Breaking Another Chain Of Capativity
 

In the Pagan Era, women were in the chain of man's captivity, and were treated according to man's caprice and selfishness. In choosing a husband, she had no right to decide! She could be married with the permission of her guardian, and if she was divorced, and then decided to join her husband in reconciliation, she could only do so, with the help and permission of her father, brother, or other guardians. Many a time it happened that the couple separated through a divorce and yet they loved each other, and when they repented and wantd to reconcile and save their tie of wedlock, a man from the family - either a brother or a father prevented her to rejoin her husband. Therefore this verse came down to obliterate such unfair customs saying: ``Do not prevent them from marrying their former husband if they come to a fair and mutual agreement.''

The verse then gives a warning that this is: ``An admonition for those

[ 257 ]

of you who believe in Allah and the Last Day.'' And in order to put an emphasis on the matter it ends in saying: ``It is cleaner and purer for you. Allah knows and you know not.'' In other word: ``These commandments are for your own good, but only those from among you will fulfil, that believe in God, and in the Last Day.''

(( 233 ))

233- MOTHERS SHALL SUCKLE THEIR CHILDREN FOR TWO WHOLE YEARS. THIS IS FOR THOSE WHO INTEND TO COMPLETE THE SUCKLING TERM. AND IT IS FOR THE FATHER TO PROVIDE FOR THE CHILDREN AND TO CLOTHE THEM HONOURABLY. NO ONE IS CHARGED WITH MORE DUTY THAN HE CAN BEAR. NOR A MOTHER SHOULD BE PRESSED FOR HER CHILD, NEITHER THE FATHER. AND THE SAME DUTIES DEVOLVE UPON THE (FATHER'S) HEIR. AND IF AFTER CONSULTATION, THEY DECIDED BY MUTUAL CONSENT TO WEAN THE CHILD, THEY SHALL INCUR NO GUILT. AND IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO ENGAGE A FOSTER MOTHER, IT IS NO GUILT ON YOU, SO LONG AS YOU PAY THE MOTHER WHAT YOU PROMISED, ACCORDING TO USAGE. AND BEWARE OF ALLAH, AND KNOW THAT ALLAH SEES WHATEVER YOU DO.

[ 258 ]

THE COMMENTARY
SEVEN INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT SUCKLING
(VERSE NO. 233)


This verse which is the continuation of the terms and rules of marriage and divorce; puts further on the table, an important problem which is the suckling and the safeguard of the baby, whose father and mother are separated through a divorce.

1) The verse begins with this order that: mothers should suckle their children for two whole years.'' Although the father is the guardian of the baby and responsible for his or her safeguard, yet suckling is devolved upon the mother, who may milk her baby for a period that completes in two years. By this the interests of the children whose parents have separated, might be safeguarded.

2) This two years of suckling is for those parents who intend to complete the milking term. That is to say: It may not always the suckling period end in two whole years, and the mother or even the father may reduce the term to some acceptable length of time according to necessites and abilities.

3) The father is responsible to bear the cost of food and clothing, on some equitable terms for the mother and her child. Worthy of note here that, in this verse, instead of `FATHER' the phrase, `HIM FOR WHOM THE CHILD IS BORN' is used! As if the verse wants to raise the sentiment and the kind feelings of the father, and bring to his mind that the child for whom he has to provide food and clothing is the fruit of his life and heart, and not a stranger!

4) Then another important instruction is issued through the verse saying: ``Neither the mother should treat the child unfairly nor the father; due to being cross with one another.''

5) Then another order is given them in case the father passes away: ``The heir of the father will have to fulfil all the tasks and duties on account of the child and the mother.''

6) The verse continues with another instruction about weaning

[ 259 ]

of the child, saying: ``If the parent, both decide to wean the child, by a mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them.'' 7) It may happen that the mother refuses to suckle the baby, or actually she is not able to do that. In such a case they may engage a foster-mother, to suckle their baby, but still the mother is to be paid for her legal and religious rights simply because by mutual consent she does not suckle the baby.

At the end of the verse there is a warning that the parties should appeal to Godliness and piety: ``And beware of Allah and know that Allah sees whatever you do.''

