An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 108

Nothing is Hidden from Allah

Ayah 108 describes the condition of people who betray trust and act treacherously. It is strange that these people feel shy before other people like them and conceal their theft from them while they do not feel shy before Allah who is with them all the time and watches over everything they do. This ayah was revealed at the occasion when they mutually conspired to put the blame on the Jew and went to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam and complained against Rifa’ah and Qatadah. They charged them of false accusation and appealed to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam for support against the Jew.

يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلاَ يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ اللَّهِ

“They seek to hide from the people but they cannot hide from Allah…”

This ayah addresses everyone who does something wrong and then denies it. Why would a person want to hide his bad deeds? He may do so because of the fear of criticism and accusation.

Humans are selfish beings. They want to appear righteous and upright in the eyes of fellow beings and in doing so, they have complete disregard for the One Who has bestowed them everything. Humans like are ourselves can’t give us anything. We are dependent on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for every blessing. Yet, we chase the praise and compliments of people rather than being good in the sight of the One Who created us.

In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses the entire clan of Tu’mah. They were supporting Tu’mah in his false statement. Why were they supporting him? Because, otherwise if proven guilty it would have been an insult for the entire clan.

Similarly, our friend may do something wrong and despite being well-aware that he’s at fault we support him. Somebody from our family, our sibling, our child may be incorrect, but we stand by them fearing criticism or insult for the entire family. To save the family from embarrassment, we hide their sins and defend the deceitful. Have we forgotten that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is watching? He can punish us as well as our friend right at that moment.

He reminds us that we cannot hide anything from Him.

وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لاَ يَرْضَى مِنَ الْقَوْلِ

“…. and He is among them when they plot by night in words that He does not approve.”

When Tu’mah was plotting against an innocent man, he instructed his clan to say the same statement so that there is no deviation or doubt in any one’s testimony. In our personal lives, when we want to take revenge from someone, we make our small group of defenders and warn everyone to say the same thing. Sometimes people go to extremes and say that they are going to swear by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala just to give more weightage to their statement.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is warning all such people that He doesn’t approve of such statements because they are lies and based on falsehood. A believer is distinguished for his truth.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is closer to us than our jugular vein. Whether we are alone in our house or on the street among crowds of people, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is always with us. He is well-aware of every thought that we think and every opinion that we hold; whether we say it aloud or not. He sees us when there is no one else around us.

We may do something behind a person’s back assuring that he would never find out, but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is there watching our every act.

وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطاً

“And Allah ever encompasses what they do.”

Encompass here means surround or encircle. This means Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala surrounds everything. He knows every deed and every statement. Nothing is hidden from Him. Therefore, we should be careful of what we say or do. We are the slaves of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Our reward or punishment is with Him and not with the people. He is the only One we should fear and bow down to.

In Surah al-Fatihah, we learn that He is the Owner of the Day of Judgment. Then how can we disobey Him in order to be judged as a righteous, pious person by people like our own selves?

LESSONS:

We learn from this ayah that:

– when a person does anything in secret assuring himself that no one is around him and nobody is aware of his bad deed, he must know that he cannot hide from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If you want to sin or disobey, then go somewhere where Allah cannot see or hear you. So a person must think before committing a sin. If he fears people so much, shouldn’t he be afraid of Allah? If he is so shy of people, shouldn’t he have haya of Allah? When we pray in congregation, we fill perform every rukuh and sujuhud properly, but when we are praying alone we will rush through our Salah? Isn’t Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala more worthy of our fear, shyness and respect than the people?

– when a person tries to hide his sin by deceiving people, he may be successful. He may escape judgment or punishment here, but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows. And on the Day of Judgment it will be displayed and justice will be brought. What will be his condition in the Hereafter?

– we should be careful of our speech. We must not utter anything that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala disapproves of.

– we should be mindful and fearful of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala because He is Muheeth, He encompasses everything we do. He is aware of every action and statement.

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