Surat An-Nisa

Dawn of Equity

Lecture 11: Embedding Justice Through Al-Wala’ and Al-Bara’

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This chapter delves into the essence of Islamic monotheism (Tawheed) and its practical application within the Muslim community through the doctrine of Al-Wala’ (loyalty) and Al-Bara’ (disavowal). These principles are not merely ideological stances but are deeply embedded mechanisms within Islam, designed to maintain justice, order, and harmony. They underscore the importance of a collective, recognized system to enforce Shariah, preventing the community’s descent into disorder by ensuring that individuals do not take justice into their own hands.


The chapter begins with the foundational command to render trusts to their rightful owners, promptly followed by the obligation to obey Allah, His Messenger, and the identified ruling authority—provided their commands align with Islamic law and do not contravene divine commands. This sets the stage for a discussion on the various practices that threaten the integrity of Islamic law enforcement and, by extension, the administration of justice within society.

  1. Seeking Conflict Resolution Outside Islamic Law (4:60-70): It explores the peril of resolving disputes outside the Islamic legal framework or replacing Shariah with man-made laws. This compromises the paradigm of Islamic law enforcement and, consequently, the equitable distribution of justice.
  2. Neglecting Jihad: Compromising Justice and Unity (4:71-96): The text addresses the implications of failing to perform Jihad or defying the command to strive in Allah’s cause, which endangers the provision of justice and the rescue of oppressed individuals, including women, children, and the elderly.
  3. Neglecting Hijrah: Loyalty and Its Demands (4:97-104): Highlighting the significance of migrating to a Muslim entity to support it and the dangers of preferring to remain among non-Muslims when unable to freely practice one’s religion. This section underscores the collective duty towards supporting an Islamic governance system where justice can be rightly administered.
  4. The Hazard of Bias: Justice and Integrity in Islamic Teachings (4:105-115): This section discusses how bias toward individuals or groups can compromise the principles of loyalty and disavowal and, consequently, justice. It calls for impartiality in judgment and the upholding of divine command.
  5. The Danger of Following Shaytan: Eroding Islamic Unity (4:116-122): This section of Surat An-Nisa (4:116-122) warns against the peril of following Shaytan, emphasizing how it undermines Islamic unity and loyalty (Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’) and leads to a departure from monotheism and divine Justice through corrupt actions and beliefs.
  6. Endorsing Al-Arja’ for Justice and Piety (4:123-126): This section examines how adherence to corrupted beliefs, such as the doctrine of Al-Irja, undermines the foundations of justice and the proper application of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’.
  7. The Impact of Familial Discord on the Doctrine and Justice (4:127-134): Addressing how disputes within the family can affect the broader application of loyalty and disavowal, as well as the establishment of justice, starting from the household.
  8. Confronting Hypocrisy within Islam (4:135-149): Delving into the impact of hypocrites on the Muslim community, their attempts to undermine Islamic principles, and the necessity of a unified stance against such elements to uphold justice.
  9. Balancing Allegiance and Justice with the People of the Book (4:150-162) Analyzing interactions with the People of the Book and how these relationships must be navigated to ensure that loyalty to Islamic principles is not compromised.


The chapter emphasizes that for justice to be truly established and maintained, it must begin within the core unit of society—the family—particularly in matters such as equitable inheritance distribution. This approach ensures that the principles of loyalty and disavowal, and by extension, justice, are nurtured and manifested within the Islamic community, providing a robust defense against the forces that seek to undermine them.


The Bedrock of Islamic Society: Loyalty and Justice (4:58)

In the fabric of Islamic society, loyalty (Al-Wala’) and justice stand as foundational pillars, deeply embedded within the teachings of Surat An-Nisa. With its comprehensive coverage of social, familial, and legal matters, this Surah emphasizes the paramount importance of justice as a divine mandate. One of the key verses that highlight this is:


“Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice…” (Surat An-Nisa: 58)


This verse encapsulates the essence of Islamic governance — a system built on justice, trust, and righteousness, ensuring that every individual’s rights are safeguarded and their duties are clearly defined.

