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The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 5

By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam

26 April 2021

(Translated by New Age Islam)

The Verse of Jihad (4:56) Out of 26 Verses Presented by Wasim Rizvi in Supreme Court- Meaning and Context

Main Points Discussed in Part 5

1. Shane Nuzul of the Verse 4:51The Verse 56 of Surah Al-Nisa relates to the Divine Warning.

2. Two possible interpretations of the Kuffar mentioned in the Quranic verse 4:56.

3. The promise of divine punishment is in accord with Nature.

4. The Divine punishment is promised not only for the disbelievers but also for the believers who are neglectful of their prayers.

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Allah Almighty says, “Those who disbelieve in Our signs (Ayaat), We will soon drive them into the Fire. Whenever their skins are ripe, We will replace them with skins to enjoy the torment. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (4:56)

The afore-mentioned verse of Surah Al-Nisa is one of the verses related to the divine warning (Wa’eed) in which Allah Almighty has promised that He will drive the deniers of the verses of Allah into Hell.

Before explaining this verse, we should take a brief look at the previous verses as they contextually relate to this verse (4:56).

This verse is preceded by verse 4:51, the reason of revelation (Shane Nuzul) of which is reported to have mentioned that a delegation of seventy Jews, under the leadership of the prominent scholars of Jews such as Hayy b. Akhtab and Ka’ab b. Ashraf, came from Madinah to Makkah to meet the people of Quraysh. The purpose of this delegation was to make the Quraysh of Makkah their ally in the war against the Holy Prophet and to violate the treaty agreed between the Holy Prophet and the Jews which we have highlighted in the fourth part of this article. When the conversation between them began, the Quraysh of Makkah said to them, “You are the People of the Book (Ahle Kitab) whereby you are closer to Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, we cannot easily trust your words. However, if you convince us by prostrating before our gods, we can then trust you and make you our ally in the war against Muhammad (peace be upon him).

This led to a surprising event that the Jews prostrated before the idols to achieve their ambition. Cunning and tricky were parts of their characters, therefore they did not hesitate to obey the devil. Then, Abu Sufyan, who had not embraced Islam by the time, addressed them and said to Ka'ab b. Ashraf, “you are the People of the Book and knowledge. As compared to you, we are illiterate. Tell us; are we or Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions on the Right Path?” Ka'ab b. Ashraf said, “What does Muhammad (peace be upon him) command you to do?” Abu Sufyan replied saying, “He commands us to worship only one God and forbids us to worship hundreds of gods.” Ka'ab b. Ashraf asked Abu Sufyan, “What is your religion?” In response to that, Abu Sufyan informed him of his religion and practices.

Ka'ab b. Ashraf said extemporarily, “Antum Ahda Sabeela” which means “You are on the right path” (Tafsir Abi Saud, vol. 2, p. 189]

In the Quranic verse 4:52, Allah Almighty rebuked the Jews for this act and then said, “Do they have some share in the kingship?- If it were, they would not give to mankind even a single sesame” (4:53). The severe persecution inflicted on the Palestinians by the Jews today is not hidden from the eyes of the world.

The next verse (4:54) sheds light on the filthy nature of the Jews and states that “they envy the people due to what Allah has given them from His grace.” In particular, they envy the Prophet and other believers, because Allah has endowed him with Prophethood, assistance, dominion and honour.

Then Allah Almighty said in the next verse 4:55, “So some of them (Jews) believed in it (Islam)” i.e. some of the Jews, such as Abdullah Ibn Salam and his colleagues, believed in the faith of oneness of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and “Some of them turned away from it” i.e. some of the Jews, such as Ka’ab b. Ashraf and Hayy b. Akhtab turned away from Islam, “and Sufficient is hell, a blazing Fire!”.

Now let us ponder over verse 56 of Surah al-Nisa, which Wasim Rizvi has objected to and included in his PIL, and whose translation he has presented in the viral video.  

There are two possible interpretations of this verse, “Those who disbelieve in Our Signs (Ayaat)”:

(1) The Kuffar mentioned in the verse 4:55 refer to the disbelievers (Kuffar) of the Prophet's era, including Jews, Christians and other disbelievers and polytheists of Arabia.

(2) Or they refer to the Kuffar before, during and after the Prophet’s era.

On the assumption of the former interpretation, the ‘signs’ mentioned in the verse 4:55 denote the verses of the Quran, all the miracles of the Holy Prophet, all his commands, rules and laws. However, if we assume the second meaning to be true, the ‘signs’ denote the four famous divine books such as the Torah, the Gospel, the Bible, the Qur'an and one hundred unknown scriptures, out of which the ten scriptures were revealed on Adam (peace be upon him), fifty on Hazrat Sheeth (peace be upon him), thirty on Hazrat Idris (peace be upon him) and ten on Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him), as mentioned in Mirqat al-Mafatih authored by Allama Mulla Ali Qari, vol. 1, p.117.

And ‘the signs’ refer to all the miracles, evidence and rulings that were given to all the previous Prophets and Messengers, as it is mentioned in the commentary of Abi Saud under this verse:

“If it is meant by them those who disbelieved in the Messenger of Allah then by the ‘signs’ are meant either the Qur’an or the matters in whole and part, or what is common to all his miracles too” (Tafsir Abi Saud, V. 2, p. 191)

After this explanation, you should know that in this verse, Allah Almighty has rebuked all those who disbelieve in His Signs (Ayaat) and has made a promise of punishment for them, as He said, “Those who disbelieve in Our signs (Ayaat), We will soon drive them into the Fire. Whenever their skins are ripe, We will replace them with skins to enjoy the torment. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (4:56)

This means that the burnt skin will be replaced with a new skin which will be different from the first skin in its form, but in terms of substance, it will be the same skin, i.e. only the attribute will be changed and the substance will remain the same. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) says, “They would be changed with white skins, like white papers.” (Tafsir-e-Abi Saud):

Their black skin will be replaced by white skin like the white sheet of paper, or new skin will come out of the flesh, just as it takes place in the world that when the skin is burnt, new skin comes out in a few days after treatment. The process of change will take place so that the power of feeling in them does not come to an end because torture and grace are meaningless without feeling. Thus they will continue to enjoy the Punishment of rejecting the divine signs. (May Allah safeguard us)

The promise made by the Lord Almighty in this verse is completely in accord with the requirements of nature. It is obvious because they are those who deny the divine verses, raise the flag of rebellion against the rules of God Almighty, do not follow His path, disbelieve His Prophets and Messengers, conspire against them by plotting to kill them, and instead of worshipping God Almighty worship the idols which can neither benefit nor harm their worshippers, nor can they protect them. Allah says, “They worship such, besides Allah, which neither harms them nor benefits them; this only is the extreme error” (22:12)

Allah will punish such disbelievers and this is also the system of worldly governments. For example, you see in our country that the process of punishment and retribution is underway. Those who do not respect the laws of the country have to confront the process of punishment. In the same way, when a criminal commits a crime, he is punished, as it is also enshrined in the constitutional provisions of the country. If a person raises a revolt against the country and commits treason, our constitution provides life imprisonment or execution for such persons. Punishment is given as per the crime.

This is not true that the Quran promises punishment only for the disbelievers and polytheists, but it also promises the punishment for those believers who commit sins. Wasim Rizvi saw these verses in the Qur'an, but he ignored those verses, in which the painful torment has been promised for those Muslims who do not offer prayers (namaz). For example, see the following verses;

“So ruin is to those offerers of prayer –Those who are neglectful of their prayer.” (107:4-5)

(The Arabic word ‘wayl’ mentioned in the Arabic text of the Quran refers to the name of the

Hell-valley from which even the Hell seeks refuge.) 

“And after them came the unworthy successors who squandered prayer and pursued their desires, so they will soon encounter the forest of Gai in hell.” (19:59)

Similarly, the following verse of the Quran promises punishment for those who deny paying Zakat.

“…and those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The day when it will be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their sides and their backs will be branded with them; “Here is what you hoarded for yourselves; so now taste the joy of your hoarding!” (9:34-35).

There are many such verses. We have mentioned only three verses here as examples.

From these verses, it is clear that the Qur'an contains promises of punishments for both believers and disbelievers. Therefore, anti-Islamic elements should keep an eye on these verses which also mention punishments for believers. The Holy Qur'an presents the formula of divine punishment as per the crime.

(Continuing)

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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:   

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 1

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 2

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 3

The Verses of Jihad- Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 4


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