Verses from Surah Al-Noor [63 – 64]

[63] Place not the Messenger’s summon among yourselves (on the same footing) as the summon of some of you to others.132 Allah has known those who slip away from you surreptitiously.133 Let those then who go against his command beware, lest a tribulation strikes them134 or a painful punishment afflicts them.135

Commentary

132. There are two opinions. One of them treats “du`a” of the text not as summons but as “prayers” or “supplication.” What they thought it meant is, do not treat the Prophet’s supplication against you like you would each other’s. If he prayed against you, you would suffer. Therefore, be careful not to provoke him to supplicating against you. A second opinion treats the word “du`a” as “term of address.” That is, do not address the Prophet coarsely or disrespectfully, such as to say, “O Muhammad!” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir)

Ibn Jarir’s preference is the former interpretation in view of the context. When summoned to a meeting, the Companions were not to slip away using another as cover – as the hypocrites did. If they did so, the Prophet’s anger would be provoked against such of them entailing their destruction.

Imam Razi, however, prefers the meaning as reflected in the translation (and which Ibn al-Qayyim also mentions as possible). That is, do not treat the Prophet’s summon as some of you summoning others, those others responding or not responding.

133. This has reference to the hypocrites who could not bear to sit long in the Prophet’s assembly, and slipped away taking someone’s cover.

The cause of revelation could be more than one. Ibn Is-haq, Ibn al-Mundhir and Bayhaqi (in his Dala’il) have reported that when the Arab confederates, led by the Quraysh, came down in a mass to attack Madinah, the Prophet (saws) was prompted to dig a trench in the north of Madinah. His Companions helped him in the digging. But the hypocrites evinced their weaknesses. A Muslim for example, if he had to leave temporarily, would find a replacement for himself and then seek the Prophet’s permission to go. And, when allowed to go, he would return as fast as he could. But the hypocrites would slip away from behind the lines without seeking the Prophet’s permission and without he ever knowing that they had slipped away. (Qurtubi, Shawkani)

Qurtubi adds: In fact, when, during that campaign, `Umar sought permission to leave for Madinah for a while, the Prophet said, “You may go, for, by Allah, you are not a hypocrite.” Those words were meant for the hypocrites. (In practice, the Companions sought the Prophet’s permission on other occasions too: Au.).

When ‘Umar intended an `Umrah, he sought the Prophet’s permission who responded by saying, “O Hafs’ father. Do not forget us in your supplication.

134. By the tribulation, the allusion is to the seal placed upon the hearts, so that guidance cannot penetrate (Ibn Jarir).

Mawdudi gives it a wider connotation. He writes: “The word fitnah used in this verse has been interpreted by Ja`far al-Sadiq to mean the ‘dominance of wrong-doers.’ If Muslims disobey the commands of the Messenger (saws), they will be subjected to the yoke of unjust and oppressive rulers. While this is one of the forms of Fitnah, it is by no means the only form. For Fitnah might manifest itself in countless other ways such as mutual dissension and feuding, moral degeneration, the dissipation of collective cohesion, the spread of internal disorder and chaos, the breakdown of the material power of a people and its subjugation by others.”

135. The words, “Let those then who go against his command beware” have a wide application. The deeds of the followers of the Prophet would be judged with his deeds as the criteria. What matched would be accepted, while what did not, would be rejected. The Prophet said (Muslim, Fut-h), “Whoever brought in our affair (i.e., Islam) that which is not of it, stands rejected.” (Ibn Kathir)

[64] Lo! Surely to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.136 He ever knows what (state) you are upon. And the day they shall be returned to Him, He will inform them of what they did.137 And Allah is knowing of all things.

Commentary

  1. That is, it is not right for one who is owned by another – in this case, the slaves owned by their Master Allah, the Owner of the heavens and the earth – that they disobey Him. He knows well how they are responding to the commandments and injunctions being revealed. (Ibn Jarir)

 

  1. The allusion is to those who slipped behind the cover of others, mentioned in the previous verse (from Tabari).

(To be continued)