Assalamualaikum.

Surah Al-Mujadilah (Arabic: سورة المجادلة‎)  is the 57th chapter of the Qur’an with 22 ayats or verses. It is classified as a Medinan Surah and titled in English as “She who disputes”, “The Pleading Woman”.

In this surah it discusses social customs by which husbands used to oppress their wives. They would not give them divorce and instead would would call their wives like there “mothers” (referred to as zihar). Allah condemns this behavior. 

Notable Quote:

“Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.”
Surah Al-Mujadilah

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Surah Mujadila with Translation and Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

قَدْ سَمِعَ ٱللَّهُ قَوْلَ ٱلَّتِى تُجَـٰدِلُكَ فِى زَوْجِهَا وَتَشْتَكِىٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ يَسْمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمَآ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌۢ بَصِيرٌ

Qad sami’al laahu qawlal latee tujaadiluka fee zawjihaa wa tashtakeee ilal laahi wallaahu yasma’u tahaawurakumaa; innal laaha samee’um baseer
1. Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah . And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.

ٱلَّذِينَ يُظَـٰهِرُونَ مِنكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِهِم مَّا هُنَّ أُمَّهَـٰتِهِمْ ۖ إِنْ أُمَّهَـٰتُهُمْ إِلَّا ٱلَّـٰٓـِٔى وَلَدْنَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَقُولُونَ مُنكَرًۭا مِّنَ ٱلْقَوْلِ وَزُورًۭا ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌۭ

Allazeena yuzaahiroona minkum min nisaaa’ihim maa hunnaa ummahaatihim in ummahaatuhum illal laaa’ee waladnahum; wa innaahum la yaqooloona munkaram minal qawli wa zooraa; wa innal laaha la’afuwwun ghafoor
2. Those who pronounce thihar among you [to separate] from their wives – they are not [consequently] their mothers. Their mothers are none but those who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying an objectionable statement and a falsehood. But indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving.

وَٱلَّذِينَ يُظَـٰهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا۟ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍۢ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكُمْ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِۦ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌۭ

Wallazeena yuzaahiroona min nisaaa’ihim summa ya’oodoona limaa qaaloo fatahreeru raqabatim min qabli any-yatamaaassaa; zaalikum too’azoona bih; wallaahu bimaa ta’maloona khabeer
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.

فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَإِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًۭا ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ۚ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَلِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Famal lam yajid fa siyaamu shahraini mutataabi’ayni min qabli any-yatamaaassaa famal lam yastati’ fa-it’aamu sitteena miskeena; zaalika litu’minoo billaahi wa rasoolih’wa tilka hudoodul laah; wa lilkaafireena ‘azaabun aleem
4. And he who does not find [a slave] – then a fast for two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable – then the feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe [completely] in Allah and His Messenger; and those are the limits [set by] Allah . And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment.

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَآدُّونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ كُبِتُوا۟ كَمَا كُبِتَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ وَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَآ ءَايَـٰتٍۭ بَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ ۚ وَلِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابٌۭ مُّهِينٌۭ

Innal lazeena yuhaaaddoonal laaha wa Rasoolahoo kubitoo kamaa kubital lazeena min qablihim; wa qad anzalnaaa aayaatim baiyinaat; wa lilkaa fireena ‘azaabum muheen
5. Indeed, those who oppose Allah and His Messenger are abased as those before them were abased. And We have certainly sent down verses of clear evidence. And for the disbelievers is a humiliating punishment.

يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ جَمِيعًۭا فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوٓا۟ ۚ أَحْصَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ شَهِيدٌ

Yawma yab’asuhumul laahu jamee’an fayunabbi’uhum bimaa ‘amiloo; ahsaahul laahu wa nasooh; wallaahu ‘alaa kulli shai’in shaheed
6. On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all and inform them of what they did. Allah had enumerated it, while they forgot it; and Allah is, over all things, Witness.

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَ‌ٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَـٰثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَآ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَ‌ٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Alam tara annal laaha ya’lamu maa fis samaawaati wa maa fil ardi maa yakoonu min najwaa salaasatin illaa Huwa raabi’uhum wa laa khamsatin illaa huwa saadisuhum wa laaa adnaa min zaalika wa laaa aksara illaa huwa ma’ahum ayna, maa kaanoo summa yunabbi’uhum bimaa ‘amiloo yawmal qiyaamah; innal laaha bikulli shai’in aleem
7. Have you not considered that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing.

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ نُهُوا۟ عَنِ ٱلنَّجْوَىٰ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا نُهُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَيَتَنَـٰجَوْنَ بِٱلْإِثْمِ وَٱلْعُدْوَ‌ٰنِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ ٱلرَّسُولِ وَإِذَا جَآءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ بِمَا لَمْ يُحَيِّكَ بِهِ ٱللَّهُ وَيَقُولُونَ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَوْلَا يُعَذِّبُنَا ٱللَّهُ بِمَا نَقُولُ ۚ حَسْبُهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ يَصْلَوْنَهَا ۖ فَبِئْسَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ

Alam tara ilal lazeena nuhoo ‘anin najwaa summa ya’oodoona limaa nuhoo ‘anhu wa yatanaajawna bil ismi wal’udwaani wa ma’siyatir rasooli wa izaa jaaa’ooka haiyawka bimaa lam yuhai yika bihil laahu wa yaqooloona fee anfusihim law laa yu’azzibunal laahu bimaa naqool; hasbuhum jahannnamu yaslawnahaa fabi’sal maseer
8. Have you not considered those who were forbidden from private conversation, then they return to that which they were forbidden and converse among themselves about sin and aggression and disobedience to the Messenger? And when they come to you, they greet you with that [word] by which Allah does not greet you and say among themselves, “Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?” Sufficient for them is Hell, which they will [enter to] burn, and wretched is the destination.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا تَنَـٰجَيْتُمْ فَلَا تَتَنَـٰجَوْا۟ بِٱلْإِثْمِ وَٱلْعُدْوَ‌ٰنِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ ٱلرَّسُولِ وَتَنَـٰجَوْا۟ بِٱلْبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِىٓ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanoo izaa tanaajaytum falaa tatanaajaw bil ismi wal ‘udwaani wa ma’siyatir rasooli wa tanaajaw bil birri wattaqwaa wattaqul laahal lazeee ilaihi tuhsharoon
9. O you who have believed, when you converse privately, do not converse about sin and aggression and disobedience to the Messenger but converse about righteousness and piety. And fear Allah, to whom you will be gathered.

إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّجْوَىٰ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ لِيَحْزُنَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَلَيْسَ بِضَآرِّهِمْ شَيْـًٔا إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Innaman najwaa minash shaitaani liyahzunal lazeena aamanoo wa laisa bidaaarrihim shai’an illaa bi-iznil laah; wa ‘alal laahi falyatawakkalil mu’minoon
10. Private conversation is only from Satan that he may grieve those who have believed, but he will not harm them at all except by permission of Allah . And upon Allah let the believers rely.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا۟ فِى ٱلْمَجَـٰلِسِ فَٱفْسَحُوا۟ يَفْسَحِ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِذَا قِيلَ ٱنشُزُوا۟ فَٱنشُزُوا۟ يَرْفَعِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنكُمْ وَٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمَ دَرَجَـٰتٍۢ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌۭ

Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanoo izaa qeela lakum tafassahoo fil majaalisi fafsahoo yafsahil laahu lakum wa izaa qeelan shuzoo fanshuzoo yarfa’il laahul lazeena aamanoo minkum wallazeena ootul ‘ilma darajaat; wallaahu bimaa ta’maloona khabeer
11. O you who have believed, when you are told, “Space yourselves” in assemblies, then make space; Allah will make space for you. And when you are told, “Arise,” then arise; Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا نَـٰجَيْتُمُ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا۟ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَىٰكُمْ صَدَقَةًۭ ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌ

Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanooo izaa naajitumur Rasoola faqaddimoo baina yadai najwaakum sadaqah; zaalika khairul lakum wa athar; fa il lam tajidoo fa innal laaha ghafoorur Raheem
12. O you who have believed, when you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity. That is better for you and purer. But if you find not [the means] – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

ءَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا۟ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَىٰكُمْ صَدَقَـٰتٍۢ ۚ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا۟ وَتَابَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

‘A-ashfaqtum an tuqaddimoo baina yadai najwaakum sadaqaat; fa-iz lam taf’aloo wa taabal laahu ‘alaikum fa aqeemus Salaata wa aatuz Zakaata wa atee’ul laaha wa rasoolah; wallaahu khabeerum bimaa ta’maloon
13. Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you do not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

۞ أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا۟ قَوْمًا غَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مَّا هُم مِّنكُمْ وَلَا مِنْهُمْ وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى ٱلْكَذِبِ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Alam tara ilal lazeena tawallaw qawman ghadibal laahu ‘alaihim maa hum minkum wa laa minhum wa yahlifoona ‘alal kazibi wa hum ya’lamoon
14. Have you not considered those who make allies of a people with whom Allah has become angry? They are neither of you nor of them, and they swear to untruth while they know [they are lying].

أَعَدَّ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمْ عَذَابًۭا شَدِيدًا ۖ إِنَّهُمْ سَآءَ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ

A’addal laahu lahum ‘azaaban shadeedan innahum saaa’a maa kaanoo ya’maloon
15. Allah has prepared for them a severe punishment. Indeed, it was evil that they were doing.

ٱتَّخَذُوٓا۟ أَيْمَـٰنَهُمْ جُنَّةًۭ فَصَدُّوا۟ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌۭ مُّهِينٌۭ

Ittakhazooo aymaanahum junnatan fasaddoo ‘an sabeelil laahi falahum ‘azaabum muheen
16. They took their [false] oaths as a cover, so they averted [people] from the way of Allah, and for them is a humiliating punishment.

لَّن تُغْنِىَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَ‌ٰلُهُمْ وَلَآ أَوْلَـٰدُهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيْـًٔا ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَصْحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـٰلِدُونَ

Lan tughniya ‘anhum amwaaluhum wa laaa awladuhum minal laahi shai’aa; ulaaa ‘ika As haabun Naari hum feehaa khaalidoon
17. Never will their wealth or their children avail them against Allah at all. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally

يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ جَمِيعًۭا فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُۥ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ ۖ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَىٰ شَىْءٍ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ ٱلْكَـٰذِبُونَ

Yawma yab’asuhumul laahujamee’an fa yahlifoona lahoo kamaa yahlifoona lakum wa yahsaboona annahum ‘alaa shai’; alaaa innahum humul kaaziboon
18. On the Day Allah will resurrect them all, and they will swear to Him as they swear to you and think that they are [standing] on something. Unquestionably, it is they who are the liars.

ٱسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ فَأَنسَىٰهُمْ ذِكْرَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ حِزْبُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّ حِزْبَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ هُمُ ٱلْخَـٰسِرُونَ

Istahwaza ‘alaihimush shaitaanu fa ansaahum zikral laah; ulaaa’ika hizbush shaitaaan; alaaa innaa hizbash shaitaani humul khaasiroon
19. Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah . Those are the party of Satan. Unquestionably, the party of Satan – they will be the losers.

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَآدُّونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ فِى ٱلْأَذَلِّينَ

Innal lazeena yuhaaaddoonal laaha wa Rasoolahooo ulaaa’ika fil azalleen
20. Indeed, the ones who oppose Allah and His Messenger – those will be among the most humbled.

كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا۠ وَرُسُلِىٓ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌۭ

Katabal laahu la aghlibanna ana wa Rusulee; innal laaha qawiyyun ‘Azeez
21. Allah has written, “I will surely overcome, I and My messengers.” Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًۭا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْءَاخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنْ حَآدَّ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَوْ كَانُوٓا۟ ءَابَآءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَ‌ٰنَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ كَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ ٱلْإِيمَـٰنَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍۢ مِّنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّـٰتٍۢ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ حِزْبُ ٱللَّهِ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّ حِزْبَ ٱللَّهِ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ

Laa tajidu qawmany yu’minoona billaahi wal yawmil aakhiri yuwaaaddoona man haaaddal laaha wa Rasoolahoo wa law kaanooo aabaaa’ahum aw abnaaa’ahum aw ikhwaa nahum aw ‘asheeratahum; ulaaa’ika kataba fee quloobihi mul eemaana wa ayyadahum biroohimminhu wa yudkhilu hum jannatin tajree min tahtihal anhaaru khaalideena feehaa; radiyal laahu ‘anhum wa radoo ‘anhu; ulaaa ‘ika hizbul laah; alaaa inna hizbal laahi humul muflihoon
22. You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. Those – He has decreed within their hearts faith and supported them with spirit from Him. And We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.

Tafsir Surah Mujadilah

The Qur’an was revealed as a book of proof that Islam is the one true religion and to be a book of guidance for the believers. We should make it a practice to continue reading the Qur’an but to also make it a study. We’ve added this section to include various tafseer of Surah Mujadilah for those looking to benefit from reading the commentary on this Surah.

Surah Mujadilah Tafsir by Ibn Kathir

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

 

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴾

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Reason for revealing this Surah

Imam Ahmad recorded that `A’ishah said, “All praise be to Allah, Who hears all voices. “The woman who disputed” came to the Prophet and argued with him while I was in another part of the room, unable to hear what she said. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Ayah,

﴿قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّتِى تُجَادِلُكَ فِى زَوْجِهَا﴾

 

(Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her that disputes with you concerning her husband.)” till the end of this Ayah. Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith without a chain of narration in the Book of Tawhid in his Sahih. An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir also collected this Hadith. In the narration that Ibn Abi Hatim collected, `A’ishah said, “Blessed is He, Whose hearing has encompassed all things. I heard what Khawlah bint Tha`labah said while some of it I could not hear. She was complaining to Allah’s Messenger about her husband. She said, `O Allah’s Messenger! He spent my wealth, exhausted my youth and my womb bore abundantly for him. When I be- came old, unable to bear children, he pronounced the Ziharon me! O Allah! I complain to you.’ Soon after, Jibril brought down this Ayah,

﴿قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّتِى تُجَادِلُكَ فِى زَوْجِهَا﴾

 

(Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her that disputes with you concerning her husband,)” She added, “Her husband was Aws bin As-Samit.”

Az-Zihar and the Atonement for It Imam

Ahmad recorded that Khuwaylah bint Tha`labah said, “By Allah! Allah sent down the beginning of Surat Al-Mujadilah in connection with me and `Aws bin As-Samit. He was my husband and had grown old and difficult. One day, he came to me and I argued with him about something and he said, out of anger, `You are like my mother’s back to me.’ He went out and sat with some of his people. Then he came back and wanted to have sexual intercourse with me. I said, `No, by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Khuwaylah! You will not have your way with me after you said what you said, until Allah and His Messenger issue judgement about our case.’ He wanted to have his way regardless of my choice and I pushed him away from me; he was an old man.’ I next went to one of my neighbors and borrowed a garment from her and went to the Messenger of Allah . I told him what happened and kept complaining to him of the ill treatment I received from `Aws. He said,

«يَاخُوَيْلَةُ، ابْنُ عَمِّكِ شَيْخٌ كَبِيرٌ، فَاتَّقِي اللهَ فِيه»

 

(O Khuwaylah! Your cousin is an old man, so have Taqwa of Allah regarding him.) By Allah! Before I departed, parts of the Qur’an were revealed about me. Allah’s Messenger felt the hardship upon receiving the revelation as he usually did and then became relieved. He said to me,

«يَا خُوَيْلَةُ، قَدْ أَنْزَلَ اللهُ فِيكِ وَفِي صَاحِبِكِ قُرْآنًا»

 

(O Khuwaylah! Allah has revealed something about you and your spouse.) He recited to me,

﴿قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّتِى تُجَادِلُكَ فِى زَوْجِهَا وَتَشْتَكِى إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَسْمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمآ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ ﴾

 

(Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her that disputes with you concerning her husband, and complains to Allah. And Allah hears the argument between you both. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer.), until,

﴿وَلِلكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ﴾

 

(And for disbelievers, there is a painful torment.) He then said to me,

«مُرِيهِ فَلْيُعْتِقْ رَقَبَة»

 

(Command him to free a slave.) I said, `O Allah’s Messenger! He does not have any to free.’ He said,

«فَلْيَصُمْ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْن»

 

(Let him fast for two consecutive months.) I said, `By Allah! He is an old man and cannot fast.’ He said,

«فَلْيُطْعِمْ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًا وَسْقًا مِنْ تَمْر»

 

(Let him feed sixty poor people a Wasq of dates.) I said, `O Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, he does not have any of that.’ He said,

«فَإِنَّا سَنُعِينُهُ بِعَرَقٍ مِنْ تَمْر»

 

(We will help him with a basket of dates.) I said, `And I, O Allah’s Messenger! I will help him with another.’ He said,

«قَدْ أَصَبْتِ وَأَحْسَنْتِ فَاذْهَبِي فَتَصَدَّقِي بِهِ عَنْهُ، ثُمَّ اسْتَوْصِي بِابْنِ عَمِّكِ خَيْرًا»

 

(You have done a righteously good thing. So go and give away the dates on his behalf and take care of your cousin.) I did that.”’ Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith in the Book of Divorce in his Sunan, according to which her name is Khawlah bint Tha`labah. She is also known as Khawlah bint Malik bin Tha`labah, and Khuwaylah. All these are close to each other, and Allah knows best. This is what is correct about the reason behind revealing this Surah. Therefore, Allah’s statement,

﴿الَّذِينَ يُظَـهِرُونَ مِنكُمْ مِّن نِّسَآئِهِمْ﴾

 

(Those among you who make their wives unlawful to them by Zihar) refers to Zihar, which is derived from Az-Zahr, meaning, the back. During the time of Jahiliyyah, when one wanted to declare Zihar towards his wife, he would say, “To me, you are like the back of my mother.” That was one way they issued divorce during that time. Allah allowed this Ummah to pay expiation for this statement and did not render it as a divorce, contrary to the case during the time of Jahiliyyah. Allah said,

﴿مَّا هُنَّ أُمَّهَـتِهِمْ إِنْ أُمَّهَـتُهُمْ إِلاَّ اللاَّئِى وَلَدْنَهُمْ﴾

 

(they cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth.) meaning, when the husband says to his wife that she is like his mother, or the back of his mother etc., she does not become his mother. Rather his mother is she who gave birth to him. This is why Allah said,

﴿وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَقُولُونَ مُنكَراً مِّنَ الْقَوْلِ وَزُوراً﴾

 

(And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie.) meaning, false and sinful speech,

﴿وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ﴾

 

(And verily, Allah is Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.) meaning, `what you used to do during the time of Jahiliyyah, and what accidentally slips out of your mouth, unintentionally.’ Allah’s statement,

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يُظَـهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُواْ﴾

 

(And those who make unlawful to them (their wives) by Zihar and wish to free themselves from what they uttered,) Ash-Shafi`i said, “It means to keep her for a while after the Zihar, without divorcing her, even though his is able to do so.” Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “To return to having sexual relations with her or to merely intend to do so, but only after he pays the expiation mentioned in the Ayah for his statement.” It has been quoted from Malik that it is the intention to have sexual relations or to keep her or actually having sexual intercourse. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that this Ayah,

﴿ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُواْ﴾

 

(and wish to free themselves from what they uttered,) meaning, if they want to return to having sexual intercourse which was forbidden between them. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that it is to utilize her sexual organ, and he did not see any harm in doing what is less than that before paying the expiation. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas:

﴿مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا﴾

 

(before they touch each other.) “The `touching’ refers here to sexual intercourse.” Similar was said by `Ata’, Az-Zuhri, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan. Az-Zuhri added, “He is not to kiss or touch her until he pays the expiation.” The Sunan compilers recorded from `Ikrimah, from Ibn `Abbas that a man said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I pronounced Zihar on my wife, but then had sexual intercourse with her before I paid the expiation.” The Messenger said,

«مَا حَمَلَكَ عَلى ذَلِكَ يَرْحَمُكَ الله»

 

(May Allah grant you His mercy, what made you do that) He said, “I saw the adornment she was wearing shining in the moon’s light.” The Prophet said,

«فَلَا تَقْرَبْهَا حَتْى تَفْعَلَ مَا أَمَرَكَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَل»

 

(Then do not touch her until you do what Allah the Exalted and Most Honored has ordered you to do.) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib Sahih.” Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i also recorded it. Allah said,

﴿فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ﴾

 

((the penalty) in that case is the freeing of a slave) indicating the necessity of freeing a slave before they touch each other. This Ayah mentions any slave, not only believing servants as in the case of the expiation for (unintentional) killing,

﴿ذَلِكُمْ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِ﴾

 

(That is an admonition to you.) meaning, a warning to threaten you in this case.

