Surah Najm Ayat 4 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 4
It is not but a revelation revealed,
It is no less than inspiration sent down to him:
This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him,
It is only an Inspiration that is inspired.
It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired,
Decidedly it is nothing except a revelation revealed.
The Quran is nothing less than a revelation that is sent to him.
Quran 53 Verse 4 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Najm ayat 4, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(53:4) This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him,
4. It means this: The things for which you accuse him of having gone astray or been misled and deceived, have neither been fabricated by himself nor motivated by any selfish desire on his part, but they have been sent down, and are being sent down, to him by God. He did not intend to become a Prophet of his own desire so that he might have laid a claim to Prophethood in order to satisfy his desire, but when Allah appointed him to that office through revelation, then only did he rise to preach his mission and to tell you that he had been appointed God’s Messenger to you. Likewise, this invitation to Islam, this teaching of the doctrine of Tauhid, this news about the gathering together of all mankind on the Day of Resurrection and their accountability, the truths that he is presenting about the universe and man and the principles of leading a pure life, are not a philosophy propounded by himself, but the knowledge of all this has been bestowed on him by revelation. Likewise, this Quran that he recites before you, is also not of his own composition but it is divine word which is sent down to him by revelation. “He does not speak of his own desire; It is not but a revelation that is revealed.”
Here, the question arises: Which of the words spoken by the Prophet (peace be upon him) are Allah’s Words: Do they apply to everything that he spoke, or to some of his words and not to others? The answer is: As far as the Quran is concerned, the divine words apply to it most completely. As for the other words, apart from the Quran, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke, they could inevitably be of three kinds:
First, those words which he employed for preaching religion and inviting others to Allah, and for explaining the themes, teachings and commands of the Quran, or for giving admonition and instruction to the people to fulfill the object for which the Quran was revealed. In this regard, obviously nobody can have the doubt that, God forbid, he fabricated these things from his own mind. In these matters, his position, in fact, was of the official interpreter of the Quran and of Allah’s authorized representative. Although these things were not revealed to him literally as the Quran was revealed; yet these were necessarily based on the same knowledge that he had been given by revelation. The only difference between the Quran and these was that the Quran, both in word and in meaning, was entirely from Allah, and in these other things the meanings were those taught by Allah and the words those which he himself employed to express those meanings. On the basis of this very distinction, the Quran has been described as wahi-jali (manifest revelation) and the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) other sayings as wahi-khafi (concealed revelation).
The second kind of the words were those which the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke in connection with the struggle of raising Allah’s Word and his services for establishing Islam. In this regard, he had to perform countless duties of different kinds as the leader and guide of the Muslim community. In this many a time he took counsel with his companions as well, and followed their advice instead of his own view. On being asked he sometimes told them that he was expressing a particular view not under Allah’s command but as his personal opinion, and on several occasions it so happened that he said something on the basis of his own opinion and later an instruction came down against it from Allah. None of the things of this nature that he said or did could be based on a selfish motive. As for the question whether these sayings were based on divine inspiration, the answer is that except for the things in regard to which he made it explicit that they were not based on divine command, or about which he took counsel with his companions and accepted their advice, or with regard to a thing against which Allah sent down an instruction after he had said or done something on the basis of his personal judgment, all other things were based on concealed revelation (wahi-khafi) just like the things of the first kind. For the office of the leader and guide of the Islamic movement and the chief of the believing community and the ruler of the Islamic State, which he held, was not self-invented or bestowed by the people, but he had been appointed to it by Allah, and whatever he said and did in carrying out the duties of this office, his position in it was of the representative of divine, will. In this matter, whatever he said on the basis of his personal judgment, his judgment in those matters was approved by Allah, and was, derived from the light of the knowledge which Allah had blessed him with. That is why whenever his personal judgment was even slightly turned away from Allah’s pleasure, it was immediately rectified by manifest revelation (wahi-jali). This rectification of some of his personal judgments is itself a proof that all the rest of his religious judgments and interpretations were precisely in accordance with divine will.
The third kind of the things were those he said concerning common matters of life as a man, which had nothing to do with the duties of Prophethood, which he said before being appointed a Prophet as well as continued saying even after having been appointed a Prophet. About this kind of the things it should be understood at the outset that there was no dispute with the disbelievers concerning them. They had not accused him of being a misled and misguided person because of these but because of the first two kinds of the things. These things were not disputed and therefore could not become the cause of a verse from Allah. But although they were not the subject of any dispute, yet the fact is that in this private aspect of his life also never did the Prophet (peace be upon him) utter a word that was opposed to the truth, but at all times, under all conditions, his words and deeds remained within the bounds that Allah had prescribed for living his life as a Prophet (peace be upon him) and righteous man. Therefore, the light of revelation shone in that sphere as well. This same thing has been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in some authentic Ahadith. In Musnad Ahmad a tradition has been related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said: I never say anything but what is true and right. A companion said: O Messenger of Allah, you say things sometimes in jest also. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Indeed, I never say anything but the truth. According to Musnad Ahmad and Abu Daud, Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas is reported to have said: I used to write down whatever I heard from the sacred tongue of the Prophet (peace be upon him) so as to preserve it. The people of the Quraish forbade me to do this, saying: You are writing down everything whereas the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a man: he sometimes says things in the state of anger too. At this I gave up writing. Afterwards when I mentioned this before the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said: You should continue writing: By Him in Whose hand is my life, never have I said anything but the truth. (For a complete discussion of this question, see my book Tafhimat vol. 1, Article: Prophethood and its Injunctions).
The tafsir of Surah Tur verse 4 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Tur ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 4.
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