Surat An-Nisā - The Women
Period of Revelation: This Surah is comprised of several discourses that were revealed on different occasions. Instructions about the division of inheritance and safeguarding the rights of the orphans were revealed after the Battle of Uhud in which 70 Muslims were martyred (vv. 1-28). By the end of 3rd year After Hijrah (A.H. – Islamic Calendar), a last warning to the Jews (v. 47) was given before the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadheer was expelled from Al-Madinah in A.H.4. Permission about Tayammum (ablution with clean earth when water is not available) was given during the expedition of Bani-Al-Mustaliq in early A.H.5.Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance:
- Restriction on number of wives.
- Marriage and the rights of women.
- Laws of inheritance, women are awarded the rights to inherit.
- Acceptable and unacceptable repentance.
- Mahram relations – relatives that are prohibited for marriage.
- Commandment about ‘arbitration’ in family disputes.
- Second commandment relating to the prohibition of drinking, (first commandment was in Surah Al-Baqarah 2:219).
- The one who disputes the decision of the Prophet is not a believer.
- Divine Law, that obedience of the Rasool is in fact the obedience of Allah.
- Allah’s command to respond greetings with better greetings.
- Laws about manslaughter, murder and bloodwit.
- Salat-ul-Qasr: permission for short prayer in travelling.
- Salat-ul-Khauf: performing prayer in a state of emergency (war).
- Salah: (prayers) are made obligatory on prescribed timings.
- Prohibition of ‘secret counsels’ and its exceptions.
- Decree of Allah that He will never forgive a mushrik.
- Allah’s commandment to be firm for justice and bear true witness.
- Allah’s commandment to boycott un-Islamic meetings.
- The fact that hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of hellfire.
- Isa (Jesus) was neither killed nor crucified.
- Isa (Jesus) was a Prophet of Allah (Almighty God) and His worshipper.
- Stop saying “Trinity” – Allah is the One and Only God.
- The Qur’an carries the same Message that was sent to Nuh (Noah), Ibraheem (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus).
- Allah’s commandments relating to family life and community life.
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about a third of this surah deals with the nucleus of human society, the family, and issues related to it. The rest is a dis- cussion of wider issues pertaining to the larger human community, or to use the Arabic term, the Ummah. The subject of the surah overall then is human social relations and how they are to be con- ducted and regulated. This is made quite clear right at the outset, for the surah opens with the words: “People, fear your Lord who creat- ed you from a single soul, and from it He created its spouse, and from them both He brought forward multitudes of men and women” (1). Although we human beings may look and seem differ- ent, we are in fact all related, sharing the same origins and the same common ancestry. It is indeed important for everyone to remember this fact and strive to maintain good and constructive contact with other fellow humans, no matter how near or far. This is one of Islam’s major principles. The sense of belonging and togetherness should be extended beyond blood relations in order to encompass all human groups, races, and colors, and bring about cooperation and cohesion between people.In order to drive this home, the opening verse instructs humankind to fear God, and emphasizes His omnipotence and total control over the destiny of man. That notwithstanding, we can also ﬁnd in the surah passages that encourage optimism and raise hope in God’s grace and mercy. Verse 31 says: “If you avoid the greater sins you are forbidden, We shall pardon your misdeeds;” while verse 110A Thematic Commentary on the Qur’ansays: “Whoever commits evil deeds or does his own self an injustice and then seeks God’s forgiveness, shall ﬁnd God Forgiving and Mer- ciful.” Verse 48 states: “God will not forgive the act of taking other gods besides Him, but He will forgive whom He will for other sins;” and verse 17 says: “God forgives those who commit evil in igno- rance and then quickly regret it and repent;” while verses 26 to 28 read:God wishes to make matters clear to you and guide you along the paths of those who have gone before you, and to turn to you with forgiveness. God is All-Knowing and Wise. God wishes to forgive you, but those who follow their own base desires wish you to go completely astray. God wishes to lighten your burden, for man was created weak.God has no desire to overburden His servants with obligations and rituals that are beyond their human ability and scope. The efforts they are required to exert are those which are necessary but bearable and within their capabilities in order for them to gain knowledge, understanding, and