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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah An-Nisaa 4:51-56 [8/24]
  
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أَلَمْDo not
تَرَyou see
إِلَى[towards]
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
أُوتُواْwere given
نَصِيبًاa portion
مِّنَof
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِthe Book?
يُؤْمِنُونَThey believe
بِٱلْجِبْتِin the superstition
وَٱلطَّـٰغُوتِand the false deities,
وَيَقُولُونَand they say
لِلَّذِينَfor those who
كَفَرُواْdisbelieve[d]
هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ`These
أَهْدَىٰ(are) better guided
مِنَthan
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
ءَامَنُواْbelieve[d]
سَبِيلاً(as to the) way.
﴿٥١﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَThose
ٱلَّذِينَ(are) the ones
لَعَنَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ(whom) Allah (has) cursed,
وَمَنand whoever
يَلْعَنِ ٱللَّهُAllah curses
فَلَنthen never
تَجِدَwill you find
لَهُۥfor him
نَصِيرًا(any) helper.
﴿٥٢﴾
أَمْOr
لَهُمْfor them
نَصِيبٌ(is) a share
مِّنَof
ٱلْمُلْكِthe Kingdom?
فَإِذًاThen
لَّا يُؤْتُونَthey would not give
ٱلنَّاسَthe people
نَقِيرًا(even as much as the) speck on a date seed.
﴿٥٣﴾
أَمْOr
يَحْسُدُونَare they jealous
ٱلنَّاسَ(of) the people
عَلَىٰfor
مَآwhat
ءَاتَـٰهُمُ ٱللَّهُAllah gave them
مِنfrom
فَضْلِهِۦ‌ۖHis Bounty?
فَقَدْBut surely
ءَاتَيْنَآWe gave
ءَالَ(the) family
إِبْرَٲهِيمَ(of) Ibrahim
ٱلْكِتَـٰبَthe Book
وَٱلْحِكْمَةَand [the] wisdom
وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُمand [We] gave them
مُّلْكًاa kingdom
عَظِيمًاgreat.
﴿٥٤﴾
فَمِنْهُمThen of them
مَّنْ(are some) who
ءَامَنَbelieved
بِهِۦin him
وَمِنْهُمand of them
مَّن(are some) who
صَدَّturned away
عَنْهُ‌ۚfrom him,
وَكَفَىٰand sufficient
بِجَهَنَّمَ(is) Hell
سَعِيرًا(as a) Blazing Fire.
﴿٥٥﴾
إِنَّIndeed,
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
كَفَرُواْdisbelieved
بِـَٔـايَـٰتِنَاin Our Signs,
سَوْفَsoon
نُصْلِيهِمْWe will burn them
نَارًا(in) a Fire.
كُلَّمَاEvery time
نَضِجَتْare roasted
جُلُودُهُمtheir skins
بَدَّلْنَـٰهُمْWe will change their
جُلُودًاskins
غَيْرَهَاfor other (than) that,
لِيَذُوقُواْso that they may taste
ٱلْعَذَابَ‌ۗthe punishment.
إِنَّIndeed,
ٱللَّهَAllah
كَانَis
عَزِيزًاAll-Mighty,
حَكِيمًاAll-Wise.
﴿٥٦﴾


اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَى الَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوۡا نَصِيۡبًا مِّنَ الۡكِتٰبِ يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡجِبۡتِ وَالطَّاغُوۡتِ وَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ لِلَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا هٰٓؤُلَۤاءِ اَهۡدٰى مِنَ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا سَبِيۡلًا‏  اُولٰٓٮِٕكَ الَّذِيۡنَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللّٰهُ​ ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّلۡعَنِ اللّٰهُ فَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لَهٗ نَصِيۡرًا ؕ‏  اَمۡ لَهُمۡ نَصِيۡبٌ مِّنَ الۡمُلۡكِ فَاِذًا لَّا يُؤۡتُوۡنَ النَّاسَ نَقِيۡرًا ۙ‏  اَمۡ يَحۡسُدُوۡنَ النَّاسَ عَلٰى مَاۤ اٰتٰٮهُمُ اللّٰهُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِهٖ​ۚ فَقَدۡ اٰتَيۡنَاۤ اٰلَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ الۡـكِتٰبَ وَالۡحِكۡمَةَ وَاٰتَيۡنٰهُمۡ مُّلۡكًا عَظِيۡمًا‏   فَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ اٰمَنَ بِهٖ وَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ صَدَّ عَنۡهُ​ ؕ وَكَفٰى بِجَهَـنَّمَ سَعِيۡرًا‏  اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا بِاٰيٰتِنَا سَوۡفَ نُصۡلِيۡهِمۡ نَارًا ؕ كُلَّمَا نَضِجَتۡ جُلُوۡدُهُمۡ بَدَّلۡنٰهُمۡ جُلُوۡدًا غَيۡرَهَا لِيَذُوۡقُوا الۡعَذَابَ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ عَزِيۡزًا حَكِيۡمًا‏ 
(4:51) Have you not seen those to whom a portion of the Book was given? They believe in baseless superstitions81 and taghut (false deities),82 and say about the unbelievers that they are better guided than those who believe.83 (4:52) Such are the ones whom Allah has cursed; and he whom Allah curses has none to come to his help. (4:53) Have they any share in the dominion (of Allah)? Had that been so, they would never have granted people even as much as the speck on a date-stone.84 (4:54) Do they envy others for the bounty that Allah has bestowed upon them?85 (Let them bear in mind that) We bestowed upon the house of Abraham the Book and Wis-dom, and We bestowed upon them a mighty dominion,86 (4:55) whereupon some of them believed, and others turned away.87 (Those who turn away), Hell suffices for a blaze. (4:56) Surely We shall cast those who reject Our signs into the Fire; and as often as their skins are burnt out, We shall give them other skins in exchange that they may fully taste the chastisement. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

81. Jibt signifies 'a thing devoid of any true basis and bereft of all usefulness'. In Islamic terminology the various forms of sorcery, divination and soothsaying, in short all superstitions, are termed jibt. It is reported in a tradition that, 'to divine things from the cries of animals, or the traces of animals' paws, or the flight of birds, constitutes jibt. Thus, jibt may be roughly translated as 'superstition'. (See Abu Da'ud, Tibb', 23; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 477 and vol. 5, p. 60 - Ed.)

82. For explanation see Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vol. I, (Surah 2, nn. 286 and 288).

83. The obstinacy of the Jewish religious scholars had, reached such a point that they brazenly declared the followers of Muhammad (peace be on him) to be in greater error than even the polytheists of Arabia. This was despite the fact that they knew that the Muslims stood for absolute monotheism while their opponents believed in that undisguised polytheism which has been so vehemently denounced throughout the Bible.

84. The Jews, who had judged the Muslims to be in error, are asked if they have some share in God's authority which entitles them to judge who is rightly guided and who is not. If the Jews really had any share in that authority, no one would receive so much as a penny from them, for their hearts are too small to even acknowledge the truth, let alone credit others with righteousness and goodness. This verse can also be understood somewhat differently so as to pose the following question to the Jews: 'Is it a matter of your possessing some dominion which you are reluctant to share with others?' Obviously, the question was merely one of acknowledging the Truth, and they were too grudging to credit others with it.

85. By implication, this query accurately portrays the state of mind of the Jews. They saw the Muslims being endowed with the grace and reward of God which they, notwithstanding their own unworthiness had expected to fall to their share. By virtue of the advent of a great Prophet among the ummis of Arabia, a spiritual, moral and intellectual revolution had taken place which totally changed their practical life and ultimately led them to greatness and glory. It is this which aroused their spite and envy, and which was reflected in their unjustifiable remarks about the Muslims.

86. This 'mighty dominion' refers to the position of world leadership and authority which a people attain by virtue of receiving the knowledge in the Book of God and acting according to its dictates.

87. This is in response to the malicious remarks of the Israelites. What is being said is that they had no reason to feel jealous since both the Israelites and Ishmaelites were offspring of the same Abraham. Now, the leadership of the world had been promised only to those children of Abraham who followed the Book and Wisdom revealed by God. The Book and Wisdom had been sent down earlier to the Israelites, and to their discredit they had turned away from them. The same Book and Wisdom had now been made available to the Ishmaelites and they had decided to greet it with faith and gratitude.