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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 5

Chapter 4: An-Nisa (The Women) - Continued…

Verses 29–33

O People of Faith, do not consume one another’s property and possessions through illegal means, but trade with mutual consent. Do not destroy one another. Know that ALLAH is ever merciful to you! Anyone who does such things with enmity and evil intent, We will punish with Fire, a task easy for God to carry out. If you avoid great sins that have been forbidden, God will overlook your smaller sins and minor bad deeds and enable you to enter a state of glory and honor.

Do not exploit or abuse bounties that God has given some of you more abundantly over others. Men shall benefit from what they earn, and women shall benefit from what they earn. Seek from God His bounty, and God is Ever Aware of all things. We have appointed heirs to all that parents and close relatives leave behind, including agreement you make among yourselves, which shall be given as stipulated. Surely God is a Witness over all things!

Verses 34–35

Men are responsible for care of women, as ALLAH has allocated His bounty differently among them, and men should spend their resources for such care. Righteous women are devoted and protect familial privacy and intimacy, which God asks them to guard. If you have reason to fear persistent discord and failure of familial responsibilities on the part of a woman, reason with her (first), then do not share the same bed (as a next measure), and (finally, if none works) separate from her. But if she mends her conduct, then do not seek to harm her. Indeed, God is ever Exalted and Great!

If you fear that a couple might split, seek to bring an arbiter from each side to help bring about reconciliation, if they so desire. God can bring about harmony—He is All-Knowing and Aware!

Verses 36–42

Serve God, and do not assign divinity to anyone else. Be good to (1) your parents, (2) close relatives, (3) orphans, (4) the needy, (5) neighbors you know, (6) neighbors who are alien to you, (7) companions, (8) strangers in your travel, and (9) those in your control (who depend on you for livelihood and dignity). God does not love anyone who is self-conceited, acts boastfully, is not only miserly by himself or herself but also encourages others to be niggardly, and who does not share what God has blessed him or her with out of His bounty. For such as these who persistently deny and act against the truth, God has prepared a shameful suffering. The same is true of those who spend their possessions and talents to show off and have no faith in God or in the Last Day and who take the devil as a companion and friend—an evil soul mate to be associated with!

What apprehension do they have to believe in God, the Last Day, and to share with others what God had blessed them with? God knows all about them. God does not bring injustice on anyone, even to the weight of an atom, and He magnifies the good actions of anyone with a great reward! What would the situation be like when We (God) bring witnesses from within every community, and you (Prophet) will also be brought to testify against them? Those who denied the truth and failed to follow the guidance from the Messenger will desire on that Day that the earth would conceal them, but they can’t conceal anything from God.

Verses 43–50

O People of Faith, do not attempt to perform prayer if you are under the influence of an intoxicant. Wait until you are aware of what you are saying; similarly, wait until you bathe if you are under obligation to bathe after sexual intimacy, unless you are traveling. If you are sick or on a journey, have satisfied a call of nature, or have had sexual intimacy and you cannot find water, then resort to Tayammum by pure dust, and wipe your face and hands. ALLAH is always Pardoning and Forgiving!

Have you seen those who were given their portion of the revelations? They barter for errors instead and desire that you also lose your way. God knows best who your adversaries are. God is sufficient as a Friend and as a Helper. There are those among the Jews who distort the meaning and context of words from their true meaning and say [as it were], “We hear but we disobey” or “We hear but are not moved by it” or “Lean toward us (Prophet),” and so on by distorting meaning with their tongue twists and implying the guidance (as revealed in the Qur’an) as false. But if they had said instead, “He has heard, and we pay attention” or “Hear us, and have patience with us,”—that would have been better for them and closer to being truthful and righteous. God disapproves of their lack of faith and denial of truth. They believe but only a little.

O People of the Book, believe in what has been revealed (in the Qur’an), which verifies what you already possess (the Torah and the Bible) before We fail your hopes and desires, bring an end to such (maneuvers) or reject in a manner similar to Sabbath-breakers. Know that God’s will is always done. God forgives not any assignment or assumption of divinity, but He forgives anyone or anything besides that as He pleases. Whoever assigns divinity to anyone other than God has conceived a grave transgression. Have you not seen those who claim purity for themselves, but it is God Who purifies whomever He pleases. None will be treated unjustly even a little! See how they bring false conjectures about God—these are sufficient as manifest transgressions!

