English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 4: Al-Nisa — Women (Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections, 176 verses)

Section 7 (Verses 4:43–4:50): Purification of the Soul



یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَقۡرَبُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ سُکٰرٰی حَتّٰی تَعۡلَمُوۡا مَا تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَ لَا جُنُبًا اِلَّا عَابِرِیۡ سَبِیۡلٍ حَتّٰی تَغۡتَسِلُوۡا ؕ وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مَّرۡضٰۤی اَوۡ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ اَوۡ جَآءَ اَحَدٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡغَآئِطِ اَوۡ لٰمَسۡتُمُ النِّسَآءَ فَلَمۡ تَجِدُوۡا مَآءً فَتَیَمَّمُوۡا صَعِیۡدًا طَیِّبًا فَامۡسَحُوۡا بِوُجُوۡہِکُمۡ وَ اَیۡدِیۡکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُوۡرًا ﴿۴۳﴾

4:43 O you who believe, do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated till you know what you say,1 nor after sexual intercourse — except you are merely passing by2 — until you have bathed. And if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you has come from the toilet, or you have had (sexual) contact with women,3 and you cannot find water, then resort to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands (with it).4 Surely Allah is ever Pardoning, Forgiving.

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوۡا نَصِیۡبًا مِّنَ الۡکِتٰبِ یَشۡتَرُوۡنَ الضَّلٰلَۃَ وَ یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ تَضِلُّوا السَّبِیۡلَ ﴿ؕ۴۴﴾

4:44 Do you not see those to whom a portion of the Book was given? They buy error and desire to make you go astray from the (right) way.

وَ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِاَعۡدَآئِکُمۡ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ وَلِیًّا ٭۫ وَّ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ نَصِیۡرًا ﴿۴۵﴾

4:45 And Allah best knows your enemies. And Allah is sufficient as a Friend and Allah is sufficient as a Helper.

مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا یُحَرِّفُوۡنَ الۡکَلِمَ عَنۡ مَّوَاضِعِہٖ وَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ سَمِعۡنَا وَ عَصَیۡنَا وَ اسۡمَعۡ غَیۡرَ مُسۡمَعٍ وَّ رَاعِنَا لَـیًّۢا بِاَلۡسِنَتِہِمۡ وَ طَعۡنًا فِی الدِّیۡنِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اَنَّہُمۡ قَالُوۡا سَمِعۡنَا وَ اَطَعۡنَا وَ اسۡمَعۡ وَ انۡظُرۡنَا لَکَانَ خَیۡرًا لَّہُمۡ وَ اَقۡوَمَ ۙ وَ لٰکِنۡ لَّعَنَہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِکُفۡرِہِمۡ فَلَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۴۶﴾

4:46 Some of those who are Jews alter words from their places5 and say, We have heard and we disobey; and (say), Hear without being made to hear, and (say), Rā‘i-nā, distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. And if they had said, We hear and we obey, and listen, and unẓur-nā, it would have been better for them and more upright;6 but Allah has cursed them on account of their disbelief, so they do not believe except a little.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡکِتٰبَ اٰمِنُوۡا بِمَا نَزَّلۡنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَکُمۡ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ نَّطۡمِسَ وُجُوۡہًا فَنَرُدَّہَا عَلٰۤی اَدۡبَارِہَاۤ اَوۡ نَلۡعَنَہُمۡ کَمَا لَعَنَّاۤ اَصۡحٰبَ السَّبۡتِ ؕ وَ کَانَ اَمۡرُ اللّٰہِ مَفۡعُوۡلًا ﴿۴۷﴾

4:47 O you who have been given the Book, believe in what We have revealed, verifying what you (already) have,7 before We destroy the leaders and turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers. And the command of Allah is ever executed.

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَغۡفِرُ اَنۡ یُّشۡرَکَ بِہٖ وَ یَغۡفِرُ مَا دُوۡنَ ذٰلِکَ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ۚ وَ مَنۡ یُّشۡرِکۡ بِاللّٰہِ فَقَدِ افۡتَرٰۤی اِثۡمًا عَظِیۡمًا ﴿۴۸﴾

4:48 Surely Allah does not forgive that a partner should be set up with Him, and forgives all besides that to whom He pleases. And whoever sets up a partner with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.8

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ یُزَکُّوۡنَ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ ؕ بَلِ اللّٰہُ یُزَکِّیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ فَتِیۡلًا ﴿۴۹﴾

4:49 Have you not seen those who attribute purity to themselves?9 Rather, Allah purifies whom He pleases, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.

اُنۡظُرۡ کَیۡفَ یَفۡتَرُوۡنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ الۡکَذِبَ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِہٖۤ اِثۡمًا مُّبِیۡنًا ﴿٪۵۰﴾

4:50 See how they forge lies against Allah! And sufficient is this as a manifest sin.



  1. The prohibition against praying when intoxicated was a step to­wards the total prohibition of drink, for the necessity of going to prayer five times a day would leave little opportunity for indulgence in drink. The verse also makes it clear that one must know the meaning of what one says when praying to God.
  2. Going near prayer may signify going into mosques, and the meaning in that case would be unless you pass (through the mosques) as by a way.
  3. Literally, “you have touched women”, which is a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Many of the fine phrases used in the Quran to express this delicate relation were unknown to the Arabs.
  4. Tayammum means striking both hands on pure earth, or anything con­taining pure dust, and then passing the hands over the face and the backs of the hands. When water is not found, or is likely to do harm, tayammum suffices instead of ablution before prayer.
  5. The corruption of the previous books is constantly referred to in the Quran, and, as the words clearly show, it implies a corruption of the text as well as a false rendering of it.
  6. See 2:104 and footnote.
  7. The verification referred to here and elsewhere implies only a verifi­cation of the general principles and the prophecies contained in the earlier books.
  8. Shirk or setting up partners with Allah is spoken of as the gravest sin. Wrong belief in false deities lowers the dignity of man. Man is made to rule nature itself and all creatures, but when he lowers himself before creatures lower than himself, he sets at naught the very purpose of his creation. It should be noted that shirk or setting up gods with God also includes blind obedience rendered to leaders; see 9:31 and also the next footnote. It should also be noted that if a person guilty of shirk repents of it before his death then all his sins including shirk are forgiven because he gives a new turn to his life. Even those who die while guilty of shirk will, after suffering the consequences of their deeds in the after life, be received into the mercy of God.
  9. These are the priests, doctors of law and monks who demanded blind obedience from their followers, and include such ulama, shaikhs and pirs among the Muslims as well.