Surah An-Nisa >> Currently viewing Surah An-Nisa Ayat 25 (4:25)

Surah An-Nisa Ayat 25 in Arabic Text

وَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنكُمْ طَوْلًا أَن يَنكِحَ ٱلْمُحْصَنَـٰتِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ فَمِن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَـٰتِكُمُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَـٰنِكُم ۚ بَعْضُكُم مِّنۢ بَعْضٍۢ ۚ فَٱنكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ وَءَاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ مُحْصَنَـٰتٍ غَيْرَ مُسَـٰفِحَـٰتٍۢ وَلَا مُتَّخِذَٰتِ أَخْدَانٍۢ ۚ فَإِذَآ أُحْصِنَّ فَإِنْ أَتَيْنَ بِفَـٰحِشَةٍۢ فَعَلَيْهِنَّ نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى ٱلْمُحْصَنَـٰتِ مِنَ ٱلْعَذَابِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ ٱلْعَنَتَ مِنكُمْ ۚ وَأَن تَصْبِرُوا۟ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ
Wa mal lam yastati’ minkum tawlan ai yankihal muhsanaatil mu’minaati famimmaa malakat aimaanukum min fatayaatikumul mu’minaat; wallaahu a’lamu bi eemaanikum; ba’dukum mim ba’d; fankihoohunna bi izni ahlihinna wa aatoohunna ujoorahunna bilma’roofi muhsanaatin ghaira musaa fihaatinw wa laa muttakhizaati akhdaan; fa izaaa uhsinna fa in ataina bifaahi shatin fa’alaihinnna nisfu maa ‘alal muhsanaati minal ‘azaab; zaalika liman khashiyal ‘anata minkum; wa an tasbiroo khairul lakum; wallaahu Ghafoorur Raheem (section 4)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 25

Sahih International
And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Yusuf Ali
If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And Allah hath full knowledge about your faith. Ye are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that ye practise self-restraint. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Abul Ala Maududi
And those of you who cannot afford to marry free, believing women (muhsanat), then marry such believing women whom your right hands possess. Allah knows all about your faith. All of you belong to one another. Marry them, then, with the leave of their guardians, and give them their bridal-due in a fair manner that they may live in the protection of wedlock rather than be either mere objects of unfettered lust or given to secret love affairs. Then if they become guilty of immoral conduct after they have entered into wedlock, they shall be liable to half the penalty to which free women (muhsanat) are liable. This relaxation is for those of you who fear to fall into sin by remaining unmarried. But if you persevere, it is better for you. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.

Muhsin Khan
And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free, believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess, and Allah has full knowledge about your Faith, you are one from another. Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians, Auliya’ or masters) and give them their Mahr according to what is reasonable; they (the above said captive and slave-girls) should be chaste, not adulterous, nor taking boy-friends. And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit illegal sexual intercourse, their punishment is half that for free (unmarried) women. This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body; but it is better for you that you practise self-restraint, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Pickthall
And whoso is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. Allah knoweth best (concerning) your faith. Ye (proceed) one from another; so wed them by permission of their folk, and give unto them their portions in kindness, they being honest, not debauched nor of loose conduct. And if when they are honourably married they commit lewdness they shall incur the half of the punishment (prescribed) for free women (in that case). This is for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Dr. Ghali
And whoever of you is unable to (provide) ample (means) for marrying (free) believing women in wedlock, then (let him take) from the believing handmaids that your right hands possess; and Allah knows best your belief, the ones of you are as the others (Literally: Some of you are from some others, i.e., you are equal). So marry them by the permission of their families, (i.e. their folk) and bring them their rewards with beneficence, as (women) in wedlock, other than in fornication or taking mates to themselves. (So) when they are in wedlock, (then) in case they come up with an obscenity, (5) they shall have then half the torment of free women in wedlock. That is for the ones of you who are apprehensive of distress; (i.e., sin) (and) to be patient is more charitable for you; and Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.

Abdul Haleem
If any of you does not have the means to marry a believing free woman, then marry a believing slave- God knows best [the depth of] your faith: you are [all] part of the same family- so marry them with their people’s consent and their proper bride-gifts. [Make them] married women, not adulteresses or lovers. If they commit adultery when they are married, their punishment will be half that of free women. This is for those of you who fear that you will sin; it is better for you to practise selfrestraint. God is most forgiving and merciful,

Quran 4 Verse 25 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 25, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(4:25) And those of you who cannot afford to marry free, believing women (muhsanat), then marry such believing women whom your right hands possess. Allah knows all about your faith. All of you belong to one another.[45] Marry them, then, with the leave of their guardians, and give them their bridal-due in a fair manner that they may live in the protection of wedlock rather than be either mere objects of unfettered lust or given to secret love affairs. Then if they become guilty of immoral conduct after they have entered into wedlock, they shall be liable to half the penalty to which free women (muhsanat) are liable.[46] This relaxation is for those of you who fear to fall into sin by remaining unmarried.[47] But if you persevere, it is better for you. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.


45. The difference between the status of people is relative. All Muslims are alike. If there is any true distinction its basis is a person’s faith and faith is not an exclusive privilege of the rich or so-called upper classes of the society. So it is possible for a slave-girl to be superior, in respect of her faith and morals, to a woman belonging to the elite of a society.

46.A superficial reading of this verse can lead to the mistaken conclusion, as Khawarij and others have done, that stoning is not the prescribed punishment for adultery. Such people ask: If stoning is the prescribed punishment for extra-marital sexual intercourse, then how is it possible to halve that punishment with regard to slave-girls? Such people have not noted carefully the wording of this verse. In this section see (verses 24-5) the term muhsanat (protected women) is used in two different meanings. First, it is used in the sense of ‘married women’, that is, those who enjoy the protection of their husbands. Second, it is used in the sense of ‘women belonging to families’, i.e. those who enjoy the protection of families even though they may not be married. In the verse under discussion, the word muhsanat is used in the latter sense, i.e. in the sense of women who enjoy the protection of families as opposed to slave-girls. At the same time, the word is also used in the first meaning, when slave-girls have acquired the protection accorded by the contract of marriage (fa idha uhsinna), they will be liable to the punishment laid down in this verse if they have unlawful Sexual intercourse.