﴿وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ﴾

 

(And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) meaning, He is All-Knower in what brings you benefit. Allah’s statement,

﴿فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا فَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَإِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِيناً﴾

 

(And he who finds not must fast two successive months before they both touch each other. And he who is unable to do so, should feed sixty of the poor.) is explained by the Hadiths that prescribe these punishments in this order, just as in the Hadith collected in the Two Sahihs about the man who had sexual intercourse with his wife during the day, in Ramadan. Allah said,

﴿ذَلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ﴾

 

(That is in order that you may have perfect faith in Allah and His Messenger.) meaning, `We legislated this punishment so that you acquire this trait,’

﴿وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ﴾

 

(These are the limits set by Allah.) meaning, the things that He has forbidden, so do not transgress them,

﴿وَلِلكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ﴾

 

(And for disbelievers, there is a painful torment.) meaning, those who do not believe and do not abide by the rulings of Islamic legislation should never think they will be saved from the torment. Rather theirs will be a painful torment in this life and the Hereafter.

Explaining the Punishment of the Enemies of the Religion

Allah states that those who defy Him and His Messenger and contradict His commandments,

﴿كُبِتُواْ كَمَا كُبِتَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ﴾

 

(will be disgraced as those before them were disgraced) meaning, they will be humiliated, cursed and disgraced, just as what happened to their like were before them,

﴿وَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَآ ءَايَـتٍ بَيِّنَـتٍ﴾

 

(And We have sent down clear Ayat.) meaning, none contradicts or opposes them, except a disbeliever, rebellious, sinner,

﴿وَلِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ﴾

 

(And for the disbelievers is a disgraceful torment) meaning, as just recompense for their arrogant refusal to follow, obey and submit to the religion of Allah. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً﴾

 

(On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together) referring to the Day of Resurrection when He will gather the early and the latter generations in one area,

﴿فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا عَمِلُواْ﴾

 

(and inform them of what they did.) He will tell them all that they did in detail, whether good or evil,

﴿أَحْصَـهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ﴾

 

(Allah has kept account of it, while they have forgotten it.) meaning, Allah recorded and kept all these actions, even though they have forgotten what they did,

﴿وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ شَهِيدٌ﴾

 

(And Allah is Witness over all things.) meaning, nothing escapes His knowledge, and no matter is hidden from Him or escapes His complete observation.

Allah’s Knowledge encompasses Creation

Then Allah the Exalted informs of His knowledge encompassing all creation, observing it, hearing their speech and seeing them, wherever they may be and in whatever condition they may be in,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَى ثَلَـثَةٍ﴾

 

(Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth There is no Najwa of three), i.e., secret consultation of three,

﴿إِلاَّ هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلاَ خَمْسَةٍ إِلاَّ هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلاَ أَدْنَى مِن ذَلِكَ وَلاَ أَكْثَرَ إِلاَّ هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُواْ﴾

 

(but He is their fourth — nor of five but He is their sixth — nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be.) meaning, He is watching them, perfectly hearing their speech, whether uttered in public or secret. His angels record all that they say, even though He has better knowledge of it and hears them perfectly, as Allah said;

﴿أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَّـمُ الْغُيُوبِ ﴾

 

(Know they not that Allah knows their secret ideas, and their Najwa, and that Allah is the All-Knower of the unseen.) (9:78),

﴿أَمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّا لاَ نَسْمَعُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَهُم بَلَى وَرُسُلُنَا لَدَيْهِمْ يَكْتُبُونَ ﴾

 

(Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private Najwa And Our messengers are by them to record.) (43:80) For this reason, several mentioned that there is a consensus among the scholars that this “with” refers to Allah’s knowledge. There is no doubt that this meaning is true, especially if we add to it the certainty that His hearing encompasses all things, as well as His sight. He, the Exalted and Most Honored, is never lacking in knowing all their affairs,

﴿ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُواْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ﴾

 

(And afterwards on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.) Imam Ahmad commented, “Allah began the Ayah (58:7) by mentioning His knowledge and ended it by mentioning His knowledge.”

The Evil of the Jews

Ibn Abi Najih reported from Mujahid,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نُهُواْ عَنِ النَّجْوَى ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ﴾

 

(Have you not seen those who were forbidden to hold secret counsels, and afterwards returned to that which they had been forbidden,) He said, “The Jews.” Similar was said by Muqatil bin Hayyan, who added, “The Prophet had a peace treaty with the Jews. When one of the Prophet’s Companions would pass by a gathering of Jews, they would speak among themselves in secret, prompting the believer to think that they were plotting to kill or harm him. When the believer saw this, he feared for his safety and changed the route he was taking. The Prophet advised them to abandon their evil secret talks, but they did not listen and kept on holding the Najwa. Allah the Exalted sent down this Ayah in their case,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نُهُواْ عَنِ النَّجْوَى ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ﴾

 

(Have you not seen those who were forbidden to hold secret counsels, and afterwards returned to that which they had been forbidden).” Allah’s statement,

﴿وَيَتَنَـجَوْنَ بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ الرَّسُولِ﴾

 

(and conspired together for sin and wrongdoing and disobedience to the Messenger.) means, they used to talk to each other,

﴿بِالإِثْمِ﴾

 

(for sin) which involves themselves,

﴿وَالْعُدْوَنِ﴾

 

(and wrongdoing) which effects others. They speak about disobedience and defying of the Messenger , with persistence and recommending each other to follow their way,

﴿وَإِذَا جَآءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ بِمَا لَمْ يُحَيِّكَ بِهِ اللَّهُ﴾

 

(And when they come to you, they greet you with a greeting wherewith Allah greets you not,) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `A’ishah said, “Some Jews came to the Prophet and greeted him by saying, `As-Sam `Alayka, O Abul-Qasim.’ So I said to them, `wa `Alaykum As-Sam (the same death be upon you).’ The Prophet said,

«يَا عَائِشَةُ إِنَّ اللهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفُحْشَ وَلَا التَّفَحُّش»

 

(O `A’ishah, Allah does not like rudeness and foul speech.) I said, `Didn’t you hear them say, `As-Sam Alayka’ He said,

«أَوَ مَا سَمِعْتِ أَقُولُ: وَعَلَيْكُم»

 

(Didn’t you hear me answering them back by saying, `Wa `Alaykum (And the same upon you)’) Allah the Exalted then sent down this Ayah,

﴿وَإِذَا جَآءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ بِمَا لَمْ يُحَيِّكَ بِهِ اللَّهُ﴾

 

(And when they come to you, they greet you with a greeting wherewith Allah greets you not,)” The narration collected in the Sahih states that `A’ishah said, “And be upon you the death, disgrace and curse.” The Messenger of Allah said to her,

«إِنَّهُ يُسْتَجَابُ لَنَا فِيهِمْ، وَلَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَهُمْ فِينَا»

 

(Allah accepts our supplication against them, but not theirs against us.) Ibn Jarir recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “A Jew passed by Allah’s Messenger , who was sitting with his Companions, he greeted them and they greeted him back. Allah’s Messenger then said to his Companions,

«هَلْ تَدْرُونَ مَا قَالَ؟»

 

(Do you know what he just said) They said, `He said: As-Salam, O Allah’s Messenger.’ The Prophet said,

«بَلْ قَالَ: سَامٌ عَلَيْكُم»

 

(Rather he said, Sam `Alaykum.) meaning, `may you disgrace your religion.’ Allah’s Messenger then said,

«رُدُّوه»

 

(Bring him back,) and when he was brought back, the Prophet asked him,

«أَقُلْتَ: سَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ؟»

 

(Did you say: Sam `Alaykum) He said, `Yes.’ The Prophet then said,

«إِذَا سَلَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ فَقُولُوا: عَلَيْك»

 

(When the people of the Book greet you, say, `Wa `Alaykum.’)” meaning, `and the same on you too.’ The basis for the Hadith of Anas is in the Sahih and similar to this Hadith of `A’ishah is in the Sahih. Allah said,

﴿وَيَقُولُونَ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَوْلاَ يُعَذِّبُنَا اللَّهُ بِمَا نَقُولُ﴾

 

(and say within themselves:”Why should Allah punish us not for what we say”) means, the Jews say these words, changing the meaning of the Islamic greeting, into an abusive statement, and then say, `Had he been a Prophet, Allah would have punished us for what we said. Allah knows what we conceal. Therefore, if Muhammad were a Prophet, Allah would have sent His punishment on us sooner, in this life.’ Allah the Exalted replied,

﴿حَسْبُهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ﴾

 

(Hell will be sufficient for them;) ell should be sufficient for them in the Hereafter,

﴿يَصْلَوْنَهَا فَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ﴾

 

(they will enter therein. And worst indeed is that destination!) Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr said that the Jews used to say, “Sam `Alayka,” to Allah’s Messenger . They would say then within themselves, “Why does Allah not punish us for what we say” This Ayah was later revealed,

﴿وَإِذَا جَآءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ بِمَا لَمْ يُحَيِّكَ بِهِ اللَّهُ وَيَقُولُونَ فِى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَوْلاَ يُعَذِّبُنَا اللَّهُ بِمَا نَقُولُ حَسْبُهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ يَصْلَوْنَهَا فَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ﴾

 

(And when they come to you, they greet you with a greeting wherewith Allah greets you not, and say within themselves: “Why should Allah punish us not for what we say” Hell will be sufficient for them; they will enter therein. And worst indeed is that destination!) Its chain of narration is Hasan, but they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not collect it.

 

Manners of the Najwa, (Secret Counsel)

Allah the Exalted teaches His believing servants to avoid the ways of the disbelievers and hypocrites,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا تَنَاجَيْتُمْ فَلاَ تَتَنَـجَوْاْ بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَةِ الرَّسُولِ﴾

 

(O you who believe! When you hold secret counsel, do it not for sin and wrongdoing, and disobedience to the Messenger,) meaning, do not hold evil secret counsels like the ignorant disbelieving People of the Scriptures and their allies among the hypocrites, who imitate their ways,

﴿وَتَنَـجَوْاْ بِالْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ الَّذِى إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ﴾

 

(but do it for Al-Birr and Taqwa; and have Taqwa of Allah unto Whom you shall be gathered.) and He will then inform you of all your deeds and statements; He has counted and recorded them and will justly hold you accountable for them. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿إِنَّمَا النَّجْوَى مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ لِيَحْزُنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَلَيْسَ بِضَآرِّهِمْ شَيْئاً إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ﴾

 

(An-Najwa are only from the Shaytan, in order that he may cause grief to the believers. But he cannot harm them in the least, except as Allah permits. And in Allah let the believers put their trust.) Allah states that secret talks, where the believers feel anxious, are

﴿مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ لِيَحْزُنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ﴾

 

(only from Shaytan, in order that he may cause grief to the believers.) meaning, that those who hold such counsels do so because of the lures of the devil,

﴿لِيَحْزُنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ﴾

 

(in order that he may cause grief to the believers.) The devil seeks to bother the believers, even though his plots will not harm the believers, except if Allah wills it. Those who are the subject of evil Najwa, should seek refuge in Allah and put his trust in Him, for none of it will harm them, Allah willing. The Sunnah also forbids the Najwa so that no Muslim is bothered by it. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِذَا كُنْتُمْ ثَلَاثَةً فَلَا يَتَنَاجَى اثْنَانِ دُونَ صَاحِبِهِمَا، فَإِنَّ ذلِكَ يُحْزِنُه»

 

(If you were three, then two of you should not hold a secret counsel in the presence of the third person, because that would cause him to be worried.) This Hadith is collected in the Two Sahihs using a chain of narration that contained Al-A`mash. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that Allah’s Messenger said,

«إِذَا كُنْتُمْ ثَلَاثَةً فَلَا يَتَنَاجَى اثْنَانِ دُونَ الثَّالِثِ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ، فَإِنَّ ذلِكَ يُحْزِنُه»

 

(If you were three, then two of you should not hold a secret counsel in the presence of the third person, except with his permission, because that would cause him to be worried.) Muslim collected this Hadith.

Manners for Assemblies

Allah teaches His servants good manners and orders them to be kind to each other when they are sitting together,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُواْ فِى الْمَجَـلِسِ﴾

 

(O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies,)

﴿فَافْسَحُواْ يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ﴾

 

(make room. Allah will give you room.) Indeed, the reward or recompense depends on the type of action. In a Hadith, the Prophet said,

«مَنْ بَنَىىِللهِ مَسْجِدًا بَنَى اللهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّة»

 

(Whoever builds a Masjid for Allah, Allah builds for him a house in Paradise.) In another Hadith, the Prophet said,

«وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلى مُعْسِرٍ يَسَّرَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْاخِرَةِ، وَاللهُ فِي عَوْنِ الْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ الْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيه»

 

(He who relieves a difficulty for a person living in straitened circumstances, then Allah will relieve the difficulties of this life and the Hereafter for him. Surely, Allah helps the servant as long as the servant helps his brother.) There are many similar Hadiths. This is why Allah the Exalted said,

﴿فَافْسَحُواْ يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ﴾

 

(make room. Allah will give you room.) Qatadah said, “This Ayah was revealed about gatherings in places where Allah is being remembered. When someone would come to join in assemblies with the Messenger , they would hesitate to offer them space so that they would not loose their places. Allah the Exalted commanded them to spread out and make room for each other.” Imam Ahmad and Imam Ash-Shafi`i recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا يُقِمِ الرَّجُلُ الرَّجُلَ مِنْ مَجْلِسِهِ فَيَجْلِسَ فِيهِ، وَلَكِنْ تَفَسَّحُوا وَتَوَسَّعُوا»

 

(One of you should not remove someone from his place and sit in it, but instead, spread out and make room.) This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

«لَا يُقِمِ الرَّجُلُ الرَّجُلَ مِنْ مَجْلِسِهِ ثُمَّ يَجْلِسُ فِيهِ، وَلَكِنِ افْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللهُ لَكُم»

 

(A man should not remove another man from his place and then sit in it. Rather spread out and make room and Allah will make room for you.) Imam Ahmad also recorded this Hadith with the wording:

«لَا يَقُومُ الرَّجُلُ لِلرَّجُلِ مِنْ مَجْلِسِهِ، وَلَكِنِ افْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللهُ لَكُم»

 

(A man should not leave his place for another man, but rather spread out and make room, and Allah will make room for you).” It has been reported that Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and others said that:

﴿إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُواْ فِى الْمَجَـلِسِ فَافْسَحُواْ يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ﴾

 

(When you are told to make room in the assemblies, make room. Allah will give you room.) means to war assemblies, and that,

﴿وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُواْ فَانشُزُواْ﴾

 

(And when you are told to rise up, then rise up.) means, “Get up to fight.” Qatadah said

﴿وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُواْ فَانشُزُواْ﴾

 

(And when you are told to rise up, then rise up.) means, “When you are called to any type of good, then respond.”

The Virtues of Knowledge and People of Knowledge

Allah’s statement,

﴿يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَـتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ﴾

 

(Allah will exalt in degrees those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.) means, do not think that if one of you makes room for his brother, or rises up when he is commanded to do so, that this will diminish his right or honor. Rather, this will increase his virtue and status with Allah, and Allah the Exalted will never make his good deed be lost. To the contrary, He will reward him for it in this life and the Hereafter. Surely, he who humbles himself by and before the command of his Lord, then Allah will elevate his status and make him known by his good behavior. the statement of Allah the Exalted,

﴿يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَـتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ﴾

 

m(Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well–Acquainted with what you do.) meaning, surely, Allah is Aware of those who deserve this reward and those who are not worthy of it. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu At-Tufayl `Amir bin Wathilah said that Nafi` bin `Abdul–Harith met `Umar bin Al-Khattab in the area of `Usfan. `Umar appointed Abu At-Tufayl to be the governor of Makkah. `Umar asked him, “Whom did you appoint as your deputy for the valley people (that is, Makkah).” `Amir said, “I appointed Ibn Abza, one of our freed slaves, as my deputy.” `Umar said, “You made a freed slave their governor in your absence” He said, “O Leader of the faithful! He has memorized Allah’s Book and has knowledge of regulations of inheritance, along with being a proficient judge.” `Umar said, “Surely, your Prophet has said,

«إِنَّ اللهَ يَرْفَعُ بِهذَا الْكِتَابِ قَوْمًا وَيَضَعُ بِهِ آخَرِين»

 

(Verily, Allah elevates some people and degrades others, on account of this Book.)” Muslim collected this Hadith.

The Order to give Charity before One speaks to the Prophet in private

Allah commanded His believing servants, when any of them wanted to speak with Allah’s Messenger in secret, to give away charity beforehand so that his charity cleanses and purifies him and makes him worthy of having a private counsel with the Prophet . This is why Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ﴾

 

(That will be better and purer for you.) then He said,

﴿فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُواْ﴾

 

(But if you find not.) meaning, if he is unable to do so due to poverty,

﴿فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

 

(then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) He only commanded those who are financially able to give this type of charity. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿أَءَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَـتٍ﴾

 

(Are you afraid of spending in charity before your private consultation) meaning, are you afraid that the order to give charity before speaking privately to the Prophet remains in effect forever

﴿فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَءَاتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ وَأَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ﴾

 

(If then you do it not, and Allah has forgiven you, then perform Salah and give Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) Therefore, Allah abrogated the obligation of giving this charity. It was said that none has implemented this command before except its abrogation, `Ali bin Abi Talib. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas:

﴿فَقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَةً﴾

 

(spend something in charity before your private consultation.) “The Muslims kept asking Allah’s Messenger questions until it became difficult on him. Allah wanted to lighten the burden from His Prophet , upon him be peace. So when He said this, many Muslims were afraid to pay this charity and stopped asking. Afterwards, Allah sent down this Ayah,

﴿أَءَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَـتٍ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُواْ وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَءَاتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ﴾

 

(Are you afraid of spending in charity before your private consultation If then you do it not, and Allah has forgiven you, then perform Salah and give Zakah) Thus Allah made things easy and lenient for them.” `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah’s statement:

﴿فَقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَةً﴾

 

(spend something in charity before your private consultation.) “This was abrogated by the next Ayah:

﴿أَءَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَـتٍ﴾

 

(Are you afraid of spending in charity before your private consultation…).” Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah reported from Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan, “People kept questioning Allah’s Messenger until they made things difficult for him. Allah provided a way to stop their behavior by this Ayah. One of them would need to speak to Allah’s Prophet about a real matter, but could not do so until he gave in charity. This became hard on people and Allah sent down relief from this requirement afterwards,

﴿فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

 

(But if you find not, then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful).” Ma`mar reported from Qatadah that the Ayah,

﴿إِذَا نَـجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُواْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَكُمْ صَدَقَةً﴾

 

(When you (want to) consult the Messenger in private, spend something in charity before your private consultation.) was abrogated after being in effect for only one hour of a day. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Mujahid said that `Ali said, “No one except me implemented this Ayah, until it was abrogated,” and he was reported to have said that it remained in effect for merely an hour.

Chastising the Hypocrites

Allah chastises the hypocrites for secretly aiding and supporting the disbelievers even though, in reality, they were neither with the disbelievers nor with the Muslims. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,

﴿مُّذَبْذَبِينَ بَيْنَ ذلِكَ لاَ إِلَى هَـؤُلاءِ وَلاَ إِلَى هَـؤُلاءِ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلاً ﴾

 

((They are) swaying between this and that, belonging neither to these nor to those; and he whom Allah sends astray, you will not find for him a way.)(4:143) Allah said here,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْاْ قَوْماً غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم﴾

 

(Have you not seen those who take as friends a people upon whom is the wrath of Allah) referring to the Jews with whom the hypocrites were allies in secret. Allah said,

﴿مَّا هُم مِّنكُمْ وَلاَ مِنْهُمْ﴾

 

(They are neither of you nor of them,) meaning, that these hypocrites are neither with the believers, nor with their allies the Jews,

﴿وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ﴾

 

(and they swear to a lie while they know.) meaning, the hypocrites lie when they vow, knowing that they are lying, which is called the vow of Al-Ghamus. We seek refuge with Allah from their ways. When the hypocrites met the believers they said that they believed and when they went to the Messenger, they swore to him by Allah that they were believers. They knew that they were lying in their vow, and they knew that they did not declare their true creed. This is why Allah witnessed here that they lie in their vows and know that they are lying, even though their statement (about the Prophet being Allah’s Prophet) is true in essence. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ عَذَاباً شَدِيداً إِنَّهُمْ سَآءَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ ﴾

 

(Allah has prepared for them a severe torment. Evil indeed is that which they used to do.) meaning, Allah has prepared a painful torment for the hypocrites on account of their evil deeds, their aid and support of the disbelievers and their deceit and betrayal of the believers. The statement of Allah the Exalted,

﴿اتَّخَذْواْ أَيْمَـنَهُمْ جُنَّةً فَصَدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ﴾

 

(They have made their oaths a screen. Thus they hinder (others) from the path of Allah,) meaning, the hypocrites pretended to be believers and concealed disbelief under the shield of their false oaths. Many were unaware of their true stance and were thus deceived by their oaths. Because of this, some people were hindered from the Path of Allah

﴿فَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ﴾

 

(so they shall have a humiliating torment.) meaning, as recompense for belittling the significance of swearing by the Mighty Name of Allah, while lying and concealing betrayal. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿لَن تُغْنِىَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَلُهُمْ وَلاَ أَوْلـدُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا﴾

 

(Their children and their wealth will avail them nothing against Allah.) meaning, none of their possessions can avert the affliction when it is sent their way,

﴿أُولَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ﴾

 

(They will be the dwellers of the Fire to dwell therein forever.) Allah the Exalted said,

﴿يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً﴾

 

(On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together;) referring to the Day of Resurrection when He will gather them all together and leave none of them out,

﴿فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَىْءٍ﴾

 

(then they will swear to Him as they swear to you. And they think that they have something.) meaning, they will swear to Allah the Exalted and Most Honored that they were following the guidance and the correct path, just as they used to swear to the believers in this worldly life. Verily, those who live following on a certain path will most likely die while on it. Thus, they will be resurrected upon their path. The hypocrites will think that their vows will help them with Allah, just as they helped with the people, who were obliged to treat them as they pretended to be, Muslim. This is why Allah said,

﴿وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَىْءٍ﴾

 

(And they think that they have something) meaning, on account of swearing to their Lord (that they used to be believers). Allah rebukes this idea of theirs;

﴿أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَـذِبُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, they are liars!) stressing that they are lying, Allah then said;

﴿اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ فَأَنسَـهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ﴾

 

(The Shaytan has overpowered them. So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah.) meaning, Shaytan has taken over their hearts to the point that he made them forget Allah the Exalted and Most Honored. This is what the devil does to those whom he controls. Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,

«مَا مِنْ ثَلَاثَةٍ فِي قَرْيَةٍ وَلَا بَدْوٍ، لَا تُقَامُ فِيهِمُ الصَّلَاةُ إِلَّا قَدِ اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ، فَعَلَيْكَ بِالْجَمَاعَةِ، فَإِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُ الذِّئْبُ الْقَاصِيَة»

 

(Any three in a village or desert among whom the Salah is not called for, will have the Shaytan control them. Therefore, adhere to the Jama`ah, for the wolf eats from the strayed sheep.) Za’idah added that As-Sa’ib said that Jama`ah, refers to, “Praying in congregation.” Allah the Exalted said,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَـنِ﴾

 

(They are the party of Shaytan.) referring to those who are controlled by the devil and, as a result, forgot the remembrance of Allah,

﴿أَلاَ إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَـنِ هُمُ الخَـسِرُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, it is the party of Shaytan that will be the losers!)

The Opponents of Allah and His Messenger are the Losers

Allah and His Messenger shall prevail Allah the Exalted asserts that the rebellious and stubborn disbelievers who defy Him and His Messenger , those who do not embrace the religion and stay away from Truth, are in one area, while the guidance is in another area,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ فِى الاٌّذَلِّينَ﴾

 

(They will be among those most humiliated.) they are among the miserable, the cast out, banished from goodness; they are the humiliated ones in this life and the Hereafter. Allah said,

﴿كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لاّغْلِبَنَّ أَنَاْ وَرُسُلِى﴾

 

(Allah has decreed: “Verily, I and My Messengers shall be the victorious.”) meaning, He has decreed, written in the First Book, and decided in the decree that He has willed — which can never be resisted, changed or prevented — that final victory is for Him, His Book, His Messengers and the faithful believers, in this life and the Hereafter:

﴿إِنَّ الْعَـقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ﴾

 

(Surely, the (good) end is for those who have Taqwa.)(11:49),

﴿إِنَّا لَنَنصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فِى الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ يَقُومُ الاٌّشْهَـدُ – يَوْمَ لاَ يَنفَعُ الظَّـلِمِينَ مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ وَلَهُمُ الْلَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ ﴾

 

(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, the Day when their excuses will be of no profit to the wrongdoers. Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode.)(40:51-52) Allah said here,

﴿كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لاّغْلِبَنَّ أَنَاْ وَرُسُلِى إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ ﴾

 

(Allah has decreed: “Verily, I and My Messengers shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty.) meaning, the Almighty, All-Powerful has decreed that He shall prevail over His enemies. Indeed, this is the final judgement and a matter ordained; the final triumph and victory are for the believers in this life and the Hereafter

The Believers do not befriend the Disbelievers

Allah the Exalted said,

﴿لاَّ تَجِدُ قَوْماً يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنْ حَآدَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُواْ ءَابَآءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَنَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ﴾

 

(You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred.) Meaning, do not befriend the deniers, even if they are among the closest relatives. Allah said,

﴿لاَّ يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَـفِرِينَ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَىْءٍ إِلاَ أَن تَتَّقُواْ مِنْهُمْ تُقَـةً وَيُحَذِّرْكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ﴾

 

(Let not the believers take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself.) (3:28), and,

﴿قُلْ إِن كَانَ ءَابَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَنُكُمْ وَأَزْوَجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَلٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَـرَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَـكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِىَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الْفَـسِقِينَ ﴾

 

(Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are the rebellious.)(9:24) Sa`id bin `Abdul-`Aziz and others said that this Ayah,

﴿لاَّ تَجِدُ قَوْماً يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ﴾

 

(You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day…) was revealed in the case of Abu `Ubaydah `Amir bin `Abdullah bin Al-Jarrah when he killed his disbelieving father, during the battle of Badr. This is why when `Umar bin Al-Khattab placed the matter of Khilafah in the consultation of six men after him, he said; “If Abu `Ubaydah were alive, I would have appointed him the Khalifah.” It was also said that the Ayah,

﴿وَلَوْ كَانُواْ ءَابَآءَهُمْ﴾

 

(even though they were their fathers), was revealed in the case of Abu `Ubaydah, when he killed his father during the battle of Badr, while the Ayah,

﴿أَوْ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ﴾

 

(or their sons) was revealed in the case of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq when he intended to kill his (disbelieving) son, `Abdur-Rahman, (during Badr), while the Ayah,

﴿أَوْ إِخْوَنَهُمْ﴾

 

(or their brothers) was revealed about the case of Mus`ab bin `Umayr, who killed his brother, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, during Badr, and that the Ayah,

﴿أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ﴾

 

(or their kindred) was revealed about the case of `Umar, who killed one of his relatives during Badr, and also that this Ayah was revealed in the case of Hamzah, `Ali and Ubaydah bin Al-Harith. They killed their close relatives `Utbah, Shaybah and Al-Walid bin `Utbah that day. Allah knows best. A similar matter is when Allah’s Messenger consulted with his Companions about what should be done with the captives of Badr. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq thought that they should accept ransom for them so the Muslims could use the money to strengthen themselves. He mentioned the fact that the captured were the cousins and the kindred, and that they might embrace Islam later on, by Allah’s help. `Umar said, “But I have a different opinion, O Allah’s Messenger! Let me kill so-and-so, my relative, and let `Ali kill `Aqil (`Ali’s brother), and so-and-so kill so-and-so. Let us make it known to Allah that we have no mercy in our hearts for the idolators.” Allah said,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ كَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ الإِيمَـنَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ﴾

 

(For such He has written faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Ruh from Himself.) means, those who have the quality of not befriending those who oppose Allah and His Messenger , even if they are their fathers or brothers, are those whom Allah has decreed faith, meaning, happiness, in their hearts and made faith dear to their hearts and happiness reside therein. As-Suddi said that the Ayah,

﴿كَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ الإِيمَـنَ﴾

 

(He has written faith in their hearts,) means, “He has placed faith in their hearts.” Ibn `Abbas said that,

﴿وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ﴾

 

(and strengthened them with Ruh from Himself.) means, “He gave them strengths.” Allah’s statement,

﴿وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الاٌّنْهَـرُ خَـلِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ﴾

 

(And He will admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him.) was explained several times before. Allah’s statement,

﴿رِّضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ﴾

 

(Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him.) contains a beautiful secret. When the believers became enraged against their relatives and kindred in Allah’s cause, He compensated them by being pleased with them and making them pleased with Him from what He has granted them of eternal delight, ultimate victory and encompassing favor. Allah’s statement,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلاَ إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ﴾

 

(They are the party of Allah. Verily, the party of Allah will be the successful.) indicates that they are the party of Allah, meaning, His servants who are worthy of earning His honor. Allah’s statement,

﴿أَلاَ إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, the party of Allah will be the successful.) asserts their success, happiness and triumph in this life and the Hereafter, in contrast to those, who are the party of the devil,

﴿أَلاَ إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَـنِ هُمُ الخَـسِرُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, the party of Shaytan will be the losers!)

***

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Mujadilah. All praise and thanks are due to Allah.

[58:1] Allah has heard the talk of the woman who was debating with you about her husband, and was complaining to Allah. And Allah was hearing the conversation between both of you. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

(1) Zihar is a term denoting a custom of the Arabs in the days of Ignorance. In case of disagreement with their wives they used to say to them, “You are for me like the back of my mother.” After saying this, they used to take their wives as their real mothers in being prohibited for them, and the ties of marriage were held to have been broken for good, with no possibility of their restoration. These verses have been revealed in a similar case where a husband (Aus ibn. Samit) had declared ?ihar against his wife (Khawlah) who approached the Holy Prophet and complained about her husband. The custom of the days of Ignorance was condemned, and the rules of Shari’ah about zihar were laid down by these verses. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)

Commentary
Cause of Revelation
The initial verses of this Surah refer to a particular incident: Sayyidna Aus Ibn Samit ؓ said to his wife Sayyidah Khaulah bint Tha’labah ؓ which, literally, means ‘You are to me like the back of my mother.’ Its underlying meaning is ‘You are unlawful to me for cohabitation just like my mother.’ Such an utterance, in the days of ignorance, amounted to divorce – even worse because it was taken to imply that the husband is rescinding all marital ties with his wife and, in addition, he is classifying her within the prohibited degree or permanently forbidden women like his mother. According to pre-Islamic custom, reunion with the wife was possible after divorce, but not after zihar, as she became permanently and absolutely forbidden. When this incident took place, the aggrieved lady went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ complaining about her husband and seeking redress for her problem according to Shari’ah. Up to that point in time the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had not received any revelation concerning that legal issue. Therefore, he pleaded his inability to do anything to help her in the absence of a revealed ordinance and said to her: مَٓا اُمِرتُ فِی شَانکِ بِشَیءِ حَتّی الاٰنِ “I have not yet received any ordinance regarding your matter.” However he expressed his opinion according to common custom and said: مَا اَرَاکِ اِلَّا قَد حُرمتِ عَلَیہِ “In my opinion, you have become forbidden to him.” Having heard this ruling, she pleaded: “0 Allah’s Messenger! He spent my wealth, exhausted my youth and my womb bore abundantly for him. When I became old, unable to bear children, he pronounced the zihar formula on me. Where shall I go and how will my children do their living?” According to another version, she said: مَا ذَکَرَ طَلَاقاً “My husband did not mention the word ‘divorce’, so how can this be counted as ‘divorce’?” According to another version, she pleaded to Allah: اَللَّھُمَّ اِنِّی اَشکُوا الیکَ “0 Allah! I direct my complaint to You . This was the cause of the revelation of verses [1-6] (Al-Durarul Manthur and Ibn Kathir) which clearly state that Allah heard Sayyidah Khaulah’s ؓ complaint and revealed the rule of Shari’ah to redress her grievances. Allah not only made matters easy for her, but the rule has been eternally enshrined in the Holy Qur’an for all sensible people to follow.

The noble Companions ؓ greatly respected Sayyidah Khaulah ؓ because her case has been the cause of the revelation of the current set of verses, which abolished once and for all the long-standing social evil that was practiced in Arabia. Once Sayyidna ` Umar Faruq ؓ ، the Great, was on his way with some of the blessed Companions when he came across a woman who stopped him. He instantly stopped and listened attentively to her with his head bent down. He did not move till she completed what she wanted to say. Some of the noble Companions ؓ said: “0 Commander of the Faithful! You have held back such a large group of people for such a long time on account of this old lady!” Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ said: “Do you know who this lady is? She is Sayyidah Khaulah ؓ the lady whose complaint was heard in the seventh heaven. So, how can ` Umar not listen to her? She should be heard for a longer period of time and with greater attention. By Allah! If she did not take leave of her own accord, I would have stood with her here till the nightfall.” [Ibn Kathir]

قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّـهُ (Allah has heard….1) The reference in the verse is to Sayyidah Khaulah ؓ the wife of Sayyidna Aus Ibn Samit ؓ ، as mentioned above. Thus this verse and the rest of the verses lay down not only the rule of Shari` ah pertaining to zihar and redress the grievances of women placed in such awkward situation, but the first verse also is in honour of the pleading lady which consoles her, in that it says that Allah was listening to her words when she was pleading her case. The word mujadalah means ‘to plead, argue or dispute consistently and convincingly about one’s problem or case’. According to some narratives, when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ pleaded his inability to do anything for her, as noted above, the aggrieved lady uttered spontaneously that ‘you receive ordinances in all matters, then how is it that no ordinance was revealed to you in my case?’ Thus the verse was revealed: وَتَشْتَكِي إِلَى اللَّـهِ “…and was complaining to Allah…[1] “. [Qurtubi]

Sayyidah A’ishah ؓ is reported to have said: ” Pure is He, Whose hearing encompasses all things. I heard what Khaulah bint Tha’labah ؓ said about her husband while some of it I could not hear despite being so close to her in the same room, but Allah heard all her conversation and said : قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّـهُ ‘Allah has heard…’.” [Bukhari, Ibn Kathir]


[58:2] Those of you who declare zihar1 against their wives, they are not their mothers. Their mothers are but only those who have given birth to them. And undoubtedly they utter an evil word and a lie. And Allah is surely Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

Zihar
الَّذِينَ يُظَاهِرُ‌ونَ مِنكُم
مِّن نِّسَائِهِم (Those of you who declare zihar against their wives…58:2) The aorist yuzahiruna is derived from zihar. There was a cruel custom in pre-Islamic Arabia; as pointed out earlier, where the husband would utter the zihar formula اَنتِ عَلَیِّ کَظَھرِ اُمِّی ‘You are to me as my mother’s back’, and thus she would become permanently and absolutely unlawful to him for cohabitation like the mother. Here the word zahr (back) metonymically refers to bath ‘stomach or womb’. [Qurtubi]

Definition of zihar and its effect in Shari’ ah
In order to understand the definition of zihar in terms of Shari’ ah, it should be noted first that there are some women who are permanently forbidden for a man, such as mother, sister, daughter and others in the prohibited degree. Although looking at such women is permissible in general, yet looking at some parts of their body is not permissible, (like abdomen, back etc.) Now the definition of zihar is ‘to compare one’s wife with any of such parts of the body of such prohibited women’. According to the old Arab custom all conjugal relations ceased permanently between a man and his wife when he would use these words; rather it was worse than divorce. In the case of divorce, it was possible to retract and take back the wife. But in the case of zihar, according to the old Arab custom, it was not at all possible to restore the conjugal rights.

The current set of verses brought about reform in the custom in two ways: [1] zihar has been declared a sinful act. If a person is placed in a situation where he needs to separate from his wife, he must choose the method of ‘divorce’. Zihar should not be resorted to for this purpose, because the utterance of zihar formula is absurd, nonsense and false. Obviously, their wives are not their mothers, the Qur’ an reads thus: مَّا هُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِهِمْ إِنْ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ إِلَّا اللَّائِي وَلَدْنَهُمْ “…Their mothers are but only those who have given birth to them …58:2] “. The وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَقُولُونَ مُنكَرً‌ا مِّنَ الْقَوْلِ وَزُورً‌ا further says: “…and undoubtedly they utter an evil word and a lie…[58:2] ” In other words, their utterance is false, meaning ‘calling one’s wife mother’ is contrary to truth and fact, and also a heinous sin.
[2] The second reform the Qur’an brought about is as follows: If an ignorant person or a person unacquainted with the legal formalities of Islam were to utter the zihar formula, his wife does not become permanently unlawful to him, nor does he have an open licence to do as he wishes – like enjoying intimacy with her. The guilty person will have to pay a penalty for uttering such evil, false and obnoxious words. He cannot take back his wife without first paying the prescribed expiation. The following verse prescribes this expiation.


[58:3] And those who declare zihar against their wives, then retract what they said, obligated on them is to free the neck (of a slave) before the two (spouses) touch one another. This is what you are advised with, and Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.

The Expiation for Zihar
وَالَّذِينَ يُظَاهِرُ‌ونَ مِن نِّسَائِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا (And those who declare zihar against their wives, then retract what they said, …58:3). The preposition lam in the phrase يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا “…retract what they said…” is used in the sense of ` an [from]. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ interprets ‘retract’ in the sense of ‘regret’: ‘they regret what they said and wish to be intimate or cohabit with their wives’. [Mazhari]

The verse shows that the penalty has been imposed on the husband for the purpose of making the wife lawful – without it she cannot become lawful to him. zihar per se is not the cause of the expiation. In fact, zihar is a heinous sin for which repentance and seeking pardon and forgiveness is absolutely necessary. The concluding part of verse [2] وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ‌ “…Allah is surely Most-forgiving, Very-Merciful.” points to this fact. In other words, Allah in His great mercy has made allowance for man’s weaknesses and He is always ready to forgive his lapses, provided he comes to Allah with a penitent heart and makes amends. However, if a person did commit zihar and does not wish to take back his wife and enjoy intimacy with her, expiation is not obligatory on him. However, destroying a wife’s conjugal rights is unlawful. If she demands, it is obligatory for him to pay the expiation and take her back, should he wish to do so; or if she demands, he must divorce her and set her free from the bond of marriage. If he does not divorce her and set her free, then she has the right to apply to a Qadi or an Islamic court to compel him to either pay the expiation and take her back or to divorce her and set her free so that she could contract a second marriage. Islamic works on jurisprudence set down details of the laws pertaining to zihar.

The penalty for zihar is obligatory, which is given in this and the next verse. There are three options: [1] فَتَحْرِ‌يرُ‌ رَ‌قَبَةٍ (…obligated on them is to free the neck [of a slave]…) [2] If a person cannot afford to do that, he must keep fast for two consecutive months; and [3] if he is so weak or ill that he cannot fast, then he must feed sixty poor people. The expiation will be fulfilled if one poor person is given two meals for sixty days. Alternatively, it is possible to give two meals to sixty poor persons on a single day. In each case, the poor should be fed to their fill. Another possible alternative is to give to a poor person about 1.6 kg wheat or 2.12 kg dates or barley for sixty days or the equivalent price of these food items may be given. The details of the law appertaining to zihar and its expiation are available in the texts of Islamic jurisprudence.

It is recorded in Traditions that when Sayyidah Khaulah ؓ complained to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ about her husband and pleaded her case to Allah, verses relating to zihar and its expiation were revealed. So, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ called for the husband. When he came, the Holy Prophet ﷺ noticed that he was a weak-sighted old man. He recited to him the verses resolving his case, and commanded him to emancipate a slave, he said that he does not have the means to do that. The Holy Prophet ﷺ then asked him to fast two successive months, to which he replied: “By Him Who has sent you as the true Messenger, if I do not have two or three meals a day, I lose my sight completely.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ said ‘Then feed sixty poor people’. He said ‘I do not have the ability for that either, unless you help me’. The Holy Prophet ﷺ gave him some food grain, and also other people gathered more food grain for him, which amounted to the measure of sadaqatul-fitr for sixty poor men, and in this way the expiation was made. [Ibn Kathir]


[58:4] But whoever does not find (a slave) has to fast for two consecutive months before the two (spouses) touch one another. Then the one who is not able to do so has to feed sixty indigent persons. This is (laid down) so that you believe in Allah and His Messenger. And these are the limits set by Allah. And for the disbelievers there is a painful punishment.

ذَٰلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَ‌سُولِهِ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّـهِ وَلِلْكَافِرِ‌ينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (…This is [laid down] so that you believe in Allah and His Messenger. And these are the limits set by Allah. And for the disbelievers there is a painful chastisement. 58:4) This part of the verse contains the phrase ‘so that you believe’. Belief here implies ‘to act upon the sacred laws, ordinances and injunctions or obey the commandments of Allah and His Messenger’. Then the verse says that the laws of expiation are limits set by Allah. It is prohibited to exceed them. It indicates that in matters of marriage, divorce, incestuous comparison and so on, Islam has abolished all traces of pre-Islamic pagan elements of customs and practices, and set down the just and approved code of conduct. Man is required to stick strictly to the parameters of Islam. Those who oppose and deny the Divine limits will be tormented most severely.


[58:5] Surely those who oppose Allah and His Messenger shall be disgraced, just as those before them were disgraced. And We have sent down clear verses, and for the disbelievers there is a humiliating punishment

The Fate of those who Challenge Allah and His Apostle
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ كُبِتُوا كَمَا كُبِتَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ (Surely those who oppose Allah and His Messenger shall be disgraced, just as those before them were disgraced….58:5). In the preceding verse, stress was laid on keeping to Divine limits and to the sacred laws of Islam. The current verse warns those who oppose or reject them. Their profane designs shall be foiled and they shall be humiliated in this world and a condign torment shall be inflicted on them in the Hereafter.


[58:6] on the Day when Allah will raise all of them, and will tell them what they did; Allah has its full account, while they have forgotten it. And Allah is witness to everything.

أَحْصَاهُ اللَّـهُ وَنَسُوهُ (…Allah has its full account, while they have forgotten transgressions, but because he treats them as trivial and insignificant, he is unable to remember and recall them. However, they are all recorded and kept safely with Allah, even though the humans have done the actions and forgotten them. Allah will call them to give an account of them on the Day of Resurrection and chastise them.


[58:7] Have you not seen that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? No secret consultation takes place between three, but He is fourth of them, nor between five, but He is sixth of them, nor between fewer than that or more, but He is with them wherever they may be. Then He will tell them on the Day of Judgment what they did. Surely Allah is All-Knowing about everything.

[58:8] Did you not see those who were forbidden from holding secret counsels, then they do again what they were forbidden to do? And they whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the prophet, and when they come to you, they greet you the way Allah does not greet you, and say to themselves, “Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?” Enough for them is Jahannam (Hell); they will enter it, and it is an evil end.

Commentary
Circumstances of Revelation
There are several incidents related to the revelation of the current set of verses. [1] there was a peace agreement between the Jews and Muslims. But when one of the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ Companions would pass by a gathering of Jews, they would speak among themselves in secret, prompting the believer to think that they were plotting to harm or hurt him. The Holy Prophet ﷺ advised them to give up their secret plots and conspiracies but they did not heed. As a result, verse أَلَمْ تَرَ‌ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نُهُوا عَنِ النَّجْوَىٰ was revealed.
[2] Likewise, the hypocrites used to hold secret counsels or conferences, in consequence of which verses: إِذَا تَنَاجَيْتُمْ فَلَا تَتَنَاجَوْا and إِنَّمَا النَّجْوَىٰ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ were revealed.
[3] When the Jews came to see the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، they, with a little twist of the tongue, would invoke curses upon him by greeting him mischievously ` As-Samu ` alaykum’ اَلسَّم ُ عَلَیکُم [death to you!] instead of saluting him with the usual اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَیکُم ` As Salamu ` alaykum’ [peace be upon you]. On this occasion, verse وَإِذَا جَاءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ was revealed..
[4] Ibn Kathir cites Imam Ahmad’s narration in which it is reported that the Jews used to greet in this way, changing the meaning of Islamic greeting into an abusive statement, and then say, لَوْلَا يُعَذِّبُنَا اللَّـهُ بِمَا نَقُولُ Had he been a Prophet, Allah would have punished us for the sin we committed – why did He not punish us?’.
[5] Once the Holy Prophet ﷺ was sitting in the suffah of the mosque. The congregation was large in the mosque. Some of the participants of the battle of Badr arrived late and they could not find place to sit, nor did the people sitting in the mosque make room for the late-comers. The Holy Prophet ﷺ asked some of the people to stand up and leave. The hypocrites, however, found this objectionable. He also asked the people to spread out and make room for their fellow-believers and he prayed Allah for such people to show His mercy them. Verse يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا was revealed on that occasion. [Transmitted by Abu Haim]. Piecing all the elements of the narrations together, it is possible that at first the Holy Prophet ﷺ might have asked the Companions ؓ to spread out and make room for their companions. Some of them might have complied and others probably did not. So, the Holy Prophet might have admonished them to stand up and leave as the students of seminaries are admonished to do in a similar situation. Probably, the hypocrites objected to this.
[6] Some wealthy people used to come to the Holy Prophet ﷺ and consult him in private for a long time which inconvenienced him and the poor people would not get much time to consult him. For this reason, verse إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّ‌سُولَ was revealed. It is cited in Fathul Bayan from Zaid Ibn Aslam, without any authoritative source, that the Jews and hypocrites used to hold unnecessary private conferences with the Holy Prophet ﷺ . The Muslims were perturbed by this because they gained the impression that this type of consultation might be harmful. As a result verse نُهُوا عَنِ النَّجْوَىٰ was revealed. When they did not heed, verse 12 إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّ‌سُولَ was revealed which required them to spend something in charity before their holding a private conference. At this point the fallacious people stopped from consulting the Holy Prophet ﷺٍ , because their greed for wealth did not allow them to do so.
[7] When verse إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّ‌سُولَ was revealed requiring people to give alms before private conferences with the Holy Prophet M, many people stopped even the necessary private consultation with him. So, verse [13] أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا was revealed. Maulana Ashraf ` Ali Thanawi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ says that the concluding part of verse [12] (…but if you find nothing [to offer], then Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful…58:12) had already given a concession to poor people from the requirement of charity before consultation with the Holy Prophet ﷺ . However some people are neither completely destitute nor are they completely wealthy, even though they might have the minimum zakatable wealth. Probably, people in this category might have felt it difficult to advance freewill alms, because on the one hand, their means were limited, and on the other hand, they were unsure whether they were indigent. As a result, they could neither pay the charity, nor could they deem themselves exempt from the requirement of the verse. They felt that consultation was not an act of worship or devotion; and if they abandoned it, it could not be the cause of reproach. Therefore, they stopped consulting altogether. [All narratives are from Ad-Durr-ul-Manthur]. These causes of revelation will help and facilitate the comprehension of this passage. [Bayan-ul-Qur’ an].

Ethics and Etiquette of Secret Consultation
Although the present verses were revealed in some particular events, as detailed above, the rules laid down by them are of general application, regardless of their cause of revelation. Thus the present verses contain instructions about secret or private consultations. They are explained below.

Secret conferences are normally convened with special confidants to whom secrets are imparted trustingly. Members of the secret society are satisfied that they will not be betrayed. It is on the basis of this confidence that evil people design plots to oppress someone, or to kill him, or to usurp his wealth and property, and so on. In verse [7], Allah mentions that His knowledge is All-encompassing – it encompasses the entire creation. He is observing or watching them, perfectly hearing their speech and seeing them – whether in public or private, wherever and in whatever condition they may be. No plots or conspiracies of any kind are hidden from Him. If they commit any sin, they will not be able to escape the Divine chastisement. Allah is present in all their secret meetings or conferences – no matter how few or many people constitute their assembly. For example, if there are three people in the assembly, Allah will be the fourth one; and if there are five people in the gathering, Allah will be the sixth one – nor numerically less or numerically more but He is with them wheresoever they may be.

Verse 7 specifies ‘three’ and ‘five’ numbers probably because Allah prefers that an assembly or congregation should comprise an odd number of members. This is the essence of verse [7].

Mischief of the Jews
It was narrated earlier that there was a peace treaty between the Holy Prophet and the Jews. During this period, if one of the noble Companions passed by an assembly of the Jews, they would confer secretly among themselves in such a manner as to arouse suspicion and anxiety in the mind of the believer making him think that they were conspiring to injure or hurt him. Verse [8] أَلَمْ تَرَ‌ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نُهُوا عَنِ النَّجْوَىٰ (Did you not see those who were forbidden to hold secret counsels,….58:8) prohibits the holding of such secret conferences. This rule applies not only to the enemies but also to the Muslims, in that they should not hold secret conference to harm or hurt another Muslim. However, the Muslims and others are allowed to hold secret conferences to promote good and righteous causes. A narration of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas is recorded in Bukhari, Muslim and other authentic collections, according to which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has stated اِذَا کُنتُم ثلٰثۃً فَلَا یَتَنَاجَا رَجُلَانِ دُونَ الاٰخَرِ حَتّٰی یَختَلِطُوا بِالنَّاسِ فَاِنَّ ذٰلِکَ یَحزُنُہُ , (If you were three, then two of you should not hold secret conference leaving aside the third person [in another narration of Muslim: ‘except with his permission’] because this bad manners would cause him anxiety and wound his feelings”, [i.e. because he will feel estranged or alienated and possibly suspicions may arise that the two are plotting something against him and keeping it as a secret.] [Mazhari]
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[58:9] O those who believe, when you hold secret counsel, do not whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the prophet, and do whisper for righteousness and taqwa (God-fearing). And fear Allah, before whom you will be gathered together.

Manners of the Secret Conference
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا تَنَاجَيْتُمْ فَلَا تَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ الرَّ‌سُولِ وَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْبِرِّ‌ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ (0 those who believe, when you hold secret counsel, do not whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the Messenger, and do whisper for righteousness and taqwa [God-fearing]… 58:9) In this and the preceding verses secret societies of the unbelievers have been condemned, but the condemnation is not unreserved or unqualified. The current verse guides the Muslims to be conscious of the fact that Allah is fully aware of their conversation and all of their conditions. Therefore, all their secret conferences must be held for good purposes. It is the object or motive of a particular conference that determines its nature. Thus in the present verse, as indicated earlier, the believers have been allowed to hold secret conferences only to promote good and righteous causes.

Return Good for Evil
It was narrated earlier that one of the evil practices of some of the Jews of Madinah was that when they came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ، they greeted him by invoking curses upon him, thus: اَلسَّام عَلَیکُم As-Samu` alaykum’ [death to you!] instead of saluting him with the usual اَلسَّلَام عَلَیکُم ‘As-Salamu ` alaykum’ [peace be upon you]. The word ‘As-Sam’ means ‘death’ instead of ‘As-Salam’ which means ‘peace’. The latter word was distorted and pronounced with a little twist of the tongue, which sounded like the former word, but the difference between the two words was so subtle that the Companions ؓ could hardly detect the difference. One day, however, Sayyidah Siddiqah ‘A’ishah ؓ detected that the Jews were invoking curses upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ by saying ‘As-Samu ` alaykum’ [death to you!], so she replied: اَلسَّام عَلَیکُم وَ لَعَنَکُمُ اللہُ وَ غَضِبَ عَلَیکُم As-Samu ` alaykum wa la` anakumullah wa ghadiba ` alaykum’ [death to you, and the curse of Allah be on you, and His wrath!]. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ prevented her from this and said: “0 ` A’ishah , Allah does not like rudeness and foul speech.” Sayyidah Siddiqah ` A’ishah ؓ said: “0 Messenger of Allah, did you not hear what they said.” He said to her: “Did you not hear my answering them back by saying وَعَلَیکُم ‘wa ` alaykum’ [same to you]?” He further said to her ‘Allah accepts our supplication against them, but not theirs against us’. This event tells us that even in response to the mischievous words of the infidels, the Muslims should always adopt a soft and noble way.


[58:10] Whispering (for sinful acts) comes from the Shaitan (Satan), so that he may grieve those who believe, while it is not harmful to them in the least, except with Allah’s permission. And in Allah the believers must place their trust.

[58:11] 0 those who believe, when it is said to you, “Make room (for others) in the sittings”, then make room, and Allah will make room for you (in the Hereafter). And when it is said, “Rise up”, then rise up, and Allah will raise those, in ranks, who have believed and are given knowledge. And Allah is well-aware of what you do.

