Surah An-Nisa Ayat 97 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 97
Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, “In what [condition] were you?” They will say, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will say, “Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?” For those, their refuge is Hell – and evil it is as a destination.
When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: “In what (plight) Were ye?” They reply: “Weak and oppressed Were we in the earth.” They say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (From evil)?” Such men will find their abode in Hell,- What an evil refuge! –
While taking the souls of those who were engaged in wronging themselves, the angels asked: ‘In what circumstances were you?’ They replied: ‘We were too weak and helpless in the land.’ The angels said: ‘Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you to emigrate in it?’ For such men their refuge is Hell – an evil destination indeed;
Verily! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell – What an evil destination!
Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey’s end;
Surely the ones whom the Angels take up, (while) they are unjust to themselves- (to them) (the Angels) say, “In what (condition) were you?” (i.e., In what circumstances were you? Of what religion were you?) They say, “We were deemed weak in the earth.” They (the Angels) say, “Was not the earth of Allah wide so that you (could) have emigrated in it?” So, the abode for those (men) is Hell, and what an odious Destiny!
When the angels take the souls of those who have wronged themselves, they ask them, ‘What circumstances were you in?’ They reply, ‘We were oppressed in this land,’ and the angels say, ‘But was God’s earth not spacious enough for you to migrate to some other place?’ These people will have Hell as their refuge, an evil destination,
Quran 4 Verse 97 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 97, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(4:97) While taking the souls of those who were engaged in wronging themselves, the angels asked: ‘In what circumstances were you?’ They replied: ‘We were too weak and helpless in the land.’ The angels said: ‘Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you to emigrate in it?’ For such men their refuge is Hell – an evil destination indeed;
129. The reference here is to those who stay behind along with the unbelievers, despite no genuine disability. They are satisfied with a life made up of a blend of Islamic and un-Islamic elements, even though they have had the chance to migrate to the Dar al-Islam and thus enjoy a full Islamic life. This is the wrong that they committed against themselves. What kept them satisfied with the mixture of Islamic and un-Islamic elements in their life was not any genuine disability but their love of ease and comfort, their excessive attachment to their kith and kin and to their properties and worldly interests. These concerns had exceeded reasonable limits and had even taken precedence over their concern for their religion see also( n. 116 )above).
130. Those people who had willingly acquiesced to living under an un-Islamic order would be called to account by God and would be asked: If a certain territory was under the dominance of rebels against God, so that it had become impossible to follow His Law, why did you continue to live there? Why did you not migrate to a land where it was possible to follow the law of God?
97. Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves, they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein” Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! 98. Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. 99. These are they whom Allah is likely to forgive them, and Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. 100. He who emigrates in the cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Muhammad bin `Abdur-Rahman, Abu Al-Aswad, said, “The people of Al-Madinah were forced to prepare an army (to fight against the people of Ash-Sham during the Khilafah of Abdullah bin Az-Zubayir at Makkah), and I was enlisted in it. Then I met `Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn `Abbas, and informed him (about it), and he forbade me strongly from doing so (i.e., to enlist in that army), and then he said to me, `Ibn `Abbas told me that some Muslims used to go out with the idolators increasing the size of their army against the Messenger of Allah . Then, an arrow would hit one of them and kill him, or he would be struck on his neck (with a sword) and killed, and Allah sent down the Ayah,
(Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves).” Ad-Dahhak stated that this Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who did not join the Messenger of Allah but remained in Makkah and went out with the idolators for the battle of Badr. They were killed among those who were killed. Thus, this honorable Ayah was revealed about those who reside among the idolators, while able to perform Hijrah and unable to practice the faith. Such people will be committing injustice against themselves and falling into a prohibition according to the consensus and also according to this Ayah,
(Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves,) by refraining from Hijrah,
(They (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you”) meaning, why did you remain here and not perform Hijrah
(They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.”) meaning, we are unable to leave the land or move about in the earth,
(They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you). Abu Dawud recorded that Samurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever mingles with the idolator and resides with him, he is just like him.) Allah’s statement,
(Except the weak) until the end of the Ayah, is an excuse that Allah gives for this type of people not to emigrate, because they are unable to free themselves from the idolators. And even if they did, they would not know which way to go. This is why Allah said,
(Who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way), meaning, they do not find the way to emigrate, as Mujahid, `Ikrimah and As-Suddi stated. Allah’s statement,
(These are they whom Allah is likely to forgive them,) means, pardon them for not migrating, and here, `likely’ means He shall,
(and Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving). Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “While the Messenger of Allah was praying `Isha’, he said, `Sami` Allahu Liman Hamidah.’ He then said before he prostrated,
(O Allah! Save `Ayyash bin Abi Rabi`ah. O Allah! Save Salamah bin Hisham. O Allah! Save Al-Walid bin Al-Walid. O Allah! Save the weak Muslims. O Allah! Be very hard on Mudar tribe. O Allah! Afflict them with years (of famine) similar to the (famine) years of the time of Prophet Yusuf.)” Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu An-Nu`man said that Hammad bin Zayd said that Ayyub narrated that Ibn Abi Mulaykah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the verse,
(Except the weak ones among men), “I and my mother were among those (weak ones) whom Allah excused.” Allah’s statement,
(He who emigrates in the cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.) this encourages the believers to perform Hijrah and abandon the idolators, for wherever the believer emigrates, he will find a safe refuge to resort to. Mujahid said that,
(many dwelling places) means, he will find a way out of what he dislikes. Allah’s statement,
(and plenty to live by.) refers to provision. Qatadah also said that,
(…will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.) means, Allah will take him from misguidance to guidance and from poverty to richness. Allah’s statement,
(And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely, incumbent upon Allah. ) means, whoever starts emigrating and dies on the way, he will acquire the reward of those who emigrate for Allah. The Two Sahihs, along with the Musnad and Sunan compilers, recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will be rewarded according to what he has intended. So, whoever emigrated to Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration is for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for what he emigrated for.) This Hadith is general, it applies to Hijrah as well as every other deed. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that a man killed ninety-nine people and completed the number one hundred when he killed a worshipper. He then asked a scholar if he has a chance to repent. The scholar said, “What prevents you from repentance” The scholar told the killer to emigrate from his land to another land where Allah is worshipped. When he left his land and started on the migration to the other land, death overtook him on the way. The angels of mercy and the angels of torment disputed about the man, whereas the former said that he went out in repentance, while the latter said that he did not arrive at his destination. They were commanded to measure the distance between the two lands and to whichever land he is closer to, he will be considered part of that land. Allah commanded that the righteous land to move closer and the land of evil to move farther. The angels found that he died closer to the land that he intended to emigrate to by a hand-span, and thus the angels of mercy captured his soul. In another narration, when death came to that man, he moved his chest towards the righteous village that he emigrated to.
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