Allah did not prescribe religion except to safeguard souls from their base desires, divert them from their evil will, conquer their innermost thoughts, reprimand their consciences, and to be the overseer of souls in their solitude, and the adviser in their times of need. A sage said: “There are two types of etiquette: the etiquette of the Sharia (Islamic law) and the etiquette of governance; the etiquette of the Sharia achieves the purpose, and the etiquette of governance populates the earth. Both return to trust and justice, through which human safety and the civilization of lands are achieved. For, whoever abandons obligation wrongs himself, and whoever ruins the earth wrongs himself and others.”

This is a brilliant sign among the foundational decrees, encompassing the entirety of religion and law, and striking with a bountiful arrow in governance built on truth and honesty; and it was revealed on the day of the conquest of Mecca regarding Uthman ibn Talha when he locked the door of the Kaaba; he was its custodian and refused to hand over the key to the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: If I knew he was the Messenger of Allah, I would not have prevented him. Ali ibn Abi Talib took it from him by force after twisting his hand, and the Messenger, peace be upon him, entered the sanctuary, prayed two Rak’ahs, and ordered the removal of the idols. When he exited, Al-Abbas asked him to give him the key of the house to combine it with the custody and the watering, Allah revealed this noble verse, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered Ali to return the key to Uthman and apologize to him. Uthman told Ali: Did you force, harm, and then come with gentleness? Ali, may Allah honor his face, said: Allah has revealed a Quran regarding your matter, and he recited to him, “Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to their owners” (the verse). Uthman, shaken, uplifted, and heart enlightened, said: By the Lord of the Kaaba, it’s a speech that heals the hearts and clarifies matters. I testify there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.[1] Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, exited the Kaaba reading this verse, and I had not heard it from him before, and he called Uthman and his brother Sheiba, and said: Take it, everlasting and generating, it will not be taken from you except by an oppressor.[2]

The noble verse revealed due to a specific incident encompasses the broad principle of upholding trusts in all aspects of life. Human interactions can be categorized into dealings with the Lord, with other creations, or with oneself, and maintaining trust in these areas is crucial:


  1. Maintaining Trust with the Lord: This involves obeying Allah’s commands and avoiding His prohibitions. Ibn Masood emphasized that trust is fundamental in all aspects of worship, including ablution, prayer, fasting, etc. Every person’s limb is a trust from Allah, to be used in compliance with His laws and for noble purposes. Being grateful for these blessings is necessary, as gratitude leads to an increase in Allah’s favor.


  1. Maintaining Trust with Fellow Humans: Justice, honesty, and mastery in one’s duties are forms of trust in social interactions. A believer must wish his brother what he wishes for himself, emphasizing the importance of sincerity and integrity. This section also critiques the People of the Book for concealing the message of Prophet Muhammad, despite the clear evidence of his prophethood and message. It highlights the necessity of returning rights to their rightful owners, such as the incident with the key of the Kaaba. It emphasizes the importance of honesty and trust within marital relationships.


  1. Maintaining Trust with Oneself: Individuals are entrusted with their well-being and responsible for making choices that benefit them in this world and the hereafter. This entails making decisions that align with divine guidance and lead to personal and spiritual growth.


In summary, the verse, while revealed due to a specific event, reminds us of the comprehensive nature of trust in Islam. It underscores the importance of fulfilling obligations towards Allah, society, and oneself, ensuring a life of integrity, righteousness, and spiritual fulfillment.


Upholding Justice through the Doctrine of Al-Wala’ Wal Bara’ (4:59)

The essence of loyalty in Islamic jurisprudence transcends mere allegiance, embedding a deep-seated commitment to the tenets of Shariah. This commitment is crucial for maintaining justice within the Islamic community, guiding adherence to Allah, His Messenger (PBUH), and those vested with authority. Surat An-Nisa illuminates this principle:


“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority…” (Surat An-Nisa: 59).