(( 234 ))

234- AND AS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIE AND LEAVE WIVES BEHIND - THEY SHALL WAIT BY THEMSELVES FOR FOUR MONTHS AND TEN DAYS. WHEN THEY HAVE REACHED THE END OF THEIR WAITING PERIODS, THERE IS NO FAULT IN YOU, IN WHAT THEY DO WITH THEMSELVES, IN A LAWFUL MANNER. AND ALLAH IS AWARE OF WHATEVER YOU DO.

(( 235 ))

235- THERE IS NO GUILT ON YOU, IF YOU (INDIRECTLY) PROPOSE MARRIAGE TO SUCH WOMEN (WHOSE HUSBAND ARE

[ 260 ]

DEAD) OR CHERISH THEM IN YOUR HEARTS. ALLAH KNOWS THAT YOU WILL SOON BE MINDFUL OF THEM. BUT DO NOT MAKE A SECRET CONTRACT (OF MARRIAGE) WITH THEM, EXCEPT IN HONOURABLE TERMS. AND DO NOT RESOLVE ON THE KNOT OF MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE BOOK HAS REACHED ITS TERM. (i.e. THEY HAVE REACHED THE END OF THE WAITING PERIODS) AND KNOW THAT ALLAH KNOWS WHAT IS IN YOUR HEARTS. THEN BEWARE OF HIM, AND KNOW THAT ALLAH IS FORGIVING, FORBEARING.

THE COMMENTARY
THE SUPERSTITIONS THAT RENDERED WOMEN HELPLESS
(VERSE NO. 234)


A great difficutly of women is their marriage with another man, when their husbands are dead. To observe the sanctity and respects of marriage is a matther of importance, even after the death of man, and therefore different clans, and tribes have their own rules and customs for that. Some of them have gone to such extremes, that practically keep their women in a heinous deadlock. Sometimes, these extravagances have led to the most annoying crimes in treating the women! Some clans had the custom of burning the widow alive when her husband died! Some other clan burried the poor widow alive in the same grave with her husband! Some tribes who were more temperate and gentle, deprived the widow of her rights of marriage after she was widowed. The custom of some tribes was to errect a tent upon the grave of the man, and his wife had to live in that tent lonely and in dirt, wearing shabby and worn-out clothes, without the least of adornment. She had to live in that tent for a long time mourning, in order to be counted a faithful wife!

[ 261 ]

The said verse (No. 234) came down to draw a red line of obliteration upon all these superstitions, and permitted the widow, at the end of a widowhood term, to marry again with another man. The waiting period of widowhood is four months and ten days: ``And as for those of you who die and live a widow behind, they shall wait by themselves, four months and ten days, and when they fulfilled this term of their widowhood, there is no guilt in what they do with themselves, in a lawful and reasonable manner.'' In order to prevent her kinsfolk and family from improper interferences, Allah has given a warning here that: - ``Allah is aware of whatever you do.''
VERSE NO. 235

Through this verse another important order for the widows in their waiting terms has been notified, saying: ``There is no guilt on you, if you indirectly propose marriage to such widows, or to cherish them in your hearts. Allah knows that you would soon be mindful of them.'' It is natural for a widow who has given up her husband and guardian, to think over her fate and destiny, and to see what is the best for her to be done; but some considerations are also to be observed, as to ascertain if there is any unborn issue of the dissolved marriage, and also for the mourning and respect of the deceased husband. That is to say, the contract of a new marriage should not be made so soon, until the book, as the verse has mentioned, has reached its terms.

If any one ties the knot of marriage in the waiting period of widowhood, their marriage is void of value and unlawful; and if they deliberately and knowingly do that, they become unlawful to each other. The verse then encourage people to observe the above laws strictly by some sort of threatening as: ``And know that Allah knows what is in your hearts! Then beware of Him! and know that Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.''

[ 262 ]

(( 236 ))

236- THERE IS NO GUILT IN YOU IF YOU DIVORCE WOMEN WHILE YOU HAVE NOT TOUCHED THEM YET. (YOU HAVE NOT MADE LOVE WITH THEM) OR HAVE NOT THE DOWRY SETTLED; BUT BESTOW ON THEM A SUITABLE GIFT; THE WEALTHY ACCORDING TO HIS MEANS, AND THE POOR ACCORDING TO HIS MEANS. THIS IS AN OBLIGATION UPON THE GOOD-DOERS.

(( 237 ))

237- AND IF YOU DIVORCED THEM BEFORE YOU HAVE TOUCHED THEM, AND YOU HAVE ALREADY SETTLED FOR THEM. A DOWER, THEN HALF OF THE DOWER, (IS DUE TO THEM) UNLESS THEY REMIT IT, OR HE IN WHOSE HAND IS THE KNOT OF THE MARRIAGE (HER GUARDIAN OR SPONSOR OR FATHER) MAKES THE REMISSION. AND IF YOU (i.e. THE HUSBAND) REMIT, IT IS NEARER TO PIETY. AND DO NOT FORGET BEING MUNIFICENT (GENEROUS) TO EACH OTHER, THAT ALLAH OBSERVES WHATEVER YOU DO.

[ 263 ]

THE COMMENTARY VERSE NO. 236

In the two following verses some other commandments about marriage and divorce has been issued: ``There is no blame on you if you divorce women before having them touched for sexual intercourses, or the fixation of a dower for them.'' This is when the couple, before their consummation come to a conclusion that they cannot live together, and their future would be worse than their present, and that they find separation the best for them. Here the man has to bestow on her a suitable gift, and this offer should be compatible to the man's wealth and position: ``the wealthy according to his wealth, and the poor according to his ability and means.'' The verse then adds that: ``Giving such a gift of a reasonable amount to the divorced, is an obligation upon the good-doers.

VERSE NO. 237

Here the case of those women is brought forth, that a dower has already been fixed for them, but they have got a divorce before they are touched and made love with. The verse declares that in such a case half of settled dower is to be paid by the man to the woman: ``And if you divorced them before you have touched them (for sexual intercourse) and you have already fixed a dower for them, then half of the dower is due to them.'' Here an exception is also mentioned: ``Unless she remits it, and dispenses with her dower, or if she has a guardian to whose hand is the knot of the marriage, he too can remit the dower.''

But it behoves the husband to be more liberal and gracious to the woman and pay her the dower in full measure, even if the marriage is not consummated.

(( 238 ))

238- BE WATCHFUL OVER THE PRAYERS, AND (IN PARTICULAR OBSERVE) THE MIDDLE PRAYER. (NOON PRAYER) AND STAND UP FOR ALLAH OBEDIENTLY.

[ 264 ]

(( 239 )) 239- AND IF YOU (DUE TO WAR OR FEAR OF OTHER DANGERS) ARE IN FEAR (THEN PERFORM YOUR PRAYERS) ON FOOT, OR RIDING AND WHEN YOU ARE SECURE, THEN REMEMBER ALLAH AS HE HAS TAUGHT YOU THE THINGS (OF RITES AND LAW) THAT YOU KNEW NOT.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 238)


Some of the hypocrites made excuses of the warmth of the weather, and with the aim of scattering Muslims, did not attend the noon congregational prayer, which was always performed by the prophet collectively. Some of the new converts too, followed the hypocrites and absented themselves from the prayer! The prophet was worried about that, and in order to overcome and obliterate the tricks of the hypocrites, he insisted in performing the noon prayer, even so; congregationally. This, of course, was difficult for the followers to follow it, in that hot weather of Arabian summer. The verse then appeared and put an stress and emphasis upon the matter.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYERS; AND IN PARTICULAR THE PRAYER IN NOON.

Prayer, being the most effective means, of communication and connection between man and God; has been emphasized here in this verse: ``Guard strictly your prayers, and especially observe the middle prayer.'' Stand up before God with obedience and humility, and let not hot and cold weather, or troubles of the world, or else, attendance to wealth and wife and children, prevent you from doing your important duties. By middle prayer, we understand the NOON PRAYER, when the weather might be very hot and man is tired and hungry.

[ 265 ]

VERSE NO. 239 This verse lays a stress upon the prayer which is incumbent upon a Muslim to perform. It is so important a duty, that should never be ignored or forgotten, even in exceptional cases like the battle-fields or in states of danger and fear. In such conditions, still the prayer is to be performed, except that some of its forms and conditions lose importance, such as being directional to QIBLA, and bowing down, and prostration on the ground: ``And if you fear an enemy, perform your prayer on foot, or on horse back (RIDING); but when you are safe and secure once again you must do the prayer as God has ordained and taught.

(( 240 ))

240- AND THOSE OF YOU WHO DIE, LEAVING WIVES BEHIND (THEY SHOULD MAKE A) BEQUEST IN FAVOUR OF THEIR WIVES, ONE YEAR OF MAINTENANCE WITHOUT CAUSING THEM TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES. THEN IF THEY LEAVE (THE RESIDENCE) OF THEIR OWN ACCORD, THERE IS NO GUILT ON YOU OF WHAT THEY MAY DO WITH THEMSELVES OF LAWFUL DEEDS, AND ALLAH IS MIGHTY, WISE.

(( 241 ))

241- AND FOR THE DIVORCED WOMEN, MAINTENANCE (SHOULD BE PROVIDED) ON A REASONABLE MEASURE (WHICH IS) AN OBLIGATION ON THE GOD FEARINGS.

(( 242 ))

242- SO MAKES ALLAH CLEAR HIS SIGNS FOR YOU THAT YOU MAY UNDERSTAND.

[ 266 ]

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 240


The HOLY QUR?N, once again, returns to the subject of marriage and divorce, saying: ``Those of you who die and leave wives behind, should bequeath for their wives a year of maintenance and residence without causing them to leave their homes.'' Of course this is when they prefer to live in their husband's house. If they leave the residence of their own accord, there is no blame, as far as they do with themselves whatever is lawful, such as wedlock with another man by the end of their waiting period.

The verse ends in some condolences for the widow, that she should not worry, or abandon to despair if a misfortune befalls such as losing the husband; because God is Mighty and Wise, and if he closes a door due to some of His plans and according to His Wisdom, He will soon open another door through His Mercy and Grace; and that He is able to do whatever He wants.
VERSE NO. 241

In this verse, Allah mentions an obligation which is on the pious and God fearings; and that is a year of maintenance provided for the widow on a reasonable scale of measure. VERSE NO. 242 In this verse which is the last one about divorce; Allah makes clear His signs to the believers, so that they may use their mind and wisdom to understand.

Using wisdom and intellect should result in movement and action, fulfilling the commandments and observing the law; or else pondering alone over a matter, bears no fruit.

[ 267 ]

(( 243 ))

243- DID YOU NOT SEE THOSE WHO WENT OUT OF THEIR HOMES, AND THEY WERE THOUSANDS, FEARFUL OF DEATH. THEN ALLAH SAID TO THEM: ``DIE YOU ALL, THEN HE RESTORED THEM TO LIFE, FOR ALLAH IS BOUNTIFUL TO PEOPLE, BUT MOST OF PEOPLE ARE UNGRATEFUL.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVEALTION (VERSE NO. 243)


One of the cities of Syria was infected with pestilence, and the plague killed the citizens one after another. Meanwhile, a large group of people escaped the cities in thousands leaving their homes. with the hope of being saved from that dreadful disaster. They reached a green valley with a nice climate, and were saved; but as the verse alludes: ``Allah said to them: `Die you all!' And all of them passed away at once!'' This was because, instead of being thankful to God for saving their life and leading them to a bountiful and safe place, they were puffed up with pride and vanity, and thought that it was their prudence and plan that saved them so! They had to be grateful, but gave no thanks and therefore by God's order they died with the same plague that they escaped it for fear of death.

COMMENTS

The verse refers to an episode of a group of ancient people, who wanted to escape their fate and death either by JAH?D in the battle-field, or by pestilence, but they were caught by the same plague by God's will when they made sure that they were safe and secure: ``Did you not see those who left their homes, in thousands for fear of death, [ 268 ]

and Allah said to them `Die you All.' Then Allah restored them to life once again?'' To teach a lesson to those who may take lesson of such incidents. The phrase: ``ALLAH RESTORED THEM TO LIFE'' denotes their resurrection which occured by the prayer of a prophet named EZEKIEL or HAZGHIY?L. The verse ends in a mention of God's Grace and bounties to mankind saying: (HE RESTORED THEM TO LIFE BECAUSE) Allah is bountiful to mankind, but most of them are not thankful.'' SHAIKH SADUQ the famous SHIITE scholar has taken this verse to reason for believing that; before the Day of Doom, there is also resurrection for groups of mankind.

* * * *

(The incident of the valley of dry bones and the prayer OF EZEKIEL in the old tastements is as follows: ``I felt the powerful presense of the Lord, when His spirit took me down in a valley where it was covered with very many bones of men! I asked myself can ever these bones come back to life? God answered me: `O, Mortal Man! Tell the bones to listen to the word of God; That I am going to put breath into you and bring you back into life! I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you again with skins, then you will know that I am the Lord your Creator God.'

While I was telling the bones what the Lord said to them, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together! While I watched; the bones covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin, but there was no breath in the bodies! Then the Lord said to me: ``Mortal Man!'' Tell the wind that the SOVEREIGN LORD. Commands you to come from every direction, to breath in these dead bodies, and bring them back to life. I prophesied as I had been told and bodies came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army. Then God said to me: ``Tell the people of Israel that they are like these bones. I the Sovereign Lord am going to open their graves and take them out so that they will know that I am their Lord God. From: O.T. EZEKIEL - 37:1-14 TRANSLATOR'S NOTE)

(( 244 ))

244- AND FIGHT IN THE WAY OF ALLAH AND KNOW THAT ALLAH IS ALL-HEARING, ALL-KNOWING.

[ 269 ]

(( 245 )) 245- WHO IS HE THAT MAY LEND ALLAH A GOOD LOAN, THEN HE WILL REPAY HIM MANY TIMES OVER, AND ALLAH DECREASES AND INCREASES, (THE SUSTENANCE OF HIS SERVANTS; AND CHARITY AND ALMS NEVER DECREASES IT) AND TO HIM YOU RETURN.

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 244


From here on the verses about JAH?D, are revealed, which is the sacred fight in defence of truth and right, and that it should not be evaded as a duty incumbent upon us: ``Fight in the way of Allah and know that Allah knows and hears everything.''

OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 245)

Once the prophet said to his companions: ``Whoever gives an alm for charity will have twice that much in PARADISE.'' One of the companions named ABULDAHDAH -ANSARI told the prophet that he had two gardens. He asked the Messenger of God: ``If I give one of my gardens in charity, will I have two gardens of bliss instead of that?'' The prophet answered: ``Yes! of course!'' The helper man gave one of his two gardens which was better and more valuable for charity. The phrase: `AZ-FAN? KASEERA' in the verse implies, many time, or manifold multiplied.

COMMENTS

Through this verse it is asked: ``Who will lend Allah a beautiful loan, then He will repay him many times over?''

[ 270 ] ``BEAUTIFUL LOAN'' metaphorically may mean spending in JAHAD for the pleasure of Allah, or in support of the poor and needy for His sake. The ending phrase of the verse implies that: ``One should not think that spending for the cause of God to Whose hands are the keys of want and plenty, or decrease and increase, will lessen the wealth or power that is used in charity.

WHY IS IT CALLED A LOAN?

In several verses, charity and spending for the cause of Allah have been declared as lending and giving loans! This manner of embracement will show Allah's great favour to mankind and also implies the importance of charity and expenditures in the way of Allah. HAZRAT ALI (AS), has said in the NAHJOLBALAGHEH: ``God has asked you to lend Him a loan, while to Him belongs the treasures of heavens and the earth, and He is free of want, and all praises belong to Him.

(( 246 ))

246- DID YOU NOT SEE A GROUP OF THE ISRAELITE'S GRANDEES, AFTER MOSES, WHEN THEY SAID TO A PROPHET OF THEIRS: `RAISE UP FOR US A KING, THAT WE MAY FIGHT IN THE WAY OF ALLAH.' HE SAID: `MIGHT IT BE THAT, IF FIGHTING IS PRESCRIBED FOR YOU, YOU WILL NOT FIGHT?' THEY SAID: `WHY SHOULD WE NOT FIGHT IN THE WAY OF ALLAH, AND WE HAVE BEEN EXPELLED FROM OUR HABITATIONS, AND OUR CHILDREN? (OUR HOMES ARE OCCUPIED

[ 271 ]

BY THE ENEMY AND OUR CHILDREN ARE TAKEN CAPTIVES AND HOSTAGES) BUT WHEN FIGHTING WAS PRESCRIBED FOR THEM THEY ALL TURNED THEIR BACKS EXCEPT A FEW OF THEM, AND ALLAH KNOWS ALL ABOUT THE OPPRESSORS.

247- AND THEIR PROPHET SAID TO THEM: `ALLAH HAS RAISED UP SAUL AS A KING FOR YOU.' THEY SAID: `HOW CAN HE HAVE SOVEREIGNTY OVER US, WHILE WE HAVE MORE RIGHT THAN HE TO KINGSHIP, AND HE IS NOT EVEN GIFTED WITH AN EXTENSIVE WEALTH.' HE SAID: `ALLAH HAS CHOSEN HIM OVER YOU, AND HAS INCREASED HIM BROADLY IN KNOWLEDGE AND BODILY POWER.' AND ALLAH GIVES HIS KINGDOM TO WHOM HE WILLS. AND ALLAH IS EXTENDER, ALL-KNOWING.

(( 248 ))

248- AND THEIR PROPHET SAID TO THEM, THE SIGN OF HIS KINGDOM IS THAT THE ARK OF COVENANT WILL COME TO YOU, THEREIN SHALL BE A TRANQUILITY (FOR YOU) FROM

[ 272 ]

YOUR LORD, AND RELICS WHICH THE HOUSE OF MOSES AND THE HOUSE OF AARON LEFT BEHIND, (AND THE ARK IS) CARRIED BY ANGELS. IN THAT THERE IS A SIGN FOR YOU IF YOU ARE BELIEVERS.

(( 249 ))

249- AND WHEN SAUL MARCHED FORTH WITH THE ARMIES, HE SAID: `ALLAH WILL TRY YOU WITH A STREAM; THEN WHOEVER DRINKS FROM IT, HE IS NOT MINE, AND WHO DRINKS IT NOT, HE IS MINEA MERE SIP OUT OF THE HAND IS EXCUSED.' BUT THEY DRANK OF IT, EXCEPT A FEW OF THEM. WHEN SAUL AND THOSE WHO BELIEVED WITH HIM CROSSED THE STREAM, THEY SAID: TO-DAY WE CANNOT COPE WITH GOLIATH AND HIS FORCES.' BUT THOSE WHO THOUGHT THAT THEY WOULD MEET ALLAH SAID: `HOW OFTEN BY ALLAH'S PERMISSION, A SMALL FORCE VANQUISHED A LARGE ONE. AND ALLAH IS WITH THE PATIENTS.

(( 250 ))

[ 273 ]

250- AND WHEN THEY WENT FORTH AGAINST GOLIATH AND HIS HOSTS, THEY SAID: `OUR LORD! POUR OUT UPON US PATIENCE, AND MAKE OUR STEPS FIRM AND HELP US AGAINST THE UNBELIEVERS.!

(( 251 ))

251- THEY ROUTED THEM BY ALLAH'S PERMISSION, AND DAVID (A YOUNG BRAVE MAN IN THE HOST OF SAUL)SLEW GOLIATH, AND ALLAH GAVE HIM KINGDOM AND WISDOM, AND TAUGHT HIM WHATEVER (ELSE)HE NEEDED. AND HAD ALLAH NOT DRIVEN BACK THE PEOPLE, SOME BY THE MEANS OF OTHERS; THE EARTH WOULD HAVE BEEN UTTERLY CORRUPTED, BUT ALLAH IS BOUNTEOUS TO ALL BEINGS.

(( 252 ))
252- THESE ARE THE SIGNS OF ALLAH. WE RECITE TO YOU IN TRUTH, AND THAT YOU ARE ONE OF OUR MESSENGERS.