Surah Mujadila Ayat 3 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 3
And those who pronounce thihar from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said – then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered,- (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.
Those who declare their wives to be their mothers and thereafter go back on what they have said shall free a slave before they may touch each other. That is what you are exhorted to do. Allah is fully aware of all your deeds.
And those who make unlawful to them (their wives) (by Az-Zihar) and wish to free themselves from what they uttered, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch each other. That is an admonition to you (so that you may not return to such an ill thing). And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. Unto this ye are exhorted; and Allah is Informed of what ye do.
And (the ones) who back away from their women and thereafter go back on what they have said, they shall then set free a neck (Literally: there should be a freeing of a neck, i.e., manumission of a slave) even before the two of them touch one another. By that you are admonished; and Allah is EverCognizant of whatever you do.
Those of you who say such a thing to their wives, then go back on what they have said, must free a slave before the couple may touch one another again––this is what you are commanded to do, and God is fully aware of what you do––
Quran 58 Verse 3 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Mujadila ayat 3, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(58:3) Those who declare their wives to be their mothers and thereafter go back on what they have said shall free a slave before they may touch each other. That is what you are exhorted to do. Allah is fully aware of all your deeds.
7. From here begins the statement of the legal injunctions concerning zihar. To understand this, it is necessary that one should keep in mind the incidents of zihar that took place in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), for the code of law pertaining to zihar is derived from the verses and the judgments that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave after the revelation of these verses in the cases of zihar brought before him.
According to Abdullah bin Abbas, the first case of zihar in Islam was the one relating to Aus bin Samit Ansari, on whose wife Khaulah’s complaint Allah sent down these verse. Although the details of this case that the traditionists have cited from several reporters contain minor differences, yet the elements of legal import and significance are almost agreed upon. A resume of these traditions is as follows:
Aus bin Samit had grown a little peevish in old age and according to some traditions, had also developed an ailment resembling insanity. The reporters have described it by the word lamam which is not exactly madness in Arabic but a state resembling it. In this state he had also pronounced zihar on his wife several times before, but in Islam this was the first occasion that he pronounced it as the result of a quarrel with her. Thereupon, his wife appeared before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and relating the whole story to him, said: O Messenger of Allah, is there any way out of this situation that could save me and my children from ruin. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) reply has been reported in different words by different reporters. In some traditions the words are to the effect: No command has been given to me so far in this regard, and in some others the words are: In my opinion you have become unlawful to him, and in still others: You are unlawful to him. At this, she began to cry and complain and told the Prophet (peace be upon him) over and over again that her husband had not pronounced the words of divorce; therefore, he should suggest a way by which she and her children and her old husband’s life could be saved from ruin. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave her the same reply every time. In the meantime he underwent the state of receiving revelation and these verses were revealed. After this, he said to her (and according to other traditions, he called her husband and told him) to free a slave. When they expressed their inability to do so, he said that the husband would have to observe two months’ fast consecutively. She said: Aus is such a man that unless he eats and drinks three times a day, his sight starts failing him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Then, you will have to feed 60 poor people. They submitted that they did not have the means for that unless they were helped out by him. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave them food articles that could suffice 60 men for two meals. Different quantities of it have been mentioned in different traditions. According to some traditions Khaulah herself gave to her husband food articles equal in quantity to those given by the Prophet so that he may perform the expiation. (Ibn Jarir, Musnad Ahmad Abu Daud, Ibn Abi Hatim).
The second incident of zihar relates to Salamah bin Sakhr Bayadi. He had a somewhat abnormal appetite for sex. When the fasting month of Ramadan came, he, fearing that he might lose self-control in daytime in the state of fasting, pronounced zihar on his wife till the end of Ramadan. But he could not adhere to his pledge and went in to his wife one night. Penitent he appeared before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him what he had done. He told him to release a slave. He said he had no one else beside his wife, whom he could release. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then told him to observe two months’ consecutive fast. He replied that it was during obligatory fasting itself that he had been unable to control himself and had become involved in trouble. The Prophet then said that he should feed 60 poor people, He replied that they were poor themselves and had gone to bed at night without food. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) got him a sufficient quantity of food articles from the collector of the zakat of Bani Zurayq so that he may feed 60 persons and may also save something for his children. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Tirmadhi).
The third incident that has been related without any reference to the name is that a man pronounced zihar on his wife and then had sexual intercourse with her even before making the expiation. Then, when he came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to ask for the legal verdict, he commanded him to abstain from her till he had made the expiation. (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah).
The fourth incident is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself heard a man calling his wife as sister. Thereupon he said to him angrily: Is she your sister. But he did not regard it as zihar. (Abu Daud). These four are the reliable incidents that have been related in the Hadith through authentic channels, and through them only can one adequately understand the Quranic injunctions that have been laid down in the following verses.
8. Literally: That they return to that which they said, but in view of the Arabic language and idiom great differences have occurred in determining the meaning of these words.
Their one meaning can be: If they repeat the words of zihar after they have uttered them once. The Zahiriyyah and Bukair bin al-Ashajj and Yahya bin Ziyad al-Farm hold this very view, and a saying from Ata bin Abi Rabah also has been reported in support of the same. According to them, the pronouncement of zihar once is forgiven; however, if a person repeats it, he becomes liable to make the expiation. But this commentary is expressly wrong for two reasons: first, that Allah has condemned zihar as an absurd thing and a falsehood and then prescribed a penalty for it. Now, it is not conceivable that if a man utters falsehood or absurdities once he should be excused and if he utters it the second time he should make himself liable to punishment. The second reason of its being wrong is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never asked the man pronouncing zihar whether he had pronounced it once or twice.
Its second meaning is: If the people who were used to uttering zihar in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, repeat it in Islam, they will incur this punishment. This would mean that zihar should by itself be liable to punishment, and whoever utters the words of zihar for his wife, should become liable to make the expiation whether he may divorce the wife after it, or his wife may die; or he may have no intention of resuming conjugal relations with his wife. This view is hold by Taus, Mujahid, Shabi, Zuhri, Sufyan Thauri and Qatadah from among the jurists. They say that if the woman dies after the zihar, the husband cannot inherit her unless he has made the expiation.
The third meaning is: If after uttering the words of zihar the man may wish to go back on his words and make amends for what he said. In other words, yaudon lima qalo means that the man revoked what he had said.
The fourth meaning is: If the man may wish to make lawful what he had made unlawful for himself by pronouncing the zihar. In other words, it would mean that the person who had made a thing unlawful for himself has now returned to make it lawful views. Most of the jurists have preferred and adopted one of these last two.
9. In other words: This you are being enjoined for your own correction and admonition so that the members of Muslim society may give up this evil custom of ignorance and none of you may commit this folly. If you have to quarrel with your wife, you may quarrel with her like good people. if you intend to divorce her, then you should divorce her gracefully. It is absurd that you should compare her to your mother and sister whenever you have a quarrel with her.
10. That is, Allah will certainly know, even if nobody else does, if a person pronounces zihar, and then quietly resumes normal conjugal relations with his wife w
The tafsir of Surah Mujadilah verse 3 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Mujadilah ayat 2 which provides the complete commentary from verse 2 through 4.
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