Another Defence Concerning Woman's Right
 

In this verse two other unjust and disagreeable customs of the Pagan Era have been condemned and declared unlawful:

1- It addresses the believers that it is unlawful to inherit the properties of women against their will and consent.

2- The second ugly and unbecoming custom of the Arab was that, they kept a woman under pressure by various means, in order to force them to leave and grant their dower and to take a divorce for nothing: ``Do not force women to take back a part of the dower that you have given them.'' This commandment has an exception for excluding those women who are guilty of a manifest indecency such as adultary.

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(Some of the commentators have understood the above verse in

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other way: ``The phrase, `don't inherit the women against their will' has nothing to do with their property, they say; and the purpose is their very self. The cause for the revelation they say; was that among many nations including Arabs in the Pagan Era, a step-son, or brother took possession of a man's widow along with his goods and chattels. This shameful custom of inheriting women against their will was condemned and forbidden in Islam.'' TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.)

(( 20 )) 20- AND IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO TAKE ONE WIFE IN PLACE OF ANOTHER WIFE, AND YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ONE OF THEM A LOT OF WEALTH, (AS HER DOWRY) THEN TAKE OF IT NOTHING- WOULD YOU TAKE IT BY WAY OF CALUMNY AND MANIFEST SIN?

(( 21 )) 21- AND HOW WOULD YOU TAKE IT WHEN YOU HAVE LAIN WITH EACH OTHER AND A FIRM COVENANT HAS BEEN TAKEN OF YOU?

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 20)


During the Pagan Era when an Arab decided to divorce his wife and marry a new one, he sometimes accused her of indecencies and fornication, that he could give her not her dower. Or else he, many a time pressed her and harmed her that she would consent and agree with a divorce without a dower, or asking for some little rights that she might have had! So the verse came down to admonish and reproach those cruel men who were doing so:

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``And if you have decided to take another wife in place of your present spouse, even if you have given her a lot of wealth, don't try to get the least of it back - Do you indeed want to take it by slander and through manifest sin!?'' VERSE NO. 21

This verse continues with the argument, with the aim of inciting the emotions and the compassionate feelings of men through a fine touch that: How dare of you to waste the definite and certain rights of a woman with whom you have lain and made love and have had a solemn and firm covenant!? Have you not a human conscience to blame and reproach you - ``And how would you take it when you have lain with each other, and a firm covenant has been taken from you?''

(( 22 )) 22- AND MARRY NOT THE WOMEN WHOM YOUR FATHERS MARRIED, EXCEPT WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PASSED, THAT IT IS INDECENT, HATEFUL, AND EVIL WAY.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 22)


After the Pagan Era, when Islam had been spread, one of the Helpers named ABUGHOBAIS, passed away and his son proposed to marry his own step - mother. The woman said: ``I consider you as my own son, and I think not of this sort of marriage as a decent and appropriate one; but still we may go to the Messenger of God and ask his opinion about that.'' When they referred the matter to the prophet, the above verse was revealed and declared that sort of marriage bad and unlawful: ``Marry not the women whom your fathers married.''

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Then three distinct difinitions of the marriage is outlined through the ending of the verse in order to put an emphasis upon the commandment of prohibition, that it is an indecent act. It is also hateful and malevolent, and a wrong and evil way to be followed.

(( 23 ))

23- IT IS UNLAWFUL TO YOU (MARRIAGE WITH) YOUR MOTHER, YOUR DAUGHTERS, YOUR SISTERS, YOUR FATHER'S SISTERS, YOUR MOTHER'S SISTERS, YOUR BROTHER'S DAUGHTERS, YOUR SISTER'S DAUGHTERS, YOUR FOSTER- MOTHERS WHO HAVE GIVEN SUCK TO YOU, YOUR FOSTER SISTERS, YOUR WIFE'S MOTHER, YOUR STEP- DAUGHTERS UNDER YOUR GUARDIANSHIP BORN OF YOUR WIVES WITH WHOM YOU HAVE MADE LOVE- BUT IF YOU HAVE NOT MADE LOVE WITH THEM THERE IS NO BALME ON YOU (IN MARRYING STEPDAUGHTERS) AND WIVES OF YOUR SONS WHO ARE OF YOUR LOINS, AND TO TAKE IN MARRIAGE TWO SISTERS SIMULTANEOUSLY, EXCEPT WHAT HAS ALREADY PASSED, THAT ALLAH IS FORGIVING COMPASSIONATE .

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THE COMMENTARY
PROHIBITION OF MARRIAGE WITH CLOSE RELATIVES
(VERSE NO. 23)

Here is a table of forbidden marriage with close relatives, and the table agrees mainly with what is usually accepted among all nations. The prohibition is due to: 1- blood relationship or consanguinity. 2- Fostrage or milk relations. 3- The relatives in - law. Those related by blood, or the consanguineous are of seven groups: mother, daughter, sister, paternal aunt, maternal aunt, your brother's daughter, and your sister's daughter. Mother includes grand mother through the father or mother, great - grandmother and etc.

Daughters too, includes grand daughter through son or daughter, great- grand- daughter and so on.

Then the fostrage and milk - relatives are named in the table; `Your foster- mother who have given suck to you, and also your foster- sister.' In the third stage there comes in the verse the relatives- in- law, who are mentioned in four groups:

1- `your wife's mothers.' This implies that as soon as you marry a girl, her mother and grand-mother, and going on, her great grand- mother will be unlawful for you in marriage for ever.

2- Your step- daughter under your guardianship, and born of your wives with whom you have made love - but if you have not made love with her there is no guilt on you if you marry her daughters.

3- And taking in marriage two sisters in the same time and simultaneously. Here an exception is pointed to: ``and that is what had already been done and passed. This was because during the Pagan Era, it was very customary for an Arab to marry with two sister simultaneously and at the same time.''

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(( 24 ))

24- AND ALL MARRIED WOMEN (ARE UNLAWFUL TO YOU) EXCEPT THOSE WHOM YOUR RIGHT HAND POSSESS. (YOUR CAPTIVES ARE LIKE THOSE WHO ARE DIVORCED, AND YOU MAY MARRY THEM IF THEY ARE WILLING) SUCH IS ALLAH'S PRESCRIPT FOR YOU, AND LAWFUL TO YOU ARE (ALL WOMEN) OTHER THAN THOSE, (MENTIONED) PROVIDED YOU SEEK THEM WITH YOUR WEALTH (IN MARRIAGE) IN MODEST CONDUCT, AND NOT IN FORNICATION.

AND AS FOR THOSE (WOMEN) WHOM YOU ENJOY (BY TEMPORARY MARRIAGE) GIVE THEM THEIR DOWERS AS IT IS MADE INCUMBENT. AND THERE IS NO BLAME ON YOU FOR WHAT BOTH OF YOU AGREE, (TO VARY THE DOWER) AFTER IT HAS BEEN APPOINTED. THAT ALLAH IS ALL- KNOWING, ALL- WISE.

THE COMMENTARY
THE BEGINNING OF THE FIFTH PART OF QUR?N (VERSE NO.24 )


The verse continues with the argument about the unlawful women, adding here that: ``All the married women are unlawful to you.'' In the commandment there is one exception: ``Except those whom your right hand possess.''

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These are the non- Muslim women who are taken captives in the sacred war (JAH?D) under the commandership of a true and righteous Imam, against those who persecute faith. This is because their captivity is taken as a divorce in this special case. In the next part of the verse mention is made of what is called MOT-EH in religious terms which means temporary marriage: ``And as for those women whom you enjoy them by way of MOT-EH (temporary marriage) give them their dowers in full.

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE (MOTEH) IS A SOCIAL NECESSITY

Lawfulness of the temporary marriage in the life- time of our prophet is a certain matter which has no room for any doubt; and no report has been received to say that the prophet did abrogate the commandment.

