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Wavering Between Them, [Belonging] Neither to the Believers or the Disbelievers

Imām Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Tafsīr of the verse in Sūrah Sūrah al-Nisāʾ concerning the hypocrites who waver betwen belief and disbelief.

Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allāh leaves astray – never will you find for him a way.

Sūrah al-Nisāʾ

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allāh have mercy upon him) said:

“You will find that one of them is like a stray sheep that is wandering between two flocks, it sometimes goes with one flock and on other occasions, it goes with the other; and it does not remain with either party.

They stand between two groups and they look to see which is the strongest and mightiest [of the two].

“Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allāh leaves astray – never will you find for him a way.”
[Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, 4:143]

They [i.e. the hypocrites] lay in wait to see what happens to the people of the Sunnah and the Qurʾān. If Allāh was to give them victory [i.e. the people of Sunnah] they say to them, ‘Is it not that we were with you?’ And on this they swear by Allāh with their most compelling oaths.

However, if the enemies of the people of the Book and Sunnah were to achieve any kind of victory then they say to them, ‘Do you not know that the bond of brotherhood between us is strong and through our lineage we are close?’

So whoever desires to know them, then let him take their description from the speech of the Lord of the whole of the creation; and after this you will not require any other proof.

Those who wait [and watch] you. Then if you gain a victory from Allāh, they say,

“Were we not with you?” But if the disbelievers have a success, they say [to them], “Did we not gain the advantage over you, but we protected you from the believers?” Allāh will judge between [all of] you on the Day of Resurrection, and never will Allāh give the disbelievers over the believers a way [to overcome them].
[Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, 4:141]”

Taken from his book Madaarij As-Sālikīn (1/269), and printed by Daar Iḥyā At-Turaath.

May Allāh protect us from imitating the hypocrites.

Source: Taken from his book, Madaarij As-Saalikeen (1/269), and printed by Daar Iḥyā At-Turāth
Exclusive translation for Sisters Upon Istiqāmah (re-published to with their permission)

Published: April 12, 2011
Edited: April 3, 2023


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