Surat An-Nisa continued
The fifth Juz opens by declaring that a man and woman can enjoy intimacy and loving relationship only through marriage. Marriage is the most cherished relationship and the dowry symbolises its importance. Only marry a believing woman, the Quran declares. Marriage is a wonderful institution where two people share pleasures and sorrows. The ingredient for a successful marriage is honesty.
Be content with your share of the deceased’s estate. Do not wish for more. Verse 34 answers the awkward question – why the unequal shares for men and women? Because men are obliged to spend on their wives, they have a bigger share in the inheritance and they must work to support the family.
Despite marriage being a loving relationship, things will go wrong, so how do you heal marital conflict? The Quran suggests ‘Mediation’ is the way. Whilst discussing family issues we are reminded about the purpose of religion: worship Allah…be kind to parents, relatives, orphans, needy, neighbours, and travellers.
Verses 44 to 57 describe some of the problems Muslims were having with the Jews of Madinah. The Quran laments about the growing jealousy and resentment and advises everyone to obey the law and the authority.
Obedience to the Messenger is a source of blessing
Good leadership is a powerful glue that holds a society together, “Believers, obey Allah, the Messenger and those in authority amongst you, if you disagree amongst yourselves over anything, then refer it to Allah and the Messenger” (59). A later verse gives a further reason why the leadership of the Prophet ﷺ was so important, explaining that, “We haven’t sent a single messenger for any purpose except he should be obeyed by the will of Allah. If only, when they wronged themselves, they were to come to you and seek Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger too would seek forgiveness for them” (64). Those who obey the Messenger are blessed: “Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are the one Allah has favoured, like the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. What wonderful companions!” (69).
Jihad isn’t for worldly gains
Verses 71 to 80 condemn Jihad for worldly gains and stress its purpose is to fight injustice and there is no escape from death when the time comes.
Verses 81 to 91 highlight the problems caused by the Hypocrites, a notorious group who were neither with the Muslims nor openly against them, they were the fifth column who always found excuses to avoid following the Shariah. The Muslims are told to ignore them and don’t worry about their rumours. The way to counter hypocrisy is, to be honest, sincere and genuine to oneself. To care and serve others, particularly members of one’s family and to show love and respect for the leadership of the community and always be courteous. These guidelines will shape a peaceful, harmonious and just society. The penalty for accidental homicide and murder (92-3). Murder incurs the death penalty and Allah’s anger.
The Quran wants to develop the character of its followers, so it is peppered with pearls of wisdom: “do not be judgmental or dismissive, instead be open, honest and transparent.” This is about the Muslims who couldn’t emigrate from Makkah. Do not be judgmental about strangers you meet, only Allah knows the true state of people’s hearts and minds. However, this does not pardon those who could have migrated but didn’t. There is a tacit encouragement to emigrate from a place where you can’t live according to your faith.
The next section: “When you are travelling in the land, you can shorten the prayer without any guilt.” (121) This dispensation is followed by a simple way of praying when in a state of fear or battle. Even in such danger, the prayer cannot be overlooked. To avoid Hell, Muslims must follow the path of Allah’s pleasure and they should not expect the Messenger to follow their whims. If he were to follow them there would be chaos and injustice. A severe warning is given “Whoever opposes the Messenger after the guidance has been made clear and follows a path other than that of the believers, We will let him continue down his chosen path until We throw him in Hell” (115).
The Satan tricks people by giving false hopes, spreading weird customs, misleading Allah’s creation by encouraging them to associate false gods with Allah. The Quran teaches: “Allah will not forgive idolatry, but He forgives whatever is less than that.” (116) However, Satan’s tactics are weak. People who Submit wholeheartedly to Islam can resist his misguidance. They are behaving like the rest of the natural world, which submits to Him, and so, “they will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, remaining there forever, Allah’s true promise” (122).
The next section revisits Safeguarding of orphans and the right of women to inherit. The order is to ‘be just’. Women are advised to seek help when facing marital disputes. “Reconciliation is the best policy, but humans tend to be selfish. So, remain righteous and mindful, Allah is aware of what you do.” (128)
Attention is drawn to the glory of Allah, as everything belongs to Him: “Whoever desires the reward of this world only, then let him know that the reward of this world and of the Hereafter are with Allah. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing” (134).
Standing up for Justice
When these radical laws about inheritance were announced, there was a backlash from the supporters of the old customs, so the Quran inspired people to Stand up for justice and struggle against prejudice. “Believers, stand up for fairness as Allah’s witnesses even if it’s against yourselves, parents or relatives, and regardless of whether a person is wealthy or poor” (135).
The hypocrites were the masked ones, the two-faced cowards prowling around spreading mischief. They sat on the fence for the victor to emerge, before they declared faith. They are told it will be an eternal waiting. They tried to deceive Allah Almighty; they made a show of praying, the Muslims are warned against taking them as allies as they cannot be trusted.
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