|Volume 4: Surah Baqarah, Verses 228-242|
And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three monthly courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their womb, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those upon them in a just manner, and for the men is (right) a degree above them, and Allah is Mighty, Wise (228). Divorce is twice; then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah; then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up (to become free thereby).
These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them, and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah then these it is that are the unjust (229). So if he divorces her she shall not be lawful to him afterwards until she marries another husband; then if he divorces her there is no blame on them both if they return to each other (by marriage), if they both think that they can keep within the limits of Allah, and these are the limits of Allah which He makes clear for a people who know (230). And when you divorce the women and they reach their prescribed time then either retain them in fairness or set them free with fairness, and do not retain them for injury, so that you exceed the limits, and whoever does this, he indeed is unjust to his own self, and do not take Allah's signs for a mockery, and remember the favor of Allah upon you, and that which He has revealed to you of the Book and the Wisdom, admonishing you thereby; and fear Allah, and know that Allah is the Knower of all things (231). And when you have divorced the women and they have ended their term (of waiting), then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree among themselves in a lawful manner; with this is admonished whosoever among you believe in Allah and the last day; this is more profitable and purer for you; and Allah knows while you do not know (232).
And the mothers should suckle their children for two complete years for him who desires to make complete the time of suckling; and their maintenance and their clothing must be borne by the father according to usage; no soul shall have imposed upon it a duty but to the extent of its capacity; neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child; and a similar duty (devolves) on the (father's) heir; then if both desire weaning by mutual consent and counsel, there is no blame on them; and if you wish to engage a wet-nurse for your children, there is no blame on you so long as you pay what you promised according to usage; and fear Allah and know that Allah sees what you do (233). And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days), then when they have fully attained their term, there is no blame on you for what they do for themselves in a proper manner; and Allah is aware of what you do (234). And there is no blame on you respecting that which you speak indirectly in the asking of (such) women in marriage or keep (the proposal) concealed within your minds:
Allah knows that you will soon mention them, but do not give them a promise in secret unless you speak in a proper manner; and do not resolve the marriage-tie until the prescribed term is completed, and know that Allah knows what is in your mind, therefore beware of Him, and know that Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing (235). There is no blame on you if you divorce the women while yet You have not touched them or appointed for them a dowry, and make provision for them, on the wealthy according to his means, and on the straitened in circumstances according to his means, a provision according to usage; (this is) a duty on the doers of good (to other) (236). And if you divorce them before you have touched them and you have appointed for them a dowry, then (pay to them) half of what you have appointed. unless they remit or he remits in whose hand is the marriage-tie; and it is nearer to piety that you should remit, and do not forget generosity between you; surely Allah sees what you do (237). Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah (238). But if you are in danger, then (say your prayers) on foot or on horseback; and when you are secure, then remember Allah as He has taught you what you did not know (239). And those of you who die and leave wives behind, (make) a bequest in favor of their wives of maintenance for the year without turning (them) out, then if they themselves go away, there is no blame on you for what they do of proper deeds about themselves, and Allah is Mighty, Wise (240). And for the divorced women (too) provision (should be made) according to usage; (this is) a duty on those who guard (against evil) (241). Thus Allah makes clear to you His signs, so that you may understand (242).
These verses promulgate the laws concerning divorce and the period of waiting as well as about a divorcee suckling her child; in middle of it are some rules concerning prayer.
QUR’AN: And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three monthly periods:
“at-Talaq" literally means to release from bonds, to remove the fetters. Then it was metaphorically used for releasing the women from the tie of marriage, and it was so exclusively used in this sense that eventually it became its real meaning.
“Yatarabbasna bi anfusihinna” (should keep themselves in waiting): at-tarabbus, is to wait, to hold back. This word is followed here by “bi anfusihinna “ (literal meaning = concerning their own selves) ; it thus gives the meaning that they should not attach themselves to any man. In other words, it ordains the rule of al- ‘iddah (= waiting period) of divorce.
“A woman is in al-‘iddah" means that she is holding herself back from marrying again, lest the sperm of the original and subsequent husbands be mixed, and genealogies and consanguinity be corrupted.
The words “should keep themselves in waiting” thus not only legislate a law but also hint at its philosophy. It is not necessary for that philosophy and benefit to be found in every individual case; the laws are made keeping in view the good of the majority of people, not all.
The words thus mean: the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting, by not giving themselves to another husband, so that the sperm should not be mixed and consanguinity and parentage not corrupted.
It is an order, but the sentence (in Arabic) is constructed as a statement. This form of expression is used for emphasis.
“al-Quru” is the plural of al-qur’. This is used for the monthly period and also for the period of cleanliness; and is, thus, a word made with two opposite meanings, as some people have said. But the fact is that its root q-r-‘ indicates collection, gathering, joining together, but not every collection and gathering, only that which is followed by dispersal and transmission. Keeping this in view, it is obvious that the original meaning of al-qur’, would have been the period of cleanliness, because it is the time when blood accumulates in the womb; then it was used also for the period of menstruation because it is the time when blood is discharged after its accumulation.
al-Qar’ is also used for reading and reciting, because in recitation and reading, letters and words are first joined together and then proclaimed. The scholars of language have clearly said that al-qar’ means collection and gathering. And that it indicates such gathering may be inferred from the following verses: Do not move your tongue with it to make haste with it. Surely on Us is the collecting of it and “qur’anahu” the reciting of it. Therefore, when We have recited it, then follow its recitation (75:16-18). And a Qur'an which We revealed in portions so that you may read it to the people by slow degrees(17:106).
Both verses are concerned with the collection and revelation of the Book of Allah; and in both it is referred to as the Qur’an, not as the Book or the Furqan etc.
It is for the same reason that it is given the name Qur’an.
ar-Raghib says in his al-Mufradaat: al-Qur’ in fact means the start of the menses after cleanliness. As it has two elements in its meaning - cleanliness and the following menses - it is used for both meanings, even separately. When a noun is made for a meaning with two elements, it is also used for those elements separately. For example al-ma’idah is used for a table upon which food is arranged; now it is often used either for the table only or the food only. But al-qur’ was originally made for cleanliness only nor for the menses only. A girl who has not yet seen blood is not said to be in al-qur’; likewise a sick woman whose blood continues without stopping is not said to to be in al-qur’.
QUR’AN: And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day :
The divorced woman should not conceal the fact of her being pregnant or her monthly period. Without this prohibition she might have been tempted to conceal it, so that she might soon complete the al- ‘iddah or that her husband might not get chance of revoking the divorce.
This prohibition of concealment has a proviso : “If they believe in Allah and the last day”, while the basic law of the waiting period has no such clause. This clause shows that the order given is an essential requirement of the belief, and the women must adhere to it faithfully and scrupulously. It is as we say : Live with the people honestly if you want good.
QUR’AN: And their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation:
"al-Bu’ulah" “ is plural of al-ba 'l which means the male spouse, so long as the couple are married. Later, the word acquired a shade of meaning of domination, strength and firmness, because of the position of the husband vis-à-vis the wife. Now, we find other usages all based on this meaning. For example, a horse rider is called its al-ba ‘l; a high land is called al-ba ‘l, there was an idol named ba ’l, and a date-tree is named al-ba ‘l when it grows high.
“Their husbands”: The pronoun “their” stands for “the divorced women”. But the order is not for those who are given an irrevocable divorce; it is meant only for those divorced revocably.
“In the meanwhile” refers to the period of waiting.
The proviso, “if they wish for reconciliation”, is very important. It shows that taking them back, that is, the revocation of the divorce, must be. with good intention, with a wish to make amends. The husband should not revoke the divorce only to inflict harm and injury upon the woman, because, such a behavior is clearly forbidden in the verse, “and do not retain them for injury".
"Ahaqq” is the comparative (and superlative) and means “having more right”. It always requires another person having less right. For example, the previous husband had a right to the divorcee, and the other proposers also have right to her, but the previous husband has more right to her, because of the previous marriage-tie.
But this meaning apparently is not correct here, because this verse is not talking about a fresh marriage; it is speaking about “taking them back”, revoking the divorce; and it is a right which no one shares with him. So, why use the phrase “have a better right”? The fact is that there is a very interesting deletion in the verse. Its complete meaning is: their husbands have more (or a better) right to them than another proposer, and this right can be utilized by taking them back and revoking the divorce during the period of waiting.
This right exists only in revocable divorce ; and it is this circumstantial evidence which proves that the order is only about such divorcees and not about those who have been given an irrevocable divorce.
The verse explains the law concerning only those divorcees with whom marriage has been consummated, provided they are at the age of menstruation and are not pregnant. For others, there are other verses.
QUR’AN: And they have rights similar to those upon them in a just manner, and for the men is (right) a degree above them:
"al-Ma ‘ruf" variously translated in these verses as “a just manner”, “fairness”, a “lawful manner”, “usage”, a “proper manner” and “proper deeds”) literally means “known”. It refers to the things and usages established in society by the mutual dealings of its members, and recognized as just and good by general acceptance. This word has been repeatedly used in these verses - in twelve places. It shows how much importance Allah attaches to fairness and justice in matters concerning divorce. al-Ma ‘ruf is a comprehensive word which covers the guidance of reason, the laws of religion, nobility of character and moral and ethical values.
As Islam has built its shari ‘ah on the foundation of nature, (al-ma ‘ruf = known) in its eyes is that custom which is known to the people when they walk on the straight path of nature and do not deviate from it.
The natural law of society says that all the members of society should be treated equally, they should have as much rights as they have obligations. At the same time it decrees that every individual’s personal perfection and attributes must be recognized. The ruler’s authority, the people’s subordination, the scholar’s knowledge, the illiterate person’s ignorance, all must be weighed in the scale of their usefulness for, and effect on, society; and with that recognition everyone should be given his proper right.
