Surah Hujurat Ayat 14 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 14
The bedouins say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
The desert Arabs say, “We believe.” Say, “Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, ‘We have submitted our wills to Allah,’ For not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The Bedouins say: “We believe.” (O Prophet), say to them: “You do not believe; you should rather say: ‘We have submitted'”; for belief has not yet entered your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish anything from the reward of any of your deeds. Surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.
The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You believe not but you only say, ‘We have surrendered (in Islam),’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger (SAW), He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The wandering Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Ye believe not, but rather say “We submit,” for the faith hath not yet entered into your hearts. Yet, if ye obey Allah and His messenger, He will not withhold from you aught of (the reward of) your deeds. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
The Arabs (of the desert) have said. “We have believed.” Say, (This is addressed to the Prophet) “You have not believed, but (rather) say, ‘We have surrendered, (i.e., we have become Muslims) and belief has not as yet entered your hearts. And in case you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not withhold you anything of your deeds. Surely Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.”
The desert Arabs say, ‘We have faith.’ [Prophet], tell them, ‘You do not have faith. What you should say instead is, “We have submitted,” for faith has not yet entered your hearts.’ If you obey God and His Messenger, He will not diminish any of your deeds: He is most forgiving and most merciful.
Quran 49 Verse 14 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Hujurat ayat 14, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(49:14) The Bedouins say: “We believe.”(O Prophet), say to them: “You do not believe; you should rather say: ‘We have submitted'”; for belief has not yet entered your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish anything from the reward of any of your deeds. Surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.
30. This does not imply all the desert Arabs but only a few particular groups of the Bedouins who had become Muslims, seeing the increasing power of Islam, thinking that they would not only remain safe from any attack by the Muslims but would also gain materially from the Islamic conquests. These people had not embraced Islam sincerely but had professed faith only verbally in order to be counted among the Muslims, and their inner state became exposed whenever they would come before the Prophet (peace be upon him) with different sorts of demands and would enumerate and mention their rights as if they had done him a great favor by accepting Islam. Traditions mention several of such tribal groups, e.g. Muzainah, Juhainah, Aslam, Ashja, Ghifar, etc. About the Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah in particular. Ibn Abbas and Saeed bin Jubair have stated that once during a drought they came to Madinah and making a demand for financial help, they said to the Prophet (peace be upon him) again and again: We became Muslims without any conflict, we did not fight against you as have such and such other tribes fought. By this they clearly meant to point out that their refraining from fighting against the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah and their accepting Islam was a favor for which they must be rewarded by the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the Muslims. It was this same attitude and conduct of the Bedouin group living around Al- Madinah, which has been commented upon in these verses. One can understand this appraisal better if one reads it together with verses( 90-110 of Surah At-Taubah )and (verses 11-17 of Surah Al-Fatha).
31. Another translation of the words qulu aslamna can be; Say: We have become Muslims. From these words some people have concluded that in the language of the Quran, Mumin and Muslim are two opposite terms. A Mumin is he who has believed sincerely and a Muslim he who might have accepted Islam only verbally without true faith. But, in fact, this is an absolutely wrong idea. No doubt the word iman here has been used for sincere affirmation by the heart and the word Islam for only outward and external submission but to understand them as two independent and mutually contradictory terms of the Quran is not correct. A study of the Quranic verses in which the words Islam and Muslim have been used, shows that in the Quranic terminology of Islam is the name of the Faith, which Allah has sent down for mankind. It comprehends the faith and obedience both, and a Muslim is he who believes with a sincere heart and obeys the commands practically. This is borne out by the following verses:
Indeed, Islam is the only right way of life in the sight of Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 19).
And whoever adopts any other than this way of submission (Islam), that way shall not be accepted from him. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 85).
And I have approved Islam as the way of life for you. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 3).
Whomever Allah wills to guide aright, He makes his breast wide open to Islam. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 125).
Obviously, in these verses Islam does not imply obedience without the faith. Here are some other verses: Say (O Prophet): I have been enjoined to be the first one to affirm (faith in) Islam. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 14).
If they have surrendered (to Islam), they are rightly guided. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 20).
All the Prophets, who were Muslims, judged the cases according to the Torah. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 44).
Here, and at scores of other places, acceptance of Islam cannot mean adopting obedience without the faith. Likewise, here are a few verses in which the word Muslim has occurred signifying the meaning in which it has been used repeatedly in the Quran: O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should truly be feared and see that you do not die save as true Muslim. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 102).
Allah had called you Muslims before this and has called you (by the same name) in this Quran, too. (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 78).
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Muslim, sound in the faith. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 67).
And remember that when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the walls of this House, they prayed: Lord, make us Thy Muslims and also raise from our offspring a community which should be Muslim. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 128).
(The Prophet Jacob’s will for his children): O my children, Allah has chosen the same way of life for you, hence remain Muslims up to your last breath. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 132).
