The Quran

Commentaries for 4.89

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.89 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(They long that you should disbelieve) in Muhammad and the Qur'an (even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them)) in following idolatry. (So choose not friends from them) in religion or for seeking assistance and backing (till they forsake their homes) until they believe again and migrate (in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah; (if they turn back) from faith and migration (then take them) as prisoners (and kill them wherever you find them) in the Sacred Precinct or anywhere else, (and choose no friend) in religion or for seeking assistance and backing (nor helper) a protector (from among them),
4.89 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
They long, they wish, that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, so then you, and they, would be equal, in unbelief; therefore do not take friends from among them, associating with them, even if they should [outwardly] manifest belief, until they emigrate in the way of God, a proper emigration that would confirm their belief; then, if they turn away, and remain upon their ways, take them, as captives, and slay them wherever you find them; and do not take any of them as a patron, to associate with, or as a helper, to assist you against your enemy.
4.88-91 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Censuring the Companions for Disagreeing over the Hypocrites who Returned to Al-Madinah Before Uhud
Allah criticizes the believers for disagreeing over the hypocrites. There are conflicting opinions over the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said that Messenger of Allah marched towards Uhud. However, some people who accompanied him went back to Al-Madinah, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah divided into two groups concerning them, one saying they should be killed and the other objecting. Allah sent down,
فَمَا لَكُمْ فِى الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ
(Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites) The Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّهَا طَيْبَةُ، وَإِنَّهَا تَنْفِي الْخَبَثَ، كَمَا يَنْفِي الْكِيرُ خَبَثَ الْحَدِيد»
(She (Al-Madinah) is Taybah, and she expels filth, just as the billow expels rust from iron.) The Two Sahihs also recorded this Hadith. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah was revealed about some people in Makkah who said they embraced Islam, yet they gave their support to the idolators. One time, theses people went out of Makkah to fulfill some needs and said to each other, "If we meet the Companions of Muhammad, there will be no harm for us from their side.'' When the believers got news that these people went out of Makkah, some of them said, "Let us march to these cowards and kill them, because they support your enemy against you.'' However, another group from the believers said, "Glory be to Allah! Do you kill a people who say as you have said, just because they did not perform Hijrah or leave their land Is it allowed to shed their blood and confiscate their money in this case'' So they divided to two groups, while the Messenger was with them, and did not prohibit either group from reiterating their argument. Thereafter, Allah revealed,
فَمَا لَكُمْ فِى الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ
(Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this Hadith. Allah said,
وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ
(Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned.) meaning, He made them revert to, and fall into error. Ibn `Abbas said that,
أَرْكَسَهُمْ
(Arkasahum) means, `cast them'. Allah's statement,
بِمَا كَسَبُواْ
(because of what they have earned) means, because of their defiance and disobedience to the Messenger and following falsehood.
أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَهْدُواْ مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلاً
(Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.) meaning, there will be no path for him, or way to guidance. Allah's statement,
وَدُّواْ لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً
(They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal.) means, they wish that you fall into misguidance, so that you and they are equal in that regard. This is because of their extreme enmity and hatred for you. Therefore, Allah said,
فَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْاْ
(So take not Awliya' from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back,) if they abandon Hijrah, as Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas. As-Suddi said that this part of the Ayah means, "If they make their disbelief public.''
Combatants and Noncombatants
Allah excluded some people;
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَى قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِّيثَـقٌ
(Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace),) meaning, except those who join and take refuge with a people with whom you have a pact of peace, or people of Dhimmah, then treat them as you treat the people with whom you have peace. This is the saying of As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jarir. In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded the story of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah, where it was mentioned that whoever liked to have peace with Quraysh and conduct a pact with them, then they were allowed. Those who liked to have peace with Muhammad and his Companions and enter a pact with them were allowed. It was reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah was later abrogated by Allah's statement,
فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ
(Then when the Sacred Months have passed, kill the idolators wherever you find them) Allah said,
أَوْ جَآءُوكُمْ حَصِرَتْ صُدُورُهُمْ
(or those who approach you with their breasts restraining) referring to another type of people covered by the exclusion from fighting. They are those who approach the Muslims with hesitation in their hearts because of their aversion to fighting the Muslims. They do not have the heart to fight with the Muslims against their own people. Therefore, they are neither with nor against Muslims.
وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ فَلَقَـتَلُوكُمْ
(Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you.) meaning, it is from Allah's mercy that He has stopped them from fighting you.
فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْاْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ
(So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace,) meaning, they revert to peace,
فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلاً
(then Allah has opened no way for you against them), you do not have the right to kill them, as long as they take this position. This was the position of Banu Hashim (the tribe of the Prophet ), such as Al-`Abbas, who accompanied the idolators in the battle of Badr, for they joined the battle with great hesitation. This is why the Prophet commanded that Al-`Abbas not be killed, but only captured. Allah's statement, d
سَتَجِدُونَ ءَاخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَأْمَنُوكُمْ وَيَأْمَنُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ
(You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people.) refers to a type of people who on the surface appear to be like the type we just mentioned. However, the intention of each type is different, for the latter are hypocrites. They pretend to be Muslims with the Prophet and his Companions, so that they could attain safety with the Muslims for their blood, property and families. However, they support the idolators in secret and worship what they worship, so that they are at peace with them also. These people have secretly sided with the idolators, just as Allah described them,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ
(But when they are alone with their Shayatin, they say: "Truly, we are with you.''). In this Ayah, Allah said,
كُلَّ مَا رُدُّواْ إِلَى الْفِتْنِةِ أُرْكِسُواْ فِيِهَا
(Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto.) meaning, they dwell in Fitnah. As-Suddi said that the Fitnah mentioned here refers to Shirk. Ibn Jarir recorded that Mujahid said that the Ayah was revealed about a group from Makkah who used to go to the Prophet in Al-Madinah pretending to be Muslims. However, when they went back to Quraysh, they reverted to worshipping idols. They wanted to be at peace with both sides. Allah commanded they should be fought against, unless they withdraw from combat and resort to peace. This is why Allah said,
فَإِن لَّمْ يَعْتَزِلُوكُمْ وَيُلْقُواْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ
(If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace) meaning, revert to peaceful and complacent behavior,
وَيَكُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ
(nor restrain their hands) refrain from fighting you,
فَخُذُوهُمْ
(take (hold of) them), capture them,
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ
(and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum.), wherever you find them,
وَأُوْلَـئِكُمْ جَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـناً مُّبِيناً
(In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them), meaning an unequivocal and plain warrant.
4.88-91 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This passage deals with the problem of those hypocritical Muslims who had accepted Islam in Makkah and other parts of Arabia but had not emigrated, to Madinah. They lived as before with their people, and took more or less a practical part in all their hostile activities against Islam and the Muslims. They had become a very difficult problem for the Muslims who did not know how to deal with them. Some Muslims were of the opinion that they were after all "Muslim" because they recited the kalimah (the article of the Muslims' Faith), offered the Salat, observed the Fast and recited the Qur'an. Then how could they be dealt with like the disbelievers? Allah in this passage has removed that difference of opinion from among the Muslims and told them how to deal with them.
At this place one should clearly understand why those Muslims who did not emigrate to Madinah were declared to be hypocrites; otherwise one might not be able to interpret correctly this passage and the like passages of the Qur'an. The fact of the matter is that when the Holy Prophet migrated to Madinah and conditions were created there for the fulfillment of the requirements of Islam, a general order was given that all those Muslims who were oppressed in any place and in any tribe or clan and could not freely carry out their Islamic obligations, should migrate to Madinah, "the Abode of Islam." As a result, all those who could emigrate but did not do so because they loved their homes, their relatives and their interests more than Islam, were declared to be hypocrites. Only such of those as were really being prevented by impediments were declared to be helpless in verse 97 of this Surah.
It is obvious that the Muslims living in the "abode of unbelief" may be declared hypocrites for not migrating only if a general invitation is extended to them by the people living in "the Abode of Islam", or at least the doors of" the Abode of Islam" are kept open for them. In such a case all those Muslims who may be doing nothing to change "the abode of unbelief" into "the Abode of Islam", nor emigrate to "the Abode of Islam", even if they could, would be declared hypocrites.
Allah turned the hypocrites back to their former unbelief because they followed a double-faced policy and were time-servers. As they preferred the life of this world to that of the Hereafter, they had entered the fold of Islam with some mental reservations. They were not prepared to sacrifice those interests which came into conflict with the requirements of the Faith and they did not have that firm belief in the Hereafter which makes one sacrifice with perfect peace of mind this world for the sake of the Next World: It has thus become obvious that the line of demarcation was so clearcut that there ought not to have been two opinions about hypocrisy.
Here the Muslims have been asked to catch hold of those hypocrites who belonged to the belligerent disbelievers and were actually engaged in hostile activities against the Islamic State.
The exception is only concerning the first part of the Command. Though the blood of such a hypocrite is lawful, he is not to be pursued and killed, if he has sought asylum in the territory of a non-Muslim State, which is an ally to the Islamic State. This is not because of the sanctity of the blood of the hypocrite but because of the sanctity of the treaty.
4.89-90 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
They long that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve so then you would be equal; therefore do not take friends from among them until they emigrate in the way of God; then if they turn away take them and slay them wherever you find them; and do not take any of them as a patron or as a helper. Except those who attach themselves to a people between whom and you there is a covenant or come to you with their breasts constricted about the prospect of fighting you or fighting their people. Had God willed He would have given them sway over you so that assuredly they would have fought you. And so if they stay away from you and do not fight you and offer you peace then God does not allow you any way against them. [This] alludes to those in confused and sickly states-they wish that the sincere would be like them. How absurd that their desire should come true! Until your antagonists stop trying to thwart you separate yourselves from them oppose them and do not change your state to suit them. Do not associate with them and do not take any of them as a patron or as a helper. Someone who is in harmony with your goal is better for you than forced association with someone who opposes you. Except those who attach themselves to a people... This verse is an allusion to [the fact] that He gives leave with these exceptions to associate outwardly in a kindly manner with those who are in a weak and oppressed condition. And so if they stay away from you... this alludes to [the case] when someone who is not one of the people of the story associates with you. If they are intent on remaining in their familiar areas of worldly concerns do not call them to your path but leave them be in peace. If [God] gives you the opportunity to look to them with mercy follow your good intentions with them. But if not leave them be in peace.