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Sura 4
Aya 1

Chapter 4

Women
al-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

Yusuf Ali: In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

1
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

Yusuf Ali

O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person,1 created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence God, through whom2 ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs3 (That bore you): for God ever watches over you.
  • Nafs may mean: (1) soul; (2) self; (3) person, living person; (4) will, good pleasure, as in 4:4 below. Minha; I follow the construction suggested by Imām Razi. The particle min would then suggest here not a portion or a source of something else, but a species, a nature, a similarity. The pronoun Ha refers of course to Nafs (Cf. 7:189). (R).
  • All our mutual rights and duties are referred to God. We are His creatures: His Will is the standard and measure of Good; and our duties are measured by our conformity with His Will. “Our wills are ours, to make them Thine,” says Tennyson (In Memoriam). Among ourselves (human beings) our mutual rights and dudes arise out of God’s Law, the sense of Right that is implanted in us by Him.
  • Among the most wonderful mysteries of our nature is that of sex. The unregenerate male is apt, in the pride of his physical strength, to forget the allimportant part which the female plays in his very existence, and in all the social relationships that arise in our collective human lives. The mother that bore us must ever have our reverence. The wife, through whom we enter parentage, must have our reverence. Sex, which governs so much our physical life, and has so much influence on our emotional and higher nature, deserves-not our fear, or our contempt, or our amused indulgence, but-our reverence in the highest sense of the term (Cf. 30:21). With this fitting introduction we enter on a discussion of women, orphans, and family relationships.