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Sura 4
Aya 1

Chapter 4

Womenal-Nisāʾ ( النساء )

176 verses • revealed at Medinan

»The surah that enshrines the spiritual-, property-, lineage-, and marriage-rights and obligations of Women. It makes frequent reference to matters concerning women (nisāʾ), hence its name. The surah gives a number of instructions, urging justice to children and orphans, and mentioning inheritance and marriage laws. In the first and last verses of the surah, it gives rulings on property and inheritance. The surah also talks of the tensions between the Muslim community in Medina and some of the People of the Book (verse 44 and verse 61), moving into a general discussion of war: it warns the Muslims to be cautious and to defend the weak and helpless (verse 71 ff.). Another similar theme is the intrigues of the hypocrites (verse 88 ff. and verse 138 ff.).«

The surah is also known as: The Woman.

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ

Ahmed Ali: In the name of Allah, most benevolent, ever-merciful.

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يا أَيُّهَا النّاسُ اتَّقوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذي خَلَقَكُم مِن نَفسٍ واحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنها زَوجَها وَبَثَّ مِنهُما رِجالًا كَثيرًا وَنِساءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذي تَساءَلونَ بِهِ وَالأَرحامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ عَلَيكُم رَقيبًا

Ahmed Ali

O MEN, FEAR your Lord who created you from a single cell,1 and from it created its mate, and from the two of them dispersed men and women (male and female) in multitudes. So fear God in whose name you ask of one another (the bond of) relationships.2 God surely keeps watch over you.
  • This should be views in the light of God’s throne being in the beginning “on the waters,” 11:7, where ‘throne’ stands for authority, control, being the symbol of sovereign power, and affirmations that “all living things were created from water,” 21:30, 24:45, including man, 25:54; that man was created from tin, loam or clay, 32:7, then from nutfah, that is semen or sperm, 16:4 etc. Biologically, the earliest form of life was the amoeba, a unicellular animal found in water; and all living organism consist of cells. “We create you from a single cell (which is what the sperm is), and from it (note use of neuter gender) created its mate; and from the two dispersed men and women (male and female) in multitudes.” Since nafs means more than one hundred things, including essence, substance, vital principle, blood etc., it has enough amplitude to include ‘cell’ among its meanings, the concept of ‘cell’ being unknown to ancient etymologists to be identified by them, but has been made clear by modern science. One of the many functions of cells is to produce hormones which govern every aspect of human experience. A cell is a complete unit, in itself a nafs. The cellular origin of sexes also gives absolute equality to women, which is emphasised through the Qur’an. At the same time, the arham or bond of relationships, and the symbiosis implied in the verse, become more significant when we consider the scientific fact that “the most spectacular symbionts of all are mitochondria in all our cells, direct descendants of ancient bacteria…” (Dr. Lewis Thomas: The Way the World Works: Readers Digest, Nov. 1983). These bacteria are present in the tin being man’s essential quality and nature. Verse 25:54 has special significance in this context as it contains a clear indication of the genetic element, discuses in note to verse 25:54. See also notes to verse 71:17 and 76:2 which are connected with this subject.
  • Literally, ahram, pl. of rahm, the womb, primordial symbol of the Mother, vessel of human reproduction, goddess of early men, under whose feet lies Paradise. Hence the metaphorical meaning og relationship. See also note to verse 25:54.