The Quran

Commentaries for 60.4

Al Mumtahana (The examined woman) - الممتحنة

60.4 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(There is a goodly pattern) a good example (for you) O Hatib (Abraham) in Abraham's words (and those with him) and also in the words of the believers who were with him, (when they told their folk) when they told their disbelieving kinsfolk; (Lo! we are guiltless of you) of your kinship and religion (and all that ye worship beside Allah) of idols. (We have done with you) we absolve ourselves from you and from your religion. (And there hath arisen between us and you hostility) through killing and beating (and hate) in the hearts (for ever until ye believe in Allah only) until you declare Allah's divine Oneness (save that which Abraham promised) save the words of Abraham to (his father (when he said): I will ask forgiveness for thee) because he promised him to do so, but when his father died in a state of disbelief, Abraham disavowed him, saying: (though I own nothing for thee from Allah) from Allah's chastisement. Allah then taught them what to say: (Our Lord!) O our Lord! (In Thee we put our trust) we rely on you, (and unto Thee we turn repentant) we turn to your obedience, (and unto Thee is the journeying) and unto You is the return in the Hereafter.
60.4 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Verily there is for you a good example (read iswa or uswa in both instances, meaning qudwa) in [the person of] Abraham, in terms of [his] sayings and deeds, and those who were with him, of believers, when they said to their people, ‘We are indeed innocent of you (bura’ā’ is the plural of barī’, similar [in form] to zarīf, ‘charming’) and of what you worship besides God. We repudiate you, we disavow you, and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hate forever (wa’l-baghdā’u abadan: pronounce both hamzas fully, or replace the second one with a wāw) until you [come to] believe in God alone’, except for Abraham’s saying to his father, ‘I shall ask forgiveness for you — [this statement is] excepted from ‘a [good] example’, so it is not [right] for you to follow his example in this [respect] by asking forgiveness for disbelievers. As for his saying: but I cannot avail you anything against God’ — that is, either against His chastisement or [to secure for you of] His reward — he [Abraham] is using it to intimate [to his father] that he can do nothing for him other than to ask forgiveness [for him], which [saying] is itself based on that [former statement] albeit excepted [from it] in terms of what is meant by it, even if on the face of it, it would seem to be [semantically] part of the [good] example to be followed: Say, ‘Who can avail you anything against God’ [Q. 48:11]; his [Abraham’s] plea of forgiveness for him was before it became evident to him that he [his father] was an enemy of God, as mentioned in sūrat Barā’a [Q. 9:114]. ‘Our Lord, in You we put our trust, and to You we turn [penitently], and to You is the journeying: these are the words of the Friend [of God, Abraham] and those who were with him, in other words, they were saying:
60.4-6 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Good Example of Ibrahim and His Followers, when They disowned Their Disbelieving People
Allah the Exalted says to His faithful servants, whom He commanded to disown the disbelievers, to be enemies with them, and to distant themselves and separate from them:
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِى إِبْرَهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ
(Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him,) meaning, his followers who believed in him,
إِذْ قَالُواْ لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَءآؤاْ مِّنْكُمْ
(when they said to their people: "Verily we are free from you...'') meaning, `we disown you,'
وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ
(and whatever you worship besides Allah: we rejected you,) meaning, `we disbelieve in your religion and way,'
وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَآءُ أَبَداً
(and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever) meaning, `Animosity and enmity have appeared between us and you from now and as long as you remain on your disbelief; we will always disown you and hate you,'
حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ
(until you believe in Allah alone,) meaning, `unless, and until, you worship Allah alone without partners and disbelieve in the idols and rivals that you worship besides Him.' Allah's statement,
إِلاَّ قَوْلَ إِبْرَهِيمَ لاًّبِيهِ لاّسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ
(except the saying of Ibrahim to his father: "Verily, I will ask forgiveness (from Allah) for you...'') means, `you have a good example in Ibrahim and his people; as for Ibrahim's prayers for Allah his father, it was a promise that he made for his father.' When Ibrahim became sure that his father was an enemy of Allah, he declared himself innocent of him. Some of the believers used to invoke Allah for their parents who died as disbelievers, begging Him to forgive them. They did so claiming that Ibrahim used to invoke Allah to forgive his father. Allah the Exalted said in reply,
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِىِّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُواْ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُواْ أُوْلِى قُرْبَى مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَـبُ الْجَحِيمِ - وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ إِبْرَهِيمَ لاًّبِيهِ إِلاَّ عَن مَّوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَآ إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِلَّهِ تَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُ إِنَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ لأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ
(It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah's forgiveness for the idolators, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief). And Ibrahim's request for his father's forgiveness was only because of a promise he made to him.But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, he dissociated himself from him. Verily, Ibrahim was Awwah and was forbearing.) (9:113-114) Allah said here,
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِى إِبْرَهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُواْ لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَءآؤاْ مِّنْكُمْ
(Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you...'') until,
إِلاَّ قَوْلَ إِبْرَهِيمَ لاًّبِيهِ لاّسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَآ أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَىْءٍ
(... except the saying of Ibrahim to his father: "Verily, I will ask forgiveness for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah.'') meaning, `You cannot follow Ibrahim's example as proof in the case mentioned here, as being allowed to ask Allah to forgive those who died on Shirk.' This is the saying of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Ad-Dahhak and several others. Allah the Exalted said that Ibrahim and his companions, who parted with their people and disowned their way, said afterwards, while invoking Allah in humility and submission,
رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
(Our Lord! In You we put our trust, and to You we turn in repentance, and to You is the final Return.) meaning, `we trust in You for all matters, we surrender all of our affairs to You, and to You is the final Return in the Hereafter,'
رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ
(Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the disbelievers,) Mujahid said, "It means, `Do not punish us by their hands, nor with a punishment from You.' Or they will say, `Had these people been following the truth, the torment would not have struck them'.'' Ad-Dahhak said something similar. Qatadah said, "Do not give the disbelievers victory over us, thus subjecting us to trials by their hands. Surely, if You do so, they would then think that they were given victory over us because they are on the truth.'' This is the meaning that Ibn Jarir preferred. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas: "Do not give them dominance over us, lest we suffer trials by their hands.'' Allah's statement,
وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
(and forgive us, Our Lord! Verily, You, only You, are the Almighty, the All-Wise.) means, `cover our mistakes from being exposed to other than You, and forgive us for what (sin) is between us and You.'
إِنَّكَ أَنتَ العَزِيزُ
(Verily, You, only You, are the Almighty,) `and those who seek refuge in Your majesty are never dealt with unjustly,'
الْحَكِيمُ
(the All-Wise.) `in Your statements, actions, legislation and decrees.' Allah the Exalted said,
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِيهِمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الاٌّخِرَ
(Certainly, there has been in them an excellent example for you to follow -- for those who look forward to (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day.) asserting what He has said before with the exemption mentioned, i.e., the good example that Allah mentioned before,
لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الاٌّخِرَ
(for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day.) thus encouraging the believers who believe in Allah and the Return to Him. Allah said,
وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ
(And whosoever turns away) meaning, from what Allah has ordained,
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِىُّ الْحَمِيدُ
(verily, Allah is Al-Ghani, Al-Hamid.) Allah said in another Ayah,
إِن تَكْفُرُواْ أَنتُمْ وَمَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ
(If you disbelieve, you and all on the earth together, then verily! Allah is Ghani, Hamid.) (14:8) `Ali bin Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas,
لَغَنِىٌّ
"(Ghani) is the One Who is perfectly rich.'' That is Allah. This is Allah's attribute that He alone is worthy of being described by; surely, He has no equal, none like unto Him. All praise is due to Allah, the One, the Irresistible.
حَمِيدٌ
(Hamid) means, the praiseworthy, in all His statements and actions, there is no (true) God except Him alone.
