An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 111 and 112

Attributing One’s Sins to Others Brings Added Punishment

In the event that these people choose not to repent despite the option given to them, ayah 111 carries the assurance that this action of theirs brings no harm to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or His Messenger sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam or to Muslims. The sad nemesis of a person’s evil deed shall be faced by the person himself.

وَمَن يَكْسِبْ إِثْماً فَإِنَّمَا يَكْسِبُهُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً

“And whoever earns sin only earns it against himself. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”

In ayah 112, a general rule of conduct has been set forth. It stipulates that anyone who himself commits a crime, then goes on to put the blame on some innocent person has done something grave by leveling a false accusation of great magnitude against an innocent person plus an open sin weighing heavy on one’s shoulders.

وَمَن يَكْسِبْ خَطِيئَةً أَوْ إِثْماً ثُمَّ يَرْمِ بِهِ بَرِيئاً فَقَدِ احْتَمَلَ بُهْتَـناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً

“And whoever earns a fault or a sin and then blames it on an innocent (person), then surely he has burdened himself with a slander and a manifest sin.”

The word khati’ah is used for intentional and unintentional sins. It is a minor sin. On the other hand, ism is considered a deliberate sin. It is a major sin.

Here Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is telling us that initially a person commits a sin, then goes on to ascribe it to an innocent man. He has done a terrible thing because this doubles and hardens his sin. He has made himself deserving of severe punishment, the punishment of his own sin, then the added punishment for lying and accusing falsely.

For example, family is sitting together having dinner. A child moves her hand and a glass falls down. The child now starts looking at her younger brother sitting right next to her, as if he dropped the glass. Now the entire family thinks it was the little boy who did it.

Breaking a glass is not a sin, it was a mistake but accusing someone is a sin.

The lesson that we learn from this ayah is that initially a sin may be very small but when we slander or accuse someone of a sin committed by us, it grows. From a minor sin it becomes a major sin. From an unintentional sin it grows into an intentional sin.

In these ayaat [105-112] two scenarios have been shown, one commits a sin and he seeks forgiveness. Similarly, one may commit sin and instead of repenting accuse someone else of the sin. By blaming someone, the sin increases.

Why do people accuse others? It goes back to fear or criticism of other people. It is our arrogance which makes us do wrong deeds. And arrogance is severely disliked by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

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