Surah Mujaadilah

Allah has heard the talk of the woman who was debating with you about her husband, and was complaining to Allah. And Allah was hearing the conversation between both of you. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [1] Those of you who declare zihaar against their wives, they are not their mothers. Their mothers are but only those who have given birth to them. And undoubtedly they utter an evil word and a lie. And Allah is surely Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. [2] And those who declare zihaar against their wives, then retract what they said, obligated on them is to free the neck (of a slave) before the two (spouses) touch one another. This is what you are advised with, and Allah is Well-Aware of what you do. [3] But whoever does not find (a slave) has to fast for two consecutive moths before the two (spouses) touch one another. Then the one who is not able to do so has to feed sixty indigent persons. This is (laid down) so that you believe in Allah and His Messenger. And these are the limits set by Allah. And for the disbelievers there is a painful punishment. [4]

Surely those who oppose Allah and His Messenger shall be disgraced, just as those before them were disgraced. And We have sent down clear verses, and for the disbelievers there is a humiliating punishment [5] on the Day when Allah will raise all of them, and will tell them what they did; Allah has its full account, while they have forgotten it. And Allah is witness to every thing. [6]

Commentary

Cause of Revelation

The initial verses of this Siirah refer to a particular incident: Sayyiduna Aus Ibn Samit (radhiyallahu anhu) said to his wife Sayyidah Khaulah bint Tha’labah (radhiyallahu anha) “anti ålayya ka żuhri ummee” which, literally, means ‘You are to me like the back of my mother.’

(Żihaar is a term denoting a custom of the Arabs in the days of Ignorance. In case of disagreement with their wives they used to say to them, “You are for me like the back of my mother.” After saying this, they used to take their wives as their real mothers in being prohibited for them, and the ties of marriage were held to have been broken for good, with no possibility of their restoration. These verses have been revealed during such a case where a husband (Aus ibn Şaamit) had declared zihar against his wife (Khawlah) who approached the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and complained about her husband. The custom of the days of Ignorance was condemned, and the rules of Shari’ah about żihaar were laid down by these verses. – Note added by Mufti Taqi Usmani)

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Its underlying meaning is ‘you are unlawful for cohabitation just like my mother.’ Such an utterance, in the days of ignorance, amounted to divorce – even worse because it was taken to imply that the husband is rescinding all marital ties with his wife and, in addition, he is classifying her within the prohibited degree or permanently forbidden women like his mother.

According to pre-Islamic custom, reunion with the wife was possible after divorce, but not after żihaar, as she became permanently and absolutely forbidden. When this incident took place, the aggrieved lady went to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) complaining about her husband and seeking redress for her problem according to Shari’ah.

Up to that point in time the Messenger of Allah had not received any revelation concerning that legal issue. Therefore, he pleaded his inability to do anything to help her in the absence of a revealed ordinance and said to her: “I have not yet received any ordinance regarding your matter.” However he expressed his opinion according to common custom and said: “In my opinion, you have become forbidden to him.”

Having heard this ruling, she pleaded: “O Allah’s Messenger! He spent my wealth, exhausted my youth and my womb bore abundantly for him. When I became old, unable to bear children, he pronounced the żihaar formula on me. Where shall I go and how will my children do their living?”

According to another version, she said: “My husband did not mention the word ‘divorce’, so how can this be counted as ‘divorce’?” According to another version, she pleaded to Allah: “O Allah! I direct my complaint to You.” This was the cause of the revelation of verses [1-7] (Al-Durr ul-Manthoor and Ibn Katheer) which clearly state that Allah heard Sayyidah Khaulah’s (radhiyallahu anha) complaint and revealed the rule of Shari’ah to redress her grievances. Allah not only made matters easy for her, but the rule has been eternally enshrined in the Holy Qur’an for all sensible people to follow.

The noble Companions greatly respected Sayyidah Khaulah (radhiyallahu anha) because her case has been the cause of the revelation of the current set of verses, which abolished once and for all the long-standing social evil that was practiced in Arabia.

Once Sayyidna ‘Umar Farooq, the Great, (radhiyallahu anhu) was on his way with some of the blessed Companions when he came across a woman who stopped him. He instantly stopped and listened attentively to her with his head bent down. He did not move till she completed what she wanted to say. Some of the noble Companions said: “O Commander of the Faithful! You have held back such a large group of people for such a long time on account of this old lady!” Sayyidina ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Do you know who this lady is? She is Sayyidah Khaulah (radhiyallahu anha), the lady whose complaint was heard in the seventh heaven. So, how can ‘Umar not listen to her? She should be heard for a longer period of time and with greater attention. By Allah! If she did not take leave of her own accord, I would have stood with her here till the nightfall.” [Ibn Katheer]

(Allah has heard.. . . [1])

The reference in the verse is to Sayyidah Khaulah (radhiyallahu anha), the wife of Sayyidina Aus Ibn Samit (radhiyallahu anhu), as mentioned above. Thus this verse and the rest of the verses lay down not only the rule of Shari’ah pertaining to zihaar and redress the grievances of women placed in such awkward situation, but the first verse also is in honour of the pleading lady which consoles her, in that it says that Allah was listening to her words when she was pleading her case.