This directive underscores the foundational role of loyalty and disavowal in the Islamic legal and societal framework, emphasizing obedience to divine guidance and legitimate Islamic leadership as central to enforcing Shariah. The implementation of divine laws and the administration of justice must be carried out by recognized Islamic authority, avoiding individualistic approaches that could lead to disorder.


Al-Bukhari’s narration from Ibn Abbas concerning Abdullah ibn Hudhafah highlights the limits of obedience, reinforcing that it is confined to what is rightful and just, as per the Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings. This narrative and further prophetic guidance emphasize that obedience is due in matters that align with righteousness and justice, underscoring the importance of adherence to Islamic leadership in promoting unity and preventing division.[3]


Furthermore, scholars and rulers are highlighted as pivotal in guiding the community according to Shariah. Their authority, derived from their understanding of Islamic jurisprudence and religion, mandates obedience in matters of faith and governance, provided their directives do not contravene Islamic law. This encompasses a broad spectrum of Islamic life, from personal conduct to public governance, illustrating the comprehensive nature of loyalty and disavowal in safeguarding Islamic principles and justice.


Moreover, the verses stress the importance of resolving disputes through reference to the Quran and Sunnah, thereby ensuring that all matters, whether concerning religious fundamentals or societal issues, are adjudicated in light of divine guidance. This mechanism not only preserves the integrity of Islamic law but also prevents deviations that could undermine the community’s moral and social fabric.


In conclusion, Surat An-Nisa presents a profound exploration of loyalty and disavowal as integral to the enforcement of Shariah and the dispensation of justice. It calls for unwavering adherence to divine commandments, righteous leadership, and the collective responsibility of the Muslim community to uphold the principles of Islam. This chapter, therefore, encapsulates the essential linkage between loyalty to Allah and His Messenger, the role of legitimate Islamic authority, and the imperative of maintaining justice, thereby safeguarding the harmony and righteousness of the Islamic society.


Challenges to Justice and Loyalty in Islam: (4:60-162)

Within the Islamic framework, the enforcement of Shariah and the administration of justice face various challenges that can compromise the integrity and effectiveness of these divine mandates. First, seeking conflict resolution outside the Islamic legal framework undermines the application of Shariah and jeopardizes justice. Second, neglecting the duty of Jihad impedes the defense of the oppressed and the establishment of justice. Third, abstaining from Hijrah, or migration for the sake of Allah, neglects the support of Muslim communities and hampers the collective ability to uphold justice.


Fourth, bias and injustice within the community erode the foundational principles of loyalty (Al-Wala’) and disavowal (Al-Bara’), essential for maintaining divine justice. Fifth, corrupt belief systems such as Al-Irja distort understanding and application of these principles. Sixth, familial discord reflects and amplifies the challenges to justice and loyalty at the societal level. Seventh, the presence of hypocrites, who undermine Islamic principles, poses a significant threat to unity and justice. Lastly, interactions with the People of the Book require careful navigation to maintain Islamic principles without compromise. Addressing these challenges is crucial for the robust application of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ and the establishment of justice, starting from the foundational unit of society—the family—especially in matters like equitable inheritance distribution. This comprehensive approach nurtures and manifests loyalty and justice within the Islamic community, fortifying it against forces seeking to undermine these sacred principles.


The verses from Surat an-Nisa (60-70) address several profound themes central to the Islamic community’s moral and social framework. They particularly emphasize the doctrine of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ (loyalty and disavowal). This doctrine underpins the Islamic approach to justice, governance, and community relations, advocating for resolving disputes within the Islamic paradigm and rejecting non-Islamic adjudication forms.


Verse 60 criticizes those who, despite professing belief in Islamic revelation, turn to Taghut (false judges or systems) for judgment. This act directly contravenes the command to reject such entities, highlighting a fundamental breach of Islamic principles. Satan’s role in leading people astray underscores the spiritual danger of seeking judgment outside the Islamic framework, reflecting a deeper issue of faith and allegiance.


