قُلۡ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ یَغُضُّوۡا مِنۡ اَبۡصَارِہِمۡ وَ یَحۡفَظُوۡا فُرُوۡجَہُمۡ ؕ ذٰلِکَ اَزۡکٰی لَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ خَبِیۡرٌۢ بِمَا یَصۡنَعُوۡنَ ﴿۳۱﴾
2043. As stated above the Qur’an is not content with merely taking a superficial view of things but goes to their very root. According to it, every good or bad quality springs from a certain root. In the case of a good quality, the Qur’an enjoins that the root should be mastered and fully kept under control and, in the case of an evil, it aims at its complete eradication and extermination and thus bolts and bars all the avenues to it. As it is the eyes through which most evil thoughts enter the mind, so in the verse under comment believing men and women have been commanded to restrain their looks when they happen to meet one another. (close)
2043A. Furuj may also signify "senses." (close)
وَ قُلۡ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ یَغۡضُضۡنَ مِنۡ اَبۡصَارِہِنَّ وَ یَحۡفَظۡنَ فُرُوۡجَہُنَّ وَ لَا یُبۡدِیۡنَ زِیۡنَتَہُنَّ اِلَّا مَا ظَہَرَ مِنۡہَا وَ لۡیَضۡرِبۡنَ بِخُمُرِہِنَّ عَلٰی جُیُوۡبِہِنَّ ۪ وَ لَا یُبۡدِیۡنَ زِیۡنَتَہُنَّ اِلَّا لِبُعُوۡلَتِہِنَّ اَوۡ اٰبَآئِہِنَّ اَوۡ اٰبَآءِ بُعُوۡلَتِہِنَّ اَوۡ اَبۡنَآئِہِنَّ اَوۡ اَبۡنَآءِ بُعُوۡلَتِہِنَّ اَوۡ اِخۡوَانِہِنَّ اَوۡ بَنِیۡۤ اِخۡوَانِہِنَّ اَوۡ بَنِیۡۤ اَخَوٰتِہِنَّ اَوۡ نِسَآئِہِنَّ اَوۡ مَا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُہُنَّ اَوِ التّٰبِعِیۡنَ غَیۡرِ اُولِی الۡاِرۡبَۃِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ اَوِ الطِّفۡلِ الَّذِیۡنَ لَمۡ یَظۡہَرُوۡا عَلٰی عَوۡرٰتِ النِّسَآءِ ۪ وَ لَا یَضۡرِبۡنَ بِاَرۡجُلِہِنَّ لِیُعۡلَمَ مَا یُخۡفِیۡنَ مِنۡ زِیۡنَتِہِنَّ ؕ وَ تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَی اللّٰہِ جَمِیۡعًا اَیُّہَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۳۲﴾
2043B. Decent women. (close)
2044. As a good deal of misunderstanding and lack of proper knowledge as to what constitutes the Islamic notion of "Pardah" prevails even among Muslims, a somewhat detailed note on this much-vexed question is called for. The following verses deal with every aspect of "Pardah":—
(i) And say to the believing women that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts, and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and that they display not their beauty………(24:32, i.e. the verse under comment).
(ii) O Prophet, tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers that they should let down over them their loose outer garments. That is more likely that they will thus be recognised and not molested (33:60).
The Arabic word used in this verse (33:60) is, Jalabib of which the singular is Jilbab which means an outer or wrapping garment (Lane).
(iii) O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other women if you are righteous. So be not soft in speech, lest he, in whose heart is a disease, should feel tempted, and speak decent words. And stay in your houses with dignity and do not show off yourselves in the manner of the showing off of the women of the former days of ignorance……(33:33, 34).
(iv) O ye who believe! let those whom your right hands possess, and those of you who have not attained to puberty, ask leave of you at three times before coming into your private apartments, before the Morning Prayer and when you lay aside your clothes at noon in summer and after the Night Prayer……(24:59).
The following inferences emerge from these four verses:
(a) When they go out, Muslim women are required to wear Jilbab, i.e. an outer and wrapping garment, which should cover their heads and bosoms in such a manner that the garment should come down from the head to the bosom covering the whole body. This is the significance of the Quranic words Yudnina ‘Alaihinna min Jalabibihinna (33:60). The wearing of an outer garment is intended to save a Muslim woman, when she goes about her business from the mental anguish of being stared at or molested or in any other way inconvenienced by persons of questionable character.
(b) Muslim men and women are to restrain their looks when they happen to face each other.
(c) The third commandment, though apparently applying to the wives of the Holy Prophet, includes, as is the practice of the Qur’an, other Muslim women. The words, 'And stay in your houses' (33:34) imply that whereas women may go out when necessary, the principal and primary sphere of their activities is inside the house.
(d) At three stated hours, even children are not allowed to enter the private apartments of their parents, nor are domestic servants or female slaves allowed to enter the sleeping rooms of their masters.
The first commandment applies to women when they go out. Then they are to use an outer garment which should cover their whole body. The second commandment relates to "Pardah" primarily inside the four walls of the house when near male relatives frequently come and go. In that case men and women are required only to restrain their looks and as an additional precaution women are to take care that their Zinah, i.e. beauty of person, dress and ornaments, is not displayed. They are not required to use Jilbab (outer garment) at that time because that would be very irksome and even impracticable in view of the free and frequent visits of very near blood relations. The context shows that this commandment relates to "Pardah" inside the four walls of the house, because all the persons mentioned in the verse under comment are very near relations who generally visit the houses of their relatives. The special mention in it of four categories of persons besides near relatives, viz. decent women, old servants, female slaves and minor boys, lends additional weight to the inference that the commandment in this verse relates to "Pardah" within the four walls of the house. The fact that the first commandment refers to "Pardah" outside the house and the second commandment basically refers to "Pardah" within the four walls of the house is also apparent from the different words that have been used to express the two forms of "Pardah" in the relevant verses, i.e. 33:60, and the verse under comment. Whereas in 33:60 the garment which a woman is to use when she goes out is Jilbab (an outer garment), the garment which she has to use inside the house when relatives visit is Khimar (a head-covering). Moreover, whereas in 33:60 the words used are Yudnina ‘Alaihinna min Jalabibihinna, i.e. they should let down over them their outer garments (for a detailed discussion of Jilbab and Yudnina see 33:60); in the verse under comment the words used are Yadribna Bikhumurihinna ‘Ala Juyubihinna, i.e. they should cast their head-coverings across their bosoms. It is clear that in the former case the garment will cover the head, the face and the bosom while in the latter case only the head and the bosom will become covered and the face may remain uncovered.
It may be noted in passing that the shape and form of the outer-garment which, as mentioned above, a woman must wear when she goes out and which covers her whole body will vary according to the customs, habits, social status, family traditions and usages of various classes of the Muslim community. The commandment with regard to "Pardah" within the four walls of the house will also apply to shops, fields. etc. where women of certain sections of Muslim society have to work to earn their living. There a woman will not be required to veil her face. She will only have to restrain her looks and to cover her Zinah, i.e. her ornaments and other embellishments, as women within the four walls of the house have to do when their near male relatives visit them.
The third commandment requires women to behave with dignity bordering on austerity when talking to stranger men; and they are also required to give their full attention to the discharge of their serious and important duties in regard to the affairs connected with the wellbeing of their own sex and the management of the household affairs and to looking after and bringing up of children and kindred matters. The fourth commandment enjoins husband and wife to have, as far as possible, sleeping apartments separate from those of other members of the family which even minor boys are not allowed to enter at hours stated in v. 59.
The word, Zinah, used in the verse under comment includes both natural and artificial beauty—beauty of person, dress and ornaments. The expression, 'except that which is apparent thereof,' contains all those things which it is not possible for a woman to cover such as her voice, gait or stature, and also certain parts of her body which have to remain uncovered according to her social status, her family traditions, her avocation and the customs of society. The permission to keep certain parts of the body uncovered will be subject to certain variations. Thus the words, 'they display not their beauty' will have different connotations with regard to women belonging to different sections and grades of society and the connotation will change with the change in the customs and modes of living and professions of a people. The words, 'And that they strike not their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may become known' (24:32), show that public dancing which is so much in vogue in certain countries is definitely not allowed by Islam.
This is the Islamic conception of "Pardah." According to it Muslim women may go out as often as it is legitimately necessary for them to do so, but their primary and principal functions are confined to their homes which are as important and serious, if not more, as the avocations of men are. If women take to men’s avocations they seek to defy nature and nature does not allow its laws to be defied with impunity. (close)
وَ اَنۡکِحُوا الۡاَیَامٰی مِنۡکُمۡ وَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ مِنۡ عِبَادِکُمۡ وَ اِمَآئِکُمۡ ؕ اِنۡ یَّکُوۡنُوۡا فُقَرَآءَ یُغۡنِہِمُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۳﴾
2045. Ayama is the plural of Ayyim which means, a woman having no husband, whether she be a virgin or not, or whether she had married before or not; a free woman (Lane); also a man having no wife (Mufradat). The marriage of widows and virgins is strongly urged. In fact, Islam views with extreme disfavour the unmarried state and regards the married state as the normal and natural one. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: 'Marriage is my Sunnah (usage or practice) and whoso disapproves and forsakes my Sunnah is not of me' (Muslim, Kitabun-Nikah). (close)
وَ لۡیَسۡتَعۡفِفِ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَجِدُوۡنَ نِکَاحًا حَتّٰی یُغۡنِیَہُمُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَبۡتَغُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِمَّا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُکُمۡ فَکَاتِبُوۡہُمۡ اِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِیۡہِمۡ خَیۡرًا ٭ۖ وَّ اٰتُوۡہُمۡ مِّنۡ مَّالِ اللّٰہِ الَّذِیۡۤ اٰتٰٮکُمۡ ؕ وَ لَا تُکۡرِہُوۡا فَتَیٰتِکُمۡ عَلَی الۡبِغَآءِ اِنۡ اَرَدۡنَ تَحَصُّنًا لِّتَبۡتَغُوۡا عَرَضَ الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا ؕ وَ مَنۡ یُّکۡرِہۡہُّنَّ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ اِکۡرَاہِہِنَّ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۴﴾
2046. Mukatabah (deed of manumission) is a written contract by means of which a slave could earn his or her emancipation, independently and irrespective of the fact whether his or her master likes it or not. According to this contract a definite amount of money or labour is fixed as the price of the freedom of the slave. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکُمۡ اٰیٰتٍ مُّبَیِّنٰتٍ وَّ مَثَلًا مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ خَلَوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ وَ مَوۡعِظَۃً لِّلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿٪۳۵﴾
a. 22:17; 57:10; 58:6. (close)
اَللّٰہُ نُوۡرُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ مَثَلُ نُوۡرِہٖ کَمِشۡکٰوۃٍ فِیۡہَا مِصۡبَاحٌ ؕ اَلۡمِصۡبَاحُ فِیۡ زُجَاجَۃٍ ؕ اَلزُّجَاجَۃُ کَاَنَّہَا کَوۡکَبٌ دُرِّیٌّ یُّوۡقَدُ مِنۡ شَجَرَۃٍ مُّبٰرَکَۃٍ زَیۡتُوۡنَۃٍ لَّا شَرۡقِیَّۃٍ وَّ لَا غَرۡبِیَّۃٍ ۙ یَّکَادُ زَیۡتُہَا یُضِیۡٓءُ وَ لَوۡ لَمۡ تَمۡسَسۡہُ نَارٌ ؕ نُوۡرٌ عَلٰی نُوۡرٍ ؕ یَہۡدِی اللّٰہُ لِنُوۡرِہٖ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ یَضۡرِبُ اللّٰہُ الۡاَمۡثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿ۙ۳۶﴾
2046A. Nur means, light as opposed to darkness. It is more extensive and more penetrating as well as more lasting in its significance than Diya’ (Lane). (close)
2046B. Mishkat means, a niche in a wall, i.e. a hole or hollow in a wall, not extending through, in which a lamp placed gives more light than it gives elsewhere; a pillar on the top of which the lamp is put (Lane). (close)
2046C. Zujajah means a glass; a globe of glass (Lane). (close)
2047. The verse is a beautiful metaphor. It speaks of three things—a lamp, a glass-globe and a niche. The Divine Light is stated to have been confined to these three things which combined together make its brightness and effulgence complete and perfect. 'The lamp' is the very source of the light; the 'glass-globe' which is over the lamp protects its light from being extinguished by the puffs of wind and increases its brightness; and 'the niche' preserves the light. The simile may aptly apply to an electric torch of which the constituent parts are the electric wires which give light, the bulb which protects the light and the reflector which spreads and diffuses the light and gives it direction. In spiritual terminology, the three things—'the lamp,' 'the glass-globe' and 'the niche'—may respectively stand for Divine Light, God’s Prophets who protect that light from being extinguished and add to its effulgence and brightness, and the Khalifahs or Successors of the Prophets who diffuse and disseminate the Divine Light and give it a direction and purpose for the guidance and illumination of the world. The verse further states that the oil used to light the lamp is of the highest possible purity and is inflammable to a degree which makes it (the oil) burst out into a flame even without being ignited. It is extracted from a tree which belongs neither to the East nor to the West, i.e. which does not discriminate in favour of or against any particular people.
The verse may have another interpretation. The light mentioned in the verse may be taken to refer to the Holy Prophet because he has been spoken of as 'light' in the Qur’an (5:16); 'the niche' in that case would signify the heart of the Holy Prophet, and 'the lamp' his most pure and unsullied nature which is endowed with the best and noblest attributes and qualities, and 'the glass' would signify that the Divine Light with which his nature has been invested is as clear and bright as crystal. When the light of heavenly revelation descended upon the light of the Holy Prophet’s nature, it shone with a twofold effulgence which in the words of the Qur’an has been described as 'light upon light.' This light of the Prophet was sustained by an oil which emanated from a blessed tree, which means that the Holy Prophet’s light was not only bright and brilliant but abundant and stable and perpetual (as the word Mubarakah signifies), and was meant to illumine both the East and the West. Further, the Holy Prophet’s heart was so pure and his nature gifted with such noble qualities that he was almost lit to discharge the duties of his great mission even before the light of Divine revelation had descended upon him. This is the significance of the words, whose oil well-nigh would shine forth even though fire touched it not.
The metaphor may have yet another explanation. The niche in the verse is the human body. The human body contains the spirit which makes itself manifest through the organs of the body. Like the niche the human body protects the light, namely, the spirit, and guides its expression, i.e. the human body contains Misbah or the lamp of the soul which illumines the human mind and brings it into touch with God. The lamp is contained in a 'Zujajah' (globe of glass), which protects it from harm or injury and enhances and reflects its light. This Zujajah which is the human brain of which the mechanism is so perfect as to have led some philosophers to think that it is the ultimate source of the Divine Light. The light is sustained by the oil from a blessed tree, namely from those basic and eternal truths which are not the exclusive possession of any people of the East or of the West. These eternal truths are implanted in the very nature of man and would almost make themselves manifest even without the help of Divine revelation. (close)
فِیۡ بُیُوۡتٍ اَذِنَ اللّٰہُ اَنۡ تُرۡفَعَ وَ یُذۡکَرَ فِیۡہَا اسۡمُہٗ ۙ یُسَبِّحُ لَہٗ فِیۡہَا بِالۡغُدُوِّ وَ الۡاٰصَالِ ﴿ۙ۳۷﴾
2047A. The verse contains both a proof and a prophecy. It predicts that houses illumined by the light contained in the Qur’an will be exalted and their inmates will always celebrate the praises of God. This will be a proof that they are illumined by Allah’s light. (close)
رِجَالٌ ۙ لَّا تُلۡہِیۡہِمۡ تِجَارَۃٌ وَّ لَا بَیۡعٌ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِ اللّٰہِ وَ اِقَامِ الصَّلٰوۃِ وَ اِیۡتَآءِ الزَّکٰوۃِ ۪ۙ یَخَافُوۡنَ یَوۡمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِیۡہِ الۡقُلُوۡبُ وَ الۡاَبۡصَارُ ﴿٭ۙ۳۸﴾
a. 63:10. (close)
2048. The verse constitutes a great testimonial to the righteousness and goodness of the Holy Prophet’s Companions and to their love for God. They are men, says the verse, of flesh and bones. They have their worldly ambitions and aspirations, their professions and avocations. They are not monks and hermits, cut apart from the world. Yet amidst all their mundane pursuits and engagements they do not neglect to discharge their duties to God and man. (close)
لِیَجۡزِیَہُمُ اللّٰہُ اَحۡسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوۡا وَ یَزِیۡدَہُمۡ مِّنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَرۡزُقُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ بِغَیۡرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿۳۹﴾
b. 9:121; 16:98. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡۤا اَعۡمَالُہُمۡ کَسَرَابٍۭ بِقِیۡعَۃٍ یَّحۡسَبُہُ الظَّمۡاٰنُ مَآءً ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا جَآءَہٗ لَمۡ یَجِدۡہُ شَیۡئًا وَّ وَجَدَ اللّٰہَ عِنۡدَہٗ فَوَفّٰٮہُ حِسَابَہٗ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَرِیۡعُ الۡحِسَابِ ﴿ۙ۴۰﴾
c. 14:19. (close)