Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 41

Don’t Let Other’s Behavior Upset You

A third group in Madina besides the Jews and the Mushrikeen were the hypocrites who had joined Islam due to political and economic benefits. They were not passionate about Islam rather they sought status and power. Whenever there was a conflict between kufr and emaan, they sided with the kufr. When someone claims they are our friends, and when such a situation arrives where it’s tested who they stand with and they leave us, how are we going to feel? We are going to be upset!

During the Battle of Uhud, there were almost 300 hypocrites who claimed to be Muslims but when they saw Muslims losing the battle they ditched them and sided with the Jews. It caused severe grieve to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. This ayah has been revealed about these hypocrites.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala while addressing the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam says,

يأَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لاَ يَحْزُنكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِى الْكُفْرِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ ءامَنَّا بِأَفْوهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قُلُوبُهُمْ

“O Messenger! Let not those who hurry to fall into disbelief grieve you, of such who say, ‘We believe’ with their mouths but their hearts have no faith.” 

We should not grieve about those who rush into disbelief, deviating from the obedience of Allah, His Messenger, preferring their opinions and lusts to what Allah has legislated. Why have we been advised not to grieve? It is because if we stay in grieve for a long time not only is it going to affect our health, but we will also not be able to do anything productive at all.

Why do we become sad? It is because of our expectations. People cannot give us what we want. If we are calling people to Allah, then we should remind ourselves that we are doing it only for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If despite our efforts, it’s not helping or we don’t see them coming close to Islam, we should know that only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala can guide them.

How were the hypocrites hastening towards disbelief? Whenever there’s a conflict between emaan and kufr, they show their immediate support for kufr. They commit one kufr after another. They were accelerating in their kufr as if there was some competition.

The Jews Altered and Changed the Law of Allah

Moving ahead, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala speaks about a certain kind of kufr that these munafiqeen [hypocrites] display.

وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ هِادُواْ سَمَّـعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّـعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ ءاخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ يُحَرّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوضِعِهِ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَـذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُواْ

“And of the Jews are men who listen much and eagerly to lies, listening to others who have not come to you. They change the words from their places; they say, ‘If you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, then beware!’”

There can be several types of kufr such as arrogance, where a person knows what the truth is yet denies it out of arrogance. Such as what the Jews did. They read and acknowledged the description of the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam in Torah but when they couldn’t accept him as their Prophet on the grounds that he is an Arab – one of the illiterate people.

Another type of kufr is denial i.e. not even believing or accepting it. This is the type of kufr that was displayed by the mushrikeen. They didn’t believe or accept the fact that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed anything. The completely denied it.

In this part of the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is telling us that there are people who say on the surface that they are believers but in their hearts they do not believe. The Jews believed in Allah, accepted Musa aalyhi salaam, read the description of Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam, acknowledged it to be true but refused to accept it.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that these people are avid listeners of falsehood. They have time to listen to the fictional stories and lies narrated by their Rabbis but don’t have time to listen to the Qur’an – the truth. They’d listen agreeably to the fabricated stories and accept them.

The Rabbis or the honorable people among the disbeliever out of their pride would send their common people to sit in the gathering of Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. The purpose behind this strategy was to pick words from the sermons of the Prophet, add lies to it and spread them among people who have not attended Prophet’s gathering. When they stated that they heard this in Prophet’s gathering, the common/ignorant people would accept them to be true. They spread false propaganda against Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam.

What is meant by “If you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, then beware!”? The Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam was sent as the Leader of the Muslims, but he was the political leader of entire Madina. The mushrikeen, the munafiqeen and the Jews will come to him seeking justice or clarification for their matters. However, their leaders and Rabbis would instruct them that if the he gives you such and such ruling, then accept. If he doesn’t give ruling in our favor reject it. They had a shopping of fatwa shopping. They would accept what they liked and refused what they disliked.

It was reported that this part of the Ayah was revealed about some Jews who committed murder and who said to each other, “Let us ask Muhammad to judge between us, and if he decides that we pay the Diyah, accept his judgment. If he decides on capital punishment, do not accept his judgment.”

The correct opinion is that this Ayah was revealed about the two Jews who committed adultery. The Jews changed the law they had in their Book from Allah on the matter of punishment for adultery, from stoning to death, to a hundred flogs and making the offenders ride a donkey facing the back of the donkey. When this incident of adultery occurred after the Hijrah, they said to each other, “Let us go to Muhammad and seek his judgment. If he gives a ruling of flogging, then implement his decision and make it a proof for you with Allah. This way, one of Allah’s Prophets will have upheld this ruling amongst you. But if he decides that the punishment should be stoning to death, then do not accept his decision.”