Al-Sha’bi, who said: There was a dispute between a man who claimed to be a Muslim and a Jew. The Jew said, “Shall I take you to the people of your religion for judgment or to the Prophet; because he knew that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, does not take bribes in judgment.” They disagreed and agreed to go to a soothsayer in Juhaynah. Then it was revealed: “Have you not seen those who claim to believe in what has been revealed to you,” referring to the man from the Ansar, “and what was revealed before you,” referring to the Jew, “they wish to refer legislation to Taghut,” to the soothsayer, “while they were commanded to reject it.” This command is in his book, and this command is in his book. And it was recited, “And Satan wishes to lead them far astray.”[4]


Verse 61 depicts the hypocrisy of those who turn away from Islamic guidance, illustrating the internal conflict within the community regarding adherence to divine commandments. Their aversion to what Allah and His Messenger prescribes reveals a dissonance between their professed belief and actual practices.


Verses 62 and 63 address the behavior of hypocrites who, despite their earlier aversion to Islamic rulings, seek refuge in Islam when faced with adversity. Their actions underscore a utilitarian approach to religion: They seek its benefits while disregarding its obligations. Allah’s command to the Prophet to admonish them rather than punish them reflects the emphasis on guidance and reform.


Verse 64 reinforces the importance of obedience to the Messenger to attain Allah’s forgiveness, highlighting the Prophet’s role as a mediator between Allah and His servants. This verse establishes the necessity of turning to Allah and His Messenger for resolution and forgiveness, emphasizing the Islamic framework for justice and reconciliation.


Verse 65 asserts that true faith necessitates unconditional acceptance of the Prophet’s judgment, eliminating any form of resistance to his decisions. This complete submission is portrayed as a cornerstone of belief, integral to internalizing Islamic values and principles.


Verses 66-68 discuss the hypothetical scenario of extreme sacrifice, illustrating the significance of obedience and the potential spiritual benefits of adhering to divine commands. These verses suggest that compliance with Allah’s orders, no matter how challenging, leads to spiritual elevation and divine reward.


Verses 69 and 70 conclude by delineating the rewards for those who obey Allah and His Messenger, associating them with esteemed company in the hereafter. This association motivates adherence to Islamic principles and establishes a clear link between obedience, spiritual success, and divine favor.


2      Neglecting Jihad: Compromising Justice and Unity (4:71-96)

The text elucidates the nuanced understanding of Jihad within Islam, underscoring the significance of obedience to authoritative calls for Jihad, which is intricately linked to assessing the balance between potential benefits and harms. This obedience is paramount as the authority is vested with the responsibility to evaluate the situation meticulously before declaring Jihad, ensuring it serves the greater good and the protection of justice for all, especially the vulnerable such as women, children, and the elderly.


Surat an-Nisa (verses 71-96) articulates the dual concepts of Jihad, loyalty, and disavowal (Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’), pivotal for maintaining the Muslim community’s integrity and identity. These verses call for readiness and sacrifice for Allah’s cause while highlighting the detrimental impact of hypocrisy on the community.


Notably, verses 77-80 provide a reflective account of the early Muslims’ attitudes towards Jihad. Initially, during the Makki era, some individuals expressed a desire to engage in Jihad, yet the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had not sanctioned it. Remarkably, when Jihad was later ordained, those who had previously shown enthusiasm exhibited reluctance. This historical context emphasizes the critical need for alignment with the divine command and the Prophet’s directives, demonstrating the transformation required from believers to fully embrace their obligations towards justice and the protection of the oppressed.


Further, verses 88-96 address the issue of hypocrisy and the importance of unity against internal threats to the community’s fabric. It advocates for a discerning stance in loyalty and opposition, guided by the principles of justice and collective well-being, as mandated by Sharia.


These verses underscore the importance of collective responsibility, ethically mandated engagement in Jihad under authoritative guidance, and adherence to Islamic principles over any allegiance to detractors. The emphasis on unity, ethical conduct, and the rejection of hypocrisy is fundamental in upholding Sharia and protecting the Islamic identity within the community.


