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 Surah An-Nisaa 4:57-70 [9/24]
  
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وَٱلَّذِينَAnd those who
ءَامَنُواْbelieve[d]
وَعَمِلُواْand did
ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِthe good deeds
سَنُدْخِلُهُمْWe will admit them
جَنَّـٰتٍ(in) Gardens
تَجْرِىflows
مِنfrom
تَحْتِهَاunderneath it
ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُthe rivers,
خَـٰلِدِينَwill abide
فِيهَآin it
أَبَدًا‌ۖforever.
لَّهُمْFor them
فِيهَآin it
أَزْوَٲجٌ(are) spouses
مُّطَهَّرَةٌ‌ۖpure,
وَنُدْخِلُهُمْand We will admit them
ظِلاًّ(in the) shade
ظَلِيلاًthick.
﴿٥٧﴾
۞ إِنَّIndeed,
ٱللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْAllah orders you
أَنto
تُؤَدُّواْrender
ٱلْأَمَـٰنَـٰتِthe trusts
إِلَىٰٓto
أَهْلِهَاtheir owners,
وَإِذَاand when
حَكَمْتُمyou judge
بَيْنَbetween
ٱلنَّاسِthe people
أَنto
تَحْكُمُواْjudge
بِٱلْعَدْلِ‌ۚwith justice.
إِنَّIndeed,
ٱللَّهَAllah
نِعِمَّاexcellently
يَعِظُكُمadvises you
بِهِۦٓ‌ۗwith it.
إِنَّIndeed,
ٱللَّهَAllah
كَانَis
سَمِيعَۢاAll-Hearing,
بَصِيرًاAll-Seeing.
﴿٥٨﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَاO you
ٱلَّذِينَwho
ءَامَنُوٓاْbelieve[d]!
أَطِيعُواْObey
ٱللَّهَAllah
وَأَطِيعُواْand obey
ٱلرَّسُولَthe Messenger
وَأُوْلِى ٱلْأَمْرِand those having authority
مِنكُمْ‌ۖamong you.
فَإِنThen if
تَنَـٰزَعْتُمْyou disagree
فِىin
شَىْءٍanything,
فَرُدُّوهُrefer it
إِلَىto
ٱللَّهِAllah
وَٱلرَّسُولِand the Messenger,
إِنif
كُنتُمْyou
تُؤْمِنُونَbelieve
بِٱللَّهِin Allah
وَٱلْيَوْمِand the Day
ٱلْأَخِرِ‌ۚ[the] Last.
ذَٲلِكَThat
خَيْرٌ(is) best
وَأَحْسَنُand more suitable
تَأْوِيلاً(for final) determination.
﴿٥٩﴾
أَلَمْ تَرَDo you not see
إِلَى[towards]
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
يَزْعُمُونَclaim
أَنَّهُمْthat they
ءَامَنُواْbelieve
بِمَآin what
أُنزِلَ(is) revealed
إِلَيْكَto you
وَمَآand what
أُنزِلَwas revealed
مِن قَبْلِكَbefore you?
يُرِيدُونَThey wish
أَنto
يَتَحَاكَمُوٓاْgo for judgment
إِلَىto
ٱلطَّـٰغُوتِthe false deities
وَقَدْand surely
أُمِرُوٓاْthey were ordered
أَنto
يَكْفُرُواْreject
بِهِۦ[with] it.
وَيُرِيدُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُAnd the Shaitaan wishes
أَنto
يُضِلَّهُمْmislead them
ضَلَـٰلاَۢastray -
بَعِيدًاfar away.
﴿٦٠﴾
وَإِذَاAnd when
قِيلَit is said
لَهُمْto them,
تَعَالَوْاْ`Come
إِلَىٰto
مَآwhat
أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُAllah (has) revealed
وَإِلَىand to
ٱلرَّسُولِthe Messenger,`
رَأَيْتَyou see
ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَthe hypocrites
يَصُدُّونَturning away
عَنكَfrom you
صُدُودًا(in) aversion.
﴿٦١﴾
فَكَيْفَSo how
إِذَآwhen
أَصَـٰبَتْهُمbefalls them
مُّصِيبَةُۢdisaster
بِمَاfor what
قَدَّمَتْsent forth
أَيْدِيهِمْtheir hands
ثُمَّthen
جَآءُوكَthey come to you
يَحْلِفُونَswearing
بِٱللَّهِby Allah,
إِنْ`Not
أَرَدْنَآwe intended
إِلَّآexcept
إِحْسَـٰنًاgood
