یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡخَمۡرِ وَ الۡمَیۡسِرِؕ قُلۡ فِیۡہِمَاۤ اِثۡمٌ کَبِیۡرٌ وَّ مَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ ۫ وَ اِثۡمُہُمَاۤ اَکۡبَرُ مِنۡ نَّفۡعِہِمَا ؕ وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ مَا ذَا یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ۬ؕ قُلِ الۡعَفۡوَ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَتَفَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲۰﴾ۙ
۞يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٞ كَبِيرٞ وَمَنَٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَكۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَاۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَۖ قُلِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
e. 5:91, 92. (close)
261. Khamarush-Shai’a means, he veiled or covered up or concealed the thing. Wine is called Khamr because it covers or obscures or affects the intellect or the senses, or because it agitates and excites the brain so as to make it lose its power of control. The word is specifically used for wine prepared from grapes but signifies all intoxicants (Lane). "Alcoholism is an important factor in the causation of disease; and in all diseases alcoholics are bad patients. In epidemics the mortality among drinkers is excessive; and the general power of resistance to disease, injury, and fatigue is diminished.....Alcoholism lessens the chance of life; the English life-insurance companies found that the presumptive length of life of non-drinkers was about twice that of drinkers. The close relationship of alcoholism and crime is well- known; and the statistics of Baer, Kurella and Gallavardin and Sichart show that from 25 to 85 per cent of all malefactors are drunkards... "The evil effects of alcoholism are evident in the drunkard’s posterity...Epilepsy, insanity, idiocy and various forms of physical, mental and moral degeneracy are very disproportionately prevalent among the offsprings of alcoholics" (Jew. Enc.). "The effects of consumption of alcohol are almost all due to its action upon the nervous system. In the advanced stage of drunkenness, the intellectual processes of judgment and control are suspended." (Enc. Brit.). "There is universal testimony as to the close relationship between excessive drinking and breaches of the moral law and the law of the State. This is a direct consequence of the paralysis of the higher faculties, intellectual and moral, and the resulting free play given to the lower inclinations" (Enc. Rel. Eth.). (close)
262. Aisarar-Rajulu means, man became well off. Maisar is so called because the gambler seeks to become rich quickly and easily without undergoing the trouble of earning wealth by hard work. "The vicious tendency of gambling has never been called in question. It is essentially anti-social; it sears the sympathies, cultivates hard egoism and so produces a general deterioration of character. It is a habit intrinsically savage....Its motive is carefully disguised covetousness. It is an attempt to get property without paying the price for it. It is a violation of the law of equivalents. It is a kind of robbery by mutual agreement just as duelling which is murder by mutual agreement. It is begotten of covetousness; it leads to idleness. It is, moreover, an appeal to chance. To make chance the arbiter of conduct is to subvert the moral order and stability of life. It concentrates attention upon lucre and thereby withdraws attention from worthier objects of life" (Enc. Rel. Eth.). (close)
263. Ithm means, sin; punishment of sin; the harm that might result from sin (Lane). (close)
264. It is characteristic of Islam that it never condemns a thing wholesale but freely and frankly admits even the smallest good that may be found in it. Islam prohibits certain things not because it considers them to be devoid of all good, for there is nothing in the world, which is wholly bad, but because their evil outweighs their good. While prohibiting the use of intoxicants and games of chance because of their great harm, Islam has not failed to acknowledge the few advantages they possess. (close)
265. ‘Afw means, (a) what exceeds or remains over and above one’s requirements, and the spending of what does not cause hardship to the giver; (b) the best portion of a thing; (c) giving without being asked (Aqrab). Ordinary believers are required to spend what remains after their own legitimate needs have been met, and the higher class of believers are expected to spend the best portion of their possessions. If, however, the clause be applied collectively to all believers, it would mean that in times of war they should retain for themselves only such portion of their possessions as may suffice to meet their bare necessities of life. (close)
a. 5:91, 92. (close)
226. Important Words:
الخمر (wine) is the noun-infinitive from خمر. They say خمر الشیء meaning, he veiled or covered up the thing. خمرالشھادة means, he concealed the evidence. خمرالعجین means, he leavened the dough and left it till it became well fermented. خامره means, it became mixed or blended with it; it infected or pervaded it. A veil worn by a woman is called خمار because it screens or covers her face and head. Wine is called خمر because it covers or obscures or infects the intellect or the senses, or because it agitates and excites the brain so as to make it uncontrolled. The word is specific for wine prepared from grapes but is also used generally (Aqrab & Lane).
المیسر (game of hazard) is derived from یسر i.e. he became docile and submissive. یسرت المرأة means, the woman was easily delivered of the child. ایسرالرجل means, the man became well off. یسرفلان means, such a one played a game of hazard or a game of chance, i.e. he gambled. Thus the primary meaning of the word is to get a thing easily and thereby become well off. A game of chance or a game of hazard is called میسر because by means of such games people seek to become rich easily and quickly without undergoing the trouble of earning with work and labour. The word المیسر is used to indicate (1) any game of hazard or game of chance; (2) a game of hazard played by the Arabs with headless arrows; (3) play for stakes and wages (Lisan & Mufradat).
اثم (sin) is the noun-infinitive from اثم meaning, he did what was unlawful. اثم means: (1) that which is unlawful (Aqrab); (2) that which keeps back a person from what is good (Mufradat); (3) punishment of sins and evil actions (Lane).
عفو (spare) is derived from عفا. They say عفا الشیء i.e. the thing became long and abundant. عفو means: (1) what exceeds or remains over and above one’s requirements. (2) the best portion of a thing (Aqrab).
While dealing with the subject of war, the Quran fittingly turns to the subject of wine and gambling which are directly related to war.
It was customary among Arabs in times of war to cast lots in the name of a few wealthy persons, and those in whose name the lots were drawn were bound to feed the army and supply it with wine. This is how the Arabs defrayed the expenses of war. So when Muslims were called upon to take arms, they naturally enquired of the Holy Prophet about the legality of this peculiar way of meeting the expenses of war and about the use of wine also, which was considered essential to produce a state of reckless courage in the fighters so as to make them blind to all consequences. Islam declared both these practices unlawful because their harm was greater than their advantage. The conviction of faith hadinfused into the hearts of believers far greater and nobler courage than the blind daring engendered by drinking. Similarly, the expenses of war were to be met in a fairer and more respectable manner than the casting of lots. The burden must fall on all according to their means and must come through willing and eager contributions by the faithful.
The clause, their sin is greater than their advantage, embodies a very important principle. A thing should not be adopted simply because it contains some advantage nor should a thing be condemned simply because it is harmful in certain respects. On the contrary, both sides should be carefully weighed and a thing should be condemned only if its harm outweighs its advantage. It is in fact a great characteristic of Islam that it never condemns a thing wholesale but frankly and freely admits even the smallest good that may be found in it. Islam prohibits certain things not because it considers them to be devoid of all good, for there is nothing in the world which is wholly bad, but because their evil outweighs their good. This is why, while prohibiting the use of intoxicants and games of chance because of their great harm, Islam has not failed to acknowledge the few advantages they possess.
It is worthy of note that of all religions, Islam alone has forbidden the use of wine. In Hinduism, drinking forms an essential part of certain religious ceremonies. Judaism does not seem to prohibit drinking, because nowhere has the Bible declared it to be unlawful; while according to the New Testament, the very first miracle which Jesus showed was that he turned water into wine for the use of a marriage party (John 2:7-9).
Attempts have been made during the ages by social reformers, and even the help of legislation has been enlisted in some countries, to put an end to wine-drinking. But all such attempts have so far failed. The only experiment on record which met with complete success in this direction was that made in Arabia more than thirteen hundred years ago. A whole people steeped in drinking became absolute teetotallers by the mere declaration by the Prophet that God had forbidden drinking. This constitutes no small testimony to the great hold that Islam had come to possess on the minds of the unlettered and unruly Arabs, and to the wonderful transformation it had brought about in their lives.
From the meaning of the word خمر (wine) as given above under Important Words it should not be understood that Islam prohibits the use of only such quantity of wine as may make one drunk. The Holy Prophet has made it definitely clear that even small doses of such things as may intoxicate one when used in larger doses are unlawful (Tirmidhi).
When the principal means hitherto employed in Arabia for meeting the expenses of war, i.e. by casting lots, was prohibited, the question naturally arose as to how the expenses of war were to be met. Believers, realizing that they would themselves have to meet these expenses, hastened to inquire of the Holy Prophet as to how much they would have to contribute towards the expenses of war. In reply to their query they were told that they should spend عفو i.e. what may be spared after meeting the necessities of life. The word عفو by virtue of its twofold connotation, given under Important Words above, applies to two different classes of persons. Ordinary believers are required to spend what remains after their needs have been met, i.e. what they can spare; and the higher class of believers are expected to go ahead and spend the best portion of their possessions. If, however, the clause be applied collectively to all believers, it would mean, that in times of war, they should retain for themselves only such portion of their possessions as may suffice to meet their bare necessities of life. The balance should be spent in the cause of God. This is what God wanted them to do. Actually, however, some of the Companions spent even more than that. For instance, when the Holy Prophet appealed for funds for the campaign of Tabuk, Abu Bakr brought his entire possessions and laid them at the feet of his Master. When asked how much he had retained for himself and his family and how much he had brought to be spent in Allah’s cause, Abu Bakr replied that he had brought all that he possessed and that nothing remained in his house except the name of Allah (Tirmidhi, ch. on Manaqib & Zurqani).
Finally, a word about the sin or harm of wine and gambling, as mentioned in the verse under comment, appears to be called for. Though Islam was the first to prohibit the use of intoxicants and games of chance, the world now appears to be agreed on condemning these two evils which so deeply affect not only the physical but also the moral and spiritual condition of man. Here are some quotations in which non-Muslim writers have forcefully pointed out the harmful effects of wine:
(1) "Alcoholism is an important factor in the causation of disease; and in all diseases alcoholics are bad patients. In epidemics the mortality among drinkers is excessive; and the general power of resistance to disease, injury, and fatigue is diminished…Alcoholism lessens the chance of life; the English life-insurance companies found that the presumptive length of life of non-drinkers was about twice that of drinkers…The close relationship of alcoholism and crime is well known and the statistics of Baer, Kurella, Gallavardin and Sichart show that from 25 to 85 per cent of all malefactors are drunkards. The rate of suicide varies with the general rate of consumption of alcohol in different countries…
"The evil effects of alcoholism are evident in the drunkard’s posterity…Epilepsy, insanity, idiocy and various forms of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy are very disproportionately prevalent among the offsprings of alcoholics" (Jew. Enc. i. 333-334).
(2) "The effects of consumption of alcohol are almost all due to its action upon the nervous system. Thus the immediate sensation of well-being is due to the flushing of the skin, suppressing temporarily the sense of chill, and to the fact that the sensibility to minor pains and inconveniences becomes blunted; whilst with larger doses the diminution of the power of self-control and sense of personal responsibility gives rise to excitability. In the secondary stage the fineness of the senses (hearing, touch, taste and vision) is affected, and this gives rise to an inability to control bodily movements such as facial expression. In the advanced stage of drunkenness, the intellectual processes of judgement and control are suspended." (Enc. Brit. 14th Edition, i. 540).
(3) "Alcohol is a poison for protoplasm, that is, for the soft plastic material which is the essential constituent of every one of the minute cells that make up living organisms, whether animal or vegetable. Its poisonous effect in very dilute solution is easily shown on lowly organisms…
"The nerve cells of the brain, the most highly organised and delicate of the tissues, very early show the effect of alcohol. Many of the test observers of their own mental processes, such as Helmholtz and Huxley, have expressed themselves strongly as to the harmful effect of minute doses of alcohol on brain work. It would seem that the 'stimulating' effect is really due to the paralysis of the very highest nerve-centres, so that cheerfulness, wit, and recklessness have free play. Large numbers of psychometric experiments under conditions of the greatest accuracy prove that alcohol, in small dietetic doses, exercises a distinctly paralysing effect on the working of the brain. Some mental processes are quickened for a short time, and then a retarding effect shows itself, which is prolonged and much more than cancels the apparent beneficial result…
"There is universal testimony as to the close relationship between excessive drinking and breaches of the moral law and the law of the State. This is a direct consequence of the paralysis of the higher faculties, intellectual and moral, and the resulting free play given to the lower inclinations" (Enc. Rel. Eth, i. 299-301).
As to the harm caused by gambling the following quotation would suffice:
"The vicious tendency of gambling has never been called in question. Lord Beaconsfield spoke of it as 'a vast engine of national demoralization'…In 12 years (1895-6 to 1906-7) there were 156 suicides or attempted suicides in England assigned to this cause, as well as 719 cases of theft or embezzlement and 442 bankruptcies. In view of these facts, it is not surprising that, in all civilized countries, gambling is subjected to definite legislative restraints…It is, as Herbert Spencer says, a kind of action by which pleasure is obtained at the cost of pain to another. The happiness of the winner implies the misery of the loser. This kind of action, therefore, is essentially anti-social; it sears the sympathies, cultivates a hard egoism, and so produces a general deterioration of character. It is a habit intrinsically savage…In an atmosphere of brotherhood no form of gambling could exist…But the immorality of gambling may be argued on higher grounds than a calculation of pleasure.
"(a) Every gambling transaction involves a transfer of property in one shape or another. When the gambler is asked why he stakes his money on a game or a race, his reply is, 'To add an interest to the game'. The interest thus added is, simply stated, the interest of acquisition. If the real object were, as is claimed, merely the sport and the excitement, then men might just as well wager counters, or, for the matter of that, agree to hand over all winnings to public charities. But this is not done. The transfer of property, in one shape or another, is essential to the act. There are only three ways in which property can be legitimately acquired—by gift, by labour, and by exchange. Gambling stands outside all of these.
"(b) Its motive is, however, carefully disguised covetousness. It is an attempt to get property without paying the price for it. It is a violation of the law of equivalents. It is a kind of robbery by mutual agreement; but it is still robbery, just as duelling, which is murder by mutual agreement, is still treated as murder. It is begotten of covetousness; it leads to idleness.
"(c) It is, moreover, an appeal to chance. If in any contest skill comes in, odds are given or handicaps arranged so as to equalize the chances as far as possible. To make chance the arbiter of conduct is to subvert the moral order and stability of life.
"(d) It concentrates attention upon lucre, and thereby withdraws attention from worthier objects of life" (Enc. Rel. Eth. vi. pp. 165-166). (close)
فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡیَتٰمٰی ؕ قُلۡ اِصۡلَاحٌ لَّہُمۡ خَیۡرٌ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تُخَالِطُوۡہُمۡ فَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ الۡمُفۡسِدَ مِنَ الۡمُصۡلِحِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَاَعۡنَتَکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۱﴾
فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰۖ قُلۡ إِصۡلَاحٞ لَّهُمۡ خَيۡرٞۖ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمۡ فَإِخۡوَٰنُكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُصۡلِحِۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَعۡنَتَكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ
a. 4:128; 89:18; 93:10; 107:3. (close)
266. The bringing up of orphans is a very delicate affair and also an important social duty. Orphans should be brought up in a manner most conducive to their physical, moral and spiritual welfare. They should be treated as members of the family—the exhortation being contained in the words, "they are your brethren." (close)
227. Important Words:
الیتامی (orphans) is the plural of یتیم which is derived from یتم meaning he fell short of a thing, feeling weak and tired; he lost his father in childhood. Thus یتیم is one whose father has died and who has not yet attained the age of puberty, which, according to Islamic jurisprudence, is 18 years. The word یتیم is also used about a thing which is without equal (Aqrab & Mufradat).
تخالطوھم (intermix with them) is derived from خلط. They say خلط الشیء بالشیء i.e. he mixed up one thing with the other. خالطهmeans, he mixed or mingled or associated with him; he mixed or joined with him in his affairs; he became co-partner with him. خالط قلبه ھم means, anxiety pervaded his heart (Aqrab & Lane).
اعنتکم (put you to hardship) is derived from عنت which means, he fell into difficulty or hardship. اعنته means, he put him to hardship; he burdened him with a task that was beyond his power (Aqrab).
The opening words of this verse apparently seem to be misplaced, for they are connected not with the following words of the verse in which they are placed, but with the concluding words of the previous one. The complete sentence, therefore, should read like this, "thus Allah makes His commandments clear to you that you may reflect upon this world and the next". If read like this, the clause would mean that God has refrained from issuing a definite commandment with regard to war expenditure and has simply ordered you to retain such portion of your possessions as you may require for your worldly needs and spend the balance in the cause of religion so that you may be trained to think over and judge the comparative value of this world and the next and act accordingly. The words, "upon this world and the next" have been separated from the preceding words to provide a pause with the object of impressing the importance of the matter on the mind of the listener or reader.
As Quranic verses follow a natural order––an order prompted and followed by the innermost nature of the addressee––this verse follows in the wake of the verses dealing with war. As the war leaves behind orphans, this verse lays down basic instructions as to how they should be treated and looked after. Muslims are told that the bringing up of orphans is a very delicate affair and an important social duty. Orphans should be brought up in the manner most conducive to their greatest good, i.e. their physical, moral and spiritual welfare. They should be treated as members of the family; and their property properly looked after and steps taken to augment it. The words, and if you intermix with them, they are your brethren, signify not only permission but exhortation. The exhortation lies in the word "brethren" which is meant to point to Muslims to allow orphans to live as members of their family, this being not only wise and humane but also based on considerations of convenience. If orphans had been directed to be kept aloof and their property managed on a strictly legal basis, it would have, in most cases, entailed a good deal of unnecessary inconvenience and trouble for both parties concerned.
The words, Allah knows the mischief-maker from the reformer, serve as a stern warning to the guardians of orphans. Anything they do is sure to come to the knowledge of God. Nay, God knows even the hidden things of the human heart. So they should beware of playing the part of mischief-makers in the garb of reformers.
God’s attributes of "Powerful" and "Wise" placed at the end of the verse contain a general admonition to guardians of orphans to be very careful about their dealings with them. They should not delude themselves with the idea that, being weak and not yet possessed of proper understanding, the orphans are entirely at their mercy and that they can treat them as they like. For, if orphans are not strong and wise, God certainly is, and He would call them to account if they behaved unkindly or dishonestly towards these helpless and friendless creatures of His. By mentioning God’s attributes of "Powerful" and "Wise" the Quran also means to exhort Muslims to look after orphans in such a way and give them such good education and training as should help them to grow strong and wise and become useful members of the community. (close)
وَ لَا تَنۡکِحُوا الۡمُشۡرِکٰتِ حَتّٰی یُؤۡمِنَّ ؕ وَ لَاَمَۃٌ مُّؤۡمِنَۃٌ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ مُّشۡرِکَۃٍ وَّ لَوۡ اَعۡجَبَتۡکُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تُنۡکِحُوا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ حَتّٰی یُؤۡمِنُوۡا ؕ وَ لَعَبۡدٌ مُّؤۡمِنٌ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ مُّشۡرِکٍ وَّ لَوۡ اَعۡجَبَکُمۡ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَی النَّارِ ۚۖ وَ اللّٰہُ یَدۡعُوۡۤا اِلَی الۡجَنَّۃِ وَ الۡمَغۡفِرَۃِ بِاِذۡنِہٖ ۚ وَ یُبَیِّنُ اٰیٰتِہٖ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲۲﴾٪
وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكَٰتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤۡمِنَّۚ وَلَأَمَةٞ مُّؤۡمِنَةٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن مُّشۡرِكَةٖ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَتۡكُمۡۗ وَلَا تُنكِحُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤۡمِنُواْۚ وَلَعَبۡدٞ مُّؤۡمِنٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن مُّشۡرِكٖ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكُمۡۗ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ يَدۡعُونَ إِلَى ٱلنَّارِۖ وَٱللَّهُ يَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلۡجَنَّةِ وَٱلۡمَغۡفِرَةِ بِإِذۡنِهِۦۖ وَيُبَيِّنُ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
b. 60:11. (close)
267. The question of marriage with "idolatrous women" is intimately connected with the subject of war, for it is during war that, being away from their homes for a considerable time, believers are liable to be tempted to contract marriages with such women. This, the Qur’an positively prohibits, as also the giving of believing women in marriage to idolatrous men. The prohibition is based on religious as well as on moral and social grounds. An idolatrous husband is bound to exercise an extremely baneful influence, not only on his wife but also on the children born of this union; and an idolatrous wife is sure to ruin the up-bringing of the offspring. Moreover, when a believing man has an idolatrous wife or vice versa, their ideas, beliefs and outlook on life being widely different, there can possibly exist no harmony or concord between the two and consequently no peace in the family. In Islam slavery carries no stigma of inferiority; and a Muslim bondwoman would in every respect be a better spouse for a Muslim freeman than an idolatress and vice versa. Slaves commanded great respect in Muslim society for their faith and righteousness. Bilal, Salman and Salim, very respected Companions of the Holy Prophet, were all freed slaves. (close)
a. 60:11. (close)
228. Important Words:
تنکحوا––tankihu (marry) and تنکحوا––tunkihu (give in marriage) are both derived from نکح. They say نکح المطرالارض i.e. the rain fell on the earth and became mixed with the soil. نکح امرأة means, he married a woman. نکح زوجته means, he went in unto his wife. نکح المرأة امرء means, the woman married a man. انکح المرأة زیدا means, he gave the woman in marriage to Zaid. Thus نکاح means, both (1) marriage and (2) coition with one’s wife. The Quran itself uses the word in the latter sense in 2:231 (Aqrab & Mufradat).
مشرك (an idolater) is derived from شرك. They say شرکه فیه meaning, he shared the thing with him; he became his co-partner in it. اشرکه فی الامر means, he made him his co-partner in the affair. اشرك الیه means, he attributed to, or set up with, him a co-partner. شریك means, a sharer, or a co-partner, or an associate, or a colleague, Thus مشرك means, one who attributes to, or sets up with, God a co-partner or co-partners, allotting to the latter all or some of the attributes of the former. شرك means, attributing to, or setting up with, God co-partners idolatry (Lane). شرك is of two kinds: شرك عظیم (the greater idolatry) signifying belief in a person or thing as being co-partner with God, and شرك صغیر (the lesser idolatry), i.e. ascribing to some person or thing any of the attributes of God without looking upon him or it as His co-partner (Mufradat). Other relevant terms are شرك جلی i.e. manifest idolatry, and شرك خفی i.e. hidden idolatry; and شرك فی الذات i.e. believing one to be a co-partner with God in His person, and شرك فی الصفات i.e. ascribing any of the attributes of God to someone. The term مشرکین (idolaters) is generally confined to such peoples as set up co-partners with God and do not believe in any revealed Book.
The question of marriage with "idolatrous women" is intimately connected with the subject of war, for it is during war that Muslims, being away from their homes for a considerable time, are liable to be tempted to contract marriages with such women. This the Quran strictly disallows in the verse under comment, which also forbids the giving of believing women in marriage to idolatrous men. The prohibition is based on religions as well as on moral and social grounds. An idolatrous husband is bound to exercise an extremely baneful influence not only on his wife but on his children as well, whereas an idolatrous wife is sure to ruin the early training of the offspring. Moreover, when a believing man has an idolatrous wife or vice versa, their ideas, beliefs, culture and outlook on life being widely different, there cannot possibly be harmony or concord between the two and their life is sure to become miserable, if they possess any attachment whatever for their religion. Again Islam, (submission to One God) and shirk (setting up partners with God) being poles apart, there can be no real contact or permanent intermixing between the two. In this connection, it may be noted that Islam allows, though it certainly does not encourage, the marriage of a Muslim with a woman belonging to the People of the Book who are decidedly nearer to Islam (5:6). But of this we will speak when we come to the relevant verses.
The words, until they believe, appear to be redundant at first sight; for, if marriage with an idolatrous person is prohibited, it is evident that this prohibition will automatically cease to operate when an idolatrous person converted to Islam. On deeper thought, however, the words, until they believe, prove to be most rightly placed. They have indeed been used to remind Muslims of their duty pertaining to the conversion of idolatrous people to Islam. The words also contain a veiled prophecy that the time was fast coming when idolatry would become extinct in Arabia.
The expression باذنه (by His command) when used with regard to a certain action of God signifies, according to the Quranic idiom, that God has provided or intends to provide extraordinary means for the accomplishment of the thing aimed at. So is the case here, the clause signifying that Allah’s call to Heaven and to forgiveness is not an empty announcement but that He has made special arrangements to bring about the desired end. It is further interesting to note that the word جنة and مغفرة both convey the sense of covering up a thing, the idea being that God’s favours and His forgiveness will be so liberal and so generous as to cover or overwhelm believers. (close)
وَ یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡمَحِیۡضِ ؕ قُلۡ ہُوَ اَذًی ۙ فَاعۡتَزِلُوا النِّسَآءَ فِی الۡمَحِیۡضِ ۙ وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡہُنَّ حَتّٰی یَطۡہُرۡنَ ۚ فَاِذَا تَطَہَّرۡنَ فَاۡتُوۡہُنَّ مِنۡ حَیۡثُ اَمَرَکُمُ اللّٰہُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِیۡنَ وَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُتَطَہِّرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۲۳﴾
وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡمَحِيضِۖ قُلۡ هُوَ أَذٗى فَٱعۡتَزِلُواْ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فِي ٱلۡمَحِيضِ وَلَا تَقۡرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطۡهُرۡنَۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرۡنَ فَأۡتُوهُنَّ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ أَمَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّـٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
268. After laying down, in brief, the law about intermarriages, reference to marital relations and conjugal obligations became necessary. (close)
269. The command implied in the words, and seek what Allah has ordained for you (2:188), is that coitus with one’s wife should be in a manner conducive to procreation. (close)
229. Important Words:
المحیض (menstruation) is derived from حاض. They say حاضت المرأة i.e. the woman menstruated; blood came forth from her womb or uterus at the known time and in the known manner. Thus محیض means, (1) menstruation, i.e. the monthly course: (2) time of menstruation; (3) place of menstruation (Lane & Mufradat). According to some, the word which means a tank or a place where water collects, is also derived from the same root though the central letter of the root is different (Lane).
اذی (harmful thing) is the infinitive-noun from اذی meaning, he came to harm, or he was annoyed. آذی means, he or it caused a harm. اذی means, a harmful thing; a disagreeable thing; an annoyance; a hurt; a thing held to be unclean or filthy; a slight evil less than what is termed ضرر (Taj).
اعتزلوا (keep away from) is derived from عزل. عزله عنه means, he removed him or it from that (Aqrab). اعتزل الشیء or اعتزل عنهmeans, he kept away from the thing (Aqrab).