3      Neglecting Hijrah: Loyalty and Its Demands (4:97-104)

Verses 97-104 of Surat an-Nisa highlight the critical nature of Hijrah (emigration) as a practical demonstration of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ (loyalty and disavowal). These passages outline the necessity of emigration under oppression or when one’s ability to practice Islam freely is hindered, positioning Hijrah as a profound declaration of fidelity to Allah and His Messenger.


Verse 97 speaks to those who fail to emigrate despite the ability to do so, facing stern admonition at death’s doorstep for choosing earthly ties over divine injunctions, with a dire warning of Hell as their reward. This stark caution underlines the gravity of neglecting Hijrah when it becomes an obligation.


Conversely, verses 98 and 99 extend mercy to those genuinely restricted from emigrating, such as the infirm, women, and children, showcasing Allah’s compassion towards those facing genuine hardships.


Verse 100 then underscores the generous rewards awaiting those who undertake Hijrah in Allah’s cause. It illustrates the vastness of the earth as filled with opportunities for those seeking to live by Islamic mandates. This verse also assures that martyrdom during Hijrah guarantees a reward from Allah, highlighting the action’s esteemed spiritual value.


Subsequent verses (101-103) provide practical directives for maintaining religious observances amidst travel or threats, showcasing Islam’s adaptability and concern for believers’ spiritual and physical welfare under varying conditions.


Lastly, verse 104 calls for resilience in the face of adversity and conflict, emphasizing the unique hope in Allah’s promise that distinguishes believers from their adversaries. This encourages steadfastness in upholding Islamic obligations, including Hijrah, as an expression of unshakeable loyalty to Allah and His Messenger.


4      The Hazard of Bias: Justice and Integrity in Islamic Teachings (4:105-115)

Verses 105-115 in Surat an-Nisa confront the destructive effects of bias and deceit, underscoring their incompatibility with the core Islamic values of justice and unwavering devotion to Allah. These passages serve as a divine caution against advocating for the deceitful and emphasize the imperative of judgment grounded in the truth of the Qur’an, hence upholding a divine standard of fairness irrespective of personal connections or deceit.


Verse 105 emphasizes the Qur’an’s role in guiding Muhammad, and by extension, the Muslim community, to adjudicate with integrity, supported by divine revelation. Thus, it establishes a benchmark for impartial justice.


Subsequent verses (106-108) underscore the importance of imploring Allah’s forgiveness. They highlight Islam’s compassionate essence while denouncing deceit and betrayal. They remind believers of Allah’s omnipotence and omniscience, reinforcing that deceitful act, though hidden from human eyes, are ever visible to Allah. Thus, they affirm accountability to the Divine.


A pivotal moment comes with the rhetorical inquiry in verse 109 about the futility of defending the deceitful, which leads to an assertion in verse 110 on the transformative potential of seeking Allah’s pardon for one’s misdeeds, illustrating Allah’s boundless mercy.


Verses 111 and 112 address the severe personal and societal repercussions of sin, particularly the grave injustice of attributing one’s sins to the innocent, underscoring the severe displeasure this incurs from Allah.


Verse 113 affirms divine protection for the Prophet Muhammad against deceitful plots, highlighting the self-harm of the plotters and the divine wisdom granted to him, ensuring his steadfastness.

Verse 114 then acknowledges the beneficial outcomes of confidential discussions aimed at fostering charitable acts, righteousness, or reconciliation, promising immense rewards for such endeavors. This is reflective of a sincere pursuit of Allah’s favor.


The discourse culminates in verse 115 with a stern warning on contravening the Prophet’s guidance and straying from the believers’ path, depicting such actions as a conscious departure towards self-destruction.

Incorporated within this discourse is the profound narrative highlighting that, in Islam, justice is paramount, transcending familial or social ties. This is exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad’s assertion that even if his daughter, Fatimah bint Muhammad, were to commit theft, she would not be exempt from the prescribed punishment, illustrating the uncompromising stance of Islamic law on justice and equality before Allah.


