What chapter(s) and verses are included in Juz’ 6?:
The sixth juz’ of the Qur’an contains parts of two chapters of the Quran: the last part of Surah An-Nisaa (from verse 148) and the first part of Surah Al-Ma'ida (to verse 81).
When were the verses of this juz’ revealed?:
The verses of this section were largely revealed in the early years after the migration to Madinah, when the Prophet Muhammad strived to create unity and peace among a diverse collection of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian city-dwellers and nomadic tribes of various ethnicities. The Muslims made alliances and signed treaties with various groups, establishing everyone's political and religious rights, freedoms, and obligations to the state.
While these treaties were largely successful, conflict did sometimes erupt -- not for religious reasons, but due to the breach of certain agreements leading to aggression or injustice.
- "Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others towards you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just - that is next to piety - and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." 5:8
- "Those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), the Sabians and the Christians - any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." 5:69
What is the main theme of this juz’?:
The final section of Surah An-Nisaa returns to the theme of the relationship between Muslims and the "People of the Book" (i.e. Christians and Jews). The Quran warns Muslims not to follow in the footsteps of those who divided their faith, added things to it, and went astray from the teachings of their prophets.
As discussed before, much of Surah An-Nisaa was revealed shortly after the Muslims' defeat at the Battle of Uhud. The very last verse of this chapter outlines the rules for inheritance, which was immediately relevant to the widows and orphans from that battle.
The next chapter, Surah Al-Ma'ida, opens with a discussion of dietary laws, pilgrimage, marriage, and criminal punishment for certain crimes. These provide a spiritual framework for laws and practices that were enacted during the early years of the Islamic community in Madinah.
The chapter then continues to discuss the lessons to be learned from previous prophets, and invites the People of the Book to evaluate the message of Islam. Allah warns believers about mistakes that others made in the past, such as discarding part of a book of revelation, or making religious claims without knowledge. Detail is given about the life and teachings of Moses as an example.
Support and advice is offered for the Muslims who faced ridicule (and worse) from neighboring Jewish and Christian tribes. The Quran answers them: "Oh people of the Book! Do you disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that has come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?" (5:59). This section further warns Muslims not to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone astray.
Amongst all of these warnings is a reminder that some Christian and Jewish people are good believers, and have not strayed from the teachings of their prophets. "If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that is evil" (5:66). Muslims are expected to approach agreements in good faith, and uphold their end. It is not for us to pre-judge people's hearts or intentions.
(Allaahummaa innee as’alukal-hudaa wat-tuqaa wal-`afaafa wal-ghinaa).
[Related by Muslim, no 2721]