Surah An Nisa Ayat 1

Surah An Nisa Ayat 1, Surat An Nisa Ayat 1, Surah Nisa Ayat 1

Surah An Nisa  Ayat 1 In Arabic

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا ﴿1﴾

Surah An Nisa  Ayat 1 Transliteration

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

  1. Yaaa aiyuhan naasut taqoo Rabbakumul lazee khalaqakum min nafsinw waahidatinw wa khalaqa minhaa zawjahaa wa bas sa minhumaa rijaalan kaseeranw wa nisaaa’aa; wattaqul laahallazee tasaaa ‘aloona bihee wal arhaam; innal laaha kaana ‘alaikum Raqeeba

Surah An Nisa  Ayat 1 Translation

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

  1. O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.

[From Holy Quran Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall]

Surah An Nisa  Ayat 1 Explanation

The last verse of Surah ‘Al-` Imran was concluded with an exhorta¬tion to Taqwa, the fear of Allah. The present Surah begins with Taqwa in the mode of command. The previous Surah mentioned some battles, described the manner of treating antagonists, condemned misappro¬priation in battle spoils and took up several other matters. In the earlier part of the present Surah, there are injunctions about rights related to one’s own people which must be fulfilled while living and inter-acting with them, such as, the rights of orphans, relatives and wives (known as حقُوقُ العباد Huququl-` Ibad: the rights of the servants of Allah). But, there are some rights which are justiciable, that is, their fulfill¬ment can be enforced through law, like common transactions of buying and selling. The rights involved in lease, tenancy and wages can be settled through mutual agreements and arbitration; should a party fall short in fulfilling settled rights, these can be legally retrieved and enforced. But, the fulfillment of the rights of those in one’s own charge – children, parents, husband and wife, and orphans – and the rights of other relatives which fall on each other – all depend upon civilized behaviour, respect, loving and caring, and above all on that genuinely heartfelt desire to do what is good for them. These are behaviour patterns which cannot be weighed on a scale of things. That they be determined fully and perfectly through mutual agreements is also much too difficult. Therefore, there is just no other method of their fulfillment except having the fear of Allah and the fear of what would happen in the life to come. This is known as Taqwa and the truth of the matter is that this power of Taqwa is more effective than the combined powers of government and law. Hence, the Surah opens with the command of Taqwa when it says: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَ‌بَّكُمُ ( O men, fear your Lord).

The word, اتَّقُوا ‘ittaqu’ translated here as ‘fear’ means ‘fear acting against your Lord’ which perhaps is the reason why the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) used to recite this verse as part of his address while solemnizing a marriage. Therefore, reciting it in the Khutbah of Nikah is a perennial revival of the Sunnah. Here, the form of address in the verse is worth attention. It says: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ( O men) which includes all human beings, men or women, and whether they are present at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an or shall continue to be born right through to the Day of Doom. Then, alongwith the command of ‘ittaqu’ (fear) the word used is ‘Rabb’ (Lord) which has been selected out of the most fair names of Allah. This is to point out that the fear of Allah so enjoined has a justification and wisdom of its own. The Being totally responsible for man’s nurture the manifestations of Whose Lord-worthiness he witnesses every moment of his life, certainly deserves all the awe one is capable of. The very thought that anyone could rise in antagonism and defiance against Allah is terribly dangerous.

Immediately after the text brings into focus the most exalted majesty of the Lord by saying that He created human beings, all of them, in His wisdom and mercy. Here it was quite possible to create and cause to be present, whatever it was to be, in more than one way. But, He chose to have one way and one form, a very particular one, when he created all human beings from the one and only human being, that is, Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) ، and thus it was that He tied all of them in a strong bond of brotherhood. So, it is not only the fear of Allah and the fear of Akhirah (Hereafter) which demand man’s alle-giance to the Lord of all creation, but this bond of brotherhood between human beings also requires that rights of humanity – of mutual sympathy, wellbeing and collective good – be fully discharged. And between man and man, let there be no one high or low in race or caste, in colour or language, and that all such distinctions be never made the criterion of good or bad, nobility or meanness. Therefore, it was said: الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِ‌جَالًا كَثِيرً‌ا وَنِسَاءً meaning ‘who has created you from a single soul (that is, Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) who is the father of all human beings), and from it created its match (that is, his wife, Hawwa’ (Eve), and spread from the two, many men and women (in the world) ‘.

In short, this verse serves as an introduction to injunctions which are going to appear in this Surah. The purpose here is to dissuade human beings from becoming the usurpers of Divine rights, while at the same time, by telling them that they all are the children of the same father, the wonderful humane dimension of love, mutual sympathy and concern was given as the working hypothesis of common living, so that the mutual rights of relatives, orphans and married couples could be fulfilled right from the heart at the very grass-root level.

