Tafseer of Sūrah al-Hujuraat (The Dwellings)
Explanation by
Shaykh Abdullaah Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Ghudyaan حفظه الله

CLASS #4 - Delivered on March 3rd, 2007

The Shaykh حفظه الله began in the Name of Allaah; after praising Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and sending the salaat and salaam upon our Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, his family members and all his companions, he greeted the listeners with salaams. He then said that the statements that preceded in our last class dealt with the second topic in sūrah al-Hujuraat which is contained in the two aayaat:

وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِن فَاءتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ {9} إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ {10}ـ

{And if two parties (or groups) among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one which outrages till it complies with the Command of Allâh. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily, Allâh loves those who are the equitable.  The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islâmic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allâh that you may receive mercy.} [al-Hujuraat 49:9-10]

This topic deals with solving disputes and the regulations concerning those who transgress against Islaamic Governments. What remains to be discussed on these two aayaat are the Akhaam (Regulations).

Ahkaam/Regulations to be derived from Aayaat 9-10

  1. It is compulsory on those in Authority in the Muslim lands to reconcile between two Muslim groups who are fighting. This must be done with Da’wah to the Book of Allaah and the texts, and by counsel, unification, and harmonization between them using the Book of Allaah.
  2. If one group exceeds the limit and does not comply with what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has legislated, and they become impudent and cause corruption in the land, it is compulsory (on the Government) to fight against them by using the lightest means possible, and then the less light after that, until they return to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. If they return, there should be equity and justice in dealing with them for indeed Allaah loves those who are just and those who are equitable and He سبحانه و تعالى rewards them with the best of rewards. The term ‘Baghee’ based on the usage of the jurist, refers to groups who go against the established Government with their interpretations which appear acceptable (but which are) absolutely baatil (false) and useless on the basis of their erroneous conjecture.
  3. From the speech of Allaah “And if two parties (or groups) among the Believers” – in this ayah there is evidence that a Believer who commits a major sin like murder, disobedience to the parents, using Ribaa or taking the wealth of the orphan, does not leave his state of being a Mu’min (Believer). This is because the injustice was incited by one of the two groups and Allaah called the both of them Mu’mineen (Believers).
    It is known from the Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnaah wal-Jamaa’ah that eemaan (faith) increases and decreases. It increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience, so despite an individual committing sin, he is still considered a Believer, but one who is deficient in his eemaan.
  4. Fighting against the group that transgresses has to do with ‘Protecting oneself against transgression and the one who transgresses.’ The ‘Ulamaa have determined the rulings concerning the transgressors. They say that if both groups are transgressing against each other then it is compulsory that you try to stop the transgression by causing both of them to desist. If both of them do not desist then it is compulsory on the Authority to fight against both of them until they stop. If one stops then it is compulsory to fight and struggle against the one who continues in his transgression until they stop. If this happens then there should be reconciliation between the two groups. In doing this, any doubt that the people may have, should be removed by presenting clear evidences to them in order to dispel any misconceptions that may be existing in the minds of those in this transgression.
    This particular ayah is evidence that the madhaahib (tenets) of the Bhagi does not make it waajib (compulsory) to kill them; as Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says: “But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one which outrages until it complies.” (so the struggle against them is until they return.)
  5. The ayah is clear evidence that it is waajib for the Imaam/Leader to fight against the transgressing party and stop the transgression. In the ayah there is also evidence that serves as a refutation against the statement of one who prevents fighting the Believers. Some of them use the hadith narrated by Group and they are Ahmad and the compilers of the Six Books [1], that from ibn Mas’ud, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Abusing the Muslim is an evil act and fighting him is an act of disbelief.”[2] The text of this ayah explicitly refutes that (this is an exception to the rule and it may be done in this particular case).
  6. Ibn Arabi رحمه الله says that this particular ayah is a foundation for the regulation for fighting against the Muslims when they transgress, even if they may have some misinterpretation. This is something that was acted upon by the Sahaabah, and the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم mentioned it when he said concerning ‘Ammaar (‘Ammaar ibn Yaasir) that: “The transgressing group will be the source of ‘Ammaar’s death.” [3]
  7. There is no difference amongst the Ummah (Nation) of the Muslims that it is permissible for the Imaam to withhold from applying the penal code if it would cause a greater evil in the society.