The word mujadalah means ‘to plead, argue or dispute consistently and convincingly about one’s problem or case’. According to some narratives, when the Messenger of Allah pleaded his inability to do anything for her, as noted above, the aggrieved lady uttered spontaneously that ‘you receive ordinances in all matters, then how is it that no ordinance was revealed to you in my case?’ Thus the verse was revealed:

(. . .and was complaining to Allah… [1]) [Qurtubi]

Sayyidah ‘A’ishah (radhiyallahu anhu) is reported to have said: “Pure is He, Whose hearing encompasses all things. I heard what Khaulah bint Tha’labah said about her husband while some of it I could not hear despite being so close to her in the same room, but Allah heard all her conversation and said : (Allah has heard.. .[1]) [Bukhaari, Ibn Kathir].

Zihaar

” r,l &G & k,~&: ~4 (Those of you who declare Żihaar against their wives … 58:2)

The aorist yużaahiroona is derived from żihaar. There was a cruel custom in pre-Islamic Arabia, as pointed out earlier, where the husband would utter the żihaar formula ‘You are to me as my mother’s back’, and thus she would become permanently and absolutely unlawful to him for cohabitation like the mother. Here the word żahr (back) metonymically refers to batn ‘stomach or womb’. [Qurtubi]

Definition of żihaar and its effect in the Shariah

In order to understand the definition of żihaar in terms of Shari’ah, it should be noted first that there are some women who are permanently forbidden for a man, such as the mother, sister, daughter and others in the prohibited degree. Although looking at such women is permissible in general, yet looking at some parts of their body is not permissible, (like abdomen, back etc.).

Now the definition of żihaar is ‘to compare one’s wife with any of such parts of the body of such prohibited women’.

According to the old Arab custom all conjugal relations ceased permanently between a man and his wife when he would use these words; rather it was worse than divorce. In the case of divorce, it was possible to retract and take back the wife. But in the case of żihaar, according to the old Arab custom, it was not at all possible to restore the conjugal rights. The current set of verses brought about reform in the custom in two ways:

[1] Żihaar has been declared a sinful act. If a person is placed in a situation where he needs to separate from his wife, he must choose the method of ‘divorce’. Zihaar should not be resorted to for this purpose, because the utterance of Żihaar formula is absurd, nonsense and false. Obviously, their wives are not their mothers, the Quran reads thus:

L ,A:>’ @*ij 21 j! # ;…Their mothers are but only those who have ,, ,d ,>> ,>”,>>* given birth to them . . .(58:2)’.

The 1;j;j JyI ;r: lp oJ2 ys;!j further says:

“…and undoubtedly they utter an evil word and a lie … [58:2]

In other words, their utterance is false, meaning ‘calling one’s wife mother’ is contrary to truth and fact, and also a heinous sin.

[2] The second reform the Qur’an brought about is as follows:

If an ignorant person or a person unacquainted with the legal formalities of Islam were to utter the żihaar formula, his wife does not become permanently unlawful to him, nor does he have an open licence to do as he wishes – like enjoying intimacy with her. The guilty person will have to pay a penalty for uttering such evil, false and obnoxious words. He cannot take back his wife without first paying the prescribed expiation. The following verse prescribes this expiation.

The Expiation for Zihaar

<,>>A/53> > ,, .5 O o,,~ +&I;’ & &I; (And those who declare Żihaar against their wives, then retract what they said, … 58:3).

The preposition lam in the phrase “ya-òòdoona limaa qaaloo” – “. . .retract what they said.. . ” is used in the sense of ‘an [from]. Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) interprets ‘retract’ in the sense of ‘regret’: ‘they regret what they said and wish to be intimate or cohabit with their wives’. [Mazhari]

The verse shows that the penalty has been imposed on the husband for the purpose of making the wife lawful – without it she cannot become lawful to him. Żihaar per se is not the cause of the expiation. In fact, żihaar is a heinous sin for which repentance and seeking pardon and forgiveness, is absolutely necessary.

The concluding part of verse

[2] 3 ibl 21; “…Allah is surely Most-forgiving, Very-Merciful.”

points to this fact. In other words, Allah in His great mercy has made allowance for man’s weaknesses and He is always ready to forgive his lapses, provided he comes to Allah with a penitent heart and makes amends. However, if a person did commit żihaar and does not wish to take back his wife and enjoy intimacy with her, expiation is not obligatory on him.

However, destroying a wife’s conjugal rights is unlawful. If she demands, it is obligatory for him to pay the expiation and take her back, should he wish to do so; or if she demands, he must divorce her and set her free from the bond of marriage. If he does not divorce her and set her free, then she has the right to apply to a Qaađi or an Islamic court to compel him to either pay the expiation and take her back or to divorce her and set her free so that she could contract a second marriage. Islamic works on jurisprudence set down details of the laws pertaining to żihaar. The penalty for Żihaar is obligatory, which is given in this and the next verse. There are three options:

(1) gJ J?# (…obligated on them is to free the neck [of a slave] …)

[2] If a person cannot afford to do that, he must keep fast for two consecutive months; and

[3] if he is so weak or ill that he cannot fast, then he must feed sixty poor people. The expiation will be fulfilled if one poor person is given two meals for sixty days. Alternatively, it is possible to give two meals to sixty poor persons on a single day. In each case, the poor should be fed to their fill. Another possible alternative is to give to a poor person about 1.6 kg wheat or 2.12 kg dates or barley for sixty days or the equivalent price of these food items may be given. The details of the law appertaining to żihaar and its expiation are available in the texts of Islamic jurisprudence.

It is recorded in Traditions that when Sayyidah Khaulah (radhiyallahu anha) complained to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) about her husband and pleaded her case to Allah, verses relating to żihaar and its expiation were revealed.

So, Allah’s Messenger called for the husband. When he came, the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) noticed that he was a weak-sighted old man. He recited to him the verses resolving his case, and commanded him to emancipate a slave. He responded that he does not have the means to do that. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then asked him to fast two successive months, to which he replied: “By Him Who has sent you as the true Messenger, if I do not have two or three meals a day, I lose my sight completely.”

The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said ‘Then feed sixty poor people’. He said ‘I do not have the ability for that either, unless you help me’. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave him some food grain, and also other people gathered more food grain for him, which amounted to the measure of sadaqatul-fitr for sixty poor men, and in this way the expiation was made. [Ibn Kathir]

21 !’$& ;&,; ‘ 41 :jiC L&j ‘ $s;j h4 I&$ L$i (. . .This is [laid down] so that you believe in Allah and His messenger. And these are the limits set by Allah. And for the disbelievers there is a painful chastisement. 58:4)

This part of the verse contains the phrase ‘so that you believe’. Belief here implies ‘to act upon the sacred laws, ordinances and injunctions or obey the commandments of Allah and His Messenger’.

Then the verse says that the laws of expiation are limits set by Allah. It is prohibited to exceed them. It indicates that in matters of marriage, divorce,  and so on, Islam has abolished all traces of pre-Islamic pagan elements of customs and practices, and set down the just and approved code of conduct. Man is required to stick strictly to the parameters of Islam. Those who oppose and deny the Divine limits will be tormented most severely.

The Fate of those who Challenge Allah and His Apostle

A’ ,,a ,> ,> * * &$ > ;$I&? & i;;ri ‘d, il ;*+I1 a! (Surely those who oppose Allah and His Messenger shall be disgraced, just as those before them were disgraced.. . .58:5)

In the preceding verse, stress was laid on keeping to Divine limits and to the sacred laws of Islam. The current verse warns those who oppose or reject them. Their profane designs shall be foiled and they shall be humiliated in this world and a condign torment shall be inflicted on them in the Hereafter.

>, 3 ‘, >* brjj il%{ (…Allah has its full account, while they have forgotten it …. 58:6)

Man is very forgetful. He persists in committing sins and transgressions, but because he treats them as trivial and insignificant, he is unable to remember and recall them. However, they are all recorded and kept safely with Allah, even though the humans have done the actions and forgotten them. Allah will call them to give an account of them on the Day of Resurrection and chastise them.

VERSE 7 -13

Have you not seen that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? No secret consultation takes place between three, but He is fourth of them, nor between five, but He is sixth of them, nor between fewer than that or more, but He is with them wherever they may be. Then He will tell them on the Day of Judgment what they did. Surely Allah is All-Knowing about every thing. [7] Did you not see those who were forbidden from holding secret counsels, then they do again what they were forbidden to do? And they whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the prophet, and when they come to you, they greet you the way Allah does not greet you, and say to themselves, ‘Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?” Enough for them is Jahannam (Hell); they will enter it, and it is an evil end. [8]

O those who believe, when you hold secret counsel, do not whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the prophet, and do whisper for righteousness and taqwa (God-fearing). And fear Allah, before whom you will be gathered together. [9] Whispering (for sinful acts) comes from the Shaitaan (Satan), so that he may grieve those who believe, while it is not harmful to them in the least, except with Allah’s permission. And in Allah the believers must place their trust. [10]

O those who believe, when it is said to you, “Make room (for others) in the sittings”, then make room, and Allah will make room for you (in the Hereafter). And when it is said, “Rise up”, then rise up, and Allah will raise those, in ranks, who have believed and are given knowledge. And Allah is well-aware of what you do. [11]

O those who believe, when you consult the Messenger in private, then offer something in charity before your consultation. That is better for you and purer. But if you find nothing (to offer), then Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. [12] Have you become afraid of offering charities before your consultation? So when you did not do so, and Allah has forgiven you, then establish śalaah, and pay zakaah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is well-aware of what you do. [13]

Commentary

Circumstances of Revelation

There are several incidents related to the revelation of the current set of verses:

[1] There was a peace agreement between the Jews and Muslims. But when one of the Holy Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) Companions would pass by a gathering of Jews, they would speak among themselves in secret, prompting the believer to think that they were plotting to harm or hurt him.

The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised them to give up their secret plots and conspiracies but they did not heed. As a result, verse “alam tara ilalladheena nuhoo åninnajwaa..” was revealed.

[2] Likewise, the hypocrites used to hold secret counsels or conferences, in consequence of which verses: “idhaa tanaajaytum falaa tatanaajaw” and “innamannajwaa minashshaytaan” were revealed.

[3] When the Jews came to see the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), they, with a little twist of the tongue, would invoke curses upon him by greeting him mischievously ‘As-saamu ‘alaykum’ [death to you!] instead of saluting him with the usual ‘As-Salaamu ‘alaykum’ [peace be upon you]. On this occasion, verse “wa idhaa jaaa-ooka Hayyauka..” was revealed.

[4] Ibn Katheer cites Imam Ahmad’s narration in which it is reported that the Jews used to greet in this way, changing the meaning of the Islamic greeting into an abusive statement, and then say, ‘Had he been a Prophet, Allah would have punished us for the sin we committed – why did He not punish us?’

[5] Once the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was sitting in the śuffah of the mosque. The congregation was large in the mosque. Some of the participants of the battle of Badr arrived late and they could not find place to sit, nor did the people sitting in the mosque make room for the late-comers. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked some of the people to stand up and leave. The hypocrites, however, found this objectionable. He also asked the people to spread out and make room for their fellow-believers and he prayed Allah Ta-ààla for such people to show His mercy them. Verse 1- @ & I;!I$’ L&L’  “wa idhaa qeela lakum tafassaHoo..” was revealed on that occasion. [Transmitted by Aboo Haatim].

Piecing all the elements of the narrations together, it is possible that at first the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) might have asked the Companions to spread out and make room for their companions. Some of them might have complied and others probably did not. So, the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) might have admonished them to stand up and leave as the students of seminaries are admonished to do in a similar situation. Probably, the hypocrites objected to this.

[6] Some wealthy people used to come to the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and consult him in private for a long time which inconvenienced him and the poor people would not get much time to consult him. For this reason, verse ‘9 >I I>,, , Jy3lp-d \j! “idhaa naajaytum urrasoola…” was revealed.

It is cited in FatHul Bayaan from Zaid Ibn Aslam, without any authoritative source, that the Jews and hypocrites used to hold unnecessary private conferences with the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Muslims were perturbed by this because they gained the impression that this type of consultation might be harmful. As a result verse 2 1;i’ ,,>I >’>, , ; LC@ “nuhoo an innajwaa” was revealed. When they did not heed, verse 12 Jrji f4 I> “idhaa naajaytum urrasoola” was revealed which required them to spend something in charity before their holding a private conference. At this point the fallacious people stopped from consulting the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), because their greed for wealth did not allow them to do so.

[7] When verse Jyj\ +L I;! was revealed requiring people to give alms before private conferences with the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), many people stopped even the necessary private consultation with him. So, verse [I31 , ,>,/>/, 11.G $1 5 “a-ashfaqtum an tuqaddimoo…” was revealed.

Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi says that the concluding part of verse (…but if you find nothing [to offer], then Allah is Most-Forgiving, very-Merciful..58:12) had already given a concession to poor people from the requirement of charity before consultation with the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However some people are neither completely destitute nor are they completely wealthy, even though they might have the minimum zakatable wealth. Probably, people in this category might have felt it difficult to advance freewill alms, because on the one hand, their means were limited, and on the other hand, they were unsure whether they were indigent. As a result, they could neither pay the charity, nor could they deem themselves exempt from the requirement of the verse. They felt that consultation was not an act of worship or devotion; and if they abandoned it, it could not be the cause of reproach. — Therefore, they stopped consulting altogether. [All narratives are from Ad-Durr-ul-Manthoor]. These causes of revelation will help and facilitate the comprehension of this passage. [Bayan-ul-Qur-aan].

