وَ الَّذٰنِ یَاۡتِیٰنِہَا مِنۡکُمۡ فَاٰذُوۡہُمَا ۚ فَاِنۡ تَابَا وَ اَصۡلَحَا فَاَعۡرِضُوۡا عَنۡہُمَا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِیۡمًا ﴿۱۷﴾
وَٱلَّذَانِ يَأۡتِيَٰنِهَا مِنكُمۡ فَـَٔاذُوهُمَاۖ فَإِن تَابَا وَأَصۡلَحَا فَأَعۡرِضُواْ عَنۡهُمَآۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابٗا رَّحِيمًا
577. The word Alladhani does not necessarily imply two males. What particular form the punishment mentioned here should take is left to the discretion of the authorities concerned. Both this and the preceding verse refer to offences for which no punishment has been fixed by the Law, the matter having been left to the discretion of the authorities to be decided according to the circumstances then obtaining. The verse may also refer to two males being guilty of an unnatural offence or something approaching it. (close)
The verse refers to two males who are guilty of an unnatural offence or something approaching it. What particular form the punishment mentioned here should take has been left to the discretion of the authorities concerned.
Both this verse and the preceding one refer to offences for which no حد شرعی (punishment definitely fixed by the Law) has been prescribed, the matter having been left to the discretion of the authorities to be decided according to circumstances. (close)
اِنَّمَا التَّوۡبَۃُ عَلَی اللّٰہِ لِلَّذِیۡنَ یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ السُّوۡٓءَ بِجَہَالَۃٍ ثُمَّ یَتُوۡبُوۡنَ مِنۡ قَرِیۡبٍ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ یَتُوۡبُ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۸﴾
إِنَّمَا ٱلتَّوۡبَةُ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسُّوٓءَ بِجَهَٰلَةٖ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٖ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ يَتُوبُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِمۡۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمٗا
a. 6:55; (close)
578. The words "in ignorance" do not mean that the offenders do evil without knowing that it is evil. In fact, every evil deed which a man does is an act done in ignorance, born of lack of proper and adequate knowledge. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "There are some kinds of knowledge which are really ignorance," i.e. the learning of which is injurious to man (Bihar). So the words "in ignorance" have been added to point to the nature and philosophy of sin and to exhort people to acquire useful knowledge with a view to avoiding sin. (close)
579. The words "soon after" here mean "before death". The next verse which says "who continue to do evil until when death faces one of them," supports this meaning. (close)
a. 6:55; 16:120; 24:6. (close)
The expression بجھالة (ignorantly) does not mean that the offenders do evil without knowing that it is evil. In fact, every evil deed which a man does is an act of ignorance, born of lack of true knowledge. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "There are some kinds of 'knowledge' which are really 'ignorance' ", i.e. the learning of which is injurious to man (Bihar). So the expression بجھالة (ignorantly) has been added to point to the philosophy of sin and to exhort people to acquire true knowledge with a view to avoiding sin.
The words من قریب (soon after) here mean "before death" which may come at any time and is thus always near. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "Allah accepts the repentance of man till the agonies of death" Muslim, ch. on Taubah). This explanation is corroborated by what is said in the next verse (4:19), viz. who continue to do evil until when death faces one of them, he says, I do repent now. This shows that repentance may be accepted of any person, if he sincerely repents before death actually overtakes him. (close)
وَ لَیۡسَتِ التَّوۡبَۃُ لِلَّذِیۡنَ یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ السَّیِّاٰتِ ۚ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا حَضَرَ اَحَدَہُمُ الۡمَوۡتُ قَالَ اِنِّیۡ تُبۡتُ الۡـٰٔنَ وَ لَا الَّذِیۡنَ یَمُوۡتُوۡنَ وَ ہُمۡ کُفَّارٌ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَعۡتَدۡنَا لَہُمۡ عَذَابًا اَلِیۡمًا ﴿۱۹﴾
وَلَيۡسَتِ ٱلتَّوۡبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبۡتُ ٱلۡـَٰٔنَ وَلَا ٱلَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمۡ كُفَّارٌۚ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابًا أَلِيمٗا
a. 2:62; 3:92; 47:43. (close)
a. 2:62; 3:92; 47:35. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا یَحِلُّ لَکُمۡ اَنۡ تَرِثُوا النِّسَآءَ کَرۡہًا ؕ وَ لَا تَعۡضُلُوۡہُنَّ لِتَذۡہَبُوۡا بِبَعۡضِ مَاۤ اٰتَیۡتُمُوۡہُنَّ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیۡنَ بِفَاحِشَۃٍ مُّبَیِّنَۃٍ ۚ وَ عَاشِرُوۡہُنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ ۚ فَاِنۡ کَرِہۡتُمُوۡہُنَّ فَعَسٰۤی اَنۡ تَکۡرَہُوۡا شَیۡئًا وَّ یَجۡعَلَ اللّٰہُ فِیۡہِ خَیۡرًا کَثِیۡرًا ﴿۲۰﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمۡ أَن تَرِثُواْ ٱلنِّسَآءَ كَرۡهٗاۖ وَلَا تَعۡضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذۡهَبُواْ بِبَعۡضِ مَآ ءَاتَيۡتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّآ أَن يَأۡتِينَ بِفَٰحِشَةٖ مُّبَيِّنَةٖۚ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِۚ فَإِن كَرِهۡتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَيَجۡعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيۡرٗا كَثِيرٗا
b. See 4:16. (close)
580. The deceased person’s relatives cannot prevent his widow from contracting a new marriage so that they may get hold of her property; but they can prevent her from doing so if she intends to marry a person of manifestly objectionable character. If the address is to the husbands, the verse would mean that if the wives do not want to live with their husbands and seek separation from them, which they can do by means of Khula’ the husbands should not prevent them from doing so out of greed for their money. But they can do so, if the wives are going to be guilty of a manifestly foul act. (close)
581. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "The best among you is he who treats his wife best" (Bukhari). The expression ‘Ashiruhunna being of the measure Mufa‘alah denotes reciprocity; husbands and wives are both enjoined to live amicably with each other and reciprocate each other’s love. (close)
c. 2:217. (close)
b. See 4:16. (close)
Men become heirs of women against their will in various ways: (1) A man does not like his wife and does not treat her well, yet he does not divorce her, hoping to possess her property after her death; (2) He treats his wife harshly and compels her by ill-treatment to obtain separation (khula‘) from him by giving him a part or whole of her property, or by surrendering her dowry; (3) The relations of the deceased husband of a widow prevent her from marrying another husband in order to get possession of her property after her death; (4) They force her to marry someone from among themselves against her will, treating her virtually as a part of the property left by her dead husband; (5) The husband takes by force the property of his wife, as if it were his by legal right; (6) The relatives of the deceased husband take away by force the property of his widow, depriving her of her right of inheritance.
The deceased person’s relatives cannot prevent his widow from contracting a new marriage so that they may get hold of her property; but they can prevent her from doing so, if she intends to marry a person of manifestly objectionable character.
If the address is to the husbands, the verse would mean that if the wives do not want to live with their husbands and seek separation from them, which they can do by means of khula‘, the husbands should not prevent them from doing so out of greed for their money. But they can do so, if the wives are going to be guilty of a manifestly foul act.
The words, consort with them in kindness, embody the pith of the Islamic teachings about the treatment of wives. They are not to be treated in a dry, businesslike way, but with love and kindness. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: خیر کم خیر کم لاھله i.e. "the best among you is he who is best in his treatment of his wife" (Tirmidhi). But as a one-sided affair can never be truly successful, the Quran uses the expression عاشروھن (consort with them), which, being of the measure مفاعلةdenotes reciprocity. So husbands and wives are both enjoined to live amicably with each other and reciprocate each other’s love and kindness.
A woman cannot adequately appreciate and acknowledge the great debt she owes to the Quran. No other Scripture has given to her the high status that the Quran gives her. It not only lays down her inalienable rights but also exhorts men to overlook the weaknesses and shortcomings of their wives, and treat them with kindness and benevolence even if they do not like them. The memorable words of the Holy Prophet quoted above, i.e. "The best of you is he who is best in his treatment of his wife" (Tirmidhi), are only an echo of the noble teachings of the Quran with regard to women. (close)
وَ اِنۡ اَرَدۡتُّمُ اسۡتِبۡدَالَ زَوۡجٍ مَّکَانَ زَوۡجٍ ۙ وَّ اٰتَیۡتُمۡ اِحۡدٰہُنَّ قِنۡطَارًا فَلَا تَاۡخُذُوۡا مِنۡہُ شَیۡئًا ؕ اَتَاۡخُذُوۡنَہٗ بُہۡتَانًا وَّ اِثۡمًا مُّبِیۡنًا ﴿۲۱﴾
وَإِنۡ أَرَدتُّمُ ٱسۡتِبۡدَالَ زَوۡجٖ مَّكَانَ زَوۡجٖ وَءَاتَيۡتُمۡ إِحۡدَىٰهُنَّ قِنطَارٗا فَلَا تَأۡخُذُواْ مِنۡهُ شَيۡـًٔاۚ أَتَأۡخُذُونَهُۥ بُهۡتَٰنٗا وَإِثۡمٗا مُّبِينٗا
582. If for some special reason a man wishes to divorce one wife and marry another, he is not allowed to take back from the former what he has already given her, no matter how big the sum may be. (close)
500. Important Words:
بھتان (lying) is the noun-infinitive from بھت. They say بھته i.e. he slandered him or accused him falsely; or he did so in such a manner as to make him confounded at the falsity of the charge. بھتان therefore means, a calumny, slander or false accusation; falsehood by reason of which one is perplexed or confounded and is rendered unable to see his right course; a false accusation of adultery against a woman (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse does not mean that man can divorce his wife at will. Anas, a Companion of the Holy Prophet, relates that once Abu Ayyub and Abu Talha wanted to divorce their wives (without valid reason) and asked the Holy Prophet about it. He counselled them not to do so, characterizing their act as an act of injustice. Thereupon, they abandoned their intention of divorcing their wives and retained them. This does not mean that a husband cannot divorce his wife without obtaining the permission of the authorities; he can do so, if he so desires; but he will certainly be accountable before God if he does so without valid reason. Elsewhere the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "Surely of the things sanctioned by the Law of Islam the most hateful in the sight of God is divorce" (Dawud, ch. on, Talaq).
If for some special reason a man wishes to divorce one wife and marry another, he is not allowed to take back from the former what he has already given her, no matter however big the sum may be. If he does so, he will be guilty of infidelity and sin. (close)
وَ کَیۡفَ تَاۡخُذُوۡنَہٗ وَ قَدۡ اَفۡضٰی بَعۡضُکُمۡ اِلٰی بَعۡضٍ وَّ اَخَذۡنَ مِنۡکُمۡ مِّیۡثَاقًا غَلِیۡظًا ﴿۲۲﴾
وَكَيۡفَ تَأۡخُذُونَهُۥ وَقَدۡ أَفۡضَىٰ بَعۡضُكُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٖ وَأَخَذۡنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَٰقًا غَلِيظٗا
583. These words do not necessarily imply sexual intercourse. They mean living with each other and meeting each other in private on terms of extreme intimacy. According to this verse, a man cannot take back from his wife any property or money he may have given her, even though he may not have gone in unto her. (close)
584. Women are not slaves of the whims or caprices of men. Both are bound by a sacred contract and men owe to their wives obligations which they must respect because, as regards their social rights, both are on much the same level. Men are warned here not to treat light-heartedly the covenant—the tie of marriage—they have made with their wives. (close)
501. Important Words:
افضی (has been alone) is formed from فضأ meaning, it was or became empty or vacant, or void; it was or became wide or spacious, افضیت الی الشیء means, I came to or reached a thing افضی الی امرأته means, he went in unto his wife; or he came in contact with his wife, skin to skin; he was with her alone in private (Lane).
The words, one of you has been alone with the other, do not necessarily imply sexual intercourse. They only mean living with each other and meeting each other in private on terms of extreme intimacy. According to this verse, a man cannot take back from his wife any property or sum of money he may have given her, even though he may not have gone in unto her.
The expression, and they (the women) have taken from you a strong covenant, shows that women are not the slaves of the whim or caprice of men. Both are bound by a sacred contract and men owe to their wives obligations which they must respect and faithfully discharge, because, as regards social rights, both are on much the same level. Men are warned here not to treat light-heartedly the covenant they have made with their wives, the very tie of marriage having the force of a covenant. (close)
وَ لَا تَنۡکِحُوۡا مَا نَکَحَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ اِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ فَاحِشَۃً وَّ مَقۡتًا ؕ وَ سَآءَ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿٪۲۳﴾
وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَآؤُكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَةٗ وَمَقۡتٗا وَسَآءَ سَبِيلًا
585. The words do not mean that stepmothers taken as wives or two sisters taken in marriage together before this verse was revealed could be retained. What they mean is simply this that if such men repent and make amends, no harm will come to them for what unlawful acts they might have committed in the past. The past will be forgiven but the women whom it is unlawful to marry are to be divorced at once. (close)
502. Important Words:
مقتا (hateful). مقته means, he hated him on account of a foul or evil action committed by him; he hated him with a violent hatred on account of a foul or evil action. مقتtherefore, means, violent hatred based on some foul or evil action; contracting marriage with the former wife of one’s father which is considered to be a most hateful act (Aqrab).
The clause, except what has already passed, does not mean that stepmothers taken as wives before this verse was revealed could be retained. What the words mean is simply that if such men repent and amend, no harm will come to them for what unlawful acts they might have committed in the past. The past will certainly be forgiven but the women whom it was unlawful to marry were to be divorced at once after this verse was revealed. In fact, the position of women in pre-Islamic Arabia was so degraded that men looked upon their stepmothers as part of the chattels, left by their fathers, with whom they did what they liked. Islam accorded to women inviolable rights which could not be infringed with impunity. (close)
حُرِّمَتۡ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اُمَّہٰتُکُمۡ وَ بَنٰتُکُمۡ وَ اَخَوٰتُکُمۡ وَ عَمّٰتُکُمۡ وَ خٰلٰتُکُمۡ وَ بَنٰتُ الۡاَخِ وَ بَنٰتُ الۡاُخۡتِ وَ اُمَّہٰتُکُمُ الّٰتِیۡۤ اَرۡضَعۡنَکُمۡ وَ اَخَوٰتُکُمۡ مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَۃِ وَ اُمَّہٰتُ نِسَآئِکُمۡ وَ رَبَآئِبُکُمُ الّٰتِیۡ فِیۡ حُجُوۡرِکُمۡ مِّنۡ نِّسَآئِکُمُ الّٰتِیۡ دَخَلۡتُمۡ بِہِنَّ ۫ فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَکُوۡنُوۡا دَخَلۡتُمۡ بِہِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ ۫ وَ حَلَآئِلُ اَبۡنَآئِکُمُ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ اَصۡلَابِکُمۡ ۙ وَ اَنۡ تَجۡمَعُوۡا بَیۡنَ الۡاُخۡتَیۡنِ اِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِیۡمًا ﴿ۙ۲۴﴾
حُرِّمَتۡ عَلَيۡكُمۡ أُمَّهَٰتُكُمۡ وَبَنَاتُكُمۡ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُمۡ وَعَمَّـٰتُكُمۡ وَخَٰلَٰتُكُمۡ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلۡأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلۡأُخۡتِ وَأُمَّهَٰتُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِيٓ أَرۡضَعۡنَكُمۡ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُم مِّنَ ٱلرَّضَٰعَةِ وَأُمَّهَٰتُ نِسَآئِكُمۡ وَرَبَـٰٓئِبُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِي دَخَلۡتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمۡ تَكُونُواْ دَخَلۡتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَحَلَـٰٓئِلُ أَبۡنَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِنۡ أَصۡلَٰبِكُمۡ وَأَن تَجۡمَعُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡأُخۡتَيۡنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورٗا رَّحِيمٗا
586. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that the relatives of foster- mothers are as forbidden as those within the prohibited degrees of relationship of real mothers. It is not lawful to marry foster-sisters and foster-daughters and so on. (close)
587. Theologians differ as to what number of sucks makes the marriage of foster-mothers and foster-sisters and their relations (within prohibited degrees of marriage) unlawful. (close)
503. Important Words:
ربائب (step-daughters) is derived from رب and is the plural of ربیبة meaning the daughter of a woman’s husband by another wife or the daughter of a man’s wife by another husband, because he or she rears her in spite of her being not a real daughter; or it means the wife of a man having child by another wife; also a woman who has the charge of a child, who rears or fosters it (Lane & Aqrab).
حجور (wards) is the plural of حجر which is derived from حجر meaning, he prevented or hindered it. حجر means, bosom or breast or the part beneath the armpit; custody, care or guardianship. They say, نشأ زید فی حجر عمرو i.e. Zaid grew up in the care and protection of ‘Amr. The expression التی فی حجور کم would, therefore, mean, those who are under your care or guardianship, i.e. your wards (Lane Aqrab & Mufradat).
حلائل (wives) is the plural of حلیلand حلیلة which are both derived from حل i.e. he alighted or took up his abode; or he or it became lawful; or he untied a knot, etc. حلیل means, husband and حلیلةwife. حلیل also means, a fellow-lodger or fellow-resident of another in one house (Aqrab). It also means a neighbour and a guest (Lane).
ارضعنکم (have given you suck) is derived from رضع. They say رضع امه i.e. he sucked the breast of his mother. ھذا اخی من الرضاعةmeans, he is my foster-brother, we both having sucked the breast of the same woman. ارضعته امه means, his mother suckled him; and استرضعت المرأة ولدی means, I sought or demanded of the woman that she should suckle my child (Lane).
The prohibition about marrying mothers, sisters and daughters may look superfluous; but there are certain people (e.g. certain sects among the Hindus) who regard such marriages as not only permissible, but even meritorious. The Quran, being a perfect code of Law, contains everything essential for man’s physical, moral and spiritual well-being. The Quranic laws are in perfect harmony with human nature; in fact, they only remind us of what is writ large on the book of human nature by God’s own hand. Human nature responds to what is taught by the Quran and the Qurancommands that which human nature demands, and it prohibits what human nature revolts against. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that the relatives of foster mothers are as forbidden as those within prohibited degree of relationship of real mothers. It is not lawful to marry foster-sisters and foster-daughters and so on. There exists, however, a difference of opinion among Muslim theologians as to what amount of suckling makes the marriage of foster mothers and foster-sisters and their relations (within prohibited degree of marriage) unlawful. Some hold the view that the prohibition comes into operation in all cases even when a woman has given suck to a child only once. According to others who derive their authority from a saying of the Holy Prophet, reported by ‘A’ishah, viz. لا تحرم المصة ولا المصتان i.e. "A suck or two do not make marriage unlawful" (Tirmidhi, ch. on Rida’), the least number of sucks to render marriage unlawful is three. But there is yet another saying of the Holy Prophet, also reported by ‘A’ishah, that mentionsخمس رضعات معلومات (five distinctly known sucks) as necessary to make marriage unlawful (Muslim), and this appears to be the correct view. One suck amounts to the quantity taken by a child at one stretch, i.e. when for the time being it should leave off sucking of its own accord and before returning to it. The age of the child must be within two years at the time of sucking.
The qualifying clause, who are your wards, is only added to draw our attention to the fact that we should bring up our wards with the same care and tenderness that we bestow upon our own children; otherwise marriage with the daughters of women with whom conjugal relations have been established is unlawful, whether or not they are brought up as wards. The daughters of those women with whom such relations have not been established can be taken into marriage and this is the meaning of the words, but if you have not gone in unto them, there shall be no sin upon you.
The expression, of your sons that are from your loins, is added to exclude wife’s sons as well as adopted ones. Islam does not recognize the system of adoption. It wants us to look upon all Muslims as brothers; and as the adoption of certain individuals as sons conflicts with this principle of universal brotherhood, it has been prohibited by Islam. The system of adoption also leads to contention and litigation.
In conformity with the command contained in the words, it is forbidden to you to have two sisters together in marriage, the Holy Prophet is reported to have ordered one of the two sisters who were together the wives of one man to be divorced by him after this injunction was revealed (Tirmidhi, ch. on Nikah). The injunction is based on sentiments of deference to near relationship and is meant to exclude possibility of dissensions in the close family circle.
For similar reasons the Holy Prophet has forbidden to unite in marriage a maternal aunt and her sister’s daughter, or a paternal aunt and her brother’s daughter. (close)
وَّ الۡمُحۡصَنٰتُ مِنَ النِّسَآءِ اِلَّا مَا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُکُمۡ ۚ کِتٰبَ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ ۚ وَ اُحِلَّ لَکُمۡ مَّا وَرَآءَ ذٰلِکُمۡ اَنۡ تَبۡتَغُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِکُمۡ مُّحۡصِنِیۡنَ غَیۡرَ مُسٰفِحِیۡنَ ؕ فَمَا اسۡتَمۡتَعۡتُمۡ بِہٖ مِنۡہُنَّ فَاٰتُوۡہُنَّ اُجُوۡرَہُنَّ فَرِیۡضَۃً ؕ وَ لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ فِیۡمَا تَرٰضَیۡتُمۡ بِہٖ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ الۡفَرِیۡضَۃِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلِیۡمًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۲۵﴾
۞وَٱلۡمُحۡصَنَٰتُ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَٰنُكُمۡۖ كِتَٰبَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكُمۡ أَن تَبۡتَغُواْ بِأَمۡوَٰلِكُم مُّحۡصِنِينَ غَيۡرَ مُسَٰفِحِينَۚ فَمَا ٱسۡتَمۡتَعۡتُم بِهِۦ مِنۡهُنَّ فَـَٔاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةٗۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فِيمَا تَرَٰضَيۡتُم بِهِۦ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱلۡفَرِيضَةِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمٗا
588. Muhsanat is the plural of Muhsanah which means, a married woman; a free woman; a chaste woman (Lane). (close)
589. This means that whereas a woman who is already married to a man cannot be taken in marriage by another person, an exception is made here in case of women who are taken prisoner in a war waged by a non-Muslim State against an Islamic State. This is the significance of the words Ma Malakat Aimanukum. Such married women, if they become converted to Islam and therefore could not be sent back to their non-Muslim husbands, may be married to Muslim husbands. For a detailed note on "What your right hands possess" see 561. (close)
a. 4:26; 5:6. (close)
590. Tamatta‘a bil Mar’ati means, he benefited by the woman temporarily. Istamta‘a bi Kadha means, he benefited by it for a long time. The Arabic idiom does not countenance the use of Istimta‘ with regard to a woman in the sense of temporary connection (Lisan). It may also be noted that whenever the noun Tamattu‘ is used to denote temporary connection with a woman, it is followed by the preposition ba’ put before the word standing for the woman, as in the above example. An Arab poet says, Tamatta‘ biha ma Sa‘afatka wa la Takun ‘alaika Shajan fil Halqi hina Tabinu (Hamasah), i.e. be benefited by her as long as she is agreeable to you, but when she gets separated from you, do not let her be a source of constant trouble for you like a piece of bone which remains stuck in the throat. But in this verse the pronoun Hunna referring to women is preceded by the preposition min. Misunderstanding about Mut‘ah seems to have arisen from the failure to understand the difference between the words Tamattu‘ and Istimta‘. The author of Lisan quotes Zajjaj as saying: "Owing to their ignorance of the Arabic language, some persons have inferred from this verse the legality of Mut‘ah which, by the consensus of opinion among Muslim theologians, has been declared to be unlawful, the words Fa-mastamta‘tum bihi Minhunna simply meaning marriage, performed in accordance with the conditions mentioned above". If there had been any reference to Mut‘ah here, the preposition used ought to have been ba’ and not min. Moreover, the word used is Istamta‘a and not Tamatta‘a which possesses a sense different from that of the former word. Nor can any inference in favour of Mut‘ah be drawn from the word Ujurahunna which means "their dowries", the sense in which it has also been used in the Qur’an (33:51). Thus the Qur’an positively forbids Mut‘ah and regards all sexual relations outside proper wedlock (Ihsan) as adultery. (close)
b. 4:5; 60:11. (close)
a. 4:26; 5:6. (close)
504. Important Words:
المحصنات (married) is the plural of محصنة and is derived from حصن meaning, he or it was or became inaccessible, fortified or protected against attack. حصن المرأة means, the woman was chaste, i.e. protected against moral or sexual sinfulness. احصنت المرأة means, the woman got married. محصنة therefore, means a married woman; a chaste woman who abstains from what is unlawful; a free or noble woman as opposed to a bondwoman. Similarly محصن means, a married man; chaste man who abstains from what is unlawful: a free or noble man. حصن means, a fort or a fortress. The word محصنات would, therefore, mean, women who have protected themselves by entering, as it were, the fortress of marriage. The word has been used in the Quran in all the different senses, i.e. (1) married women, (2) chaste women and (3) free women; but in the present verse it has been used in the sense of married women (Lane & Aqrab).
مسافحین (committing fornication) is the active participle from سافح which is derived from سفح. They say سفح الدم i.e. he shed blood or made it flow. سفح الدمع means, tears began to flow. Thus the word is both transitive and intransitive. سافحة means, he vied with the other party in shedding blood; he committed fornication. مسافحة means, a fornicator and مسافحة means, a fornicatress (Lane & Aqrab).
اجور (dowries) is the plural of اجر which means, reward or wages. اجر المرأة means, dowry of a woman (Taj). Also, in 33:51 the word has been used in the sense of dowry.
استمتعتم (the benefit you receive) is formed from متع. They say متعھا بکذا i.e. he gave her (his wife) such a thing. تمتع بالمرأةmeans, he benefited by the woman temporarily. استمتع بکذا means, he benefited by it for a long time. The Arabic idiom does not countenance the use of استمتاع with regard to a woman in the sense of temporary connection (Lisan). It must also be noted that whenever the noun تمتع (tamattu‘) is used to denote temporary connection with a woman, it is followed by the preposition با (ba) put before the word standing for the woman, as in the above example. But in the expression فما استمتعم به منھن to pronoun ھن referring to women is preceded by the preposition من.
ماملکت ایمانکم (what your right hands possess). The Arabs say ھذا ملک یمینی i.e. he or it is in the possession of my right hand, meaning, he or it is in my possession and I can deal with him or it as I like (Lisan & Aqrab). The expression ما ملکت ایمانکمgenerally signifies, men or women taken prisoner in war and being in the custody and control of their Muslim captors. In this verse, the expression means women prisoners only. The term has been used by the Quran in preference to عباد or اماء (slaves and bondwomen) to point to just and rightful possession, the word ایمان (right hands) also pointing to the same fact.
The expression, such as your right hands possess, has been used in the Quran with regard to those men or women who took part in aggressive wars against Islam and fell prisoners into the hands of Muslims. The context, however, shows that the expression used in the present verse means female prisoners of war. Islam does not allow women taken prisoner in ordinary wars to be taken as wives. This exceptional injunction becomes operative only when a hostile nation wages a religious war against Islam with a view to extirpating it and compelling Muslims to abandon their religion at the point of the sword, and treats their prisoners as slaves, as was done in the days of the Holy Prophet when the enemy took away Muslim women as prisoners and treated them as slaves. The Islamic injunction was thus only a retaliatory measure and also served the additional purpose of protecting the morals of captive women who were generally in large numbers and whom war separated from their kith and kin. A people who seek to compel others to forsake their religion at the point of the sword and reduce them to slavery are mere brutes and not respectable human beings. They must be paid back in their own coin in order to bring them to their senses. For a fuller exposition of this subject see General Introduction.
It may be noted that it is not permitted to take into marriage such female relations of a bondwoman who is treated as wife, as correspond to the relations of a free woman within the prohibited degree. For instance, the mothers, sisters, daughters etc. of such bondwomen cannot be taken in marriage.
The advocates of mut‘a (temporary marriage) have endeavoured in vain to infer its legality from this verse. The Quran and the Arabic language both contradict this manifestly unfounded inference. The misunderstanding about mut‘aseems to have arisen from the failure to understand the difference between the meanings of تمتع and استمتاع given under Important Words. The author of Lisanul-‘Arab quotes Zajjaj as saying: "This is a verse in the interpretation of which some men have committed a great blunder, owing to their ignorance of the Arabic language. They have inferred from it the legality of mut‘a which, by the consensus of opinion among Muslim theologians, has been declared to be unlawful, whereas the words simply mean marriage performed in accordance with the conditions mentioned above."
According to Arabic usage, the legality of mut‘a, as asserted by some people, cannot, therefore, be inferred from this verse. If there had been any reference to mut‘a, the preposition used ought to have been با (ba) and not من (min). Moreover, the expression used here is not تمتع but استمتع which possesses a sense different from that of the former word.
Nor can any inference in favour of mut‘a be drawn from the expression اجورھن which, as explained under Important Words, means "their dowries", in which sense it has been used in the Quran elsewhere also (33:51).
On principle, the dowry must be paid immediately at marriage; but with the wife’s consent the payment can be suitably deferred. The husband can increase the amount of the dowry later, if he so desires; but he cannot decrease it except with the permission of the wife or the qadi. (close)
وَ مَنۡ لَّمۡ یَسۡتَطِعۡ مِنۡکُمۡ طَوۡلًا اَنۡ یَّنۡکِحَ الۡمُحۡصَنٰتِ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ فَمِنۡ مَّا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُکُمۡ مِّنۡ فَتَیٰتِکُمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِاِیۡمَانِکُمۡ ؕ بَعۡضُکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡضٍ ۚ فَانۡکِحُوۡہُنَّ بِاِذۡنِ اَہۡلِہِنَّ وَ اٰتُوۡہُنَّ اُجُوۡرَہُنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ مُحۡصَنٰتٍ غَیۡرَ مُسٰفِحٰتٍ وَّ لَا مُتَّخِذٰتِ اَخۡدَانٍ ۚ فَاِذَاۤ اُحۡصِنَّ فَاِنۡ اَتَیۡنَ بِفَاحِشَۃٍ فَعَلَیۡہِنَّ نِصۡفُ مَا عَلَی الۡمُحۡصَنٰتِ مِنَ الۡعَذَابِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ لِمَنۡ خَشِیَ الۡعَنَتَ مِنۡکُمۡ ؕ وَ اَنۡ تَصۡبِرُوۡا خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿٪۲۶﴾
وَمَن لَّمۡ يَسۡتَطِعۡ مِنكُمۡ طَوۡلًا أَن يَنكِحَ ٱلۡمُحۡصَنَٰتِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَٰتِ فَمِن مَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَٰنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَٰتِكُمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَٰتِۚ وَٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِإِيمَٰنِكُمۚ بَعۡضُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡضٖۚ فَٱنكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذۡنِ أَهۡلِهِنَّ وَءَاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ مُحۡصَنَٰتٍ غَيۡرَ مُسَٰفِحَٰتٖ وَلَا مُتَّخِذَٰتِ أَخۡدَانٖۚ فَإِذَآ أُحۡصِنَّ فَإِنۡ أَتَيۡنَ بِفَٰحِشَةٖ فَعَلَيۡهِنَّ نِصۡفُ مَا عَلَى ٱلۡمُحۡصَنَٰتِ مِنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنۡ خَشِيَ ٱلۡعَنَتَ مِنكُمۡۚ وَأَن تَصۡبِرُواْ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
591. In Islam no stigma attaches to the status of a handmaid as such; but owing to her relationships and associations she may not prove such a perfect companion as a free believing woman. (close)
591A. This means that only such of them may be married as are chaste and virtuous. Once they are married their dowries must be paid just as in the case of free women. (close)
a. 4:16, 20; 24:20. (close)
592. The verse has laid down three vital principles: (a) Bondwomen should be properly married before conjugal relations are had with them. This is also clear from 2:222; 4:4; and 24:33. Thus Islam has cut at the root of concubinage which was so prevalent in Arab society before its advent. (b) If they commit adultery, bondwomen are to have half the punishment which is 100 stripes for free women for the same offence which shows that stoning to death is not the punishment for adultery, as mistakenly understood, because stoning to death cannot be halved. (c) Incidentally, the verse seems to indicate that a bondwoman taken in marriage had a lower social status in Arab society than a free woman taken in marriage, perhaps because of her having taken part in a war waged to destroy an Islamic State. (close)
505. Important Words:
طولا (to afford) is noun from طال i.e. he or it was or became long, tall or high. طول means, bounty or gift; ampleness of means; excellence; excess or increase; power or ability; wealth or competence. It may also mean, dowry or expenses of marriage (Lane, Aqrab & Mufradat).
اخدان (secret paramours) is the plural of خدن. They say خادنه i.e. he was or became his friend or companion; or he was or became his secret or private friend. اخدان means friends or secret friends; amorous companions or associates; companions or associates affected with sensual appetency (Lane & Mufradat).
العنت (sins) is the noun-infinitive from عنت i.e. he fell into a difficulty; or he committed a sin or a crime or an act of disobedience; or he committed fornication or adultery. عنت therefore, means, severe difficulty or hardship; a state of perdition; a corrupt or evil state or conduct; a sin or crime, or an act of disobedience deserving punishment; a wrong action (intentional or unintentional); fornication or adultery (Lane & Aqrab). See also 3:119, 2:221.
As God attaches great value to the faith of a Muslim, He does not like it to become impaired by his marrying disbelieving women. Hence the condition that even the bondwoman a Muslim may marry should be a believer.
The words, you are all one from another, are meant to raise believing bondwomen in the estimation of Muslims, who are hereby required not to despise them or treat them with contempt on account of their so-called lower status.
The words, half the punishment, mean 50 stripes, the punishment for (unmarried) free women being 100 stripes. See also 24:3. The word half shows that the verse refers to a punishment which can be halved, and not to stoning to death, which was inflicted on married free women. The punishment definitely prescribed in the Quran (24:3) for a fornicator and a fornicatress is only a hundred stripes, but as the Holy Prophet differentiated between married and unmarried persons, inflicting on the former the punishment of stoning to death, the aforesaid verse has been taken as only applying to unmarried persons.
The expression, this is for him among you who fears lest he should commit sin, shows that Muslims are enjoined to avoid, as far as possible, contracting conjugal relations with bond women taken prisoner from belligerent disbelievers. This is to be done only if, on the one hand, one is not able to marry a free woman and, on the other, by remaining unmarried, one fears to fall into sin. The Muslim Empire of Baghdad fell to pieces because the khalifahs took to contracting conjugal relations with bondwomen. The incompetent princes born of them ruined the State. In most cases, marital relations with bondwomen are calculated to have a demoralizing effect on both husbands and children. (close)