An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayaat 51 and 52

Believing in Sorcery and Worship Shaytan Instead of Scripture

A description of the evil traits of Jews has been appearing since ayah 44. The present ayah also deals with the same subject.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala begins this ayah by stating,

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ نَصِيباً مِّنَ الْكِتَـبِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْجِبْتِ وَالطَّـغُوتِ

“Do you not see those who were given a portion of the Book? They believe in superstition and false deities…”  

According to Muhammad bin Ishaq, Umar bin al-Khattab said, “Jibt is sorcery and Taghoot is the Shaytan”.

Abu Nasr Ismaeel bin Hammad al-Jawhari writes in his book as-Sihah, “Al-Jibt means idol, soothsayer and sorcerer.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah was asked about Taghoot and he said, “They are soothsayers upon whom the devils descend.”

Mujahid said, “Taghoot is a devil in the shape of man, and they refer to him for judgment.”

Imam Malik said, “Taghoot is every object that is worshiped instead of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala”.

Disbelievers are Not Better Guided Than Believers 

Talking about those who due to their ignorance and disbelief prefer disbelievers over Muslims, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ هَـؤُلاءِ أَهْدَى مِنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ سَبِيلاً

 “….and they say about the disbelievers, ‘They are better guided to the way than the believers’.”

Ibn Hatim recorded that Ikrimah said,  “Huyayy ibn Akhtab and Kaab ibn Ashraf (two Jewish leaders) came to the people of Makkah who said to them, ‘You (Jews) are people of the Book and knowledge, so judge us and Muhammad”. They said, “Describe yourselves and describe Muhammad”. They said, “We keep relationship with kith and kin, slaughter camels (for the poor), release the indebted and provide water for the pilgrims. As for Muhammad he is without male children, he severed our relations, and the thieves who rob pilgrims (the tribe of Ghifar) follow him. So who is better, us or him?” They said, “You are more righteous and better guided.”

Thereafter, Allah sent down ayah 51. This story was also reported from Ibn Abbas and several others among the Salaf.

In Ayah 52, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is sending His la’nah (curse) on the Jews and informs them they have no supporter in this life or the Hereafter because they sought the help of the idolators.

أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَمَن يَلْعَنِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ نَصِيراً

“Those are the ones whom Allah has cursed, and whoever Allah curses – you will never find any helper for him.”

They uttered the statement, “They are better guided to the way than the believers” [mentioned in ayah 51 above] to lure the disbelievers into supporting them, and they ultimately gathered their forces for the battle of al-Ahzab, forcing the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam and his Companions radhiAllahu anhum to dig a defensive tunnel around Madina.

Despite their tricks to lure the idolators and win their support against Muslims, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala supported and protected the Muslims. Subhan’Allah!


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