The Quran

Commentaries for 4.49

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.49 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Hast thou not seen) have you not been informed in the Scripture about (those who praise themselves for purity?) those who absolve themselves from transgression. The reference here is to Buhayr Ibn 'Amr and Marhab Ibn Zayd. (Nay, Allah purifieth) absolves from sins (whom He will) whoever is fit for it, (and they will not be wronged even the hair upon a date stone) their sins will not be diminished even by the hair upon a date stone.
4.49 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Hast thou not seen those who deem themselves pure? No, God alone deems pure whomsoever He will.
Do not praise yourselves, do not approve of others deeming you pure, do not look at your own good deeds, give no weight to your own traveling, and consider yourselves lower than everyone low.
A friend asked, “Which group is it
who have stolen reality's ball from the world's creatures?”
I said, “Why do you ask for the marks of that group, for they
have not shown themselves to themselves for the sake of showing.
They never walk on the edge of making claims,
nor do they ever sleep in the circle of meaning.
More wondrous is that their worthlessness and abasement makes them like Christians and Jews in people's eyes.”
Yes, at the threshold of a generous man, the more abased you make yourself, the more exalted you become. Your abasement is not despair of the Friend. Rather, it testifies to your truthfulness and straightness.
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, I lament at my abasement, for I have seen no one with misery like mine. I lament at the burning because You are lost to my spirit. There is no one in the world to have pity on my days and time. O God, I wept so many tears in longing that I sowed the seeds of pain with my eyes' water. If I find endless felicity, I will approve of all this pain. If my
eyes fall upon You once, I will not have seen myself with those eyes.”
No, God alone deems pure whomsoever He will. When God's deeming pure reaches someone, its mark is that he is released from companionship with the scatter-hearted ones who have stooped to the path of demons and idols [4:51] and he does not again open himself up to them. But you should not fancy that the worshipers of demons and idols are simply those idol-worshipers. Anyone who is at ease with the caprice of his own soul and remains bound to what his soul desires is a man of idols and a servant of demons.
The creatures are at ease in the ruins of their own makeupwink once and throw the creatures into turmoil! [DS 696]
In the tongue of the folk of allusion, placing your foot on your own soul and bringing your caprice under your own severity is the tremendous kingdom concerning which God says,
4.49 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Have you not seen those who praise themselves for purity? namely, the Jews, when they say, ‘We are God’s children and His beloved’, in other words, it is not a matter of their purifying themselves. Nay, God purifies whom He will, through faith, and they shall not be wronged, they shall not be diminished of their deeds, a single date-thread, as much as the peel on a date-stone.
4.49 Kashani - Kashani
Have you not seen those who praise themselves for purityḍ, that is, [those] who remove the attributes of their souls through their own souls, which is not possible, just as it is not possible for one of us to bear [the burden of] his soul, since these [attributes] are concomitants of the soul, subsisting and adhering to it, which is why God, exalted be He, says And whoever is saved from the avarice of his own soul [Q. 59:9], since the vile traits are kneaded into it, subsisting [in it] as long as it subsists. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: 'The worst of people is the one who is still alive when the resurrection takes place'; that is, he has stopped at the knowledge of the Oneness but his soul has not found death in annihilation so that it might then find life in God. Such a person in that case is a heretic who permits violation of the law in all things (ibāḥa). Nay, God purifies whom He will, effacing his attributes by eliminating them with His attributes, exalted be He; and they shall not be wronged, a single date-thread, in other words, they shall not have even the smallest thing of their attributes and what is due to these [attributes] diminished. For God does not take anything from them, despite their feebleness and the speed with which they are extinguished, until He gives the equivalent in return from His attributes, despite their power and everlastingness.
