A Question of Tafsir


Can you please tell me, is ayah 48 and 116 of surah nisa meant to be for believers? Is it true in the time of jahiliyyah the Muslims DID believe in Allah as well as idols?


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Let us first look at the translation of the above mentioned two verses:

Allah Most High Says in Surah al-Nisa:

“Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him, but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases. Whosoever ascribes partners with Allah has indeed devised a most heinous sin.” (al-Nisa, 48)

Allah Almighty says in verse no, 116 of the same Surah:

“Allah forgives not (the sin of) joining partners with him, but He forgives whom he pleases other sins than this. Who joins partners with Allah, has strayed far, far away (from the right).” (al-Nisa, 116).

The commentators of the Qur’an mention that the first verse (48) was addressed to the Jews, who (by means of the Tawrah) were aware of the oneness of Allah Almighty and Prophet hood of the Messenger of Allah, etc…, yet they were still involved in polytheism (shirk).

The second verse (116) was addressed to the polytheist of Makkah, who previously did not have any divine book or Prophet, but were able to recognize the oneness of Allah Almighty through his creations. But they also indulged themselves in Shirk.

This is the reason why Allah Most High described the act of the Jews in the first verse as “devising a heinous sin” Whereas He said regarding the polytheist “They have strayed far”. (Ma’arif al-Qur’an, 2/550).

It becomes clear from the above that the verses and the Shirk mentioned therein are not intended for the Muslims, rather the Jews and the Polytheists.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Question #: 5712
Published: 09/03/2004

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