5      The Danger of Following Shaytan: Eroding Islamic Unity (4:116-122)

Verses 116 to 122 of Surat an-Nisa shed light on the peril of succumbing to Shaytan’s influence, starkly illustrating how it undermines the Islamic tenet of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ (loyalty and disavowal) and compromises the dispensation of justice. These verses serve as a grave reminder of the paramount importance of upholding Tawheed (monotheism) and the unforgivable nature of shirk (associating partners with Allah), which represents the ultimate betrayal of divine loyalty.


The narrative begins with a firm declaration in verse 116, emphasizing that Allah does not forgive the act of setting up partners with Him but forgives lesser sins for whom He wills. This delineation underscores the severity of shirk as a direct affront to the principle of absolute divine loyalty.


Verses 117 and 118 demystify the entities some turn to besides Allah, clarifying that such misguided devotion is essentially allegiance to Shaytan, a rebel condemned by Allah. This misalignment starkly contrasts with the expected unwavering devotion to Allah, illustrating a breach in the doctrine of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’.


Expanding on Shaytan’s menacing pledge, verse 119 reveals his intent to misguide humans, urging them towards actions like altering Allah’s creation. This includes influencing individuals to change their natural appearance or engage in practices such as tattooing, which can erode Islamic identity and unity. These acts of defiance against divine will signify a profound injustice against oneself and the community, detracting from the expressions of loyalty and unity mandated in Islam.

Verse 120 exposes the deceitfulness of Shaytan’s promises, highlighting the futility and dire consequences of seeking protection or assistance from anyone other than Allah. This realization serves as a dire warning against abandoning the justice and loyalty principles intrinsic to Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’.


The concluding verses, 121 and 122, contrast the bleak destiny awaiting those misled by Shaytan and the eternal salvation promised to believers who steadfastly adhere to monotheism and perform righteous deeds. This dichotomy not only reinforces the inherent truth and justice of Allah’s commands but also emphasizes the catastrophic loss incurred by yielding to Shaytan’s deceptions.


6      Endorsing Al-Arja’ for Justice and Piety (4:123-126)

Surat an-Nisa, verses 123-126, emphasize the critical importance of integrating belief and action within Islam. This doctrine directly counters the Al-Arja doctrine, which disconnects faith from deeds. These verses affirm that actions—good or evil—significantly impact one’s faith and divine judgment, thereby reinforcing the comprehensive nature of Islamic faith that requires active adherence to divine commandments for justice and divine favor.


Verse 123 challenges the notion that desires or beliefs alone can secure a favorable outcome. It underlines the principle that actions have consequences and are fundamental to achieving divine justice and mercy. This directly refutes Al-Arja’s complacency and highlights the integral role of righteous deeds in Islam.


By promising Paradise to those who perform righteous deeds without discrimination based on gender and reaffirming the unity of Allah, verse 124 underscores the egalitarian and just nature of the divine reward. It illustrates that true faith is demonstrated through deeds, dismantling the Al-Arja perspective of detached belief.


Verse 125 celebrates the exemplary monotheism of Prophet Ibrahim, illustrating active submission to Allah as the essence of faith. This example is a direct rebuttal to the passive faith espoused by Al-Arja, emphasizing the necessity of aligning actions with divine will for spiritual fulfillment.


Lastly, verse 126 encapsulates Allah’s absolute authority and omnipresence, reminding us that Allah’s dominion encompasses all aspects of life. It implicitly criticizes the separation of faith from actions by emphasizing that genuine belief entails recognizing and submitting to Allah’s sovereignty in every deed.