وَتَوْفِيقًاand reconciliation.`
﴿٦٢﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَThose
ٱلَّذِينَ(are) the ones who -
يَعْلَمُ ٱللَّهُAllah knows
مَاwhat
فِى(is) in
قُلُوبِهِمْtheir hearts,
فَأَعْرِضْso turn away
عَنْهُمْfrom them
وَعِظْهُمْand admonish them,
وَقُلand say
لَّهُمْto them
فِىٓconcerning
أَنفُسِهِمْtheir souls
قَوْلاَۢa word
بَلِيغًاpenetrating.
﴿٦٣﴾
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَاAnd not We sent
مِن رَّسُولٍany Messenger
إِلَّاexcept
لِيُطَاعَto be obeyed
بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚby (the) permission of Allah.
وَلَوْAnd if
أَنَّهُمْ[that] they,
إِذwhen
ظَّلَمُوٓاْthey wronged
أَنفُسَهُمْthemselves,
جَآءُوكَ(had) come to you
فَٱسْتَغْفَرُواْand asked forgiveness
ٱللَّهَ(of) Allah,
وَٱسْتَغْفَرَand asked forgiveness
لَهُمُfor them
ٱلرَّسُولُthe Messenger,
لَوَجَدُواْsurely they would have found
ٱللَّهَAllah
تَوَّابًاOft-Forgiving,
رَّحِيمًاMost Merciful.
﴿٦٤﴾
فَلَاBut no,
وَرَبِّكَby your Lord,
لَا يُؤْمِنُونَthey will not believe
حَتَّىٰuntil
يُحَكِّمُوكَthey make you judge
فِيمَاabout what
شَجَرَarises
بَيْنَهُمْbetween them,
ثُمَّthen
لَاnot
يَجِدُواْthey find
فِىٓin
أَنفُسِهِمْthemselves
حَرَجًاany discomfort
مِّمَّاabout what
قَضَيْتَyou (have) decided
وَيُسَلِّمُواْand submit
تَسْلِيمًا(in full) submission.
﴿٦٥﴾
وَلَوْAnd if
أَنَّا[that] We
كَتَبْنَا(had) decreed
عَلَيْهِمْon them
أَنِthat,
ٱقْتُلُوٓاْ`Kill
أَنفُسَكُمْyourselves`
أَوِor
ٱخْرُجُواْ`Go forth
مِنfrom
دِيَـٰرِكُمyour homes,`
مَّاnot
فَعَلُوهُthey would have done it
إِلَّاexcept
قَلِيلٌa few
مِّنْهُمْ‌ۖof them.
وَلَوْBut if
أَنَّهُمْ[that] they
فَعَلُواْhad done
مَاwhat
يُوعَظُونَthey were advised
بِهِۦwith [it],
لَكَانَsurely (it) would have been
خَيْرًاbetter
لَّهُمْfor them
وَأَشَدَّand stronger
تَثْبِيتًاstrengthen(ing).
﴿٦٦﴾
وَإِذًاAnd then
لَّأَتَيْنَـٰهُمWe would (have) given them
مِّنfrom
لَّدُنَّآOurselves
أَجْرًا عَظِيمًاa great reward.
﴿٦٧﴾
وَلَهَدَيْنَـٰهُمْAnd We would have guided them
صِرَٲطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا(to the) straight way.
﴿٦٨﴾
وَمَنAnd whoever
يُطِعِobeys
ٱللَّهَAllah
وَٱلرَّسُولَand the Messenger
فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَthen those
مَعَ(will be) with
ٱلَّذِينَthose whom
أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُAllah has bestowed (His) Favor
عَلَيْهِمupon them -
مِّنَof
ٱلنَّبِيِّــۧنَthe Prophets,
وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَand the truthful,
وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِand the martyrs,
وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ‌ۚand the righteous.
وَحَسُنَAnd excellent
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ(are) those
رَفِيقًاcompanion(s).
﴿٦٩﴾
ذَٲلِكَThat
ٱلْفَضْلُ(is) the Bounty
مِنَof
ٱللَّهِ‌ۚAllah,
وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِand Allah is sufficient,
عَلِيمًا(as) All-Knower.
﴿٧٠﴾


وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ سَنُدۡخِلُهُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِىۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِهَا الۡاَنۡهٰرُ خٰلِدِيۡنَ فِيۡهَاۤ اَبَدًا​ ؕ لَـهُمۡ فِيۡهَاۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ  وَّنُدۡخِلُهُمۡ ظِلًّا ظَلِيۡلًا‏  اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاۡمُرُكُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤَدُّوا الۡاَمٰنٰتِ اِلٰٓى اَهۡلِهَا ۙ وَاِذَا حَكَمۡتُمۡ بَيۡنَ النَّاسِ اَنۡ تَحۡكُمُوۡا بِالۡعَدۡلِ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمۡ بِهٖ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ سَمِيۡعًۢا بَصِيۡرًا‏  يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَطِيۡـعُوا اللّٰهَ وَاَطِيۡـعُوا الرَّسُوۡلَ وَاُولِى الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡكُمۡ​ۚ فَاِنۡ تَنَازَعۡتُمۡ فِىۡ شَىۡءٍ فَرُدُّوۡهُ اِلَى اللّٰهِ وَالرَّسُوۡلِ اِنۡ كُنۡـتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَـوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ​ ؕ ذٰ لِكَ خَيۡرٌ وَّاَحۡسَنُ تَاۡوِيۡلًا‏  اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَى الَّذِيۡنَ يَزۡعُمُوۡنَ اَنَّهُمۡ اٰمَنُوۡا بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَيۡكَ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِكَ يُرِيۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ يَّتَحَاكَمُوۡۤا اِلَى الطَّاغُوۡتِ وَقَدۡ اُمِرُوۡۤا اَنۡ يَّكۡفُرُوۡا بِهٖ ؕ وَيُرِيۡدُ الشَّيۡـطٰنُ اَنۡ يُّضِلَّهُمۡ ضَلٰلًاۢ بَعِيۡدًا‏  وَاِذَا قِيۡلَ لَهُمۡ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰى مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَاِلَى الرَّسُوۡلِ رَاَيۡتَ الۡمُنٰفِقِيۡنَ يَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡكَ صُدُوۡدًا​ ۚ‏  فَكَيۡفَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَتۡهُمۡ مُّصِيۡبَةٌ ۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ ثُمَّ جَآءُوۡكَ يَحۡلِفُوۡنَ​ۖ بِاللّٰهِ اِنۡ اَرَدۡنَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اِحۡسَانًـا وَّتَوۡفِيۡقًا‏   اُولٰٓٮِٕكَ الَّذِيۡنَ يَعۡلَمُ اللّٰهُ مَا فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِهِمۡ فَاَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡهُمۡ وَعِظۡهُمۡ وَقُلْ لَّهُمۡ فِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ قَوۡلًاۢ بَلِيۡغًا‏  وَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا لِـيُـطَاعَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ ​ؕ وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ اِذْ ظَّلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ جَآءُوۡكَ فَاسۡتَغۡفَرُوا اللّٰهَ وَاسۡتَغۡفَرَ لَـهُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ لَوَجَدُوا اللّٰهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيۡمًا‏  فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ حَتّٰى يُحَكِّمُوۡكَ فِيۡمَا شَجَرَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوۡا فِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيۡتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِيۡمًا‏   وَلَوۡ اَنَّا كَتَبۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ اَنِ اقۡتُلُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ اَوِ اخۡرُجُوۡا مِنۡ دِيَارِكُمۡ مَّا فَعَلُوۡهُ اِلَّا قَلِيۡلٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ​ ؕ وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ فَعَلُوۡا مَا يُوۡعَظُوۡنَ بِهٖ لَـكَانَ خَيۡرًا لَّهُمۡ وَاَشَدَّ تَثۡبِيۡتًا ۙ‏  وَّاِذًا لَّاٰتَيۡنٰهُمۡ مِّنۡ لَّدُنَّاۤ اَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا ۙ‏  وَّلَهَدَيۡنٰهُمۡ صِرَاطًا مُّسۡتَقِيۡمًا‏  وَمَنۡ يُّطِعِ اللّٰهَ وَالرَّسُوۡلَ فَاُولٰٓٮِٕكَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِيّٖنَ وَالصِّدِّيۡقِيۡنَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ وَالصّٰلِحِيۡنَ​ ۚ وَحَسُنَ اُولٰٓٮِٕكَ رَفِيۡقًا ؕ‏  ذٰ لِكَ الۡـفَضۡلُ مِنَ اللّٰهِ​ ؕ وَكَفٰى بِاللّٰهِ عَلِيۡمًا‏ 