It cannot be denied that the sexual instinct in men and women is the most powerful one among all the other instincts, so much so that some of the psychologists know it to be the principle of the human instincts or the main one. Now one of the most critical problems of our time is that of the sex affairs, particularly in the youths and young generation. This is because the popular necessities demand the period of school and study to be lengthened. Then rare are the youths, young, and students, who can afford to marry, a girl, or a girl to marry a boy, in their lower ages wherein the sexual power is very difficult to be controlled.

In such a critical condition what is to be done? Should we take fornication and adultery easy, and regard it lawful and shake the foundations of family houses? Or should we accept the temporary marriage which has not the hard conditions of the permanent wedlock, nor the disadvantages of fornication and adultery. Those people who reject the temporary marriage as well as fornication and indecencies, what do they want to do? and what is their proposal? or else do we

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have to suppress and crush our sexual power and instinct or let it go on free and uncontrolled?

(( 25 ))

25- AND THOSE OF YOU WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO MARRY BELIEVING FREE WOMEN, THEY MAY WED BELIEVING GIRLS FROM AMONG THOSE WHOM YOUR RIGHT HAND POSSESSES. AND ALLAH KNOWS BEST YOUR FAITH. YOU ARE ONE FROM ANOTHER. SO MARRY THEM WITH THEIR FAMILY'S LEAVE, AND GIVE THEM THEIR DOWERS HONOURABLY; PROVIDED BEING CHASTE, NOT FORNICATING, OR TAKING LOVERS (BOY - FRIENDS).

WHEN THEY ARE IN WEDLOCK, IF THEY COMMIT INDECENCY, (ADULTERY) THEY SHALL BE LIABLE TO HALF THE PUNISHMENT OF A FREE WOMAN. THIS (PERMISSION FOR MARRYING SLAVE GIRLS) IS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FEAR TO COMMIT SIN. AND IF YOU KEEP PATIENT, IT IS BETTER FOR YOU, AND ALLAH IS ALL- FORGIVING, ALL- COMPASSIONATE.

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*****

THE COMMENTARY
MARRIAGE WITH SLAVE- GIRLS (AN INTRODUCTORY)


Slavery and slave- trade, although against the true spirit of Islam- was one of the most important trades and economical principles of the ancient world, which is fortunately now out of date. But still there are other conditions in which a man's or a woman's freedom is restricted. One such case and instance is that of the captives of war. The phrase in this verse: `Whom your right hands possess'' might also apply to the non- Muslims captives taken in a sacred war (JAH?D) which must be under the commandership of righteous and innocent Imam. `Your right hand' does not necessarily mean that she belongs to you, or is your property, because all the captives and spoils of war belong to the community and are only yours in that sense of meaning. On the other hand there are strict rules and regulations in Islam about captives of war, as how to treat them or their ransom or being released for God. TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

COMMENTS
VERSE NO. 25


``Those of you who cannot afford to marry a believing free-woman, they may wed a believing girl from among those whom your right hands possess.'' In such a marriage you must be careful of your faith and make sure that your spouse too, be a believing girl. The social condition of the time was such that people avoided marrying slaves or captives knowing them contemptible and scornful; and therefore the verse implies that: ``You are from one another.'' To put it in other words, it is to say; all of you whether slave or free are of the same root and race and from the same father and mother, (Adam and Eve) and thus all the people are the branches of one tree and the leaves of one branch.

Then the verse bids us to take permission for marrying them

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from their master, owner, or guardian, whoever he might be; but we are ordered to give their dowers to themselves that the slaves are the owner of their dower and whatever else they may own lawfully.

Another condition or term of the marriage with captives or slaves is that they should be chaste and clean, and not fornicating or mixing with boy friend and taking lovers.