It is therefore apparent that a free woman enjoys two kinds of protection. One is the protection of her family through which she remains protected even when she is not married. The second is the protection of her husband, which reinforces the protection of the family that she already enjoys. As long as the slave-girl remains a slave, she does not enjoy the protection of the family. However, when she is married she has the protection of her husband – and of her husband alone. This protection is partial. Even after marriage she is neither liberated from the bond of her master nor does she attain the status enjoyed by free women. The punishment prescribed for a married slave-girl is accordingly half the punishment of an unmarried free woman rather than half that of a married free woman.

This also explains that the punishment for unlawful sexual intercourse (zina) laid down in (Surah al-Nur 24: 2 )refers to the offence committed by unmarried free women alone, and it is in comparison with their punishment that the punishment of married slave women has been laid down as half. As for free married women, they deserve more severe punishment than the unmarried free women (muhsanat) for they violate the double protection. Even though the Qur’an does not specifically mention punishment by stoning it does allude to it in a subtle manner.

47. That is, if a man cannot afford to marry a free woman then he should marry a slave-girl with the permission of her master.

Ibn-Kathir

25. And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess, and Allah has full knowledge about your faith, you are one from another. Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians) and give them their due in a good manner; they should be chaste, not fornicators, nor promiscuous. And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit Fahishah, their punishment is half that for free (unmarried) women. This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body; but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


Marrying a Female Slave, if One Cannot Marry a Free Woman

Allah said, those who do not have,

﴿مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً﴾

(the means), financial capability,

﴿أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَـتِ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾

(Wherewith to wed free believing women) meaning, free faithful, chaste women.

﴿فَمِنْ مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَـتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾

(They may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess,) meaning, they are allowed to wed believing slave girls owned by the believers.

﴿وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَـنِكُمْ بَعْضُكُمْ مِّن بَعْضٍ﴾

(and Allah has full knowledge about your faith; you are one from another.) Allah knows the true reality and secrets of all things, but you people know only the apparent things. Allah then said,

﴿فَانكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ﴾

(Wed them with the permission of their own folk) indicating that the owner is responsible for the slave girl, and consequently, she cannot marry without his permission. The owner is also responsible for his male slave and they cannot wed without his permission. A Hadith states,

«أَيُّمَا عَبْدٍتَزَوَّجَ بِغَيْرِ إِذْنِ مَوَالِيهِ،فَهُوَ عَاهِر»

(Any male slave who marries without permission from his master, is a fornicator.) When the owner of the female slave is a female, those who are allowed to give away the free woman in marriage, with her permission, become responsible for giving away her female slave in marriage, as well. A Hadith states that

«لَا تُزَوِّجِ الْمَرْأَةُ الْمَرْأَةَ، وَلَا الْمَرْأَةُ نَفْسَهَا، فَإِنَّ الزَّانِيَةَ هِيَ الَّتِي تُزَوِّجُ نَفْسَهَا»

(The woman does not give away another woman, or herself in marriage, for only the adulteress gives herself away in marriage.) Allah’s statement,

﴿وَءَاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ﴾

(And give them their due in a good manner;) meaning, pay them their dowry with a good heart, and do not keep any of it, belittling the matter due to the fact that they are owned slaves. Allah’s statement,

﴿مُحْصَنَـت﴾

(they should be chaste) means, they are honorable women who do not commit adultery, and this is why Allah said,

﴿غَيْرَ مُسَـفِحَـتٍ﴾

(not fornicators) referring to dishonorable women, who do not refrain from illicit sexual relations with those who ask. Ibn `Abbas said that the fornicating women are the whores, who do not object to having relations with whomever seeks it, while,

﴿وَلاَ مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ﴾

(nor promiscuous. ) refers to taking boyfriends. Similar was said by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani, Yahya bin Abi Kathir, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi.

The Slave Girl’s Punishment for Adultery is Half that of a Free Unmarried Woman

Allah said,

﴿فَإِذَآ أُحْصِنَّ فَإِنْ أَتَيْنَ بِفَـحِشَةٍ فَعَلَيْهِنَّ نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْصَنَـتِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ﴾

(And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit Fahishah, their punishment is half of that for free (unmarried) women.) this is about the slave women who got married, as indicated by the Ayah;

﴿وَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَـتِ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ فَمِنْ مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَـتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾

(And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess,) Therefore, since the honorable Ayah is about believing slave girls, then,

﴿فَإِذَآ أُحْصِنَّ﴾

(And after they have been taken in wedlock,) refers to when they (believing slave girls) get married, as Ibn `Abbas and others have said. Allah’s statement,

﴿نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْصَنَـتِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ﴾

(their punishment is half of that for free (unmarried) women.) indicates that the type of punishment prescribed here is the one that can be reduced to half, lashes in this case, not stoning to death, and Allah knows best. Allah’s statement,

﴿ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ الْعَنَتَ مِنْكُمْ﴾

(This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body;) indicates that marrying slave girls, providing one satisfies the required conditions, is for those who fear for their chastity and find it hard to be patient and refrain from sex. In this difficult circumstance, one is allowed to marry a slave girl. However, it is better to refrain from marrying slave girls and to observe patience, for otherwise, the offspring will become slaves to the girl’s master. Allah said,

﴿وَأَن تَصْبِرُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

(but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

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