Together, these verses clearly denounce doctrines like Al-Arja’ that attempt to sever faith from practice. They highlight the indivisibility of belief and action in Islam, stressing that attaining justice and divine favor is contingent upon a lived faith that embodies Allah’s will. This comprehensive understanding ensures the preservation of the Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ doctrine and the centrality of justice as a core aspect of Islamic devotion


7      The Impact of Familial Discord on the Doctrine and Justice (4:127-134)

Surat an-Nisa, verses 127-134, delves into the importance of justice, equity, and unity within the family, framing these values as integral to the Islamic principles of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’. These verses tackle family dynamics, inheritance rights, and marital disputes, emphasizing that fairness and compassion within the family are foundational to maintaining loyalty to Allah’s commands and ensuring societal harmony.


Verse 127 stresses the protection and fair treatment of orphans and women, particularly in matters of marriage and inheritance. It reinforces the notion that the well-being of vulnerable family members is a direct reflection of one’s adherence to Allah’s guidance. This serves as a reminder that justice within the family is crucial to demonstrating loyalty to divine principles.


In verses 128 and 129, the Quran offers guidance on resolving marital disputes and achieving equity in polygamous relationships. It suggests prioritizing peace, mutual agreement, and fairness to uphold family unity and prevent the spread of discord. These instructions illustrate how personal relationships are intertwined with broader Islamic obligations, advocating a balanced approach that aligns with the overarching goals of justice and mercy.


Verses 130 and beyond remind believers of Allah’s omnipresence and the ultimate accountability to Him in all actions, including those within the family. By linking family justice to divine observance, these verses highlight the seamless connection between individual actions, familial harmony, and the broader application of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara.’


8      Confronting Hypocrisy within Islam (4:135-149)

Surat an-Nisa, verses 135 to 149, tackles the pervasive issue of hypocrisy within the Muslim community, asserting the necessity of steadfast faith and unwavering commitment to justice. This passage serves as both a warning against the corrosive effects of hypocrisy and an encouragement for the Muslim Ummah to adhere strictly to Islamic values and principles.


Verse 135 sets the stage by commanding believers to uphold justice. It stresses that true allegiance to Allah demands placing divine commands above personal gains or relationships. This principle of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ is exemplified through the mandate to be fair and truthful, even when it is personally challenging. It reflects the profound commitment required to live by Islamic teachings.


Subsequent verses (136-137) highlight the perilous nature of fluctuating belief, portraying it as a form of hypocrisy that severely jeopardizes one’s spiritual integrity and standing within the community. The text warns that such indecisiveness in faith is unacceptable and ultimately leads to divine rejection.


Verses 138 to 140 vividly describe the grim fate awaiting hypocrites, emphasizing that seeking honor through alliances with disbelievers is a grave misstep. These passages reaffirm that true honor lies in loyalty to Allah and the Muslim community, not in the fleeting gains of worldly relationships.


In verses 141 to 143, the behavior of hypocrites is scrutinized, showcasing their treachery and lack of genuine commitment to Islamic principles. Their tendency to waver between allegiances based on personal benefit is condemned as antithetical to the spirit of unity and sincerity required in Islam.

Verse 144 reiterates the prohibition against befriending disbelievers over believers, underscoring the imperative to foster a community based on mutual support and shared faith. The text warns believers against actions that could betray their faith and community, marking a clear boundary against hypocrisy.


The concluding verses offer a hopeful message for those entangled in hypocrisy. They provide a pathway to righteousness through repentance, good deeds, and a solid recommitment to Allah. This merciful stance affirms that redemption is possible, highlighting the transformative potential of sincere faith in overcoming hypocrisy.


9      Balancing Allegiance and Justice with the People of the Book (4:150-162)

Surat An-Nisa’s verses 150 to 162 balance maintaining Islamic identity and ensuring justice in dealings with the People of the Book. These verses challenge believers to adhere strictly to the tenets of their faith, notably the belief in Allah and His Messengers, without discrimination. This undivided belief is crucial for the solidarity and integrity of the Muslim community, serving as a bulwark against the fragmentation of faith.


Verses 150 to 152 draw a clear line against selective belief, categorizing it as disbelief. This stark delineation underscores the danger of partial allegiance to Islamic principles, which can erode the unity and purity of faith essential for upholding Islamic justice.

