The Quran

Commentaries for 4.61

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.61 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And then it is said unto them) to Hatib Ibn Abi Balta'ah, the hypocrite, who had a dispute with al-Zubayr Ibn al-'Awwam, the cousin of the Prophet (pbuh): (Come unto that which Allah hath revealed) come to the ruling which Allah has revealed in the Qur'an (and unto the messenger) and to the judgement of the messenger, (thou seest the hypocrites) Hatib Ibn Abi Balta'ah (turn from you with aversion) turn away from your judgement in complete rejection.
4.61 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And when it is said to them, ‘Come to what God has revealed, as regards rulings in the Qur’ān, and the Messenger’, that he may judge between you, you see the hypocrites turn away from you vehemently, to others.
4.60-63 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Referring to Other than the Qur'an and Sunnah for Judgment is Characteristic of Non-Muslims
Allah chastises those who claim to believe in what Allah has sent down to His Messenger and to the earlier Prophets, yet they refer to other than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger for judgment in various disputes. It was reported that the reason behind revealing this Ayah was that a man from the Ansar and a Jew had a dispute, and the Jew said, "Let us refer to Muhammad to judge between us.'' However, the Muslim man said, "Let us refer to Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf (a Jew) to judge between us.'' It was also reported that the Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who pretended to be Muslims, yet they sought to refer to the judgment of Jahiliyyah. Other reasons were also reported behind the revelation of the Ayah. However, the Ayah has a general meaning, as it chastises all those who refrain from referring to the Qur'an and Sunnah for judgment and prefer the judgment of whatever they chose of falsehood, which befits the description of Taghut here. This is why Allah said,
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُواْ إِلَى الطَّـغُوتِ
(and they wish to go for judgment to the Taghut) until the end of the Ayah. Allah's statement,
يَصُدُّونَ عَنكَ صُدُوداً
(turn away from you with aversion) means, they turn away from you in arrogance, just as Allah described the polytheists,
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُواْ مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ ءَابَآءَنَا
(When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah has sent down.'' They say: "Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.'') This is different from the conduct of the faithful believers, whom Allah describes as,
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُواْ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا
(The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey.'')
Chastising the Hypocrites
Chastising the hypocrites, Allah said,
فَكَيْفَ إِذَآ أَصَـبَتْهُمْ مُّصِيبَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ
(How then, when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth,) meaning, how about it if they feel compelled to join you because of disasters that they suffer due to their sins, then they will be in need of you.
ثُمَّ جَآءُوكَ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلاَّ إِحْسَاناً وَتَوْفِيقاً
(They come to you swearing by Allah, "We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation!'') apologizing and swearing that they only sought goodwill and reconciliation when they referred to other than the Prophet for judgment, not that they believe in such alternative judgment, as they claim. Allah describes these people to us further in His statement,
فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يُسَـرِعُونَ فِيهِمْ يَقُولُونَ نَخْشَى
(And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease (of hypocrisy), they hurry to their friendship, saying: "We fear''), until,
فَيُصْبِحُواْ عَلَى مَآ أَسَرُّواْ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ نَـدِمِينَ
(Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves). At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Barzah Al-Aslami used to be a soothsayer who judged between the Jews in their disputes. When some Muslims came to him to judge between them, Allah sent down,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواْ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ
(Have you not seen those (hyprocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you), until,
إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلاَّ إِحْسَاناً وَتَوْفِيقاً
("We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation!'') Allah then said,
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ مَا فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ
(They (hypocrites) are those of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts;) These people are hypocrites, and Allah knows what is in their hearts and will punish them accordingly, for nothing escapes Allah's watch. Consequently, O Muhammad! Let Allah be sufficient for you in this regard, because He has perfect knowledge of their apparent and hidden affairs. This is why Allah said,
فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ
(so turn aside from them (do not punish them)) meaning, do not punish them because of what is in their hearts.
وَعِظْهُمْ
(but admonish them) means, advise them against the hypocrisy and evil that reside in their hearts,
وَقُل لَّهُمْ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ قَوْلاً بَلِيغاً
(and speak to them an effective word to reach their inner selves) advise them, between you and them, using effective words that might benefit them.
4.60-65 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In this verse, Taghut clearly stands for the authority that makes decisions in accordance with laws other than Divine and the system of judiciary which acknowledges neither Allah as the Supreme Sovereign nor His Book as the final authority. Hence, this verse is explained that it is contrary to Faith to take one's case for decision to a law court which by its nature is, that of taghut Belief in Allah and His Book makes it obligatory on the Believer that he should refuse to acknowledge such a court as lawful. According to the Qur'an, belief in Allah and disbelief in taghut are correlatives; therefore to acknowledge both at one and the same time is nothing but hypocrisy itself.
This shows that the hypocrites used to bring only such cases before the Holy Prophet as were likely to be decided in their favor, but would refrain from bringing such cases, which they feared, would be decided against them. The same is true of many hypocrites of today: they are ever ready to submit to the decisions of the Islamic Law if and whenever it goes in their favor; otherwise they resort to any law, any custom, and any law court which, they expect, will ensure their interests.
Probably it means that when their hypocritical deeds are exposed and they fear that action will be taken against them; they take oaths to assure the Believers of their innocence.
It clearly defines the position of the Messenger: the Messenger does not come from Allah so that the people should simply acknowledge him as a Messenger and then continue to obey anyone they like. The Messenger is sent with the sole object that the code of life brought by him only should be followed instead of all other codes, and the commandments brought by him from Allah only should be obeyed instead of all other commandments. If anyone does not acknowledge the Messenger in this sense, his acknowledging him merely as a Messenger would be meaningless.
The commandment contained in verse 65 was not meant to be confined to the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, but it was to hold good up to the Last Day. Whatever the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) brought from Allah and whatever way of life he followed and practiced under His guidance and inspiration, shall remain the final authority among Muslims for ever and the acknowledgment of that authority alone determines whether one is a true Muslim or not. According to a Tradition, the Holy Prophet said: "None of you can claim to be a believer unless he subordinates his desires and lusts to the way that I have brought."
4.61 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And when it is said to them “Come to what God has revealed and the Messenger” you see the hypocrites turn away from you vehemently. Everything other than the word of the Real is easy for hypocrites [to hear]. [On the other hand] the declaration of God's unity is heard only by those who are sincere. Those who are listless and those who are hostile do not hear that which is true since it is difficult for those who are not sincere to oppose personal whims. Just as the eye of the bat is incapable of facing the sun the hypocrites were unable to stand firm before [the Prophet] ﷺ and that was the cause of their vehemently turning away.