Then there comes in the verse their punishment for adultery and other indecencies which is half of a free woman. Marriage with the slaves and war- captives, as the ending of the verse implies, is suitable for those who fear sinning, and cannot afford to marry a free- girl, nor to control their passion and lust. But as the marriage is supposed to be a sacred connection with the opposite sex for life, to protect the human race and kind, and also she is to be a base and structural foundation of family, it is far better for the man to keep patient until an appropriate wife with the most suitable qualifications is chosen.

(( 26 )) 26- ALLAH WANTS (THROUGH THESE INSTRUCTIONS) TO MAKE CLEAR TO YOU AND TO GUIDE YOU THE (GOOD) COURSES OF ACTION OF THE PREDECESSORS, AND TURN TO YOU (IN MERCY) AND ALLAH IS ALL- KNOWING, ALL- WISE.

(( 27 )) 27- AND ALLAH SEEKS TO FORGIVE YOU, BUT THOSE WHO FOLLOW THEIR LUSTS, WISH YOU TO SWERVE AWAY GREATLY.

(( 28 )) 28- ALLAH WANTS TO LIGHTEN THINGS FOR YOU, AND MAN IS CREATED WEAK.

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THE COMMENTARY
WHAT ARE ALL THESE LIMITATIONS FOR?


After receiving the above mentioned instructions and considering all those commandments in relation to marriage, one may ask: ``What are these limitations and restrictions for?'' This verse and the next two verses are to answer that question: ``Allah wants through these instructions and commandments pave the way to prosperity and salvation for you.'' You are not alone in this long journey, and the only group to whom these rules and regulations will apply, God rather wants to make clear to you and to guide you the best and the most correct customs and courses of action that your predecessors have already trodden. Besides that, Allah seeks to forgive you your sins in order to purify your hearts of devilish temptations, and lead you in a straight path to prosperity and salvation; because Allah is All-knowing, All- wise.

VERSE NO. 27

Again it is emphasized in this verse that Allah seeks to forgive you, but those people who follow their lusts and sensuous desires, wish you to swerve away and to go far astray until you are drowned and submerged in the dangerous lagoon of sin and pond of evil, and meet its burning consequences.

These sexual freedom of our age is no more than a deceiving mirage that will attract mankind to lie and falsehood.

VERSE NO. 28

And after all by such instructions, Allah wants to lighten our burden and make our progress easier, for He knows that man is created weak, and evil temptations are strong.

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(( 29 )) 29- O, YOU WHO BELIEVE! EAT NOT YOUR PROPERTIES AMONG YOURSELVES IN VANITY, EXCEPT IT BE TRADING BY (MUTUAL) CONSENT OF YOURS. AND KILL NOT YOURSELVES (COMMIT NOT- SUICIDE) THAT ALLAH IS COMPASSIONATE TO YOU.

(( 30 )) 30- AND WHOEVER DOES THAT IN RANCOUR AND INJUSTICE, SOON SHALL WE JOIN HIM TO THE FIRE, AND THAT IS EASY FOR ALLAH.

THE COMMENTARY
HEALTH OF SOCIETY DEPENDS ON THE HEALTH OF ECONOMY
(VERSE NO. 29)


As a matter of fact, this verse makes the foundation and basis of Islamic laws and rules about trades and transactions. It is therefore a reasoning means in the logical hands of Islam's jurisprundents: ``Consume not your properties among yourselves in vain and for vanity or on account of anything devoid of worth and truth, except it be by way of trade of mutual consents. Therefore any kind of transgress, Fraud, Dishonesty, Usury, or transactions, the limits and bounds of which are not clear, or selling or buying things which are void of logical worth and use, or the facilities of sinning, are all under this law forbidden and declared unlawful.''

The next part of the verse implies that killing yourself and committing suicide is much heinous a sin that leads to Hell: ``And do not kill yourselves by committing suicide.'' there is a fine touch

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here in this verse that, all the properties which you may hold, in trust, be it in your own name or belong to other people, or the community and the public purse, must not be wasted and consumed in vain and for nothing. Because in this case your waste returns and reacts towards your own ruin and destruction as if you are committing suicide by injuring the economy! So you must be careful of your own properties as well as for that of the other people as you are careful for your own life.

When people try to rob each other by fraud, deception and tricks, and shake the firm foundation on committing economical suicide, which is none the less than personal taking lives. VERSE NO. 30

Here the punishment for disobeying the above commandment has been decreed which is a blazing Fire! Whoever wastes and eats his own and other's properties in vain and by fraud, or through transgression, and commits suicide will soon join the wrath of God which is manifested in the form of the blazing fire in Hell!

(( 31 )) 31- IF YOU AVOID THE GREATERS OF WHAT YOU ARE FORBIDDEN TO DO, WE SHALL ACQUIT YOU OF YOUR EVIL DEEDS, AND ENTER YOU TO AN HONOURABLE ENTRANCE.

THE COMMENTARY
SINS: BIG AND SMALL (VERSE NO.31)


This verse clearly states that if you avoid committing major sins, God will forgive you your minor sins. This implies that sins are of two groups and grades according to the Islamic division:

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The first group of sins that QUR?N has classified them as the MAJOR ONES or the greatests of sins; and the second grades that are qualified as the MINOR SINS - (QUR?N S 18: 49) The major sins in the sight of Islam are the most heinous ones that give great offence. These are not only prohibited to do, but severe threats of punishment and joining the fire in Hell is followed when mention of them is made through the verses of Qur?n. Instances of these heinous sins are; committing murder, usury and committing adultery, or devouring orphan's properties.

On the other hand, small sins are counted as minor sin, provided they are not repeated and done frequently. If you ignore their effect and importance of being a sin, then you must expect their bad consequences. (( 32 )) 32- AND DO NOT COVET THAT BY WHICH ALLAH HAS MADE SOME OF YOU EXCEL OTHERS. TO MEN IS ALLOTTED A SHARE OF WHAT THEY HAVE EARNED, AND TO WOMEN IS ALLOTTED A SHARE OF WHAT THEY EARN. AND ASK ALLAH OF HIS GRACE, THAT ALLAH HAS KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THINGS.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO.32)


OMME SALAMEH the prophet's wife asked him that: ``Why should man take part in the Sacred Wars (JAH?D) and women should not? Why should man inherit twice as much as a woman? I wish I could be a man that I could have his excellent social position.'' The verse came down to answer such questions:

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COMMENTS

The inheritance share of woman which is half that of man was a general topic in questions from the beginning. As if it was forgotten that man had been made responsible for all the expenditures of living, even for those of the women. And if we consider their dowers too, we may find women's share much more than that of men! Therefore: ``Do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you to excel some other.''

Men and women have their own gifts from God - some greater than the other. It may not appear clear in our eyes the secret of differences, because we have no full knowledge as God has. We may see a small part or a corner of God's main plan, and therefore we must not be jealous if other people have more than we have in rank and wealth strength and health and etc. If you want something more, instead of being jealous, pray to God, and ask Him your needs, in order to make yourself fit for more of God's bounties.

(( 33 ))

33- TO EVERY ONE WE HAVE APPOINTED NEARLY RELATED HEIRS OF THAT WHICH PARENTS AND NEAR KINS LEAVE. AND AS FOR THOSE WITH WHOM YOUR RIGHT HANDS HAVE ENTERED INTO AGREEMENT, THEN GIVE THEM THEIR SHARE THAT ALLAH IS A WITNESS OVER ALL THINGS

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 33


MAW?LI, plural of MAUL?, from the root of WAL?YAT, is being near in place of relationship. MAUL? OR MAVALI that we have translated here

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as a `nearly related heir', may therefore mean a heir, partner, nearly related, sharer, friend, protector or master. Then the verse in its general sense of meaning is a commandment to respect your ties of blood, neighbourhood, friendship, and friendly compacts and promises. As for: ``Those with whom your RIGHT HANDS have tied a tie or entered into an agreement.'' The right hand is mentioned here because almost all people use their right hands in tying a tie, and rare are those who are left-handed. By tie it is meant various kinds of connection or obligation that may connect persons or things together and to unite them such as family ties or ties of religion or duty.

As for those who may inherit a man through a tie of this kind, some of the commentators have understood it to be the wife and husband who through the ties of marriage inherit each other.

Some other commentators have understood it to be the ties of friendship such as the pre- Islamic famous, `COMPACT OF JARIREH', which was a covenant made between two or more friends who entered into an agreement to treat each onther as brethren.

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(Moulana Allahmeh YOUSUF ALI, in his commentary has given another view in this relation that deserves more consideration; he says: ``When the Emigration took place from Mecca to Medina, bonds and links of brotherhood were established between the Emigrants and Helpers, and they shared even in each other's inheritance. Later, when the community of Muslims was solidly established, and relations with those left behind in Mecca were resumed, the rights of blood- relation in Mecca, and the Helper- brotheren in Medina were both safeguarded.'' This is the particular meaning of the verse - The more general meaning is similar: Respect your ties of blood, of neighbourhood, and of friedly compacts and - Be just to All.

(TRANSLATOR'S NOTE)

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(( 34 ))

34- MEN ARE THE MAINTAINERS (GUARDIAN AND PROTECTOR) OF WOMEN, BECAUSE ALLAH HAS GIVEN THE ONE MORE (STRENGTH) THAN THE OTHER, AND BECAUSE THEY SPEND THEIR WEALTH. (FOR THE WELFARE AND MAINTENANCE OF WOMEN) THEREFORE THE RIGHTEOUS WOMEN ARE HUMBLES, GUARDING (THEIR CHASTITY IN THEIR HUSBAND'S) ABSENCE, AS ALLAH HAS GUARDED AND AS TO THOSE WOMEN, ON WHOSE PART YOU FEAR DISOBEDIENCE, ADMONISH THEM (FIRST) THEN DEPART THEM IN THEIR BEDS, (DON'T SLEEP WITH THEM IN ONE BED, AND IF THEY CONTINUED BEING OBSTINATE, FINALLY) STRIKE THEM. THEN IF THEY OBEYED YOU, DON'T SEEK TO ENCROACH THEM, THAT ALLAH IS HIGH, GREAT.

THE COMMENTARY GUARDIANSHIP IN THE FAMILY SYSTEM (VERSE NO.34)

A family is a small unit and a building block of the large community, and like the community it always has to have a leader or an incharge. Either the man or the woman should be the incharge or manager of the household, because both of them cannot have the same responsibility at the same time, that; too many cooks will spoil the broth. The Holy Qur?n, clearly expresses that man is the incharge who directs the affairs of the house and is the guardian and protector of

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woman. The verse intends no dictatorship or any encroachment, but rather to recommend single leadership to maintain the order, and conformity to what is reasonablely good for all the family.

The next part of the verse implies that this authority and leadership given to man is due to his obligations and economical responsibilities, that, he has to maintain the wife in a suitable condition.

According to the verse the wives are of two groups or classes: The first is the good and righteous wife who is humble and obedient to her husband. She is harmonous and kind in his presence, and in her husband's absence, she guards his reputation, property, and also her own chastity as ordained by God.

Among the second group are the wives who neglect and refuse to follow their husband. They are obstinate and unyielding to reasonings and discussions. Men are advised by Qur?n to take some disciplinary steps and measures against such women, in order to amend them and correct their wrong.

These disciplinary actions are to be observed; stage by stage. First of all the man should try with verbal advices and admonition and if it did not work, he may suspend his sex relations with her, and sleep not with her in one bed. If even the separation of beds was not sufficient to amend her; the man may use some force - majeure, and do some beating and bodily punishment, perhaps she may change her mind. If at last the wife yielded to reason and discussion, man should seek not to encroach her and oppress.

(( 35 ))

35- AND IF YOU FEAR A BREACH BETWEEN THE TWO, THEN APPOINT AN ARBITER FROM HIS PEOPLE, AND AN ARBITER

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