Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verses 46-47
Adopted from the book: "The Light of the Holy Qur'an - Interpretation of Sura an-Nur" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani & a Group of Muslim Scholars"
46. "Verily We have sent down revelations explanatory, and Allah guides whom He pleases unto a straight way."
47. "And they say: 'We believe in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey'. Then, after that, some of them turn away, these are not (really) believers."
Occasion of Revelation
Commentators have mentioned 2 occasions of revelation for a part of these verses:
First: One of the hypocrites had some quarrel with one Jewish man. That Jewish man asked that apparently-Muslim hypocrite to go together to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to have their quarrel settled down, but the hypocrite did not accept it and asked the Jewish man for going to Ka'b Ibn Ashraf YaHudi (a Jewish man) for issuing judgment. (Even according to some narrations, the hypocrite said it was possible that Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) might not judge between them justly.) The above verses were sent down and reprimanded such persons very severely.
Second: An argument happened between Imam Ali (a.s.) and Othman, (or according to a narration, between that Imam and Muqayrat-Ibn Wa'il). And it was for a land that he had bought from Imam Ali (a.s.) and then some stones were found in it and the buyer wanted to cancel the bargain because of it.
Imam Ali (a.s.) asked for the judgment of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) between them, but Hakam Ibn Abee Abil-'As, one of the hypocrites, said to the buyer not to do that for if he went to Ali's cousin, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), he would certainly judge between them in favour of him. The above verse was descended and rebuked him. 96
Since the words in previous verses were about belief in Allah, the reasons of monotheism, and His signs in the world of creation, the concerned verses talk about the signs of faith, reflections of monotheism in man's life and his yielding to the Truth. First it says:
"Verily We have sent down revelations explanatory,..."
These are some verses that lighten the hearts by the light of faith and Unity. Of course, the existence of these 'explanatory revelations' paves the ground for faith, but the main role is played by Divine guidance, because:
"... and Allah guides whom He pleases unto a straight way."
We know that Allah's will and providence is not undue, and the light of guidance is cast on those hearts that are receptive for accepting it; that is, they have started spiritual struggle and taken steps towards Him.
Then hypocrites, who have no faith and only speak about faith and faith cannot be cast on their hearts, are reprimanded. The verse proclaims:
"And they say: 'We believe in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey'. Then, after that, some of them turn away, these are not (really) believers."
What kind of faith is it that it is only uttered by their tongue and it is not manifested in other fields of their deeds?
It is understood from this verse that if a person's faith remains only at the level of tongue and he does not really believe in Allah, he is not a believer, for if he were a believer his faith would not be rejected in this verse.
96. Majma'-ul-Bayan, Ruh-ul-Bayan, Tibyan, QurtAbi, Fakhr-i-Razi, Safi, Nur-uth-Thaqalyn
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