By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam
7 May 2021
(Translated from Urdu by Newageislam.com)
Explaining the Verse 9:37 out of 26 Verses Presented by Wasim Rizvi in Supreme Court
Main points discussed in part 9
Lexical and terminological meaning of nasīu
Impact of Difference between the solar and the lunar years in context of acts of worship and affairs
The pagan Arabs and their acts of worship and affairs based on the solar years and months
Context and cause of revelation of verse 9:37
Why is it that postponing the sanctity of sacred months is a cause of increase in disbelief?
“Their postponing (nasīu) of the months is nothing but furtherance in disbelief – the disbelievers are misled by it – they decree it lawful in one year and regard it forbidden in another year, in order to equate to the number of the months which Allah has made sacred, and to make lawful what Allah has forbidden; their evil deeds seem good in their sight; and Allah does not guide the disbelievers.” (9:37)
It is necessary first of all to shed light on the literal and terminological meaning of the word nasīu mentioned in this verse.
The word nasīu literally has two meanings;
1) In Arabic, al-nasīu is a root word and used in the sense of ‘insaa’un’, that is, to postpone something from its original place, or to push something back. When someone postpones something, it is said [in Arabic], ‘nasa’ahu (he postponed it). Similarly, after pushing a camel back from a pool, a person says, “nas’atu al-ibila ‘anil haudi (I pushed the camel back from the pool). The usage of naseeu’ is also narrated in two ways; 1) with the reduction of the letter ‘yaa’, and 2) with the doubling (tashdeed) of ‘yaa’ without ‘hamza’.
2) al-nasīu is used in the meaning of ‘furtherance’. When an Arabic person increases time, it is said, “nas’a fi al-ajali wa ‘ansa’a”. Similarly, if one adds water to milk and increases it, is said, ‘nasa’a al-ma’a fi al-laban-i (he added water to milk and increased it). I mean to say that every act of ‘furtherance’ or ‘increase’ that is done in anything is an act of ‘nasiu’.
As per Imam al-Wahidi, the former meaning is correct.
In the legal term of Islam, the usage of al-nasīu refers to “delaying the sanctity of what has been described as a sacred month until a month that is not regarded as sacred.
In other words, this refers to “Postponing the sanctity of any of the four sacred months (Ashhur-e-Hurum, Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) and considering non-sacred month sacred, for example, postponing the sanctity of a sacred month ‘Muharram’ until a non-sacred month ‘Safar’, and delaying the sanctity of ‘Rajab’ until the non-sacred month of ‘Sh’aaban’, and so on. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Tafsir-e-Abi Saud under the verse 9:37)
After explaining the literal and figurative meaning of “al-nasīu”, we want to tell you for your understanding that the almanacs (jantris) and calendars that are published in our country are usually based on solar and lunar years and their days, months and dates. The difference between solar and lunar years and their months and days is that if we place the base of any of our matters on any lunar month, it will not stand in one place. But rather, it goes round and round in its circular orbit; for example, fasting is obligatory in the lunar month of Ramazan but while circulating, sometimes this month comes in summer, sometimes in winter or the rainy season. On the basis of the same analogy, take the example of Hajj, the performance of which is obligatory in the lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
However, while circulating sometimes this too comes in the rainy season, sometimes in the winter or summer. This change does not happen in the case of the solar year. For example, if we schedule any special event to be held in March or November, it will not change with the change of seasons. It will always come in moderate weather and will not change. For these reasons, before Islam, when the infidels and polytheists of Arabia thought that the lunar year was disrupting their worldly affairs, causing difficulty for their travel and affecting their business and trade, so they stopped taking the lunar year into consideration. Relying on the solar year, they made an almanac which gave them two benefits; first that some lunar years remained only for twelve months, while others were made by them for thirteen months. They added an extra month to some lunar years because the solar year is larger than the lunar year, and it is reported that 36 solar years are equal to 37 lunar years.
Another benefit for them was that the Hajj occurred in the month of Dhul Hijjah in one year, and in the next year it came in the month of Muharram instead of Dhul Hijjah, and then in the third year, it took place in the month of Safar. In the same way, after continuously circulating for certain years, the season of Hajj would return to its original month Dhul Hijjah. This inevitably led to an increase in the number of months and that the sanctity of Ashhur-e-Haram (four sacred months) was not specifically reserved for its original months, but rather it was postponed until the months which were not declared sacred.
Taking into account this interpretation, we find that the word al-nasīu, in accordance with the majority of scholars, refers to postponing, whereas according to some scholars, this word denotes the meaning of ‘increase’.