60.4-5 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "We reject you: we neither consider you to be in the right nor your religion. " The inevitable demand of the faith in Allah is denial of taghut (Satan): "Whoever rejects taghut and believes in Allah has taken a firm support that never gives way." (Al-Baqarah: 256).
In other words, it means: "Though there is an excellent example for you in Abraham's conduct in that he expressed disapproval of his pagan people and broke off all connections with them, yet his promise to pray for the forgiveness of his pagan father and then carrying it out practically is not worth following, for the believers should not have even this much relationship of love and sympathy with the disbelievers. In At-Taubah: 113, Allah has clearly warned: "It does not behoove the Prophet and those who have believed that they should pray for the forgiveness of the polytheists even though they be near kinsmen. " Thus, no Muslim is allowed to pray for the forgiveness of his unbelieving kinsmen on the basis of the argument that the Prophet Abraham had done so. As for the question, why did the Prophet Abraham pray thus, and did he carry out his promise practically? the answer has been provided by the Qur'an in full detail. When his father expelled him from the house, he had said on his departure: "I bid you farewell: I will pray to my Lord for your forgiveness." (maryam: 47). On the basis of this very promise he prayed for him twice. One prayer is contained in Surah Ibrahim: 41: "Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day when reckoning will be hold. " And the second prayer is in Surah Ash Shua'ra 86: "Forgive my father, for indeed he is from among those who have strayed and do not disgrace the an the Day when the people will be raised back to life." But afterwards when he realized that the father for whose forgiveness he was praying, wan an enemy of Allah, he excused himself from it and broke off even this relationship of love and sympathy with him:
"As regards the prayer of Abraham for his father, it was only to fulfill a promise he bad made to him, but when he realized that he was an enemy of Allah, he disowned him. The fact is that Abraham was a tender-hearted, God fearing and forbearing man (At-Taubah: 114).
A study of these verses make: the principle manifest that only that act of the prophets worthy of following, which they persistently practiced till the end. As regards those acts which they themselves gave up, or which Allah restrained them from practicing or which were forbidden in the Divine Shari ah, they are not worth following, and no one showed follow such acts of theirs on the basis of the argument that that was such and such a prophet's practice.
Here, another question also arises, which may create confusion in some minds. In the verse under discussion, the saying of the Prophet Abraham which Allah has declared as not worth following, has two parts. The first part is that he said to his father: "I will pray for your forgiveness," and the second: `I have no power to get anything for you from Allah. " Of these the first thing's not being a worthy examples to be. followed is understandable, but, what is wrong with the second thing that that too has been made an exception from being an example worthily of imitation, whereas it by itself is a truth? The answer is that the saying of the Prophet Abraham has been included in the exception for the reason that when a person after making a promise with another to do something, says that it is riot in his power to do anything beyond that for him, it automatically gives the meaning that if it were in his power to do anything further for him, he would have done that too for his sake. This makes his relationship of sympathy with the other person even more manifest. On that very basis this second part of the saying of the Prophet Abraham also deserved to be included in the exception, although its subject was true in so far as it does not lit even in the power of a Prophet to have a person forgiven by Allah. 'Allama Alusi also in his Ruh al-Ma ani has given this same answer to this question.
There are several ways in which the believers can become a cause of trial for the disbelievers, for which every believer should seek Allah's refuge. For example,
(1) the disbelievers may gain in upper hand over them and consider it a proof of their being in the right and the believers being in the wrong; otherwise it could not be that in spite of Allah's good pleasure that they claim to enjoy, the disbelievers would have been able to gain an upper hand over them;
(2) the persecution of the believers by the disbelievers may become unbearable with the result that they may yield to them and abandon their Faith and moral values this would subject the believers to public ridicule and would provide the disbelievers with an opportunity to humiliate and debase than and their religion:
(3) in spite of being the standard-bearers of the true Faith the believers may lose their moral superiority that should accrue to them as believers. and the people have the same defects and deficiencies in their character as are commonly found in an un-Islamic community: this would give the disbelievers an opportunity to say that the Faith of the believers was in no way superior to their disbelief. (For further details sec E.N. 8.3 of Surah Yunus).