(4:57) And those who believe and do good deeds, We shall cause them to enter the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. There they shall abide for ever. There they shall have spouses purified and there We shall cause them to enter a shelter with plenteous shade. (4:58) Allah commands you to deliver trusts to those worthy of them; and when you judge between people, to judge with justice.88 Excellent is the admonition Allah gives you. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (4:59) Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those from among you who are invested with authority; and then if you were to dispute among yourselves about anything refer it to Allah and the Messenger89 if you indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day; that is better and more commendable in the end.90 (4:60) (O Messenger!) Have you not seen those who claim to believe in the Book which has been revealed to you and in the Books revealed before you, and yet desire to submit their disputes to the judgement of taghut (the Satanic authorities who decide independently of the Law of Allah), whereas they had been asked to reject it.91 And Satan seeks to make them drift far away from the right way. (4:61) When they are told: 'Come to that which Allah has revealed, and come to the Messenger', you will notice the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion.92 (4:62) But what happens when some misfortune visits them because of their own misdeeds? Then, they come to you swearing by Allah,93 saying: 'We wanted nothing but to do good and to bring about conciliation (between the two parties)'. (4:63) As for them, Allah knows what is in their hearts. Leave them alone, admonish them, and say to them penetrating words about themselves. (4:64) (And tell them that) We never sent a Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allah.94 If whenever they wronged themselves they had come to you praying to Allah for forgiveness, and had the Messenger prayed for their forgiveness, they would indeed have found Allah All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate. (4:65) But no, by your Lord, they cannot become true be-lievers until they seek your arbitration in all matters on which they disagree among themselves, and then find not the least vexation in their hearts over what you have decided, and accept it in willing submission.95 (4:66) Had We enjoined upon them: 'Slay yourselves', or 'Leave your habitations', very few of them would have done it;96 yet if they had done as they were admonished, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened them;97 (4:67) whereupon We would indeed grant them from Us a mighty reward, (4:68) and guide them to a straight way.98 (4:69) And he who obeys Allah and the Messenger -they shall be with those whom Allah has favoured -the Prophets, those steadfast in truthfulness99, the martyrs, and the righteous." How excellent will they be for companions!100 (4:70) That is a bounty from Allah, and Allah suffices to know the truth.