Verses 51–57

Have you encountered those who, having received their portion of the revelations, still believe in superstitions, do evil worshipping, and practice sorcery? They even say to those who disbelieve that they are better guided than those who believe! It is these people that God rejects, and whomever ALLAH rejects will not find a helper. Is it that they have a share in the Kingdom of God? If they did, they would not share even a speck with others. Or is it that they envy those who received God’s grace? Do they not know that God did the same to Abraham’s children—giving them the book (of revelation), guidance with wisdom, and a grand kingdom? (As you can see), there are some among them who believe, and there are others who shun him (the Prophet). Hellfire is sufficient for punishment. Those who persistently deny God’s messages, God will cause them to endure the punishment of fire. Every time their skins will be burned off, We will replace them with new skins so that they may suffer punishment. God is Mighty and Wise.

But those who believe and do good, God will make them enter Paradise of peace and plenty (with the river flowing) to live therein forever. There, they will find mates of matching disposition and a place of enduring comfort.

Verses 58–59

ALLAH commands you to convey the trust to those deserving of it and when you judge between people, that you exercise justice. Indeed, God asks you to do what is most excellent; God is ever Hearing and Seeing!

O People of Faith, listen to God, listen to the Messenger, and listen to those who are given authority to govern among you. Then, if there is any disagreement and dispute on any matter among you, refer to God and His Messenger—this is if you truly believe in God and the Last Day. This is the best and most conducive to achieve your objectives.

Verses 60–70

Are you aware of those who on the surface assert they believe in the Qur’an and earlier revelations? But in reality, they are more inclined to evil ways; whereas, ALLAH has strict command to avoid the devil, whose only mission is to lead people astray, far away from truth. When you call people: Come to what God has revealed and come to His Messenger; you see the hypocrites recoil in aversion from you.

But when a misfortune affects them due to their own doing, they rush to you swearing, “By God, we desired nothing but goodness and harmony!” God knows the secrets of their hearts. Therefore, don’t be disturbed by them, but continue to engage them in guidance and use effective means of persuasion and discourse.

We have not sent any messenger but that he should be accepted and followed by God’s command. Had these people, who harbor evil and thereby harm themselves, come to God for forgiveness and asked the messenger to seek for them forgiveness, they would have found God to be ever ready to accept repentance and dispense mercy. By God, their belief is not complete until they accept you (Prophet) as a judge in matters in which they dispute among themselves; and, once the judgment is rendered, they have no qualms or discontent in their hearts and accept the decisions wholeheartedly and with peace in heart. If they were commanded to sacrifice their lives and exert themselves by leaving the comfort of their homes, they would not have done it except a few of them. But if they had done what they were encouraged to do, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their convictions, and We would have given them from Ourselves a worthy reward and guided them to the Straight Path!

Whoever follows God and His Messenger, God will bless them, and they will be among those whom God has favored—the prophets, those who are truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and those who are righteous. These are a company worthy of goodness! Such is the grace from God, and none knows better than God.

Verses 71–77

O People of Faith, take full precaution when we go to battle in small detachments or in a larger body together. There is among you someone who will not join in your effort—he will hang back, and if he sees a misfortune in your way, he will exclaim, “ALLAH has indeed been good to me as I was not with them.” But if God gives you bounty from Him, he will cry out, as if there were no prior friendship between you and him, “I wish I were with them, then I would have achieved a great reward!” Therefore, exert in your way to God—give this life and its possession to gain the life to come in the Hereafter. Whoever struggles in God’s way—through suffering in life or gaining victory—in either case, God will grant him or her a grand reward. What excuse do you have not to struggle in God’s way (for justice and goodness) when oppressed men, women, and children are crying out, “God, take us out of this town whose people are oppressing us; raise from among us, by Your Grace, a champion and grant us, by Your Grace, a helper.”

Those who truly believe fight for God’s guidance (to establish justice and goodness), and those who disbelieve fight for evil. Therefore, fight against the friends of the devil and take heart in the fact that the devil’s fight is always weaker!

Have you not observed those who were instructed as, “Restrain your hands (from unrighteousness and oppression), worship God and extend charity to purify yourself.” But when fighting for God’s cause is ordained, a party of these people begins to fear men as they ought to fear God or with an even greater fear and say, “Our Lord, why have you ordained fighting for us? Would you not give us a respite for some time?” Say to them, “Enjoyment of this life is rather short, whereas the life to come is better for those who are mindful of their responsibility to God (attaqa).” None will be unjustly treated, not even a little!

Verses 78–82

Death will overcome you wherever you are, even on top of a lofty tower. When good things happen to them, they say, “It is from ALLAH.” But when a misfortune or evil touches them, they blame the Prophet (and the faithful). Say to them, “All is from God.” What possessed these people that they make no effort to comprehend anything they are told? Whatever good comes to you, it is from God, and whatever misfortune falls on you, it is the result of your own actions.

We have sent you (Prophet) as a Messenger for mankind, and God is sufficient as a Witness to this. Whoever follows the guidance of the Prophet has indeed followed God. But whoever turns away, you (Prophet) are not sent to be their keeper. They say to you, “We are listening.” But when they leave your presence, a group of them, by the darkness of the night, plots to do things other than what they said. And God does write down all that they plot. It is better that you leave them alone and rely on God who is sufficient for you to rely on!

How is it that they do not ponder and reflect on the Qur’an? Had it been sourced from anyone other than God, they would have found numerous inconsistencies and contradictions!

Verses 83–87

When a matter pertaining to security or threat comes to light, they (hypocrites) spread it. Instead, they should have referred it to the Prophet and those in charge of governance, who could search out the truth and would know what to make of it. Had it not been that ALLAH had His grace and mercy on you, all of you except a few would have followed the devil. Strive, then, in God’s cause (for truth and justice); you (Prophet) are only responsible for yourself and inspire the believers (for such struggle). God might curb the power of those who disbelieve and who deny truth and justice (through your struggle). God is stronger in might and stronger in restraining! Whoever intercedes or partners in a good cause will have a share of it and its blessing; whoever rallies to an evil cause will suffer its consequences. God is ever Watchful over everything.

When someone extends a greeting (salam or peace), reciprocate with a greeting better than or the same. God is ever taking account of all things (said and done). God, besides Whom there is no other god, will gather you all together on the Resurrection Day—there is no doubt in it. Who is better in speaking the truth than God Himself!

Verses 88–91

Why do you disagree among yourselves about the hypocrites? God has made them to return to disbelief because of what they have done. Do you wish to guide them when God has left them in their evil state? Whoever God leaves in such a state, you cannot find a way out for them. They wish that you also disbelieved just like they did and become the same as them. Do not take them as allies until they leave their homes to exert themselves in God’s way. But if they revert to hostility, then resist them and overpower them wherever you engage them in battle, and seek no friend or helper from among them, except those who join a tribe or a group with whom you are bound by an agreement or those who come to you in despair after fighting you or their own people. But know that if God made them stronger, they would have continued to fight you. Therefore, if they disengage - do not fight you anymore and offer to have peace with you - then God leaves you no choice but to accept peace.

You will also find others who wish to be secure from you and from their own people, but whenever they find opportunities for mischief, they plunge right into it. Therefore, if they do not withdraw from such mischief, do not show restraint from fighting you, and do not offer peace to you, then continue to fight them and overpower them wherever you engage them. God gives you a clear authority against such people!

Verses 92–94

It is inconceivable that a person of faith will kill another person of faith, except by mistake. Such a slayer will free a believing slave and pay indemnity to the family of the slain, unless the family forgoes such as an act of charity. If the slain person is from a hostile tribe and is a believer, then freeing a believing slave would suffice. But if he or she is from a tribe with whom there is a covenant, then both freeing a believing slave and paying of indemnity to his people are due. If he or she does not have the resources, then he or she should fast for two consecutive months instead. This is a prescribed repentance from ALLAH. God is All-Knowing and Wise.

Whoever kills a believer deliberately, their destination is Hell, where they will reside. God will condemn them, reject them, and subject them to a grave suffering. O People of Faith: when you go out to fight, be mindful and congnizant of one who offers you a greeting of peace and do not say, “You are not a believer,” to gain some goods of this world. With God is more abundant gain, and recognize that you, too, were in a state of disbelief until God granted you the benefit of faith. Therefore, be discerning on such matters, and know that God is Ever Aware of all that you do.

Verses 95–100

Believers who are passive—except those who are disabled—cannot be equal to those who actively strive for faith and justice in ALLAH’s way with their possessions and their own lives. God excels those who strive for faith and justice in God’s way, with their possessions and their lives, to a degree much higher than those who are passive. To each, God has promised goodness and reward, but those who actively strive for goodness and faith will have a grand reward above those who are passive—a reward of higher order, forgiveness, and mercy. God is Ever Forgiving and Merciful!

Visualize when angels of death will come to those who were unjust to themselves and ask, “What is the matter with you?” They will answer, “We were too weak on earth.” The angels will reply, “Was not God’s earth expansive enough for you to move away from the domain of evil?” These people will find Hell as their destination, and it is an evil resort. But those who were truly helpless, be they men, women, or children—who did not have the means or strength or could not find a way out or did not know the true guidance—perhaps God will forgive them. God is much Forgiving and a Dispenser of Grace! Whoever removes himself from the domain of evil and moves toward God will find on earth many ways and means of support. And whoever flees from his home and from evils toward God and His Messenger and succumbs to death in such pursuit, his reward is with God. God is Ever Forgiving, Merciful!

Verses 101–104

When you go forth (at times of conflict), there is no failing on your part if you shorten your prayer, if you fear that those who persistently deny the truth will cause you harm. Surely those who persistently deny the truth are a manifest adversary to you. When you (Prophet) are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group stand in prayer with you and keep their arms with them. Once they have performed their prayer, let them stand in guard in rear - while another group who has not prayed yet, comes forth, joins the prayer – keeping their arms, and maintaining their precaution. Those deniers of truth wish that you neglected your arms, equipment, and provisions so that they can initiate a surprise attack. But you will not be negligent if you put away your arms at times of difficulty from rain or illness, but always be prepared. Know that ALLAH has prepared shameful chastisement for those who deny the truth. Once you have finished your shortened prayer, remind yourself of God (and your purpose in life) at all times during such conflicts, whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down. But when you are secure, then go back to your regular mode of prayer. Prayers at fixed times are indeed prescribed for all believers!

Don’t be weak hearted when you pursue your adversaries. As you undergo hardship, they, too, suffer as you do, but you hope from God, while they cannot.

God is truly all Knowing and Wise!

Verses 105–112

We have revealed the book (the Qur’an) to you with truth so that you may judge between people in light of what ALLAH has taught you. Therefore, do not plead the case of people who are dishonest to their trust, but continue to ask for their forgiveness; God is Ever Forgiving and Merciful! And do not argue on behalf of those who act unfaithfully to their own souls, for God does not love those who betray their trust and persist in a sinful lifestyle. They seek to hide from people, but they cannot hide from God. God is with them when they utter, by the darkness of night, ideas, plans, and propositions that God finds unacceptable. God encompasses all that they do!

Yes, you can plead on their behalf in this life, but who will contend for them with God on the Day of Resurrection or be their advocate? But if one does evil or injustice to one’s soul and then asks for God’s forgiveness, God is Ever Forgiving and Merciful. Whoever commits a sin has only hurts his or her own soul. Whoever commits a fault or a sin and then places the blame on an innocent, he or she surely carries the guilt of calumny, and it is a flagrant violation and sin.

Verses 113–115

Had ALLAH been not graceful to you and showered you with His Mercy, some of these people would have led you away from guidance. But they only ruin themselves. They can do you no harm. God has revealed the Book to you, grown you in wisdom, and taught you matters that you did not know (or appreciate) before. Indeed, God’s grace on you is beyond measure!

No amount of goodness ever comes out of most of their secret dealings, except when one does charity, equitable dealings in goodness, and bringing people and communities together. Whoever acts in this manner, seeking God’s pleasure, We will give him or her in time a grand reward!

[On the contrary] whoever acts in opposition to the Messenger after guidance has come to them and they choose a path different from that of a believer, We will let that them pursue what they had opted for that will lead them to hellfire, an evil resort.

Verses 116–126

ALLAH does not forgive any assignment of divinity other than to Him, and He forgives any lesser sins as He pleases. Whoever sets up a partner with God has indeed stepped far away from the right path. Besides God, they invoke idols and inanimate objects for devotion. But they invoke none but the devil who reveled against God and whom God had forsaken, for he said, “I will lead astray a segment of your people, consume them to vain desires, and make them do things such as cut the ears of cattle (as sacrifice to idols) and incite them to corruption and alter the nature of creation. Whoever takes the devil as a friend over God suffers a clear loss. The devil promises and incites false hopes and vain desires—such promises are nothing but deception. The destination of those who follow the devil is Hell, and they will find no way to escape from it.

But whoever does believe (in God) and does good, God promises Paradise of peace and plenty (in which the river flows); God’s promise is truth—and who is more truthful than God? The world does not operate according to your wishful thinking and vain desires or such desires of the people who were given divine scriptures before. Whoever does evil will face its consequences and will have no helper to protect against God’s will. Anyone who does good—be it male or female—and believes in God will enter Paradise and will not be treated unjustly, even by a whit.

Who is better in guidance than he who submits to God entirely while doing good to others and follows the guidance of Abraham, who removed himself from all evils and was a friend of God? To God belongs all that is in the universe and on earth. God encompasses all things and affairs!

Verses 127–130

They ask you (Prophet) about matters concerning women. Say, “ALLAH enlightens you regarding such matters by making mention in the revelations regarding orphan women (and widows) in your guardianship that you do not give what is due to (1) such ladies while you may be inclined to marry them, (2) children who are helpless, and (3) orphans, whereas your duty is to treat them justly and with fairness. Whatever good you do, surely God is Ever Aware of it.”

If a woman fear abuse and neglect from her husband and separation, it is not wrong to try to effect reconciliation and peace between them (by themselves or with help from others) —reconciliation and peace are better, whereas selfishness and extreme greed are ever present in the human psyche. If you do good and are conscious of your responsibility, then know that God is Ever Aware of your action (and your intention). You are incapable of treating your wives with equal fairness, no matter how much you wish for it; therefore, do not allow yourself to devote to one to the exclusion of the other that makes her unsure of her position. But if you put things right and are conscious of your responsibility, then God is Forgiving and Merciful.

But if they do separate (in an equitable manner), God will render them free and provide for them from His abundance. God is Generous and Wise!

Verses 131–134

All that is in the universe and all that is on earth belongs to ALLAH. Certainly We (God) had enjoined the people who were given revelations before your time and (similar enjoinment) on you now that you all be mindful of your responsibilities to God (attaqu). But if you deny Him, then know that God owns all that is in the universe and on earth; God is Self-sufficient and ever to be praised. (Again) to God belongs all that is in the universe and on earth, and God is sufficient to address and have trust over all matters.

If He wills, He will cause you, O Humankind, to disappear and be replaced by other beings. God certainly has the power to do so. If anyone desires the benefit of this world, let him know that with God is the benefit of this world and the life that comes afterward. God is certainly All Hearing and All Seeing!

Verses 135–141

O People of Faith, uphold justice and equity and bear witness for the sake of ALLAH, even if it means testifying against yourself, against your parents, and against your relatives—be they poor or rich. God has better claims than these people. Do not follow your vain desires, lest you deviate from truth. If you distort the truth and refuse to testify, then be aware that God knows the exact nature of all that you do.

O People of Faith, believe in God, His Messenger, the Book He revealed to His Messenger, and the Books He revealed already. Whoever denies God, His Angels, His books, His Messengers, and the Last Day has certainly strayed too far (from the Straight Path). God will never forgive those who come to faith and then go back, then come back, and then go back again, thereby increasing their persistent disbelief, nor guide them to the proper way. Inform the hypocrites that painful consequences await them.

Those who take the deniers of truth (hypocrites) as friends in preference to those who are believers—do they seek to get honor from them? But all honors come from God! God has informed you in the Book that when you see people disbelieve in what has been revealed and mock it, move away from them until they engage in some other meaningful discourse; otherwise, you will become like them. God will certainly gather the disbelievers and the hypocrites into the hellfire. These people wait to see how the events unfold. If you get a victory from God, they say, “Were we not on your side?” But if the disbelievers are in luck, they say, “Have we not earned your confidence by defending you against the believers?” God will judge between you all on the Day of Resurrection. God will never allow those who deny the truth to find ways against the faithful (true believers)!

Verses 142–147

The hypocrites seek to deceive ALLAH, but all the while it is God who lets them deceive (themselves). When they stand up for prayer, they do so only reluctantly, only to be seen by people, and they remember God very little. They waver in their postures and positions. Whoever God let go astray, you cannot find a way for him or her.

O People of Faith, do not take into confidence those who do not believe over those who believe. Do you want to establish a clear proof against yourself to God? The hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire, and you will not find anyone able to help them. But those of them who repent, hold fast onto righteousness, and show sincerity in their belief in God, they are with the believers. God will, in due time, grant believers a grand reward. Why would God chastise you if you are grateful and demonstrate faith? God is always responsive to gratitude, and He is All Aware. 

***Excerpt from Volume 2: Free to Choose – Removing the Middleman Series, by Rashed Hasan. Copyright by Author***

July 2024

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