The long and the short of it is that due to some difficulty in the way to their gains, the polytheists of Arab, just like the children of Israel, tricked and stipulated that the acts of worship should be based on the solar year and months rather than the lunar year and months. On the contrary to that, Allah Almighty had already commanded in the era of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismael (peace be upon them) that one’s worship and one's affair would be based on the lunar year and months. But the polytheists of Arab did not follow the command of Allah Almighty in context of considering the lunar year and month. In order to achieve their worldly ambitions and benefits, they relied on the solar year and month in all matters including social affairs and acts of worship. Thus they postponed the Hajj until the non-sacred months, instead of the sacred months (Ashhur-e-Haram). This was the reason that Allah Almighty condemned them in verses 36 and 37 of Surah Tawbah and declared their act as such to be a source of furtherance in their disbelief.
That their act was a source of an increase in their disbelief was because their elders had convinced them that whatever they were doing was compulsory and that considering the lunar year and month for the performance of Hajj was not incumbent upon them. It is obvious that despite having knowledge, they denied the command of God Almighty, turned away from obedience to Him and perpetrated mischievous acts. All this resulted, as per the consensus of Muslim scholars, into the furtherance of their disbelief. [Tafsir-e-Kabir under the verse 9:36-37]
Commenting on the words of verse 9:37 “furtherance in disbelief”, the author of Tafsir-e-Abi Suad writes, “This is because they declare lawful what Allah has made unlawful, and unlawful what Allah has made lawful. So this is disbelief after disbelief.” (Tafsir-e-Abi Saud, vol.4, p.64)
Some exegetes (mufassirin) have stated the reason for the postponement of sacred months (Ashhur-e-Hurum) that the Arabs were fond of war, fighting and killing. They unsheathed their swords over trifles. They were always restless for fighting against their rivals. Despite being convinced of the sanctity of the sacred months, it was very difficult for them to sit at home and spend three consecutive months without killing and fighting. So when the sacred month started (in which fighting was prohibited) and if they were already in a state of war, they would declare that month lawful [for fighting] and in return, they would declare any non-sacred month sacred. For example, if these people were in the state of fighting in the month of Shawwal, and the month of Dhu'l-Qa'dah (a lunar month included in the four sacred months) came, they would make it lawful, and in return, they made the month of Safar unlawful, which is not unlawful. Similarly, if they initiated fighting in the month of Jamadil Aakhirah and continued it in the month of Rajab (also a lunar month include in the four sacred months), they would declare it lawful [for fighting] and consider the month of ‘Sha’ban or other non-sacred months unlawful [for fighting].
This way, they would make lawful what Allah had made unlawful, and unlawful what He Almighty had made lawful. They used to declare unlawful to be lawful so that they could complete the counting of the sacred months. For example, the three consecutive lunar months are Dhu'l-Qa'dah, Dhu'l-Hijjah and Muharram. If they fought in these months, then in return they made three non-sacred months sacred so that the matter may be settled on equal terms.
In this way, they would lead themselves astray and lead their youths to the same path of misguidance. While doing so, they did not feel hesitation and disgusting. They would love to do such deeds. It is clear from this event that those who have such instincts; Allah Almighty does not guide them. Allah Almighty gives guidance to those who sincerely strive for such guidance. Why will Allah Almighty guide those who don’t want to take such guidance? It is for this reason that Allah has said here in this verse 9:37 “Allah does not guide the disbelieving people”.
This can be further understood from the example that a teacher is interested in teaching the student who takes an interest in reading. The student who does not want to study and is always absent from the school and the textbooks have no meaning for him; then why would a teacher teach such a student and why would he be interested in his growth, guidance, education and training?
The eloquent sermon (also known as the farewell sermon) delivered by the Holy Prophet on the occasion of Hujjat-ul-Wada' is a comprehensive manifesto and human charter for all mankind. This great sermon of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is a thought-provoking and heart-warming collection of ethics and good manners. In this sermon, he declared that “
“O people, the time has revolved as is its fashion since the day Allah created the heavens and the earth. The number of the months with Allah is twelve, of which four are sacred, these are Rajab of (Banu) Mudar that is between Jumada and Sha'ban, [and three which are consecutive] Dhu'l-Qa`dah, Dhu'l-Hijjah and al-Muharram. "That is the true and upright religion; do not wrong yourselves in them". "Intercalation (Nasi’) therein is an increase in disbelief; by it, those who disbelieve are led astray. One year they make it profane and another year they make it sacred in order to tally (ostensibly) with the number that Allah made sacred”. One year they would make Safar profane and another they would make Muharram sacred. One year they would make Safar sacred and another they would make Muharram profane. This is intercalation (nasi`) [and it is from Shaytan]”.
Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7) Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim
Other Parts of the Articles:
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism