A Subtle Point in Surah al-Nisaa’: Tafsir al-Shawkani

In the middle of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah describes a number of the deeds meriting punishment, the qualities of those who call to and partake in these deeds and their ultimate destination [4:115-121] before describing the people of al-Jannah and their qualities and then mentioning:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّـهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّـهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا

And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend. [4:125]

Allah then follows that ayah up immediately by seeming to turn to a new subject:

وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّحِيطًا

And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And ever is Allah, of all things, encompassing. [4:126]

Before then turning to yet another subject in the very next ayah, beginning with:

وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِي النِّسَاءِ

And they ask you [O Muhammad] for a legal verdict regarding the women … [4:127]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani points out a subtle connection between ayahs 125 and 126 in his tafsir where he wrote:

ولله ما في السماوات وما في الأرض فيه إشارة إلى أنه سبحانه اتخذ إبراهيم خليلا لطاعته لا لحاجته ولا للتكثر به والاعتضاد بمخاللته وكان الله بكل شيء محيطا هذه الجملة مقررة لمعنى الجملة التي قبلها ؛ أي : أحاط علمه بكل شيء لا يغادر صغيرة ولا كبيرة إلا أحصاها [ الكهف : 49 ] ـ

وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ

And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.

This indicates that Allah took Ibrahim as a close friend due to his obedience, not due to any need of him or to increase His ranks or gain any support from his friendship.

وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّحِيطًا

And ever is Allah, of all things, encompassing.

This statements further affirms the meaning of the preceding passage, i.e. that His knowledge encompasses everything.

لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا

it leaves out nothing big or small without enumerating it [18:49]

[Fath al-Qadeer pg 332]

See also: Munasabat Article Index

See also: An Encouragement to Those Who Rush Towards Good: Tafsir al-Shawkani

See also: Three Central Themes of the Qur’an: al-Shawkaani

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