أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray.
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(Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee and that whichwas revealed before thee, how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities when theyhave been ordered to abjure them?) [4:60]. Sa'id ibn Muhammad al-'Adl informed us> Abu 'Amr ibnHamdan> al-Hasan ibn Sufyan> Ibrahim ibn Sa'd al-Jawhari> Abu'l-Yaman> Safwan ibn 'Amr>> 'Ikrimah>Ibn 'Abbas who said: “Abu Burdah al-Aslami was a soothsayer who used to settle the disputes that the Jewshad amongst themselves. When a group of people from Aslam took their dispute to him, Allah, exalted is He,revealed (Hast thou not seen those who pretend…) up to his saying (… were seeking naught but harmonyand kindness) [4:62]”. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim> Abu Salih Shu'ayb ibn Muhammad> Abu Hatimal-Tamimi> Abu'l-Azhar> Ruwaym> Sa'id ibn Qatadah who said: “We were told that this verse was revealedabout a dispute regarding a certain property in which were involved a man from the Helpers called Qays anda Jewish man. They took their dispute to a soothsayer in Medina to judge between them while leaving theProphet of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Allah, exalted is He, rebuked them for doing so. In factthe Jew was urging the Muslim to take their dispute to the Prophet of Allah, because he knew he will notwrong him. But the Helper refused to, even though he was a Muslim, and insisted to go to the soothsayer.And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse censoring the person who was pretending to be Muslim aswell as the Jew who belonged to the people of the Book, saying (Hast thou not seen those who pretend thatthey believe in that which is revealed unto thee…) up to His words (… thou seest the hypocrites turn fromthee with aversion) [4:61]”. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Marwazi informed us in writing> Muhammad ibnal-Husayn> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Ishaq al-Hanzali> al-Mu'ammil> Yazid ibn Zuray'> Dawud> al-Sha'biwho said: “One certain hypocrite had a dispute with a Jewish man. The Jew invited the hypocrite to taketheir dispute to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, because he knew that he did not acceptbribery. The hypocrite, on the other hand, called the Jewish man to take their dispute to their own arbitersbecause he knew that they took bribery for the judgments they issued. When they both rejected eachother's choice, they made a compromise and decided to take their dispute to a soothsayer in Juhaynah. Andso Allah, exalted is He, revealed about this (Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in thatwhich is revealed unto thee) referring to the hypocrite (and that which was revealed before thee) inreference to the Jew (how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities) up to his saying(… and submit with full submission) [4:65]”. Al-Kalbi reported from Abu Salih that Ibn 'Abbas reported thatthis verse was revealed about a hypocrite who had a dispute with a Jewish man. The Jew said to him: “Letus go to Muhammad [to settle our dispute]”. The hypocrite said: “Rather, let us go to Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf(whom Allah described as a false deity) to settle our dispute”. The Jew insisted that their dispute should besettled by the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. When the hypocrite saw hisinsistence, he went with him to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and hisjudgement was in favour of the Jew. When they left, the hypocrite stuck to the Jew and said to him: “Let usgo to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab”, and they went to him. The Jew said to him: “I and this man took our dispute toMuhammad and his judgement was in my favour, but this man is not happy with his judgement and claimedthat he wants you to judge between us. And since he did not let me go, I came with him”. 'Umar said to thehypocrite: “Is this the case?” “Yes!” replied the hypocrite. 'Umar said: “Wait for me a moment until I comeback”. 'Umar then entered his house, got his sword went back to the hypocrite and killed him. He said: “Thisis how I judge for he who does not accept Allah's judgement and the judgement of His Messenger”. The Jewran away. This verse was then revealed. Gabriel, peace be upon him, said: “'Umar has differentiatedbetween the truth and falsehood”, and so he was named al-Faruq [the distinguisher]. Said al-Suddi: “SomeJewish people had embraced Islam while others were mere hypocrites. In the pre-Islamic period the custombetween the clans of Qurayzah and al-Nadir was that if a man from Banu Qurayzah killed another fromBanu'l-Nadir, the killer was killed in retaliation and a hundred wasq [pl. Awsuq; one wasq = 60 sa'] of dateswere paid in surplus as blood money. But when a man from Banu'l-Nadir killed another from Banu Qurayzah,the killer was not killed in retaliation and only sixty wasq of dates were paid as blood money. Banu'l-Nadirwere the allies of the Aws. They were larger and their pedigree nobler than that of Banu Qurayzah who werethe allies of the Khazraj. Then it happened that a man from the Banu'l-Nadir killed another from BanuQurayzah and a dispute ensued because of this. Banu'l-Nadir said: 'We had an agreement in the pre-Islamicperiod that retaliation is exacted from you but not from us and that your blood money is sixty wasq whilethe blood money due to us is one hundred wasq. And so we will give you your due'. The Khazraj said: 'Thisis something you did in the pre-Islamic period because you were greater in number and we were few.Today, we are brothers and our religion is the same as yours. You do not have any merit over us'. Thehypocrites said: ''Let us go to Abu Burdah al-Aslami, the soothsayer, to judge between us. The Muslims said:'No, but rather let us go to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace'. The hypocrites refused andwent instead to Abu Burdah to judge between them. Abu Burdah said to them: 'Increase the bribe!' Theysaid: 'We will give you ten awsuq!' He said: 'I will take a hundred as my blood money, for I fear if I judge infavour of the man from Banu'l-Nadir, Banu Qurayzah will kill me; and if I judge in favour of the man fromBanu Qurayzah, Banu'l-Nadir will kill me'. When they refused to give him more than ten awsuq, he refusedto judge between them. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse and the Prophet, Allah bless him andgive him peace, called the soothsayer of Aslam to embrace Islam. He refused to do so and left. The Prophet,Allah bless him and give him peace, said to the two sons of the soothsayer: 'Go after your father, for if hegoes beyond such-and-such limit he will never accept Islam'. They caught up with him and kept persuadinghim until he went back and embraced Islam. The Prophet, Allah, bless him and give him peace, commandeda crier to go round and cry: 'The soothsayer of Aslam has embraced Islam' ”.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواْ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُواْ إِلَى الطَّـغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُواْ أَن يَكْفُرُواْ بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَـلاً بَعِيداً - وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْاْ إِلَى مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ رَأَيْتَ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَنكَ صُدُوداً - فَكَيْفَ إِذَآ أَصَـبَتْهُمْ مُّصِيبَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ جَآءُوكَ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلاَّ إِحْسَاناً وَتَوْفِيقاً - أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ مَا فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَعِظْهُمْ وَقُل لَّهُمْ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ قَوْلاً بَلِيغاً
(60. Have you not seen those (hyprocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgment (in their disputes) to the Taghut while they have been ordered to reject them. But Shaytan wishes to lead them far astray. )
(61. And when it is said to them: "Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger,'' you see the hypocrites turn away from you with aversion.)
(62. How then, when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth, they come to you swearing by Allah, "We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation!'')
(63. They (hypocrites) are those of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts; so turn aside from them (do not punish them) but admonish them, and speak to them an effective word to reach their inner selves.)
Allah chastises those who claim to believe in what Allah has sent down to His Messenger and to the earlier Prophets, yet they refer to other than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger for judgment in various disputes. It was reported that the reason behind revealing this Ayah was that a man from the Ansar and a Jew had a dispute, and the Jew said, "Let us refer to Muhammad to judge between us.'' However, the Muslim man said, "Let us refer to Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf (a Jew) to judge between us.'' It was also reported that the Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who pretended to be Muslims, yet they sought to refer to the judgment of Jahiliyyah. Other reasons were also reported behind the revelation of the Ayah. However, the Ayah has a general meaning, as it chastises all those who refrain from referring to the Qur'an and Sunnah for judgment and prefer the judgment of whatever they chose of falsehood, which befits the description of Taghut here. This is why Allah said,
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُواْ إِلَى الطَّـغُوتِ
(and they wish to go for judgment to the Taghut) until the end of the Ayah. Allah's statement,
يَصُدُّونَ عَنكَ صُدُوداً
(turn away from you with aversion) means, they turn away from you in arrogance, just as Allah described the polytheists,
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُواْ مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ ءَابَآءَنَا
(When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah has sent down.'' They say: "Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.'') This is different from the conduct of the faithful believers, whom Allah describes as,
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُواْ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا
(The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey.'')
Chastising the hypocrites, Allah said,
فَكَيْفَ إِذَآ أَصَـبَتْهُمْ مُّصِيبَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ
(How then, when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth,) meaning, how about it if they feel compelled to join you because of disasters that they suffer due to their sins, then they will be in need of you.
ثُمَّ جَآءُوكَ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلاَّ إِحْسَاناً وَتَوْفِيقاً
(They come to you swearing by Allah, "We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation!'') apologizing and swearing that they only sought goodwill and reconciliation when they referred to other than the Prophet for judgment, not that they believe in such alternative judgment, as they claim. Allah describes these people to us further in His statement,
فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يُسَـرِعُونَ فِيهِمْ يَقُولُونَ نَخْشَى
(And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease (of hypocrisy), they hurry to their friendship, saying: "We fear''), until,
فَيُصْبِحُواْ عَلَى مَآ أَسَرُّواْ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ نَـدِمِينَ
(Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves). At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Barzah Al-Aslami used to be a soothsayer who judged between the Jews in their disputes. When some Muslims came to him to judge between them, Allah sent down,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواْ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ
(Have you not seen those (hyprocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you), until,
إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلاَّ إِحْسَاناً وَتَوْفِيقاً
("We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation!'') Allah then said,
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ مَا فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ
(They (hypocrites) are those of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts;) These people are hypocrites, and Allah knows what is in their hearts and will punish them accordingly, for nothing escapes Allah's watch. Consequently, O Muhammad! Let Allah be sufficient for you in this regard, because He has perfect knowledge of their apparent and hidden affairs. This is why Allah said,
(so turn aside from them (do not punish them)) meaning, do not punish them because of what is in their hearts.
(but admonish them) means, advise them against the hypocrisy and evil that reside in their hearts,
وَقُل لَّهُمْ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ قَوْلاً بَلِيغاً
(and speak to them an effective word to reach their inner selves) advise them, between you and them, using effective words that might benefit them.