88. Here the Muslims are forewarned against the evils which had afflicted the Israelites. One of the fundamental mistakes committed by the Israelites was that in the time of their degeneration they had handed over positions of trust (i.e. religious and political leadership) to incompetent, mean, immoral, dishonest and corrupt people. The result was that corruption spread throughout the nation. The Muslims are directed to take heed of this, and to entrust positions of responsibility only to those who are capable of shouldering the burdens of such positions. The other major weakness of the Israelites was that they completely lost their sense of justice. In their pursuit of either personal or national interests, honesty and good faith were often sacrificed. The Muslims, in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him), were themselves subjected to gross injustice at their hands. On the one side were the Prophet (peace be on him) and his followers, to whose purity of life and conduct the Jews were themselves witnesses. On the other side were those who worshipped idols, buried their daughters alive, married their step-mothers and circumambulated the Ka'bah naked. Despite this, these so-called People of the Book felt no shame in declaring that the latter were closer to righteousness than the Muslims. After informing the Muslims of the iniquity of the Jews, God now warns them against committing similar injustices. They should rather declare what is right in the face of friend and foe alike, and judge between people with equity and justice.

89. This verse is the cornerstone of the entire religious, social and political structure of Islam, and the very first clause of the constitution of an Islamic state. It lays down the following principles as permanent guidelines:

(1) In the Islamic order of life, God alone is the focus of loyalty and obedience. A Muslim is the servant of God before anything else, and obedience and loyalty to God constitute the centre and axis of both the individual and collective life of a Muslim. Other claims to loyalty and obedience are acceptable only insofar as they remain secondary and subservient, and do not compete with those owed to God. All loyalties which may tend to challenge the primacy of man's loyalty to God must be rejected. This has been expressed by the Prophet (peace be on him) in the following words: 'There may be no obedience to any creature in disobedience to the Creator.' (Muslim, 'Iman', 37; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 472 - Ed.)

(2) Another basic principle of the Islamic order of life is obedience to the Prophet (peace be on him). No Prophet, of course, is entitled to obedience in his own right. Obedience to Prophets, however, is the only practical way of obeying God, since they are the only authentic means by which He communicates His injunctions and ordinances to men. Hence, we can obey God only if we obey a Prophet. Independent obedience to God is not acceptable, and to turn one's back on the Prophets amounts to rebellion against God. The following tradition from the Prophet (peace be on him) explains this: 'Whoever obeyed me, indeed obeyed God; and whoever disobeyed me, indeed disobeyed God.' (Bukhari, 'Jihad', 109; 'I'tisam', 2; Muslim, 'Amarah', 32, 33; Nasa'i, 'Bay'ah', 27; etc. - Ed.) We shall see this explained in more detail a little further on in the Qur'an.

(3) In the Islamic order of life Muslims are further required to obey fellow Muslims in authority. This obedience follows, and is subordinate to, obedience to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). Those invested with authority (ulu al-amr) include all those entrusted with directing Muslims in matters of common concern. Hence, persons 'invested with authority' include the intellectual and political leaders of the community, as well as administrative officials, judges of the courts, tribal chiefs and regional representatives. In all these capacities, those 'invested with authority' are entitled to obedience, and it is improper for Muslims to cause dislocation in their collective life by engaging in strife and conflict with them. This obedience is contingent, however, on two conditions: first, that these men should be believers; and second, that they should themselves be obedient to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). These two conditions are not only clearly mentioned in this verse they have also been elucidated at length by the Prophet (peace be on him) and can be found in the Hadith. Let us consider, for example, the following traditions: A Muslim is obliged to heed and to obey an order whether he likes it or not, as long as he is not ordered to carry out an act of disobedience to God (ma'siyah). When ordered to carry out an act of disobedience-to God he need neither heed nor obey.

There is no obedience in sin; obedience is only in what is good (ma'ruf). (For these traditions see Bukhari, 'Ahkam', 4; 'Jihad', 108; Muslim, 'Amarah', 39; Tirmidhi, 'Jihad', 29; Ibn Majah, 'Jihad', 40; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 17 and 142 - Ed.)

There will be rulers over you, some of whose actions you will consider good and others abominable. Who even disapproves of their abominable acts will be acquitted of all blame, and whoever resents them he too will remain secure (from all blame); not so one who approves and follows them in their abominable acts. They (i.e. the Companions) asked: 'Should we not fight against them?' The Prophet (peace be on him) said: 'No, not as long as they continue to pray.' (See Bukhari, 'Jihad', 108 - Ed.)

This means that their abandonment of Prayer will be a clear sign of their having forsaken obedience to God and the Prophet (peace be on him). Thereafter it becomes proper to fight against them. In another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) says:

Your worst leaders are those whom you hate and who hate you; whom you curse and who curse you. We asked: 'O Messenger of God! Should we not rise against them?' The Prophet (peace be on him) said: 'No, not as long as they establish Prayer among you: not as long as they establish Prayer among you.' (See Muslim, 'Amarah', 65, 66; Tirmidhi, 'Fitan', 77; Darimi, 'Riqaq, 78; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, pp. 24, 28 - Ed.)

In this tradition the position is further clarified. The earlier tradition could have created the impression that it was not permissible to revolt against rulers as long as they observed their Prayers privately. But the latter tradition makes it clear that what is really meant by 'praying' is the establishment of the system of congregational Prayers in the collective life of Muslims. This means that it is by no means sufficient that the rulers merely continue observing their Prayers: it is also necessary that the system run by them should at least be concerned with the establishment of Prayer. This concern with Prayer is a definite indication that a government is essentially an Islamic one. But if no concern for establishing Prayer is noticed, it shows that the government has drifted far away from Islam making it permissible to overthrow it. The same principle is also enunciated by the Prophet (peace be on him) in another tradition, in which the narrator says: 'The Prophet (peace be on him) also made us pledge not to rise against our rulers unless we see them involved in open disbelief, so that we have definite evidence against them to lay before God' (Bukhari and Muslim).

(4) In an Islamic order the injunctions of God and the way of the Prophet (peace be on him) constitute the basic law and paramount authority in all matters. Whenever there is any dispute among Muslims or between the rulers and the ruled the matter should be referred to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and all concerned should accept with sincerity whatever judgement results. In fact, willingness to take the Book of God and the Sunnah of His Messenger as the common point of reference, and to treat the judgement of the Qur'an and the Sunnah as the last word on all matters, is a central characteristic which distinguishes an Islamic system from un-Islamic ones. Some people question the principle that we should refer everything to the Book of God and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be on him). They wonder how we can possibly do so when there are numerous practical questions involved, for example, rules and regulations relating to municipal administration, the management of railways and postal services and so on which are not treated at all in these sources. This doubt arises, however, from a misapprehension about Islam. The basic difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is that whereas the latter feels free to do as he wishes, the basic characteristic of a Muslim is that he always looks to God and to His Prophet for guidance, and where such guidance is available, a Muslim is bound by it. On the other hand, it is also quite important to remember that when no specific guidance is available, a Muslim feels free to exercise his discretion because the silence of the Law indicates that God Himself has deliberately granted man the freedom to make his decision.

90. Since the Qur'an is not merely a legal code, but also seeks to instruct, educate, admonish and exhort, the earlier sentence which enunciates a legal principle is followed by another which explains its underlying purpose and wisdom. Two things are laid down. First, that faithful adherence to the above four principles is a necessary requirement of faith. Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and yet disregards the principles of Islam involves himself in gross self-contradiction. Second, the well-being of Muslims lies in basing their lives on those principles. This alone can keep them on the straight path in this life, and will lead to their salvation in the Next. It is significant that this admonition follows immediately after the section which embodies comments about the moral and religious condition of the Jews. Thus the Muslims were subtly directed to draw a lesson from the depths to which the Jews had sunk, as a result of their deviation from the fundamental principles of true faith just mentioned. Any community that turns its back upon the Book of God and the guidance of His Prophets, that willingly follows rulers and leaders who are heedless of God and His Prophets, and that obeys its religious and political authorities blindly without seeking authority for their actions either in the Book of God or in the practice of the Prophets, will inevitably fall into the same evil and corruption as the Israelites.

91. Taghut clearly signifies here a sovereign who judges things according to criteria other than the law of God. It also stands for a legal and judicial system which acknowledges neither the sovereignty of God nor the paramount authority of the Book of God. This verse categorically proclaims that to refer disputes to the judgement of a court of law which is essentially taghut contravenes the dictates of a believer's faith. In fact, true faith in God and His Book necessarily requires that a man should refuse to recognize the legitimacy of such courts. According to the Qur'an, belief in God necessitates repudiation of the authority of taghut. To try to submit both to God and to taghut at the same time is hypocrisy.