After a study of these verses who can say that in these the word Muslim implies a person who does not believe sincerely but has accepted Islam only outwardly? Therefore, to make the claim that in the Quranic terminology Islam implies obedience without the faith and the Muslim in the language of the Quran is he who accepts Islam only outwardly is absolutely wrong. Likewise, this claim also is wrong that the words iman and mumin have been used in the Quran necessarily in the sense of believing sincerely. No doubt, at most places these words have occurred to express the same meaning, but there are many places where these words have also been used for outward affirmation of the faith, and all those who might have entered the Muslim community with verbal profession have been addressed with, “O you who have believed”, no matter whether they are the true believers, or people with a weak faith, or mere hypocrites. For a few instances of this, see (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 156); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 135); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 54); (Surah Al-Anfaal, Ayats 20-27); (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 38), (Surah Al-Hadid, Ayat 28); (Surah As-Saff, Ayat 2).
14. The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You do not believe. But say, `We have submitted,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 15. Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful. 16. Say: “Will you inform Allah of your religion while Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and Allah is All-Aware of everything.” 17. They regard as a favor to you that they have embraced Islam. Say: “Do not count your Islam as a favor to me. Nay, but Allah has conferred a favor upon you that He has guided you to the Faith if you indeed are true. ” 18. “Verily, Allah knows the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.”
Allah chastises the bedouins who, when they embraced Islam, claimed for themselves the grade of faithful believers. However, Faith had not yet firmly entered their hearts,
(The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You do not believe, but say, `We have submitted,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”) This honorable Ayah provides proof that Faith is a higher grade than Islam, according to the scholars of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. This is also demostrated in the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, when he questioned the Prophet about Islam, then Iman then Ihsan. Thus moving the general matter to one more specific, then even more specific. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, “The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, `O Allah’s Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.’ The Prophet said,
(Or say, a Muslim.) Sa`d repeated his statement thrice each time the Prophet answered,
(Or say, a Muslim.) The Prophet then said,
(I might give some men and give nothing to others, even though the latter are dearer to me than the former. I do not give them things for fear that they might be thrown on their faces in the Fire.)” This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between the grade of believer and the grade of Muslim, indicating that Iman is a more exclusive grade than Islam. I mentioned this subject in detail supported by evidence, in the beginning of the explanation of the chapter on Iman in Sahih Al-Bukhari, all praise is due to Allah and all the favors are from Him. So this proves that the bedouins whom the Ayah mentioned were not hypocrites, rather they were Muslims in whose hearts Faith was not yet firmly established. They claimed a higher grade for themselves than the grade that they earned, and they were taught a lesson as a consequence. This meaning agrees with the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Qatadah and that preferred by Ibn Jarir. These bedouins were taught a lesson,
(Say: “You do not believe, but say `We are Muslims,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”) meaning, `you have not yet achieved the reality of Faith.’ Allah the Exalted said,
(But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds…) `He will not decrease any of your rewards,’ as Allah said;
(We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.) (52:21) Allah said:
(Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) for those who repent and return to Him. Allah’s statement,
(Only those are the believers), who have perfect Faith,
(who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not) They do not have doubts and their Faith was not shaken. Rather, their Faith remained on conviction,
(but strive for the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives) meaning, they gladly gave away their life and the most precious of their wealth in obedience to Allah as a means of seeking His pleasure,
(Those! They are the truthful. ) `in their statement if they say that they are believers, unlike some bedouins who are faithful only by words outwardly!’ Allah said,
(Say: “Will you inform Allah of your religion…”) `will you inform Allah of what is in your hearts,’
(while Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth,) Nothing in the heavens and earth, even the weight of a speck of dust, all that is bigger or smaller, ever escapes His observation,
(and Allah is All-Aware of everything.) Allah said,
(They regard as a favor to you that they have embraced Islam. Say: “Do not count your Islam as a favor to me…”) meaning the bedouins who considered embracing Islam, following and supporting the Messenger as a favor to him. Allah the Exalted refuted their false statement,
(Say: “Do not count your Islam as a favor to me…”) `for the benefit of your Islam will only be yours, and this is a favor from Allah to you,’
(Nay, but Allah has conferred a favor upon you that He has guided you to the Faith if you indeed are true.) `in your claim that you are believers.’ The Prophet said to the Ansar on the day of the battle of Hunayn,
(O Ansar! Have I not found you astray and Allah guided you through me Were you not divided and Allah united you around me Were you not poor and Allah gave you riches through me) Whenever the Prophet asked them any of these questions, they would reply, “Allah and His Messenger have most favored us.” Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “Banu Asad came to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Allah’s Messenger! We embraced Islam, and before that, the Arabs fought against you, yet we did not fight against you.’ The Messenger of Allah said,
(Verily, they understand but little and the Shaytan speaks through their words.) This Ayah was later revealed,
(They regard as a favor to you that they have embraced Islam. Say: “Do not count your Islam as a favor to me.” Nay, but Allah has conferred a favor upon you that He has guided you to the Faith if you indeed are true.”)”’ Then Allah reminds that He has complete knowledge of all creations and that He sees them all;
(Verily, Allah knows the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Hujurat. Verily, all praise is due to Allah, all the favors are from Him, and from Him comes the success and protection from error.
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