left, and I know that it is lawful and has no place for suspicion. Why do you not accept this and make me happy?”
Sufyān said, “May God reward you for your beautiful aspiration, but I will not accept it, for my friendship with your father was for the sake of God. I do not consider it permissible to receive compensation for it.”
This indeed is the degree of the scrupulous and the path of the pious. Higher than this is the degree of the recognizers. In their case the smaller associationism is that, after self-purification in obedience and truthfulness in deeds, if their eyes fall on their pure deeds, or if seeking a reward for them occurs to their minds, or if they see their own salvation in those deeds, they count this as associationism in the road of the religion and they repent of it.
4.48 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
God forgives not that anything should be associated with Him. But He forgives other than, save, that, of sins, to whomever He wills, forgiveness for, by admitting him into Paradise without punishment. And whomever He wills of the believers He punishes for their sins, and then admits them into Paradise. Whoever associates anything with God, then he has indeed invented a tremendous, a great, sin.
4.48 Kashani - Kashani
God forgives not that anything should be associated with Him: an allusion to the fact that wretchedness of knowledge and creed is everlasting and can never be reached without that [wretchedness] of deeds, in other words, He does not shelter with His existence or allow to be annihilated in His essence the one who affirms the existence of any other than Him. How could it be otherwise, when He afflicts him repeatedly in his existenceḍ
4.47-48 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Calling the People of the Book to Embrace the Faith, Warning them Against Doing Otherwise
Allah commands the People of the Scriptures to believe in what He has sent down to His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, the Glorious Book that conforms to the good news that they already have about Muhammad. He also warns them,
مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهاً فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَى أَدْبَـرِهَآ
(before We efface faces and turn them backwards) Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said that `effacing' here refers to blindness,
فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَى أَدْبَـرِهَآ
(and turn them backwards) meaning, We put their faces on their backs, and make them walk backwards, since their eyes will be in their backs. Similar was said by Qatadah and `Atiyah Al-`Awfi. This makes the punishment even more severe, and it is a parable that Allah set for ignoring the truth, preferring the wrong way and turning away from the plain path for the paths of misguidance. Therefore, such people walk backwards. Similarly, some said that Allah's statement,
إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِى أَعْنـقِهِمْ أَغْلَـلاً فَهِىَ إِلَى الاٌّذْقَـنِ فَهُم مُّقْمَحُونَ وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدّاً
(Verily, We have put on their necks iron collars reaching to the chins, so that their heads are raised up. And We have put a barrier before them) that is a parable that Allah gave for their deviation and hindrance from guidance.
Ka`b Al-Ahbar Embraces Islam Upon Hearing this Ayah [4:47]
It was reported that Ka`b Al-Ahbar became Muslim when he heard this Ayah 4:47. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Isa bin Al-Mughirah said: We were with Ibrahim when we talked about the time when Ka`b became Muslim. He said, `Ka`b became Muslim during the reign of `Umar, for he passed by Al-Madinah intending to visit Jerusalem, and `Umar said to him, "Embrace Islam, O Ka`b.' Ka`b said, `Do you not read in your Book,
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُواْ التَّوْرَاةَ
(The likeness of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah...) 62:5 until,
أَسْفَاراً
(Books) I am among those who were entrusted with the Tawrah.' `Umar left him alone and Ka`b went on to Hims (in Syria) and heard one of its inhabitants recite this Ayah while feeling sad,
يَـأَيُّهَآ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ ءَامِنُواْ بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهاً فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَى أَدْبَـرِهَآ
(O you who have been given the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed confirming what is with you, before We efface faces and turn them backwards). Ka`b said, `I believe, O Lord! I embraced Islam, O Lord!' for He feared that this might be struck by this threat. He then went back to his family in Yemen and returned with them all as Muslims.'' Allah's statement,
أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّآ أَصْحَـبَ السَّبْتِ
(or curse them as We cursed the people of the Sabbath.) refers to those who breached the sanctity of the Sabbath, using deceit, for the purpose of doing more work. Allah changed these people into apes and swine, as we will come to know in the explanation of Surat Al-A`raf (7). Allah's statement,
وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولاً
(And the commandment of Allah is always executed.) means, when He commands something, then no one can dispute or resist His command.
