The Importance of Surat An-Nur
سُورَةٌ أَنزَلْنَاهَا ...
A Surah which We have sent down,
Here Allah is pointing out the high esteem in which He holds this Surah, which is not to say that other Surahs are not important.
... وَفَرَضْنَاهَا ...
and which We have enjoined,
Mujahid and Qatadah said, "This means: We have explained what is lawful and unlawful, commands and prohibitions, and the prescribed punishments.''
Al-Bukhari said, "Those who read it: Faradnaha, say that it means: "We have enjoined them upon you and those who come after you.''
... وَأَنزَلْنَا فِيهَا آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ ...
and in it We have revealed manifest Ayat,
means, clearly explained,
... لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿١﴾
that you may remember.
The Explanation of the Prescribed Punishment for Zina (Illicit Sex)
Then Allah says:
الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا مِئَةَ جَلْدَةٍ ...
The Zaniyah and the Zani, flog each of them with a hundred stripes.
This honorable Ayah contains the ruling on the law of retaliation for the person who commits illegal sex, and details of the punishment.
Such a person will either be unmarried, meaning that he has never been married, or he will be married, meaning that he has had intercourse within the bounds of a lawful marriage, and he is free, adult and of sound mind.
- As for the virgin who is unwedded, the prescribed punishment is one hundred stripes, as stated in this Ayah.
In addition to this he is to be banished from his homeland for one year, as was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah and Zayd bin Khalid Al-Juhani in the Hadith about the two Bedouins who came to the Messenger of Allah.
One of them said, "O Messenger of Allah, this son of mine was employed by this man, and committed Zina with his wife. I paid a ransom with him on behalf of my son one hundred sheep and a slave-girl, but when I asked the people of knowledge, they said that my son should be given one hundred stripes and banished for a year, and that this man's wife should be stoned to death.''
The Messenger of Allah said:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَأَقْضِيَنَّ بَيْنَكُمَا بِكِتَابِ اللهِ تَعَالى،
الْوَلِيدَةُ وَالْغَنَمُ رَدٌّ عَلَيْكَ، وَعَلى ابْنِكَ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَتَغْرِيبُ عَامٍ،
وَاغْدُ يَا أُنَيْسُ لِرَجُلٍ مِنْ أَسْلَمَ إِلَى امْرَأَةِ هذَا،فَإِنِ اعْتَرَفَتْ فَارْجُمْهَا
By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I will judge between you both according to the Book of Allah.
Take back the slave-girl and sheep, and your son is to be given one hundred stripes and banished for one year.
O Unays -- he said to a man from the tribe of Aslam -- go to this man's wife, and if she confesses, then stone her to death.
Unays went to her and she confessed, so he stoned her to death.
This indicates that if the person who is guilty of illegal sex is a virgin and unmarried, he should be banished in addition to being given one hundred stripes.
But if married, meaning he has had intercourse within the bounds of lawful marriage, and he is free, adult and of sound mind, then he should be stoned to death.
Imam Malik recorded that Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, stood up and praised and glorified Allah, then he said;
"O people! Allah sent Muhammad with the truth, and revealed to him the Book. One of the things that was revealed to him was the Ayah of stoning to death, which we have recited and understood. The Messenger of Allah carried out the punishment of stoning and after him we did so, but I am afraid that as time goes by, some will say that they did not find the Ayah of stoning in the Book of Allah, and they will go astray because they abandoned one of the obligations revealed by Allah. Stoning is something that is prescribed in the Book of Allah for the person -- man or woman -- who commits illegal sex, if he or she is married, if decisive evidence is produced, or if pregnancy results from that, or if they confess to it.''
It was also recorded in the Two Sahihs in the lengthy Hadith of Malik, from which we have quoted briefly only the portion that is relevant to the current discussion.
Do not feel pity for Them when carrying out the Prescribed Punishment
Then Allah says:
... وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ ...
Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah,
Meaning, with a ruling prescribed by Allah.
So the meaning of the Ayah is: "Do not feel too sorry for them where the laws of Allah are established.''
This does not mean that we should not naturally feel pity when carrying out the punishment. What is prohibited here is the kind of pity that may make the judge ignore the punishment altogether. This is what is not permitted for the judge.
Mujahid said, وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ "If the matter is taken to the ruling authority, the punishment has to be carried out and cannot be stopped.''
This was also narrated from Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ata' bin Abi Rabah.
It was recorded in a Hadith:
تَعَافَوُا الْحُدُودَ فِيمَا بَيْنَكُمْ، فَمَا بَلَغَنِي مِنْ حَدَ فَقَدْ وَجَبَ
Compromise with the matter of prescribed punishment mutually sorting it out among yourselves, for once a matter where the prescribed punishment is required reaches me, I am obliged to carry it out.
... إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ...
if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.
means, then do that, carry out the punishments on those who commit illegal sex, and strike them hard without causing any wound, so that he and others like him will be deterred by the terror of that.
In Al-Musnad, it was recorded that one of the Companions said, "O Messenger of Allah, when I slaughter a sheep I feel pity for it.''
وَلَكَ فِي ذلِكَ أَجْرٌ
You be rewarded for that.
Carry out the Prescribed Punishment in Public
Then Allah says:
... وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٢﴾
And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.
This is more humiliating for the people who are guilty of illegal sex, if they are flogged in front of the people. This is because it is more effective as a deterrent and it conveys the sense of scandal and rebuke.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (And let a party of the believers witness their punishment). "Publicly.''
الزَّانِي لَا يَنكِحُ إلَّا زَانِيَةً أَوْ مُشْرِكَةً ...
The Zani marries not but a Zaniyah or a Mushrikah;
Here Allah tells us that the Zani (male who is guilty of illegal sex) does not have intercourse except with a Zaniyah (female who is guilty of illegal sex) or a Mushrikah (female idolator), meaning that no one would go along with him in this action except a sinful woman who is also guilty of Zina, or a Mushrikah who does not think it is unlawful.
By the same token,
... وَالزَّانِيَةُ لَا يَنكِحُهَا إِلَّا زَانٍ ...
and the Zaniyah, none marries her except a Zani,
a sinful man who is guilty of fornication,
... أَوْ مُشْرِكٌ ...
or a Mushrik (a man)
who does not think it is unlawful.
... وَحُرِّمَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٣﴾
Such a thing is forbidden to the believers.
meaning, indulging in this, or marrying prostitutes, or marrying chaste women to immoral men.
Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said:
"Allah forbade the believers from marrying prostitutes.''
This Ayah is like the Ayah (about marrying slave-girls):
مُحْصَنَـت غَيْرَ مُسَـفِحَـتٍ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ
they should be chaste, not committing illegal sex, nor taking boyfriends. (4:25)
And His saying:
مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذِى أَخْدَانٍ
desiring chastity not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends. (5:5)
Imam Ahmad recorded that:
Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man among the believers asked the Messenger of Allah for permission (to marry) a woman known as Umm Mahzul, who used to commit adultery, and who had stated the condition that she should spend on him. So he asked the Messenger of Allah for permission, or he mentioned the matter to him. The Messenger of Allah recited to him:
الزَّانِى لاَ يَنكِحُ إِلاَّ زَانِيَةً أَوْ مُشْرِكَةً وَالزَّانِيَةُ لاَ يَنكِحُهَآ إِلاَّ زَانٍ أَوْ مُشْرِكٌ وَحُرِّمَ ذلِكَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
The Zani marries not but a Zaniyah or a Mushrikah; and the Zaniyah, none marries her except Zani or a Mushrik. Such a thing is forbidden to the believers.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said,
لَا يَنْكِحُ الزَّانِي الْمَجْلُودُ إِلَّا مِثْلَهُ
A Zani who has been flogged should not marry anyone except someone who is like him.
A similar report was recorded by Abu Dawud in his Sunan.
The Prescribed Punishment for slandering Chaste Women
وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ...
And those who accuse chaste women,
This Ayah states the prescribed punishment for making false accusations against chaste women, i.e., those who are free, adult and chaste.
If the person who is falsely accused is a man, the same punishment of flogging also applies.
If the accuser produces evidence that what he is saying is true, then the punishment does not apply.
... ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاء فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَدًا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ ﴿٤﴾
and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever. They indeed are the rebellious.
If the accuser cannot prove that what he is saying is true, then three rulings apply to him:
- (firstly) that he should be flogged with eighty stripes,
- (secondly) that his testimony should be rejected forever, and
- (thirdly) that he should be labeled as a rebellious who is not of good character, whether in the sight of Allah or of mankind.
Explaining the Repentance of the One Who makes a False Accusation
Then Allah says:
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا مِن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٥﴾
Except those who repent thereafter and do righteous deeds; (for such) verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
This exception refers to the second and third rulings mentioned above.
The flogging has been carried out regardless of whether he repents or persists, and after that there is no further punishment, as is agreed among the scholars.
If he repents, then his testimony may be accepted, and he is no longer to be regarded as a rebellious.
This was the view of Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib -- the leader of the Tabi`in -- and also a group among the Salaf.
Ash-Sha`bi and Ad-Dahhak said, "His testimony cannot be accepted even if he does repent, unless he himself admits that he said something false, in which case his testimony may be accepted.''
And Allah knows best.
Details of Al-Li`an
وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُمْ شُهَدَاء إِلَّا أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ ...
And for those who accuse their wives, but have no witnesses except themselves, let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies by Allah,
This Ayah offers a way out for husbands. If a husband has accused his wife but cannot come up with proof, he can swear the Li`an (the oath of condemnation) as Allah commanded.
This means that he brings her before the Imam and states what he is accusing her of. The ruler then asks him to swear four times by Allah in front of four witnesses,
... إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ ﴿٦﴾
that he is one of those who speak the truth.
in his accusation of her adultery.
وَالْخَامِسَةُ أَنَّ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٧﴾
And the fifth; the invoking of the curse of Allah on him if he be of those who tell a lie.
If he says that, then she is divorced from him by the very act of this Li`an; she is forever forbidden for him and he must give her Mahr to her.
The punishment for Zina should be carried out on her, and nothing can prevent the punishment except if she also swears the oath of condemnation (Li`an) and swears by Allah four times that he is one of those who lied, i.e., in what he is accusing her of; وَالْخَامِسَةَ أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ And the fifth; should be that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth.
But she shall avert the punishment,
meaning, the prescribed punishment.
... أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَرْبَعَ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٨﴾
if she bears witness four times by Allah, that he is telling a lie.
وَالْخَامِسَةَ أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ ﴿٩﴾
And the fifth; should be that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth.
The wrath of Allah is mentioned specially in the case of the woman, because usually a man would not go to the extent of exposing his wife and accusing her of Zina unless he is telling the truth and has good reason to do this, and she knows that what he is accusing her of is true. So in her case the fifth testimony calls for the wrath of Allah to be upon her, for the one upon whom is the wrath of Allah, is the one who knows the truth yet deviates from it.
Then Allah mentions His grace and kindness to His creation in that He has prescribed for them a way out of their difficulties.
And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you!
meaning, many of your affairs would have been too difficult for you,
... وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ ...
And that Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance,
means, from His servants, even if that comes after they have sworn a confirmed oath.
... حَكِيمٌ ﴿١٠﴾
in what He prescribes and commands and forbids.
The Reason why the Ayah of Li`an was revealed
There are Hadiths which explain how we are to put this Ayah into effect, why it was revealed and concerning whom among the Companions it was revealed.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said:
"When the Ayah وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاء فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَدًا (And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever) (24:4) was revealed, Sa`d bin Ubadah, may Allah be pleased with him, -- the leader of the Ansar -- said, `Is this how it was revealed, O Messenger of Allah?'
The Messenger of Allah said:
يَا مَعْشَرَ الْأَنْصَارِ أَلَا تَسْمَعُونَ مَا يَقُولُ سَيِّدُكُمْ ؟
O Ansar, did you hear what your leader said?
They said, `O Messenger of Allah, do not blame him, for he is a jealous man. By Allah, he never married a woman who was not a virgin, and he never divorced a woman but none of us would dare to marry her because he is so jealous.'
Sa`d said, `By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I know that it (the Ayah) is true and is from Allah, but I am surprised. If I found some wicked man lying down with my wife, should I not disturb him until I have brought four witnesses? By Allah, he would have finished what he was doing before I could bring them!'
A little while later, Hilal bin Umayyah -- one of the three whose repentance had been accepted -- came back from his lands at night and found a man with his wife. He saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears, but he did not disturb him until the morning.
In the morning he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Messenger of Allah, I came to my wife at night and found a man with her, and I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.'
The Messenger of Allah did not like what he had said and got very upset.
The Ansar gathered around him and said, `We were being tested by what Sa`d bin Ubadah said, and now the Messenger of Allah will punish Hilal bin Umayyah and declare his testimony before people to be unacceptable.'
Hilal said: `By Allah, I hope that Allah will make for me a way out from this problem.'
Hilal said, `O Messenger of Allah, I see how upset you are by what I have said, but Allah knows that I am telling the truth.'
By Allah, the Messenger of Allah wanted to have him flogged, but then Allah sent revelation to His Messenger. When the revelation came upon him, they knew about it from the change in his face, so they would leave him alone until the revelation was finished.
Allah revealed the Ayah: وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُمْ شُهَدَاء إِلَّا أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ
Then the revelation was finished and the Messenger of Allah said,
أَبْشِرْ يَا هِلَالُ فَقَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَكَ فَرَجًا وَمَخْرَجًا
Rejoice, O Hilal, for Allah has made a way out for you.
Hilal said, `I had been hoping for this from my Lord, may He be glorified.'
The Messenger of Allah said:
Send for her.
So they sent for her and she came.
The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah to them both, and reminded them that the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe than the punishment in this world.
Hilal said, `By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I have spoken the truth about her.'
She said, `He is lying.'
The Messenger of Allah said,
Make them both swear the Li`an.
So Hilal was told, `Testify.'
So he testified four times by Allah that he was one of those who speak the truth. When he came to the fifth testimony, he was told, `O Hilal, have Taqwa of Allah, for the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter, and this will mean that the punishment will be inevitable for you.'
He said, `By Allah, Allah will not punish me for it, just as He has not caused me to be flogged for it.'
So he testified for the fifth time that the curse of Allah would be upon him if he was telling a lie.
Then it was said to his wife, `Testify four times by Allah that he is telling a lie.'
And when his wife reached the fifth testimony, she was told, `Have Taqwa of Allah, for the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter, and this will mean that the punishment will be inevitable for you.'
She hesitated for a while, and was about to admit her guilt, then she said: `By Allah, I will not expose my people to shame, and she swore the fifth oath that the wrath of Allah would be upon her if he was telling the truth.'
Then the Messenger of Allah separated them, and decreed that:
- her child should not be attributed to any father, nor should the child be accused, and whoever accused her or her child, they would be subject to punishment.
- He also decreed that:
- (Hilal) was not obliged to house her or feed her, because they had not been separated by divorce, nor had he died and left her a widow.
إِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أُصَيْهِبَ (أُرَيْسِحَ) حَمْشَ السَّاقَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِهِلَالٍ، وَإِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أَوْرَقَ جَعَدًا جُمَالِيًّا خَدَلَّجَ السَّاقَيْنِ سَابِغَ الْأَلْيَتَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِلَّذِي رُمِيَتْتِبهِ
If she gives birth to a red-haired child (with skinny thighs) and thin legs, then he is Hilal's child, but if she gives birth to a curly-haired child with thick legs and plump buttocks, then this is what she is accused of.
She subsequently gave birth to a child who was curly-haired with thick legs and plump buttocks, and the Messenger of Allah said,
لَوْلَا الْأَيْمَانُ لَكَانَ لِي وَلَهَا شَأْنٌ
Were it not for the oath that she swore, I would deal with her.''
"The child grew up to become the governor of Egypt, and he was given his mother's name and was not attributed to any father.''
Abu Dawud recorded a similar but briefer report.
This Hadith has corroborating reports in the books of Sahih and elsewhere, with many chains of narration, including the report narrated by Al-Bukhari from Ibn Abbas, that Hilal bin Umayyah accused his wife before the Prophet with Sharik bin Sahma'.
The Prophet said,
الْبَيِّنَةَ أَوْحَدٌّ فِي ظَهْرِكَ
Evidence or the punishment on your back.
He said, "O Messenger of Allah, if any one of us saw a man with his wife, how could he go and get evidence!''
The Prophet again said,
الْبَيِّنَةَ وَإِلَّاحَدٌّ فِي ظَهْرِكَ
Evidence otherwise the punishment on your back.
Hilal said, "By the One Who sent you with the truth! I am telling the truth and Allah will reveal something that will protect my back from the punishment.''
Then Jibril came down and brought the revelation, وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ (And for those who accuse their wives), Then he recited until he reached: إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ (that he is one of those who speak the truth). (24:6)
When the revelation had finished, the Prophet sent for them both. Hilal came and gave his testimony, and the Prophet said,
إِنَّ اللهَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمَا كَاذِبٌ، فَهَلْ مِنْكُمَا تَائِبٌ ؟
Allah knows that one of you is lying. Will one of you repent?
Then she stood up and gave her testimony, and when she reached the fifth oath, they stopped her and said,
"If you swear the fifth oath and you are lying, the curse of Allah will be inevitable.''
Ibn Abbas said,
"She hesitated and kept quiet until we thought that she had changed her mind, then she said, `I will not dishonor my people today', and she went ahead.
Then the Messenger of Allah said,
أَبْصِرُوهَا، فَإِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أَكْحَلَ الْعَيْنَيْنِ سَابِغَ الْأَلْيَتَيْنِ خَدَلَّجَ السَّاقَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِشَرِيكِ ابْنِ سَحْمَاءَ
Wait until she gives birth, and if she gives birth to a child whose eyes look as if they are ringed with kohl and who has plump buttocks and thick legs, then he is the child of Sharik bin Sahma'.
She gave birth to a child who matched this description, and the Prophet said,
لَوْلَا مَا مَضَى مِنْ كِتَابِ اللهِ لَكَانَ لِي وَ لَهَا شَأْنٌ
Were it not for the Book of Allah, I would deal with her.
This version was recorded only by Al-Bukhari, but the event has been narrated with additional chains of narration from Ibn Abbas and others.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said:
During the governorship of Ibn Az-Zubayr I was asked about the couple who engage in Li`an, and whether they should be separated, and I did not know the answer. I got up and went to the house of Ibn Umar, and said,
"O Abu `Abdur-Rahman, should the couple who engage in Li`an be separated''
"Subhan Allah, the first one to ask about this was so-and-so the son of so-and-so.
He said, `O Messenger of Allah, what do you think of a man who sees his wife committing an immoral sin If he speaks he will be speaking about something very serious, and if he keeps quiet he will be keeping quiet about something very serious.'
(The Prophet) kept quiet and did not answer him.
Later on, he came to him and said, `What I asked you about is something with which I myself being tested with.'
Then Allah revealed the Ayat, وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ (And for those who accuse their wives), until he reached: أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ (That the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth).
He started to advise the man and remind him about Allah, and told him that the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter.
The man said: `By the One Who sent you with the truth, I was not telling you a lie.'
Then the Prophet turned to the woman and advised the woman and reminded her about Allah, and told her that the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter.
The woman said, `By the One Who sent you with the truth, he is lying.'
So (the Prophet) started with the man, who swore four times by Allah that he was one of those who speak the truth, and swore the fifth oath that the curse of Allah would be upon him if he were lying.
Then he turned to the woman, who swore four times by Allah that he was lying, and swore the fifth oath that the wrath of Allah would be upon her if he was telling the truth. Then he separated them.''
It was also recorded by An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir, and by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in the Two Sahihs.
Al-Ifk (the Slander)
The next ten Ayat were all revealed concerning A'ishah, the mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her, when the people of slander and falsehood among the hypocrites made their accusations against her and spread lies about her. Allah became jealous on her behalf and on behalf of His Prophet, and revealed her innocence to protect the honor of the Messenger of Allah .
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ...
Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you.
meaning they were not one or two, but a group.
Foremost among this group was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, the leader of the hypocrites, who fabricated the lie and whispered it to others, until some of the Muslims started to believe it, and others thought it might be possible and began to talk about it. This is how matters remained for almost a month, until Qur'an was revealed.
This is reported in Sahih Hadiths.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Az-Zuhri said:
Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Alqamah bin Waqqas and Ubaydullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah bin Mas`ud told me about the story of A'ishah, the wife of the Prophet, when the people of the slander said what they said about her, and Allah declared her innocence. Each of them told something about the story, and some of them knew more details than others or had memorized more than others. I learned the story from each of them, who had heard it from A'ishah herself, and what one told me confirmed what the others said.
They mentioned that A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet, said:
"When the Messenger of Allah wanted to go on a journey, he would cast lots among his wives, and the one whose lot was drawn would go with him.'' A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
"So he drew lots among us with regard to a campaign he was going out on, and mine was drawn, so I went out with the Messenger of Allah. This was after the commandment of Hijab had been revealed, so I traveled in my howdah and stayed in it when we camped. We traveled until the Messenger of Allah completed his campaign, then we returned.
As we were approaching Al-Madinah, we paused for a while, then they announced that the journey was to be resumed. When I heard this, I walked quickly away from the army to answer the call of nature, then I came back to my howdah. Then I put my hand to my chest and noticed that a necklace of mine that was made of onyx and cornelian had broken, so I went back and looked for it, and was delayed because of that. In the meantime, the people who used to lift my howdah onto my camel came along and put it on the camel, thinking that I was inside. In those times women were more slender and not so heavy, they only ate mouthfuls of food. So the people did not think anything of the howdah being so light when they lifted it up, as I was a young woman.
They set off, and I found my necklace after the army had moved on. Then I came back to the place where we had stopped, and I saw no one to call or answer. So I went to the place where I had been, thinking that the people would miss me and come back for me. While I was sitting there, I fell asleep. Safwan bin Al-Mu`attal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani had rested during the night behind the army. Then he set out just before daybreak and reached the place where I was in the morning, where he saw the outline of a person sleeping. He came to me and recognized me when he saw me, as he had seen me before Hijab was made obligatory for me.
When he saw me and said `Truly, to Allah we belong, and truly, to Him we shall return,'
I woke up, and covered my face with my Jilbab (outer garment). By Allah, he did not speak a word to me and I did not hear him say anything except `Truly, to Allah we belong, and truly, to Him we shall return,' until he brought his camel and made it kneel so that I could ride upon it, then he set out leading the camel until we caught up with the army at Zuhr time. There are people who are doomed because of what happened to me, and the one who had the greater share therein was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul.
When we came back to Al-Madinah, I was ill for a month, and the people were talking about what the people of the slander were saying, and I knew nothing about it. What upset me when I was ill was that I did not see the kindness I used to see on the part of the Messenger of Allah. When I was ill; he would just come in and say, كَيْفَ تِيكُمْ How is that (lady)?
That is what upset me. I did not feel that there was anything wrong until I went out after I felt better, and Umm Mistah went out with me, walking towards Al-Manasi`, which is where we used to go to relieve ourselves, and we would not go out for that purpose except at night.
This was before we had lavatories close to our houses; our habit was similar to that of the early Arabs in that we went out into the deserts to relieve ourselves, because we considered it troublesome and harmful to have lavatories in our houses. So I went out with Umm Mistah, who was the daughter of Abu Ruhm bin Al-Muttalib bin Abd Manaf, and her mother was the daughter of Sakhr bin `Amir, the paternal aunt of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. Her son was Mistah bin Uthathah bin Abbad bin Al-Muttalib.
When we finished what we had to do, the daughter of Abu Ruhm Umm Mistah and I came back towards my house. Umm Mistah stumbled over her apron and said, `May Mistah be ruined!'
I said to her, `What a bad thing you have said! Are you abusing a man who was present at Badr!'
She said, `Good grief, have you not heard what he said!'
I said, `What did he say?'
So she told me what the people of the slander were saying, which made me even more ill.
When I returned home, the Messenger of Allah came in to me and greeted me, then he said, كَيْفَ تِيكُمْ How is that (lady)?
I said to him, `Will you give me permission to go to my parents?' At that time I wanted to confirm the news by hearing it from them.
The Messenger of Allah gave me permission, so I went to my parents and asked my mother, `O my mother, what are the people talking about?'
My mother said, `Calm down, for by Allah, there is no beautiful woman who is loved by her husband and has co-wives but those co-wives would find fault with her.'
I said, `Subhan Allah! Are the people really talking about that?' I wept throughout the whole night until morning. My tears never ceased and I did not sleep at all, and morning came while I was still weeping.
Because the revelation had ceased, the Messenger of Allah called Ali bin Abi Talib and Usamah bin Zayd, and consulted with them about divorcing his wife.
As for Usamah bin Zayd, he told the Messenger of Allah about what he knew of his wife's innocence and his fondness for her. He said,
`O Messenger of Allah, she is your wife, and we do not know anything about her but good.'
But Ali bin Abi Talib said,
`O Messenger of Allah, Allah has not imposed restrictions on you, and there are plenty of other women besides her. If you ask her servant girl, she will tell you the truth.'
So the Messenger of Allah called Barirah and said,
أَيْ بَرِيرَةُ هَلْ رَأَيْتِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ يَرِيبُكِ مِنْ عَائِشَةَ؟
O Barirah, have you ever seen anything that might make you suspicious about A'ishah?
Barirah said to him,
`By the One Who sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything for which I could blame her, apart from the fact that she is a young girl who sometimes falls asleep and leaves her family's dough unprotected so that the domestic goats come and eat it.'
So then the Messenger of Allah got up and (addressed the people) and asked who could sort out Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul for him. While he was standing on the Minbar, the Messenger of Allah said,
يَامَعْشَرَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مَنْ يَعْذِرُنِي مِنْ رَجُلٍ قَدْ بَلَغَنِي أَذَاهُ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي، فَوَاللهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَى أَهْلِي إِلَّا خَيْرًا، وَلَقَدْ ذَكَرُوا رَجُلًا مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا خَيْرًا، وَمَا كَانَ يَدْخُلُ عَلَى أَهْلِي إِلَّا مَعِي
O Muslims, who will help me against a man who has hurt me by slandering my family? By Allah, I know nothing about my family but good, and the people are blaming a man of whom I know nothing except good, and he has never entered upon my family except with me.
Sa`d bin Mu`adh Al-Ansari stood up and said,
`O Messenger of Allah, by Allah I will deal with him for you. If he is from (the tribe of) Al-Aws, then I will cut off his head, and if he is from our brothers of (the tribe of) Al-Khazraj, tell us what to do and we will do it.'
Then Sa`d bin Ubadah stood up. He was the leader of Al-Khazraj, and he was a righteous man, but he was overwhelmed with tribal chauvinism. He said to Sa`d bin Mu`adh,
`By Allah, you will not kill him and you will never be able to kill him.'
Then Usayd bin Hudayr, who was the cousin of Sa`d bin Mu`adh, stood up and said to Sa`d bin Ubadah,
`You are lying! By Allah, we will kill him, and you are a hypocrite arguing on behalf of the hypocrites!'
Then the two groups, Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, started to get angry and were about to come to blows, with the Messenger of Allah standing there on the Minbar, trying to calm them down until they became quiet, then the Messenger of Allah also fell silent.
On that day I kept on weeping so much, my tears never ceased and I did not sleep at all. My parents thought that my liver would burst from all that weeping.
While they were sitting with me and I was weeping, a woman of the Ansar asked for permission to see me. I let her in, and she sat and wept with me. While we were in that state, the Messenger of Allah came in, greeted us and sat down.
He had never sat with me since the rumors began, and a month had passed by without any revelation coming to him concerning my case.
The Messenger of Allah recited the Tashahhud when he sat down, then he said,
أَمَّا بَعْدُ، يَا عَائِشَةُ فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ بَلَغَنِي عَنْكِ كَذَا وَكَذَا،فَإِنْ كُنْتِ بَرِيئَةً فَسَيُبَرِّئُكِ اللهُ، وَإِنْ كُنْتِ أَلْمَمْتِ بِذَنْبٍ فَاسْتَغْفِرِي اللهَ ثُمَّ تُوبِي إِلَيْهِ، فَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا اعْتَرَفَ بِذَنْبِهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ، تَابَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ
Thereafter, O `A'ishah, I have been told such and such a thing about you, and if you are innocent, then Allah will reveal your innocence, but if you have committed a sin, then seek Allah's forgiveness and turn in repentance to Him, for when a servant confesses his sin and repents to Allah, He accepts his repentance.
When the Messenger of Allah finished what he had to say, my tears stopped completely and I not longer felt even one drop.
Then I said to my father, `Answer the Messenger of Allah on my behalf.'
He said, `I do not know what I should say to the Messenger of Allah.'
So I said to my mother, `Answer the Messenger of Allah on my behalf.'
She said, `I do not know what I should say to the Messenger of Allah.'
So even though I was just a young girl who had not memorized much of the Qur'an, I said:
`By Allah, I know that you have heard so much of this story that it has become planted in your minds and you believe it. So now if I tell you that I am innocent -- and Allah knows that I am innocent -- you will not believe me; but if I admit something to you -- and Allah knows that I am innocent -- you will believe me. By Allah, I cannot find any example to give you except for that which the Prophet Yusuf's father said,
فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَى مَا تَصِفُونَ (So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah Whose help can be sought against that (lie) which you describe). (12:18)
Then I turned my face away and lay down on my bed.
By Allah, at that point I knew I was innocent and that Allah would prove my innocence because I was innocent, but by Allah, I did not think that Allah would reveal Qur'an that would be forever recited concerning my situation, because I thought of myself as too insignificant for Allah to reveal anything concerning me. But I hoped that the Messenger of Allah would see a dream in which Allah would prove my innocence.
By Allah, the Messenger of Allah did not move from where he was sitting and no one left the house before Allah sent down revelation to His Prophet, and he was overtaken by the state that always overtook him when the revelation came upon him, until drops of sweat like pearls would run down him, even on a winter's day; this was because of the heaviness of the words which were being revealed to him.
When that state passed -- and the Messenger of Allah was smiling -- the first thing he said was,
أَبْشِرِي يَا عَائِشَةُ، أَمَّا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَقَدْ بَرَّأَكِ
Be glad O A'ishah, Allah has declared your innocence.
My mother said to me, `Get up and go to him.'
I said, `By Allah, I will not go to him and I will not give praise to anyone except Allah, may He be glorified, for He is the One Who has proven my innocence.'
So Allah revealed:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ...
Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you, until the ten Ayat.
Allah revealed these Ayat concerning my innocence.
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, who used to spend on Mistah bin Uthathah because he was a close relative and because he was poor, said, `By Allah, I will never spend anything on him again after what he has said about A'ishah.'
Then Allah revealed,
وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُوْلُوا الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُوْلِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah's cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (24:22)
So Abu Bakr said, `By Allah, certainly I love that Allah should forgive me.'
So he resumed spending on Mistah as he had spent on him before, and he said, `By Allah, I shall never stop spending on him.'
The Messenger of Allah asked Zaynab bint Jahsh about my situation, and said,
يَا زَيْنَبُ مَاذَا عَلِمْتِ أَوْ رَأَيْتِ؟
O Zaynab, what do you know and what have you seen?
She said, `O Messenger of Allah, may Allah protect my hearing and my sight. By Allah, I know nothing but good.'
She is the one who used to compete with me among the wives of the Prophet, but Allah protected her (from telling lies) because of her piety. But her sister Hamnah bint Jahsh kept on fighting on her behalf, so she was doomed along with those who were doomed.''
Ibn Shihab said, "This is as much as we know about this group of people.''
It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs from the Hadith of Az-Zuhri, and by Ibn Ishaq also from Az-Zuhri. He also said:
"Yahya bin Abbad bin Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr told me from his father, from A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and Abdullah bin Abi Bakr bin Muhammad bin `Amr bin Hazm Al-Ansari told me from Amrah, from A'ishah, (a report) similar to that quoted above.
And Allah knows best.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ ...
Verily, those who brought forth the slander,
means, the lies, falsehood and fabrications.
are a group,
means, a gang among you.
... لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم ...
Consider it not a bad thing for you.
O family of Abu Bakr,
... بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ...
Nay, it is good for you.
means, in this world and the Hereafter, honorable mention in this world and raised status in the Hereafter.
Allah demonstrated the esteem with which He regarded the family of Abu Bakr when He defended A'ishah the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her, by revealing her innocence in the Qur'an,
لاَّ يَأْتِيهِ الْبَـطِلُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلاَ مِنْ خَلْفِهِ
Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it. .. (41:42)
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, entered upon her when she was dying, he said to her,
"Rejoice, for you are the wife of the Messenger of Allah and he used to love you; he did not marry any virgin other than you, and your innocence was revealed from heaven.''
... لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ ...
Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin,
means, each of those who spoke about this matter and accused the Mother of the believers A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, of any immoral action, will have a great share of punishment.
... وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّى كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ ...
and as for him among them who had the greater share therein,
It was said that this referred to the one who initiated the rumors, or that it was the one who collected rumors and spread them among the people.
... لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿١١﴾
his will be a great torment.
means, for that. He was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, may Allah disfigure him and curse him.
Disciplining the Believers for spreading the Slander
Here Allah disciplines the believers with regard to the matter of A'ishah, because some of them spread this evil talk and the slander that had been mentioned.
So Allah says:
Why then, when you heard it,
meaning, the talk which accused the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her,
... ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا ...
the believers, men and women, think good of their own people,
means, why did they not compare what was said to themselves -- if it was not befitting for them then it was even less appropriate for the Mother of the believers, and she was more likely to be innocent.
Or it was said that this was revealed about Abu Ayub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari and his wife, may Allah be pleased with them.
Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated,
"The wife of Abu Ayub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari, Umm Ayub, said to him, `O Abu Ayub, have you heard what the people are saying about A'ishah!'
He said, `Yes, and it is all lies. Would you do that, O Umm Ayub!'
She said, `No, by Allah, I would not do that.'
He said, `And by Allah, A'ishah is better than you.'
When the Qur'an was revealed, Allah mentioned those who spoke about the evil deed among the people of the slander, إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ (Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you). (24:11) This refers to Hassan and his companions who said what they said.
Then Allah said,
لَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ...
Why then, did not the believers, men, when you heard it, think...
means, as Abu Ayub and his wife did.''
... ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ...
the believers, men think...
meaning, `why did they not think good, because the Mother of the believers is his wife and is closer to him.' This is concerned with innermost feelings;
... وَقَالُوا ...
means, with their tongues, verbally,
... هَذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِينٌ ﴿١٢﴾
"This (charge) is an obvious lie.''
means, a clear untruth told about the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her.
What happened should not have been the cause of suspicion. The fact that the Mother of the believers came openly, riding on the camel of Safwan bin Al-Mu`attal at midday, with the entire army watching and the Messenger of Allah among them, should have made it clear that there was no cause for suspicion. If there had been anything suspicious about the matter, they would not have come openly in this manner in front of so many witnesses; they would have come secretly. On this basis, what the people of the slander said accusing the Mother of the believers was an utter lie, false speech and evil foolish talk, by which people who indulged in it lost out.
لَوْلَا جَاؤُوا عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاء ...
Why did they not produce four witnesses against him!
meaning, to prove that what they were saying was true.
... فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِالشُّهَدَاء فَأُوْلَئِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ ﴿١٣﴾
Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars.
Allah has ruled that they are indeed wicked liars.
The Grace of Allah towards the People of the Slander by giving Them the Opportunity to repent
وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ...
Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter,
This is addressed to those who were indulging in discussing the matter of A'ishah, informing them that Allah has accepted their repentance in this world, and forgiven them because of their faith in the Hereafter.
... لَمَسَّكُمْ فِي مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيهِ ...
would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken,
with regard to the slander.
... عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿١٤﴾
a great torment.
This refers to those who had faith in Allah because of their repentance, such as Mistah, Hassan and Hamnah bint Jahsh the sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh.
As for the hypocrites who indulged in the slander, such as Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul and his like, they are not the ones who are referred to in this Ayah, because they did not have sufficient faith and righteous deeds to balance or cancel out what they had done.
By the same token, the threats that were narrated for a specific deed are bound to be carried out, if there is no repentance or sufficient righteous deeds to balance or outweigh it.
Then Allah says:
إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ ...
When you were propagating it with your tongues,
Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr said,
"Some of you were relating it to others,'' where one says, `I heard this from so-and-so, and so-and-so said such and such, and some of them mentioned such and such.'
Others recited the Ayah: إِذْ تَلِقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ "When you were inventing a lie with your tongues...''
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded that A'ishah recited it like that. According to her, the meaning refers to lies which a person persists in telling.
The first recitation is preferred and more popular, and the majority recites it that way, but the second is reported from A'ishah, the Mother of the believers.
... وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُم مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُم بِهِ عِلْمٌ ...
and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge,
means, you were speaking about something which you knew nothing about.
Then Allah says:
... وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ ﴿١٥﴾
you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.
means, `you said what you said about the Mother of the believers and you thought that it was a trifling and insignificant matter, but even if she was not the wife of the Prophet, it still would not be an insignificant matter -- so how about when she is the wife of the Unlettered Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets and Leader of the Messengers!'
It is a very serious matter with Allah that such a thing should be said about the wife of His Messenger! For Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, feels great fury and anger over such matters, and He would never decree such a thing for the wife of any of His Prophets. If that is the case, then how about the best of the wives of any Prophet, the wife of the best of the sons of Adam in this world and the next Allah says: وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.
In the Two Sahihs it is reported that:
إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مِنْ سَخَطِ اللهِ، لَا يَدْرِي مَا تَبْلُغُ، يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي النَّارِ أَبْعَدَ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ
A man may say a word that angers Allah without realizing how far it will go, and because of that he will be thrown into Hell a distance greater than that between heaven and earth.
According to another report: لَا يُلْقِي لَهَا بَالًا (And he may not pay any attention to it).
This is further discipline, in addition to the command to think well of people, i.e., if something unbefitting is mentioned about good people, then one should think well of them, and not feel towards them anything but good. Then if a person has any unsuitable thoughts about them, insinuated into his mind and imagination by Shaytan, he should not speak about that, for the Prophet said:
إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى تَجَاوَزَ لِأُمَّتِي عَمَّا حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسُهَا مَا لَمْ تَقُلْ أَوْ تَعْمَلْ
Allah will excuse my Ummah for anything that occurs to their minds, so long as they do not speak about it or act upon it.
This was reported in the Two Sahihs.
وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَن نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهَذَا ...
And why did you not, when you heard it, say: "It is not right for us to speak of this''.
meaning, we should not talk about it or mention it to anyone.
... سُبْحَانَكَ هَذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿١٦﴾
Glory be to You (O Allah)! This is a great lie.
means, glory be to Allah that such a thing should be said about the wife of His Prophet and close Friend.
Then Allah says,
يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَن تَعُودُوا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا ...
Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever,
meaning, Allah is forbidding you and warning you from doing anything like this again in the future.
... إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ ﴿١٧﴾
if you are believers.
meaning, if you believe in Allah and His Laws, and you respect His Messenger.
As for those who are described as disbelievers, a different ruling applies in their case.
Then Allah says,
وَيُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ ...
And Allah makes the Ayat plain to you,
meaning, He makes clear to you the rulings of Shariah and His divine decrees.
... وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿١٨﴾
and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
means, He knows what is right for His servants and He is Wise in His Laws and decrees.
Disciplining Those Who like that Illegal Sexual Intercourse should be circulated among the Believers
This is a third instance of discipline directed at those who hear evil talk, believe it to some extent, and start to spread it; they should not spread such talk or pass it on to others.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ...
Verily, those who like that Fahshah should be circulated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment,
meaning, those who like to see evil talk about them (the believers) appear,
... لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ...
they will have a painful torment in this world,
means, because of the prescribed punishment,
... وَالْآخِرَةِ ...
and in the Hereafter,
because of the torment in Hell.
وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿١٩﴾
And Allah knows and you know not.
means, return the matter to Him and you will be guided.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Thawban that the Prophet said:
لَا تُؤْذُوا عِبَادَ اللهِ وَلَا تُعَيِّرُوهُمْ، وَلَا تَطْلُبُوا عَوْرَاتِهِمْ،
فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ طَلَبَ عَوْرَةَ أَخِيهِ الْمُسْلِمِ طَلَبَ اللهُ عَوْرَتَهُ، حَتَّى يَفْضَحَهُ فِي بَيْتِهِ
Do not annoy the servants of Allah, nor abuse them, nor seek their hidden shortcomings.
Whoever seeks out the faults of his Muslim brother, Allah will expose his faults and degrade him, even if he is hiding in his house.
A Reminder of the Grace of Allah and a Warning against following the Footsteps of Shaytan
وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ وَأَنَّ اللَّه رَؤُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ ﴿٢٠﴾
And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, and that Allah is full of kindness, Most Merciful.
meaning, if it were not for this, it would have been another matter altogether, but He, may He be exalted, is full of kindness towards His servants and Merciful towards them. He accepts the repentance of those who repent to Him from this sin, and purifies those among them who are purified by the prescribed punishment carried out on them.
Then Allah says:
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ...
O you who believe! Follow not the Khutuwat of Shaytan.
meaning, his ways and paths and what he commands,
... وَمَن يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ ...
And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily, he commands immorality and the evil deeds.
This is a warning given in the most concise and eloquent manner.
Ali bin Abi Talhah recorded from Ibn Abbas that خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ (the Khutuwat of Shaytan), means his deeds.
Ikrimah said that: it means his evil whispers.
Qatadah said: "Every sin is one of the footsteps of Shaytan.''
Abu Mijlaz said: "Vowing to commit sin is one of the footsteps of Shaytan.''
Then Allah says:
... وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا ...
And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins.
meaning, if He did not help whomever He wills to repent and come back to Him and be purified from Shirk, evil and sin, and whatever bad characteristics each person has according to his nature, no one would ever attain purity and goodness.
... وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاء ...
But Allah purifies whom He wills,
means, among His creation, and He sends astray whomever He wills, leaving him to be doomed in his misguidance and sin.
... وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ ...
and Allah is All-Hearer,
means, He hears what His servants say,
... عَلِيمٌ ﴿٢١﴾
of who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be misguided.
Urging Those Who have been blessed with Wealth to give and to be tolerant
وَلَا يَأْتَلِ ...
And let not swear,
meaning, make an oath,
... أُوْلُوا الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ ...
those among you who are blessed with graces,
means, those who have the means to give charity and do good,
... وَالسَّعَةِ ...
means, good fortune,
... أَن يُؤْتُوا أُوْلِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ...
to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah's cause.
means, do not swear that you will not uphold the ties of kinship with your relatives who are needy or who migrated for the sake of Allah, which is the ultimate act of kindness in the area of upholding kinship ties.
... وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ...
Let them pardon and forgive.
past insults and bad treatment.
This is part of the patience, generosity and kindness of Allah towards His creation, despite the fact that they wrong themselves.
This Ayah was revealed concerning As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, when he swore that he would not help Mistah bin Uthathah after he said what he said about A'ishah, as we have already seen in the Hadith.
When Allah revealed the innocence of the Mother of the believers, A'ishah, and the believers were happy and content with the outcome of this incident, and those believers who had talked about the matter repented, and the prescribed punishment had been carried out upon those on whom it was carried out, then Allah started to soften the heart of As-Siddiq towards his relative Mistah bin Uthathah.
Mistah was the cousin of As-Siddiq, the son of his maternal aunt, and he was a poor man with no wealth except whatever Abu Bakr spent on him. He was one of those who had migrated for the sake of Allah. He had invented the lies and the slander, but then Allah accepted his repentance from that and the prescribed punishment was carried out on him.
As-Siddiq was known for his generosity and he did favors to his relatives and strangers alike. When this Ayah was revealed:
... أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ...
Do you not love that Allah should forgive you,
which shows that the reward fits the action, and that `if you forgive others, you will be forgiven,' then As-Siddiq said,
"Of course, by Allah, we love -- O our Lord -- that You should forgive us.''
Then he resumed his spending on Mistah and said, "By Allah I will never stop spending on him.''
This was to counteract what he had said previously, "By Allah I will never spend on him.''
This proves that he deserved to be called As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him and his daughter.
... وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٢٢﴾
And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
A Threat to Those who accuse Chaste Women, Who never even think of anything touching their Chastity and are Good Believers
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ...
Verily, those who accuse chaste believing women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers --
This is a warning and threat from Allah to those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything effecting their chastity since they are good believers. The Mothers of the believers are more entitled to be included in this category than any other chaste woman, especially the one who was the reason for this Ayah being revealed: A'ishah bint As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with them both.
All of the scholars agree that whoever slanders her or makes accusations against after what has been said in this Ayah, is a disbeliever, because of his being obstinate with the Qur'an. The same ruling applies to all of the Mothers of the believers.
... لُعِنُوا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ...
are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter,
This is like the Ayah:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ
Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger, (33:57)
... وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿٢٣﴾
and for them will be a great torment.
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said,
"This is about A'ishah, and whoever does anything similar nowadays to Muslim women, the same applies to him, but A'ishah is the one who is primarily referred to here.''
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ
Shun the seven destructive sins.
He was asked, "What are they, O Messenger of Allah!''
- الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ،
- وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ،
- وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا،
- وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ،
- وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ،
- وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ
- Associating partners with Allah;
- killing a soul whom Allah has forbidden to be killed, except with just cause;
- consuming Riba;
- consuming the property of orphans;
- desertion at the time of war;
- accusing chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers.
This was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in the Two Sahihs.
Then Allah says,
يَوْمَ تَشْهَدُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَلْسِنَتُهُمْ وَأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their legs will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said,
"This refers to the idolators when they realize that no one will enter Paradise except the people who used to perform Salah. They will say, `Come, let us deny (everything).' So they will deny (everything), then their mouths will be sealed and their hands and feet will testify against them, and they will not be able to hide anything from Allah.''
Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded that Anas bin Malik said,
"We were with the Prophet and he smiled so broadly that his back teeth could be seen, then he said:
أَتَدْرُونَ مِمَّ أَضْحَكُ؟
Do you know why I am smiling?
We said, `Allah and His Messenger know best.'
مِنْ مُجَادَلَةِ الْعَبْدِ لِرَبِّهِ يَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَلَمْ تُجِرْنِي مِنَ الظُّلْمِ؟ فَيَقُولُ: بَلَى، فَيَقُولُ: لَا أُجِيزُ عَلَيَّ شَاهِدًا إِلَّااِمنْ نَفْسِي، فَيَقُولُ: كَفَى بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ شَهِيدًا وَبِالْكِرَامِ عَلَيْكَ شُهُودًا، فَيُخْتَمُ عَلَى فِيهِ وَيُقَالُ لِأَرْكَانِهِ: انْطِقِي فَتَنْطِقَ بِعَمَلِهِ، ثُمَّ يُخَلَّى بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْكَلَامِ فَيَقُولُ: بُعْدًا لَكُنَّ وَسُحْقًا فَعَنْكُنَّ كُنْتُ أُنَاضِلُ
Because of the way a person will dispute with his Lord. He will say, "O Lord, did you not protect me from doing wrong!''
Allah will say, "Of course,''
The person will say, "I will not accept for anyone to give testimony concerning me except myself.''
Allah will say, "You are sufficient as a witness against yourself.''
Then a seal will be put upon his mouth and it will be said to his faculties, "Speak.'' So they will speak about his deeds.
Then he will be permitted to speak, and he will say, "Away with you! I was only speaking in your defence!''
This was recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa'i.
يَوْمَئِذٍ يُوَفِّيهِمُ اللَّهُ دِينَهُمُ الْحَقَّ ...
On that Day Allah will pay Dinahum,
Ibn Abbas said, دِينَهُمُ (Dinahum), "Meaning `their account.' Every time Dinahum appears in the Qur'an it means `their account.'''
This was also the view of other scholars.
... وَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ الْمُبِينُ ﴿٢٥﴾
and they will know that Allah, He is the Manifest Truth.
means, His promise, His threat and His reckoning are all just and there is no unfairness in them.
The Goodness of `A'ishah because She is married to the best of Mankind
الْخَبِيثَاتُ لِلْخَبِيثِينَ وَالْخَبِيثُونَ لِلْخَبِيثَاتِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ وَالطَّيِّبُونَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ ...
Bad statements are for bad people and bad people for bad statements. Good statements are for good people and good people for good statements:
Ibn Abbas said,
"Evil words are for evil men, and evil men are for evil words; good words are for good men and good men are for good words. This was revealed concerning A'ishah and the people of the slander.''
This was also narrated from Mujahid, Ata', Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan bin Abu Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Habib bin Abi Thabit and Ad-Dahhak, and it was also the view favored by Ibn Jarir.
He interpreted it to mean that evil speech is more suited to evil people, and good speech is more suited to good people. What the hypocrites attributed to A'ishah was more suited to them, and she was most suited to innocence and having nothing to do with them.
... أُوْلَئِكَ مُبَرَّؤُونَ مِمَّا يَقُولُونَ ...
such (good people) are innocent of (every) bad statement which they say;
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said,
"Evil women are for evil men and evil men are for evil women, and good women are for good men and good men are for good women.''
This also necessarily refers back to what they said, i.e., Allah would not have made A'ishah the wife of His Messenger unless she had been good, because he is the best of the best of mankind. If she had been evil, she would not have been a suitable partner either according to His Laws or His decree.
... أُوْلَئِكَ مُبَرَّؤُونَ مِمَّا يَقُولُونَ ...
such are innocent of (every) bad statement which they say;
meaning, they are remote from what the people of slander and enmity say.
... لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ ...
for them is forgiveness,
means, because of the lies that were told about them,
... وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ ﴿٢٦﴾
and honored provision.
meaning, with Allah in the Gardens of Delight.
This implies a promise that she will be the wife of the Messenger of Allah in Paradise.
Seeking Permission and the Etiquette of entering Houses
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا...
O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them;
This is the Islamic etiquette. Allah taught these manners (of seeking permission) to His believing servants and commanded them not to enter houses other than their own until they had asked permission, i.e., to ask for permission before entering and to give the greeting of Salam after asking.
One should seek permission three times, and if permission is given, (he may enter), otherwise he should go away.
It was reported in the Sahih that when Abu Musa asked `Umar three times for permission to enter and he did not give him permission, he went away. Then Umar said, "Did I not hear the voice of Abdullah bin Qays asking for permission to enter Let him come in.''
So they looked for him, but found that he had gone. When he came later on, Umar said, "Why did you go away?''
He said, "I asked for permission to enter three times, but permission was not given to me, and I heard the Prophet say,
إِذَا اسْتَأْذَنَ أَحَدُكُمْ ثَلَاثًا فَلَمْ يُؤْذَنْ لَهُ فَلْيَنْصَرِفْ
If any one of you asks for permission three times and it is not given, then let him go away.''
Umar said, "You should certainly bring me evidence for this or I shall beat you!''
So he went to a group of the Ansar and told them what Umar said.
They said, "No one will give testimony for you but the youngest of us.'' So Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri went with him and told Umar about that.
Umar said, "What kept me from learning that was my being busy in the marketplace.''
Imam Ahmad recorded a narration stating that Anas or someone else said that the Messenger of Allah asked for permission to enter upon Sa`d bin Ubadah.
السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ
As-Salamu `Alayka wa Rahmatullah,
Sa`d said, "Wa `Alaykas-Salam Wa Rahmatullah,''
but the Prophet did not hear the returned greeting until he had given the greeting three times and Sa`d had returned the greeting three times, but he did not let him hear him (i.e., Sa`d responded in a low voice). So the Prophet went back, and Sa`d followed him and said,
"O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransomed for you! You did not give any greeting but I responded to you, but I did not let you hear me. I wanted to get more of your Salams and blessings.''
Then he admitted him to his house and offered him some raisins. The Prophet ate, and when he finished, he said,
أَكَلَ طَعَامَكُمُ الْأَبْرَارُ، وَصَلَّتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ، وَأَفْطَرَ عِنْدَكُمُ الصَّائِمُونَ
May the righteous eat your food, may the angels send blessings upon you and may those who are fasting break their fast with you.
It should also be known that the one who is seeking permission to enter should not stand directly in front of the door; he should have the door on his right or left, because of the Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud from Abdullah bin Busr, who said,
"When the Messenger of Allah came to someone's door, he would never stand directly in front of it, but to the right or left, and he would say,
That was because at that time the houses had no covers or curtains over their doorways.''
This report was recorded by Abu Dawud only.
In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said:
لَوْ أَنَّ امْرَءًا اطَّلَعَ عَلَيْكَ بِغَيْرِ إِذْنٍ فَخَذَفْتَهُ بِحَصَاةٍ فَفَقَأْتَ عَيْنَهُ، مَا كَانَ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ جُنَاحٍ
If a person looks into your house without your permission, and you throw a stone at him and it puts his eye out, there will be no blame on you.
The Group recorded that Jabir said,
"I came to the Prophet with something that was owed by my father and knocked at the door. He said,
Who is that?
I said, "I am!''
He said, أَنَا أَنَا I, I, as if he disliked it.''
He did not like it because this word tells you nothing about who is saying it, unless he clearly states his name or the name by which he is known, (nickname) otherwise everyone could call himself "Me'', and it does not fulfill the purpose of asking permission to enter, which is to put people at their ease, as commanded in the Ayah.
Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn Abbas, "Putting people at ease means seeking permission to enter.''
This was also the view of others.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Kaladah bin Al-Hanbal that at the time of the Conquest (of Makkah), Safwan bin Umayyah sent him with milk, a small gazelle, and small cucumbers when the Prophet was at the top of the valley. He said, "I entered upon the Prophet and I did not give the greeting of Salam nor ask for permission to enter. The Prophet said,
ارْجِعْ فَقُلْ: السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَأَدْخُلُ؟
Go back and say: "As-Salamu `Alaykum, may I enter?''
This was after Safwan had become Muslim.''
This was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Gharib.''
Ibn Jurayj said that he heard Ata' bin Abi Rabah narrating that Ibn Abbas, may All‚h be pleased with him, said,
"There are three Ayat whose rulings people neglect.
Allah says, إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ (Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who has the most Taqwa. (49:13), But (now) they say that the most honorable of them with Allah is the one who has the biggest house.
As for seeking permission, the people have forgotten all about it.''
I said, "Should I seek permission to enter upon my orphan sisters who are living with me in one house?''
He said, "Yes.''
I asked him to make allowances for me but he refused and said, "Do you want to see them naked?''
I said, "No.''
He said, "Then ask for permission to enter.''
I asked him again and he said, "Do you want to obey Allah!''
I said, "Yes.''
He said, "Then ask for permission.''
Ibn Jurayj said,
"Ibn Tawus told me that his father said, `There are no women whom I hate to see naked more than those who are my Mahrams.' He was very strict on this point.''
Ibn Jurayj narrated that Az-Zuhri said,
"I heard Huzayl bin Shurahbil Al-Awdi Al-A`ma (say that) he heard Ibn Mas`ud say, `You have to seek permission to enter upon your mothers.'''
Ibn Jurayj said,
"I said to Ata': `Does a man have to seek permission to enter upon his wife?'
He said, `No, it can be understood that this is not obligatory, but it is better for him to let her know that he is coming in so as not to startle her, because she may be in a state where she does not want him to see her.'''
Abu Ja`far bin Jarir narrated from the nephew of Zaynab -- the wife of Abdullah bin Mas`ud -- that Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
"When Abdullah came back from some errand and reached the door, he would clear his throat and spit, because he did not want to come suddenly and find us in a state he disliked.''
Its chain of narration is Sahih.
Muqatil bin Hayyan said about this Ayah: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا
"During the Jahiliyyah, when a man met his friend, he would not greet him with Salam; rather he would say "Huyyita Sabahan'' or "Huyyita Masa'an'' (equivalent to "Good morning'' or "Good evening'').
This was the greeting among the people at that time. They did not seek permission to enter one another's houses; a man might walk straight in and say, "I have come in,'' and so on. This was difficult for a man to bear, as he might be with his wife. So Allah changed all that by enjoining covering and chastity, making it pure and free of any sin or impropriety. So Allah said: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them...
What Muqatil said is good.
... ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ...
that is better for you,
meaning, seeking permission to enter in is better for you because it is better for both parties, the one who is seeking permission to enter and the people inside the house.
... لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿٢٧﴾
in order that you may remember.
فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فِيهَا أَحَدًا فَلَا تَدْخُلُوهَا حَتَّى يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ ...
And if you find no one therein, still enter not until permission has been given.
This has to do with the way in which one deals with other people's property without their permission. If he wants to, he can give permission, and if he wants to he can refrain from giving permission.
... وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ارْجِعُوا فَارْجِعُوا هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ ...
And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you.
means, if you are turned away at the door, before or after permission has been given,
فَارْجِعُوا هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ (go back, for it is purer for you), means, going back is purer and better for you.
... وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٢٨﴾
And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.
Qatadah said that one of the emigrants said:
"All my life I tried to follow this Ayah, but if I asked for permission to enter upon one of my brothers and he asked me to go back, I could not do so happily, although Allah says, وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ارْجِعُوا فَارْجِعُوا هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you. And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.''
وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ارْجِعُوا فَارْجِعُوا, Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "This means, do not stand at people's doors.''
لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ مَسْكُونَةٍ ...
There is no sin on you that you enter houses uninhabited,
This Ayah is more specific than the one that comes before it, because it states that it is permissible to enter houses where there is nobody, if one has a reason for doing so, such as houses that are prepared for guests -- if he has been given permission once, then this is sufficient.
Ibn Jurayj said,
"Ibn Abbas said: لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ (Enter not houses other than your own), then this was abrogated and an exception was made, and Allah said:
لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ مَسْكُونَةٍ فِيهَا مَتَاعٌ لَّكُمْ...
There is no sin on you that you enter houses uninhabited, (when) you have any interest in them.
This was also narrated from Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri.
... وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ ﴿٢٩﴾
And Allah has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal.
The Command to lower the Gaze
This is a command from Allah to His believing servants, to lower their gaze from looking at things that have been prohibited for them. They should look only at what is permissible for them to look at, and lower their gaze from forbidden things. If it so happens that a person's gaze unintentionally falls upon something forbidden, he should quickly look away.
Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Jarir bin Abdullah Al-Bajali, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
"I asked the Prophet about the sudden glance, and he commanded me to turn my gaze away.
In the Sahih it is narrated that Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said:
إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْجُلُوسَ عَلَى الطُّرُقَاتِ
Beware of sitting in the streets.
They said, "O Messenger of Allah, we have no alternative but to sit in the streets to converse with one another.''
The Messenger of Allah said:
إِنْ أَبَيْتُمْ فَأَعْطُوا الطَّرِيقَ حَقَّهُ
If you insist, then give the street its rights.
They asked, "What are the rights of the street, O Messenger of Allah!''
- غَضُّ الْبَصَرِ،
- وَكَفُّ الْأَذَى، وَرَدُّ السَّلَامِ،
- وَالْأَمْرُ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَالنَّهْيُ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ
- Lower your gaze,
- return the greeting of Salam,
- enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.
Abu Al-Qasim Al-Baghawi recorded that Abu Umamah said,
"I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
اكْفُلُوا لِي سِتًّا أَكْفُلْ لَكُمْ بِالْجَنَّةِ:
- إِذَا حَدَّث أَحَدُكُمْ فَلَا يَكْذِبْ،
- وَإِذَا ائْتُمِنَ فَلَا يَخُنْ،
- وَإِذَا وَعَدَ فَلَا يُخْلِفْ،
- وَغُضُّوا أَبْصَارَكُمْ،
- وَكُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ،
- وَاحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَكُمْ
Guarantee me six things and I will guarantee you Paradise:
- when any one of you speaks, he should not lie;
- if he is entrusted with something, he should not betray that trust;
- if he makes a promise, he should not break it;
- lower your gaze;
- restrain your hands; and
- protect your private parts.
Since looking provokes the heart to evil, Allah commanded (the believers) to protect their private parts just as he commanded them to protect their gaze which can lead to that.
So He said:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ...
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts.
Sometimes protecting the private parts may involve keeping them from committing Zina, as Allah says:
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَـفِظُونَ
And those who guard their chastity. (23:5)
Sometimes it may involve not looking at certain things, as in the Hadith in Musnad Ahmad and the Sunan:
احْفَظْ عَوْرَتَكَ إِلَّا مِنْ زَوْجَتِكَ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ
Guard your private parts except from your wife and those whom your right hands possess.
... ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ ...
That is purer for them.
means, it is purer for their hearts and better for their commitment to religion, as it was said:
Whoever protects his gaze, Allah will illuminate his understanding, or his heart.
... إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
This is like the Ayah :
يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ الاٌّعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى الصُّدُورُ
Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and all that the breasts conceal. (40:19)
In the Sahih it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظُّهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا أَدْرَكَ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ،
- فَزِنَا الْعَيْنَيْنِ النَّظَرُ،
- وَزِنَا اللِّسَانِ النُّطْقُ،
- وَزِنَا الْأُذُنَيْنِ الْاسْتِمَاعُ،
- وَزِنَا الْيَدَيْنِ الْبَطْشُ،
- وَزِنَا الرِّجْلَيْنِ الْخُطَى،
- وَالنَّفْسُ تَمَنَّى وَتَشْتَهِي، وَالْفَرْجُ يُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ أَوْ يُكَذِّبُهُ
The son of Adam has his share of Zina decreed for him, and he will commit that which has been decreed.
- The Zina of the eyes is looking;
- the Zina of the tongue is speaking;
- the Zina of the ears is listening;
- the Zina of the hands is striking; and
- the Zina of the feet is walking.
- The soul wishes and desires, and the private parts confirm or deny that.
It was recorded by Al-Bukhari without a complete chain. Muslim recorded a similar report with a different chain of narration.
Many of the Salaf said,
"They used to forbid men from staring at beardless handsome boys. ''
The Rulings of Hijab
This is a command from Allah to the believing women, and jealousy on His part over the wives of His believing servants. It is also to distinguish the believing women from the women of the Jahiliyyah and the deeds of the pagan women.
The reason for the revelation of this Ayah was mentioned by Muqatil bin Hayyan, when he said:
"We heard -- and Allah knows best -- that Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari narrated that Asma' bint Murshidah was in a house of hers in Bani Harithah, and the women started coming in to her without lower garments so that the anklets on their feet could be seen, along with their chests and forelocks. Asma' said: `How ugly this is!' Then Allah revealed: وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ (And tell the believing women to lower their gaze...).''
And Allah says:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ ...
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze,
meaning, from that which Allah has forbidden them to look at, apart from their husbands.
(Some) scholars said that it is permissible for women to look at non-Mahram men without desire, as it was recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah was watching the Ethiopians playing with spears in the Masjid on the day of `Id, and A'ishah the Mother of the believers was watching them from behind him and he was concealing her from them, until she got bored and went away.
... وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ ...
and protect their private parts.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "From immoral actions.''
Abu Al-Aliyah said:
"Every Ayah of the Qur'an in which protecting the private parts is mentioned means protecting them from Zina, except for this Ayah -- وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ (and protect their private parts), which means protecting them from being seen by anybody.''
... وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ...
and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent,
means, they should not show anything of their adornment to non-Mahram men except for whatever it is impossible to hide.
Ibn Mas`ud said: "Such as clothes and outer garments,''
Meaning what the Arab women used to wear of the veil which covered their clothes and whatever showed from underneath the outer garment. There is no blame on her for this, because this is something that she cannot conceal. Similar to that is what appears of her lower garment and what she cannot conceal.
Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Abu Al-Jawza', Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others also had the same view as Ibn Mas`ud.
... وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ ...
and to draw their veils all over their Juyub,
means that they should wear the outer garment in such a way as to cover their chests and ribs, so that they will be different from the women of the Jahiliyyah, who did not do that but would pass in front of men with their chests completely uncovered, and with their necks, forelocks, hair and earrings uncovered. So Allah commanded the believing women to cover themselves, as He says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاء الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known, so as not to be annoyed. (33:59)
And in this noble Ayah He said: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their (Khumur) veils all over their Juyub.
Khumur (veils) is the plural of Khimar, which means something that covers, and is what is used to cover the head. This is what is known among the people as a veil.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ (and to draw), means to pull it around and tie it securely.
بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (their veils all over their Juyub), means, over their necks and chests so that nothing can be seen of them.
Al-Bukhari recorded that A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:
"May Allah have mercy on the women of the early emigrants, when Allah revealed the Ayah: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their veils all over their Juyub), they tore their aprons and Akhtamar themselves with them.''
He also narrated from Safiyyah bint Shaybah that A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, used to say:
"When this Ayah: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their veils all over their Juyub) was revealed, they took their Izars (waist sheets) and tore them at the edges, and Akhtamar themselves with them.''
... وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ ...
and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons,
All of these are a woman's close relatives whom she can never marry (Mahram) and it is permissible for her to show her adornments to them, but without making a wanton display of herself.
Ibn Al-Mundhir recorded that Ikrimah commented on this Ayah, وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ (and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers...),
"The paternal uncle and maternal uncle are not mentioned here, because they may describe a woman to their sons, so a woman should not remove her Khimar in front of her paternal or maternal uncle.''
With regard to the husband, all of this is for his sake, so she should try her best when adorning herself for him, unlike the way she should appear in front of others.
... أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ ...
or their women,
this means that she may also wear her adornment in front of other Muslim women, but not in front of the women of Ahl Adh-Dhimmah (Jewish and Christian women), lest they describe her to their husbands.
This is prohibited for all women, but more so in the case of the women of Ahl Adh-Dhimmah, because there is nothing to prevent them from doing that, but Muslim women know that it is unlawful and so, would be deterred from doing it.
The Messenger of Allah said:
لَا تُبَاشِرِ الْمَرْأَةُ الْمَرْأَةَ فَتَنْعَتَهَا لِزَوْجِهَا كَأَنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهَا
No woman should describe another woman to her husband so that it is as if he is looking at her.
It was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Ibn Mas`ud.
... أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ ...
or their right hand possessions.
Ibn Jarir said,
"This means from among the women of the idolators. It is permissible for a Muslim woman to reveal her adornment before such a woman, even if she is an idolatress, because she is her slave-girl.''
This was also the view of Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib.
... أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ ...
Tabi`in among men who do not have desire,
such as hired servants and followers who are not at the same level as the woman and are feeble-minded and have no interest in or desire for women.
Ibn Abbas said, "This is the kind of person who has no desire.''
Ikrimah said, "This is the hermaphrodite, who does not experience erections.''
This was also the view of others among the Salaf.
It was narrated in the Sahih from A'ishah that a hermaphrodite, used to enter upon the family of the Messenger of Allah and they used to consider him as one of those who do not have desire, but then the Messenger of Allah came in when he was describing a woman with four rolls of fat in front and eight behind. The Messenger of Allah said,
أَلَا أَرَى هَذَا يَعْلَمُ مَا هَهُنَا لَا يَدْخُلَنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ
Lo! I think this person knows what is they are; he should never enter upon you.
He expelled him, and he stayed in Al-Bayda' and only came on Fridays to get food.
... أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء ...
or children who are not aware of the nakedness of women.
Because they are so young they do not understand anything about women or their `Awrah or their soft speech or their enticing ways of walking and moving.
If a child is small and does not understand that, there is nothing wrong with him entering upon women, but if he is an adolescent or approaching adolescence, so that he knows and understands these things, and can make a distinction between who is beautiful and who is not, then he should not enter upon women.
It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
إِيَّاكُمْ وَالدُّخُولَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ
Avoid entering upon women.
It was said, "O Messenger of Allah, what do you think about the male in-laws!''
The male in-law is death.
The Etiquette of Women walking in the Street
... وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ...
And let them not stamp their feet...
During Jahiliyyah, when women walked in the street wearing anklets and no one could hear them, they would stamp their feet so that men could hear their anklets ringing. Allah forbade the believing women to do this.
By the same token, if there is any other kind of adornment that is hidden, women are forbidden to make any movements that would reveal what is hidden, because Allah says:
... وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ...
And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.
From that, women are also prohibited from wearing scent and perfume when they are going outside the home, lest men should smell their perfume.
Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said:
كُلُّ عَيْنٍ زَانِيَةٌ، وَالْمَرْأَةُ إِذَا اسْتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ بِالْمَجْلِسِ فَهِيَ كَذَا وَكَذَا
Every eye commits fornication and adultery, and when a woman puts on perfume and passes through a gathering, she is such and such -- (meaning an adulteress).
He said, "And there is a similar report from Abu Hurayrah, and this is Hasan Sahih.''
It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i.
By the same token, women are also forbidden to walk in the middle of the street, because of what this involves of wanton display.
Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Usayd Al-Ansari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, as he was coming out of the Masjid and men and women were mixing in the street, telling the women:
اسْتَأْخِرْنَ فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَكُنَّ أَنْ تَحْقُقْنَ الطَّرِيقَ، عَلَيْكُنَّ بِحَافَّاتِ الطَّرِيقِ
Keep back, for you have no right to walk in the middle of the street. You should keep to the sides of the road.
The women used to cling to the walls so much that their clothes would catch on the walls.
... وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿٣١﴾
And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.
means, practice what you are commanded in these beautiful manners and praiseworthy characteristics, and give up the evil ways of the people of Jahiliyyah, for the greatest success is to be found in doing what Allah and His Messenger command and avoiding what He forbids.
And Allah is the source of strength.
The Command to marry
These clear Ayat include a group of unambiguous rulings and firm commands.
وَأَنكِحُوا الْأَيَامَى مِنكُمْ ...
And marry those among you who are single (Al-Ayama)....
This is a command to marry.
The Prophet said:
يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ، مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ
O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him marry, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting the private parts. Whoever cannot do that, then let him fast, for it is a protection for him.
This was recorded in the Two Sahihs from the Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud.
In the Sunan, it was recorded from more than one person that the Messenger of Allah said:
تَزَوَّجُوا تَوَالَدُوا تَنَاسَلُوا فَإِنِّي مُبَاهٍ بِكُمُ الْأُمَمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
Marry and have children, for I will be proud of you before the nations on the Day of Resurrection.
The word Al-Ayama, the plural form of Ayyim, is used to describe a woman who has no husband and a man who has no wife, regardless of whether they have been married and then separated, or have never been married at all. Al-Jawhari reported this from the scholars of the (Arabic) language, and the word is applied to men and women alike.
... وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ ...
and the pious of your servants and maidservants.
... إِن يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاء يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ ...
If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty.
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas:
"Allah encouraged them to get married, commanded both free men and servants to get married, and He promised to enrich them.''
It was recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said:
"Seek the richness through marriage, for Allah says: وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ (If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty).''
This was recorded by Ibn Jarir.
Al-Baghawi also recorded something similar from Umar.
... وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٣٢﴾
And Allah is All-Sufficient, All-Knowing.
It was reported from Al-Layth from Muhammad bin Ajlan from Sa`id Al-Maqburi from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said:
ثَلَاثَةٌ حَقٌّ عَلَى اللهِ عَوْنُهُمْ:
- النَّاكِحُ يُرِيدُ الْعَفَافَ،
- وَالْمُكَاتَبُ يُرِيدُ الْأَدَاءَ،
- وَالْغَازِي فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ
There are three whom it is a right upon Allah to help:
- one who gets married seeking chastity;
- a slave who makes a contract with his master with the aim of buying his freedom; and
- one who fights for the sake of Allah.
This was recorded by Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.
The Prophet performed the marriage of a man who owned nothing but his waist wrap, and could not even buy a ring made of iron, but he still married him to that woman, making the Mahr his promise to teach her whatever he knew of the Qur'an.
And it is known from the generosity and kindness of Allah that He provided him with whatever was sufficient for her and for him.
The Command to keep Oneself Chaste if One is not able to get Married
And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His bounty.
This is a command from Allah to those who do not have the means to get married: they are to keep themselves chaste and avoid unlawful things, as the Prophet said:
يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ
O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him marry, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting the private parts. Whoever cannot do that, then let him fast, for it is a protection for him.
This Ayah is general in meaning, and the Ayah in Surah An-Nisa' is more specific, where Allah says:
وَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ (And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women) until His statement; وَأَن تَصْبِرُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ (but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. meaning, it is better for you to be patient and refrain from marrying slave-girl, because any child that is born will also be a slave. وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful). (4:25)
And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste,
"This refers to a man who sees a woman and it is as if he feels desire; if he has a wife then let him go to her and fulfill his desire with her, and if he does not have a wife, then let him ponder the kingdom of heaven and earth until Allah grants him means of livelihood.''
The Command to grant Slaves a Contract of Emancipation
... وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَكَاتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا ...
And such of your servants as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them.
This is a command from Allah to slave-owners: if their servants ask them for a contract of emancipation, they should write it for them, provided that the servant has some skill and means of earning so that he can pay his master the money that is stipulated in the contract.
Al-Bukhari said: "Rawh narrated from Ibn Jurayj:
`I said to Ata', "If I know that my servant has money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation.''
He said, "I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.''
Amr bin Dinar said: "I said to Ata', `Are you narrating this from anybody?'
He said, `No,' then he told me that Musa bin Anas told him that Sirin, who had a lot of money, asked Anas for a contract of emancipation and he refused. So he went to Umar (bin Al-Khattab), may Allah be pleased with him, and he said, `Write it for him.'
He refused, so Umar hit him with his whip and recited, فَكَاتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا (give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them).
Then he wrote the contract.''
This was mentioned by Al-Bukhari with a disconnected chain of narration.
It was also narrated by Abdur-Razzaq who said Ibn Jurayj told them:
I said to Ata', "If I know that my servant has some money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation.''
He said, `I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.'''
It was also said by Amr bin Dinar who said,
"I said to `Ata', `Are you narrating this from anybody?'
He said, `No.'''
Ibn Jarir recorded that Sirin wanted Anas bin Malik to write a contract of emancipation and he delayed, then Umar said to him,
"You should certainly write him a contract of emancipation.''
Its chain of narrators is Sahih.
... إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا ...
if you find that there is good and honesty in them.
Some of them said (this means) trustworthiness.
Some said: "Honesty,''
and others said: "A skill and ability to earn.''
... وَآتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ ...
And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.
This is the share of the wealth of Zakah that Allah stated to be their right. This is the opinion of Al-Hasan, Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and his father and Muqatil bin Hayyan.
It was also the opinion favored by Ibn Jarir.
... وَآتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ ...
And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.
Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, "This is urging the people, their masters and others.''
This was also the view of Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Al-Aslami and Qatadah.
Ibn Abbas said: "Allah commanded the believers to help in freeing slaves.''
The Prohibition of forcing One's Slave-Girls to commit Zina
... وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاء ...
And force not your slave-girls to prostitution...
Among the people of the Jahiliyyah, there were some who, if he had a slave-girl, he would send her out to commit Zina and would charge money for that, which he would take from her every time.
When Islam came, Allah forbade the believers to do that. The reason why this Ayah was revealed, according to the reports of a number of earlier and later scholars of Tafsir, had to do with Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul. He had slave-girls whom he used to force into prostitution so that he could take their earnings and because he wanted them to have children which would enhance his status, or so he claimed.
Reports narrated on this Topic
In his Musnad, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Amr bin Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Bazzar, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Az-Zuhri said,
"Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul had a slave-girl whose name was Mu`adhah, whom he forced into prostitution. When Islam came, the Ayah وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاء (And force not your slave-girls to prostitution...) was revealed.''
Al-A`mash narrated from Abu Sufyan that Jabir said concerning this Ayah,
"This was revealed about a slave-girl belonging to Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul whose name was Musaykah. He used to force her to commit immoral actions, but there was nothing wrong with her and she refused. Then Allah revealed this Ayah
: وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاء (And force not your slave-girls to prostitution), until His saying;
وَمَن يُكْرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ مِن بَعْدِ إِكْرَاهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (But if anyone compels them, then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful).''
An-Nasa'i also recorded something similar.
Muqatil bin Hayyan said,
"I heard -- and Allah knows best -- that this Ayah was revealed about two men who used to force two slave-girls of theirs (into prostitution). One of them was called Musaykah who belonged to (the Ansari), and Umaymah the mother of Musaykah belonged to Abdullah bin Ubayy. Mu`adhah and Arwa were in the same situation. Then Musaykah and her mother came to the Prophet and told him about that. Then Allah revealed: وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاء (And force not your slave-girls to prostitution), meaning Zina.
... إِنْ أَرَدْنَ تَحَصُّنًا ...
if they desire chastity,
means, if they want to be chaste, which is the case with the majority of slave-girls.
... لِّتَبْتَغُوا عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ...
in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this worldly life.
meaning, from the money they earn and their children.
The Messenger of Allah forbade the money earned by:
- the cupper,
- the prostitute and
- the fortune-teller.
According to another report:
- مَهْرُ الْبَغِيِّ خَبِيثٌ
- وَكَسْبُ الْحَجَّامِ خَبِيثٌ،
- وَثَمَنُ الْكَلْبِ خَبِيثٌ
- The earnings of a prostitute are evil,
- the earnings of a cupper are evil, and
- the price of a dog is evil.
... وَمَن يُكْرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ مِن بَعْدِ إِكْرَاهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٣٣﴾
But if anyone compels them, then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
meaning, towards them, as has already been stated in the Hadith narrated from Jabir.
Ibn Abi Talhah narrated that Ibn Abbas said,
"If you do that, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful, and their sin will be on the one who forced them to do that.''
This was also the view of Mujahid, Ata' Al-Khurasani, Al-A`mash and Qatadah.
After explaining these rulings in detail, Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ آيَاتٍ مُّبَيِّنَاتٍ ...
And indeed We have sent down for you Ayat that make things plain,
meaning, in the Qur'an there are Ayat which are clear and explain matters in detail.
... وَمَثَلًا مِّنَ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُمْ ...
and the example of those who passed away before you,
means, reports about the nations of the past and what happened to them when they went against the commandments of Allah, as Allah says:
فَجَعَلْنَـهُمْ سَلَفاً وَمَثَلاً لِّلاٌّخِرِينَ
And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations. (43:56)
We made them a lesson, i.e., a rebuke for committing sin and forbidden deeds.
... وَمَوْعِظَةً ...
and an admonition,
... لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿٣٤﴾
for those who have Taqwa.
meaning, for those who remember and fear Allah.
The Parable of the Light of Allah
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said:
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
means, the Guide of the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth.
Ibn Jurayj reported that Mujahid and Ibn Abbas said concerning the Ayah: اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ (Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth).
"He is controlling their affairs and their stars and sun and moon.''
As-Suddi said concerning the Ayah: اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ "by His Light the heavens and earth are illuminated."
In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
"When the Messenger of Allah got up to pray at night, he would say:
اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ، أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ نُورُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ
to You be praise, You are the Sustainer of heaven and earth and whoever is in them.
To You be praise, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them.
It was narrated that Ibn Mas`ud said,
"There is no night or day with your Lord; the Light of the Throne comes from the Light of His Face.''
... مَثَلُ نُورِهِ ...
The parable of His Light,
There are two views concerning the meaning of the pronoun (His).
- The first is that it refers to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, meaning that the parable of His guidance in the heart of the believer is كَمِشْكَاةٍ (as a niche).
This was the view of Ibn Abbas.
- The second view is that the pronoun refers to the believer, which is indicated by the context of the words and implies that the parable of the light in the heart of the believer is as a niche. So the heart of the believer and what he is naturally inclined to of guidance and what he learns of the Qur'an which is in accordance with his natural inclinations are, as Allah says:
أَفَمَن كَانَ عَلَى بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ وَيَتْلُوهُ شَاهِدٌ مِّنْهُ
Can they who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him recites it (can they be equal with the disbelievers). (11:17)
The heart of the believer in its purity and clarity is likened to a lamp in transparent and jewel-like glass, and the Qur'an and Shariah by which it is guided are likened to good, pure, shining oil in which there is no impurity or deviation.
... كَمِشْكَاةٍ ...
as (if there were) a niche,
Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b and others said, "This refers to the position of the wick in the lamp.''
This is well-known, and hence Allah then says:
... فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ...
and within it a lamp.
This is the flame that burns brightly. Or it was said that the niche is a niche in the house.
This is the parable given by Allah of obedience towards Him. Allah calls obedience to Him as light, then He calls it by other numerous names as well.
Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "The lamp is the light, and this refers to the Qur'an and the faith that is in his heart.''
As-Suddi said, "It is the lamp.''
... الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ...
the lamp is in a glass,
means, this light is shining in a clear glass.
Ubayy bin Ka`b and others said, "This is the likeness of the heart of the believer.''
... الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ ...
the glass as it were a star Durriyyun,
Some authorities recite the word Durriyyun with a Dammah on the Dal and without a Hamzah,
which means pearls, i.e., as if it were a star made of pearls (Durr).
Others recite it as Dirri'un or Durri'un, with a Kasrah on the Dal, or Dammah on the Dal, and with a Hamzah at the end, which means reflection (Dir'), because if something is shone on the star it becomes brighter than at any other time.
The Arabs call the stars they do not know Darari.
Ubayy bin Ka`b said: a shining star.
Qatadah said: "Huge, bright and clear.''
... يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ...
lit from a blessed tree,
means, it is derived from olive oil, from a blessed tree.
... زَيْتُونِةٍ ...
This refers to the blessed tree mentioned previously.
... لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ ...
neither of the east nor of the west,
means, it is not in the eastern part of the land so that it does not get any sun in the first part of the day, nor is it in the western part of the land so that it is shaded from the sun before sunset, but it is in a central position where it gets sun from the beginning of the day until the end, so its oil is good and pure and shining.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas commented on: زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ "This is a tree in the desert which is not shaded by any other tree or mountain or cave, nothing covers it, and this is best for its oil.''
Mujahid commented on: لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ (neither of the east nor of the west) saying;
"It is not in the east where it will get no sun when the sun sets, nor is it in the west where it will get no sun when the sun rises, but it is in a position where it will get sun both at sunrise and sunset.''
Sa`id bin Jubayr commented:
زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ ...
an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself),
"This is the best kind of oil. When the sun rises it reaches the tree from the east and when it sets it reaches it from the west, so the sun reaches it morning and evening, so it is not counted as being in the east or in the west.''
... يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ...
whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it.
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: (this means) because the oil itself is shining.
... نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ...
Light upon Light!
Al-Awfi narrated from Ibn Abbas that this meant the faith and deeds of a person.
As-Suddi said: نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ (Light upon Light!),
"Light of the fire and the light of the oil: when they are combined they give light, and neither of them can give light without the other.
Similarly the light of the Qur'an and the light of faith give light when they are combined, and neither can do so without the other.''
... يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاء ...
Allah guides to His Light whom He wills.
means, Allah shows the way to the ones whom He chooses, as it says in the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad from Abdullah bin Amr, who said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى خَلَقَ خَلْقَهُ فِي ظُلْمَةٍ ثُمَّ أَلْقَى عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ نُورِهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ، فَمَنْ أَصَابَ مِنْ نُورِهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ اهْتَدَى وَمَنْ أَخْطَأَ ضَلَّ فَلِذَلِكَ أَقُولُ: جَفَّ الْقَلَمُ عَلَى عِلْمِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
Allah created His creation in darkness, then on the same day He sent His Light upon them. Whoever was touched by His Light on that day will be guided and whoever was missed will be led astray. Hence I say: the pens have dried in accordance with the knowledge of Allah, may He be glorified.''
... وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٣٥﴾
And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.
Having mentioned this parable of the Light of His guidance in the heart of the believer, Allah ends this Ayah with the words: وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ meaning, He knows best who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be led astray.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
- قَلْبٌ أَجْرَدُ فِيهِ مِثْلُ السِّرَاجِ يُزْهِرُ،
- وَقَلْبٌ أَغْلَفُ مَرْبُوطٌ عَلَى غِلَافِهِ،
- وَقَلْبٌ مَنْكُوسٌ،
- وَقَلْبٌ مُصْفَحٌ.
فَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَجْرَدُ: فَقَلْبُ الْمُؤْمِنِ سِرَاجُهُ فِيهِ نُورُهُ ،
وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَغْلَفُ فَقَلْبُ الْكَافِرِ،
وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمَنْكُوسُ فَقَلْبُ الْمُنَافِقِ، عَرَفَ ثُمَّ أَنْكَرَ،
وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمُصْفَحُ فَقَلْبٌ فِيهِ إِيمَانٌ وَنِفَاقٌ، وَمَثَلُ الْإِيمَانِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْبَقْلَةِ يُمِدُّهَا الْمَاءُ الطَّيِّبُ،وَمَثَلُ النِّفَاقِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْقَرْحَةِ يُمِدُّهَا الدَّمُ وَالْقَيْحُ، فَأَيُّ الْمدَّتَيْنِ غَلَبَتْ عَلَى الْأُخْرَى غَلَبَتْ عَلَيْهِ
Hearts are of four kinds:
- the heart that is clear like a shining lamp;
- the heart that is covered and tied up;
- the heart that is upside-down; and
- the heart that is clad in armor.
∑ As for the clear heart, it is the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light;
∑ as for the covered heart, this is the heart of the disbeliever;
∑ as for the upside-down heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite, who recognizes then denies;
∑ as for the armor-clad heart, this is the heart in which there is both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of the faith in it is that of legume, a sprout that is irrigated with good water, and the likeness of the hypocrisy in it is that of sores that are fed by blood and pus. Whichever of the two prevails is the characteristic that will dominate.
Its chain of narrators is good (Jayyid) although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it.
The Virtues of the Masjids, the Correct Etiquette, and the Virtues of Those who take care of them
Having likened the heart of the believer and what it contains of guidance and knowledge to a lamp lit with good oil shining in a clear glass, Allah then states where it belongs, which is in the Masjids, the places on earth that are most beloved to Allah. The Masjids are His houses where He Alone is worshipped.
So Allah says:
فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَن تُرْفَعَ ...
In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised,
meaning, Allah has commanded that they be established and that they be kept clean of any filth, idle talk or words or deeds that are inappropriate.
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas concerning this Ayah: فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَن تُرْفَعَ (In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised), he said; "Allah forbade idle talk in them.''
This was also the view of Ikrimah, Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak, Nafi` bin Jubayr, Abu Bakr bin Sulayman bin Abi Hathamah, Sufyan bin Husayn and others among the scholars of Tafsir.
Many Hadiths have been narrated concerning the construction of Masjids, honoring them, respecting them, and perfuming them with incense etc. This has been discussed in more detail elsewhere, and I have written a book dealing with this topic on its own, praise and blessings be to Allah. With Allah's help we will mention here a few of these Hadiths, if Allah wills. In Allah we put our trust and reliance.
Uthman bin Affan, the Commander of the faithful, may Allah be pleased with him, said; "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِدًا يَبْتَغِي بِهِ وَجْهَ اللهِ بَنَى اللهُ لَهُ مِثْلَهُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ
Whoever builds a Masjid seeking the Face of Allah, Allah will build for him something similar to it in Paradise.
It was narrated in the Two Sahihs.
Ibn Majah narrated that Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said;
"The Messenger of Allah said:
مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِدًا يُذْكَرُ فِيهِ اسْمُ اللهِ بَنَى اللهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ
Whoever builds a Masjid in which the Name of Allah is remembered, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.
An-Nasa'i mentioned something similar. There are very many Hadiths which say this.
A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:
"The Messenger of Allah commanded us to build Masjids among the houses, and to clean them and perfume them.''
This was recorded by Ahmad and the Sunan compilers with the exception of An-Nasa'i. Ahmad and Abu Dawud recorded a similar report from Samurah bin Jundub.
Al-Bukhari narrated that Umar said:
"Build for the people a place to worship Allah, and beware of using red or yellow for adornment and decoration and distracting the people thereby.''
Abu Dawud narrated that Ibn Abbas said,
"The Messenger of Allah said:
مَا أُمِرْتُ بِتَشْيِيدِ الْمَسَاجِدِ
I was not commanded to Tashyid the Masjids.
Ibn Abbas said, "Decorating them as the Jews and Christians did.''
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
"The Messenger of Allah said:
لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَتَبَاهَى النَّاسُ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ
The Hour will not come until people show off in building Masjids.
It was recorded by Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunan, with the exception of At-Tirmidhi.
Buraydah narrated that a man called out in the Masjid and said, "Has any body said anything about a red camel?''
The Prophet said:
لَا، وَجَدْتَ، إِنَّمَا بُنِيَتِ الْمَسَاجِدُ لِمَا بُنِيَتْ لَهُ
May you never find it! The Masjids were built only for what they were built for.
This was narrated by Muslim.
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
إِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ مَنْ يَبِيعُ أَوْ يَبْتَاعُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ، فَقُولُوا: لَا أَرْبَحَ اللهُ تِجَارَتَكَ، وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ مَنْ يَنْشُدُ ضَالَّةً فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَقُولُوا: لَا رَدَّهَا اللهُ عَلَيْكَ
If you see someone buying or selling in the Masjid, say to him, "May Allah never make your business profitable!'' And if you see someone calling out about lost property, say, "May Allah never return it to you!''
This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said: "Hasan Gharib.''
Al-Bukhari recorded that As-Sa'ib bin Yazid Al-Kindi said,
"I was standing in the Masjid and a man threw pebbles at me, so I looked and saw Umar bin Al-Khattab who said, `Go and bring me these two men.'
I went and brought them to him, and he said, `Who are you?' Or, `Where do you come from?'
They said, `We are from At-Ta'if.'
Umar said, `If you had been from this town I would have hit you, for you are raising your voices in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah.'''
An-Nasa'i recorded that Ibrahim bin Abdur-Rahman bin Awf said:
"Umar heard the voice of a man in the Masjid and said: `Do you know where you are?'''
This is also Sahih.
Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Musili recorded from Ibn Umar that Umar used to burn incense in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah every Friday.
Its chain of narration is Hasan and there is nothing wrong with it, Allah knows best.
It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
صَلَاةُ الرَّجُلِ فِي الْجَمَاعَةِ تُضَعَّفُ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِ فِي بَيْتِهِ وَفِي سُوقِهِ خَمْسًا وَعِشْرِينَ ضِعْفًاوَذَلِكَ أَنَّهُ إَذَا تَوَضَّأَ فَأَحْسَنَ وُضُوءَهُ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ لَا يُخْرِجُهُ إِلَّا الصَّلَاةُ لَمْ يَخْطُ خَطْوَةً إِلَّا رُفِعَ لَهُ بِهَا دَرَجَةٌ وَحُطَّ عَنْهُ بِهَا خَطِيئَةٌ. فَإِذَا صَلَّى لَمْ تَزَلِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ تُصَلِّي عَلَيْهِ مَا دَامَ فِي مُصَلَّاهُ:
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَيْهِ، اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْهُ.
وَلَا يَزَالُ فِي صَلَاةٍ مَا انْتَظَرَ الصَّلَاةَ
A man's prayer in congregation is twenty-five times better than his prayer in his house or the marketplace. That is because if he performs Wudu' and does it well, then he goes out to go to the Masjid, and for no other purpose than to pray, he does not take one step but he increases in one level in status and one sin is removed. When he prays, the angels continue sending blessings on him as long as he is in the place where he prays, (they say),
"O Allah, send blessings on him, O Allah, have mercy on him.''
And he will remain in a state of prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.
The following is recorded in the Sunan:
بَشِّرِ الْمَشَّائِينَ إِلَى الْمَسَاجِدِ فِي الظُّلَمِ بِالنُّورِ التَّامِّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
Those who walk to the Masjids when it is dark, give them the glad tidings of complete Light on the Day of Resurrection.
When entering the Masjid, it is recommended to enter with one's right foot, and to say the supplication recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari, where it is narrated from Abdullah bin `Amr that the Messenger of Allah used to say, when he entered the Masjid:
أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ الْعَظِيمِ وَبِوَجْهِهِ الْكَرِيمِ، وَسُلْطَانِهِ الْقَدِيمِ، مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
I seek refuge with Allah Almighty and with His Noble Face, and with His Eternal Domain, from the accursed Shaytan.
He (one of the narrators) asked, `Is that all!'
He answered, `Yes'.
If he says this, the Shaytan says: "He will be protected from me all day long.''
Muslim recorded that Abu Humayd or Abu Usayd said:
The Messenger of Allah said:
إِذَا دَخَلَ أَحَدُكُمُ الْمَسْجِدَ فَلْيَقُلْ: اللَّهُمَّ افْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِكَ.
وَإِذَا خَرَجَ فَلْيَقُلْ: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ
When anyone of you enters the Masjid, let him say: "O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me.
And when he comes out, let him say: "O Allah, I ask You of Your bounty.''
An-Nasa'i also recorded this from them from the Prophet.
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates that The Messenger of Allah said:
إِذَا دَخَلَ أَحَدُكُمُ الْمَسْجِدَ فَلْيُسَلِّمْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ. وَلْيَقُلِ: اللَّهُمَّ افْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِكَ،
وَإِذَا خَرَجَ فَلْيُسَلِّمْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَلْيَقُلِ: اللَّهُمَّ اعْصِمْنِي مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
When anyone of you enters the Masjid, let him invoke blessings on the Prophet then let him say: "O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me.''
When he comes out, let him invoke blessings on the Prophet and say, "O Allah, protect me from the accursed Shaytan.''
This was also recorded by Ibn Majah, as well as Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs.
... وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ ...
in them His Name is remembered.
meaning, the Name of Allah.
This is like the Ayat:
يَـبَنِى ءَادَمَ خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ
O Children of Adam! Take your adornment to every Masjid... (7:31)
وَأَقِيمُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ
and you should face (Him only) in each and every Masjid, and invoke Him only making your religion sincere to Him. (7:29)
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَـجِدَ لِلَّهِ
And the Masjids are for Allah. (72:18)
وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ (in them His Name is remembered). Ibn Abbas said,
"This means that His Book is recited therein.''
... يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ ﴿٣٦﴾
Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the evenings.
رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ...
Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah.
This is like the Ayat:
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَلُكُمْ وَلاَ أَوْلَـدُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. (63:9)
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا نُودِىَ لِلصَّلَوةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْاْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُواْ الْبَيْعَ
O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the Salah on Friday, hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business. (62:9)
Allah says that this world and its adornments, attractions and marketplaces should not distract them from remembering their Lord Who created them and sustains them, those who know that what is with Him is better for them than what they themselves possess, because what they have is transient but that which is with Allah is eternal.
رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاء الزَّكَاةِ ...
Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah nor from performing the Salah nor from giving the Zakah.
meaning, they give priority to obeying Allah and doing what He wants and what pleases Him over doing what they want and what pleases them.
It was reported from Salim from Abdullah bin Umar that he was in the marketplace when the Iqamah for prayer was called, so they closed their stores and entered the Masjid. Ibn Umar said:
"Concerning them the Ayah was revealed: رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ (Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah).''
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir.
رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ (Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah). Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, "This meant from the prescribed prayers.''
This was also the view of Muqatil bin Hayyan and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.
"From prayer in congregation.''
Muqatil bin Hayyan said,
"That does not distract them from attending the prayer and establishing it as Allah commanded them, and from doing the prayers at the prescribed times and doing all that Allah has enjoined upon them in the prayer.''
... يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ ﴿٣٧﴾
They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned.
means, the Day of Resurrection when people's hearts and eyes will be overturned, because of the intensity of the fear and terror of that Day.
This is like the Ayah:
وَأَنذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الاٌّزِفَةِ
And warn them of the Day that is drawing near... (40:18)
إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الأَبْصَـرُ
but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror. (14:42)
وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِيناً وَيَتِيماً وَأَسِيراً -إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لاَ نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَآءً وَلاَ شُكُوراً
إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِن رَّبِّنَا يَوْماً عَبُوساً قَمْطَرِيراً - فَوَقَـهُمُ اللَّهُ شَرَّ ذَلِكَ الْيَومِ وَلَقَّـهُمْ نَضْرَةً وَسُرُوراً - وَجَزَاهُمْ بِمَا صَبَرُواْ جَنَّةً وَحَرِيراً
And they give food, in spite of their love for it, to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, (saying:) "We feed you seeking Allah's Face only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible.''
So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them a light of beauty and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient. (76:8-12)
And Allah says here:
That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds,
meaning, "They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds.''
... وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ ...
and add even more for them out of His grace.
means, He will accept their good deeds and multiply them for them, as Allah says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ
Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of a speck of dust. (4:40)
مَن جَآءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا
Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit. (6:160)
مَّن ذَا الَّذِى يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا
Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan. (2:245)
وَاللَّهُ يُضَـعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ
Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. (2:261)
And Allah says here:
... وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاء بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿٣٨﴾
And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.
Two Examples of two kinds of Disbelievers
These are two examples which Allah sets forth of two kinds of disbelievers.
Similarly He sets forth two parables of the hypocrites at the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah:
one involving fire and the other involving water.
Similarly, in Surah Ar-Ra`d He gives two parables of the guidance and knowledge that are instilled in the heart, again involving fire and water;
we have discussed each of them in the appropriate place and there is no need to repeat it here, praise be to Allah.
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ يَحْسَبُهُ الظَّمْآنُ مَاء حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءهُ ...
As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a Qi`ah. The thirsty one thinks it to be water until he comes up to it,
The first of these two examples is that of the disbelievers who call others to their disbelief, thinking that they have good actions and beliefs, when this is not in fact the case. Their likeness is that of a mirage which is seen in a desert plain, looking from a distance as if it is a deep sea.
The word Qi`ah refers to a vast, flat, level area of land in which the mirage may appear.
There are different kinds of mirage, one which appears after midday, and another which appears in the morning and looks like water between heaven and earth. If a person who is in need of water sees the mirage, he thinks that it is water so he heads towards it in order to drink from it, but when he reaches it,
... لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئًا ...
he finds it to be nothing.
Similarly the disbeliever thinks that he is doing something good and that he has achieved something, but when Allah judges him on the Day of Resurrection, and brings him to account and examines his deeds, he will find that nothing has been accepted at all, either because of a lack of sincere belief or because he did not follow the proper ways of the Shariah. As Allah says:
وَقَدِمْنَآ إِلَى مَا عَمِلُواْ مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَآءً مَّنثُوراً
And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust. (25:23)
And He says here:
... وَوَجَدَ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ فَوَفَّاهُ حِسَابَهُ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ ﴿٣٩﴾
but he finds Allah with him, who will pay him his due. And Allah is swift in taking account.
A similar view was also narrated from Ubayy bin Ka`b, Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and others.
In the Two Sahihs, it is reported that on the Day of Resurrection it will be said to the Jews,
"What did you used to worship!''
They will say, "We used to worship `Uzayr the son of Allah.''
It will be said to them, "You have lied. Allah has not begotten a son. What do you want!''
They will say, "O Lord, we are thirsty, give us something to drink.''
It will be said to them, "Do you not see!''
Then Hell will be shown to them as if it is a mirage, parts of it consuming other parts, and they will go and fall into it.
This is the parable of one whose ignorance is deep and advanced.
As for those whose ignorance is simple, those who are uneducated and foolish and blindly follow the leaders of disbelief, knowing and understanding nothing, their parable is as Allah says:
أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ يَغْشَاهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَا أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا...
Or like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it!
meaning, he can hardly see it because it is so intensely dark.
This is the parable of the heart of the disbeliever whose ignorance is simple, who merely follows and does not know the true nature of the one whom he follows or where he is going. He is like the ignorant man in the parable who was asked,
"Where are you going?''
He said, "With them.''
He was asked, "Where are they going?''
He said, "I do not know.''
... ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ ...
darkness upon darkness,
Ubayy bin Ka`b said: "He is enveloped in five types of darkness:
- his speech is darkness,
- his deeds are darkness,
- his coming in is darkness,
- his going out is darkness and
- his destiny on the Day of Resurrection will be darkness in the fire of Hell.''
As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas also said something similar.
... وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُورًا فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُّورٍ ﴿٤٠﴾
And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.
One whom Allah does not guide is ignorant and doomed, an utter loser and disbeliever.
This is like the Ayah:
مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ
Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him. (7:186)
This is in contrast to what Allah says about the believers:
يَهْدِى اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ
Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. (24:35)
We ask Allah the Almighty to put light in our hearts and give us light on our right and on our left, and to increase us in light.
Everything glorifies Allah, may He be exalted, and to Him belongs the Sovereignty
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
See you not that Allah, He it is Whom glorify whosoever is in the heavens and the earth,
Allah tells us that whosoever is in the heavens and on the earth, i.e., the angels, mankind, Jinn, animals and even inanimate objects, all glorify Him.
This is like the Ayah:
تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَـوَتُ السَّبْعُ وَالاٌّرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ
The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him. (17:44)
... وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ ...
and the birds with wings outspread,
means, while they are flying they glorify their Lord and worship Him with the glorification with which they are inspired and to which they are guided.
Allah knows what they are doing, and so He says:
... كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ ....
Of each one He knows indeed his Salah and his glorification;
meaning, He has guided every creature to its own way of worshipping Allah, may He be glorified.
.. وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ ﴿٤١﴾
and Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
Allah tells us that He knows all of that and nothing at all is hidden from Him.
وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ...
And to Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth,
Allah tells that to Him belongs the sovereignty of heaven and earth, and that He is the Ruler and Controller, the God Who is worshipped and besides Whom none other is to be worshipped, and there is none to put back His judgement.
... وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ ﴿٤٢﴾
and to Allah is the return.
means, on the Day of Resurrection, when He will judge as He wills,
لِيَجْزِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُواْ بِمَا عَمِلُواْ
that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done... (53:31)
He is the Creator and Sovereign, and His is indeed the Authority in this world and the next. To Him be praise at the beginning and in the end.
The Power of Allah to create the Clouds and that which comes from Them
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُزْجِي سَحَابًا ...
See you not that Allah drives the clouds gently,
Allah tells us that He drives the clouds from the beginning, when they are formed and are still weak. This is the "Gentle driving.''
... ثُمَّ يُؤَلِّفُ بَيْنَهُ ...
then joins them together,
means, He brings them together after they have been scattered.
... ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُ رُكَامًا ...
then makes them into a heap of layers,
means, He piles them up on top of one another.
... فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ ...
and you see the Wadq,
meaning the rain,
... يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ ...
come forth from between them;
means, from the gaps between them.
This is how it was understood by Ibn Abbas and Ad-Dahhak.
Ubayd bin Umayr Al-Laythi said:
- "Allah sends the scatterer (wind), which stirs up that which is on the surface of the earth.
- Then he sends the generator (wind), which forms the clouds.
- Then He sends the joiner (wind) which brings them together.
- Then He sends the fertilizer (wind) which fertilizes or `seeds' the clouds.''
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir.
... وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مِن جِبَالٍ فِيهَا مِن بَرَدٍ ...
and He sends down from (Min) the sky, from (Min) mountains in it of (Min) ice,
Some of the grammarians said that the first Min describes the place from which it is coming, the second specifies from which part of the sky it comes, and the third means some kind of mountains.
This is based on the view of those scholars of Tafsir who say that, مِن جِبَالٍ فِيهَا مِن بَرَدٍ from (Min) mountains in it of (Min) ice, means that there are mountains of hail in the sky from which Allah sends down ice.
As for those who say that "mountains'' here is used as a metaphor for clouds, they think that the second Min is also used to describe the place from which the ice is coming, and is thus interchangeable with the first.
And Allah knows best.
... فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَصْرِفُهُ عَن مَّن يَشَاء ...
and strikes therewith whom He wills, and averts it from whom He wills.
It may be that the phrase فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ (and strikes therewith), means, with what He sends down from the sky of different kinds of rain and hail. So then the phrase فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ مَن يَشَاء means, by His mercy towards them,
and وَيَصْرِفُهُ عَن مَّن يَشَاء (and averts it from whom He wills) means, He withholds rain from them. Or it may be that فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ (and strikes therewith),
means, with hail, as a punishment towards whomever He wills, striking their fruits and destroying their crops and trees. And He averts it from whomever He wills as a mercy towards them.
... يَكَادُ سَنَا بَرْقِهِ يَذْهَبُ بِالْأَبْصَارِ ﴿٤٣﴾
The vivid flash of its lightning nearly blinds the sight.
the brightness of its lightning almost takes away their sight if the eyes follow it and try to look at it.
يُقَلِّبُ اللَّهُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ...
Allah causes the night and the day to succeed each other.
He is controlling them, so that He takes something from the length of one and adds it to the other, which is short, until they become equal, then He does the opposite so that the one which was short becomes long and vice versa. Allah is the One Who is controlling that by His command, power, might and knowledge.
... إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّأُوْلِي الْأَبْصَارِ ﴿٤٤﴾
Truly, in this is indeed a lesson for those who have insight.
means, this is an indication of His greatness, may He be exalted.
This is like the Ayah:
إِنَّ فِى خَلْقِ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَاخْتِلَـفِ الَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لاّيَـتٍ لاٌّوْلِى الاٌّلْبَـبِ
Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. (3:190)
Allah's Power in His creation of the Animals
وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِن مَّاء ...
Allah has created every moving creature from water.
Allah mentions His complete and almighty power to create all the different kinds of animals with their various forms, colors and ways of moving and stopping, from one kind of water.
... فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى بَطْنِهِ ...
Of them there are some that creep on their bellies,
like snakes and so on;
... وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى رِجْلَيْنِ ...
and some that walk on two legs,
like humans and birds;
... وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى أَرْبَعٍ ...
and some that walk on four,
like cattle and all kinds of animals.
... يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاء ...
Allah creates what He wills.
meaning by His power, because what He wills happens and what He does not will does not happen.
So he says:
... إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٤٥﴾
Verily, Allah is able to do all things.
لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا آيَاتٍ مُّبَيِّنَاتٍ ...
We have indeed sent down manifest Ayat.
Allah states that in this Qur'an He has revealed many clear and unambiguous rulings, words of wisdom and parables, and that He guides people of understanding, insight and intellect to ponder and understand them.
... وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ ﴿٤٦﴾
And Allah guides whom He wills to the Straight Path.
The Treachery of the Hypocrites and the Attitude of the Believers
Allah tells us about the characteristics of the hypocrites who show one thing while hiding another, and who say with their tongues,
وَيَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالرَّسُولِ وَأَطَعْنَا ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّى فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ ...
They say: "We have believed in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey,'' then a party of them turn away thereafter,
meaning, their actions contradict their deeds, and they say that which they do not do.
... وَمَا أُوْلَئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٤٧﴾
such are not believers.
وَإِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ ...
And when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them...
means, when they are asked to follow the guidance which Allah has revealed to His Messenger, they turn away and are too arrogantly proud of themselves to follow him.
This is like the Ayah:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواْ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ
Have you not seen those who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, until His saying:
رَأَيْتَ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَنكَ صُدُوداً
you see the hypocrites turn away from you with aversion. (4: 60-61)
... إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ ﴿٤٨﴾
lo! a party of them refuses and turns away.
وَإِن يَكُن لَّهُمُ الْحَقُّ يَأْتُوا إِلَيْهِ مُذْعِنِينَ ﴿٤٩﴾
But if the truth is on their side, they come to him willingly with submission.
means, if the ruling will be in their favor and not against them, then they will come and will listen and obey, which is what is meant by the phrase مُذْعِنِينَ (willingly with submission).
But if the ruling will go against him, he turns away and demands something that goes against the truth, and he prefers to refer for judgement to someone other than the Prophet so that his false claims may prevail.
His acceptance in the beginning was not because he believed that it was the truth, but because it happened to be in accordance with his desires. So when the truth went against what he was hoping for, he turned away from it.
أَفِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ ...
Is there a disease in their hearts...
meaning, their situation cannot be anything else, they must necessarily have a disease in their hearts,
... أَمِ ارْتَابُوا أَمْ يَخَافُونَ أَن يَحِيفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَرَسُولُهُ ...
Or do they doubt or fear lest Allah and His Messenger should wrong them in judgement.
or else they have some doubts about the religion, or they are afraid that Allah and His Messenger will be unjust in their ruling against them.
Whichever it is, it is pure disbelief, and Allah knows which of these characteristics each one of them has.
... بَلْ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ ﴿٥٠﴾
Nay, it is they themselves who are the wrongdoers.
means, they are the evildoers who commit immoral actions, and Allah and His Messenger are innocent of the injustice and unfairness that they imagine; exalted be Allah and His Messenger above such a thing.
Then Allah tells us about the attributes of the believers who respond to Allah and His Messenger and who seek no other way apart from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا...
The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey''.
meaning, to hear to obey. Allah describes them as having attained success, which is achieving what one wants and being saved from what one fears.
So Allah says:
... وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ﴿٥١﴾
And such are the successful.
Concerning the Ayah: أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا (they say: "We hear and we obey''.), Qatadah said:
"We were told that when Ubadah bin As-Samit, who had been present at Al-Aqabah and at Badr, and was one of the leaders of the Ansar, was dying, he said to his nephew Junadah bin Abi Umayyah: `Shall I not tell you what you must do and what is your due!'
He said, `Yes.'
- `You have to listen and obey when times are easy and when they are hard, when you feel energetic and when you do not want to, and when you feel selfish.
- You have to train your tongue to speak the truth.
- Do not go against those who are in authority, unless they openly command you to commit acts of disobedience to Allah.
- Whenever you are commanded to do something that goes against the Book of Allah, then follow the Book of Allah.'''
Qatadah said: We were told that Abu Ad-Darda' said,
- "There is no Islam except through obedience to Allah, and no goodness except in Jama`ah.
- Sincerity is to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Khalifah and all the believers.''
He said: "And we were told that Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say;
`The bonds of Islam are
- La ilaha illallah,
- establishing prayer,
- paying Zakah and
- obeying those whom Allah has given authority over the affairs of the Muslims.'''
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.
There are very many Hadiths and reports which state that it is obligatory to:
- obey the Book of Allah,
- the Sunnah of His Messenger,
- the Rightly-Guided Khalifahs and the Imams when they command us to obey Allah;
there are too many of these reports to quote them all here.
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ...
And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger,
in what he is commanded with, and avoid what he is forbidden,
... وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ ...
means, for his past sins,
... وَيَتَّقْهِ ...
and has Taqwa of Him,
regarding sins he may commit in the future.
... فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ ﴿٥٢﴾
such are the successful.
means, those who will attain all goodness and be saved from all evil in this world and the Hereafter.
وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِنْ أَمَرْتَهُمْ لَيَخْرُجُنَّ ...
They swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if only you would order them, they would leave.
Allah says about the hypocrites who had promised the Messenger and sworn that if he were to command them to go out for battle, they would go:
... قُل لَّا تُقْسِمُوا ...
Say: "Swear you not...''
meaning, do not swear this oath.
... طَاعَةٌ مَّعْرُوفَةٌ ...
obedience is known.
It was said that the meaning is, your obedience is known, i.e., it is known that your obedience is merely verbal and is not accompanied by action. Every time you swear an oath you lie.
This is like the Ayah:
يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ لِتَرْضَوْاْ عَنْهُمْ
They swear to you that you may be pleased with them... (9:96)
And Allah says:
اتَّخَذْواْ أَيْمَـنَهُمْ جُنَّةً
They have made their oaths a screen (for their evil actions). (58:16)
It is part of their nature to tell lies, even in the issues they choose, as Allah says:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نَـفَقُواْ يَقُولُونَ لإِخْوَانِهِمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ لَئِنْ أُخْرِجْتُمْ لَنَخْرُجَنَّ مَعَكُمْ وَلاَ نُطِيعُ فيكُمْ أَحَداً أَبَداً وَإِن قُوتِلْتُمْ لَنَنصُرَنَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَـذِبُونَ - لَئِنْ أُخْرِجُواْ لاَ يَخْرُجُونَ مَعَهُمْ وَلَئِن قُوتِلُواْ لاَ يَنصُرُونَهُمْ وَلَئِن نَّصَرُوهُمْ لَيُوَلُّنَّ الاٌّدْبَـرَ ثُمَّ لاَ يُنصَرُونَ
Have you not observed the hypocrites who say to their friends among the people of the Scripture who disbelieve: "If you are expelled, we indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey any one against you; and if you are attacked, we shall indeed help you.'' But Allah is Witness that they verily are liars. Surely, if they are expelled, never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked, they will never help them. And if they do help them, they will turn their backs, and they will not be victorious. (59:11-12)
... إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٥٣﴾
Verily, Allah knows well what you do.''
Then Allah says:
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ...
Say: "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger...
meaning, follow the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.
... فَإِن تَوَلَّوا ...
but if you turn away,
if you ignore what he has brought to you,
... فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ ...
he is only responsible for the duty placed on him,
conveying the Message and fulfilling the trust.
... وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ ...
and you for that placed on you.
accepting that, and venerating it and doing as it commanded.
... وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا ...
If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance.
because he calls to the straight path,
صِرَطِ اللَّهِ الَّذِى لَهُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ
The path of Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth... (42:53)
... وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ ﴿٥٤﴾
The Messenger's duty is only to convey in a clear way.
This is like the Ayat:
فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَـغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
your duty is only to convey and on Us is the reckoning. (13:40)
فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ - لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُسَيْطِرٍ
So remind them -- you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them. (88:21-22)
Allah's Promise to the Believers that He would grant them Succession
This is a promise from Allah to His Messenger that He would cause his Ummah to become successors on earth, i.e., they would become the leaders and rulers of mankind, through whom He would reform the world and to whom people would submit, so that they would have in exchange a safe security after their fear.
This is what Allah did indeed do, may He be glorified and exalted, and to Him be praise and blessings. For He did not cause His Messenger to die until He had given him victory over Makkah, Khyber, Bahrain, all of the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen; and he took Jizyah from the Zoroastrians of Hajar and from some of the border lands of Syria; and he exchanged gifts with Heraclius the ruler of Byzantium, the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria, the Muqawqis, the kings of Oman and An-Najashi of Abyssinia, who had become king after Ashamah, may Allah have mercy on him and grant him honor.
Then when the Messenger died, his successor (Khalifah) Abu Bakr As-Siddiq took over the reins of power and united the Ummah, preventing its disintegration. He took control of the entire Arabian Peninsula, and he sent the Islamic armies to the land of Persia, under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with him, who conquered a part of it and killed some of its people. He sent another army under the leadership of Abu Ubaydah, may Allah be pleased with him, and the other commanders who came after him in the lands of Syria. He sent a third army under the leadership of Amr bin Al-`As, may Allah be pleased with him, to Egypt. Allah enabled the army sent to Syria to conquer Basra and Damascus and their provinces the land of Hawran and its environs. Then Allah chose for Abu Bakr to honor him with Him and he died.
The people of Islam were blessed that As-Siddiq was inspired to appoint Umar Al-Farooq as his successor, so he took the reins of power after him and did a perfect job. After the Prophets, the world never saw anyone like Umar in excellence of conduct and perfect justice. During his time, the rest of Syria and Egypt, and most of Persia, was conquered. Kisra was defeated and utterly humiliated, and he retreated to the furthest point of his kingdom. Mighty Caesar was brought low, his rule over Syria was overthrown, and he retreated to Constantinople. Their wealth was spent for the sake of Allah, as the Messenger of Allah had foretold and promised. May Allah's perfect peace and purest blessing be upon him.
During the rule of Uthman, the Islamic domains spread to the furthest points of the earth, east and west. The lands of the west were conquered as far as Cyprus and Andalusia, Kairouan and Sebta which adjoins the Atlantic Ocean. Towards the east, the conquests extended as far as China. Kisra was killed, his kingdom was utterly destroyed and the cities of Iraq, Khurasan and Al-Ahwaz were conquered. The Muslims killed a great number of Turks and Allah humiliated their great king Khaqan. Taxes were collected from the east and the west, and brought to the Commander of the faithful Uthman bin Affan, may Allah be pleased with him. This was a blessing brought by his recitation and study of the Qur'an, and his bringing the Ummah together to preserve and protect it.
In the Sahih it was recorded that the Messenger of Allah said:
إِنَّ اللهَ زَوَى لِيَ الْأَرْضَ فَرَأَيْتُ مَشَارِقَهَا وَمَغَارِبَهَا، وَسَيَبْلُغُ مُلْكُ أُمَّتِي مَا زُوِيَ لِي مِنْهَا
Allah showed me the earth and I looked at the east and the west. The dominion of my Ummah will reach everywhere I was shown.
And now we are enjoying that which Allah and His Messenger promised us, for Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth. We ask Allah to give us faith in Him and His Messenger, and to help us to give thanks to Him in a manner that will earn us His pleasure.
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ
Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession in the land, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion which He has chosen for them. And He will surely, give them in exchange a safe security after their fear...
Ar-Rabi` bin Anas narrated that Abu Al-Aliyah said,
"The Prophet and his Companions were in Makkah for nearly ten years, calling people in secret to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate. They were in a state of fear and were not instructed to fight until after they were commanded to migrate to Al-Madinah. When they came to Al-Madinah, then Allah instructed them to fight. In Al-Madinah they were afraid and they carried their weapons morning and evening. This is how they remained for as long as Allah willed...''
Then Allah revealed this Ayah. He caused His Prophet to prevail over the Arabian Peninsula, and then they felt safe and put down their weapons. Then Allah took His Prophet and they remained safe throughout the time of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, until what happened happened, and fear again prevailed over them, so they instituted a police force and guards. They changed, so their situation changed.
One of the Salaf said,
"The Khilafah of Abu Bakr and Umar was true and adhered to the Book of Allah. Then he recited this Ayah.''
Al-Bara' bin `Azib said, "This Ayah was revealed when we were in a state of extreme fear.''
This Ayah is like the Ayah:
وَاذْكُرُواْ إِذْ أَنتُمْ قَلِيلٌ مُّسْتَضْعَفُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land) Until His statement:
so that you might be grateful. (8:26)
... كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ...
as He granted succession to those before them,
This is like the Ayah where Allah tells us that Musa said to his people:
عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُهْلِكَ عَدُوَّكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفَكُمْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
"It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the earth...'' (7:129)
And Allah says:
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land,
until the two Ayat there after. (28: 5-6)
... وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ ...
and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion which He has chosen for them...
As the Messenger of Allah said to Adiyy bin Hatim when he came to him in a delegation: أَتَعْرِفُ الْحِيرَةَ Do you know Al-Hirah?
He said, "I do not know it, but I have heard of it.''
The Messenger of Allah said:
فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَيُتِمَّنَّ اللهُ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ الظَّعِينَةُ مِنَ الْحِيرَةِ حَتَّى تَطُوفَ بِالْبَيْتِ فِي غَيْرِ جِوَارِ أَحَدٍ، وَلَتَفْتَحُنَّ كُنُوزَ كِسْرَى بْنِ هُرْمُزَ
By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah will make this matter (i.e., Islam) prevail until a woman riding a camel will come from Al-Hirah and perform Tawaf around the House without needing the protection of anybody, and the treasures of Kisra the son of Hurmuz will be opened.
He said, "Kisra the son of Hurmuz!''
نَعَمْ، كِسْرَى بْنُ هُرْمُزَ، وَلَيُبْذَلَنَّ الْمَالُ حَتَّى لَا يَقْبَلَهُ أَحَدٌ
Yes, Kisra the son of Hurmuz, and wealth will be given until there will be no one who will accept it.
Adiyy bin Hatim said: "Now it is happening that
- a woman riding a camel comes from Al-Hirah and performs Tawaf around the House without needing the protection of anybody, and
- I was among those who opened the treasure of Kisra the son of Hurmuz.
- By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the third thing will also come to pass, because the Messenger of Allah said it.''
... يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ...
if they worship Me and do not associate anything with Me.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas that Mu`adh bin Jabal told him,
"While I was riding behind the Prophet on a donkey, with nothing between me and him but the back of his saddle, he said, يَا مُعَاذُ بْنَ جَبَلٍ (O Mu`adh bin Jabal). I said, `Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah.'
Then a while passed, then he said, يَا مُعَاذُ بْنَ جَبَلٍ (O Mu`adh bin Jabal). I said, `Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah.'
Then a while passed, then he said, يَا مُعَاذُ بْنَ جَبَلٍ (O Mu`adh bin Jabal). I said, `Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah.' He said,
هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا حَقُّ اللهِ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ؟
Do you know the rights that Allah has over His servants?
I said, `Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said,
فَإِنَّ حَقَّ اللهِ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوهُ وَلَا يُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا
The rights that Allah has over His servants are that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him.
Then a while passed, then he said, يَا مُعَاذُ بْنَ جَبَلٍ (O Mu`adh bin Jabal). I said, `Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah.'
فَهَلْ تَدْرِي مَا حَقُّ الْعِبَادِ عَلَى اللهِ إِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ؟
Do you know the rights that people have over Allah if they do that?
I said, `Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said,
فَإِنَّ حَقَّ الْعِبَادِ عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ لَا يُعَذِّبَهُمْ
The rights that people have over Allah is that He will not punish them.''
This was also recorded in the Two Sahihs.
... وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the rebellious.
means, `whoever then stops obeying Me after that, has stopped obeying the command of his Lord, and that is a great sin.'
The Companions -- may Allah be pleased with them -- were the most committed of people after the Prophet to the commands of Allah and the most obedient to Allah. Their victories were in accordance with their level of commitment. They caused the Word of Allah to prevail in the east and the west, and Allah supported them so much that they governed all the people and all the lands.
When the people subsequently fell short in their commitment to some of the commandments, their strength and victory fell short accordingly, but it is confirmed through more than one route in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
لَا تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ، لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ وَلَا مَنْ خَالَفَهُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ
There will remain a group of my Ummah adhering to the truth, and those who forsake them or oppose them will not harm them until the Day of Resurrection.
According to another report:
حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ اللهِ وَهُمْ كَذَلِكَ
.. until the command of Allah comes to pass and they are like that.
According to another report:
حَتَّى يُقَاتِلُوا الدَّجَّالَ
... until they fight the Dajjal.
According to another report:
حَتَّى يَنْزِلَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَهُمْ ظَاهِرُونَ
... until `Isa bin Maryam comes down and they are prevailing.
All of these reports are Sahih, and there is no contradiction between them.
The Command to pray, give the Zakah and obey the Messenger; the inability of the Disbelievers to escape, and the ultimate Destiny
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ ﴿٥٦﴾
And perform the Salah, and give the Zakah and obey the Messenger that you may receive mercy.
Allah commands His believing servants
- to establish prayer, which means worshipping Allah Alone with no partner or associate;
- to pay the Zakah, which is an act of kindness towards His poor and weak creatures;
- and by doing so to obey the Messenger of Allah , i.e., to do as he commands them and to avoid what he forbids them, so that Allah will have mercy on them for that.
No doubt, whoever does that, Allah will have mercy on him, as Allah says in another Ayah:
أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ
Allah will have His mercy on them. (9:71)
لَا تَحْسَبَنَّ ...
means, `do not think, O Muhammad,' that:
... الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ...
meaning, those who opposed and denied you,
... مُعْجِزِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ...
can escape in the land.
means, that they can flee from Allah. No, Allah is able to deal with them and He will punish them most severely for that.
... وَمَأْوَاهُمُ ...
meaning, in the Hereafter,
... النَّارُ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ ﴿٥٧﴾
shall be the Fire -- and worst indeed is that destination.
means, how terrible the consequences will be for the disbelievers, how evil a place to stay in and how awful a place to rest!
The Times when Servants and Young Children should seek Permission to enter
Allah commands the believers:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِن قَبْلِ صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ ...
O you who believe!
Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission on three occasions:
- before the Fajr prayer,
These Ayat include a discussion of how people who are closely related should seek permission to enter upon one another.
What was mentioned earlier in the Surah had to do with how unrelated people should seek permission to enter upon one another.
Allah commanded the believers to ensure that their servants and their children who have not yet reached puberty should seek permission at three times:
- the first is before the Fajr prayer, because people are asleep in their beds at that time.
... وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ ...
and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon,
means, at the time of rest, because a man may be in a state of undress with his wife at that time.
... وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاء ...
and after the `Isha' prayer.
because this is the time for sleep.
Servants and children are commanded not to enter upon household members at these times, because it is feared that a man may be in an intimate situation with his wife and so on.
... ثَلَاثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ ...
(These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them,
If they enter at a time other than these, there is no sin on you if you let them enter, and no sin on them if they see something at a time other than these times.
They have been given permission to enter suddenly, because they are those who go around in the house, i.e., to serve you etc., and as such they may be forgiven for things that others will not be forgiven.
Although this Ayah is quite clear and has not been abrogated, people hardly follow it, and Abdullah bin Abbas denounced the people for that.
Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn Abbas said:
"Most of the people do not follow it, the Ayah that speaks about asking permission, but I tell my servant woman to seek permission to enter.''
Abu Dawud said: Ata' also narrated that Ibn Abbas commanded this.
Ath-Thawri narrated that Musa bin Abi A'ishah said,
"I asked Ash-Sha`bi (about the Ayah): لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ (Let your slaves and slave-girls ask your permission). He said, `It has not been abrogated.'
I said: `But the people do not do that.' He said, `May Allah help them.'''
... طَوَّافُونَ عَلَيْكُم بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ ...
to move about, attending to each other.
...كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٥٨﴾
Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
Then Allah says:
وَإِذَا بَلَغَ الْأَطْفَالُ مِنكُمُ الْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَأْذِنُوا كَمَا اسْتَأْذَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ...
And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age),
meaning: when the children who used to seek permission at the three times of privacy reach puberty, then they have to seek permission at all times, i.e., with regard to those who are non-relatives, and at times when a man may be in a state of intimacy with his wife, even if it is not one of the three times stated above.
... كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٥٩﴾
Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
There is no Sin on Elderly Women if They do not wear a Cloak
وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاء ...
And the Qawa`id among women.
Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said that; these are the women who no longer think that they can bear children,
... اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا ...
who do not hope for marriage,
meaning, they no longer have any desire for marriage,
... فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ ...
it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment.
meaning, they do not have to cover themselves in the same way that other women have to.
Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn Abbas said that;
the Ayah وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ (And tell the believing women to lower their gaze) (24:31), was abrogated and an exception was made in the case of: وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاء اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا (the past childbearing among women who do not hope for marriage).
... فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ ...
it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing,
Ibn Mas`ud said about (outer) clothing,
"The Jilbab or Rida'.''
A similar view was also narrated from Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Ash-Sha`tha', Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Az-Zuhri, Al-`Awza`i and others.
... غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ ...
in such a way as not to show their adornment.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said,
"They should not make a wanton display of themselves by removing their outer garment so that their adornment may be seen.''
... وَأَن يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُنَّ ...
But to refrain is better for them.
means, not removing their outer garment, even though that is permissible for them, is better for them.
... وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٦٠﴾
And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
Eating from One's Relatives' Houses
لَيْسَ عَلَى الْأَعْمَى حَرَجٌ وَلَا عَلَى الْأَعْرَجِ حَرَجٌ وَلَا عَلَى الْمَرِيضِ حَرَجٌ ...
There is no restriction on the blind, nor any restriction on the lame, nor any restriction on the sick,
What is referred to here is the fact that they used to feel too embarrassed to eat with the blind, because they could not see the food or where the best morsels were, so others might take the best pieces before they could.
They felt too embarrassed to eat with the lame because they could not sit comfortably, and their companions might take advantage of them, and they felt embarrassed to eat with the sick because they might not eat as much as others. So they were afraid to eat with them lest they were unfair to them in some way.
Then Allah revealed this Ayah, granting them a dispensation in this matter.
This was the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr and Miqsam.
"Before the Prophet's Mission, they used to feel too embarrassed and too proud to eat with these people, lest they might have to help them. So Allah revealed this Ayah.''
Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Mujahid said:
"A man would take a blind, lame or sick person to the house of his brother or sister or aunt, and those disabled people would feel ashamed of that and say, `they are taking us to other people's houses.' So this Ayah was revealed granting permission for that.''
"A man would enter the house of his father or brother or son, and the lady of the house would bring him some food, but he would refrain from eating because the master of the house was not there, so Allah revealed: لَيْسَ عَلَى الْأَعْمَى حَرَجٌ (There is no restriction on the blind...).
... وَلَا عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ أَن تَأْكُلُوا مِن بُيُوتِكُمْ ...
nor on yourselves, if you eat from your houses,
This is stated here although it is obvious, so that from this starting point the houses of others may be mentioned, and to make it clear that the ruling applies equally to what comes after.
Sons' houses are included in this even though they are not mentioned by name, and this is used as evidence by those who regard the son's wealth as being like the father's wealth.
In the Musnad and the Sunan, it is reported through several routes that the Messenger of Allah said:
أَنْتَ وَمَالُكَ لِأَبِيكَ
You and your wealth belong to your father.
أَوْ بُيُوتِ آبَائِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ إِخْوَانِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ أَخَوَاتِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ أَعْمَامِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ عَمَّاتِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ أَخْوَالِكُمْ أَوْ بُيُوتِ خَالَاتِكُمْ
or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your father's brothers, or the houses of your father's sisters, or the houses of your mother's brothers, or the houses of your mother's sisters,
This is obvious, and this is used as evidence by those who think that it is obligatory for relatives to spend on one another.
... أَوْ مَا مَلَكْتُم مَّفَاتِحَهُ...
or (from that) whereof you hold keys,
Sa`id bin Jubayr and As-Suddi said,
"This refers to a people's servants, whether a slave or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with them eating from the food that is stored with them, within reason.''
Az-Zuhri narrated from Urwah that A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
"The Muslims used to go out on military campaigns with the Messenger of Allah and they would give their keys to people they trusted and say, `We permit you to eat whatever you need.'
But they would say, `It is not permissible for us to eat, they have given us permission reluctantly and we are only trustees.' Then Allah revealed: أَوْ مَا مَلَكْتُم مَّفَاتِحَهُ (or (from that) whereof you hold keys).''
...أَوْ صَدِيقِكُمْ ...
or (from the house) of a friend.
means, there is no sin on you if you eat from their houses, so long as you know that this does not upset them and they do not dislike it.
... لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَأْكُلُوا جَمِيعًا أَوْ أَشْتَاتًا ...
No sin on you whether you eat together or apart.
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas concerning this Ayah,
"When Allah revealed the Ayah
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَلَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَـطِلِ
O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly, (4: 29)
the Muslims said, `Allah has forbidden us to eat up our property among ourselves unjustly, and food is the best of property, so it is not permissible for anyone among us to eat at the house of anyone else.' So the people stopped doing that. Then Allah revealed: لَيْسَ عَلَى الْأَعْمَى حَرَجٌ (There is no restriction on the blind,) until His statement; أَوْ صَدِيقِكُمْ (or (from the house) of a friend).
A man would also feel embarrassed and would refrain from eating alone until someone else came along, but Allah made the matter easier for them and said: لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَأْكُلُوا جَمِيعًا أَوْ أَشْتَاتًا (No sin on you whether you eat together or apart).''
"This was a clan of Banu Kinanah who during the Jahiliyyah thought that it was a source of shame for one of them to eat alone, to such an extent that a man might keep on driving his laden camel even though he was hungry, until he could find someone to eat and drink with him. Then Allah revealed: لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَأْكُلُوا جَمِيعًا أَوْ أَشْتَاتًا (No sin on you whether you eat together or apart).
So this was a dispensation from Allah, allowing people to eat either alone or with others, even though eating with others is more blessed and is better."
Imam Ahmad recorded from Wahshi bin Harb from his father from his grandfather that a man said to the Prophet, "We eat but we do not feel satisfied.''
لَعَلَّكُمْ تَأْكُلُونَ مُتَفَرِّقِينَ، اجْتَمِعُوا عَلَى طَعَامِكُمْ، وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ، يُبَارَكْ لَكُمْ فِيهِ
Perhaps you are eating separately. Eat together and mention the Name of Allah, and He will bless the food for you.
It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.
Ibn Majah also recorded that Salim reported from his father from Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said:
كُلُوا جَمِيعًا، وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا، فَإِنَّ الْبَرَكَةَ مَعَ الْجَمَاعَةِ
Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is in being together.
... فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُم بُيُوتًا فَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ ...
But when you enter the houses, greet one another,
... تَحِيَّةً مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُبَارَكَةً طَيِّبَةً ...
with a greeting from Allah, blessed and good.
Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah and Az-Zuhri said, "This means greet one another with Salam.''
Ibn Jurayj narrated that Abu Az-Zubayr said, "I heard Jabir bin Abdullah say,
`When you enter upon your family, greet them with a greeting from Allah, blessed and good.'
He said, `I do not think it is anything but obligatory.'''
Ibn Jurayj said: "And Ziyad said that Ibn Tawus used to say:
`When any one of you enters his house, let him say Salam.'''
- "And when you enter the Masjid, say: `Peace be upon the Messenger of Allah';
- when you enter upon your families, greet them with Salam; and
- when you enter a house in which there is nobody, say: `As-Salamu `Alayna wa Ala Ibad-Allah-is-Salihin (peace be upon us and upon the righteous servants of Allah).'
- This is what one is commanded to do, and it has been narrated to us that the angels will return his greeting.''
... كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُون ﴿٦١﴾
Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat to you that you may understand.
When Allah mentioned what wise rulings and reasonable, well-constructed laws are contained in this Surah, He points out to His servants that He explains the Ayat to them clearly so that they may ponder them and understand their meanings.
Asking Permission to leave when They are doing something together
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَإِذَا كَانُوا مَعَهُ عَلَى أَمْرٍ جَامِعٍ لَمْ يَذْهَبُوا حَتَّى يَسْتَأْذِنُوهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَأْذِنُونَكَ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَإِذَا اسْتَأْذَنُوكَ لِبَعْضِ شَأْنِهِمْ فَأْذَن لِّمَن شِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمُ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٦٢﴾
The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger; and when they are with him on some common matter, they go not away until they have asked his permission. Verily, those who ask your permission, those are they who (really) believe in Allah and His Messenger. So if they ask your permission for some affairs of theirs, give permission to whom you will of them, and ask Allah for their forgiveness. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
This is another matter of etiquette to which Allah has guided His believing servants. Just as He commanded them to seek permission when entering, He also commanded them to seek permission when leaving, especially when they are doing something together with the Messenger, such as the Friday, `Id, or congregational prayers, or a meeting for the purpose of consultation and so on.
Allah commanded them not to leave him in these situations until they had asked his permission. If they did this, then they were of the true believers. Then Allah commanded His Messenger to give permission when someone asked for it, if he wanted to.
... شَأْنِهِمْ فَأْذَن لِّمَن شِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمُ اللَّهَ ...
give permission to whom you will of them, and ask Allah for their forgiveness.
Abu Dawud reported that Abu Hurayrah said, The Messenger of Allah said:
إِذَا انْتَهَى أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الْمَجْلِسِ فَلْيُسَلِّمْ، فَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَقُومَ فَلْيُسَلِّمْ، فَلَيْسَتِ الْأُولَى بِأَحَقَّ مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ
When any of you joins a gathering, let him say Salam, and when he wants to leave, let him say Salam. The former is not more important than the latter.
This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i;
At-Tirmidhi said: "It is a Hasan Hadith.''
The Etiquette of addressing the Prophet
لَا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاء الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاء بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا ...
Make not the calling of the Messenger among you as your calling one of another.
Ad-Dahhak said, reporting from Ibn Abbas:
"They used to say, `O Muhammad,' or `O Abu Al-Qasim,' but Allah forbade them to do that, as a sign of respect towards His Prophet, and told them to say, `O Prophet of Allah,' `O Messenger of Allah.'''
This was also the view of Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr.
"Allah commanded that His Prophet should be treated with respect and honor, and that he should be a leader.''
Muqatil said concerning the Ayah: لَا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاء الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاء بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا
"When you address him, do not say, `O Muhammad,' or `O son of `Abdullah'; rather honor him and say, `O Prophet of Allah,' or, `O Messenger of Allah.' لَا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاء الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاء بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا Make not the calling of the Messenger among you as your calling one of another."
A second view concerning the meaning of the Ayah is that it means
`do not think that if he prays against you it is like when anyone else prays against you, because his prayers will be answered; so beware lest he prays against you and you will be doomed.'
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this from Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Atiyyah Al-`Awfi. And Allah knows best.
... قَدْ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ يَتَسَلَّلُونَ مِنكُمْ لِوَاذًا ...
Allah knows those of you who slip away under shelter.
Muqatil bin Hayyan said,
"This refers to the hypocrites who used to find it too difficult to listen to the Khutbah on Fridays, so they would hide behind some of the Companions of Muhammad and sneak out of the Masjid.
It was not proper for a man to leave on Fridays once the Khutbah began, unless he had permission from the Prophet. If one of them wanted to leave, he would make a gesture to the Prophet with his finger, and the Prophet would give permission without the man speaking. This is because if the Prophet was giving the Khutbah and a man spoke, it would invalidate his Friday prayer.'' As-Suddi said, "If they were with him for a congregational prayer, they would hide behind one another so that he could not see them.''
The Prohibition of going against the Messenger's Commandment
Then Allah says:
... فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ ...
And let those beware who oppose the Messenger's commandment,
This means going against the commandment of the Prophet, which is his way, methodology and Sunnah. All words and deeds will be measured against his words and deeds; those that are in accordance with his words and deeds will be accepted, and whatever does not match up will be rejected, no matter who the person is who said and did them.
It was recorded in the Two Sahihs and elsewhere that the Messenger of Allah said:
مَنْ عَمِلَ عَم¡