4.49-52 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Chastising and Cursing the Jews for Claiming Purity for Themselves and Believing in Jibt and Taghut
Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, "This Ayah,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يُزَكُّونَ أَنفُسَهُمْ
(Have you not seen those who claim sanctity for themselves) was revealed about the Jews and Christians when they said, `We are Allah's children and His loved ones.''' Ibn Zayd also said, "This Ayah was revealed concerning their statement,
نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ
(We are the children of Allah and His loved ones) and their statement,
لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـرَى
(None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian).'' This is why Allah said,
بَلِ اللَّهُ يُزَكِّى مَن يَشَآءُ
(Nay, but Allah sanctifies whom He wills,) meaning, the decision in this matter is with Allah Alone, because He has perfect knowledge of the true reality and secrets of all things. Allah then said,
وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً
(And they will not be dealt with injustice even equal to the extent of a Fatil, ) meaning, He does no injustice with anyone's compensation in any part of his reward, even if it was the weight of a Fatil. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others among the Salaf said that Fatil means, "The scalish thread in the long slit of the date-stone.'' Allah said,
انظُرْ كَيفَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الكَذِبَ
(Look, how they invent a lie against Allah,) claiming purity for themselves, their claim that they are Allah's children and His loved ones, their statement;
لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـرَى
(None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian) their statement;
لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَ أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَتٍ
(The Fire shall not touch us but for a number of days) and their reliance on the righteous deeds of their forefathers. Allah has decreed that the good actions of the fathers do not help the children, when He said,
تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُم
(That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn). Allah then said,
وَكَفَى بِهِ إِثْماً مُّبِيناً
(and enough is that as a manifest sin. ) meaning, these lies and fabrications of theirs are sufficent. Allah's statement,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ نَصِيباً مِّنَ الْكِتَـبِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْجِبْتِ وَالطَّـغُوتِ
(Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture They believe in Jibt and Taghut). Muhammad bin Ishaq said from Hassan bin Fa'id that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "Jibt is sorcery and Taghut is the Shaytan.'' Abu Nasr Isma`il bin Hammad Al-Jawhari, the renowned scholar, said in his book As-Sihah, "Al-Jibt means idol, soothsayer and sorcerer.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah was asked about Taghut, and he said, "They are soothsayers upon whom the devils descend.'' Mujahid said "Taghut is a devil in the shape of man, and they refer to him for judgment.'' Imam Malik said, "Taghut is every object that is worshipped instead of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored.''
Disbelievers Are not Better Guided Than Believers
Allah said,
وَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ هَـؤُلاءِ أَهْدَى مِنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ سَبِيلاً
(and say to those who disbelieve, "These people are better guided on the way," than the believers.) preferring the disbelievers over Muslims, because of their ignorance, un-religious nature and disbelief in Allah's Book which is before them. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ikrimah said, "Huyay bin Akhtab and Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf (two Jewish leaders) came to the people of Makkah, who said to them, `You (Jews) are people of the Book and knowledge, so judge us and Muhammad.' They said, `Describe yourselves and describe Muhammad.' They said, `We keep relation with kith and kin, slaughter camels (for the poor), release the indebted and provide water for the pilgrims. As for Muhammad he is without male children, he severed our relations, and the thieves who rob pilgrims (the tribe of) Ghifar follow him. So who is better, we or him' They said, `You are more righteous and better guided.' Thereafter, Allah sent down,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ نَصِيبًا
(Have you not seen those who were given a portion).'' This story was also reported from Ibn `Abbas and several others among the Salaf. Allah's Curse on the Jews This Ayah 4:52 contains a curse for the Jews and informs them that they have no supporter in this life or the Hereafter, because they sought the help of the idolators. They uttered this statement in Ayah 4:51 to lure the disbelievers into supporting them, and they ultimately gathered their forces for the battle of Al-Ahzab, forcing the Prophet and his Companions to dig a defensive tunnel around Al-Madinah. But, Allah saved the Muslims from their evil,
وَرَدَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِغَيْظِهِمْ لَمْ يَنَالُواْ خَيْراً وَكَفَى اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الْقِتَالَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ قَوِيّاً عَزِيزاً
(And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage, they gained no advantage (booty). Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty).
4.49-50 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Have you not seen those who praise themselves for purityḍ Nay God purifies whom He will and they shall not be wronged a single date-thread. Consider how they invent falsehood against God and that suffices for a clear sin. Whoever relies on what people say about his purity or seeks the satisfaction of the elite over that of ordinary people is someone who praises himself for purity. Looking to the self is the greatest veil. Whoever imagines that he is purifying himself with litanies or efforts he undertakes by what he does or does not do is veiled by his own ignorance. Consider how they invent... alludes to those who let loose their tongues and claim what they have not actualized. The one who invents in this way does not say anything but that ears reject him and hearts are driven away. Then when he becomes silent he returns to a heart laid waste.
4.49 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Hast thou not seen those who praise themselves for purity?) [4:49]. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about a group of Jewish men who went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Muhammad! Do these children of ours incur any sins?’ ‘No!’ he replied. They said: ‘By Him by means of Whom we swear, we are just like them; there is no sin that we commit during the day except that it is expiated comes the night, and there is no sin that we commit at night except that it is expiated comes the day’. This is how they praised themselves for purity”.