  8. The command regarding fighting against those that transgress is Fard al-Kifaayah i.e. a collective responsibility. This means that if a group in the Muslim community carries out this responsibility then the remainder of the community is (also) absolved of the sin. However, if all of them are negligent in doing this then everyone is considered sinful. This differs from the specific compulsory acts that are considered Fard al-‘Ayn which is binding upon each individual Muslim. This explains the delay of some of the Companions in participating in some of these affairs e.g. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, Muhammad ibn Muslimah رضي الله عنهم and others and ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه accepted their excuse when they presented it to him.
  9. The statement of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى “Then if it (the group) complies, then make reconciliation between them justly” indicates that they are not going to be held accountable for the things that were done incorrectly during that time – whether in relation to blood that was spilt or wealth that was taken and destroyed. This is because they only did that based on misinterpretation. If this was required of them (i.e. to be held accountable) it may cause them to delay in the reconciliation and persist in their transgression.
  10. There is no compensation regarding what has been lost from blood or wealth based upon ijmaa’ (consensus) i.e. they are not responsible for what they did before, based on consensus amongst the Scholars.
  11. Regarding the wealth of the Bughaat, their captives and their injured – the People of Knowledge differ concerning the wealth which is taken from them during their fighting (i.e. whether it is considered communal spoils of war - غنيمة).
    • Some of them say that it should not be considered spoils of war and should be used in fighting against them so as to cause them to concede in their battle. When the war has ended the wealth is returned to them. This was the position of Muhammad ibn Hasan and those who agree with him from the companions of Abi Haneefah.
    • It has been narrated that Abi Yusuf was of the opinion that what was found in the possession of the people of Bhagi is spoils of war and should be divided and given out as khumus i.e. in divided into five parts. If they repent then nothing is taken from the blood and wealth that they took.
    • Imaam Maalik, Imaam Awzaa’ee and ash-Shaafi’ee were of the opinion that what the Khawaarij took from blood and wealth, and then they repented, it should not be taken and what remains from their property should be returned to them.
      [* ]Abu Haneefah said they are held accountable. As for their captives and wounded – they are not killed.
    • The most correct position is based on what the Sahaabah did in their battles. They did not follow those that fled and they did not finish off (kill) the wounded and they did not kill the captives. No compensation was requested from them for the things that were destroyed during that time. Ibn ‘Umar said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Oh ‘Abdullaah, do you know Allaah’s regulations concerning these people who transgress?” He said, “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” He صلى الله عليه و سلم said “You should not finish off those that are wounded, and the captives should not be executed, and those fleeing the battlefield should not be followed.”[4] Al-Haakim reported similar to this from Ibn Mas’ud and similar to this has been narrated from Ibn Abbaas.
    • As for what remains from their wealth then is returned to them in and of itself.
  12. [not translated – due to a break in transmission]
  13. We should not attribute to the Companions any absolute mistakes because they are considered to be from those who have done ijtihaad i.e. exerting themselves in trying to achieve Allaah’s Pleasure. We have been commanded to keep away from discussing these things due to the sanctity of the Sahaabah because of their being Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. We have also been prevented by Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم from verbally abusing them; and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has forgiven them and informed of His being pleased with them.
  14. When Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that “The believers are nothing else than brothers” this refers to brotherhood in the Deen (Religion) and not blood relations. When Qurtobi رحمه الله deals with this he says: “The religious brotherhood is stronger and more well-established than blood relations.” This is because the relationship of blood is cut off when opposition is shown to the Deen, but brotherhood in the Deen is not cut off with disagreements of lineage. It is narrated in the Sahihayn, from Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “You should not show mutual envy amongst yourself. You should not show mutual hate amongst yourself. You should not spy on one another. You should not probe in this way amongst one another. You should be as brothers in Islaam.”[5]
  15. When Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that “The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers.” this is an indication that in spite of this transgression, the quality of eemaan (belief) is not at all taken away from these individuals. They remain Muslims as this transgression does not take them out of the brotherhood of Islaam. Al-Haarith al-A’awar said that he questioned ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib about the people who participated in the Battle of the Camel in Siffeen. He asked: “Are they Mushrikeen (polytheists)?” He said: “No, it was from shirk that these people were fleeing.” He asked: “Are they Munaafiqeen (hypocrites)?” He said: “No, because the Munaafiq do not remember Allaah except a little.” He asked: “Then what is their condition?” He said: “They are our brothers who have transgressed against us.” In this particular ayah is a confirmation concerning the brotherhood in Islaam, and that peace should be made between those who are presented with this type of oppression from amongst the Muslims.
This concludes this section of the Tafseer. The next section deals with the mannerisms in dealing with the Believers themselves. This is the third topic that we would be dealing with Inshaa Allaah.

