An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 119

Shaytan’s Promise

This ayah speaks about Shaytan’s determination and commitment with respect to his plans to deviate mankind. Speaking to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Shaytan says,

وَلأضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ

“And I will surely mislead them and I will surely arouse (sinful) desires in them…”

This indicates how determined Shaytan would be he is swearing that he will make sure people are misguided.

The word dhillana is from the root letters dad-lam-lam and it is used to indicate misguidance, deviation from the right path, losing the direction, etc. In the word walla there is an implied qasam. i.e. by Allah I will make sure that people are deviated from the right path. This shows how strong he is in his promise.


The word ummanniyannahum is from the root letters meem-noon-ya and it means to wish or desire.

Shaytan is swearing that he will fill us with false hopes and delusions of success. We will be blinded by our aspirations. And when we blindly start following the path of Shaytan instead of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, we become his slaves and he becomes our commander. We begin falling for one trap after another. He will tempt us to feign repentance, arouse false hopes, encourage us to delay and procrastinate in righteous deeds, thus deceiving us.

وَلاّمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ ءَاذَانَ الاٌّنْعَـمِ

 “…. and I will surely order them so they will surely cut off the ears of the cattle…”

The word yubattikunna is from the root letters ba-ta-kaf and it means to severe or cut, pluck out, part/portion/piece severed, very sharp, cutting much/keenly.

What is meant by cutting the ears of cattle? In the pre-Islamic Arabia, the pagans used to cut the ears of cattle as a mark of dedicating the animal to the idols. Now nobody could ride this animal, if the animal entered someone’s farm or house one couldn’t stop it. If the animal drank or ate someone’s provision nobody could do anything. Similarly, it was not allowed to be slaughtered.

They were not only torturing the animal, but themselves too. Who inspired them to do this? The Shaytan.

It also means people will become superstitious and innovate weird things in deen. In doing so, they will go to extremes and adopt things which are not part of Islam and were never taught by Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. For example, today people take cattle to be their god. A cow is a deity for them. People sacrifice cattle in the name of someone other than Allah.

Some people who innovate things in Islam, they term it a good biddah. It must be remembered that any innovation is misguidance. There is no such thing as good or a bad biddah. Some people will argue about the practice of Taraweeh started by Umar radhiAllahu anhu for this we must refer the previous ayah that states to be on the way of believers. When something is not clear in Qur’an we refer Sunnah, when it is silent subject we look at life of Companions of Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam and if they did something we accept it because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allowed it to happen. And Allah knows best!

وَلاّمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ

“….. and I will surely order them so they will surely change the creation of Allah.”

The word ghayyirunna is from the root letters ghayn-ya-ra and it means alter or change a thing for the worse, corrupt, taint, infect, adjust, repair etc.

Shaytan is swearing that he will make sure that people alter Allah’s creation. If we look around ourselves we are eating genetically modified crops, and getting our looks changed through plastic and cosmetic surgery. We are torturing our bodies and getting fancy or awful tattoos made.

What is this? Are we not pleased by Allah’s created; the way He created things to be? Aren’t we being ungrateful when we bring about changes in natural things?

Some women get surgery done so that they are not able to conceive any more children. They are altering something that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala decided for them. A woman’s body was designed to bear children.

Similarly, women in general are displeased with their hair. They will get the color changed; if their hair are curly they will straighten them up. If they are straight they will get them curled. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created our hair in a certain way and we are changing them?

Today’s world portrays that Shaytan is indeed getting successful in his plan. But we as Muslims should analyze our actions. What kind of food are we purchasing? Are we too obsessed with our looks that we want to get them altered?

Everything that Allah has created has some logic behind it. There are countless examples of alterations in today’s times. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created woman to be the homemaker, and tend to her family. Today she is being forced to work or willingly compete against men sometimes against their own husband.

Men and women are created for separate and unique roles both have respectable status but it is Shaytan who is deceiving them. Men are getting surgery done to transform their bodies into a female’s body and women are doing the same. Homosexuality, anal sex, are all against fitrah and hence changing the creation of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Alteration can be physical as well as intangible. It means the nature. How Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created things.

Getting some treatment done for medical or genuine reasons is allowed but changing our physical features just for the sake of beautification is prohibited. Wearing contact lenses because we don’t like our eye color, getting our hair dyed when there’s no grey hair are whims. This reflects deception and ingratitude to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. A woman is allowed to color her hair if it’s grey but the color she chooses should neither be black nor permanent. The color should be as close to her natural hair color as possible. Do we only have to make ourselves pleasing physically? Is that the purpose of our life? Shouldn’t we rather work on our soul and our character?

In his saheeh, Muslim recorded the prohibition of tattooing the face which in one its wordings states, “May Allah curse whoever does this.” It is also recorded in the saheeh that ibn Masood radhiAllahu anhu said, “May Allah curse those who have tattoos and those who do it, who pluck their (facial) hair and the one who does it for them, and those who make spaces between their teeth for the purpose of beauty, changing what Allah has created.” He then said, “Why should not I curse whom the Messenger of Allah [sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam] has cursed, when the Book of Allah commands it.” referring to the Surah Hashr ayah 7.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bless us with the proper guidance of deen, aameen.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then ends this ayah by saying,

وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَـنَ وَلِيّاً مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَاناً مُّبِيناً

“And whoever takes Shaytan as a friend besides Allah, then surely he has suffered a manifest lost.”

Here Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that whoever takes Shaytan to be his supporter or wali, indeed he has chosen disgrace for himself in dunya as well as the Hereafter. He will remain lost at both the places. Indeed, this is a type of loss that cannot be compensated or restored.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from such a loss and fate, aameen.

15 thoughts on “Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 119

  1. Salaam, I am fascinated by verse 119 of al-Nisa, I have been studying verses of the Quran, which are related to science, I just want to say, would this verse be also be talking about Dolly the sheep, which the scientist created several years back, by cutting the ear of a sheep. I might not be completely accurate, but to it sounds that the verse 119 of the Al- Nisa is referring to that.

    1. Walikum salaam wa rahmatullah,

      Please accept our apologies for responding with delay. We had been away from the Internet.

      Indeed, when one begins the study of the Qur’an one realizes what a treasure we had been keeping away from. As for your question, this cannot be specifically about Dolly the sheep but rather it is a practice in some agricultural countries to cut the ears of their cattle as a form of marking. In some countries, they cut the horns and so on. Our teachers did not give the example of any specific case therefore we cannot add any on our own either.


  2. ‘if the foreskin remains, when the urine comes out of the urethra, some of it will collect there, and this causes burning and infection every time the person moves, and every time the foreskin is squeezed, some drops of urine come out, thus causing najaasah (impurity)’.

    1. men are created in perfect form (condition), so, the foreskin is defective?
    2. ibrahim was the first to circumcise, meaning the prophets before him did not & they did not solat & saum as well?

    am still learning, so pls bear with me. tq & salam

  3. Assalaamu’alaikum WRWB. Maa shaa Allah excellent commentary. May Allah reward you with the best. Aameen

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