Ethics and Etiquette of Secret Consultation

Although the present verses were revealed in some particular events, as detailed above, the rules laid down by them are of general application, regardless of their cause of revelation. Thus the present verses contain instructions about secret or private consultations. They are explained below.

Secret conferences are normally convened with special confidants to whom secrets are imparted trustingly. Members of the secret society are satisfied that they will not be betrayed. It is on the basis of this confidence that evil people design plots to oppress someone, or to kill him, or to usurp his wealth and property, and so on.

In verse [7], Allah mentions that His knowledge is All-encompassing – it encompasses the entire creation. He is observing or watching them, perfectly hearing their speech and seeing them – whether in public or private, wherever and in whatever condition they may be. No plots or conspiracies of any kind are hidden from Him. If they commit any sin, they will not be able to escape the Divine chastisement. Allah is present in all their secret meetings or conferences – no matter how few or many people constitute their assembly.

For example, if there are three people in the assembly, Allah will be the fourth one; and if there are five people in the gathering, Allah will be the sixth one – nor numerically less or numerically more but He is with them wheresoever they may be. Verse 7 specifies ‘three’ and ‘five’ numbers probably because Allah prefers that an assembly or congregation should comprise an odd number of members. This is the essence of verse [7].

Mischief of the Jews

It was narrated earlier that there was a peace treaty between the Holy Prophet and the Jews. During this period, if one of the noble Companions passed by an assembly of the Jews, they would confer secretly among themselves in such a manner as to arouse suspicion and anxiety in the mind of the believer making him think that they were conspiring to injure or hurt him. Verse [8]

(Did you not see those who were forbidden to hold secret counsels,. . ..58:8)

prohibits the holding of such secret conferences.

This rule applies not only to the enemies but also to the Muslims, in that they should not hold secret conference to harm or hurt another Muslim. However, the Muslims and others are allowed to hold secret conferences to promote good and righteous causes .

A narration of SayyidnZ ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘AbbZs & is recorded in Bukhiiri, Muslim and other authentic collections, according to ,,, /, #, , , ‘9 ‘ , which the Messenger of Allah $& has stated: jqi ij; o%; GL;L;s % U. r;S. ij! 2% :$ &4 1% $ (If you were three,’then two of you should not hold secret conference leaving aside the third person [in another narration of Muslim : ‘except with his permission’] because this bad manners would cause him anxiety and wound his feelings”, [i.e. because he will feel estranged or alienated and possibly suspicions may arise that the two are plotting something against him and keeping it as a secret.] [Ma? hari] Manners of the Secret Conference ,,, ,, n I ‘ ,,.o &$I; 24 ,, , I~G; J~I G; ,-, d~;i3~; 2j4 IXLS % $L I>! I$\ >+I ~$i (0 those who believe, when you hold secret counsel, do not whisper for sinful act and wrongdoing and disobedience of the Messenger, and do whisper for righteousness and taqwE [God-fearing] … 58:9) In this and the preceding verses secret societies of the unbelievers have been condemned, but the condemnation is not unreserved or unqualified.

The current verse guides the Muslims to be conscious of the fact that Allah is fully aware of their conversation and all of their conditions. Therefore, all their secret conferences must be held for good purposes. It is the object or motive of a particular conference that determines its nature. Thus in the present verse, as indicated earlier, the believers have been allowed to hold secret conferences only to promote good and righteous causes.

Return Good for Evil It was narrated earlier that one of the evil practices of some of the Jews of Madhah was that when they came to the Messenger of Allah $!$, ‘,’, ‘ they greeted him by invoking curses upon him, thus: ,.&Is ‘As-SEmu hlaykum’ [death to you!] instead of saluting him with the usual @ ‘As-SalGmu ‘alaykum’ [peace be upon you]. The word ‘As-SEm’ means ‘death’ instead of ‘As-SalEm’ which means ‘peace’. The latter word was distorted and pronounced with a little twist of the tongue, which sounded like the former word, but the difference between the two words was so subtle that the Companions could hardly detect the difference. One day, however, Sayyidah SiddTqah ‘A’ishah @ detected that the Jews were invoking curses upon the Messenger of Allah by saying $& {Lfii ‘As-SGmu ‘alaykum’ [death to you!], so she replied: G; $1 9; $& iip~i $-& ‘As-SGmu ‘alaykum wa la’anakurnullah wa ghadiba ‘alaykum’ [death to you, and the curse of Allah be on you, and His wrath!].

The Messenger of Allah f& prevented her from this and said: “0 ‘A’ishah &, Allah does not like rudeness and foul speech.” Sayyidah Siddiqah ‘A’ishah *; k;r said: “0 Messenger of Allah, did you not hear what they said.” He said ‘ ‘, , to her: “Did you not hear my answering them back by saying &lsj ‘wa ‘alaykum’ [same to you]?” He further said to her ‘Allah accepts our supplication against them, but not theirs against us’. This event tells us that even in response to the mischievous words of the infidels, the Muslims should always adopt a soft and noble way. Manners for Assemblies , , I,, 1-i &I 2 I- fU $ I;!\$’I ~$1 $; (0 those who believe, when it is said to you ‘Make room [for others] in the sittings’, then make room, … 58:ll) Allah teaches His servants good manners and enjoins upon them to be kind to each other when they are sitting together. There are two main rules of assemblies:

The first rule states that people sitting in an assembly should make space for those who came late. They should sit together in such a way that there is enough room for others. If this is done, Allah promises that He will widen their scope in the Hereafter. However, it is not inconceivable that this space or room might be created for them in the life of this world as well. >,I” ,I” The second rule states: IjpL Ijpl 2 li! (‘When it is said to you, ‘Rise up’, then rise up … 58:ll) This means when people sitting in an assembly are told to stand up and leave, they should stand up and leave. This verse uses the passive voice [it is said] but it is not mentioned who says it or who should say it. Authentic traditions make it plain that the late comer himself cannot move somebody out of his place and use it for himself, nor force his way into a gathering.

Thus it is recorded in the Sahihain and in the Musnad of Ahmad on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar & that > I I” the Messenger of Allah said: I+ sj 2 L….LZ ,I, > &>I &>I 29 , > w ,’, IFy1 “One of you should not move some other person up from his place Siirah Al-MujZdalah : 58 : 7 – 13 358 and sit in it, but instead, spread out and make space for the comer.” This explicitly shows that it is not possible for the late-comer to tell anyone to move out of his place and take his place.

Therefore, it would appear that the rule would apply to the master of ceremony or the organisers of the assembly or the host. Hence, the meaning of the verse is: When the host or his representative requests a member of the audience to stand up and leave for a legitimate reason, they should comply and avoid clash with the host. There are several reasons why this might become necessary. [I] Occasionally, the host himself might need privacy for his own reason. [2] He might need privacy to share confidential information with special guests. [31 The capacity of the room cannot accommodate the late comers, and no alternative arrangement can be made.

So, the host is allowed to courteously request some of the familiar guests to leave the room to make space for the late-comers, provided it is certain that the leaving guests will not suffer any loss. They will be able to benefit in another session. However, the host or his representative must ensure that the guests do not feel belittled or hurt in the process. It was alluded earlier that this verse was revealed when the Holy Prophet $& was sitting in the suffah of the mosque.

The congregation had filled up the suffah. Some of the participants of the battle of Badr arrived late and they could not find place to sit, and remained standing. As a mark of respect for them, the Holy Prophet $& gave a general order to the entire congregation to spread out and make room for their fellow-believers, and prayed to Allah to make room for such people.

Some of them might have complied and there was no problem with them; and probably others did not comply. So, the Holy Prophet $& might have admonished them to rise up and leave. At any rate, this verse and Traditions related to the verse yield several rules: [I] The members of a conference must spread out and make space for the late comers. [2] The late comers should not remove other members of the conference and make room for themselves. [31

At times of need, the host or the master of ceremony may courteously request some of the members of the audience to leave. Late comers may not force their way into a congested congregation, but take their position in a corner or a side as recorded in BukhZ6: The Messenger of Allah $& was once sitting in the mosque and the people with him, when three persons arrived, one of them could not find space in the congregation but found some space on one side or in a corner and sat there.

The Messenger of Allah lauded him or praised him highly. Ruling Another etiquette of an assembly is that if two persons are sitting closely, a new comer should not intrude between them. In a hadith, the d Holy Prophet $& has explained this etiquette in the following words: J=$Y &;i4 $1 $1 32 J_L% “It is not permissible for any man to break up the ., , meeting of two persons, who are sitting together, unless they themselves permit him.” [Ibn KathTr cited this Tradition and said that Abii DZGd and Tirmidh; transmitted it on the authority of Usamah Ibn Laithiy &I.

The reasoning behind the ruling is that sometimes two persons sit together for some specific purpose, and breaking them up might defeat that purpose. ‘,A# >’,/ ‘ ‘ Jr>l i;.-L li! I$! 241 lkf? (0 those who believe, when you consult the Messenger of Allah, . . .58:12) The Messenger of Allah &!$ was preoccupied day and night with educating the people and improving their quality of life. In his general assemblies, all the members of the audience benefited from his teachings. However, there were people who wanted private meetings with the Holy Prophet $& and he would grant them that.

Obviously, it was not possible to grant everyone’s request as it required time and effort, and that was difficult. The hypocrites made matters worse when they asked for private audiences with the Holy Prophet in order to hurt the sincere Muslims. Besides, the hypocrites held protracted conferences with him. Some of the illiterate Muslims also held private audiences with him for a longer time than normal or necessary.

This made things difficult for him. Allah provided a way to stop their irksome behaviour by this verse which lightened the burden of the Holy Prophet $&. Initially, the verse provided that anyone who wishes to hold a private conference with him must advance a freewill charity, the amount or measure of which is not specified in the Qur’Zn.

However, when this verse was revealed SayyidnZ ‘Al? & was the first Companion to act upon it: He offered one Dinar in charity and requested a private audience with the Prophet $$. Siirah Al-Mujadalah : 58 : 14 – 22 360 Only Sayyidna ‘Ali & Acted upon the verse It is a remarkable co-incidence that most of the blessed Companions, because of financial constraints, were unable to act upon this verse. Its provision was repealed. Sayyidna ‘Al? & used to say that there is a verse in the Qur7Zn that none before me and none after me has ever acted upon it. The meaning of the phrase ‘none before me’ is obvious.

The phrase ‘none after me’ means ‘none after me will practise it’ because the verse is abrogated. Although the ordinance is repealed, it achieved its basic purpose. The Muslims, because of the dictates of their sincere love, avoided their protracted audiences with the Prophet so that he is not inconvenienced in any way. The hypocrites avoided protracted audiences with him because they feared that they would be recognized for what they are and their hypocrisy would be exposed. Allah knows best!

VERSE 14-22

Have you not seen who have friendship with a people with whom Allah is angry. They are neither of you nor of them. And they swear false oaths while they know. [I41 Allah has prepared a severe punishment for them. Indeed, evil is what they used to do. [I51 They have taken their oaths as a shield, then have prevented (people) from the way of Allah. Therefore, for them there is a humiliating punishment. [I61 Their riches and their children will never benefit them against Allah. They are the people of the Fire. They will live there for ever [I71

(It will be) on the Day when Allah will raise all of them, and they will swear before Him as they swear before you, and will think that they have some standing. Beware that they are sheer liars. [I81 The shaitiin (Satan) has prevailed upon them, so he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of shaitan. Be sure that it is (the members of the) party of Shaitiin that are the losers. [I91 Indeed, those who oppose Allah and His Messengers, they are among the lowest. [201 Allah has written (in His pre-destined decree), “I will certainly prevail, both I and My messengers.” Surely Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. [211

You will not find those who believe in Allah and in the Hereafter having friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their clan. They are such that Allah has inscribed faith on their hearts, and has helped them with a spirit from Him. And He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will live forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Allah. Those are the party of Allah. Be sure that it is (the members of) the party of Allah that are the successful. r221

Commentary Chastising the Hypocrites for their Secret Alliance with the Jews &I .1-& 4 lg$ ~41 j! 3 (Have you not seen those who have friendship with a people with whom Allah is angry? …. 58:14)

Allah condemns the hypocrites who secretly formed an alliance with the Jews who challenge Allah and His Apostle, while in effect they belong neither to the Muslims nor to the Jews. Consequently, Allah has prepared for them a humiliating and condign chastisement. It is not permissible to have a friendly intimacy with the enemies of Allah and His Messenger – whether the unbelievers are Jews, or Christians, or pagans or of any other creed.

Even rationally this is not possible, because the capital asset of a believer is the love of Allah, while a non-believer relishes in opposing and challenging Him. It is not possible for a person to have sincere love and affection for someone and to love and have intimacy with the latter’s enemy. Here ‘love’, ‘affection’ or ‘intimacy’ refers to the one coming from the heart involving intense emotional commitment (which necessarily includes having love with his way of life. Ed.). This is called MuwGlGh or ‘intimate friendship’.

This type of friendship is limited to sincere Muslims. Therefore, the Qur’Enic verses on many occasions strictly prohibit Muslims from having this sort of relationship with non-Muslims. Any Muslim who has such intimate friendship with non-Muslims will be seen to fall in the circle of unbelievers. In contra-distinction to MuwZlZh [intimate friendship], there is a concept of MuwZsZh which refers to the relationship based on sympathy, kindness and concern.

It includes charitable assistance and support, business, commercial, trade dealings and economic co-operation, condolence and consolation and any well-meaning attitude of well-being and welfare. Barring unbelievers who are at war with the believers, this kind of relationship is permissible with all other non-Muslims. The paradigm of the Holy Prophet @ and the noble Companions in this direction is ample testimony to this practice. However, it is necessary to ensure that the relationship of MuwGZh is not harmful to the cause of religion; it should not create laxity in ‘faith and practice’ of Islam nor should it ‘harm, hurt or injure’ other Muslims. Please see Ma’Zriful Qur’iin, Vol. 21 pp 54-61: under SurahAl-‘Imran: v.28-30 for a detailed account of the distinction between MuwZlGt [intimate friendship], Muwasat — [sympathy] and MuZrnalEt [dealings] or MudCrEh [cordiality]. +@I & 5%; (and they swear false oaths … 58:14). It means they swear oaths profanely.

According to some reports, this verse was revealed in connection with ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Ubayy and ‘Abdullah Ibn Nabtal: One day the Messenger of Allah % was sitting with his noble Companions and said to them: “Soon a person will come to you whose heart will be the heart of a tyrant and who sees through the Satan’s eyes.” Soon afterwards ‘Abdullah Ibn Nabtal, the hypocrite, entered. He was blue-eyed, wheat-coloured, short-statured and skimpy-bearded. The Messenger of Allah % asked him: “Why do you and your comrades use obscene words against me?” He swore that he did not do that.

Then he called his comrades and they too took this false oath. Allah told the Holy Prophet $#$ about their lie and profane oath. [Qu*ubTl Believers cannot entertain intimacy with non-Believers 2, ,., >/ />d /, , >’ .L 6.. , , , p 9 3, yJj :G 3 ilj>T3 8% Iglj 49 ile3 G> *U?I (YOU shall not find those who believe in Allah and in the Hereafter having friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers …. 58:22). The preceding verses showed that those [hypocrites] who are in intimate friendship with unbelievers and pagans shall incur Allah’s wrath, indignation and severe torment.

This verse describes the condition of sincere believers who would not take an enemy of Faith, the opponents of Allah, for intimacy and friendship, even though such people are their own fathers, children, brothers or any other blood relatives. The bond of belief transcends all other bonds, even the close ties of blood. This description fits all noble Companions.

Commentators on this occasion have cited a number of incidents of the blessed Companions which describe how, when they heard their fathers, sons and brothers or other blood relations utter blasphemy against Islam or the Messenger of Allah B, they left all ties aside and punished them or even killed them. ‘Abdullah, the son of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites in Madinah, heard his father make some blasphemous remarks against the Holy Prophet %.

The son came up to the Holy Prophet % and sought his permission to kill his father. The Messenger of Allah $&$ stopped him. Sayyidnii AbE Bakr & heard his father, Abu Quhiifah, uttering some insulting words against the Holy Prophet %. The most compassionate Siddiq & became indignant and unexpectedly gave him such a hard slap that he fell down. When the Messenger of Allah $& heard about it, he advised Abii Bakr Siddiq & not do it again. In the battle of Uhud, Sayyidnii Abii ‘Ubaidah’s father, Jarrah, was fighting on the side of the unbelievers against the Muslims. In the battlefield, while the battle was on, he purposely came time and again face to face with SayyidnZ Abu ‘Ubaidah & and pursued him.

Every time his father came in front of him, Sayyidnii AbG ‘Ubaidah & would, as a mark of respect, move out. But when he persisted, Sayyidnii AbG ‘Ubaidah had no choice but to kill him. The biography of the blessed Companions is replete with similar incidents.

The present set of verses was revealed to laud them. [Qurtubil Ruling Many jurists have ruled that this rule applies equally to all Muslims who transgress or violate the sacred laws of Shari’ah or in their practical life turn away from them, in that the sincere Muslims should not maintain an intimate friendship or relationship with such transgressors. As explained earlier, Muwaliih [intimate friendship] with a fisiq [transgressors] is not possible because intimacy with them is possible if and only if the germs of fisq [transgression] are lurking in the people befriending them. MuwEsEh [sympathy] and Mu’EmalEt [dealings] or MudGrEh [cordiality] are, however, a different matter to the degree of necessity. This is the reason why the Messenger of Allah $& used to pray: 1% 3 & &Y $i “0 Allah, do not give any transgressor the upper * – hand over me.”

The Messenger of Allah prayed thus because if anyone has the upper hand in a situation, he is most likely to get his own way. He will, for instance, show kindness to people and thus gain the upper hand; and the noble persons, on account of the kindness, will feel obliged or duty-bound to return his kindness with love.

Thus the Messenger of Allah $& sought refuge with Allah from this situation. [Qu&ub~l >’* >> , # ,~, + ~q p.413 (…and has helped them with a Spirit from Him …. 5822) The word riih, according to some authorities on Tafsb, stands for ‘light’, which radiates or emanates from Allah and enters the heart of a believer which urges him to perform righteous deeds, and is the source of peace and contentment of the heart.

This tranquility and satisfaction is the source of great strength and power. Other authorities say that this word Siirah Al-Mujadalah : 58 : 14 – 22 365 – stands for the Holy Qur’En and the arguments of the Holy Qur7Zn. This is the real strength and power of a believer. [Qu*ubT]. Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best! Al h amdulillah The Commentary on Siirah Al-Mujadalah Ends here.