Surah An-Nisa Ayat 158 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 158
Do they [then] wait for anything except that the angels should come to them or your Lord should come or that there come some of the signs of your Lord? The Day that some of the signs of your Lord will come no soul will benefit from its faith as long as it had not believed before or had earned through its faith some good. Say, “Wait. Indeed, we [also] are waiting.”
Are they waiting to see if the angels come to them, or thy Lord (Himself), or certain of the signs of thy Lord! the day that certain of the signs of thy Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its faith. Say: “Wait ye: we too are waiting.”
What! Do they wait either for the angels to appear before them or for your Lord to come unto them or for some clear signs of your Lord to appear before them? When some clear signs of your Lord will appear, believing will be of no avail to anyone who did not believe before, or who earned no good deeds through his faith. Say: ‘Wait on; we too are waiting.’
Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some of the Signs of your Lord should come (i.e. portents of the Hour e.g., arising of the sun from the west)! The day that some of the Signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his Faith. Say: “Wait you! we (too) are waiting.”
Wait they, indeed, for nothing less than that the angels should come unto them, or thy Lord should come, or there should come one of the portents from thy Lord? In the day when one of the portents from thy Lord cometh, its belief availeth naught a soul which theretofore believed not, nor in its belief earned good (by works). Say: Wait ye! Lo! We (too) are waiting.
Do they look for (nothing) except that the Angels should come up to them, or that your Lord should come up, or that some of the signs of your Lord should come up? On the Day some of the signs of your Lord come up, its belief will not profit a self that did not believe earlier or earned some charity, (i.e., benefits) in its belief. Say, “Wait! Surely we (too) are waiting.”
Are they waiting for the very angels to come to them, or your Lord Himself, or maybe some of His signs? But on the Day some of your Lord’s signs come, no soul will profit from faith if it had none before, or has not already earned some good through its faith. Say, ‘Wait if you wish: we too are waiting.’
Quran 4 Verse 158 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 158, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(4:158) but Allah raised him to Himself. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
195. This is the truth revealed by God. What is categorically asserted here is merely that the Jews did not succeed in killing the Messiah, but that God raised him unto Himself. The Qur’an furnishes no detailed information about the actual form of this ‘raising’. It neither states categorically that God raised him from the earthly sphere to some place in heaven in both body and soul, nor that his body died on earth and his soul alone was raised to heaven. Hence neither of the two alternatives can be definitely affirmed nor denied on the basis of the Qur’an. If one reflects on the Qur’anic version of the event one gets the impression that, whatever the actual form of this ‘raising’, the event was of an extraordinary character. This extraordinariness is evident from three things:
First, the Christians believed in the ascension of the Messiah in both body and soul, which was one of the reasons for large sections of people to believe in the godhead of Jesus. The Qur’an does not refute that idea but employs the same term, raf (i.e. ‘ascension’), employed by the Christians. It is inconceivable that the Qur’an, which describes itself as the ‘Clear Book’, would employ an expression that might lend support to a misconception it seeks to repudiate.
Second, one might assume that either the ascension of the Messiah was of the kind that takes place at every person’s death or that this ‘ascension’ meant merely the exaltation of a Prophet’s position, like that of Idris: ‘And We raised him to an exalted station’ (Surah Maryam 19: 57). Had it been so, this idea would have been better expressed by a statement such as: And indeed they did not kill the Messiah; Allah delivered him from execution and caused him to die a natural death. The Jews had wanted to slight him but Allah granted him an exalted position.
Third, if this raf (exaltation, ascension) referred to in the verse: ‘Allah raised him to Himself was of an ordinary kind, the statement which follows, namely that ‘Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise’, would seem altogether out of context. Such a statement is pertinent only in the context of an event which manifested, in a highly extraordinary manner, by the overwhelming power and wisdom of God.
The only Qur’anic argument that can be adduced to controvert this view is the verse in which the expression mutawaffika see (Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 55))is employed. But as we have pointed out (see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 3, n. 51), this word can denote either God’s taking a man unto Himself in soul or taking him unto Himself in both body and soul. Arguments based on the mere use of this word are not enough to repudiate the arguments we have already adduced. Some of those who insist on the physical death of Jesus support their argument by pointing out that there is no other example of the use of the word tawaffa for God’s taking unto Himself a man in body as well as in soul. But this argument is not tenable since the ascension of Jesus was a unique event in human history and, therefore, the quest for another example of the use of this term in the same context is meaningless. What is worth exploring is whether or not the use of the word in such a sense is valid according to Arabic usage. If it is, we will have to say that the choice of this particular word lends support to belief in the ascension of Jesus.
If we reflect on this verse in the light of the assumption that Jesus died physically, it appears strange that the Qur’an does not employ those terms which would exclude signifying the simultaneous physical and spiritual ascension of Jesus. On the contrary, the Qur’an prefers a term which, since it is liable to both interpretations (i.e. it can mean both spiritual and physical ascension), lends support to belief in the physical ascension of Jesus, even though that notion was used as a basis to support the false belief in the godhead of Jesus.
Belief in the physical ascension of Jesus is further reinforced by those numerous traditions which mention the return of Jesus, son of Mary, to the world and his struggle against the Anti-Christ before the end of time. (For these traditions see our appendix to Surah 33.) These traditions quite definitively establish the second coming of Jesus. Now it is for anybody to judge which is more reasonable: Jesus’ return to this world after his death, or his being alive somewhere in God’s universe, and returning to this world at some point in time?
The tafsir of Surah Nisa verse 158 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Nisa ayat 155 which provides the complete commentary from verse 155 through 159.
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