Towards the end of verse 1, the exhortation to fear Allah has been beamed at man from yet another angle. Isn’ t it that man demands his rights from others in the name of Allah and exacts what he wants from them? It means that one who expects others to fear Allah should do that himself as well. The last word, وَالْأَرْ‌حَامَ wal-arham, is there to warn that any shortcoming in taking good care of near relations, whether from the side of one’s father or mother, should be avoided.

The second verse emphasizes the rights of orphaned children and establishes rules to protect their property.

The commentary which follows takes up the last two aspects of near relations and orphans in some detail.

Treating Near Relations Well:

The word, الْأَرْ‌حَامَ ‘al-arham’ in verse 1 is the plural of رحم rahm. Rahm رحم is womb. The womb of the mother is the home of the child until born. Since this womb is the source of blood relationship, the act of main¬taining relations in that line is called ilatur-rahm in Arabic (literally, umbilical link or bond or relationship). The converse of it, that is, showing carelessness and indifference towards natural linkage based on blood relationship is identified as قتل الرحم qat`-al-rahm (literally, umbilical delinkage, meaning cutting off relationship with one’s kin).

The noble ahadith have laid great emphasis on bonds of kinship. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has said:

قَالَ ابْنُ شِهَابٍ: أَخْبَرَنِي أَنَسُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: «مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِي رِزْقِهِ، وَيُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِي أَثَرِهِ فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ». (صحيح مسلم: 2557)

Whoever likes to have his livelihood made plentiful and his age extended for him should maintain good relations with his near of kin. (Mishkat, p. 419)

This hadith tells us about two benefits that issue forth from treating near relations well. The merit of the Hereafter vouchsafed, this fair treatment of one’s kin has its benefits in this life as well, that is, it removes straightening from his livelihood and blesses his age with more good years.

Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn Salam (رض) says: When the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) came to Madinah al-Tayyibah and I presented myself before him, the very first words from him which fell into my ears were:

«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ، وَأَطْعِمُوا الطَّعَامَ، وَصِلُوا الْأَرْحَامَ، وَصَلُّوا بِاللَّيْلِ، وَالنَّاسُ نِيَامٌ، تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِسَلَامٍ». (سنن ابن ماجة: 3251)

O men, make a practice of greeting each other with salam, and feed people (for the pleasure of Allah), and treat near rela¬tions well, and pray by night while people sleep – you will enter Paradise in peace. (Mishkat, p. 108)

In another hadith, it has been reported that اَمُّ المؤمنین Ummul-Mu’minin (the Mother of the Faithful) Sayyidah Maymuna (رض) had freed her bond woman. When she told the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) about it, he said:

لو اعطیتھا أخوالک کان أعظم لأجرک.

Had you given her to your maternal uncle, your reward would have been greater. (Mishkat, p. 171)

Although, Islam motivates people to free slaves and rates it as one of the finest acts of merit, yet the status of treating relatives fairly has been given more importance. There is another narration on the same subject in which the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has been reported to have said:

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَعَلَى ذِي الرَّحِمِ اثْنَتَانِ صَدَقَةٌ وَصِلَةٌ». (سنن النسائي: 2582)

Charity to the needy is just charity, while to a near relative it becomes twofold: charity and kinship. (Mishkat, p. 171)

Hence, a simple change in the end-use of charity yields two types of merits.

As opposed to this there is the attitude of cold-shouldering or severing of blood relationships. How stern are the warnings given in hadith reports against this can be imagined from the following two ahadith:

The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم    said:

1۔ لا یدخل الجنۃ قاطع

  1. A breaker of (blood) relationships shall not enter Paradise. (Mishkat, p 419)

2- لا تنزل الرحمة علی قوم فیه قاطع رحم

  1. Mercy shall not descend upon a people among whom there is a breaker of (blood) relationships. (Mishkat, p. 420)

The statement in the last sentence of this verse: إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَ‌قِيبًا (and surely, Allah is watchful over you) motivates human hearts to fulfill rights as and when they are due because Divine watchfulness implies awareness of whatever there is in human hearts – intentions, scruples, motives – everything. Doing things halfheartedly, formally, or for fear of possible embarrassment, without any genuine desire to serve, shall remain acts unacceptable to Allah. Incidentally, from here we find out why Allah should be feared – because He is watchful over everyone, always. As pointed out elsewhere too, this is typical of the usual style of the Holy Qura’n when it does not introduce laws in sheer cold print like the laws of the governments of this world, but puts them forth in the manner of education, training and affection by not restricting itself to the word of law alone, but by combining it with the grooming of minds and hearts as well.

[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]

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