There are several Hadiths mentioning this story. Malik reported that Nafi` said that Abdullah bin Umar radhiAllahu anhu said, “The Jews came to Allah’s Messenger and mentioned that a man and a woman from them committed adultery. Allah’s Messenger said to them,

مَا تَجِدُونَ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ فِي شَأْنِ الرَّجْمِ؟

‘What do you find of the ruling about stoning in the Torah?’ They said, ‘We only find that they should be exposed and flogged.’ Abdullah bin Salam said, ‘You lie.’ The Torah mentions stoning, so bring the Torah.’ They brought the Torah and opened it but one of them hid the ayah about stoning with his hand and recited what is before and after that ayah. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, ‘Remove your hand,’ and he removed it, thus uncovering the ayah about stoning. So they said, ‘He (Abdullah bin Salam) has said the truth, O Muhammad! It is the ayah about stoning.’ The Messenger of Allah decided that the adulterers be stoned to death and his command was carried out. I saw that man shading the woman from the stones with his body.”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this hadeeth and this is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari.

When people deviate from the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala He puts them in Fitnah. He says,

وَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّهُ فِتْنَتَهُ فَلَن تَمْلِكَ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئاً أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَن يُطَهّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ لَهُمْ فِى الدُّنْيَا خِزْىٌ وَلَهُمْ فِى الاْخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“And whomsoever Allah wants to put in Fitnah, you can do nothing for him against Allah. Those are the ones whose hearts Allah does not want to purify; for them there is a disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a great torment.”

No one can guide whom Allah misguides. Their hearts are wrapped and their doubts will never be removed. They rejected Allah’s commands, He disgraced them. There is disgrace from them here and in the Hereafter.

We seek Allah’s refuge from such an evil end, aameen.

LESSONS:

– We learn about the love that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has for His loved ones. The Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam was deeply sorrowful about the attitude of the hypocrites and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala comforts him by revealing a surah of Qur’an.

In this ayah is a lesson for every person involved in da’wah work. You may be actively calling people to Islam and expecting them to be as passionate about Allah’s commands as you’re, but they may not be paying any heed at all. In the face of opposition, don’t feel defeated or sad. Be patient and focused in your work. People say they will listen, but they don’t listen. People say they will support, but they support. People commit to come to Qur’an class or a lecture, but they don’t show up. If people are not acting on their promises, don’t lose heart. You’re doing it for the sake of Allah. He will guide them. You be sincere in your work.

–  We have time to read fictional books or watch movies. We sit glued to our television sets or laptops watching a 3 hours movie, but when it comes to reading Qur’an, attending a Qur’an class or a lecture even half an hour is tough on us. We can’t sit still or silently when Qur’an is being recited, but when a movie is being played we make silence everyone so that we can get the dialogue. We pick the most quiet and comfortable place to read a fictional book, but when it comes to Qur’an we will not bother even if television or radia is being played right on our heads.

When we distance ourselves from the truth i.e. Qur’an and the authentic teachings, it fall victim to falsehood, fabrication and lies.

–  There are still people among us who call themselves believers but have reservations for certain commandments. They attend lectures hear the correct view, but since they don’t agree to it when they return to their people or friends who didn’t attend the lecture they add things from their side and quote the scholar.

As a student of knowledge or attendees of lectures, it becomes our responsibility to quote the right thing. We cannot add things from our side and say this is what the scholar said. We will be accountable for what we say. If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has revealed it in the Qur’an, then why deny it? Who are we to change the words of Allah? Misrepresenting or misquoting the Qur’an is incorrect.

– The Jewish Rabbis used to send their common people to attend the gatherings of Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam because they considered themselves too arrogant to attend themselves.

When someone sends us an invite to a concert or an art exhibition we are quick to accept it. But when someone invites us to attend a lecture, we tell them, “You go ahead attend and tell me what it was all about.” Aren’t we being arrogant as well? When someone calls us to sit and study Qur’an with them, we tell them, “You read and let me know later.” This was the trait of the hypocrites and the Jews. So if one does such action who is he resembling?

– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala dislikes that a person accepts what conforms to his desire and rejects what he doesn’t approve of. There is severe warning for those who go on fatwa shopping i.e. they accept and propagate only those fatwa which fulfill their desire and reject those which are against their desire.

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4 thoughts on “Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 41

  1. Ma Sha Allah.Keep up this wonderful work.Indeed we get lovely lessons from the Holy Qur’an.
    May Allah bless you.

    1. JazakiAllah khair for visiting our blog and your appreciation. All good is from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and all shortcomings are our own.

      May He accept this service from us and enable us to live by the Qur’an, aameen.

  2. masha’Allah Barakullah feekum. a beautiful interpretation of this ayah. may Allah accept your efforts Insha’Allah. keep up the good work!

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