92. This shows that the hypocrites were inclined to refer to the Prophet (peace be on him) those cases in which they expected a favourable decision. When they feared an adverse judgement they refused to refer to the Prophet (peace be on him). This continues to be the practice of many hypocrites even now. Whenever they feel that Islamic Law would further their interests they turn to it but when they feel it would militate against them they refer their disputes to whichever legal systems and courts of law, customs and usages they anticipate most likely to give them a favourable decision.

93. This may mean that when Muslims become aware of their hypocritical activities and they feel afraid of being caught, censured, and eventually punished, the hypocrites resort to every stratagem, including oaths, in order to assure people that they are true believers.

94.This is to impress upon us that Prophets are not sent so that people may pay lip-service to their Prophethood, and then obey whoever they wish. The purpose of sending Prophets is that people should follow the laws of God as brought and expounded by them rather than laws devised by man, and that they should obey the commands of God as revealed to the Prophets to the exclusion of the commands of others.

95.The application of the injunction embodied in this verse is not confined to the life-time of the Prophet (peace be on him). It will remain in force until the Day of Judgement. The guidance the Prophet (peace be on him) proclaimed on God's behalf, and the manner in which he followed God's direction and inspiration, will for ever remain the universal touchstone for Muslims. In fact, recognition of that guidance as the final authority is the criterion of true belief. This principle was pronounced by the Prophet (peace be on him) in the following words: 'None of you can become a believer until his desires become subservient to what I have brought (i.e. my teachings).' (Cited by al-Nawawi in al-Arba'in, see the tradition no. 41, transmitted on their authority of Abu al-Qasim Isma'il b. Muhammad al-Isfahani, Kitab al-Hujjah with the opinion that it is a 'good' and 'sound' tradition, with a sound chain of transmission - Ed.)

96. As these people are not prepared to endure even minor losses and inconveniences in order to follow the law of God, they can never be expected to make big sacrifices. If asked either to lay down their lives or to give up their homes and families for the sake of the Truth they would fly straight back to unbelief and disobedience.

97. Had these people been able to free themselves of uncertainty, hesitation and ambivalence, and to resolve firmly to follow and obey the Prophet (peace be on him), their lives would have been spared the instability from which they suffer. Their way of thinking, their morals and their practical dealings would all have found permanent and stable foundations, and they would have enjoyed the blessings granted only to those who follow the one straight path with firmness and resolution. For one who is subject to indecision and hesitation, who keeps changing from one direction to another in a state of uncertainty, life is a continuous exercise in futility.

98. By giving up uncertainty, and deciding with complete faith and conviction to follow the Prophet (peace be on him), the straight path of their endeavours would have opened up before them. They would have been able to perceive clearly the channels into which their energies should be directed, so that each step they took would be a step towards the true goal.

99. Siddiq denotes someone who is utterly honest, someone whose devotion to truth has reached a very high point. Such a person is always upright and straightforward in his dealings. He supports nothing but right and justice and does so with sincerity. He opposes whatever is contrary to truth, and does not waver in his opposition to falsehood. His life is so unblemished and selfless that even enemies, let alone friends, expect of him unadulterated probity and justice.

The term shahid (pi. shuhada') means 'witness'. It signifies one who attests to the truth of his faith with his whole life. He who lays down his life fighting for God is called a shahid because by this sacrifice he confirms that his confession of faith was backed by a deep, genuine conviction of its truth, and that he valued it above his own life. The term shahid is also applied to those outstandingly honest people who are so trustworthy that their testimony, on any matter, is accepted without hesitation. Salih denotes one whose belief and thinking, motives and intentions, words and deeds, are based on righteousness. In short, he is a person whose life as a whole is oriented to righteousness.

100.He who enjoys, in this world, the company of the kind of people mentioned in this verse, and whom God judges worthy of the same company in the Hereafter is fortunate. The fact is that unless a man's natural sensitivity has atrophied, the companionship of corrupt and wicked people is a painful punishment even in this transient world, let alone that one should be subjected to the perpetual companionship of such people in the abiding life of the Hereafter. Good people have always longed for the company of like people, both in this world and the Next.