Surah: 004 An-Nisa
Surah An-Nisa is a Madni surah and it is thus named as many of the orders revealed in this surah are in the interests of womenfolk. This surah is significant from the view of Islamic jurisprudence, particularly with regard to aspects of civil law. Its emphasis is on justice, whether for the individual or at the community level, and the basis of that harmony is obedience to Allaah (SWT) and His Messenger ﷺ.
The rights of orphans have been elaborated and instructions given to ensure they are treated with justice and love under the care of their guardians. This surah restricted the number of wives to four that a man can be married at one time, else there was no limit prior to such a revelation. Consequently, many Muslims had to divorce their wives if they were married to more than four women. More laws relating to marriage, especially to protect the honor and rights of women, were revealed.
Inheritance laws have been detailed extensively in this surah, and it forms a major part of Islamic fiqh to ensure equitable distribution and flow of wealth in the society. The role of men and women have been distinguished, wherein the former has been responsible for the latter. In order to settle any disputes, the believers must always turn to those in authority and seek the judgment offered by Islam. Obeying the Prophet ﷺ is equivalent to obeying Allaah(SWT), and the two cannot be separated.
Punishment for the crime of murder, depending on the situation, is elaborated in the middle of this surah, deeming it a major sin. Fighting to establish justice in the land and to save the oppressed was enjoined upon the believers. Even in times of war, salah is not excused and the procedure of praying during times of fear have been explained. It is made clear that Allaah (SWT) will not forgive any association with Him, unless one repent from it.
The Hypocrites, who are opportunists and seek benefit with the favored party always, will face the most severe punishment in the Hell FIre.
The People of the Book demanded miracles from the Prophet ﷺ, but Allaah (SWT) informs him that they demanded greater from Musa (AS), by asking to see Allaah (SWT) with their own eyes. Further, it is clarified that Isa (AS) was neither killed nor crucified, but the People of the Book were deluded regarding him, and Allaah (SWT) raised him up alive. Allaah (SWT) refutes the concept of Trinity in Christianity, reminding that Isa (AS) was a faithful servant and prophet from Him.Mentioning a number of past prophets, Allaah (SWT) tells the Prophet ﷺ that he has been sent as a successor to them, and received revelation just as they did, such as the Zaboor to Dawud (AS).
The surah concludes with another case study of inheritance, thus signifying the importance of this body of knowledge by sealing the conversation with it.