یطھرن (they are clean) and تطھرن (they have cleansed themselves) and المتطھرین (who keep themselves clean) are all derived from طھر which means, he or it became clean or free from dirt or filth, etc.; or he or it became pure. طھرت المرأة means, the woman became clean from the menstrual discharge, i.e. her flow of menses stopped. طھرت المرأة means, she became cleansed or purified by washing herself. اطھر (ittahara) is like تطھر giving the same meaning, i.e. he became cleansed or he kept himself clean (Aqrab).
After laying down, in brief, the law about intermarriage, reference to marital relations and conjugal obligations became necessary. The verse under comment indicates that coition or sexual intercourse with one’s wife is not permissible during menses, for such intercourse would be harmful for both parties. Coition becomes permissible when menses cease, but as a further precaution the husband should wait till the wife has washed herself by taking a bath.
The command referred to in the words go in unto them as Allah has commanded you is contained in, and seek what Allah has ordained for You (2:188), hinting that coition with one’s wife should be in a manner productive of issue. A further hint to the above is contained in the following verse.
The words, and go not in unto them (lit. do not go near them) until they are clean, do not mean that the husband should keep away from his wife completely and in no case go near her. The Holy Prophet’s sayings as well as his practice belie that inference. The expression simply refers to coition and does not debar other forms of loving approach.
The concluding word "متطھرین" i.e. those who keep themselves clean has been put in the masculine gender, because firstly the use of the masculine gender generally includes and extends to females as well; and secondly because by using this word the Quran means to hint that if men go in unto their wives while they are unclean, they are sure to make themselves unclean too. Thirdly this word also hints that though it becomes lawful for a man to go in unto his wife after the monthly flow has ceased, yet it is better for him to wait till the woman has properly washed herself, for God loves those who are more careful about cleanliness. (close)
نِسَآؤُکُمۡ حَرۡثٌ لَّکُمۡ ۪ فَاۡتُوۡا حَرۡثَکُمۡ اَنّٰی شِئۡتُمۡ ۫ وَ قَدِّمُوۡا لِاَنۡفُسِکُمۡ ؕ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ مُّلٰقُوۡہُ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۲۲۴﴾
نِسَآؤُكُمۡ حَرۡثٞ لَّكُمۡ فَأۡتُواْ حَرۡثَكُمۡ أَنَّىٰ شِئۡتُمۡۖ وَقَدِّمُواْ لِأَنفُسِكُمۡۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّكُم مُّلَٰقُوهُۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
270. See 244. (close)
271. Anna means, (1) how; (2) when; and (3) where. (Aqrab). (close)
272. This verse constitutes an eloquent testimony to the inimitably pure and dignified language of the Qur’an. An extremely delicate subject has been dealt with in a most decent and discreet manner and the whole philosophy of marriage and conjugal relations has been given in one brief sentence, i.e. Your wives are a sort of tilth for you. A woman is indeed like a tilth in which the seed of progeny is sown. A wise husbandman selects the best soil, prepares the best tilth, secures the best seed, and chooses the best time and manner of sowing it. So should a believer do, for on the harvest which he is to reap in the form of children depends not only his own but also his community’s entire future. It is to this supreme fact that the words so pointedly refer. Thus the likening of woman to tilth throws a flood of light on the morality of eugenics and sex. (close)
230. Important Words:
حرث (tilth). See 2:206.
انی (how and when) means: (1) how; (2) when; and (3) where (Aqrab).
قدموا (send ahead) is derived from قدم meaning, he came or stepped forward. قدم (qaddama) means, be sent forward or sent ahead; he put forward; he offered. قدم لنفسه means, he did good or evil that will in future bear good or bad fruit for himself. قدمه علی غیره means, he preferred him to others. قدم له الثمن means, he paid him the price in advance (Aqrab). The Quran uses this expression to point out that whatever good or evil deed a man does, serves like a seed to bear a future crop. No action is ever lost.
مؤمنین (those who obey) is derived from آمن meaning: (1) he believed; (2) he obeyed (Aqrab). Here it gives the latter meaning. For a fuller discussion of this word see 2:4.
This verse constitutes an eloquent testimony to the inimitably pure and dignified language of the Quran. An extremely delicate subject has been dealt with in a most decent and discreet manner, and the whole philosophy of marriage and conjugal relations has been given in one brief sentence, i.e. Your wives are a tilth for you. A woman is indeed like a tilth in which the seed of progeny is sown. The expression has a twofold significance depending on the meaning of the words اتوا حرثکم (approach your tilth). If approaching the tilth means coition, then the expression approach your tilth how you like would signify that: (1) you should go in unto your wife in a manner suited to her capacity as a tilth and in no other manner; and (2) that both of you should try to keep your hearts pure at the time of coition so that the issue of the process may also share that purity. Says the Holy Prophet, "When the husband goes in unto his wife, they should both pray to God saying, 'Our Lord, keep both of us away from Satan; and if Thou grant us an issue, keep that also away from him' " (Muslim Kitabun-Nikah).
On the contrary, if "approaching the tilth" means selecting and dealing with the wife, the expression approach your tilth how you like would mean: (1) That you should select a wife who is best suited as a tilth, i.e. (a) she should be ولودviz. capable of producing children and not barren; (b) she should be healthy, capable of producing healthy children; (c) she should be well qualified to give good training to the children; and (d) she should be ودود i.e. of loving nature so that there may reign an atmosphere of love and harmony in the house and the children may benefit by it. (2) That you should look after and treat your wife well so that her life may be happy and contented and she may become best disposed to bring up the children well. (3) That you should keep yourselves also in a state of good physical and moral health so that your seed for your tilth may also be healthy in every respect.
A wise husbandman selects the best soil, prepares the best tilth, secures the best seed, and chooses the best time and manner of sowing it. So should you, for on the harvest which you are to reap in the form of children depends not only your own but also your community’s entire future. It is to this supreme fact that the clause, and send ahead some good for yourselves, so pointedly refers. In short, the likening of woman to tilth throws a flood of light on the morality of eugenics and sex. But the real basis of all happiness and progress is the fear of God and in the words, fear Allah and know that you shall meet Him, the Quran warns the Faithful never to lose sight of the real object of marriage even in the heat of carnal passions for even the seat of these passions is the source of the procreation of children and the continuation of a good race on the earth. Finally, the clause, and bear glad tidings to those who obey, contains a mighty بشارة (good news) for those who may obey this injunction, for it would not only make their own lives supremely happy but would also secure for them the best progeny for all time. (close)
وَ لَا تَجۡعَلُوا اللّٰہَ عُرۡضَۃً لِّاَیۡمَانِکُمۡ اَنۡ تَبَرُّوۡا وَ تَتَّقُوۡا وَ تُصۡلِحُوۡا بَیۡنَ النَّاسِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۵﴾
وَلَا تَجۡعَلُواْ ٱللَّهَ عُرۡضَةٗ لِّأَيۡمَٰنِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَتُصۡلِحُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِۚ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٞ
273. The word ‘Urdah meaning a butt or an obstacle, it is indeed an act of blasphemy that one should use the name of Allah Who is the Fountainhead of all goodness, to abstain from doing good deeds. Again, it is a gross violation of the sanctity of Allah’s name that it should be used as a butt or target for profane or purposeless oaths. This and the following verse serve as a sort of introduction to 2:227, in which the subject of swearing to keep away from one’s wife has been pointedly stated. (close)
231. Important Words:
عرضة (target) is derived from عرض. They say عرض الشیء meaning, he exhibited or offered the thing; he placed it before or in sight of the people. عرض لی عارض means, a hindrance came across my way. Thus عرضة means: (1) an obstacle or hindrance in the way of a person; (2) a thing or person exposed to or confronting someone or something; (3) a butt or target like the butt of archers; also figuratively, as one might say, "he became the عرضة or butt of their rebukes"; (4) an object; (5) an excuse or pretext (Aqrab & Taj).
ایمان (oaths) is the plural of یمین which is derived from یمن. They say یمن الرجل meaning, he approached him from the right hand side. یمن الله فلانا means, God made him blessed. یمین means, (1) the right hand side; (2) the right hand; (3) strength, blessing and good fortune; (4) an oath (Aqrab).
As there are men to be found who are likely to forget that a wife being a sacred tilth is to be treated well not only for her own sake but also for the sake of children, and such men flare up at slight causes and then resort to swearing that they would not treat their wives well nor act kindly towards their relations, the Quran here makes a suitable reference to such men and prohibits them from using the name of God for acts of injustice and transgression. The verse under comment and the one that follows serve as a sort of introduction to verse 2:227 in which the subject of swearing to keep away from one’s wife has been more pointedly stated. God’s name, being the holiest of all holy things, should not be used as an obstacle in the way of righteousness and of doing good to others.
The word عرضة meaning a butt or an obstacle, has been very appropriately used in the verse to point out that such men as swear by God to abstain from acts of righteousness hopelessly fail to appreciate the true dignity of the Supreme Being. It is indeed an act of blasphemy that one should use the name of Allah, Who is the fountain-head of all goodness, to keep away from the path of goodness. Again, it is a gross violation of the sanctity of Allah’s name that it should be used as a butt or target for profane or purposeless oaths. (close)
لَا یُؤَاخِذُکُمُ اللّٰہُ بِاللَّغۡوِ فِیۡۤ اَیۡمَانِکُمۡ وَ لٰکِنۡ یُّؤَاخِذُکُمۡ بِمَا کَسَبَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ حَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۶﴾
لَّا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِٱللَّغۡوِ فِيٓ أَيۡمَٰنِكُمۡ وَلَٰكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ قُلُوبُكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٞ
a. 5:90. (close)
274. Taking an oath is a serious matter, but some men are in the habit of swearing without meaning anything. Such oaths as are taken thoughtlessly or as a matter of habit or those taken in a sudden fit of anger do not call for expiation. (close)
232. Important Words:
یؤاخذکم (will call you to account) is derived from اخذ. اخذه means, he took hold of him; he seized him. آخذه means, he called him to account; he punished or chastised him (Aqrab).
اللغو (vain) is derived from لغا. They say لغابکلمة i.e. he uttered or spoke a word. لغا الشیء means, the thing went in vain. لغا عن الطریق means he deviated from the path. لغافی قوله means, he spoke without proper care and thinking. اللغو therefore means, a speech or writing, etc. which is worthless and of no account and deserves no attention; it also means, the barking of a dog (Aqrab). لاغاه means, he jested or joked with him (Lane). اللغو also means that which one utters without seriously meaning it (Muhit).
حلیم (Forbearing) is derived from حلم meaning, he was forbearing and clement; he forgave and connived at offences; he controlled his temper in moments of anger; he was patient, sedate, or intelligent and calm and was not hasty in punishing or taking revenge. Thus حلیم which is one of the attributive names of God, means, one who is forbearing and to whom the disobedience of the disobedient does not cause agitation or excitement, who is slow in punishing but quick in forgiving; it also means one who is intelligent (Aqrab, Lane & Mufradat).
Oaths are very serious things, as mentioned in the preceding verse, but some men are in the habit of swearing without meaning anything. Such oaths as are referred to in this verse are oaths taken carelessly or as a matter of habit or those taken in a sudden fit of anger. The fact that such oaths are not liable to be punished does not, however, mean that indulgence in them is permitted. It only means that a person who swears vain oaths will not be punished on the basis of such oaths, i.e. these oaths will not be legally treated as oaths. But he will certainly suffer the consequences of indulging in vain and useless talk. A Muslim is expected to avoid all things that are vain or purposeless and the Quran clearly enjoins it (23:4).
The clause, He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned, means that a person will have to answer for oaths he takes consciously and deliberately. The words, what your hearts have earned, also hint that God does not call a man to account for such passing thoughts as may flash across the mind and then disappear. Only such thoughts are punishable as are "earned" by the heart, i.e. cherished and retained by the mind.
The words, Allah is Most Forgiving, Forbearing, signify that as Allah knows your weaknesses, He treats you with forbearance, and does not call you to account for such of your acts as you might do without meaning them. (close)
لِلَّذِیۡنَ یُؤۡلُوۡنَ مِنۡ نِّسَآئِہِمۡ تَرَبُّصُ اَرۡبَعَۃِ اَشۡہُرٍ ۚ فَاِنۡ فَآءُوۡ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۷﴾
لِّلَّذِينَ يُؤۡلُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمۡ تَرَبُّصُ أَرۡبَعَةِ أَشۡهُرٖۖ فَإِن فَآءُو فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
275. After the two introductory and intervening verses in which the subject of taking oaths has been dealt with, the Qur’an now reverts to the original subject of conjugal relations. The verse speaks of those men who vow abstinence from their wives without actually divorcing them. It is, interesting to note that while approaching the subject of divorce, the Qur’an first speaks of menstruation (2:223) which is a sort of temporary and partial, though unreal, separation. Then (as in the present verse), it speaks of real though indefinite separation. And then, in the succeeding verses, it speaks of real though revocable divorce. And finally (2:231) it speaks of irrevocable divorce. A really wonderful order designed to put as many obstacles as possible in the way of divorce, which Islam recognizes and retains as a sort of necessary evil. Islam allows four months at the most to a person who swears not to approach his wife. During this period, he must either get reconciled to his wife and restore conjugal relations, or separation will be effected between the two. Islam would in no case permit indefinite separation without divorce, leaving the woman "suspended," as it were. Ila’ signifies an oath of separation according to which a woman in the "Days of Ignorance" would remain in a suspended state. She could neither marry another person nor could have conjugal relations with her husband. (close)
233. Important Words:
یؤلون (vow) is derived from the root لاآ meaning, he fell short; or he fell short of doing what he ought to have done; or he was remiss. آلی means, he swore. آلیت علی الشیء means, I swore to do the thing. آلیت لا افعل کذا means, I swore that I would not do such a thing. آلی من زوجه شھرا means, he swore he would not go near his wife (i.e. not go in unto her) for a month. ائتلی also gives the same meaning as آلی i.e. he swore, as in 24:23. ایلاء means, an oath or the act of swearing; and technically it means, a vow taken by a husband not to go near his wife (Aqrab & Lane).
تربص (waiting) is derived from ربص. They say ربص به i.e. he waited for a good or an evil to befall him. تربص means, he waited or he awaited, or he tarried waiting. تربص عن الامر means, he remained waiting and did not do the thing, i.e. he abstained from doing it (Aqrab).
After the two introductory and intervening verses in which the subject of taking oaths has been dealt with, the Quran now reverts to the original subject of conjugal relations. The verse under comment speaks of those men who vow abstinence from their wives without actually divorcing them. It is, in this connection, interesting to note that while approaching the subject of divorce, dealt with in the succeeding verses, the Quran first speaks of menstruation (2:223) which is a sort of temporary and partial, though unreal, separation. Then (as in the present verse) it speaks of real though indefinite separation. And then, as in the succeeding verses, it speaks of real though revocable divorce. And finally (2:231) it speaks of irrevocable divorce. A really wonderful order designed to put as many obstacles as possible in the way of divorce which Islam recognizes and retains as a sort of necessary evil.
As clearly stated in the verse under comment, Islam allows four months at the most to a person who swears not to approach his wife. During this period, he must either get reconciled to his wife and restore conjugal relations, or separation will be effected between the two. Islam would in no case permit indefinite separation without divorce, leaving the woman "suspended" as it were.
The words if they go back from the vow, surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful indicate that swearing abstinence from one’s wife is reprehensible in the sight of God Who loves to see reconciliation between husband and wife. The verse thus abolishes the custom of ایلاءwhich was prevalent among the Arabs before the advent of Islam and by which it was sought to deprive women of their conjugal rights for long and indefinite periods. (close)
وَ اِنۡ عَزَمُوا الطَّلَاقَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۸﴾
وَإِنۡ عَزَمُواْ ٱلطَّلَٰقَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٞ
a. 2:230; 33:50; 65:2. (close)
276. With this verse begins the discussion of the Islamic law of divorce. According to this law, the husband possesses the right to divorce his wife, when legitimate necessity arises. But the right is to be exercised only on very rare occasions and in exceptional circumstances. (close)
a. 2:230; 33:50; 65:2, 3. (close)
234. Important Words:
الطلاق (divorce) is derived from طلق. They say طلقت الناقة i.e. the she-camel became loosened and free from the rope which tied her. طلقت المرأة من زوجھا means, the woman left her husband and severed her connection with him. طلق المرأة زوجھا means, the husband divorced his wife. الطلاق therefore, means, breaking of the tie of marriage; divorce (Aqrab).
عزموا (they decide). عزم means, he made up his mind; he decided; he was determined to do a thing (Aqrab).
If, after vowing abstinence from his wife, as stated in the preceding verse, the husband decides on divorce, he is free to take that course. But the words, Allah is All-Hearing All-Knowing, warn him that if he is thereby acting unjustly to his wife, he should not think that he can so act with impunity, for Allah is there to hear the supplications of the wife; and even if she does not or cannot pray to God, Allah knows everything.
With this verse begins a discussion of the Islamic law of divorce. According to this law, the husband possesses the right to divorce his wife, when legitimate necessity arises. But this right is to be exercised only on rare occasions and in exceptional circumstances. (close)
وَ الۡمُطَلَّقٰتُ یَتَرَبَّصۡنَ بِاَنۡفُسِہِنَّ ثَلٰثَۃَ قُرُوۡٓءٍ ؕ وَ لَا یَحِلُّ لَہُنَّ اَنۡ یَّکۡتُمۡنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ فِیۡۤ اَرۡحَامِہِنَّ اِنۡ کُنَّ یُؤۡمِنَّ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ ؕ وَ بُعُوۡلَتُہُنَّ اَحَقُّ بِرَدِّہِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ اِنۡ اَرَادُوۡۤا اِصۡلَاحًا ؕ وَ لَہُنَّ مِثۡلُ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡہِنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ ۪ وَ لِلرِّجَالِ عَلَیۡہِنَّ دَرَجَۃٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲۹﴾٪
وَٱلۡمُطَلَّقَٰتُ يَتَرَبَّصۡنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثَلَٰثَةَ قُرُوٓءٖۚ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَن يَكۡتُمۡنَ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ فِيٓ أَرۡحَامِهِنَّ إِن كُنَّ يُؤۡمِنَّ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۚ وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ إِنۡ أَرَادُوٓاْ إِصۡلَٰحٗاۚ وَلَهُنَّ مِثۡلُ ٱلَّذِي عَلَيۡهِنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِۚ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيۡهِنَّ دَرَجَةٞۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
b. 2:235; 65:5. (close)
277. Quru’ is plural of Qur’ or Qar’ which means, a time; menstruation; period or state of purity preceding and following a menstrual discharge, i.e. the period between two menstruations; termination of a menstruation; the period of menstruation and that of purity taken together, i.e. the whole month the time or state when a woman leaves her state of purity and enters that of menstruation (Muhit & Mufradat). Abu Bakr and ‘Umar among the Companions of the Holy Prophet and Abu Hanifah and Ahmad bin Hanbal among the Imams of Jurisprudence held the view that Qur’ means menstruation and not the period of purity. On the contrary, ‘A’ishah and Ibn-e-‘Umar among the Companions, and Malik and Shafi‘i among the Imams of Jurisprudence held the opposite view (Muhit). Opinions being so balanced, it is open to a Muslim to take either of the two views, but a collective survey of relevant arguments, which need not be stated here, leads one to the conclusion that of the two the first-mentioned view seems to be more akin to reason. If however, one would like to be on the safe side, it is open to him to take the word Qur’ to signify the period of menstruation and purity taken together, i.e. the whole month. (close)
278. In view of the fact that divorce is the most hateful of all lawful things in the sight of God (Dawud), it has been hedged round by many checks and limitations: (a) A husband can divorce his wife only when she is clean, i.e. in a state of purity, and he has had no sexual knowledge of her in her period of purity. (b) After the pronouncement of divorce the wife must wait for three menstruations, i.e. about three months, which period is called ‘Iddat or the period of waiting. This is because this period gives the husband sufficient time to consider all the implications of his action and to allow his love for her, if there is yet a dormant spark lying smouldering somewhere, to reassert itself. (c) A divorced woman, if pregnant, must not conceal this fact from her husband, for the expected birth of a child is calculated to go a long way in bringing about reconciliation between the couple. (d) For complete and irrevocable separation there should be three divorces. After the pronouncement of the first as well as the second divorce and before the expiry of the period of waiting, the husband enjoys the privilege of taking his wife back, if he so desires. Even after the period of waiting is over, the couple can become reunited in the case of the first and second divorce by renewing the marriage tie. (close)
a. 4:35. (close)
279. As far as personal rights are concerned, the husband and the wife stand on a par, but as pointed out in 4:35 men have a supervisory authority on account of the physical advantage they possess and the financial responsibility that they carry for providing for the household. (close)
a. 2:235; 65:5. (close)
b. 4:35. (close)
235. Important Words:
قروء (courses) is the plural of قرء which is derived from قرأ. They say قرأ الشیء i.e. he collected or put together the thing. قرأت الناقة means, the she-camel became pregnant. قرأت الحامل means, the pregnant woman gave birth to a child. قرات المرأة or اقرأت المرأة means, the woman became pure from menstrual discharge. اقرأت المرأة also means, she menstruated, thus giving contrary meanings. قرء (Qur’un or Qar’un), means: (1) a time, and this is the primary significance of the word, as we say ھبت الریح لقرئھا i.e. the wind blew at its fixed time; (2) menstruation; (3) period or state of purity preceding and following a menstrual discharge, i.e. the period between two menstruations; thus the word gives contrary meanings; (4) termination of a menstruation (Aqrab & Lane). The word قرء is also sometimes applied to the period of menstruation and that of purity taken together, i.e. the whole month (Muhit). According to Raghib قرء means the time or state when a woman leaves her state of purity and enters that of menstruation (Mufradat).
ارحام (wombs) is the plural of رحم (rihm or rahim) which is from the verb رحم. They say رحمه i.e. he showed him mercy, he was tender towards him. رحمت المرأة means, the woman had complaint of the womb after childbirth. رحم (rahim) or رحم(rihm) means, (1) womb; (2) relationship, particularly by the female side. The expression اولواالارحام or ذوالارحام means, relatives or kinsmen. In Muslim jurisprudence the expression signifies such relations as are not direct heirs (Lane).
بعولة (husbands), like بعول, is the plural of بعل. They say بعل الرجل i.e. the man became a husband. بعلت المرأة means, the woman married and had a husband. بعل is like زوج meaning, both a husband and a wife, i.e. a partner in life; but the significance of husband is more common. The word also means, lord, master or owner of a thing; or a person in authority. The Arabs sometimes gave the name بعل to their idols also (Lane & Mufradat).
المعروف (equity) is a common Arabic word which has been freely used in the Quran as well as the Hadith. The word is derived from عرف. They say عرفه i.e. he knew it either by means of the five senses or by mental perception, as by reflection, or by consideration of the effect of a thing on the mind; he recognized it. المعروف means, (1) a known or commonly known thing; (2) an action or thing the goodness of which is known by reason, i.e. equity; (3) an action or thing the goodness of which is known by the law of Shari‘ah; (4) goodness, kindness and beneficence; (5) liberality coupled with moderation; (6) good fellowship with one’s family and others; (7) sincere and honest word of advice, etc. (Lane). It may be noted here that while taking the oath of allegiance from would-be Muslims, the Holy Prophet always used the word المعروف asking them to solemnly affirm that they would obey him in all معروف things, i.e. not only in such things as formed part of the divine law of Shari‘ah but also in those which the Prophet held to be good by his own reason.
درجة (rank) means, (1) the various steps forming a set of stairs; (2) rank; (3) eminence (4) degree (Aqrab).
In view of the fact that divorce is the most hateful of all lawful things in the sight of God (Dawud), it has been hedged round by many checks and limitations. One of these checks is that a husband can divorce his wife only when she is clean i.e. in a state of purity, and he has had no sexual knowledge of her in her period of purity. After the pronouncement of divorce the wife must wait for three menstruations, i.e. about three months, which period is called عدة(‘iddah) or the period of waiting. This is another check, because this period of waiting gives to the husband sufficient time to consider the pros and cons of his action and to allow his love for her, if there is yet a dormant spark lying smouldering somewhere, to reassert itself. The third check laid down in this verse is that a divorced woman, if pregnant, must not conceal this fact from her husband, for the expected birth of a child is calculated to go a long way in bringing about reconciliation between the couple. The fourth check, as mentioned in the succeeding verses, is that for complete and irrevocable separation there should be three divorces. After the pronouncement of the first as well as the second divorce, and before the expiry of the period of waiting, the husband enjoys the privilege of taking his wife back, if he so desires. Even after the period of waiting is over, the couple can become reunited in the case of the first and second divorce by renewing the marriage tie.
The verse adds that as far as personal rights are concerned, the husband and the wife stand on a par, but in matters relating to discipline, the husband has superiority over the wife, i.e. in case of difference, the final authority is vested in him. The reasons for this are given in 4:35.
The divine attribute Mighty added at the end of the verse contains a reminder and a warning to the husband that he must not misuse the authority he has been given in household affairs, for there is the Almighty God over his head to Whom he is responsible for his actions. The attribute also provides a reason for vesting authority in the husband, who is the stronger of the parties. The attribute Wise brings home to the husband the fact that the vesting of the final authority in him is based on just and wise considerations, because wherever two or more persons live together, it is necessary that the wisest among them be appointed the Amir or the chief for the efficient running of their affairs and the uniformity of their actions.
A word here about the significance of قرء seems essential. As explained under Important Words, this word gives two distinct and contrary meanings, i.e. (1) menstruation; and (2) the period of purity between two menstruations. This has given rise to much difference of opinion among scholars of Muslim jurisprudence; Abu Bakr and ‘Umar among the Companions of the Holy Prophet and Abu Hanifah and Ahmad bin Hanbal the Imams of jurisprudence have held the view that by using the word قرء
the Quran means menstruation and not the period of purity. On the contrary, ‘A’ishah (wife of the Holy Prophet) and Ibn ‘Umar among the Companions, and Malik and Shafi‘i among the Imams of jurisprudence have held the opposite view (Muhit). Opinions being so balanced, it would be open to a Muslim to take either of the two views, but a collective survey of relevant arguments, which need not be stated here, leads one to the conclusion that the first-mentioned view is perhaps the more reasonable of the two. If, however, one should desire to be on the perfectly safe side, it is open to him to take the word قرء to signify the periods of menstruation and purity taken together, i.e. the whole month. (close)