“Reconciliation is better”: Imam al-Sa’di’s tafsir of 4:128

Allah, سبحانه وتعالى , says in His Book

وَإِنِ امْرَ‌أَةٌ خَافَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَ‌اضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَن يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا ۚ وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ‌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَ‌تِ الْأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ ۚ وَإِن تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرً‌ا

“And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both if they make make terms of settlement between them; and reconciliation is better. And human inner-selves are swayed by shuhh (miserliness, covetousness, greediness). But if you do good and have taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.” [4:128]

Imam al-Sa’di writes in his tafsir:

أي‏:‏ إذا خافت المرأة نشوز زوجها أي‏:‏ ترفعه عنها وعدم رغبته فيها وإعراضه عنها، فالأحسن في هذه الحالة أن يصلحا بينهما صلحا بأن تسمح المرأة عن بعض حقوقها اللازمة لزوجها على وجه تبقى مع زوجها، إما أن ترضى بأقل من الواجب لها من النفقة أو الكسوة أو المسكن، أو القسم بأن تسقط حقها منه، أو تهب يومها وليلتها لزوجها أو لضرتها‏.‏

When a wife fears cruelty from here husband – meaning he elevates himself in respect to her, and has no desire towards her and is shunning or avoiding her – then the best thing in this situation is for them to come to a mutual understanding by which the wife remits some of her necessary rights to her husband in order to remain with her husband; either to be satisfied with less than what is incumbent for her of provision or clothes or housing, or decide which of her rights to drop from his responsibility, or to give her night and day to her husband or to her co-wife. [such as when the Mother of the Believers Sawdah bint Zama’ feared that the Prophet wanted to divorce her, so she proposed to the Prophet that he remain married to her and her day could be given to ‘Aaishah, and he accepted that.]

فإذا اتفقا على هذه الحالة فلا جناح ولا بأس عليهما فيها، لا عليها ولا على الزوج، فيجوز حينئذ لزوجها البقاء معها على هذه الحال، وهي خير من الفرقة، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ‏}‏

And if the two of them agree on such a situation, then there is no sin or harm upon them for that, neither for her nor for the husband, for this is permitted for her husband to remain with her in this situation. And this better than separation. And this what He said, “and reconciliation is better“.

ويؤخذ من عموم هذا اللفظ والمعنى أن الصلح بين مَن بينهما حق أو منازعة في جميع الأشياء أنه خير من استقصاء كل منهما على كل حقه، لما فيها من الإصلاح وبقاء الألفة والاتصاف بصفة السماح‏.‏

And from the general nature of this wording [i.e., “and reconciliation is better“] we can derive the meaning that reaching a settlement for two people between whom there is a dispute or a right in question, that in all things this is better than investigating and inquiring into each of them about every right. Because in that there is rectification and maintaining harmony and a peaceful settlement or compromise.

وهو جائز في جميع الأشياء إلا إذا أحلّ حراما أو حرّم حلالا، فإنه لا يكون صلحا وإنما يكون جورا‏.‏

And this is permitted in all things, except if it involves considering the haraam to be halaal or considering the halaal to be haraam. For certainly there is no rectification in that; that is nothing but deviation.

واعلم أن كل حكم من الأحكام لا يتم ولا يكمل إلا بوجود مقتضيه وانتفاء موانعه، فمن ذلك هذا الحكم الكبير الذي هو الصلح، فذكر تعالى المقتضي لذلك ونبه على أنه خير، والخير كل عاقل يطلبه ويرغب فيه، فإن كان ـ مع ذلك ـ قد أمر الله به وحثّ عليه ازداد المؤمن طلبا له ورغبة فيه‏.‏

And know that no ruling is completed or perfected except with the presence of its prerequisites and the absence of its contradictions. And from that there is a great ruling which is reconciliation. So Allah mentions the necessity for that and informed us that it is good – and every person of sound intellect seeks and desires the good. So – along with that – Allah has commanded it and urged the believer to increase in seeking it and desiring it.