The narrative then shifts to the transgressions of the People of the Book, detailing their defiance of divine commands, challenges to prophetic authority through demands for signs, and adherence to unjust practices like usury. These accounts serve as cautionary tales, emphasizing the importance of steadfast faith and adherence to divine justice.


Yet, in verse 162, the Qur’an opens the door to redemption and unity, acknowledging those among the People of the Book who, through genuine faith and righteous actions, align with Islamic values. This recognition affirms the potential for shared commitments to monotheism and justice, bridging divides with a foundation of shared values and divine adherence.

In conjunction, these verses reiterate the importance of the Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ doctrine, advocating for unwavering loyalty to Islamic tenets while navigating the complexities of interfaith relations with justice and equity. They call upon Muslims to uphold a comprehensive faith that rejects compromise on core beliefs, fostering a community that is unified in its diversity and committed to the principles of justice as defined by divine law.


This nuanced approach to the People of the Book reflects Islam’s overarching commitment to fairness and respect for all, urging Muslims to embody the principles of justice and mercy in all interactions. It emphasizes the necessity of maintaining a solid Islamic identity while engaging with non-Muslims in a manner that upholds their rights and dignity without compromising on the fundamental values and teachings of Islam.


Surat An-Nisa’s Conclusive Insights: (4:163-176)

Surat An-Nisa closes with pivotal messages that intertwine the essence of prophethood, the imperatives of monotheism, and the Islamic mandate for Justice, underscored by the strategic duty of Da’wah (the call to Islam). This segment delineates the significance of authenticating the message and mission of Prophet Muhammad, placing it within the continuum of divine messages aimed at establishing Tawheed (monotheism) and the comprehensive application of Justice, beginning within the familial sphere and extending to broader societal and interfaith interactions.


  1. Validation of Prophethood and the Message of Islam (4:163-169): These verses cement the legitimacy and necessity of Prophet Muhammad’s message, portraying it as a continuation and culmination of the monotheistic teachings of previous prophets. It underscores the universality of Islam’s message, calling upon Muslims to engage actively in Da’wah, not just as a defense of faith but as a primary mechanism for spreading the word of truth, ensuring that the message of Islam reaches every corner of the world without hindrance.


  1. Universal Invitation to Monotheism and the Rectitude of Da’wah (4:170-175): The Surah articulates a clear call to all humanity, particularly addressing the People of the Book, to embrace the unaltered worship of one God. It warns against the barriers to accepting the message of Islam. It emphasizes the importance of Da’wah as a means to communicate the essence of Islamic monotheism, fostering understanding and possibly guiding others toward the truth, thereby defending and promulgating the faith.


  1. Establishing Justice Starting at Home (4:176): The Surah concludes with detailed guidance on inheritance laws, especially in complex cases like Al-Kalalah, to ensure fairness and Justice in the distribution of wealth. This meticulous attention to intra-familial Justice serves as a microcosm of the broader Islamic commitment to Justice, highlighting that the cultivation of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ (loyalty to believers and disavowal of disbelief) and the upholding of Justice begins with how Muslims manage their most immediate relationships and obligations. Prophet Muhammad’s directive to place this verse at the end of the chapter is a strategic move to reiterate that the foundation of Islamic society rests on Justice, fairness, and the equitable treatment of all members, reinforcing the familial unit as the cornerstone of a just and moral society.


Together, these closing verses of Surat An-Nisa encapsulate the heart of the Islamic mission: to authenticate Muhammad’s prophethood, call all of humanity to the worship of one God through sincere and wise Da’wah, and establish a just society beginning with the fundamental unit of the family. This framework guides Muslims in their personal and communal lives and serves as a beacon for humanity, inviting all to the path of righteousness, equity, and divine truth.



[1] Tafsir Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari Surat An-Nisa #58

[2] Tafsir Ibn Jarir At-Tabari An-Nia #58

[3] Sahih Al-Bukhari

[4] Tafsir Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari