Surah An-Nisa Ayat 47 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 47
Say, “Have you considered: if the punishment of Allah should come to you unexpectedly or manifestly, will any be destroyed but the wrongdoing people?”
Say: “Think ye, if the punishment of Allah comes to you, whether suddenly or openly, will any be destroyed except those who do wrong?
Say: ‘If the chastisement of Allah were to overtake you unawares or openly shall any except the wrong-doing people be destroyed?’
Say: “Tell me, if the punishment of Allah comes to you suddenly (during the night), or openly (during the day), will any be destroyed except the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doing people)?”
Say: Can ye see yourselves, if the punishment of Allah come upon you unawares or openly? Would any perish save wrongdoing folk?
Say, “Have you seen for yourselves? In case the torment of Allah comes up to you suddenly or openly, will any be perished except the unjust people?”
Say, ‘Think: if the punishment of God should come to you, by surprise or openly, would anyone but the evildoers be destroyed?’
Quran 4 Verse 47 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 47, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(4:47) O you who have been granted the Book! Do believe in what We have (now) revealed, which confirms the revelation which you already possess. Do this before We alter countenances, turning them backwards, or lay a curse upon them as We cursed the Sabbath-men. Bear in mind that Allah’s command is done.
77. See ibid., (Surah 3, n. 2).
78. See ibid., (Surah 2, nn. 82 and 83).
47. O you who have been given the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed confirming what is with you, before We efface faces and turn them backwards or curse them as We cursed the people of the Sabbath. And the commandment of Allah is always executed. 48. Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.
Allah commands the People of the Scriptures to believe in what He has sent down to His servant and Messenger, Muhammad , the Glorious Book that conforms to the good news that they already have about Muhammad . He also warns them,
(before We efface faces and turn them backwards) Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said that `effacing’ here refers to blindness,
(and turn them backwards) meaning, We put their faces on their backs, and make them walk backwards, since their eyes will be in their backs. Similar was said by Qatadah and `Atiyah Al-`Awfi. This makes the punishment even more severe, and it is a parable that Allah set for ignoring the truth, preferring the wrong way and turning away from the plain path for the paths of misguidance. Therefore, such people walk backwards. Similarly, some said that Allah’s statement,
(Verily, We have put on their necks iron collars reaching to the chins, so that their heads are raised up. And We have put a barrier before them) that is a parable that Allah gave for their deviation and hindrance from guidance.
It was reported that Ka`b Al-Ahbar became Muslim when he heard this Ayah ﴿4:47﴾. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Isa bin Al-Mughirah said: We were with Ibrahim when we talked about the time when Ka`b became Muslim. He said, `Ka`b became Muslim during the reign of `Umar, for he passed by Al-Madinah intending to visit Jerusalem, and `Umar said to him, “Embrace Islam, O Ka`b.’ Ka`b said, `Do you not read in your Book,
(The likeness of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah…) ﴿62:5﴾ until,
(Books) I am among those who were entrusted with the Tawrah.’ `Umar left him alone and Ka`b went on to Hims (in Syria) and heard one of its inhabitants recite this Ayah while feeling sad,
(O you who have been given the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed confirming what is with you, before We efface faces and turn them backwards). Ka`b said, `I believe, O Lord! I embraced Islam, O Lord!’ for He feared that this might be struck by this threat. He then went back to his family in Yemen and returned with them all as Muslims.” Allah’s statement,
(or curse them as We cursed the people of the Sabbath.) refers to those who breached the sanctity of the Sabbath, using deceit, for the purpose of doing more work. Allah changed these people into apes and swine, as we will come to know in the explanation of Surat Al-A`raf (7). Allah’s statement,
(And the commandment of Allah is always executed.) means, when He commands something, then no one can dispute or resist His command.
Allah said that He,
(forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship),) meaning, He does not forgive a servant if he meets Him while he is associating partners with Him,
(but He forgives except that) of sins,
(to whom He wills) of His servants. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah said, “O My servant! As long as you worship and beg Me, I will forgive you, no matter your shortcomings. O My servant! If you meet Me with the earth’s fill of sin, yet you do not associate any partners with Me, I will meet you with its fill of forgiveness.”) Only Ahmad recorded this Hadith with this chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said, “I came to the Messenger of Allah and he said,
(“No servant proclaims,`There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah,’ and dies on that belief, but will enter Paradise.” I said, “Even if he committed adultery and theft” He said, “Even if he committed adultery and theft.” I asked again, “Even if he committed adultery and theft” He said, “Even if he committed adultery and theft.” The fourth time, he said, “Even if Abu Dharr’s nose was put in the dust.”) Abu Dharr departed while pulling his Izar and saying, “Even if Abu Dharr’s nose was put in the dust.” Ever since that happened, Abu Dharr used to narrate the Hadith and then comment, “Even if Abu Dharr’s nose was put in dust.” The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith Al-Bazzar recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “We used to refrain from begging (Allah) for forgiveness for those who commit major sins until we heard our Prophet reciting,
(Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills;), and his saying,
(I have reserved my intercession on the Day of Resurrection for those among my Ummah who commit major sins.)” Allah’s statement,
(and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.) is similar to His statement,
(Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, “I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Which is the greatest sin’ He said,
(To make a rival with Allah, while He Alone created you.)”
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