Surah Muhammad Ayat 20 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 20
Those who believe say, “Why has a surah not been sent down? But when a precise surah is revealed and fighting is mentioned therein, you see those in whose hearts is hypocrisy looking at you with a look of one overcome by death. And more appropriate for them [would have been]
Those who believe say, “Why is not a sura sent down (for us)?” But when a sura of basic or categorical meaning is revealed, and fighting is mentioned therein, thou wilt see those in whose hearts is a disease looking at thee with a look of one in swoon at the approach of death. But more fitting for them-
The believers used to say: “Why is a surah (that would ordain fighting) not revealed?” But when a definitive surah was revealed wherein fighting was mentioned, you saw that those in whose hearts there was a sickness looked at you as though they were about to faint at the approach of death. Pity on them!
Those who believe say: “Why is not a Surah (chapter of the Quran) sent down (for us)? But when a decisive Surah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down, and fighting (Jihad – holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to death. But it was better for them (hypocrites, to listen to Allah and to obey Him).
And those who believe say: If only a surah were revealed! But when a decisive surah is revealed and war is mentioned therein, thou seest those in whose hearts is a disease looking at thee with the look of men fainting unto death. Therefor woe unto them!
And the ones who have believed say, “Had a srah been successively sent down!” Then, when a clear srah is sent down, and therein fighting is mentioned, you see the ones in whose hearts is sickness looking at you with the look of one enveloped by the swooning of death; yet worthier of them would be.
Those who believe ask why no sura [about fighting] has been sent down. Yet when a decisive sura [that mentions fighting] is sent down, you can see the sick at heart looking at you [Prophet] and visibly fainting at the prospect of death- better for them
Quran 47 Verse 20 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Muhammad ayat 20, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(47:20) The believers used to say: “Why is a surah (that would ordain fighting) not revealed?” But when a definitive surah was revealed wherein fighting was mentioned, you saw that those in whose hearts there was a sickness looked at you as though they were about to faint at the approach of death. Pity on them!
32. That is, in view of the conditions through which the Muslims were passing and the attitude that the disbelievers had adopted towards Islam and the Muslims at that time, the believers were generally of the opinion that they should be permitted to fight even before fighting was actually enjoined by Allah. Rather they were asking Allah’s command in this regard impatiently and were asking again and again: Why are we not permitted to fight these wicked people? But the condition of the people who had joined the ranks of the Muslims hypocritically was quite different from that of the believers. They held their lives and their properties as dearer to themselves than Allah and His religion, and were not prepared to risk them at any cost. Therefore, as soon as fighting was enjoined, they were clearly sorted out from the true believers. Until the time when fighting had not been enjoined, the hypocrites and the common believers could not be distinguished one from the other. The hypocrites offered the Prayer just as the true believers did, they observed the Fast just like them, and practiced every article of the faith as made no demand of a sacrifice on them. But when the time came for making the supreme sacrifice of life for the sake of Islam, their hypocrisy was exposed and their veil of false display of the faith was rent asunder. In Surah An-Nisa, their this state has been described thus: Have you marked those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands a while and establish the salat and pay the zakat? Now that the fighting has been enjoined for them, some of them fear the people as they should fear Allah, or even more than that. They say: Our Lord, why have You enjoined fighting for us? Why have You not given us a brief respite? (verse 77)
20. Those who believe say: “Why is not a Surah sent down (for us)” But now that a decisive Surah is sent down mentioning fighting, you can see those in whose hearts is disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with the look of one who is about to faint for fear of death. But it was better for them. 21. Obedience and good words. And when the matter is resolved, then if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them. 22. So would you perhaps, if you turned away, spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship 23. Such are the ones whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their vision.
Allah mentions that the believers were hoping that Jihad would be legislated. But when Allah ordained it, many of the people turned back, as Allah says,
(Have you not seen those who were told: “Restrain your hands (from fighting), establish the Salah, and give Zakah.” But then when fighting was ordained for them, you find a party of them fearing the people as they fear Allah or more. They said: “Our Lord! Why have You decreed fighting upon us If only You have postponed us for a short period.” Say: “The enjoyment of this world is little. The Hereafter is far better for him who had Taqwa of (Allah), and you will not be dealt with unjustly, even as much as a thin thread (inside a date’s pit).”)(4:77) Similarly, Allah says here,
(Those who believe say: “Why is not a Surah sent down (for us)”) means, a Surah containing an order to fight. Then He says,
(But now that a decisive Surah is sent down mentioning fighting, you can see those in whose hearts is disease looking at you with the look of one who is about to faint for fear of death.) meaning, due to their fear, terror, and cowardice concerning meeting the enemies. Allah then encourages them by saying,
(But it was better for them, obedience and good words.) which means that it would have been better for them to listen and obey in that present situation.
(When the matter (of fighting) is resolved.) which means when the situation becomes serious and the time of fighting truly arrives.
(if they had been true to Allah,) meaning, by making their intentions sincerely for Him.
(it would have been better for them) Allah then says,
(So would you perhaps, if you turned away) meaning, from Jihad and you withdrew from it.
(spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship) which means, would you then go back to your old practices of the time of ignorance: shedding blood and severing kinship ties Allah then says,
(Such are the ones whom Allah has cursed, so He has made them deaf and blinded their vision.) This involves a general prohibition of spreading corruption on earth, and a specific prohibition of severing the ties of kinship. In fact, Allah has commanded the people to establish righteousness on earth, as well as to join the ties of kinship by treating the relatives well in speech, actions, and spending wealth in charity. Many authentic and sound Hadiths have been reported through numerous routes of transmission from Allah’s Messenger in this regard. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said,
(After Allah completed creating the creation, the womb stood up and pulled at the lower garment of the Most Merciful. He said, ‘Stop that!’ It replied, ‘My stand here is the stand of one seeking refuge in you from severance of ties.’ Allah said, ‘Would it not please you that I join whoever joins you and sever whoever severs you’ It replied, ‘Yes indeed!’ He said, ‘You are granted that!’) Abu Hurayrah then added, “Read if you wish:
(So would you perhaps, if you turned away, spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship)” Then Al-Bukhari recorded it with another wording which states that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Read if you wish: (So would you perhaps, if you turned away, spread corruption on earth, and sever your ties of kinship)) Muslim also recorded it. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said:
(No sin deserves that Allah hasten its punishment in the worldly life, in addition to what He reserves in the Hereafter for those who commit it, more than injustice and severance of the ties of kinship.) This was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Sahih.” Imam Ahmad recorded from Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said,
(Whoever likes for his life to be extended, and his provision increased, let him connect his ties of kinship.) Ahmad was alone in recording this narration, but it has a supporting narration in the Sahih. Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said,
(Verily, the womb is attached to the Throne. And connecting its ties does not mean dealing evenly (with the kinsfolk), but it rather means that if one’s kinsfolk sever the ties, he connects them.) This Hadith was also recorded by Al-Bukhari. Ahmad also recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said,
(The womb will be placed on the Day of Resurrection, curved like a spinning wheel, speaking with an eloquent fluent tongue, calling to severing whoever had severed it, and joining whoever had joined it.) Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said,
(The merciful ones will be granted mercy from the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those on earth — the One above the heavens will then have mercy on you. And Ar-Rahim (the womb) is from Ar-Rahman, so whoever joins it, it joins him; and whoever severs it, it severs him.) Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi both recorded this Hadith and it has been reported with continuous chains of transmission. At-Trimidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” There are numerous other Hadiths in this regard.
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