experience, and achieve progress in life. A believer’s life is controlled by his or her fear of God and the promise of His mercy and compassion. These are the two strong forces guiding believers in this world and preparing them to account before their Lord sooner or later in the hereafter.The part of the surah dealing with family affairs begins with deﬁning the rights of orphans in a Muslim society. Being a dyna- mic, expanding, and struggling society, it is not surprising that the Muslim community will always have an appreciable number of orphans living in it. Orphans, even today, are always easy prey for inﬂuence, domination, and exploitation by various individuals as well as groups with ideological or political interests—hence the concern in Islam for their position in society, their rights, and well- being.surah 4 • Al-Nis¥’At this point, the Qur’an refers in passing to marriage, pointing out that men are allowed to marry up to four wives. There is noth- ing abnormal or abhorrent about this, as Islam did not deviate from the laws of other religions preceding it, none of which has prohibi- ted polygamy. In fact, when we look at societies of contemporary Europe and America, we ﬁnd that they are in many cases grossly unfair and demeaning in their treatment of women. In these soci- eties, polygamy is rife but under different guises, and promiscuous relationships between the sexes are considered normal and practised openly. What Islam permits is clearly deﬁned and tightly regulated. Single men who cannot afford to marry and raise a family are encouraged to abstain from sexual contact until they are able to get married. Those who wish to take a second wife are not considered eligible unless they can show that they can afford to keep and be equally fair to both wives. Furthermore, marriage in Islam is never allowed without the consent of both parties, and any woman who does not wish to enter into a polygamous marriage has the right to refuse. Islamic law goes even further than that and grants the wife the right to incorporate her refusal of polygamy in the marriage con- tract. According to the renowned jurist A^mad ibn ¤anbal, the husband is obliged to abide by that condition or the wife can demand a divorce and be granted it.5The surah then turns to the rules governing inheritance of wealth and how it is to be dispensed and distributed among surviving family members and relatives. Women, hitherto completely deprived of inheritance, are speciﬁcally mentioned as having the right to inherit and their share is clearly deﬁned. The poor and the needy are also entitled to a proportion of any wealth left behind. A man has the dis- cretion to bequeath one third of his wealth to whatever public or
- The fact that women in ‘Muslim’ societies are sometimes coerced into mar- riage or do not opt to practise their rights is mainly due to ignorance and should not belie the remarkable achievements of Muslim law. (Ed.)
- RAA—Ra\iya All¥hu ¢Anha/¢Anhu (May Allah be with her/him). Said whenever a Companion of the prophet is mentioned by name.
- Narrated by al-TirmidhÏ.
- Narrated by Ab‰ D¥w‰d and al-TirmidhÏ.
- Narrated by al-Bukh¥rÏ and Muslim.
- Narrated by Imam A^mad and al-BayhaqÏ.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
وَآتُوا الْيَتَامَىٰ أَمْوَالَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَتَبَدَّلُوا الْخَبِيثَ بِالطَّيِّبِ ۖ وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَىٰ أَمْوَالِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حُوبًا كَبِيرًا
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا
وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِيئًا
وَلَا تُؤْتُوا السُّفَهَاءَ أَمْوَالَكُمُ الَّتِي جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَامًا وَارْزُقُوهُمْ فِيهَا وَاكْسُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا
وَابْتَلُوا الْيَتَامَىٰ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغُوا النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُم مِّنْهُمْ رُشْدًا فَادْفَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَأْكُلُوهَا إِسْرَافًا وَبِدَارًا أَن يَكْبَرُوا ۚ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيًّا فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيرًا فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِذَا دَفَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فَأَشْهِدُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ حَسِيبًا
لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ ۚ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا
وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ أُولُو الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينُ فَارْزُقُوهُم مِّنْهُ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا
وَلْيَخْشَ الَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُوا مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةً ضِعَافًا خَافُوا عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا