An-Nisa · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 172 and 173

The Prophets and Angels are Never too Proud to Worship Allah

From the affirmation of Allah’s absolute purity and the refutation of assumed Godhood of Eesa aalyhi salaam, the text now moves to further strengthen the argument by showing that Eesa aalyhi salaam would himself confess to being a servant of Allah and so will the angels [which includes Jibraeel aalyhi salaam alleged to be a person of Trinity].

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْداً للَّهِ وَلاَ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

 “Al-Maseeh will never be too proud to be a servant of Allah, nor the angels who are the near (to Allah).”

Being a servant of Allah, being devoted to His worship and being obedient to His will and command, is an honor by itself and certainly a nobility of the highest class.

The word muqaraboon [مُقَرَّبُونَ] means those who are near. Here it has been used for the angels. So which angels are close to Allah? They are those who carry the throne of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They have a high status, yet they don’t feel embarrassed to worship Him.

Eesa aalyhi salaam and the close angels are the best testifiers to the worth and value of this blessing. How could they spurn an honor like that? Quite contrary to this, the worst disgrace and dishonor there can be imagined lies in worshiping someone other than Allah.

This is what the Christians did when they tool Eesa aalyhi salaam as the son of Allah and the object of their worship. Similar was the case with disbelievers who took angels as daughters of Allah and started worshiping them along with their idols. So, for them there is punishment and disgrace as we read in the closing words of this ayah:

وَمَن يَسْتَنْكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيهِ جَمِيعاً

“And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself.”

LESSONS:

– When we are in a shopping mall and adhan goes on, we intentionally our prayer because we are too shy to offer our Salah in front of the people. When women are attending a wedding or some other event, they refuse to cover their hair because of the people. They feel they will look ugly if they covered up. When there’s an occasion in the family we don’t take care of segregation, we hold mixed gatherings because we don’t want to look conservative, narrow-minded or “backward” in the eyes of the people. But do we realize what we are doing? We are rejecting the command of Allah subhanahu wa because we feel we will be humiliated in the eyes of the people, but what about the akhirah? What excuse will we have then?

– People think that if they have a high status, there’s no need to worship Allah. The Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi was a slave of Allah, he never shied away from worshiping Allah.

– Eesa aalyhi salaam and the angels were given a high status, yet they worshiped Allah. If they didn’t feel shy from worshiping Allah then who are we to refuse worship? Being ordinary people of no significance it suits us more to do His worship.

– People who refuse to worship Allah will be punished on the Day of Judgment.

Ayah 173

After the warning for those who choose to retract in distaste follows the good news for those who believe and are good in deeds for they will be rewarded for their belief and deeds with many more added graces from Allah.

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ فَيُوَفِّيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزيدُهُمْ مِّن فَضْلِهِ

“So, as for those who believed and did deeds of righteousness, He will give their (due) rewards, and more out of His bounty.”

Allah will award them their full rewards for their righteous actions and will give them more of His bounty, kindness, ample mercy and favor.

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْتَنكَفُواْ وَاسْتَكْبَرُواْ فَيُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلُيماً وَلاَ يَجِدُونَ لَهُمْ مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً

“But as for those who refused His worship and were proud, He will punish them with a painful torment. And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or helper.”

Those who refuse to worship Him out of arrogance, they will face a tormenting punishment from which no one can save them besides Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We learn in Surah Ghafir ayah 60,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَخِرِينَ

“Verily! Those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation.”

LESSONS:

– What is one thing that stops us from worshiping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? For example, what stops the women from wearing hijab or men from growing beard and keeping their ankles bare? The fear of people. We think what are the people going to say, if we cover our hair or men grow their beards? If we feel humiliation in worshiping Allah then this is arrogance.

What was the problem of the Jews? Even though they could see clear proofs of Prophet Muhammad’s Prophethood, they refused to accept it because they feared the loss of their status.

What did Iblees do? He said, “I am better than him.” He thought if I who is created from “fire” prostrates to a creation made of clay, then this will humiliate me. He was arrogant therefore he became among the wrongdoers.

– Arrogance and pride do not suit a creation. We are servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, it doesn’t suit us to hold pride in our hearts.

– These ayaat are addressed to the People of the Book commanding them to accept their mistakes. However, there is lesson for us as well. When we read something in Qur’an or ahadeeth that clearly points out that we have been wrong about a matter, we refuse to admit our mistake. It hurts our pride to admit we can be wrong. This is arrogance and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala forbids us from arrogance and pride.

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