Aayaat 11-13

The Shaykh حفظه الله then read the aayaat to be covered during the lesson. They are aayaat 11-13. They deal with the mannerisms between the Muslims.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَومٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَى أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْراً مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاء مِّن نِّسَاء عَسَى أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْراً مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الاِسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ {11}يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيراً مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضاً أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتاً فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ {12} يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ {13}ـ

[49:11] O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it to insult one's brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: "O sinner", or "O wicked"]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zâlimûn (wrong doers).

[49:12] O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
[49:13] O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwâ [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqûn (the pious. See V.2:2)]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, Well-Acquainted (with all things).

Explanation of the Aayaat

Linguistic Meanings of words used in the aayaat
  • لا يَسْخَرْ– Do not make fun of, or belittle or find fault with. This may be done by statement, action or by indicating with signals and signs.
  • قَومٌ qawm refers to the men due to the position that men have by being in authority over the women, but it does not exclude the women. Although this is something that occurs frequently with the men, the women are not excluded from this.
  • وَلا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ – Do not criticize or dishonour one another. Finding fault is defamation and alerting to their defects by statement, or indicating by the hand or the eye, or other than this should not be done.
  • اجْتَنِبُوا – refers to you making yourself distant and preventing yourself from it i.e. to avoid it. You place that thing on one side and yourself on another side.
  • كَثِيراً مِّنَ الظَّنِّ– ظن (dhann - suspicion) is a middle boundary between certain knowledge (علم يقين) and doubt (شك) or delusion (وهم). It is what suddenly comes to mind as a result of doubts or incitement – either strong or weak persuasion. Sometimes dhann is more present than at other times. If you have the same level of knowledge and uncertainty i.e. they are equal, then a person is in a state of doubt – otherwise it is considered conjecture. Some forms of (dhann are compulsory to be complied with, for example in matters of Akhaam (Regulations), and حسن الظن i.e. a good opinion of Allaah. Some forms are haraam (prohibited) for example doubting about the divinity of Allaah and the Prophethood and when you encounter incorrect evidences, and bad opinions about the Believers. Some of it is mubaah (permissible) like doubt concerning matters of livelihood.
  • إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ – Some suspicion is a sin. What is intended is that it actually requires a penalty. This is like the bad opinion that the people may have of those who are upright and have good character etc. Here Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that this is something that is sinful in order to give the reason why it should be avoided.
  • وَلا تَجَسَّسُوا– Do not spy on one another. What this means is that you should not try to find fault and defects in the character of your brother.
  • وَلا يَغْتَب – Do not backbite one another. Backbiting is to mention your brother in his absence in a way that he dislikes.
  • أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتاً – This is a similitude that is being made of the evil of the sin of one who involves himself in backbiting. His act has been described as eating the flesh of his dead brother.
  • فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ– You would certainly hate it. In the same way that you would dislike eating the flesh of your brother whether he is alive or dead, so too you should dislike backbiting.
  • وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ– Be aware of the evil consequences that would cause Allaah’s punishment.
  • إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ – This is an encouragement for those who do this to turn to Allaah in repentance because surely Allaah accepts repentance due to the abundance of Mercy that He has, such that He has made an outlet for each sin that an individual commits.
  • مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى – This means from Aadam and Hawaa عليهما السلام or from a father and a mother and all of this is the same. The people are created from one foundation so there should be no cause to boast amongst one another regarding lineage since the origin is one.
  • شُعُوباً – This is the plural of شعب (sha’b) and they are a group of people belonging to a specific country or from one origin i.e. a nation. They form a tribe but are more general that it (like citizens).
  • وَقَبَائِلَ Qabaail is the plural of Qabeelah - tribe. The number of classes with the Arabs is seven. Using ibn Khuzaymah as an example, the categories are:
    1. Sha’ab شعب - Khuzaymah
    2. Qabeelah قبيلة - Kinaanah
    3. Imaarah عمارة - Quraysh
    4. Battn بطن - Khusayyun
    5. Fakhid فخذ - Abd Munaaf
    6. Faseelah فصيلة - Haashim
    7. ‘Asheerah عشيرة - ‘Abbas
    Therefore there is no basis for the mutual boasting regarding one’s lineage.
  • لِتَعَارَفُوا – This means so that some of them would ‘know the others’, and they should not to boast about their fathers or tribe. So do not boast about the superiority of lineage but indeed glory/honour is with having taqwaa.
  • إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ – Taqwaa is that you do what has been commanded and avoid all that has been prohibited.
  • إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ– Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is aware of all the things you do openly and in private.

1. Question: What is the difference between the Bhugaat and the Khawaarij?
Answer: The difference is that the Bhugaat (those who form groups of large numbers and rebel against the Governments) have wrong interpretations (ta’weel) whereas the Khawaarij do not have ta’weel. They generally pass the judgment of takfeer (pronouncing that someone is a Disbeliever) on one who commits a sin e.g. committing adultery, fornication or stealing. They are considered apostates by the Khawaarij. This is essentially the difference between the Bhugaat and the Khawaarij – the Bhugaat have ta’weel i.e. misinterpretations, whereas the Khawaarij do not.

2. Question: What is the principle regarding obedience to the Amīr (Director, Head) of an organization, and is it permissible to say ‘Amīr of the Organization’ or is it (the term Amīr) only for the Amīr al-Mu’mineen (Leader of the Muslims)?
Answer: Concerning the word Amīr, it is jargon that is used in different ways. For example, if three or four or ten (individuals) travel then no doubt one of them must be selected as an Amīr etc. However, with respect to obedience, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the Creator.”[7] The principle is that there is no obedience to one who orders with disobedience. Obedience is due to him only in respect to that which is correct.

3. Question: [not translated – due to a break in transmission]
Answer: [not translated – due to a break in transmission]

4. Question: [not translated – due to a break in transmission]
Answer: Regarding the laqab in Arabic it has a specific meaning – it may give you a sense of praise or a sense of blame. If it gives a sense of praise then it is not something that is sinful, but if it something that criticizes and finds fault then this is a blameworthy characteristic and the person who does it is considered sinful and is included in the warning found in this particular ayah.

5. Question: What is your advice to those who think badly of their brothers?
Answer: It is known that the principle concerning our Muslim brothers is that we are just, so from that, it is not permissible for an individual to have suspicion about his brother. Yes, if there are signs, clear signs indicating that is so, then there is no objection. However, if there are no clear signs indicating this, then it is not permissible for the person to have suspicion about his brother, for if this occurs he is sinful and included in the ayah “indeed some suspicion is sin

References and Notes

[1] The compilers of the Six Books are: al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Abu Daawuud, an-Nasaa’ee, at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah.

[2] Reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Kitaab al-Adab (#5697), Kitaab al-Fitan (#6665) and others from Ahmad and the compilers of the Six Books.
سباب المسلم فسوق، وقتاله كفر

[3] Reported in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Fitan wa Ashraat as-Sa’ah (#2916) from Umm Salamahرضي الله عنها 
تقتل عمارا الفئة الباغية
[4] Reference Pending
[5] Found with the following wording in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Kitaab al-Adab (#5717, #5719) and with a similar wording in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Birr was-Silah wal-Aadaab (#2563).
إياكم والظن، فإن الظن أكذب الحديث، ولا تحسسوا، ولا تجسسوا، ولا تحاسدوا، ولا تدابروا، ولا تباغضوا، وكونوا عباد الله إخواناً
[6] Reported in the notes to al-Muwatta of Imaam Maalik narrated by Imaam Muhammad ibn Hasan, Chapters of Siyar, Chapter of Tafseer (#1002).
فيه دليل على أن البغي لا يُزيل اسم الإِيمان، ويدلُّ عليه مل رُوي عن علي أنه سئل وهو القدوة في قتال أهل البغي عن أهل الجمل وصِفّين أهم مشركون؟ قال: من الشرك فرّوا، فقيل: منافقون؟ فقال: لا، لأن المنافقين لا يذكرون اللّه إلاَّ قليلاً، قيل: فما حالهم؟ قال: إخوانُنا بَغوْا علينا
[7] Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله says Saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami’ (#7520). Reported in Musnad Imaam Ahmad (#1095, #3889) and as part of longer aahaadeeth (#20672, #20675).
لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق