Surah Nur Ayat 12 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 12
Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”?
Why did not the believers – men and women – when ye heard of the affair,- put the best construction on it in their own minds and say, “This (charge) is an obvious lie”?
When you heard of it, why didn’t the Believing men and the Believing women have a good opinion of themselves, and why did they not say, “This is a manifest slander?”
Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of their own people and say: “This (charge) is an obvious lie?”
Why did not the believers, men and women, when ye heard it, think good of their own own folk, and say: It is a manifest untruth?
If the men believers and the women believers had thought good (thoughts) of themselves as you heard it and they would have said, “This is an evident falsehood.”
When you heard the lie, why did believing men and women not think well of their own people and declare, ‘This is obviously a lie’?
Quran 24 Verse 12 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nur ayat 12, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(24:12) When you heard of it, why did the believing men and women not think well of their own folk and say: “This is a manifest calumny?”
12. This may also be translated as: Why did they not have a good opinion of the people of their own community and society? The words in the text are comprehensive and contain a subtle meaning which should be understood well. What happened concerning Aishah and Safwan bin Muattal was only this: A woman belonging to the caravan (apart from the fact that she was the Prophet’s wife) was left behind, and a man belonging to the same caravan, who was also left behind, happened to see her and brought her on his camel to the camp. Now if a person alleges that when the two found themselves alone, they became involved in sin, the accusation would imply two other hypotheses: First, if the accuser himself (whether man or woman) had been there, he would certainly have availed of the rare opportunity and committed the sinful act, for he had never before chanced upon a person of the opposite sex in a situation like this. Second, the accuser’s assessment of the moral condition of the society he belongs to is that in that society there is no man or woman who could possibly have abstained from sin in similar circumstances. This will be the case when it involves any one man and any one woman. But supposing if the man and the woman happened to belong to the same place, and the woman who was left behind by chance was the wife, or sister, or daughter of a friend, or a relative, or a neighbor, or an acquaintance of the man, the matter would become much more serious and grave. Then it would mean that the one who utters such an accusation has a very poor and degraded opinion of himself as well as of his society, which has nothing to do with morality and good sense. No gentleman can imagine that if he finds a woman belonging to the family of a friend, or a neighbor or an acquaintance, stranded on the way, the first thing he would do would be to molest and dishonor her, and then would think of escorting her home. But here the matter was a thousand times more serious. The lady was no other than the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Allah, whom every Muslim esteemed higher than his own mother, and whom Allah Himself had forbidden for every Muslim just like his own mother. The man was not only a follower of the same caravan and a soldier of the same army, and an inhabitant of the same city, but also a Muslim, who believed in the lady’s husband to be the Messenger of Allah and his religious leader and guide, and had even followed him and fought in the most dangerous battle at Badr. Viewed against this background, it would seem that the person who uttered such an accusation and those who considered the accusation as probable, formed a very poor opinion not only of their moral selves but also of the whole society.
13. That is, the accusation was not worth any consideration; the Muslims should have rejected it there and then as a lie and a falsehood. A question might be asked: Why did not the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr Siddiq reject it on the very first day, and why did they give it all that importance? The answer is that the position of the husband and the father is different from that of the common people. Though none else can know a woman better than her husband and a righteous husband cannot doubt the character of a virtuous and pious wife only on account of the people’s accusations, but when the wife is accused, the husband is placed in a difficult situation. Even if he rejects it outright as a calumny, the accusers will not listen. They will rather say that the woman is clever and has beguiled the husband into believing that she is virtuous and pious whereas she is not. A similar situation is faced by the parents. They also cannot remove the accusers’ slander regarding their daughter’s chastity even if they know that the accusation is manifestly false. The same thing had afflicted the Prophet (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr and Umm Ruman, otherwise they did not entertain any doubt about Aishah’s character. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) had declared in his sermon that he had neither seen any evil in his wife nor in the man who was being mentioned in the slander.
12. Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it, think good of their own people and say: “This is an obvious lie” 13. Why did they not produce four witnesses against him Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah, they are the liars.
Here Allah disciplines the believers with regard to the matter of `A’ishah, because some of them spread this evil talk and the slander that had been mentioned. So Allah says:
(Why then, when you heard it,) meaning, the talk which accused the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her,
(the believers, men and women, think good of their own people) means, why did they not compare what was said to themselves — if it was not befitting for them then it was even less appropriate for the Mother of the believers, and she was more likely to be innocent. Or it was said that this was revealed about Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari and his wife, may Allah be pleased with them. Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated, “The wife of Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari, Umm Ayyub, said to him, `O Abu Ayyub, have you heard what the people are saying about `A’ishah’ He said, `Yes, and it is all lies. Would you do that, O Umm Ayyub’ She said, `No, by Allah, I would not do that.’ He said, `And by Allah, `A’ishah is better than you.’ When the Qur’an was revealed, Allah mentioned those who spoke about the evil deed among the people of the slander,
(Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you.) ﴿24:1﴾ This refers to Hassan and his companions who said what they said. Then Allah said,
(Why then, did not the believers, men, when you heard it, think…) means, as Abu Ayyub and his wife did.” Allah’s saying:
(the believers, men think…) meaning, `why did they not think good, because the Mother of the believers is his wife and is closer to him.’ This is concerned with innermost feelings;
(and say) means, with their tongues, verbally,
(“This (charge) is an obvious lie”) means, a clear untruth told about the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her. What happened should not have been the cause of suspicion. The fact that the Mother of the believers came openly, riding on the camel of Safwan bin Al-Mu`attal at midday, with the entire army watching and the Messenger of Allah among them, should have made it clear that there was no cause for suspicion. If there had been anything suspicious about the matter, they would not have come openly in this manner in front of so many witnesses; they would have come secretly. On this basis, what the people of the slander said accusing the Mother of the believers was an utter lie, false speech and evil foolish talk, by which people who indulged in it lost out. Allah said:
(Why did they not produce four witnesses against him) meaning, to prove that what they were saying was true.
(Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars.)Allah has ruled that they are indeed wicked liars.
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