Verses from Surah Al-Noor [44 – 54]

[44] Allah alternates the night and the day. Surely, in that is an instructive example for those who have vision.

[45] And Allah created every moving creature from water. So some of them go upon their bellies, and some of them go upon two legs, while some of them go upon four.102 Allah creates what He will. Surely, Allah has power over all things.

Commentary

  1. The above does not mean that there are no creations that move on more than four. There could be. There is nothing in the Qur’an to deny it. (Qurtubi)

[46] We have indeed sent down signs that make (things) clear. And Allah guides whom He will to a straight path.

[47] And they say,103 ‘We believe in Allah and the Messenger, and we obey.’ Nonetheless, a party of them turns away after that. Those, they are not believers at all.

Commentary

  1. Hypocrites are the subject of this verse.

[48] When they are invited to Allah and His Messenger so that he might judge between them,104 then lo, a party of them is (found) swerving away.105

Commentary

  1. Mawdudi comments: “These words clearly establish that the Messenger’s verdict is the same as God’s and the Messenger’s command is the same as God’s. Likewise, when someone is called to the Messenger (peace be upon him), this call is not merely to the Messenger. In fact, it amounts to calling him to both God and the Messenger.”
  1. It is reported that the revelation of this passage was occasioned by a dispute between a hypocrite (Bishr or Bashir) and a Jew. The Jew invited him to the Prophet for judgment. The hypocrite suggested that they rather go to Ka`b b. al-Ashraf.

Finally, they decided on presenting the case to the Prophet who judged in favor of the Jew. But the hypocrite was not satisfied. He said, “Let us go to `Umar.” When they went to `Umar and explained their case, the Jew added, “We have been to the Prophet and were judged in this manner.” `Umar said, “Is that so? OK then, wait until I am back.” He came out of his house with a sword and struck the hypocrite dead. Then he said, “That’s what we do to those who are not satisfied with the judgment of Allah and His Prophet.” It seems Jibril remarked that `Umar had distinguished between falsehood and truth, and since then he came to be known as Farooq (Alusi, under verse 47).

Ibn Hajr adds in Fut-h: Although the (above) story comes through a weak chain, it gathers strength from other sources. It is said that it was the Prophet who first referred to `Umar as Farooq (Kitab al-Musaqat).

Mawdudi adds: “Here people are urged to willingly accept the judgments made in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is quite obvious that this requirement is not restricted to the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) alone. Instead, this is something that will always be required of Muslims, whether they lived in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) or in any subsequent period.”

Hasan al-Busri has, in fact, said, “He who is summoned by a Muslim ruler, but fails to turn up, is a wrong-doer devoid of all rights.” (Ibn Kathir and others)

[49] But if the right be theirs, they go to him submitted.106

Commentary

106. “Dha`ana” in Arabic is actually for quick obedience or hastening to obey (Lisan: Au.). Hence, Mujahid said that it means they hasten (to the Prophet). – Ibn Jarir

Yusuf Ali comments: “The Hypocrites only wanted to go to the judge who they thought was likely to give judgment in their favor. If their case was incontestable, and justice was on their side, they readily came to the Prophet, knowing that he was just and would judge in their favor, even against his own adherents. But if they had done wrong, an impartial judge was not to their taste. They would rather go to someone who would tip the balance in their favor! This form of selfishness and iniquity was not confined to the Hypocrites of Madinah. It is common for all ages and should be suppressed.‏”

[50] Is there a sickness in their hearts? Or, do they doubt? Or, do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will deal unjustly with them? Nay, but those – they (themselves) are the unjust.

[51] The only saying of the believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger so that he could judge between them is to say, ‘We hear and we obey.’107 They indeed – they are prosperous.

Commentary

107. “… i.e., without any mental reservation. The term qawl (lit., ‘saying’) has here the sense of a genuine spiritual ‘response’ in contrast to the mere lip-service alluded to in verse 47 above” (Asad).

Mawdudi again, “Regardless of the category to which such person belongs (of the doubters, hypocrites, etc.: Au.), he is undoubtedly steeped in error. Anyone who holds these views (as expressed in these verses: Au.) and still claims to be a believer and a member of the Muslim society and who seeks to derive benefits from this association is indeed a cheat, a betrayer of trust, a fake and perfidious person. He also wrongs himself because his constant deception and cheating make him the embodiment of the worst moral traits. He also wrongs his fellow-Muslims who take him at his word, consider him to be a part of the Muslim society, and establish a myriad of social, cultural and political relations with him.”

[52] And whoever obeyed Allah and His Messenger, feared Allah and was conscious of Him, those – they are the triumphant.108

Commentary

108. So, apparently, this is a simple formula: Whoever obeyed Allah (by following the Qur’an), His Messenger (in terms of following the Sunnah), and feared Allah for what of the sins he committed in the past, and conscientiously avoided them during the rest of his life, will be triumphant.

[53] And they swore their strongest oath by Allah (that) if you ordered them, they would surely go forth. Say, ‘Do not swear. (The quality of your) Obedience is well known.109 Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do.’

Commentary

109. That is, your obedience is well-known as mere lip service (Ibn Jarir, Alusi and others). This opinion is attributed to Mujahid. Another possible meaning is, “Let your obedience be identified, (as of good intentions); swearing is unnecessary” (Razi, Qurtubi).

“Alternatively,” adds Mawdudi, “it might mean that the obedience and surrender to God required of believers are of a well-known quality. Those who are truly obedient to God stand apart from others, their distinctiveness can be perceived by everyone. Their conduct leaves no room whatsoever for any doubt that might prompt them to swear so as to convince others of the sincerity of their faith.”

Asad writes: “This is an allusion to the ephemeral, self-deceiving enthusiasm of the half-hearted and their supposed readiness to ‘self-sacrifice’, in contrast to their obvious reluctance to live up to the message of the Qur’an in their day-to-day concerns.”

[54] Say, ‘Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.’ But if you turn away, then upon him is only what is placed upon him,110 and upon you only what is placed upon you.111 However, if you obey him, you will be guided. And there is nothing upon the Messenger except clear deliverance.112

Commentary

110. That is, upon him is only the duty of delivery of the message (Ibn Jarir).

111. That is, upon you is the duty of acceptance and obedience (Ibn Jarir).

112. Yusuf Ali offers his comment: “If you disobey Allah’s commands as explained by His Prophet, you are not going to be forced. The Prophet’s mission is to train your will and explain clearly all the implications of your conduct. The responsibility for your conduct rests entirely on yourselves.”

(To be continued)