Manners for Assemblies
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا (0 those who believe, when it is said to you ‘Make room [for others] in the sittings’, then make room, …58:11) Allah teaches His servants good manners and enjoins upon them to be kind to each other when they are sitting together. There are two main rules of assemblies: The first rule states that people sitting in an assembly should make space for those who came late. They should sit together in such a way that there is enough room for others. If this is done, Allah promises that He will widen their scope in the Hereafter. However, it is not inconceivable that this space or room might be created for them in the life of this world as well.

The second rule states: وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُوا فَانشُزُوا (‘When it is said to you, ‘Rise up’, then rise up…58:11) This means when people sitting in an assembly are told to stand up and leave, they should stand up and leave. This verse uses the passive voice [it is said] but it is not mentioned who says it or who should say it. Authentic traditions make it plain that the late comer himself cannot move somebody out of his place and use it for himself, nor force his way into a gathering. Thus it is recorded in the Sahihain and in the Musnad of Ahmad on the authority of ` Abdullah Ibn ` Umar ؓ that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: لَا یُقِیمُ الرَّجُلُ الرَّجُلَ مِن مَّجلِسِہٖ فَیَجلِسُ فِیہِ وَ لٰکِن تَفَسَّحُوا وَتَوَسَّعُوا “One of you should not move some other person up from his place and sit in it, but instead, spread out and make space for the comer.” This explicitly shows that it is not possible for the late-comer to tell anyone to move out of his place and take his place. Therefore, it would appear that the rule would apply to the master of ceremony or the organisers of the assembly or the host. Hence, the meaning of the verse is: When the host or his representative requests a member of the audience to stand up and leave for a legitimate reason, they should comply and avoid clash with the host. There are several reasons why this might become necessary. [1] Occasionally, the host himself might need privacy for his own reason. [2] He might need privacy to share confidential information with special guests. [3] The capacity of the room cannot accommodate the late comers, and no alternative arrangement can be made. So, the host is allowed to courteously request some of the familiar guests to leave the room to make space for the late-comers, provided it is certain that the leaving guests will not suffer any loss. They will be able to benefit in another session. However, the host or his representative must ensure that the guests do not feel belittled or hurt in the process.

It was alluded earlier that this verse was revealed when the Holy Prophet ﷺ was sitting in the suffah of the mosque. The congregation had filled up the suffah. Some of the participants of the battle of Badr arrived late and they could not find place to sit, and remained standing. As a mark of respect for them, the Holy Prophet ﷺ gave a general order to the entire congregation to spread out and make room for their fellow-believers, and prayed to Allah to make room for such people. Some of them might have complied and there was no problem with them; and probably others did not comply. So, the Holy Prophet ﷺ might have admonished them to rise up and leave.

At any rate, this verse and Traditions related to the verse yield several rules:
[1] The members of a conference must spread out and make space for the late comers. [2] The late comers should not remove other members of the conference and make room for themselves. [3] At times of need, the host or the master of ceremony may courteously request some of the members of the audience to leave. Late comers may not force their way into a congested congregation, but take their position in a corner or a side as recorded in Bukhari: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was once sitting in the mosque and the people with him, when three persons arrived, one of them could not find space in the congregation but found some space on one side or in a corner and sat there. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ lauded him or praised him highly.

Ruling
Another etiquette of an assembly is that if two persons are sitting closely, a new comer should not intrude between them. In a hadith, Holy Prophet ﷺ has explained this etiquette in the following words: لَا یَحِلُّ لِرَجُلِ اَن یُّفَرِّقَ بَینَ اَثنِینِ اِلَّا بِاِذنِھِمَا . It is not permissible for any man to break up the meeting of two persons, who are sitting together, unless they themselves permit him.” [Ibn Kathir cited this Tradition and said that Abu Dad and Tirmidhi transmitted it on the authority of Usamah Ibn Laithiy].

The reasoning behind the ruling is that sometimes two persons sit together for some specific purpose, and breaking them up might defeat that purpose.


[58:12] 0 those who believe, when you consult the Messenger in private, then offer something in charity before your consultation. That is better for you and purer. But if you find nothing (to offer), then Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّ‌سُولَ (0 those who believe, when you consult the Messenger of Allah, …58:12) The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was preoccupied day and night with educating the people and improving their quality of life. In his general assemblies, all the members of the audience benefited from his teachings. However, there were people who wanted private meetings with the Holy Prophet ﷺ and he would grant them that. Obviously, it was not possible to grant everyone’s request as it required time and effort, and that was difficult. The hypocrites made matters worse when they asked for private audiences with the Holy Prophet ﷺ in order to hurt the sincere Muslims. Besides, the hypocrites held protracted conferences with him. Some of the illiterate Muslims also held private audiences with him for a longer time than normal or necessary. This made things difficult for him. Allah provided a way to stop their irksome behaviour by this verse which lightened the burden of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . Initially, the verse provided that anyone who wishes to hold a private conference with him must advance a freewill charity, the amount or measure of which is not specified in the Qur’an. However, when this verse was revealed Sayyidna ` Ali رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ was the first Companion to act upon it: He offered one Dinar in charity and requested a private audience with the Prophet ﷺ .
Only Sayyidna Ali Acted upon the verse

It is a remarkable co-incidence that most of the blessed Companions ؓ ، because of financial constraints, were unable to act upon this verse. Its provision was repealed. Sayyidna Ali ؓ used to say that there is a verse in the Qur’an that none before me and none after me has ever acted upon it. The meaning of the phrase ‘none before me’ is obvious. The phrase ‘none after me’ means ‘none after me will practise it’ because the verse is abrogated. Although the ordinance is repealed, it achieved its basic purpose. The Muslims, because of the dictates of their sincere love, avoided their protracted audiences with the Prophet ﷺ so that he is not inconvenienced in any way. The hypocrites avoided protracted audiences with him because they feared that they would be recognized for what they are and their hypocrisy would be exposed. Allah knows best!


[58:13] Have you become afraid of offering charities before your consultation? So when you did not do so, and Allah has forgiven you, then establish salah, and pay zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is well-aware of what you do.

[58:14] Have you not seen who have friendship with a people with whom Allah is angry. They are neither of you nor of them. And they swear false oaths while they know.

Commentary
Chastising the Hypocrites for their Secret Alliance with the Jews
أَلَمْ تَرَ‌ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا قَوْمًا غَضِبَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم (Have you not seen those who have friendship with a people with whom Allah is angry? ….58:14) Allah condemns the hypocrites who secretly formed an alliance with the Jews who challenge Allah and His Apostle, while in effect they belong neither to the Muslims nor to the Jews. Consequently, Allah has prepared for them a humiliating and condign chastisement. It is not permissible to have a friendly intimacy with the enemies of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ – whether the unbelievers are Jews, or Christians, or pagans or of any other creed. Even rationally this is not possible, because the capital asset of a believer is the love of Allah, while a non-believer relishes in opposing and challenging Him. It is not possible for a person to have sincere love and affection for someone and to love and have intimacy with the latter’s enemy. Here ‘love’, ‘affection’ or ‘intimacy’ refers to the one coming from the heart involving intense emotional commitment (which necessarily includes having love with his way of life. Ed.). This is called Muwalah or ‘intimate friendship’. This type of friendship is limited to sincere Muslims. Therefore, the Qur’anic verses on many occasions strictly prohibit Muslims from having this sort of relationship with non-Muslims. Any Muslim who has such intimate friendship with non-Muslims will be seen to fall in the circle of unbelievers.

In contra-distinction to Muwalah [intimate friendship], there is a concept of Muwalah which refers to the relationship based on sympathy, kindness and concern. It includes charitable assistance and support, business, commercial, trade dealings and economic cooperation, condolence and consolation and any well-meaning attitude of well-being and welfare. Barring unbelievers who are at war with the believers, this kind of relationship is permissible with all other non-Muslims. The paradigm of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the noble Companions ؓ in this direction is ample testimony to this practice. However, it is necessary to ensure that the relationship of Muwalah is not harmful to the cause of religion; it should not create laxity in ‘faith and practice’ of Islam nor should it ‘harm, hurt or injure’ other Muslims. Please see Ma` ariful Qur’an, Vol. 2/ pp 54-61: under Surah Al-` Imran: v.28-30 for a detailed account of the distinction between Muwalat [intimate friendship], Muwasat [sympathy] and Muamalat [dealings] or Mudarah [cordiality].

وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ (and they swear false oaths …58:14). It means they swear oaths profanely. According to some reports, this verse was revealed in connection with ` Abdullah Ibn ‘Ubayy and ` Abdullah Ibn Nabtal: One day the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was sitting with his noble Companions ؓ and said to them: “Soon a person will come to you whose heart will be the heart of a tyrant and who sees through the Shaitan’s eyes.” Soon afterwards ` Abdullah Ibn Nabtal, the hypocrite, entered. He was blue-eyed, wheat-coloured, short-statured and skimpy-bearded. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked him: “Why do you and your comrades use obscene words against me?” He swore that he did not do that. Then he called his comrades and they too took this false oath. Allah told the Holy Prophet ﷺ ; about their lie and profane oath. [Qurtubi]


[58:15] Allah has prepared a severe punishment for them. Indeed, evil is what they used to do.

[58:16] They have taken their oaths as a shield, then have prevented (people) from the way of Allah. Therefore, for them there is a humiliating punishment.

[58:17] Their riches and their children will never benefit them against Allah. They are the people of the Fire. They will live there forever

[58:18] (It will be) on the Day when Allah will raise all of them, and they will swear before Him as they swear before you, and will think that they have some standing. Beware that they are sheer liars.

[58:19] The shaitan (Satan) has prevailed upon them, so he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of shaitan. Be sure that it is (the members of the) party of Shaitan that are the losers.

[58:20] Indeed, those who oppose Allah and His Messengers, they are among the lowest.

[58:21] Allah has written (in His pre-destined decree), “I will certainly prevail, both I and My messengers.” Surely Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.

[58:22] You will not find those who believe in Allah and in the Hereafter having friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their clan. They are such that Allah has inscribed faith on their hearts, and has helped them with a spirit from Him. And He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will live forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Allah. Those are the party of Allah. Be sure that it is (the members of) the party of Allah that are the successful.

Believers cannot entertain intimacy with non-Believers
لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ‌ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ (You shall not find those who believe in Allah and in the Hereafter having friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers….58:22). The preceding verses showed that those [hypocrites] who are in intimate friendship with unbelievers and pagans shall incur Allah’s wrath, indignation and severe torment. This verse describes the condition of sincere believers who would not take an enemy of Faith, the opponents of Allah, for intimacy and friendship, even though such people are their own fathers, children, brothers or any other blood relatives. The bond of belief transcends all other bonds, even the close ties of blood. This description fits all noble Companions ؓ . Commentators on this occasion have cited a number of incidents of the blessed Companions which describe how, when they heard their fathers, sons and brothers or other blood relations utter blasphemy against Islam or the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ، they left all ties aside and punished them or even killed them.

Abdullah, the son of Abdullah Ibn ‘Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites in Madinah, heard his father make some blasphemous remarks against the Holy Prophet ﷺ . The son came up to the Holy Prophet ﷺ and sought his permission to kill his father. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ stopped him. Sayyidna Abu Bakr ؓ heard his father, Abu Quhafah, uttering some insulting words against the Holy Prophet ﷺ . The most compassionate Siddiq ؓ became indignant and unexpectedly gave him such a hard slap that he fell down. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ heard about it, he advised Abu Bakr Siddiq ؓ not do it again. In the battle of Uhud, Sayyidna Abu ` Ubaidah’s father, Jarrah, was fighting on the side of the unbelievers against the Muslims. In the battlefield, while the battle was on, he purposely came time and again face to face with Sayyidna Abu ` Ubaidah ؓ and pursued him. Every time his father came in front of him, Sayyidna Abu ` Ubaidah ؓ would, as a mark of respect, move out. But when he persisted, Sayyidna Abu ` Ubaidah ؓ had no choice but to kill him. The biography of the blessed Companions is replete with similar incidents. The present set of verses was revealed to laud them. [Qurtubi]

Ruling
Many jurists have ruled that this rule applies equally to all Muslims who transgress or violate the sacred laws of Shari’ ah or in their practical life turn away from them, in that the sincere Muslims should not maintain an intimate friendship or relationship with such transgressors. As explained earlier, Muwalah [intimate friendship] with a fasiq [transgressors] is not possible because intimacy with them is possible if and only if the germs of fisq [transgression] are lurking in the people befriending them. Muwasah [sympathy] and Mu’amalat [dealings] or Mudarah [cordiality] are, however, a different matter to the degree of necessity. This is the reason why the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to pray: اَللَّھُمَّ لَا تَجعَلَ لِفَاجِرِ عَلَیَّ یَداً “0 Allah, do not give any transgressor the upper hand over me.” The Messenger of Allah prayed thus because if anyone has the upper hand in a situation, he is most likely to get his own way. He will, for instance, show kindness to people and thus gain the upper hand; and the noble persons, on account of the kindness, will feel obliged or duty-bound to return his kindness with love. Thus the Messenger of Allah sought refuge with Allah from this situation. [Qurtubi]

وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُ‌وحٍ مِّنْهُ (…and has helped them with a Spirit from Him….58:22) The word ruh, according to some authorities on Tafsir, stands for ‘light’, which radiates or emanates from Allah and enters the heart of a believer which urges him to perform righteous deeds, and is the source of peace and contentment of the heart. This tranquility and satisfaction is the source of great strength and power. Other authorities say that this word stands for the Holy Qur’an and the arguments of the Holy Qur’an. This is the real strength and power of a believer. [Qurtubi] Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!

Alhamdulillah
The Commentary on
Surah Mujadalah
Ends here.

Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi

58. Surah Al Mujadilah (The Pleading Woman)

Name
This Surah is entitled Al Mujadalah as well as Al Mujadilah, the title being derived from the word tujadiluka of the very first verse. As at the outset mention has been made of the woman who pleaded with the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) the case of zihar pronounced by her husband and urged him to suggest a way out of the difficult situation in order to save her and, her children’s life from ruin, and Allah has described her pleading by the word “mujadalah”, the Surah came to be known by this very title. If it is read as “mujadalah”,it would mean “pleading and arguing”, and if it is read as “mujadilah”, it would mean “the woman who pleaded and argued.”

Period of Revelation
There is no tradition to tell as to when this incident of pleading and arguing took place, but there is a hint in the subject matter of the Surah on the basis of which it can be said with certainty that it happened some time after the battle of the Trench (Shawwal, 5 A. H.). In Surah Al-Ahzab, Allah while negating that an adopted son could be one’s real son, had just said this and no more; “And Allah has not made those of your wives whom you divorce by zihar your mothers.” But in that Surah there was nothing to the effect that to divorce a wife by zihar was a sin or a crime, nor anything about the legal injunction concerning it. Contrary to it, in this Surah the whole law relating to zihar has been laid down, which shows that these detailed injunctions were sent down some time after the brief reference to it in Surah Al- Ahzab.

Subject Matter and Topics
In this Surah instructions have been given to the Muslims about the different problems that confronted them at that time.

From the beginning of the Surah to verse 6 legal injunctions about zihar have been given, along with which the Muslims have been strictly warned that it is contrary to their profession of the Faith that they should still persist in the practices of ignorance after they have accepted Islam, that they should break the bounds set by Allah, or refuse to abide by them, or that they should make their own rules and regulations contradictory to them. For this there is not only the punishment of disgrace and humiliation in the world but in the Hereafter too there will be strict accountability for it.

In vv. 7-10 the hypocrites have been taken to task for their secret whisperings and consultations by which they conspired and intrigued against the “Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), and because of their hidden malice and grudge greeted him, like the Jews, in a manner as to wish him ill instead of well. In this connection, the Muslims have been consoled, as if to say: “These whisperings of the hypocrites can do no harm to you; therefore, you should go on doing your duty with full trust in Allah”. Besides, they have also been taught this moral lesson:”The true believers, when they talk secretly together, do not talk of sin and transgression and disobedience to the Messenger if they have to talk secretly together they should talk of goodness and piety.”

In vv. 11-13 the Muslims have been taught certain manners of social behavior and given instructions to eradicate certain social evils which were prevalent among the people then as they are today. If some people are sitting in an assembly, and more people arrive, they do not show even the courtesy as to squeeze in so as to make room for others, with the result that the new-comers have to keep standing, or to sit in the door-way, or to go back, or seeing that there is enough room yet start jumping over the people’s heads to find room for themselves. This often used to be experienced in the Holy Prophet’s assemblies. Therefore, Allah gave the instruction, as if to say:”Do not behave selfishly and narrow mindedly in your assemblies but do accommodate the new-comers also with an open heart.”

Likewise, another vice found among the people is that when they go on a visit to somebody (an important person, in particular), they prolong their sitting and do not at all mind that encroaching upon his time unduly would cause him hardship. Then, if he tells them to leave, they mind it; if he himself rises up from their assembly, they complain of his lack of manners; if he tells them indirectly that he has some other business also to attend to, for which he needs time, they turn a deaf ear to his request. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) himself also had to experience such misconduct of the people, who in their earnestness to benefit by his teaching did not at all see that they were wasting his precious time so badly needed for other important works. At last, Allah in order to eradicate this bad manner, enjoined that when the people are asked to rise up from an assembly, they should rise up and disperse.

Another vice prevalent among the people was that each person wished to have secret counsel individually with the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) without any real need, or would like that he should approach him during an assembly and whisper something to him. This was not only embarrassing for the Holy Prophet but also annoying for the people who sat in the assembly. That is why Allah imposed the restriction that anyone who wanted to consult him in private, should first give away something in charity. The object was that the people should be warned of this bad manner and made to give it up. Thus, the restriction was kept in force for a short while, and when the people had corrected their behavior, it was withdrawn.

From verse 14 to the end of the Surah members of the Muslim society, which was a mixture of the sincere Muslims and the hypocrites and the waverers, have been told plainly as to what is the criterion of sincerity in Islam. One kind of Muslims are those who are friends with the enemies of Islam: they do not hesitate for the sake of their interests to be treacherous to the religion which they profess to believe in; they spread all sorts of doubts and suspicions against Islam and prevent the people from adopting the Way of Allah. But since they are part of the Muslim community their false profession of Faith serves them as a cover and shield. The second kind of Muslims are those who, in the matter of Allah’s Religion, do not care even for their own father, brother, children, and family, to say nothing of others. They do not cherish any feeling of love for the person who is an enemy of God and His Messenger and His Religion. Allah in these verses has explicitly stated that the people of the first kind, in fact, belong to Satan’s party however hard they may try to convince others of their Islam by swearing oaths. And the honor of belonging to Allah’s party is possessed only by the Muslims of the second kind. They alone are the true Muslims: they alone will attain to true success, and with them alone is Allah well pleased.