The same principle was applied by Islam concerning the rights and obligations of woman. It gave her as much right upon the husband as it ordained upon her for the husband. At the same time, it preserved her rightful value and place in her union with the man; and in this area, Islam found that men have a right a degree above women.
It is clear from the above that the sentence, “and for the men is (a right) a degree above them”, is like a clause which completes the principle sentence. The whole sentence means that women, or divorcees, are equal with men, but that men are a degree above them; therefore, Allah has given the women as much right as is laid upon them, with the preservation of the authority of men over them.
We shall discuss this subject later on.
QUR’AN: Divorce is twice; then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them:
“al-Marrah” means once; it is derived from al-murur (to pass). ad-daf'ah,al-karrah and an-nuzlah have the same meaning. at-tasrah means to send forth the cattle to pasture. as-sarh is a tree, the fruit of which is eaten by the camel. The Arabs say sarrahtu ‘l-ibal (= I let loose the camel to feed on sarh). at-tasrih is derived from the same root, and is used in this verse as a metaphor for releasing the divorced woman by not taking her back during the waiting period.
“Divorce is twice”: The divorce referred to here is the revocable divorce. That is why it has been followed by the words, “then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go with kindness”. The third divorce, after these two, is mentioned in verse 2:230, which says: So if he divorces her, she shall not be lawful to him until she marries another husband.
To let them go with kindness means to let them go free by not revoking the divorce. They are either to be retained in fairness bi-ma ‘rufin or to be freed with kindness “bi ihsanin". The difference between these expressions is important. Retaining the divorcee by revoking the divorce could be done with a bad intention, to injure and harm her. For example, a man divorces his wife, then waits until she nearly completes the waiting period and then he revokes the divorce and takes her back; then again he divorces her and the procedure is repeated. Such things could be done to mentally torture the woman; and it is unjust, unfair and cruel; the shari'ah of Islam dislike such behavior. The revocation which is commendable in this religion is the one carried out for, and based on reconciliation, at which there is hope for the good companionship and love which Allah has created between husband and wife.
In the same way, letting her go could be done in an ugly manner; for example, quarrelling with her, showing rage and anger, and demonstrating a spirit of revenge. Such behavior is not allowed in Islam. The shari ‘ah says that this “letting her go” should be done in a manner recognized as noble by society and accepted as lawful by religion. It is this “fair dealing” which has been mentioned in the coming verse (then either retain them in fairness or set them free with fairness 2:231). But the verse under discussion goes a step further and commands the man, if he wishes to let her go, to do so “with kindness”. The expression has been changed to prepare minds for the next rule: “and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them”.
Obviously, the words “in fairness” and “with kindness” were necessary to prevent unscrupulous persons from misusing the law and defeating its purpose by following its letter but not its spirit. The real aim of the rule or revocation of divorce is to facilitate reconciliation. Therefore, it was necessary to ordain that it should be done “in fairness”, not to inflict any harm upon the woman. Allah says in a coming verse: “and do not retain them for injury, so that you exceed the limits”. Likewise, the purpose of the ordinance to “let her go” is to safeguard her rights, so that the man does not take back all or part of the dowry given to her. For this purpose the word, “in fairness” was not sufficient, because some societies might not think it bad to take back the dowry, in whole or part, at the time of divorce. Therefore, the expression was changed to “with kindness”. Now it paves the way for the next sentence, “and it is not lawful . . . “, and compensates to some degree the loss that the woman suffers in the ruination of her family life and the breaking of the marriage-tie.
QUR’AN: Unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah:
“Both fear” means both have an overriding opinion that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah. “Limits of Allah” are His commands and prohibitions, the things prohibited or made obligatory by Him.
The situation mentioned in this verse appears when their mentalities, characters and manners are opposed to each other, and thus hate becomes the predominant factor in, their relationship.
QUR’AN: Then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, then there is no blame on them for what she gives up (to become free thereby) :
The change from the dual for “khafa" (both feared) of the previous sentence to the plural “khiftum" (= you - three or more - feared) here indicates that the fear, suspicion or opinion should be a reasonable one, recognized as such by common people. Doubts based on evil suggestions, infatuations or hypochondria will not do. That is also the reason why the whole phrase, “that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah”, has been repeated. If a pronoun were used (i.e., if you fear ‘it’) there would be a chance that the couple’s unreasonable doubts and suspicions would become the basis of this rule. This repetition has removed the chance of such a misunderstanding.
“There is no blame on them”: Before that, the husband was prohibited from taking any part of what he had given the wife. It means that the wife, on her part, was prohibited from giving him anything back, because if she gave him anything while he was not allowed to take it, she would be cooperating with him in a sin and transgression. Now, this verse gives an exception to that general rule : In the al-khul' - form of divorce they are allowed to agree on an amount which the wife pays to the husband to get herself free. In this situation, there is no blame on the husband for taking it, nor on the wife in giving it. Hence the expression, “there is no blame on them”.
QUR’AN: These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them, and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah then these it is that are the unjust.
“These” is the demonstrative pronoun, pointing to the above-mentioned laws. These are matters of social legislation coupled with ethical teachings and other academic subjects.
It may be inferred from these verses that one should not try to separate legislative rules from moral principles. It is wrong to stick to the letter of the law, neglecting the spirit behind it. This sanctimoniousness defeats the purpose of the shari ‘ah, negates the aims of religion and changes the bliss of life into misery. Islam is a religion of deeds, not of words; a shari 'ah of action, not of dogma. The Muslims have only reached this level of retrogression and backwardness, because their whole attention was fixed on the body of the law, and they completely forgot that there was also a soul and spirit inside that body. The coming verse : " and whoever does this, he indeed is unjust to his own self ", proves this assertion of ours.
This verse frequently changes the pronouns from plural to singular and from second person to third person and then returns to the original form. This style helps to hold the attention of the audience, and the variation of style refreshes the mind.
QUR'AN: So if he divorces her she shall not be lawful to him afterwards until she marries another husband . . . clear for a people who know:
This verse promulgates the law of the third divorce. If after the two divorces and returns mentioned above, he divorces her a third time, she shall be prohibited to him until she marries another husband.
It is the wife herself who is said to be prohibited, while prohibition applies to marrying her as well as to cohabiting with her. This mode of expression has been used because "she is prohibited" implies both meanings; and, accordingly, "until she marries another husband" also implies marriage followed by cohabitation. Then if he, that is, the second husband, divorces her there is no blame on them both, that is, the woman and her first husband, if they return to each other, that is, by means of a fresh marriage, after reconciliation and mutual consent. The verb used is "yataraja'a" which means, "both return to each other"; it is not the return or revocation after the first two divorces over which the husband has the right and which the women cannot refuse. This mutual return should be effected if they both think that they can keep within the limits of Allah. The words "limits of Allah" have again been repeated in the final sentences because these are other than those mentioned earlier.
This verse is a miracle of brevity and conciseness. Such a short verse contains fourteen pronouns all referring to different things, and although they are all near each other there is no ambiguity in the meaning, nor any difficulty in its understanding.
This verse and the two before it contain numerous common nouns and many metaphors without any adverse effect on their eloquence and elocution. For example, the phrase "fa imsakun bima 'rufin au tasrihun bi ihsanin (= than keeping them in fairness or letting them go with kindness) contains four common nouns coming one after other. Also, there are the following metaphorical expressions:
"What you have given them"
"If you fear"
If you have reasonable ground to believe.
"What she gives up"
The redemption paid in al-khul'.
"So if he divorces her"
The third divorce.
"She shall not be lawful to him"
He is prohibited to marry her again and cohabit with her.
"Until she marries another husband"
Until she marries and cohabits with him. (Notice the politeness of the Qur'an)
"If they return"
If they marry again.
Then there is the contrast between "keep" and "let go", and between "both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah" and "both think that they can keep within the limits of Allah". Look also at the variation of style in "so do not exceed them" and "whoever exceeds them".
QUR'AN: And when you divorce the women and they reach their prescribed time, then either retain them in fairness or set them free with fairness, and do not retain them for injury, so that you exceed the limit:
"They reach their prescribed time": When their prescribed time is about to expire. The verb al-bulugh (= to reach) is used not only for arriving at the destination, but also for coming near it. The reason of our opting for this meaning is clear from the next words, "then either retain them in fairness or set them free with fairness”. The husband has neither of these options when her prescribed period has expired.
The words, “and do not retain them for injury, so that you exceed the limit”, forbid retaining her with the intention of injuring her. A preceding verse had already prohibited taking back “any part of what you have given them” when one decides to let them go free. The only exception is al-khul'..
QUR’AN : And whoever does this, he indeed is unjust to his own self, and do not take Allah’s signs for a mockery;
It describes the reason why retaining the woman with the intention of causing her harm is prohibited. Marriage completes the bliss of life. This bliss cannot be achieved unless both husband and wife are happy with each other, and complement each other to attain a natural perfection. Divorce disturbs that harmony; and revocation is an attempt to mend that damage, to join after separation and to unite after coming apart. How can this purpose be attained if he retains her so as to inflict harm upon her? The two purposes are diametrically opposed. Anyone who resorts to such ugly behavior is unjust to his own soul, because he drives it away from the straight path to which human nature leads. Obviously, he treats the signs of Allah as a joke. Allah has not ordained a soul-less shari 'ah concerned only with the body of deeds, like giving, taking, keeping, letting go, etc. In fact, all these rules have been made for the common weal, to make up the deficiencies of society, and to perfect the bliss of human life. Then Allah combined these rules with good ethics to develop the psyche, and cleanse the soul. All the laws of Islam are finely meshed with fundamental knowledge, like the Oneness of God, and the Mastership of the Prophet and the Imams etc. If anyone confines his religion to the external rules and throws things out, he surely has taken the commandments and signs of Allah as a mockery.
QUR’AN: And remember the favor of Allah upon you, and that which He has revealed to you of the Book and the Wisdom. . the Knower of all things:
“The favor of Allah”: The grace bestowed in the form of religion, or the reality of religion, that is, the blessings one gets after following the Divine Commandments, an example of which is the happy life one lives when husband and wife love and respect each other and when there is harmony in domestic life. Allah calls the blessings of the religion His favor. For example: This day I have perfected your religion for you and have completed My favor on you...(5:3); ...so that He may complete His favor on you...(5:6);...so by His favor you became brethren... (3:103).
Accordingly, the next words, “and that which He has revealed to you of the Book and the Wisdom, admonishing you thereby”, would be a description of that favor; and the Book and the Wisdom would refer to the body and soul of the shari ‘ah respectively - to its commandments and their philosophy.
Also, the favor may be taken to refer to all the Divine Graces - creative and otherwise. In this case, the verse would mean: Remember the mystery of your life, and think how it has been made into a perfect unit, and how the creative forces have established the wonderful harmony between husband and wife. Then heed to the admonition of Allah which He has addressed to you in the form of the commandments of shari ‘ah , and to their philosophy. If you ponder upon these matters you may hope to advance on to the road of blessings and bliss and you will not carelessly ruin the perfection of your life; and fear Allah and remember that He knows every thing; your appearance, therefore, should not differ from the depths of your reality. In short, you should not try to defeat the purpose of the law by apparently following the letter of the law.
QUR’AN: And when you have divorced the women and they have ended their term (of waiting), then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree among themselves in a lawful manner:
Apparently the order in “do not prevent them” is addressed to guardians and other relatives against whose wishes the women cannot usually go. “Their husbands” means the husbands who had given them divorce. The verse forbids guardians and other relatives from preventing the woman from remarrying her husband if, after the expiry of the waiting period, both are reconciled to each other, and wish to re-establish the marriage-tie. It often happens that the relatives of the woman do not wish her to establish such a union again with the same husband, as they hate and dislike him because he divorced her in the first place. This verse says that they should not allow such feelings to become a hindrance in the path of such a reunion.
This verse does not prove in any way that marriage is not lawful without the permission of guardian:
First : because, even if it does not prove that guardianship has no effect on marriage, it surely does not prove that it has any such effect.
Second : There is no reason to say that the command, “do not prevent”, is addressed to guardians only. Obviously, it is a general command addressed to all the relatives whose advice or pressure may create difficulty in such a re-marriage. Also, the order, apparently, is of an advisory nature, to draw the attention of the relatives to the benefits and gains which may accrue as a result of her re-marrying the same husband. That is why it has been recommended by the words, “this is more profitable and purer for you”.
A commentator has said that the command, “do not prevent", is addressed to the husbands who give the divorce, and it forbids them to hide for some time the news of the divorce from the women so that they have to start their “period of waiting” late on receiving the news, and thus are prevented from entering into marriage early. Accordingly, the meaning would be like this: “And when you have divorced the women, (0 husbands!) and they have ended their term of waiting, then do not prevent them from marrying (other men who would be) their husbands.” But this interpretation does not conform with the words of the verse. If that were the purpose of the verse, it should have said, ‘do not prevent them from marrying’ or ‘from taking other husbands’. It would not have said, “their husbands” (Also, the verse says that they have already completed the;. period of waiting; so where is the question of unnecessarily prolonging the period of waiting?)
“Fa-balaghna ajalahunna” literally means ‘and they have reached their term’. But it means ending their term, as we have written in the translation. If the period of waiting had not ended, no guardian or relative could prevent her return to the husband: “and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile”. Moreover, in that case Allah would have said, “do not prevent them from returning”, not “from marrying “.
QUR’AN: With this is admonished whosoever among you believes in Allah and the last day:
It is exactly the same admonition as the one in verse 2:228, “it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day”. These two commands have been tied especially with the proviso of belief in Allah and the last day, because it is the belief of at-tawhid (= Monotheism, Oneness of God) ; and the religion of Monotheism encourages unity, not disunity; togetherness, not separation.
In these sentences, Allah has first used the singular pronoun (is admonished whosoever), then the plural (among you,) again the singular (believe in . . .), then again He returns to the plural (for you). Basically, the verse is addressed to the Apostle of Allah together with his ummah; therefore plural pronouns are quite in order. Yet, sometimes the talk is addressed to the Apostle only, because he is the original recipient of the revelation, and others are addressed only through him. This happens mostly in those sentences in which no law or command is promulgated. So far as those verses are concerned which bring any law or command, almost all of them are in the plural form. This style alternatively widens the circle, then shortens it, then again widens it. This variation holds the attention of the audience and keeps them alert.
QUR’AN: This is more profitable and purer for you:
“Azka” is derived from az-zakah which means ‘good and pleasant growth’; therefore, it has been translated here as ‘more profitable’. Purity has been explained earlier. The demonstrative pronoun, “this”, refers either to not preventing them from re-marrying their previous husbands, or to such remarriage itself. The result in both cases is the same. Such a remarriage would create harmony in place of discord and would mend broken relationships. This would strengthen the feeling of unity and accord, from which would sprout healthy religious virtues. Such a re-marriage would augment the women's virtues of chastity and modesty, and would put a protective cover on their shame. Also, it would be purer for their souls because it would prevent them from thinking about other men when searching for the next husband.
Islam is the religion of az-zakah (good growth, purification) , at-taharah (cleanliness) and knowledge. Allah says: . . . reciting to them his communications and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom . . . (3:164) ; . . . but He intends to purify you . . . (5:7). QUR'AN: And Allah knows while you do not know: that is, except what He teaches you, as He says: . . . and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom (3:164); . . . and they cannot comprehend any thing out of His knowledge except what He pleases (2:255). There is no conflict between this verse and the preceding one, ". . . which He makes clear for a people who know", as it means, 'who know by the teaching of Allah'.
QUR'AN: And the mothers should suckle their children for two whole years for him who desires to make complete the time of suckling:
The words used in this verse are "al-walidat" (those who give birth to) and "mawludun lahu he to whom the child is born). The more common words al-umm (= mother) and al-ab (father) have not been used, because al-umm is more general than al-walidah - the grandmother, aunt and wet-nurse are also called al-umm (mother), but only the woman who gives birth to the child may be called its al-walidah. Likewise, al-ab is more general than al-walid (he from whose seed the child is born); and al-ibn (son) is more general than al-walad (the born child). The rule prescribed in this verse concerns especially the born child and the woman who bore it and the man to whom it was born. The verse has discarded even the word al-walid (father) and has used a longer word mawludun lahu (he to whom the child is born) because this new word gives in a nutshell the reason of this rule. As the child is born to the father and is attached to him in most affairs the father is obliged to bear the full responsibility for it, feeding and clothing it, care of it and bringing it up. This includes feeding and clothing the child's mother, who feeds it from her breast. On the other hand, the mother is obliged not to harm the father of the child, because it is he who is ultimately responsible for that child, born of her womb.
A strange interpretation has been written by one commentator. He says: "Allah used the word 'he for whom the child is born' , instead of 'father' , to show that mothers are only a means of bearing children for fathers, but that children actually belong to fathers, and that is why, at the time of mentioning parentage, only the names of the fathers are shown, not those of the mothers. And al-Ma'mun ar-Rashid has said in a couplet 'And surely, the mothers of the people are but receptacles, where the seeds are deposited, and the sons are of the fathers only.'"
The poor fellow forgot that this very verse says in the beginning "awladahunna” (= their, that is, the mothers' children) : and again it says. "bi waladiha” (tier child). More amusing is his attempt to argue on the strength of the poetry of al-Ma'mun. al-Ma'mun and his ilk are too worthless to have their words quoted in an explanation of tile Qur'an. Many men of literature get confused between different disciplines; they are unable to distinguish literature from legislation, or social laws from the decrees of creation. They, therefore, offer evidence to solve a social problem or a mystery of creation.
In fact, the child belongs to both the father and mother as far as creation is concerned. But in social affairs, various nations follow various systems: in matriarchies, the child is attached to the mother; in patriarchies, to the father. This verse confirms this second system by referring to the father as "he to whom the child is born".
"al-Irda"'(suckling) is on the paradigm of al-ifal from ar-rida 'ah and ar-rada'; both of which mean 'to suck milk from the breast'.
"al-Hawl" is "year". Its literal meaning is to turn, to change. The year is given this name because it turns and changes. “Two complete years”: As the year is made up of many parts (e.g. 360 days), the word sometimes is used for even an incomplete period. If one stays in a place for, let us say, eleven months, he often says that he stayed there for a year. This is why the adjective, “complete”, has been used to show that two whole years are intended here.
“For him who desires to make complete the time of suckling”: It proves that the custody (guardianship) and suckling of the child is a right of the divorced mother, and is left to her discretion. Also deciding on the end of the prescribed period is her right. If she wishes to suckle the child for two complete years, she may do so: and if she does not want so, it is at her discretion. The husband has no say in it except when the divorced wife agrees to it by mutual counsel, as is described in the words, “if both desire weaning by mutual consent and counsel “.
QUR’AN: And their maintenance and their clothing must be borne by the father according to the usage; no soul shall have imposed upon it a duty but to the extent of its capacity:
Allah has prescribed the maintenance and clothing of the mother, according to the level of al-ma‘ruf (= known, usual), that is, as is generally known and accepted in families of that status. The reason for this rule is given in the next sentence that Allah does not impose any duty beyond the capacity of His servants.
Upon this general and basic principle are based two rules mentioned after it : (1) The right of the woman concerning the custody and suckling of the child, and other related rules. The husband has no right to come between the child and its mother, by not allowing her to keep the child in her custody, or by preventing her from seeing it and so on. The rights of the mother must be accorded to her; otherwise, it will injure and harm her and put her under an unjustified mental and emotional strain. (2) On her part, the woman is forbidden to injure and harm the husband, for example, by not allowing him to see the child.
The above two rules are ordained in the words, “neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child”. Why did Allah not use a pronoun? Instead of saying, “on account of his child”, it could be said, “on account of him”. But a pronoun in this place would have created an apparent contradiction. The sentence mentions the father as, “he to whom the child is born”. The pronoun “him” would have referred to “her child” in the preceding sentence. So the purport of the supposed sentence would have been: nor shall he to whom the child is born be made to suffer on account of “her” child!
But the sentence in its present form does not give room for such a contradiction. Not only that; the actual style recognizes factors of creation as well as social legislation: it recognizes that in creation, the child belongs to both parents, and, therefore, it is referred to as “her child” and “his child”; then it shows that in social laws, it belongs to the father, who is, thus, referred to as the one to whom the child is born.
QUR’AN: And a similar duty (devolves) on the (father’s) heir:
The duty imposed upon the father regarding the maintenance and clothing of the suckling mother devolves, if he dies, on his heir.
Some other meanings have been written for this verse which are not in conformity with its apparent meaning; we do not intend to quote them here. What we have written is according to the traditions narrated from the Imams of Ahlu ‘l-bayt (a.s.), and is also in accord with the apparent meaning of the verse.
QUR’AN: Then if both desire weaning by mutual consent. . . according to usage:
This is an offshoot of the right of the mother and of the avoidance of harm to either party. The upbringing and suckling of the child is not an obligation on her; it is a right of hers and she may waive her right if she so wishes. Therefore, it is perfectly right if the parents agree by mutual counsel to wean the child before the completion of the two years. Also, the father may engage another wet-nurse for the child, if the mother returns the child to him and refuses to suckle it; or if she is sick or has not got enough milk or for any other reason. But it is incumbent upon him to give the wet-nurse her rightful dues without infringing any of her rights, as Allah says: “and if you wish to engage a wet-nurse for your children, there is no blame on you so long as you pay what you promised according to usage".
QUR'AN: And fear Allah and know that Allah sees what you do. It is an order to fear Allah and to be careful of one's obligations towards Him, which in present context means to obey these orders and to show fairness in their implementation. As these matters may be seen and observed, Allah reminds man to know that He sees what man does. Compare it with the ending of the previous verse which forbids husbands to retain their wives with the intention of inflicting harm upon them, and then reminds them that Allah knows every thing. As the intention cannot be "seen", man was reminded there that Allah "knows" every thing, and even his intention is not hidden from Him.
QUR'AN: And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days):
"at-Tawaffi" means to cause to die. It is said when Allah gave him death, and the dead man is called al-mutawaffa (one who is given death).
"Yadharun" like yad 'un means "they leave", or "they shall leave". These two verbs have no past tense.
"'Ashran" (= ten) here means ten days. 'Days' was deleted as the meaning was clear.
QUR'AN: Then when they have fully attained their term, there is no blame on you for what they do for themselves in a proper manner:
"Bulughu 'l-ajal" (= reaching the term) means completing the waiting period of death, prescribed above. "There is no blame on you . . ." is a way of expressing the widows' full authority on their own affairs; if they wish to enter into marriage again, they are free to do so, and no relative of theirs, or of their deceased husbands, has any right to interfere. The verse puts a stop to the foolish custom of some societies which, owing to ignorance, blind prejudice, miserliness or envy, do not like widows to remarry. It says that widows have a right to do so, and that right is recognized by the shari 'ah; no one has any power to forbid a lawful action.
Various nations had various customs regarding the widow. Some, like the Hindus, burnt her alive with the dead husband; others, like many ancient tribes in Africa and elsewhere, buried her alive with the husband’s body; some like the ancient Christians, did not allow her to marry again and she had to remain single until death released her from this chain; some others, like the Arabs of the pre-Islamic days, kept her secluded for one year, or, like some advanced societies of nowadays, for nine months: there are others who say that the deceased husband has a right upon the widow which prevents her from re-marrying for a certain period - without fixing that time. All these customs and traditions are based on the assumption that marriage basically joins two lives together, and is the manifestation of love and affection; and that this love has a sanctity which must be respected. This respect is binding on both the parties, and whoever dies first, the surviving spouse must show grace, dignity and decorum as a natural courtesy towards his or her departed partner in life. But this courtesy is more binding on the woman, because she is expected to be a model of modesty and chastity and has to protect herself from other men’s eyes. It is not in keeping with her dignity to appear as cheap merchandise handled by various admirers one after another. The above-mentioned customs and traditions are based on this belief.
Islam has prescribed a term of nearly a third of a year for this waiting.
QUR’AN: And Allah is aware of what you do:
As the verse contained the rules of al- ‘iddah of death and the right of widows to remarry and as these legislations were about actions and were based on Divine wisdom, it was appropriate to remind the audience that Allah knows all about their actions, and He knows best what should be allowed and what should be forbidden; therefore, widows have to wait in one instance and have freedom in the other.
QUR’AN: And there is no blame on you respecting that which you speak indirectly in the asking of (such) women in marriage or keep (the proposal) concealed within your minds:
“at-Ta‘rid”, translated here as speaking indirectly, is speaking obliquely in a way that the hearer understands the real aim which the speaker does not want to declare openly. The difference between speaking indirectly and metaphor is that in speaking indirectly the apparent meaning also remains valid and the indirect meaning is inferred from it. For example, the suitor says to the woman: “I am a good companion, of generous nature.” While the clear meaning also is valid, the purport of the talk is to let the woman know that if she married him she would be happy. But in metaphor the apparent meaning vacates its place for the metaphorical one. For example, one says about a brave man, “I saw a lion”. Here real meaning of lion (the particular animal) is not valid at all.
“al-Khatb” means speaking and reiterating. “al-khitbah" and “al-khutbah" both are derived from it. The former means proposing to a woman asking her hand in marriage. The suitor is called al-khatib (plural: al-khuttab); the latter means a lecture. The lecturer is called al-khatib (plural: al-khutaba’)
“al-Iknan” is derived from al-kann and both mean ‘to hide’, ‘to conceal’. But al- iknan is concealing an idea in the mind, as the verse says: “or keep concealed within your mind”; and al-kann is hiding or covering something with, or in, a material thing like a cloth, a house, etc. Allah says: As if they were eggs carefully sheltered: (37:49); the like of the hidden pearls (56:23).
The verse says that it is not improper to speak to such women indirectly, letting them know that you are interested in marrying them when they are free, or to hide this idea in your mind.
QUR’AN: Allah knows that you will mention them . . . in a proper manner:
It gives the reason of the above sentences. Mentioning such women in the context of marriage is a natural thing for you, and Allah does not forbid a thing which is ingrained in your nature.
This is one of the rules which clearly show that Islam is based on the foundation of nature.
QUR’AN: And do not resolve the marriage- tie until prescribed term is completed:
“al-‘Azm” (= resolve, determination) is to set the heart on a work with firm intention of doing it, so that no weakness remains in the effect of that resolve, unless that resolve itself is cancelled. “al-‘Uqdah” (= knot, tie) is derived from “al-‘aqd” which means to tie. The verse likens the bond of marriage with the knot which joins two cords together so that they become one; thus the husband and wife become one by the marriage-tie.
The marriage-tie is connected in this verse with resolve and determination, which is a matter of the heart and mind. The verse thus indicates that the reality behind the marriage rite is something dependent on, and connected with, intention, faith and belief. Marriage is, in fact, a matter based on society’s (or religion’s) recognition, and has no existence outside common belief. It is the same as was described about ownership and other such matters under the verse 2:213. The verse, thus, contains an allegory and a metaphor.
“Hatta yablugha ‘l-kitabu ajalahu”; “al- kitab” means ‘written’ that is, a prescribed rule, and it refers to the waiting imposed on the women who are in al- ‘iddah. Literally the phrase means, “until the prescribed rule reaches (the end of) its duration”.
The verse thus means: Do not perform marriage with them until their prescribed waiting period has been completed.
It is clear from this verse that the talk in this and the preceding verses is about those women who are in the waiting period. Therefore, the definite article “the women” refers not to all women but to the previously-mentioned group. That is why it has been translated, ". . . in the asking of (such) women in marriage...".
QUR’AN: And know that Allah knows what is in your mind; therefore beware of Him, and know that Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing:
By mentioning the Divine attributes of Knowledge, Forgiveness and Forbearance, Allah warns the believers that the matters discussed in the two verses - proposing to women during
their waiting period, and speaking to them obliquely about it, and giving them a promise in secret are extremely perilous things: Allah does not like them at all, although lie has allowed what lie has allowed.
QUR’AN: There is no blame on you if you divorce the women while yet you have not touched them or appointed for them a dowry:
To touch allegorically means to cohabit. ‘aw tafridu lahunna fari’datan literally means ‘or appointed for them a (prescribed) duty’, and it refers to fixing the dowry.
The verse means that it shall not be a hindrance in divorce if the marriage was not yet consummated, or if the dowry was yet to be fixed.
QUR’AN: And make provision for them, on the wealthy according to his means, and on the straitened in circumstances according to his means, a provision according to usage:
“al-Mut’ah” and “al-mata”’ is what may be used, or enjoyed. “matti’uhunna means ‘give them usable, enjoyable goods or wealth’. The word, “a provision’ is the object of the verb. “make provision” between the verb and its object is placed the parenthetic clause, “on the wealthy . . . and on . . . to his means”. “al-Musi is the active participle of “awsa’a” (he became wealthy). This paradigm is reserved for transitive verbs. Perhaps, this verb was originally used with an object: gradually the object was omitted and the verb became intransitive.
The verse says: It is incumbent upon you, if you divorce a woman when the dowry was not yet fixed, to make for her a provision according to usage. And it should be according to the means of the husband.
Accordingly, she is entitled to get an amount similar to the dowry of her equals like her mother, her sister, etc. But this order does not cover the case of a woman divorced before cohabitation, because her case is explained in the next verse.
QUR’AN: (this is) a duty on the doers of good (to others):
Apparently the attribute of doing good to others is closely connected with this legislation. As “doing good to others” is not incumbent, it follows that the order given above should be a recommendation, not a compulsory law. But clear traditions of Ahlu ‘l-bayt say that the order is compulsory and obligatory. Perhaps it may be inferred from this verse in this way: Allah has earlier said, “Divorce is twice; then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go with kindness”. There the Arabic word, for which we have used “Kindness”, is al-ihsan, which in this verse has been translated as doing good to others. Anyhow, kindness and doing good is incumbent on those who let the women go, that is, those who give divorce. Therefore, the divorcers are obliged to be doers of good. And this verse orders the doers of good to make provision for the divorced women. In other words, it obliges the divorcers to make such provision. (And Allah knows better).
QUR’AN: And if you divorce them before you have touched them . . . that you should remit:
If you divorce them before the consummation of marriage and a dowry was already fixed, then you are obliged to pay them half the prescribed amount. Of course, if the women themselves or their guardians remit this amount then the half also would be waived.
The husband may also be termed the “one in whose hand is the marriage-tie”. Therefore, if he has already paid the full dowry and if he remits it, then it will not be necessary for the divorced wife to pay back to him half of that amount. And, in any case, remitting the due portion of the dowry is nearer to righteousness and piety. One who gives up his rightful dues (which he is entitled to, according to shari ‘ah) shall more easily and readily turn away from what is not lawful, and shun what is forbidden.
QUR’AN: And do not forget generosity between you; surely Allah sees what you do:
“al-fadl translated here as generosity) originally means to exceed, to surpass. The same is the meaning of al-fudul. But al-fadl is used for excellence in virtue, nobility and merit, while al-fudul is used for unwarranted excesses, like chattering and gossiping.
The verse exhorts the separated couple to do good and be generous to each other by forgoing their own rights and giving the other party more than its due.
The comment about “surely Allah sees what you do” is similar to that given concerning the last sentence of the verse 2:234.
QUR’AN: Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah:
“Hafizu” (maintain) is derived from “al-hifz” which means to take hold of a thing and preserve it. Mostly it is used for retaining ideas and perceived pictures in the mind. The middle prayer is the prayer falling in the middle. The verse does not say which of the prayers is the middle one. It is explained in traditions which will be quoted later on.
“Stand up for Allah”: The “L” (= for) shows the aim, that is, purely for the pleasure of Allah. “Standing up” metaphorically means to start a work and be engaged in it.” “Qanitin” is derived from “al-qunut” which means obedience, submission, surrender. Allah says: All are obedient to Him “ (2:116); And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Apostle . . . (33:31) .
The meaning of the verse in short is: Remain engaged in the obedience of Allah, being submissive to Him, purely for His pleasure.
QUR’AN: But if you are in danger. . . what you did not know:
The conjunctive ‘F” (= but) joining this sentence in the subjunctive mood with the previous verse shows that there was a deleted (but understood) conditional clause, therein: “Maintain, if you are not in danger”. “ar-Rijal” is plural of ar-rajil (= pedestrian), “ar-rukban” is plural of ar-rakib (= rider). This verse prescribes the rule of the prayer of danger.
“F” implies that maintaining the prayer and attending to it regularly is a rule which can never be relaxed. If you are not in danger, then perform it as you have been taught ; but if there is any danger or risk, then do it in the best possible way, standing or walking on foot, or even riding. Then after the danger passes away and you are secure, perform it in the usual way, and remember Allah as He has taught you what you did not know. “K” (= as) in “as He has taught you” is for analogy. “What you did not know” shows the magnitude of the favor of Allah; for this reason, it points to all the things taught by Allah, instead of mentioning only the teaching of the prayer.
The meaning of the sentence, thus, will be: So, remember Allah with a remembrance equal to His favor in teaching you the obligatory prayer among other teachings concerning the rules of the religion.
QUR’AN: And those of you who die and leave wives behind (make) a bequest in favor of their wives of maintenance for the year:
“Bequest” in this sentence is an object; its verb “bequeath” is deleted because it is easily understood.
The definite article al- ( = the) in “al-hawl” (the year) shows that the verse must have been revealed before the rule of al- ‘iddah of death (waiting for four months and ten days) was promulgated. The women in pre-Islamic days used to wait, after the death of their husbands, for a whole year. And this verse directs the husbands to bequeath for them enough property with which they might maintain themselves during that period of waiting, without turning them out of the house. It was their right, and they could demand it. But they could as well forgo that right and go away. In that case, there was no blame on the heirs of the deceased husband for what they did of proper deeds about themselves.
This verse is like verse 2:180: Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth, for parents and near relatives, according to usage, a duty (incumbent) upon those who guard (against evil).
Obviously, the verse under discussion was abrogated by the verses of al-‘iddah of death and inheritance.
QUR’AN: And for the divorced women (too) provision (should be made) according to usage; (this is) a duty on those who guard (against evil) :
The command is in respect of all the divorcees. The proviso of piety, “those who guard against evil”, implies that it is a recommendation, nor a compulsion.
QUR’AN: Thus Allah makes clear to you His signs, so that you may understand:
“al-‘Aql” is “to tie”, “to shackle”. Accordingly, the faculty of perception is called al- ‘aql, because it holds fast the perceived picture; the perceived idea or picture is also called al-‘aql, as is the power by which man distinguishes between good and evil, and right and wrong. Its opposites, from various view-points, are insanity, idiocy, foolishness and ignorance.
The words used in the Qur’an for the various facets of perception are very many: nearly twenty. Their list, with their approximate meanings, is as follows:
Intellect, Sense, Reason
Saying, i.e. Opinion
al-Yaqin (= conviction): When the conviction is so strong that the mind does not entertain the opposite idea at all.
If an idea and its opposite both are equally balanced in mind, so that no side is heavier than the other, it is called ash-shakk,that is, doubt.
But if one side has more weight than the other, the weightier side is called az-zann, and the lighter one al-wahm that is, fancy, illusion.
al-Hisban (reckoning, consideration) is nearer to az-zann in meaning. But its use in this meaning is allegorical, as is the case with al- ‘add. Both words mean “to count”. When it is said, “He counted Zayd among the braves”, it is implied that he thought Zayd to be brave.
ash-Shu‘ur (sense) is derived from ash-sha ‘r (= hair) ; therefore implies a finer perception. It is mostly used for sensing the material things. Hence the five senses are called al-masha‘ir
adh-Dhikr (remembering) is to recall the picture stored in the memory after its absence from the sense: or to prevent its absence from the senses.
al-‘lrfan and al-ma ‘rifah , that is, knowledge, recognition, is conformity of the picture obtained in the mind with the ideas or pictures already stored in the memory. That is why it is said that al-‘irfan is the knowledge after a previous knowledge.
al-Fahm (understanding) is the reaction of an outside factor by which a picture is created in the mind.
al-Fiqh (knowledge) is deep etching of the above-mentioned picture in the mind.
ad-Dirayah (comprehension) is even deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the subject, so that even hidden and less-known points become known and clear. That is why it is mostly used when the importance of the subject matter is to be shown. Allah says: The sure calamity! What is the sure calamity? And what would make you “comprehend” what the sure calamity is! (69:1-3); Surely We sent it down on the night of destiny. And what will make you comprehend what the night of destiny is! (97:1-2)
al-Fikr (thinking) is the review of the known factors to discover the unknown.
ar-Ra’y (opinion) is the opinion reached at through thinking and consideration. Mostly it is used for “practical knowledge that is, what should be done and what not: rather Than for theoretical subjects like physical sciences.
Nearer to it in meaning are al-basirah (discernment, insight); al-ifta’ (the giving of a decision) and al-qawl (saying). But the use of “saying” in meaning of view is metaphorical, putting an inseparable thing for its companion (as the saying necessarily shows the decided opinion of the one who says).
az-Za ‘m (assumption) indicates a picture in mind, whether it is a confirmed or a probable idea.
al-Ilm (knowledge) is the comprehension which does not allow the opposite.
al-Hifz (preservation) is to save the known picture protecting it from change and deterioration.
al-Hikmah (wisdom) is the knowledge which is confirmed and precise.
al-Khubrah (full knowledge) : Full academic knowledge, so that the knowledgeable person perceives all the conclusions from the premises.
ash-Shahadah (witnessing) is to get the thing in specie, either through the five senses, or the internal perceptive powers like the feeling.
Apart from the last-mentioned five words, the meanings of all others are more or less related to matter, movement and change. Therefore, they are not attributed to Allah. We do not say that He, for example – presumes, thinks, guesses or senses etc.
But the last five words are free from such defects in meanings. They do not have any shade of deficiency. They are therefore used for Him. He says: . . . and Allah knows what you do (2:234); . . . and Allah knows every thing (4:176); and your Lord is the preserver of all things (34:21); and He is the Knower, the Wise (12:83) ; surely He is a witness over all things (41:53).
Now we return to our original discussion. al-‘aql is the faculty of perception which holds fast the perceived picture, according to the Creation of Allah. It knows truth and falsity in theoretical matters, and good and evil and the benefit and harm in the practical field. First it recognizes itself, then it perceives the sensual phenomena through the five senses, then it turns to the inner feelings and through them becomes connected to the outside world - like will, love, hate, hope, fear and similar emotions and sentiments. Then it analyses the perceived ideas and pictures, and re-arranges them, generalizing and particularizing them. Then it forms an opinion in theoretical matters and decides its own course of action in practical ones. This in short, is al-'aql that is, reason and its function.
But sometimes some forces overpower man by subduing all other powers. For example, lust and anger subjugate all the other faculties, either vanquishing them completely or weakening them. Thus man deviates from the middle path, straying to excess or deficiency in his moral and ethical life. In short, reason does not function as it should normally do, even though it seems to work. It is like a judge who basis his judgment on false testimony or faked evidence. His judgment will be a perversity of justice, even though he does not mean to be unjust. He will be called a judge but at the same time he will not be a judge. Likewise, when a man chooses his course of action on the basis of wrong premises, he is not working reasonably, even though this exercise is tolerantly given the name of "reason". It is because the man by such an exercise goes against the dictates of healthy nature and right path.
"Reason", as defined by the divine representatives, is that which benefits a man in his religion, and leads him to the true knowledge and virtuous deeds. If it is not so, it is not "reason", even if it helps him in distinguishing between worldly good and bad affairs. Allah says: And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered "na'qil" we would not have been among the inmates of the burning fire (67:10); Have they not traveled in the land so that they should have hearts with which to understand, or ears with which to hear? For surely it is not the eyes which become blind, but blind become the hearts which are in the breasts (22:46).
The two verses use the verb al-'aql for the knowledge which man acquires on his own and the verb "to hear" for the perception acquired with the help of others, provided both are done through true nature. Allah says: And who forsakes the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool...(2:130).
This verse, as explained earlier, is a contraposition of the tradition: "al-‘aql (reason, wisdom) is that by which the Beneficent (Allah) is worshipped..."
Now it is obvious that when Allah uses the word al-‘aql it refers to the perception which a man gets when his nature is healthy and perfect. This explains the meaning of the words of the verse, “Thus Allah makes clear to you His signs so that you may understand.” The clarifying creates knowledge and knowledge is the foundation of wisdom and understanding, as Allah says: And these examples, We set them forth for the people. and none understand them but the learned (29:43).
There is a tradition in as-Sunan of Abu Dawud from Asma', daughter of Yazid ibn as-Sakan al-Ansariyyah, that she said: "I was given divorce in the days of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and there was no waiting period for a divorce. When I was divorced, the (rule of) waiting period of divorce was revealed: And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three monthly courses." Thus, she was the first woman about whom the (rule of) waiting period for divorce was sent down.
And there is a tradition about this verse in at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi from Zurarah that he said: "I heard Rabi'ah ar-Ra'i saying: 'In my opinion, al-aqra ' (period ) which Allah has ordained in the Qur'an is the period of purity between two menstruations, and not the menstruation itself.' " Zurarah said: "Then I came to Abu Ja'far (a.s.) and narrated to him what Rabi 'ah had said. He (the Imam) said: 'But he did not say it by his own opinion: it has reached him from 'Ali (a.s.).' I said: 'May Allah put your affairs right for you ! Was 'Ali ( a. s.) saying so? He said: 'Yes! He had said, "Surely al-qur' is at-tuhr (the period of purity) ; the blood accumulates in that period and when the time comes it is expelled. " ' I said: 'May Allah put your affairs right for you! (What do you say) If a man divorces his wife in the period of purity, without cohabiting with her (in that period), in the presence of two just witnesses?’ He said: ‘When she enters into her third menstruation, her waiting period is finished and she becomes lawful for another husband...' "
The author says: This meaning is narrated from him (the Imam) from various chains. Zurarah asked “whether ‘Ali (a.s.) was saying so?” because it is generally believed by the Sunnis that ‘Ali (a.s.) said that the word meant the period of menstruation and not of purity. (It is reported in ad-Durru ‘l-manthur from ash-Shafi‘i, ‘Abdu ‘r-Razzaq, ‘Abd ibn Hamid and al-Bayhaqi from ‘Ali [a.s.] that he said: “It is allowed to her husband to return to her until she bathes from the third menstruation, and [then] she becomes lawful to [another] husband.) But the Imams of Ahlu ‘l-bayt deny it; and attribute to him the word that al-aqra’ is the period of purity, not menstruation, as was mentioned in the above tradition. This opinion has been attributed to other companions also, like Zayd ibn Thabit, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, and ‘A’ishah; and it has been narrated from all of them.
There is in Majma‘u ‘l-bayan from as-Sadiq (a.s.) explaining the words of Allah: And it is not lawful for them. .. conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, that he said: “Pregnancy and menstruation. “
It is written in at-Tafsir of al-Qummi : “Surely Allah has delegated to women (the information of) three things: purity, menstruation and pregnancy.”
It is written in the same book about the words of Allah: And for the men is (right) a degree above them, that the Imam said: “The right of men over women is superior to the right of women over men.”
The author says: This is not contradictory with their equality in the ordainment of rights.
There is a tradition in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi about the verse: Divorce is twice; then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go in kindness, from Abu Ja’far (a.s.) that he said: “Verily Allah says: ‘Divorce is . . . go in kindness' ; and letting them go in kindness is the third divorce.”
And there is a tradition in at-Tahdhib from Abu Ja’far (a.s.) that he said: “Divorce, according to the sunnah, is that he divorces her once, that is, in her period of purity, without cohabiting (in that period), in the presence of two just witnesses, then leaves her until her period of waiting expires. Thus she becomes completely separated from him. Then he may become one of the suitors, she may marry him is she so wishes; and not, if not. And if he wants to revoke the divorce, he should keep witnesses to return her (to himself) before the expiry of her period of waiting ; and in this case, she will remain with him after that divorce..."
Hasan ibn Faddal is reported in Man la yahduruhu ‘l-faqih as saying : “I asked ar-Rida (a.s.) of the reason why the woman who is divorced (twice and returned twice) during her period of waiting, is not lawful to her husband until she marries another husband. He (the Imam) said: ‘Surely Allah allowed him to give divorce twice, as He said: Divorce is twice, then keep (them) in fairness or let (them) go in kindness, that is, in the third divorce. And because he entered into what Allah dislikes, that is, divorce, He prohibited her to him, so that she would not be lawful for him until she marries a husband other than him; so that people should not treat divorce lightly and the women should not be harmed...' "
The author says: It is the madhhab of Ahlu ‘l-bayt, as narrated by the Shi ‘ite sources, that divorce with one word or in one sitting is not but only one divorce, even if he said: “I divorce thee three divorces”. But the Sunnis have contradictory traditions about it. Some show that it would be only one divorce, others say that it would be three and some narrate it from ‘Ali and Ja’far ibn Muhammad (as-Sadiq - a.s.). But it appears from some Sunni traditions, narrated by Muslim, an-Nasa’i, Abu Dawud (in their as-Sihah) and others that it was ‘Umar who, two or three years after receiving the caliphate, validated pronouncement of three divorces with one word. It is reported in ad-Durru ‘l-manthur : ‘Abdu ‘r-Razzaq, Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi have narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that he said: “It was (the system of) divorce during the days of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and Abu Bakr and two years during the caliphate of 'Umar that three divorces (i.e., in one sitting) were (counted as) one. Then 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said: 'Surely the people are making haste in a matter in which they were given time. Therefore, (it would be good) if we sanction it.' He then validated it."
And it is reported in as-Sunan of Abu Dawud from Ibn 'Abbas that lie said: "'Abd Yazid Abu Rukanah divorced Umm Rukanah and married a woman from the tribe of Muzinah. Then she (i.e., the new wife) came to the Prophet and said: 'He does not satisfy me even as much as this hair. (She said it taking out a hair from her head.) Therefore, separate between him and me.' On hearing it the Prophet felt enraged and called Rukanah and his brother, and asked his companions: 'Do you see that this resembles him (Abu Rukanah) in this and this, and that in this and this?' They said: 'Yes.' Then the Prophet told 'Abd Yazid: 'Give her divorce.' He did so. Then (the Prophet) said: 'Take back your wife, Umm Rukanah.' He said: 'I have given her three divorces, 0 Messenger of Allah!' The Prophet said: 'I know. Yet you take her back.' " Then he recited, 0 Prophet! when you divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed time...(65:1).
It is reported in ad-Durru 'l-manthur from al-Bayhaqi from Ibn 'Abbas that he said: "Rukanah divorced a woman three times in one sitting; then he grieved for her. So, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) asked him: 'How did you divorce her?' He said: 'I divorce her thrice in one sitting.' The Messenger of Allah said: 'Then take her back if you so wish.' So he took her back." Therefore, Ibn 'Abbas was of the opinion that the divorce can be given (once) only in every period of cleanliness: and that it is the sunnah which Allah has ordered, "Divorce them for their prescribed period."
The author says: This meaning is narrated in other traditions also. So far as the "sanction" given by 'Umar is concerned, the arguments against it are like those described in the subject of mut'atu 'l-haj.
The word of Allah, "Divorce is twice", has been offered as a proof that three divorces in one word (e.g., I give thee three divorces, or, I divorce thee thrice) are not effective at all. The words 'twice' and 'thrice' are not used for a thing effected by one word, and all -Muslims accept this principle when they talk about al-li'an (mutual imprecation).
The author of Majma'u 'l-bayan says about the word of Allah, "or let (them) go with kindness": Two interpretations have come down to us of this phrase; first, that it is the third divorce, second, that the woman should be left to complete her period of waiting, so that she becomes completely free of the marriage-bond. It is narrated from as-Suddi and ad-Dahhak; and the same meaning is reported from al-Baqir and as-Sadiq (a.s.).
The author says: As you see, there is a difference in the traditions about the meaning of this phrase.
It is reported in at-Tafsir of al-Qummi about the words of Allah, "and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah; then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby:" as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "The khul' (Redemption) is not effected except when the woman tells her husband, 'I shall not fulfill for you your vow' and 'I will surely go out without your permission' and 'I will surely get other man to sleep in your bed' and 'I will not take the obligatory bath of al-janabah on your account' (i.e., I will not sleep with you) ; or she says, 'I will not obey any order of yours or let you give me divorce'. When she says such things, then it is allowed to him to take back from her all that he had given her and all that he can get from her which she gives him. When both are agreed on it, he will divorce her in her period of cleanliness in the presence of the witnesses. Thus (on expiry of her waiting period) she separates from him with one divorce; and now he may be one of those who want to marry her. And if she so wishes, she may marry him again, and if she so wishes, she may reject him. If both remarry, she will be with him, and yet two more divorces (like this) may be given to her. And he should make a condition with her (when he takes ransom from her for giving her divorce), like that made in case of al-mubarat (Mutual Freeing), that 'if you take back anything from this ransom given me by you, then I have more right on you' (i.e., the divorce will become a revocable one)."
And he (the Imam) said: "There is no al-khul', al-mubarat or at-takhyir (option) except in a period of cleanliness without cohabitation (in that period) taking as witnesses two just men. And if a woman who obtains divorce as al-khul', marries another husband and then he (also) divorces her, it is lawful for the first husband to marry her."
And he said : "The husband has no right to revoke the divorce in case of al-khul ' and al-mubarat, except when the woman changes her decision (and agrees to return to him) ; then he shall return to her whatever he took from her (and then may revoke the divorce)."
It is reported in Man la yahduruhu 'l-faqih from al-Baqir (a.s.) that he said : "When the woman said to her husband the sentence, 'I shall not obey any order of yours', whether she elaborates it or not, it becomes lawful to him to take (ransom) from her (to give her al-khul') and he has no right to get her back (i.e., to revoke the divorce)."
It is written in al-Durru 'l-manthur: Ahmad has narrated from Sahl ibn Abi Hathmah that he said: "Habibah bint Sahl was married to Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas; but she disliked him; he was an ugly man. So she came and said: '0 Messenger of Allah! Surely, I will not see him; and had it not been for fear of Allah, I surely would have spat in his face'. So he asked her: 'Will you give him back his garden which he gave you as dowry?' She said: 'Yes.' Thereupon she gave him back his garden and (the Messenger of Allah) separated them. And this was the first al-khul' in Islam."
at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi quotes al-Baqir (a.s.) as saying in the explanation of the word of Allah: These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them . . ."Verily, Allah was displeased with one who fornicates, and therefore He prescribed for him a hundred lashes. Now if someone becomes enraged and increases it, then I repudiate him before Allah; and this is the word of Allah: These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them."
It is reported in al-Kafi from Abu Basir that he asked (Imam as-Sadiq - a.s.) about the woman who is not allowed to her (former) husband until she marries another husband. He (the Imam) said: "It is that woman who is divorced then returned, then (likewise) divorced the third time; it is she who is not lawful to that husband until she marries another husband and he tastes her sweetness.
The author says: al-'Usaylah (translated here as sweetness) means sexual intercourse. It is written in as-Sihah: al-'Usaylah is used in the meaning of sexual intercourse. That enjoyment was likened to al-'asal, that is, honey, and then was given diminutive form by adding "h" (because al-'asal, is mostly used as a feminine) ; so it became (al-'usaylah). Also it is said that it was given the feminine form because it means 'a piece or portion of honey' as they refer to a piece of adhdhahab (=gold) as adh-dhahabah.
And the words of the Imam, "and he tastes her sweetness" are based on the words of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) which he used in the incident of Rifa'ah, "No! Until you taste his sweetness and he tastes your sweetness". The incident is reported in al-Durru 'l-manthur as follows: "al-Bazzaz, at-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi have narrated that Rifa'ah ibn Samu'al divorced his wife. Then she came to the Prophet and said: 'Messenger of Allah! 'Abdu 'r-Rahman married me and he has not but like this.' (Saying it she pointed to a fringe of her dress.) The Messenger of Allah kept ignoring her talk; at last he told her: 'You want to return to Rifa'ah? No! Until you taste his (i.e., 'Abdu'rRahman's) sweetness and he tastes your sweetness.' "
The author says: This tradition is well-known; and has been narrated by a multitude of Sunni narrators of the books of as-Sihah and others, as well as by some Shi'ah ones. And although the wordings of the various narratives are different from each other, most of them contain these words.
It is written in at-Tahdhib that as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked the question whether the mut'ah marriage (with a second husband) would make the woman lawful (for the first one), to which he replied: "No! Because Allah says: So if he divorces her she shall not be lawful to him afterwards until she marries another husband; then if he divorces her there is no blame on them both if they return to each other; and there is no divorce in the mut'ah."
The same book quotes Muhammad ibn Mudarib as saying "I asked ar-Rida (a.s.) whether a eunuch could make the woman lawful (for her first husband). He (the Imam) said: 'He cannot make her lawful.' "
It is written in at-Tafsir of al-Qummi under the words of Allah: And when you divorce the women and they reach their prescribed time . . . and do not retain them for injury. , that the Imam said: "When he divorces her, he is not allowed to take her back (i.e., to revoke the divorce) if he does not really want her."
It is reported in Man la yahduruhu 'l-faqih that as-Sadiq (as.) said: "It is not proper for a man to divorce his wife and then to take her back (to revoke the divorce) when he does not really want her and then divorce her again. It is the injury which Allah has forbidden. (It is improper) except that he divorces her and then takes her back and he intends to retain her.
It is narrated in at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi under the words of Allah: And do not take Allah's signs for a mockery. , from 'Umar ibn aj-Jami' through his chain to 'Ali (a.s.) in a tradition in which he said, inter alia: "And whoever from this ummah read the Qur'an and (even then) entered the hell, then he was from among those who took the Allah's signs for a mockery..."
It is reported in as-Sahih of al-Bukhari about the words of Allah: And when you have divorced the women and they have ended their term . . . , that the sister of Ma'qil ibn Yasar was divorced by her husband, then he (the husband) left her alone until her waiting term was completed. Then again he proposed to her. Thereupon Ma'qil refused. Then the verse was revealed: . . . then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree among themselves in a lawful manner. . .
The author says: This meaning has been quoted in al-Durru 'l-manthur from al-Bukhari as well as other compilers of as-Sahih like an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and others.
It is reported in ad-Durru 'l-manthur from as-Suddi: This verse was revealed concerning Jabir ibn 'Abdullah al-Ansari. He had a cousin (daughter of his uncle); her husband gave her one divorce, and her period of waiting expired. Then the (said) husband wanted to take her back (i.e., to remarry her). But Jabir refused saying, "You divorced our cousin and now you want to marry her second time!" And the woman herself wanted (to marry) her husband. Thereupon Allah sent down the verse: And when you have divorced the women . . .
The author says: According to the madhhab of Ahlu 'l-bayt, a brother or a cousin has no guardianship or authority over the woman in the matters of marriage. Therefore, if either tradition is accepted, it would mean that the prohibition in the verse:. . . then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands. . . , is not concerned with the scope of guardianship nor does it promulgate any rule except showing that it is improper to come between a man and his wife (or would-be wife). Or that this dislike or prohibition of such interference is addressed to everyone who might prevent the woman from such remarrying, whether they be a guardian or not.
It is narrated in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi, under the words of Allah: And the mothers should suckle their children for two complete years . . ., that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "As long as the child is in the suckling-period, he is between both parents equally; thereafter, when he is weaned, the father has more right upon him than the other relatives. And if the father finds someone to suckle the child for four dirhams, and the mother says that she would not suckle him but for five dirhams, then he may take the child away from her; but it is more comforting, more uplifting and more clement to the child that he be left with his mother."
The same book reports that the same Imam said about the words of Allah, "neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child": The woman used to resist with her hand when the man wanted to cohabit with her, saying. "I shall not allow you; I fear to become pregnant on my child." And (likewise) the man used to say to the woman, "I shall not sleep with you; I am afraid that you will conceive, and thus I shall cause the death of my child." Therefore, Allah forbade the man to make the woman suffer harm, and the woman to make the man suffer.
It is narrated in the same book about the words of Allah: And a similar duty (devolves) on the (father's) heir, that one of the two Imams (al-Baqir or as-Sadiq - a.s.) said: "It is about maintenance. The duty of the heir (in this respect) is like that of the father."
Another tradition in the same book about this verse says that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "It is not proper for the heir to make the woman suffer harm (for example) to say, 'I shall not let her child visit her', and to inflict harm on her child, if they have something with him; and he should not be parsimonious for him."
There is a tradition in the same book from Hammad from as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: "There is no suckling after weaning." Hammad said: "I told him, 'May I be your ransom, and what is the weaning?' He said: 'The two years mentioned by Allah.' "
The author says: "The two years" is the quotation from the verse, and that is why he (the Imam) explained it as "mentioned by Allah."
It is reported in ad-Durru 'l-manthur: "It is narrated by 'Abdu 'r-Razzaq (in al-Musannaf) and Ibn 'Adi from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said: 'There is no orphan after puberty, and there is no suckling after weaning; and there is no (fast of) silence of the day up to the night, and there is no joining in the fast (i.e., fasting two days without breaking the fast at night), and there is no vow in a sin, and there is no maintenance in the sin, and there is no oath cutting the relationship, and there is no returning to nomadic life after al-hijrah (emigration), and there is no emigration after the conquest (of Mecca), and there is no oath (vow) for a wife with the husband nor for a child with his father nor for a slave with his master (i.e., without their permission), and there is no divorce before marriage, and there is no emancipation before owning.' "
There is a tradition in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi from Abu Bakr al-Hadrami that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "When it was revealed: And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days), the women came arguing with the Messenger of Allah and said: 'We shall not wait'. The Messenger of Allah told them: 'It was (your custom) that when a woman's husband died she took the dropping (of a camel) and threw it behind her in her private room and then sat down (therein); then when the same day (i.e., date) came after a year, she took (the dropping) and broke it and applied it (to her eyes) as antimony; and then she could marry. Now Allah has put down (reduced) from you eight months.' "
It is narrated in at-Tahdhib from al-Baqir (a.s.) that he said: "In every marriage, when the husband dies it is (incumbent) upon the woman (whether she is a free woman or a slave), and by whatever system the matrimonial bond was established (whether by mut'ah, permanent marriage or slavery), to observe the waiting period of four months and ten days."
It is narrated in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi from Muhammad ibn Muslim that he asked al-Baqir (a.s.): 'May I be your ransom! Why is the waiting period of a divorced woman three menstruations or three months and that of the woman whose husband dies four months and ten days?" He (the Imam) said: "As for the waiting period of three months for a divorced woman, it is (prescribed) to make sure that there is no child in the womb. And as for the waiting period of a woman whose husband dies surely Allah has laid down a provision for the women and one upon them: The provision made for them is in al-'ila', a period of four months, as He says: For those who swear (to abstain from their wives is ordained) a waiting for four months. It is, therefore, not lawful for anyone (to abstain from the wife) for more than four months; because Allah knows that it is the furthest limit to which a woman may keep her sexual desire under control. And the provision made against them is that He ordered her to observe waiting period, when her husband dies, for four months and ten days. In this way, He (Allah) took from her for him at the time of his death what He took from him for her during his lifetime.
The author says: This meaning is also narrated from ar-Rida and al-Hadi (a.s.) from other chains.
It is written in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi from as-Sadiq (a.s.) about the words of Allah: And there is no blame on you respecting that which you speak indirectly in the asking of (such) women in marriage: "The women in her 'iddah, you speak to her in a graceful manner to attract her towards yourself. And you do not say, 'I do this and this' or 'I perform like this', hinting at indecent things." And another tradition says: "You tell her, when she is in her 'iddah, 'O so-and-so! I do not like but only that which pleases you; and if your 'iddah expires, you will not find me missing, God willing; and you should not keep yourself (alone). All this (you may say) without resolving the marriage-tie. "
The author says: There are other traditions of the same meaning from the lmams.
The at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi quotes as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he explained the words of Allah: And if you divorce them before you have touched them . . ., in these words: "When the man divorces his wife before cohabiting with her, then she shall get half of her dowry; and if he had not appointed for her a dowry, then (for her) is a provision according to usage, on the wealthy according to his means and on the straitened in circumstances according to his means. And there is no waiting period for her and she may immediately marry whoever she wishes.
There is a tradition in al-Kafi from as-Sadiq (a.s.) about the man who divorces his wife before cohabiting with her: "On him is half of the dowry, if anything was fixed (as dowry) ; and if nothing was fixed then he should give her a provision as other women of her status are provided for. "
The author says: This tradition explains the words, "a provision according to usage."
al-Kafi, at-Tahdhib, at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi and other books narrate from al-Baqir and as-Sadiq (a.s.) under the words of Allah: "In whose hand is the marriage-tie", that both Imams said: "It is al-wali ( the guardian of the marriage)."
The author says: There are numerous traditions giving this explanation. And there are some Sunni traditions narrated from the Prophet and 'Ali (a.s.) that it means "the husband".
It is narrated in al-Kafi, Man Ia yahduruhu 'l-faqih, at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi and that of al-Qummi, about the words of Allah: Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer, through numerous chains from al-Baqir and as-Sadiq (a.s.) that: "Surely, the middle prayer is the noon prayer."
The author says: It is what is narrated from the Imams of Ahlu 'l-bayt (a.s.) in their traditions with one voice. Of course, some of those traditions show that it is the Friday prayer. But it appears from the same traditions that they treat the noon and the Friday prayers as one prayer, not two. It is narrated in al-Kafi and at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi from Zurarah from al-Baqir (a.s.) - and the wording quoted here is from al-Kafi - that he (the Imam) said: "Allah says: Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer, and it is the prayer of the noon, the first prayer the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) prayed, and it is (in) the middle of the day and between the two prayers of the day-time - the dawn and afternoon prayers." And he said : "And this verse was revealed and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) was on a journey, so he (the Holy Prophet) recited qunut in it and continued it likewise in the journey and at the home-town, and he added two rak'ahs for him who is in his home-town. And those two rak'ahs added by the Prophet were dropped on Friday, for him who is in his home-town, because of the two sermons recited by the Imam. Therefore, he who prays on Friday without congregation, shall pray four rak'ahs of noon prayer like all other days..."
This tradition, as you see, counts the noon and the Friday prayers as one prayer, and says that it is the middle prayer. But most of these tradtions are al-maqtu (i.e., their chain of narrators are broken, or do not reach a ma'sum) ; and those that are connected to a ma'sum, their texts are not free from confusion, like the above-mentioned tradition of al-Kafi. Moreover it does not clearly fit the meaning of the verse. And Allah knowns better.
It is reported in ad-Durru 'l-manthur: Ahmad, Ibn al-Mani', an-Nasa'i, Ibn Jabir, ash-Shashi and ad-Diya' have narrated through the chain of az-Zibriqan: "Verily, there was a group of the Quraysh, and Zayd ibn Thabit passed by them and they were assembled. So they sent two of their boys to him to ask him about the middle prayer. And he said: 'It is the noon prayer'. Then the boys came to Usamah ibn Zayd and asked him (the same question). And he said: 'It is the noon prayer. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) used to pray the noon prayer in the summer and there would not be behind him except one or two lines, and the people were in their siesta or at their trade. Thereupon, Allah sent down the verse: Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah. Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said: "The men should desist (from that behavior) or most surely I shall burn down their houses." ' "
The author says: The same reason has been narrated by Zayd ibn Thabit and others from other chains.
And know that there is much difference of opinion regarding the meaning of "the middle prayer", much of it arises because of differences in the Sunni traditions. It has been said that it is the dawn prayer, and it has been narrated from 'Ali (a.s.) and some companions. Others say that it is noon prayer, and it has been reported from the Holy Prophet and a number of the companions. Again it is said that it is the afternoon prayer, and this also has been reported from the Prophet and a number of companions - as-Suyuti has narrated in ad-Durru 'l-manthur more than fifty traditions of this meaning. Some say that it is the evening prayer. Other say that it is hidden among the prayers as the Night of Destiny is hidden among the nights of Ramadan. This is reported in some traditions from some companions. And also it is said that it is the night prayers; and, lastly, that it is the Friday prayer.
It is reported in Majma'u 'l-bayan about the words of Allah; And stand truly obedient to Allah, that al-qunut (obedience) is the invocation in the prayer during the standing posture, and it is narrated from al-Baqir and as-Sadiq (a.s.).
The author says: Also it is narrated from some companions.
There is a tradition in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said about this verse: "(al-Qunut means) one's going towards prayer and maintaining (i.e., praying) it in its time, so that nothing diverts one's attention or keeps him from it."
The author says: There is no conflict between the two traditions, as one may easily understand.
It is reported in al-Kafi about the words of Allah: But if you are in danger, then (say your prayers) on foot or on horse back ..., that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "When he is afraid of a beast or a thief, he will say at-takbir and point (for the actions of prayer)."
And there is another tradition in Man la yahduruhu 'l-faqih from the same Imam about the prayer when marching on: "It is at-takbir and at-tahlil." Then he (the Imam) recited this verse.
There is another tradition in the same book from the same Imam : "If you are in a fearful land and are afraid of a thief or a beast, then say the obligatory prayer and you are on your (riding) animal. "
And the same book quotes a tradition of al-Baqir (a.s.) "He who is afraid of a thief shall pray by sign while (riding) on his mount."
The author says: There are numerous traditions of this meaning.
It is reported in at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi from Abu Basir that he said: "I asked him (the Imam) about the words of Allah: And those of you who die and leave wives behind, (make) a bequest in favor of their wives of, maintenance for the year without turning (them) out. He (the Imam) said: 'It is abrogated.' I said: 'And how was it?' He (the Imam) said: 'It was (a custom) that when a man died, his wife was maintained from his capital for one year; then she was turned out without any inheritance. Then it was abrogated by the verse of one-fourth and one-eighth. Now the woman is given maintenance from her own share.' "
There is another tradition in the same book that Mu'awiyah ibn 'Ammar said: "I asked him (the Imam) about the words of Allah: And those of you who die . . . He said: 'It is abrogated; the verse: . . . they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days), abrogated it, and the verse of inheritance abrogated it.' "
It is reported in al-Kafi and at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi: as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about a man who divorces his wife, should he make provision for her? He said: "Yes. Does not he like to be one of the doers of good? Does not he like to be one of those who fear (Allah)? "