Surah Sad Ayat 44 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 44
[We said], “And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath.” Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].
“And take in thy hand a little grass, and strike therewith: and break not (thy oath).” Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! ever did he turn (to Us)!
(and We said to him): “Take in your hand a bundle of rushes and strike with it, and do not break your oath.” Indeed We found him steadfast. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was. Indeed he constantly turned (to his Lord).
“And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath. Truly! We found him patient. How excellent (a) slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!
And (it was said unto him): Take in thine hand a branch and smite therewith, and break not thine oath. Lo! We found him steadfast, how excellent a slave! Lo! he was ever turning in repentance (to his Lord).
And (we said) “Take in your hand a jumble of rushes, then strike therewith, and do not break (your oath).” Surely We found him a patient (man). How excellent a bondman he was! Surely he was a constant resorter (to Us).
‘Take a small bunch of grass in your hand, and strike [her] with that so as not to break your oath.’ We found him patient in adversity; an excellent servant! He, too, always turned to God.
Quran 38 Verse 44 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Sad ayat 44, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(38:44) (and We said to him): “Take in your hand a bundle of rushes and strike with it, and do not break your oath.” Indeed We found him steadfast. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was. Indeed he constantly turned (to his Lord).
46. A careful study of these words shows that the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) during illness had been annoyed with somebody (according to traditions, his wife) and sworn to beat him or her by giving so many stripes. When Allah restored him to health and the anger of the illness was gone, he became worried as how to fulfill the oath. For if he carried out the oath, he would be inflicting pain on an innocent person, and if he did not, he would be committing the sin of breaking the oath. Allah took him out of the difficult situation by the command: Take a broom containing as many sticks of straw as the number of the stripes you had sworn to give; then strike the person just once with the broom so as both to fulfill your oath and to avoid giving undue trouble to the person concerned.
Some jurists hold the view that this concession was specially meant for the Prophet Job (peace be upon him), and some others think that other people also can take advantage of it. The first view has been cited by Ibn Asakir from Abdullah bin Abbas and by Abu Bakr al-Jassas from Mujahid, and Imam Malik also held the same view. The second view has been adopted by Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam Shafei. They say that if a person, for instance, has sworn to give his servant ten stripes, and afterwards combines ten whips and strikes him only once in a way that some part of each whip strikes him, his oath will be fulfilled.
Several Ahadith show that the Prophet (peace be upon him), in order to inflict the prescribed punishment on a fornicator who was too ill or too weak to receive a hundred stripes, also adopted the method taught in this verse. Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas has related a tradition on the authority of Saeed bin Saad bin Ubadah to the effect that a person from the tribe of Bani Saidah happened to commit fornication, and he was a sick man and a mere skeleton. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded: Take a branch of the palm tree with a hundred twigs on it and strike him therewith once and for all. (Ahkam al Quran). In Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Tabarani, Abdur Razzaq and other collections of Hadith, there are several Ahadith supporting it, which conclusively proves that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had devised this very method for inflicting the prescribed punishment on a sick or weak person. However, the jurists lay the condition that some part of every twig or piece of straw must strike the culprit, and even if only one stroke, it must also hurt the culprit; that is, it is not enough just to touch him but he must be struck with it.
Here the question also arises that if a person has sworn to do something and afterwards he comes to know that it is improper then what should he do? There is a tradition from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the effect that in such a case one should do only that which is better, and the same is the atonement for the oath. Another tradition from him says that one should do something good instead of the improper thing and should atone for his oath. This verse supports this second tradition, for if keeping oneself from an improper thing had been the atonement for the oath, Allah would not have told the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) to strike the broom once and fulfill his oath, but would have said: Do not do this improper thing, and your restraint itself is the atonement for your oath.
This verse also shows that it is not necessary to carry out immediately what one has sworn to do. The Prophet Job (peace be upon him) had sworn an oath in the state of illness, and fulfilled it after complete recovery, and not immediately even after the recovery.
Some people have regarded this verse as an argument for practicing pretense under the Shariah. No doubt it was a pretense which the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) had been taught but it had been taught not for evading anything obligatory but for avoiding an evil. Therefore, in the Shariah those pretenses only are lawful, which are adopted to remove injustice and sin and evil from one’s own self or from another person, otherwise practice of pretense is highly sinful if it is employed for the purpose of making the unlawful as lawful, or evading the obligatory duties and righteous acts. For a person who practices pretense for such impious objects, in fact, tries to deceive God. For example, a person who transfers his wealth to another before the completion of a year on it, only for the purpose of evading payment of the Zakat on it, not only evades an obligatory duty, but also thinks that Allah will get deceived by this trickery and will consider him as relieved of his duty. The jurists who have mentioned such pretenses in their books, do not mean that one should practice them in order to evade the Shariah obligations, but they mean to point out that a judge or ruler cannot take to task a person who escapes the consequences of a sin under a legal cover for his affair is with Allah.
47. The Prophet Job (peace be upon him) has been mentioned in this context to impress the reader that when the righteous servants of Allah are afflicted with hardships and calamities, they do not complain of their distress to Allah but endure the tests and trials set by Him patiently and invoke only Him for help. They do not despair of God and do not turn to others for help if their distress is not removed after making invocations to God for some time, but they believe that whatever they will get, they will get only from Allah. Therefore, they remain hopeful of His mercy, no matter how long they might have to suffer the distress. That is why they are honored and blessed with the favors and bounties with which the Prophet Job (peace be upon him) was honored and blessed in his life. So much so that if they get involved in a moral dilemma due to a state of agitation, Allah shows them a way out of it in order to save them from evil, as He showed a way to the Prophet Job (peace be upon him).
The tafsir of Surah Sad verse 44 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Sad ayat 41 which provides the complete commentary from verse 41 through 44.
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