وذكر المانع بقوله‏:‏ ‏(‏وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنْفُسُ الشُّحّ‏) أي‏:‏ جبلت النفوس على الشح، وهو‏:‏ عدم الرغبة في بذل ما على الإنسان، والحرص على الحق الذي له، فالنفوس مجبولة على ذلك طبعا، أي‏:‏ فينبغي لكم أن تحرصوا على قلع هذا الخُلُق الدنيء من نفوسكم، وتستبدلوا به ضده وهو السماحة، وهو بذل الحق الذي عليك؛ والاقتناع ببعض الحق الذي لك‏.‏

And He mentioned an obstacle with His saying, “And human inner-selves are swayed by shuhh (miserliness, covetousness, greediness)” – meaning that the innate nature of the inner-selves is towards shuhh, and that is unwillingness to give generously to people, and keenness for to claim your rights from others. And that is the inherent nature of the inner-selves – so you should be keen to uproot this vile characteristic from your selves, and replace it with its opposite, and that is al-samaaha (easy-going nature, tolerance, leniency, generosity), and that is generously giving the rights which are incumbent on you, and satisfaction with (even only) some of of the rights which are yours.

فمتى وفق الإنسان لهذا الخُلُق الحسن سهل حينئذ عليه الصلح بينه وبين خصمه ومعامله، وتسهلت الطريق للوصول إلى المطلوب‏.‏ بخلاف من لم يجتهد في إزالة الشح من نفسه، فإنه يعسر عليه الصلح والموافقة، لأنه لا يرضيه إلا جميع ماله، ولا يرضى أن يؤدي ما عليه، فإن كان خصمه مثله اشتد الأمر‏.‏

And when the person achieves this good character, this makes reconciliation easy between him and his disputant, and it will ease the path to attaining his goals. This is in contrast to he who does not strive to remove shuhh from himself, for certainly shuhh makes reconciliation and reaching an agreement difficult, because he will be pleased except if he gets all the money, and he will not be satisfied to do that himself, so then what if his opponent is similar to him in being firm on the matter?!

ثم قال‏:‏ ‏(‏وَإِنْ تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا‏)‏ أي‏:‏ تحسنوا في عبادة الخالق بأن يعبد العبد ربه كأنه يراه فإن لم يكن يراه فإنه يراه، وتحسنوا إلى المخلوقين بجميع طرق الإحسان، من نفع بمال، أو علم، أو جاه، أو غير ذلك‏.‏ ‏{‏وَتَتَّقُوا‏}‏ الله بفعل جميع المأمورات، وترك جميع المحظورات‏.‏ أو تحسنوا بفعل المأمور، وتتقوا بترك المحظور ‏{‏فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا‏}‏ قد أحاط به علما وخبرا، بظاهره وباطنه، فيحفظه لكم، ويجازيكم عليه أتم الجزاء‏.‏

Then Allah said, “But if you do good and have taqwa” – meaning that you do good in you worship of the Creator such that the slave worships his Lord as if he can see Him, and if he can’t see Him, then (the slave remembers that) He sees him. And to treat the creation well via every route of good, whether that be benefiting them financially or with knowledge or prestige or otherwise. “And have taqwa of Allah by performing all of the commands, and abandoning all of the prohibitions. Or, “do good” by performing the commands, and “have taqwa” by abandoning the prohibitions. “For verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do” – His knowledge and insight have encompassed what you do, both what is done openly and what is done secretly, and He is keeping a preserved record of your deeds for you, and He recompenses you for them with the most perfect reward.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

Please see “Reconciliation is Better”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 4:128 for more beneficial points to be draw from this important ayah, baarak Allaahu feekum

See also: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.6 – Settlement: Imam al-Sa’di


One thought on ““Reconciliation is better”: Imam al-Sa’di’s tafsir of 4:128

  1. Pingback: “Reconciliation is better”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 4:128 | Tulayhah

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