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.


1-6 Pagans practice of divorce through ‘Zihar’ (calling his wife as his mother) is prohibited and Penalty for practicing ‘Zihar’


(58:1) Allah1 has surely heard the words of her who contends with you concerning her husband and complains to Allah. Allah hears what both of you say.2 Verily Allah is All- Hearing, All-Seeing. (58:2) Those among you who divorce their wives by declaring them to be their mothers,3 such are not their mothers; none are their mothers except those who gave birth to them.4 Indeed what they say is highly contemptible and false.5 Verily Allah is Most Pardoning, Most Forgiving.6 (58:3) Those7 who declare their wives to be their mothers and thereafter go back on what they have said8 shall free a slave before they may touch each other. That is what you are exhorted to do.9 Allah is fully aware of all your deeds.10 (58:4) And he who does not find a slave (to free), shall fast for two months consecutively before they may touch each other; and he who is unable to do so shall feed sixty needy people.11 All this is in order that you may truly believe in Allah and His Messenger.12 These are the bounds set by Allah; and a grievous chastisement awaits the unbelievers.13 (58:5) Verily those who oppose Allah and His Messenger14 shall be brought low even as those before them were brought low.15 Surely We have sent down Clear Signs; and a humiliating chastisement awaits the unbelievers;16 (58:6) a chastisement that shall come upon them on the Day when Allah will raise them all to a new life and will inform them of their deeds.17 Allah has recorded it all while they have forgotten it. Allah is a witness over everything.


1. Here, hearing does not merely imply hearing a complaint but also redressing the grievances.

2. The translators generally have translated these sentences in the past tense, which tends to give the meaning that the woman had left after relating her complaint and the Prophet (peace be upon him) some time later might have received this revelation. That is why Allah has said: We indeed heard what the woman said, who was pleading with you and complaining to Us, and We were at that time hearing the conversation of both of you. But in most of the traditions that have been reported in the Hadith about this incident, it has been stated that right at the time when the woman was relating the zihar pronounced by her husband and complaining to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the effect that if she was separated from her husband, she and her children would be ruined, the state of receiving revelation appeared on the Prophet (peace be upon him) and these verse’s were sent down. On this basis we have preferred rendering these sentences in the present tense.

The woman concerning whom these verses were sent down was Khaulah bint-Thalabah of the Khazraj tribe, and her husband, Aus bin Samit Ansari, was brother of Ubadah bin Samit, the chief of the Aus tribe. The story of the zihar upon her is related in detail below. What is worth mentioning here is that the incident of woman’s complaint being heard by Allah Almighty and the coming down of the divine command immediately to redress her grievance was an event that earned her a place of honor and esteem among the companions. Ibn Abi Hatim and Baihaqi have related that once Umar was on his way out with some companions. On the way he came across a woman, who stopped him; he immediately stopped and listened to what she had to say patiently with his head bent down, and did not move till she had finished. One of the companions said: O commander of the faithful, you held back the Quraish chiefs for so long for the sake of this old woman! Umar said: Do you know who she is? She is Khaulah bint- Thalabah, the woman whose complaint was heard at the seventh heaven. By God, even if she had kept me standing till the night, I would have kept standing. I would only have excused myself at the prayer times. Ibn Abdul Barr has related in Al-Istiab this tradition from Qatadah: When Umar came across this lady, on the way, he greeted her. After answering his greeting, she said: O Umar, there was a time when I saw you at the Ukaz festival. Then you were called Umair. You tended goats with the shepherd’s staff in your hand. Then, not very long after this, you began to be called Umar. Then a time came when the people began addressing you as commander of the faithful. So, fear Allah with regard to your subjects, and remember that the one who fears Allah’s punishment, for him the stranger also is like a close kinsman, and the one who fears death, may well lose that very thing which he wants to save. At this Jarud Abdi, who was accompanying Umar, said: O woman, you have talked insolently to the commander of the faithful. Thereupon Umar said: Let her say whatever she has to say. Do you know who she is? She was heard at the seventh heaven. So, she deserves to be heard longer and with greater attention by Umar. Imam Bukhari has also related briefly a story resembling to this.

3. Among the Arabs it often so happened that during a family quarrel, the husband in the heat of the moment would say to his wife: Anti alayya ka-zahri ammi which literally means: You are for me as the back of my mother. But its real meaning is: To have sexual relations with you would be like having sexual relations with my mother. Such words are still uttered by the foolish people, who, as the result of a family quarrel, declare the wife to be like their mother, or sister, or daughter, and make her unlawful for themselves like the prohibited women. This is called zihar. Zahr in Arabic is metaphorically used for riding and mounting. Thus, the conveyance is called zahr, because man rides on its back. As this word was employed in order to make the wife unlawful, it was termed zihar. In the pre- Islamic days this was looked upon as tantamount to the pronouncement of divorce, even of greater effect than that, for they took it to mean that the husband was not only severing his marital relations with his wife but was also declaring her to be unlawful for himself like his mother. On this very basis, the Arabs thought reunion could be possible after a divorce but it was impossible after zihar.

4. This is Allah’s first decision concerning zihar. It means that if a person shamelessly compares the wife to his mother, his this utterance does not make his wife his mother, nor is she endowed with the sanctity that the mother enjoys. The mother’s being mother is fact, for she has given birth to the man. On this very ground, she is eternally sacred and prohibited. Now, how will the woman who has not given him birth become his mother simply by a word of mouth, and how will sanctity and prohibition be established for her by reason, morality and law which, by virtue of this fact, is only reserved for the mother who gave birth. Thus, Allah by this condemnation abolished the custom of the pre-Islamic ignorance according to which the marriage contract between the husband, by pronouncing zihar, and the wife stood dissolved and she became absolutely forbidden for him like the mother.

5. That is, to liken the wife to the mother is, in the first place, an absurd and shameful thing which no noble person should ever think of, not to speak of uttering it with the tongue. Secondly, it is also a falsehood, for if the one who says such a thing is giving the news that his wife has now become his mother for him, he is uttering falsehood, and if he is declaring that he has henceforth bestowed on his wife the sanctity of the mother, even then his claim is false, for God has not given him the authority that he may treat a woman as his wife as long as he likes and then start treating her as his mother as and when he likes. The lawgiver is Allah Almighty, not he, and Allah has included in the order of motherhood the grandmothers, both paternal and maternal, mother-in-law, foster mother and the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) along with the woman who gave birth. Nobody has the right to include of his own whim another woman in this order, not to speak of the woman who has been his wife. This gives the second legal injunction. To pronounce zihar is a grave sin and forbidden act, the violation of which deserves to be punished.

6. That is, such an utterance actually deserves to be punished much more severely, but it is Allah’s kindness that He has, firstly, abolished the custom of ignorance and saved your family life from utter ruin, and secondly, has prescribed the lightest punishment for the culprits. And His supreme kindness is that the punishment too, is not any form of physical torture or imprisonment, but a few acts of worship and virtue, which are meant to reform you and help spread good in your society. In this connection, one should also understand that the acts of worship that have been prescribed by Islam as expiations for certain crimes and sins are neither mere punishments that they may be without the spirit of worship, nor mere acts of worship that they may entail no pain and suffering of the punishment. But both the aspects have been combined in them so that the culprit may experience pain as well as expiate his sin by means of performing a virtue and act of worship.

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 without first atoning for the offense. Such people cannot in any way escape Allah’s punishment.

11. This is the divine commandment in respect of zihar. The following are the details of the law that the jurists of Islam have derived from the words of this verse, the judgments of the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah and the general principles of Islam.

(1) This law of zahir abrogates the Arabian custom of ignorance according to which the marriage contract stood annulled and the woman became permanently forbidden to the husband. Likewise, this law annuls all those laws and customs which regard zihar as a meaningless custom, which is of no legal effect, and permit man to continue having marital relations with his wife as usual even after having compared her to his mother and other prohibited relations. For in the sight of Islam the sanctity of the mother and other prohibited relations is not such an ordinary thing that a man may even think of the comparison between them and his wife, not to speak of uttering it with the tongue. Between the two extremes the position adopted by the Islamic law in this regard is based on three principles:

(a) That the marriage contract is not annulled by zihar, but the woman continues to be the husband’s wife as usual,

(b) that the woman becomes only temporarily prohibited to the man by zihar, and

(c) that this prohibition operates till the time that the husband makes the expiation, and that the expiation only can remove the prohibition.

(2) As for the person pronouncing zihar, it is agreed that the zihar of that husband is only reliable, who is of sound mind and mature age and pronounces the words of zihar in his right senses; the zihar of the child or of the insane person is not reliable. Moreover, the zihar of the person who might not be in his right senses at the time of pronouncing its words is also not reliable, e.g. if he mutters words during sleep, or is senseless, due to any reason. However, the jurists have differed on the following points:

(a) About the person who pronounces zihar in the state of intoxication. A great majority of them including the four Imams have given the verdict that since he has intentionally used the intoxicant, his zihar, like his divorce, will be regarded as valid legally, for he has undergone this state deliberately. However, if he has taken a medicine on account of illness and has been intoxicated, or has been compelled to take wine in intense thirst in order to save life, his zihar and divorce pronounced in that state will not be enforced. This very view is held by the Hanafis and the Shafeis and the Hanbalis and also the same was the view commonly held by the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Contrary to it, Uthman held the view that the zihar and divorce pronounced in the state of intoxication are not reliable. Imam Tahawi and Karkhi from among the Hanafis hold this view as preferable and a statement of Imam Shafai also supports it. According to the Malikis the zihar pronounced in the state of intoxication will be reliable in case the person concerned has not wholly lost his senses, but talks sensibly and coherently and knows what he is saying.

(b) According to Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik, only the zihar of the husband who is a Muslim is reliable. These injunctions do not apply to the non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state, for the Quranic words: Alladhina yazahiruna minkum: those from among you who put away their wives by zihar, have been addressed to the Muslims, and the fasting, which is one of the three kinds of the expiations prescribed in the Quran, obviously cannot be applicable to the non-Muslim subjects. According to Imam Shafei and Imam Ahmad, these injunctions will be applicable both to the Muslims and to the non-Muslims; however, there is no fasting for the non-Muslim subject: he may only free a slave or feed 60 poor.

(c) Can a woman also, like a man, pronounce zihar. For instance will it be zihar if she says to her husband: You are for me as my father, or I am for you like your mother. The four Imams say that this is not zihar and the legal injunctions of zihar do not apply to it at all. For the Quran in express words has laid down these injunctions in respect of the cases where the husbands pronounce zihar on their wives, and the authority to pronounce zihar can be held only by him who holds the authority to pronounce divorce. Just as the Shariah has not given the woman the power to divorce the husband, so it has also not given her the power to make her ownself unlawful to her husband. This same is the view of Sufyan Thauri, Ishaq bin Rahawaiyh, Abu Thaur and Laith bin Saad. They regard such a pronouncement by a woman as meaningless and without effect. Imam Abu Yusuf says that though this is not zihar, it will entail for the woman the atonement of the oath, for the pronouncement of such words by the woman means that she has sworn not to have marital relations with her husband. This same is the view of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal as cited by Ibn Qadamah. Imam Auzai says that if before marriage the woman said that if she married a particular man he would be for her as her father, it would be zihar, and if she says such a thing after marriage it would be in the nature of an oath, which would entail the atonement for the oath. Contrary to it, Hasan Basri, Zuhri, Ibrahim Nakhai and Hasan bin Ziyad Lului say that this is zihar and will entail the expiation prescribed for zihar by the woman; however, the woman will not have the right to prevent the husband from coming in to her before making the expiation. Ibrahim Nakhai has cited this incident in support of this view. Musab, son of Zubair, sent a proposal of marriage to Aishah bint Talhah. She turned down the proposal, saying: If I marred him, he would be for me as the back of my father (huwa alayya ka-zahri abi). After some time, she decided to marry him willingly. When the jurists of Al-Madinah were asked for their ruling on it, many jurists including several companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ruled that Aishah would have to make an expiation for the zihar. After citing this incident Ibrahim Nakhai has expressed his own opinion, saying that if Aishah had said this thing after the marriage it would not have entailed the expiation. But since she said this before marriage when she had the option to marry, or not to marry, the expiation became obligatory on her.

(3) The excuse of a sensible and mature person, who pronounces the express words of zihar in his full senses, cannot be acceptable that he uttered the words in a state of anger, or in jest, or in love, or that he had no intention of the zihar. However, in respect of the words which are not express in this regard, and which can give different meanings, the injunction will vary according to their nature. Below we shall tell what words of zihar are expressed and what words are not expressed.

(4) It is agreed upon by all that zihar can be pronounced on the woman who is a wedded wife of the man. However, there is a difference of opinion whether zihar can also be pronounced on the other woman or not. In this matter, the following are the different viewpoints:

The Hanafis say that if a man says to the other woman: If I marry you, you will be for me as the back of my mother, then whenever he marries her, he will not be allowed to touch her without first making the expiation. This same is the verdict of Umar. During his caliphate a man said such words to a woman and afterwards married her. Umar ruled that he would have to make the expiation for the zihar.

The Malikis and the Hanbalis have also expressed the same opinion, and they add this to it: If the woman was not specified, but the man said words to the effect that all women were for him like that, then whichever woman he married, he would have to make the expiation before touching her. The same is the opinion of Saed bin al- Musayyab, Urwah bin Zubair, Ata bin Abi Rabah, Hasan Basri and Ishaq bin Rahawaiyh.

The Shafeis say that zihar before marriage is meaningless. Ibn Abbas and Qatadah also hold the same opinion.

(5) Can zihar be pronounced for a fixed term. The Hanafis and the Shafeis say that if a man has pronounced zihar for a certain period of time, he will have to make the expiation if he touches the wife before the expiry of that time; however, the zihar will become ineffective when the time has elapsed. Its argument is the incident concerning Salamah bin Sakhr Bayadi, who had pronounced zihar upon his wife for the month of Ramadan, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not tell him that the fixation of the time limit was meaningless. On the contrary, Imam Malik and Ibn Abi Laila say that whenever zihar is pronounced it will be forever and the specification of time will be of no effect, for the prohibition that has occurred cannot become void of its own accord on the expiry of the time.

(6) If the zihar is conditional, expiation will become incumbent whenever the condition is violated. For instance, if a man says to his wife: If I enter the houses you will be to me as the back of my mother, then whenever he enters his house, it will be unlawful for him to touch his wife without first making the expiation.

(7) In case the words of zihar are repeated several times to a wife, the Hanafis and the Shafeis say that whether this is done in one sitting or in several sittings, it will entail as many expiations as the number of the times the word were repeated, unless the man might have repeated the words only to stress what he had said before. Contrary to this, Imam Malik and lmam Ahmad bin Hanbal say that no matter how often the words are repeated, it will entail only one expiation. The same is the view of Shabi, Taus, Ata bin Abi Rabah Hasan Basri and Auzai. Ali’s ruling is that if the repetition is made in one sitting, there will be only one expiation, and if in different sittings, then there will be as many expiations as the number of the sittings in which the repetition was made. The same is the view of Qatadah ant Amr bin Dinar.

(8) If zihar is pronounced upon two or more wives simultaneously in one and the same set of words, e.g. if addressing them the husband says: You are to me as the back of my mother, the Hanafis and the Shafeis say that separate expiations will have to be made to make each of them lawful. The same is the opinion of Umar, Ali, Urwah bin Zubair, Taus, Ata, Hasan Basri, Ibrahim Nakhai, Sufyan Thauri and Ibn Shihab Zuhri. Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad say that in this case one and the same expiation will suffice for all. Rabiah, Auzai, Ishaq bin Rihawaiyh and Abu Thaur also have expressed the same opinion.

(9) It is agreed upon by all that if a man repeats zihar, again after making expiation for it once, the wife will not be lawful to him unless he makes another expiation.

(10) Although it is sinful, according to the four Imams, to establish marital relations with the wife before making the expiation, and the man should ask for Allah’s forgiveness for it, and should refrain from repeating such a thing, yet it will entail only one expiation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had exhorted the people who had committed such an offense in his time to implore Allah for forgiveness and not to touch the wife unless they had made the expiation, but he did not enjoin any additional expiation besides the expiation for zihar. Amr bin Aas, Qabisah bin Dhuaib, Saed bin Jubair, Zuhri and Qatadah say that it will entail two expiations and Hasan Basri and Ibrahim Nakhai have given the opinion that this will entail three expiations. Probably the Ahadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave his ruling on this matter did not reach these scholars.

(11) As to comparison of the wife to whom would be zihar, the jurists have expressed different views:

Amir Shabi says that her comparison to the mother only is zihar, and the Zahiriyyah say that her comparison only to the mother’s back is zihar, for the injunction does not apply to anything else. No section of the Islamic jurists, however; agrees with them in this regard, for the reason given by the Quran of the wife’s comparison to the mother being sinful is that it is absurd and a lie. Now, obviously comparison of the wife to the women whose sanctity is just like the mother’s would be as absurd as it is in the case of the mother. Therefore, there is no reason why the commandment in that case should not be the same as in the can of the comparison to the mother.

The Hanafis say that in this command are included all those women, who are permanently prohibited to man on the basis of lineage, fosterage, or marital relationship, but the women who may only be temporarily prohibited and can become lawful at any time, are not included in this, e.g. the wife’s sister, her maternal and paternal aunts, or another woman, who is not the men’s wedded wife. It will be zihar if comparison is made with such a part of the permanently prohibited woman’s body as is forbidden for men to look at. However, it will not be zihar if comparison is made of the wife’s hand, foot, head, hair, tooth, etc. to the back of a permanently prohibited woman, or of the wife to her head, hand, foot, etc. for it is not unlawful to look at these parts of the mother’s or sister’s body. Likewise, to say to the wife: Your hand is like my mother’s hand, or your foot is like my mother’s foot, is not zihar.

The Shafeis say that in this command are included only those women, who were, and are, permanently prohibited, i.e. mother, sister, daughter etc. but this does not include those women, who may have been lawful at some time, e.g. the foster-mother, foster-sister, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, or those who may become lawful at any time, e.g. the wife’s sister. Apart from these temporarily prohibited women, it will be zihar to compare the wife to such parts of the permanently prohibited woman’s body as are not normally mentioned out of reverence and respect, As for those parts which are mentioned out of reverence and respect, it will be zihar to make a comparison with them only in case this is done with the intention of zihar; for instance, if a man says to his wife: You are to me like my mother’s eye, or like my mother’s hand, foot or belly, or he compares the wife’s belly, or breast, with the mother’s belly, or breast, or says that the wife’s head, back or hand is to him as his mother, it will be zihar if said with the intention of zihar and reverence if said with the intention of reverence.

The Malikis say that to compare the wife to any of the prohibited women is zihar, so much so that even if a man says to his wife: You are to me like the back of such and such other woman, it would be zihar. Furthermore, they say that it would be zihar to compare any part of the mother’s body, or of an eternally prohibited woman’s body, to the wife, or to any part of the wife’s body, without any condition that the parts thus compared be such as may look at any part of the mother’s body as he looks at the wife’s.

The Hanbalis include in this command all those women, who may be eternally prohibited, though they may have been lawful before, e.g. the mother-in law, or fostermother. As for the women who may become lawful at any time later (e.g. the wife’s sister), Imam Ahmad’s one statement concerning them is that comparison to them is not zihar. Moreover, according to the Hanbalis to compare any part of the wife’s body to any part of the prohibited woman’s comes under zihar. However, the non-permanent parts like the hair, nails, teeth, etc. are excluded from this command.

(12) The jurists agree that to say to the wife: You are to me like the back of my mother, is expressly zihar, for the Arabs used this very formula for zihar, and the Quranic command was also sent down only concerning this. However, the jurists have disagreed as to which of the other words are such as clearly come under zihar, and which are such whose amounting or not amounting to zihar will be dependent upon the speaker’s intention.

With the Hanafis, the express words of zihar are those in which a lawful woman (the wife) may have been clearly compared to an unlawful woman (i.e. any woman from among the eternally prohibited women), or compared to such part of the body which is forbidden for a man to look at, like saying: You are to me like the belly or the thigh of my mother, or of such and such prohibited woman. Apart from these, the other words are disputed. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, if the man says: You are forbidden to me like the back of my mother, it is expressly zihar, but according to Imams Abu Yusuf and Muhammad it would be zihar if there was the intention of zihar and divorce if there was the intention of divorce. The view generally held by the Hanafis is that if the man says: You are as my mother, or like my mother, it is zihar if said with the intention of zihar and irrevocable divorce if said with the intention of divorce, and meaningless if there was no such intention at all. However, according to Imam Muhammad this is express zihar. If the man calls his wife his mother or sister or daughter, it is an absurdity upon which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had expressed great anger, but he did not regard it as zihar. If the man says: You are forbidden to me like my mother, it would be zihar if said with the intention of zihar, and divorce if said with the intention of divorce, and zihar if there was no intention at all. If he says: You are to me like my mother, or as my mother, his intention will be questioned. If he said this out of respect and reverence, it would be respect and reverence, if with the intention of divorce, it would be divorce. If there was no intention whatsoever, it would be meaningless according to Imam Abu Hanifah, but would entail the atonement of the oath, though not of zihar according to Imam Abu Yusuf and would be zihar according to Imam Muhammad.

With the Shafeis, the express words of zihar are that a man should say to his wife: You are to me, or with me, or for me, like the back of my mother, or you are like the back of my mother, or your body, or your self, is to me like the body or self of my mother. Apart from these, in respect of all other words the decision will be dependent on the speaker’s intention.

According to the Hanbalis, every such word by which a man may have compared his wife, or a part from among the permanent parts of her body, to a prohibited woman, or to a part from among the permanent parts of the prohibited woman’s body clearly, would be regarded as express in the matter of zihar.

The Malikis’ viewpoint is almost the same. However, in the details they have given different rulings For instance, according to them, a man’s saying to his wife: You are to me as my mother, or like my mother, is zihar if said with the intention of zihar, divorce if said with the intention of divorce, and zihar if there was no intention at all. According to the Hanbalis, it may be regarded only as zihar provided there was the intention. If a man says to his wife: You are my mother, this is zihar according to the MalikIs, but according to the Hanbalis it would be zihar if said in a state of anger on account of a quarrel, and it would not be zihar if it was said out of love and affection, although it is wrong. If a man says: You have divorce on you: you are like my mother, according to the Hanbalis this is divorce, not zihar, and if he says: You arc like my mother: you have divorce on you, both zihar and divorce will take place. To say: you are forbidden to me as the back of my mother, is zihar according to both the Malikis and the Hanbalis, whether the words were said with the intention of divorce, or without any intention.

In this discussion about the words of zihar one should clearly understand that all the disputes of the jurists in this regard relate to the words and usage of the Arabic language. Obviously the people who speak other languages will neither pronounce zihar in Arabic nor will utter an exact and accurate translation of the Arabic words and sentences at the time they pronounce zihar. Therefore, if one has to decide whether a word or a sentence comes under the definition of zihar, or not, one should not examine it from the point of view of its being an exact translation of the words given by the jurists, but one should only see whether the speaker had compared his wife in the sexual context clearly to any of the women in the prohibited degrees, or whether there was the probability of other meanings also in his words. Its most conspicuous example is the Arabic sentence itself about which all the jurists and commentators agree that this very sentence was used for zihar in Arabic, i.e. Anti alayya kazahri ummi (you are to me like the back of my mother). Probably, in no other language of the world can the man pronouncing zihar use words that may be a literal translation of this Arabic sentence. However, he can certainly use words of his own language, which may have precisely the same meaning for which an Arab used this sentence. The meaning of this sentence was: To have sexual intercourse with you would be like having sexual intercourse with my mother, or as some foolish person might say to his wife: If I come in to you, I would be going in to my mother.

(13) In the Quran what has been mentioned as entailing the expiation is not the mere zihar but one’s aud (returning) after the zihar. That is, if a man only pronounces the zihar and does not return, he does not incur any expiation. Now, the question is, what is this aud (returning) that entails the expiation. In this regard, the jurists have held the following viewpoints:

The Hanafis say that aud is the intention to have the sexual intercourse, but it does not mean that the mere intention should entail the expiation; so much so that the man may have to make the expiation even if he does not take any practical step after the intention. But its correct meaning is that the man who wishes to remove the prohibition that he had imposed on him by pronouncing zihar of severing marital relations with his wife, should first make the expiation, for this prohibition cannot be removed without the expiation.

Three statements have been cited from Imam Malik in this regard, but his most well known and authentic statement, according to the Malikis, is in full agreement with the Hanafi viewpoint, as stated above. He says that what the man had made unlawful for himself by zihar was the sexual relation with his wife. Now, aud means that he should return to establish the same relation with her.

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal’s view as cited by Ibn Qadamah is almost the same as of the two Imams as noted above. He says that after the zihar, expiation has necessarily to be made to make the sexual intercourse lawful. The man who wants to make it lawful after having pronounced zihar, in fact, wants to return from the prohibition. Therefore, he has been enjoined to make the expiation before making it lawful for himself, precisely like the man who wants to make the other woman lawful for himself and has to marry her before she could be lawful for him.

Imam Shafeis viewpoint is quite different. He says that a man’s keeping his wife as usual and detaining her in wedlock as before after having pronounced zihar is aud, for as soon as he pronounced zihar he, in fact, forbade himself to keep her as wife. Therefore, if he did not divorce her immediately on pronouncing zihar and kept her back for so long that he could utter the words of divorce, he committed aud and the expiation became incumbent upon him. This means that if after pronouncing zihar the man did not pronounce divorce in the next breath, expiation would become incumbent, whether afterwards he might decide not to keep the woman as wife and might have no intention of having marital relations with her. So much so that even if he divorced his wife after a few moments’ thought, according to Imam Shafei, he would still have to make the expiation.

(14) The Quranic injunction is that the pronouncer of zihar must make the expiation before the two, the husband and the wife, touch each other. All the four Imams agree that according to this verse not only is the sexual intercourse prohibited before the expiation but it is also prohibited that the husband touch the wife in any way. The Shafei’s regard only touching with desire as prohibited. The Hanbalis regard every kind of pleasure seeking as forbidden; and the Malikis regard even casting of the look at the wife’s body for the sake of pleasure as unlawful. According to them only casting of the look at the face and hands is an exception.

(15) If after zihar, a man divorces his wife, he cannot touch her without first making the expiation in case it is a revocable divorce. If it is an irrevocable divorce, and he remarries her, he still will have to make the expiation before he could touch her. So much so that even if he has divorced her thrice, and the woman after marrying another man becomes a widow, or is divorced, and then the pronouncer of zihar remarries her, she will not be lawful to him unless he first makes the expiation. For, he has forbidden her to himself by comparing her to his mother or other prohibited woman, and this prohibition cannot be removed without the expiation. All the four Imams agree about this.

(16) It is incumbent upon the woman that she should not allow the husband who has pronounced zihar on her to touch her until he makes the expiation. And since the marital relationship is a right of the woman of which the husband has deprived her by zihar, she can go to the court of law if he does not make the expiation. The court will compel the husband to make the expiation to remove the barrier he has raised between himself and her. And if he does not comply, the court can award him lashes or imprisonment or both. This also is agreed upon by all the four schools of law. However, the difference is that in the Hanafi Fiqh this is the only way out for the woman; if the court does not help her out of the situation, she will remain suspended under zihar indefinitely. For, zihar does not dissolve the marriage contract, it only forbids the husband to have marital relations with the wife. According to the Maliki school if the husband pronounces zihar and keeps the wife suspended with a view to punish her, the law of eila will be applied against him, which means that he cannot keep her suspended for more than four months. (For the law of eila, see (E.Ns 245 to 247 of Surah Al- Baqarah). According to the Shafeis, although in zihar the law of eila can be applied only if the husband might have pronounced zihar for a specific period, which does not exceed four months. Yet, since according to them the expiation becomes incumbent upon the husband from the very moment he keeps back the woman as wife, it is not possible that he may keep her suspended for along period indefinitely.

(17) The express commandment of the Quran and the sunnah is that the first expiation for zihar is to free a slave. If a man cannot afford this, he can expiate by fasting two months consecutively; and if he cannot do even this, then he can feed 60 poor. But if a man cannot expiate in any of the three ways, he will have to wait till he has the means to act in one or the other way, because the Shariah has not prescribed any other form of expiation. However, the sunnah confirms that such a person should be helped out so that he can make the third kind of the expiation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) helped such people out of the public treasury, who were caught in this awkward situation by a mistake of their own, and were helpless to expiate in any of the three prescribed ways.

(18) The Quran enjoins to release a neck (raqabah) as expiation, which applies both to a male and a female slave, and there is no restriction of the age in it. It would be sufficient to release a suckling child who may be in the state of slavery. However, the jurists have disagreed whether both the believing and the unbelieving slaves can be released, or whether only the believing slave will have to be released. The Hanafis and the Zahiriyyah say that it is enough to release a slave, whether a believer or an unbeliever, as expiation for zihar for the Quran only mentions raqabah (the neck); it does not say that it has to be a believer. On the contrary; the Shafeis, the Malikis and the Hanbalis impose the condition that it has to be a believing slave. They have held this injunction as analogous to the other expiations in which release of raqabah has been made conditional upon his being a believer.

(19) If the pronouncer of zihar cannot afford to release a slave, the Quran enjoins him to fast for two successive months before the two can touch each other. As for the details of acting on this divine command, the viewpoints of the different juristic schools are as follows:

(a) All agree that the months imply the lunar months. If fasting is begun with the sighting of the new moon, one will have to complete two months’ un-interrupted fasting. If fasting is begun on another date in the month, according to the Hanafis and the Hanbalis, one will have to fast for 60 days consecutively; and according to the Shafeis, one will observe a total of 30 fasts in the first and the third months and observe the whole of the middle lunar month, whether it is of 29 days or 30 days.

(b) The Hanafis and the Shafeis say that fasting should be begun at a time when within the next two months there should neither fall the month of Ramadan nor the two Eid days, nor the day of sacrifice, nor the Tashriq days (10th to 13th of Dhil-Hajj) for the observance of the Ramadan fast and its abandonment on the Eid days and the day of Sacrifice ant Tashriq days, in the course of the expiation fasting, would break the succession of the fasting, and the pronouncer of zihar would have to start fasting afresh. The Hanbalis say that observance of the Ramadan fast and its abandonment on the forbidden days do not break the succession.

(c) In the course of the two months whether one abandons a fast on account of a valid excuse, or without a valid excuse, in both cases the succession will break according to the Hanafis and the Shafeis, and one will have to start fasting afresh. The same is the opinion of Imam Muhammad Baqir, Ibrahim Nahkai, Saed bin Jubair, and Sufyan Thauri. According to Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad, fasting can be abandoned on account of illness or a journey and this does not break the succession; however, succession does break if the fast is abandoned without a valid reason. Their reasoning is that the nature of the expiation fast is not obligatory as of the Ramadan fast: when that fast can be abandoned on account of an excuse, there is no reason why this cannot be. The same is the viewpoint of Abdullah bin Abbas, Hasan Basri, Ata bin Abi Rabah, Said bin al- Masayyab, Amr bin Dinar, Shabi, Taus, Mujahid, Ishaq bin Rahawaiyh, Abu Ubaid and Abu Thaur. (d) If the man commits sexual intercourse with the wife under zihar within the two months of fasting, according to all the Imams, the succession will break, and he will have to begin fasting anew, for he has been enjoined to fast for two successive months before he could touch the wife.

(20) According to the Quran and the Sunnah, the third kind of expiation (feeding the 60 poor) can be made only by him who does not have the power to make the second expiation (fasting for two months successively). The details of acting on this command as worked out by the jurists are as follows.

(a) According to all the four Imams, being powerless to observe the fast means that one should either he powerless due to old age, or due to illness, or due to the reason that one may not be able to abstain from sexual intercourse for two successive months, and may become impatient at any time in the course of fasting. The validity of all these three excuses is confirmed by the Ahadith that have been cited in connection with the cases of Aus bin Samit Ansari and Salamah bin Sakhr Bayadi. However, about illness there is a little difference of opinion among the jurists. The Hanafis say that the excuse of illness will be valid only in case there is no hope of recovery, or there is the fear that the disease may worsen on account of fasting. The Shafeis say that if fasting is likely to cause a severe hardship by which the man may feel the danger of its being interrupted, this excuse also can be valid. The Malikis say that if the man strongly feels that he will be able to observe the fast in the future, he may wait till then, and if he has no such feeling, he should feed the poor. The Hanbalis say that the apprehension that the disease will worsen by fasting is a sufficient excuse for not fasting.

(b) Food can be given only to those poor people whose maintenance is not the obligatory responsibility of the man concerned.

(c) The Hanafis say that food can be given to both the Muslim and the non Muslim subjects of the Islamic State, but not to the belligerent disbelievers and to those who have been given protection. The Malikis, the Shafeis and the Hanbalis say that the Muslim needy ones only can be fed.

(d) There is full agreement that feeding implies to feed two times a day to fill. However, there is a difference of opinion about the meaning of feeding. The Hanafis say that it is equally valid to feed with cooked food two times a day or to give away grain sufficient to meet the food requirements of a needy person two times a day, For the Quran has used the word itam, which means both to provide food and to feed. But the Malikis, the Shafeis and the Hanbalis do not regard feeding with cooked food as correct; they think it is necessary to give away grain. In case grain is given, there is full agreement that the grain should be the staple food in the city or area, and all the poor people should be given it equally.

(e) According to the Hanafis, it is also valid if one and the same poor person is fed or given food for 60 days, though it is not correct to give him food for 60 days on one and the same day. However, the other three schools do not think it is valid to provide food to one and the same poor man; it is necessary to give food to 60 persons. It is not permissible in any of the four schools to provide food to 60 men at one time and to another 60 at another time.

(f) This is also not permissible according to any of the four schools that one may fast for 30 days and then feed 30 poor ones, for two different expiations cannot be combined. If one has to fast, he should fast for two months successively, and if one has to feed, he should feed 60 poor once.

(g) Although in connection with the expiation of feeding the Quran does not use words to the effect that this expiation should also be made before the husband and the wife can touch each other yet the context demands that this restriction will apply to this third kind of expiation as well. That is why the four Imams do not regard it as permissible that the man should go to his wife during the time the expiation of feeding is being performed. However, the difference is that according to the Hanbalis the man who commits this offense, will have to feed the poor afresh, but the Hanafis show leniency, for in respect of this third expiation there is no mention of before the two touch each other in the Quran, and this provides a basis for the concession.

Bibligraphies

Hanafi Fiqh: Hedayah; Fath al-Qadir; Bidai-us-Sunat; Al Jassas Ahkam al-Quran.

Shafei Fiqh: An-Nawawi, Al-Minhaj together with Sharh Mughni al-Muhtaj; Tafsir Kabir

Malaki Fiqh: Hashah ad-Dusuqi ala-sh-Sharh al-Kabir; Hedayar al-Mujtahid; Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran

Hanbali Fiqh: Ibn Qudamah, Al Mughni

Zahiriyyah Fiqh: Ibn Hazm, Al Mualla

12. So that you may believe: So that you may adopt the attitude of a true and sincere believer. Obviously, the addressees of this verse are not the pagans and polytheists, but the Muslims who had already affirmed the faith. To tell them, after reciting to them a Shariah injunction: This is being enjoined so that you may believe in Allah and His Messenger, clearly signifies that the conduct of the person who continues to follow the traditional law of paganism even after hearing the divine command would be contradictory to his profession of the faith. It is not the character of a believer that when Allah and His Messenger have prescribed a law for him in some matter of life, he should set it aside and follow some other law of the world, or go on following his own wishes and desires.

13. Here “disbeliever” does not imply the denier of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), but the person who adopts the attitude and conduct of a disbeliever even after affirming faith in Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). In other words, it means: This, in fact, is a characteristic of the disbelievers that even after hearing the command of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), they should go on following their own whims, and continue to practice the customs of ignorance, for a true and sincere believer would never adopt such an attitude. The same thing has been said in Surah Aal-Imran after enjoining the imperative duty of Hajj: And the one who disbelieves (i.e. does not obey this commandment), then Allah is Self- Sufficient and does not stand in need of anyone in the worlds. (verse 97). At neither place has the word kufr been used in the sense that whoever continues to have marital relations with the wife after zihar without making the expiation, or thinks that divorce has taken place by the mere pronouncement of zihar on the wife, or does not go to perform Hajj, in spite of the means, should be declared an apostate and disbeliever by the religious court and regarded as excommunicated by the Muslims. But it means that in the sight of Allah such people as may reject His commandments by word or deed, or may at least bother to know as to what bounds their Lord has set for them, what He has forbidden and what He has enjoined, what He has made lawful and what unlawful, are not counted among the believers.

14. Those who oppose: Those who do not recognize the bounds set by Allah and instead set some other bounds for themselves. Ibn Jarir Tabari has given this commentary of this verse: That is, the people who resist Allah with regard to the bounds and duties enjoined by Him, and set for themselves some other bounds instead of the bounds set by Him. Baidawi has given this commentary of it: That is, they show hostility towards and dispute with Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), or set other bounds for themselves than the bounds set by them, or adopt the bounds set by others. Alusi in his Ruh Al-Maani has concurred with Baidawi in this commentary and cited the statement of Shaikh-ul-Islam Sadullah Chalpi to the effect: In this verse a threat has been held out to those kings and evil rulers who have framed many such rules as are opposed to the bounds set by the Shariah, and called them law. Here, Allama Alusi has dwelt upon the constitutional status (i.e. constitutional from the Islamic viewpoint) of the man made laws as against the Shariah laws and concluded thus:

There can be no doubt in the disbelief of the person who regards this law as commendable and superior to the Shariah and says that it is wiser and better suited to the genius of the people. And when the Shariah injunction in a particular matter is pointed out to him, he is angry, as we have seen some of those who are under the curse of Allah.

15. The word used in the original is kubt, which means to disgrace, to destroy, to curse, to drive off, to push out, to debase. What is meant to be said is that the communities of the former Prophets who resisted Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and rebelled against His commandments have already gone to their doom. Now those from among the Muslims who adopt the same attitude in life will also meet with the same evil end. Whenever the people made their own laws contradictory to divine law, or adopted laws made by others, they were deprived of Allah’s bounty and grace, with the result that their lives were filled with deviations, immoralities and moral and social evils, which caused them to be ultimately degraded and humiliated oven in this world. If the same error now is committed by the community of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there is no reason why it should continue to be regarded with favor by Allah and He may go on protecting it from a disgraceful destruction for ever and ever. Allah had neither any ill will against the communities of His former Messengers nor has He any special connection with the community of this Messenger (peace be upon him).

16. A little consideration of the context shows that here two punishments of this attitude have been mentioned: (1) Kubt, i.e. debasement and humiliation of this world. (2) Adhab muhin, i.e. a disgraceful torment that they will suffer in the Hereafter.

17. That is, their having forgotten their own attitude and conduct does not mean that it is dead and forgotten altogether. For them the disobedience of God and resistance to His commands may be an ordinary matter which they may forget easily once they have indulged in it and may not even regard it as anything objectionable, which they should have avoided, yet in the sight of God it is no ordinary matter at all. With Him every misdeed of theirs has been noted down, His register contains a full record of every deed done by a person, when and where it was done, what was his own reaction to it, what were its consequences and how far and in what forms did they appear and spread in the world.

7-13 Etiquettes of holding a meeting and Order to spend in charity before consulting the Rasool in private


(58:7) Are you not aware18 that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth? Never is there any whispering among three but He is their fourth; nor among five but He is their sixth;19 nor fewer nor more but He is with them wherever they may be.20 And then He will tell them on the Day of Judgement all that they have done. Surely Allah knows everything. (58:8) Have you not seen those who were forbidden to whisper and yet they engaged in what they had been forbidden?21 They secretly converse among themselves concerning sin and transgression and disobedience to the Messenger. And when they come to you, they greet you in a manner that Allah does not greet you,22 and say to themselves: “Why does Allah not chastise us for these utterances of ours?”23 Hell it is that shall suffice them, and in it will they burn. How woeful is their destination! (58:9) Believers, when you converse in secrecy, let that not be concerning sin and transgression and disobedience to the Messenger; rather, converse concerning virtue and piety. And fear Allah to Whom all of you shall be mustered.24 (58:10) Whispering is an act of Satan, one that aims at causing grief to the believers; yet without Allah’s leave no harm can be caused to them. So in Allah should the believers put all their trust.25 (58:11) Believers, when you are told: “Make room for one another in your assemblies,” then make room; Allah will bestow amplitude on you.26 And when it is said: “Rise up,” then rise up;27 Allah will raise to high ranks28 those of you who believe and are endowed with knowledge. Allah is well aware of all that you do. (58:12) Believers, when you come to the Messenger for private consultation, offer some charity before your consultation with him.29 That is better for you and more conducive to purity. But if you find nothing to offer in charity, then know that Allah is Most Merciful, Most Compassionate. (58:13) Are you afraid that you will have to offer charity when you hold private conversation with the Prophet? But if you are unable to do so and Allah pardons you, then establish Prayer and pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah is well aware of all that you do.30


18. From here to verse 10 continuously the hypocrites have been taken to task for the attitude they had adopted in the Muslim society. Although apparently they were a part of the Muslim community, secretly they were a separate group from the believers. Whenever the Muslims saw them, they found them whispering secretly together. That is how they conspired and made all sorts of plans in order to create rifts in the ranks of the Muslims, and to cause alarm and spread mischief among them.

19. The question may arise why have three and five been mentioned here instead of two and three? Why has two and then four been left out? The commentators have given many answers to this question but in our opinion the correct answer is that this style has been adopted for maintaining the literary beauty of the Quran. Without this the style would have suffered from blemishes. Therefore, after making mention of three and five whisperers the gap has been filled up in the following sentence by saying: whether the whisperers are fewer than three, or more than five, in any case Allah is always with them.

20. This Allah’s being associated with them is, in fact, in the sense of Allah’s being All-Knowing and All-Aware, All- Hearing and All-Seeing and His being absolute in power, and not in the sense that Allah, God forbid, is a person who is secretly and invisibly present among the five persons as their sixth associate. This, in fact, is meant to make the people realize that they may be holding secret counsels in safe and hidden places and may be able to conceal their plans from the world but they cannot keep them concealed from Allah, that they may escape from every power of the world, but they cannot escape the grasp of Allah.

21. This shows that before the revelation of this verse the Prophet (peace be upon him) had forbidden the people this practice. Yet when they did not desist, Allah directly sent down this verse containing His warning and wrath for such people.

22. This was the common practice of the Jews and the hypocrites. According to several traditions, some Jews came before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: Assam alaika ya abul-Qasim. That is, they pronounced as-sam alaika in such a manner as to give the impression that they had said as-salam alaika (peace be on you), which is the Islamic way of greeting. But actually they had said sam, instead of salam, which means death. In response the Prophet said: wa-alaikum. Aishah retorted: May death visit you and the curse of Allah. The Prophet warned her, saying: Aishah, Allah does not like abusive language. She submitted: Didn’t you hear, O Messenger of Allah what they said. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: And didn’t you hear what reply I gave? I said: And the same upon you. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim). Abdullah bin Abbas has stated that both the Jews and the hypocrites had adopted this very way of greeting. (Ibn Jarir).

23. That is, they regarded it as a proof of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) not being a Messenger. They thought that if he had been a true Messenger, they would be punished by a torment as soon as they greeted him in that way. Since there was no torment while they were greeting him day and night like that, he was not a Messenger of Allah.

24. This shows that najwa (talking secretly together) by itself is not forbidden, but it s being lawful or unlawful depends upon the character of the people who hold secret consultations and upon the circumstances under which such consultations are held, and upon nature of the consultations themselves, If the people whose sincerity, righteousness and purity of character are well known, are seen talking secretly together, nobody would have any misgiving that they were planning mischief. On the contrary, the whispering and secret consultations of the people who are notorious for their evil and wicked character, produce in every mind, the suspicion that they are engaged in a new conspiracy. Likewise, if a couple of persons talk for some time together on some matter secretly, it is not objectionable, but if some people have formed themselves into a gang and constantly engaged in a whispering campaign against the Muslim community, this would indeed be a prelude to some mischief. If nothing else, it would at least stir up divisions among the Muslims. Above all, the thing that decides whether najwa (secret counsel) is lawful or unlawful is the nature of the things talked of it. If two men hold a secret counsel in order to bring a dispute the an end, and to restore a person’s right, or to bring a dispute to an end, or to restore a person’s right, or to promote a good cause, it is no evil, but rather and an act of virtue, On the contrary, if the same secret counsel between two men is held with a view to creating mischief, or usurping the rights of others, or committing a sin, obviously the object itself would be evil and the secret counsel about it evil added to evil.

In this connection, the teaching given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) of social etiquette is: When three men are sitting together, no two of them should whisper to each other, for this would cause anguish to the third. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Thirmidhi, Adu Daud). In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Two men should not whisper together, without the leave of the third, for this would cause him anguish. (Muslim). This objectionable sort of whispering also applies to the case when two of the three men start talking in a language which is not understood by the third, and even more objectionable would be that during their whispering they should look towards the third person or gesticulate in a manner as to suggest that he is the topic of discussion between them.

25. This has been said so that if a Muslim watches some other people whispering, which causes him the doubt that it is directed against him, he should not feel so offended as to start planning a counter-attack on the basis of mere suspicion, or begin to nourish grief, or malice, or undue concern in his heart. He should understand that no one can harm him except by Allah’s leave. This conviction would inspire him with such confidence that he would feel delivered of many a useless worry and imaginary danger and leaving the wicked to themselves would remain engaged in peacefully doing his duty. The believer who has trust in Allah is neither a faint-hearted person, whose peace of mind could be ruined by every doubt and suspicions nor so shallow and mean-minded as would lose his cool when confronted by the evildoers and start behaving in an unjust manner himself.

26. This has been explained in the introduction to this Surah. Some commentators regard this command as restricted to the assemblies of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But as pointed out by Imam Malik, the correct view is that this is a general instruction for the assemblies held by the Muslims. One of the rules of etiquette taught by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) to the Muslims is that when they are sitting in an assembly and some more people arrive, they should have the courtesy to accommodate the newcomers and should squeeze in together as far as possible to make room for them to sit. The new-comers should also have the courtesy not to press in forcibly and make others rise up in order to take their place. In the Hadith Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Hurairah have reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Nobody should make another person rise up so as to take his place, but you should yourself make room for others. (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim). And Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: It is not lawful for a person that he should forcibly press in between two men except by their leave. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi).

27. Abdur Rahman bin Zaid bin Aslam has stated that the people used to prolong their sitting in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) assemblies and tried to sit till the end. This caused him inconvenience and discomfort as well as hindrance in his daily chores. At this Allah sent down this command, teaching the people the etiquette: When you are told to rise up froth the assembly, you should rise up and disperse. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

28. That is, you should not think that if in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) assembly you had to sit a little farther away from him for the sake of making room for others, you would be reduced in rank or if you were asked to rise up and disperse from the assembly, you were disgraced. The real means of exaltation of ranks is faith and knowledge, and not an opportunity to sit nearest to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his assembly and sit the longest. If a person happened to sit nearer to him, it does not mean that he became exalted in rank, for the high ranks belong only to those who have attained to the wealth of knowledge and faith. Likewise, the person who prolonged his sitting with the Prophet (peace be upon him) only to cause him inconvenience and discomfort, in fact, displayed lack of good manners. His there sitting near him for a long time will not exalt him in rank in any way. Far higher and exalted in rank in the sight of Allah is he who attained to taste faith and knowledge and imbibed the morals that should belong to a believer.

29. According to Abdullah bin Abbas, this command was sent down because the Muslims had started requesting the Prophet (peace be upon him) for private counsel much too frequently, and this put him to great inconvenience. At last, Allah willed to relieve His Prophet (peace be upon him) of this burden. (Ibn Jarir). Zaid bin Aslam says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would never turn down the request of anyone, who wanted to consult him in private. Whoever desired to have private counsel with him, he would oblige him. Often it so happened that the people would ask for private counsel in matters in which there was no real need. This was the time when all of Arabia was engaged in war against Al-Madinah. Sometimes, after a person had made such a request, Satan would whisper into the ears of the people the idea that he had brought to the Prophet (peace be upon him) the news of invasion by such and such tribes, and this would cause rumors to spread in Al-Madinah. On the other hand, this would give the hypocrites an opportunity to say that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a credulous person, who listened to and believed in whatever anyone told him. Because of this Allah imposed the restriction that anyone who wanted to have private counsel with the Prophet should first give away something in charity. (Ibn Arabi: Ahkam al-Quran). Qatadah says that some people talked to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in private in order to show their superiority to others.

Ali says when this was enjoined the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him, What should be the quantity of the charity, should it be one dinar. I said: This is more than the people can afford. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then asked: Should it be half a dinar. I said: This is also too much. Then he asked what it should be. I said: Gold equal to a barley grain. The Prophet (peace be upon him) remarked: Your advice is for too little. (Ibn Jarir, Tirmidhi, Musnad, Abu Yala). In another tradition Ali says: This is a verse of the Quran which no one acted upon except me. As soon as it was enjoined, I offered the charity and consulted the Prophet about a problem. (Ibn Jarir, Hakim, lbn al-Mundhi, Abd bin Humaid).

30. This second command was sent down some time after the first command, and it concealed the injunction of giving something in charity. However, there is a difference of opinion as to how long the injunction remained in force. Qatadah says it remained in force for less than a day and then was abrogated. Muqatil bin Hayyan says that it remained in force for ten days; and this is the longest period of its life mentioned in any tradition.

14-22 Those who befriend those who are under the wrath of Allah will be severely punished and True believers do not befriend those who oppose Allah and His Rasool


(58:14) Do you not see those who took for friends a people whom Allah is wroth with?31 They neither belong to you nor you to them.32 They swear to a falsehood, and they do so knowingly.33 (58:15) Allah has prepared for them a grievous chastisement. Indeed, evil are the acts in which they are engaged. (58:16) They have taken their oaths as a shield by means of which they hinder people from the Way of Allah.34 Theirs shall be a humiliating chastisement. (58:17) Neither their possessions nor their offspring will be of any avail to them against Allah. They are the people of the Fire; therein they shall abide. (58:18) On the Day when Allah will raise them all from the dead they will swear before Him as they swear before you today,35 thinking that this will avail them. Behold, they are utter liars. (58:19) Satan has gained mastery over them and has made them neglect remembering Allah. They are the party of Satan. Behold, the party of Satan will be the losers. (58:20) Verily those who oppose Allah and His Messenger will be among the most abject beings. (58:21) Allah has written: “Surely I will prevail; I and My Messengers.”36 Verily Allah is Most Strong, Most Mighty. (58:22) You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day befriending those who oppose Allah and His Messenger even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred.37 He has inscribed faith in their hearts and has strengthened them with a spirit from Him, and He shall make them enter Gardens beneath which rivers flow. Therein they shall abide. Allah is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him. They belong to Allah’s party. Verily Allah’s party shall prosper.


31. The allusion is to the Jews of Al-Madinah whom the hypocrites had taken for friends.

32. That is, they are neither sincere in their connections with the believers, nor with the Jews: their relations with both are based on selfish interests.

33. A false oath: that they have believed in and have accepted Muhammad (peace be upon him) as their guide and leader and are faithful to Islam and the Muslims.

34. That is, on the one hand, they swear oaths to their faith and fidelity to make the Muslims believe that they belong to them, and on the other, they sow doubts and suspicions against Islam and the followers of Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Islam in the hearts of the people, so that they should turn away from Islam in disgust taking their word to be a true inside picture of Islam, coming from the Muslims themselves.

35. That is, not being content with swearing oaths before the people in this world, they will swear false oaths also before Allah Himself in the Hereafter, for falsehood and fraud has become second nature with them, which they will not give up even after death.

36. For explanation, see( E.N. 93 of Surah As-Saaffat).

37. Two things have been stated in this verse: first, a matter of principle, and the second, a statement of fact. The matter of principle is that faith in the true religion and love of the opponents of the religion are contradictory things, which cannot conceivably co-exist in one and the same place. It is absolutely impossible that love of the faith and love of the enemies of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) should co-exist in one and the same heart, just as a person’s love for himself and his love for his enemy cannot co-exist in his heart simultaneously This is as if to say: lf you see a person who professes the faith as well as keeps relations of love with the opponents of Islam, you should never be involved in the misunderstanding that he might perhaps be true in his profession in spite of his this attitude and conduct. Likewise, the people who have established relations with Islam and the opponents of Islam simultaneously, should themselves also consider their position well and see what they actually are. Are they believers or hypocrites? And what actually they want to be. Do they want to live as believers or as hypocrites? If they have any righteousness left in them and any feeling that from a moral viewpoint hypocrisy is the meanest and most abject attitude for man, they should give up their attempt to ride in two boats simultaneously. Faith wants them to be decisive. If they want to remain believers, they should sever and sacrifice all those connections that clash with their relationship with Islam. If they hold another relation dearer to themselves than the relationship with Islam, then they should better give up their false profession of Islam.

Here, Allah has not just stated the principle but has also presented the fact as a model before those who professed the faith. The true believers had in fact severed all connections that clashed with their relationship with Allah’s religion. This had been witnessed by entire Arabia in the battles of Badr and Uhud. The emigrants from Makkah had fought against their own tribe and closest kinsmen only for the sake of Allah and His religion. Abu Ubaidah killed his father, Abdullah bin al-jarrah. Musab bin Umair killed his brother, Ubaid bin Umair. Umar killed his maternal uncle, Aas bin Hisham bin Mughirah. Abu Bakr became ready to fight his son, Abdur Rahman. Ali, Hamzah and Ubaidah bin al-Harith killed Utbah, Shaibah and Walid bin Utbah, who were their close kinsmen. About the prisoners of war captured at Badr, Umar gave the opinion that they should all be put to the sword, and proposed that a relative should kill a relative. In the same battle of Badr when Musab bin Umair saw that an Ansari Muslim had captured his real brother, Abu Aziz bin Umair, and was tying him, he shouted out to him, saying: Tie him tight: his mother is a rich woman. She will pay you a large ransom. Abu Aziz said: You are a brother and say this. Musab replied: Not you, but this Ansari Muslim is my brother now who has captured you. In the same battle of Badr, Abul Aas the son-in-law of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was taken as a prisoner and was shown no special favor any different from the other prisoners on account of his relationship with the Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus, the world was made a witness to the fact and shown the character of the sincere Muslims and their profound relationship with Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).

Dailami has related this invocation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the authority of Muadh: Alla-humma la taj al li-fajir-in (and according to another tradition, il-fasiq-in) alayya yadan wa la ni mata fa yuwadda-hu qalbi fa-inni wajad-tu fima uhitu ilayya la tajidu qaum-an yu minuna billahi wal-yaum il-akhir-i yuwaaddiuaa man haadd-Allahs wa Rasulahu: O God, let not the wicked (and according to another tradition, the sinful) do me a favor because of which I may have love for him in my heart, for in the revelation sent down by You, I have also found this: You will never find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).