Allah Does not Forgive Shirk, Except After Repenting From it
Allah said that He,
لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ
(forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship),) meaning, He does not forgive a servant if he meets Him while he is associating partners with Him,
وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ
(but He forgives except that) of sins,
لِمَن يَشَآءُ
(to whom He wills) of His servants. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّ اللهَ يَقُولُ: يَا عَبْدِي مَا عَبَدْتَنِي وَرَجَوْتَنِي، فَإِنِّي غَافِرٌ لَكَ عَلى مَا كَانَ فِيكَ، يَا عَبْدِي إِنَّكَ إِنْ لَقِيتَنِي بِقُرَابِ الْأَرْضِ خَطِيئَةً مَا لَمْ تُشْرِكْ بِي، لَقِيتُكَ بِقُرَابِهَا مَغْفِرَة»
(Allah said, "O My servant! As long as you worship and beg Me, I will forgive you, no matter your shortcomings. O My servant! If you meet Me with the earth's fill of sin, yet you do not associate any partners with Me, I will meet you with its fill of forgiveness.'') Only Ahmad recorded this Hadith with this chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said, "I came to the Messenger of Allah and he said,
«مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ قَالَ: لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ثُمَّ مَاتَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ، إِلَّا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّة»
قلت:وإن زنى وإن سرق؟ قال:
«وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَق»
. قلت: وإن زنى وإن سرق؟ قال:
«وَإِنْ زَنَى وَإِنْ سَرَقَ ثَلَاثًا»
، ثم قال في الرابعة:
«عَلَى رَغْمِ أَنْفِ أَبِي ذَر»
("No servant proclaims,`There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah,' and dies on that belief, but will enter Paradise.'' I said, "Even if he committed adultery and theft'' He said, "Even if he committed adultery and theft.'' I asked again, "Even if he committed adultery and theft'' He said, "Even if he committed adultery and theft.'' The fourth time, he said, "Even if Abu Dharr's nose was put in the dust.'') Abu Dharr departed while pulling his Izar and saying, "Even if Abu Dharr's nose was put in the dust.'' Ever since that happened, Abu Dharr used to narrate the Hadith and then comment, "Even if Abu Dharr's nose was put in dust.'' The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith Al-Bazzar recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "We used to refrain from begging (Allah) for forgiveness for those who commit major sins until we heard our Prophet reciting,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ
(Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills;), and his saying,
«أَخَّرْتُ شَفَاعَتِي لِأَهْلِ الْكَبَائِرِ مِنْ أُمَّتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة»
(I have reserved my intercession on the Day of Resurrection for those among my Ummah who commit major sins.)'' Allah's statement,
وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْماً عَظِيماً
(and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.) is similar to His statement,
إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ
(Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Which is the greatest sin' He said,
«أَنْ تَجْعَلَ للهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَك»
(To make a rival with Allah, while He Alone created you.)''
4.47-48 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Please refer to E.N. 2, AI -i-`Imran.
Please refer to E.N.'s 82 and 83, Al-Baqarah.
The people of the Book have been admonished for being guilty of shirk, though they professed to believe in the Prophets and the revealed Books.
This does not mean that if one refrains from shirk, then one may freely indulge in other sins. This is merely to bring home to them the gravity of this heinous sin, which they regarded as a trivial thing. That is why the warning has been given that shirk is the most heinous of all sins; so much so that this is the only sin for which forgiveness is not possible.
The Jewish Rabbis were very particular in the observance of minor laws;nay, they spent most of their time in measuring and weighing those regulations which were not explicitly mentioned in their Scriptures but were derived from them. On the contrary, they regarded shirk as a trivial matter: they not only themselves were involved in it but they did not try to save their community from.shirk and acts of shirk. Accordingly, they did not consider that there was anything wrong in entering into alliance with mushrik communities and helping them.
4.48 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
God forgives not that anything should be associated with Him. But He forgives other than that to whomever He wills. Whoever associates anything with God then he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. Ordinary people have been asked to abandon the outward association of anything [with God] shirk jalī while the elect have been asked to abandon hidden association shirk khafī. Those who seek access to Him with their actions thinking that it is from them or imagining that His decrees سبحانه are caused by what they do and do not do or pay heed to a created thing or look to themselves then their homeland is shirk according to the people of realities ahl al-ḥaqāÌiq. God forgives not that anything should be associated with Him. Also included among [those who associate partners with God] is anyone who imagines that his opposition has occurred in some way other than [God's] preordination taqdīr.
4.48 Tustari - Al-Tustari
God forgives not that anything should be associated with Him. But He forgives other than that, to whomsoever He wills…He said:If no one has any grievance against him, and his sins are only between him and God, Exalted is He, indeed He forgives those sins, for He is the Magnanimous (al-Jawād), the Generous (al-Karīm). It has been related from the Prophet that he said, ‘A slave may be brought forwardon the Day of Resurrection and directed to the Fire, but then he will say, “This is not in accordance with what I supposed [my outcome would be].” Then God, Mighty and Majestic, will ask, “What was your opinion of Me?”to which he will reply, “That You would forgive me”, upon which, God, Mighty and Majestic, will say, “Truly I have forgiven you”, and He will direct him to Paradise.’ His words: