122

CHAPTER LVIII.

ENTITLED SURAT AL MUJADALAH (SHE WHO DISPUTED).

Revealed at Madina.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter differs from most of the chapters of the Quran in that it is addressed entirely to the Muslims. Nothing could better illustrate the change which had taken place in the fortunes of the Makkan preacher. No longer does he appear as "a mere warner ;" no more does lie strive to win over his adversaries by appeals to the signs of God in his works and in his Quran. Influential enemies and hypocritical allies are alike ignored. Even Muslims are now made to feel the power of their Prophet. Ancient customs are abrogated, with heavy penalties attached to any infringement of the new law. Muslims must henceforth show outward respect, even to the extent of bringing a gift (alms), though this regulation seems to have proved so unpopular as to require speedy abrogation.

We have in the latter verses of this chapter signs of that fanaticism, allied to a proud self-righteousness, which has ever since characterised the followers of Muhammad. "The party of God " is henceforth to be separated from "the party of the devil." Dearest friends and kindred are to be shunned, unless by the formal utterance of the Kalimah, they join "the party of God."

Probable Date of the Revelations.

From what has already been said, it is plain that this is one of the latest of the Madina chapters. The opinion of those who regard vers. 1-10 as Makkan is certainly mistaken. Scarcely less mistaken is the opinion that these verses were revealed during the first years of the Hijra. The several portions of the chapter, though separate revelations, are nevertheless, in point of time, closely connected together. The


123

earlier authorities fix no date to the incident mentioned in vers. 1-5, but later authorities (Weil, 184) fix its date at the end of A.H. 6, or the beginning of A.H. 7, after the return from Hudaibfyah. NoŽldeke places this chapter immediately after chap. xxiv., inasmuch as the matters treated of here closely resemble those mentioned there.

Principal Subjects.

An ancient Arab custom of divorce abrogated ... 1-5
Those who oppose Muhammad threatened . . . 6, 7
Clandestine discourse against Muhammad censured and forbidden . . . 8-11
The prophet of God to be approached with due reverence and honour... 12-14
Muslims reproached for keeping company with Jews and infidels ...15-21
Nearest relatives, if unbelievers, to be avoided as enemies of Islam ...22

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

TWENTY-EIGHTH SIPARA.

R 1/1.


(1) Now hath GOD heard the speech of her who disputed with thee concerning her husband, and made her complaint unto GOD; and GOD hath heard your mutual discourse: for GOD both heareth and seeth. (2) As to those among you who divorce their wives by declaring

(1) Her who disputed. "This was Khaula Bint Thalaba, the wife of Aus Ibn al Samat, who being divorced by her husband by a form in use among the Arabs in the time of ignorance, viz., by saying to her, 'Thou art to me as the back of my mother,' came to ask Muhammad's opinion whether they were necessarily obliged to a separation; and he told her that it was not lawful for her to cohabit with her husband any more: to which she replying that her husband had not put her away, the Prophet repeated his former decision, adding that such form of speaking was, by general consent, understood to imply a perpetual separation. Upon this the woman, being greatly concerned because of the smallness of her children, went home and uttered her complaint to God in prayer: and thereupon this passage was revealed, allowing a man to take his wife again, notwithstanding his having pronounced the above-mentioned form of divorce, on doing certain acts of charity or mortification by way of penance.

(2) Compare chap. xxxiii. 4, and see note there.


124

that they will thereafter regard them as their mothers, let them know that they are not their mothers. They only are their mothers who brought them forth; and they certainly utter an unjustifiable saying and a falsehood: (3) but GOD is gracious and ready to forgive. (4) Those who divorce their wives by declaring that they will for the future regard them as their mothers, and afterwards would repair what they have said, shall be obliged to free a captive before they touch one another. That is what ye are warned to perform: and GOD is well apprised of that which ye do. (5) And whoso findeth not a captive to redeem shall observe a fast of two consecutive months before they touch one another. And whoso shall not be able to fast that time shall feed threescore poor men. This is ordained you that ye may believe in GOD and his Apostle. These are the statutes of GOD: and for the unbelievers is prepared a grievous torment. (6) Verily they who oppose GOD and his Apostle shall be brought low, as the unbelievers who preceded them were brought low. And now have we sent down manifest signs: and an ignominious punishment awaiteth the unbelievers. (7) On a certain day GOD shall raise them all to life, and shall declare unto them that which they have wrought. GOD hath taken an exact account thereof; but they have forgotten the same: and GOD is witness over all things.

R 2/2.

(8) Dost thou not perceive that GOD knoweth what -

They only are their mothers, &c. "And therefore no woman ought to be placed in the same degree of prohibition, except those whom God has joined with them as nursing mothers and the wives of the Prophet." - Sale, Baidhawi.

But why the wives of the Prophet? See notes on chap. xxxiii. 6. If this "saying" is unjustifiable and a falsehood for the people, why not for the Prophet?

(4) Would repair, &c. "This seems to be here the true meaning of the original word, which properly signifies to return, and is variously expounded by the Muhammadan doctors." - Sale.

A captive. "Which captive, according to the most received decision, ought to be a true believer; as is ordered for the expiation of manslaughter."-Sale, Baidhawi. See chap. iv. 91, and note there.

(8) The omnipresence of a personal God is here very clearly expressed. Compare the words of our Lord, Matt, xviii. 20.


125

ever is in heaven and in earth? There is no private discourse among. three persons, but he is the fourth of them; nor among five, but he is the sixth of them; neither among a smaller number than this, nor a larger, but he is with them, wheresoever they be: and he will declare unto them that which they have done on the day of resurrection: for GOD knoweth all things. (9) Hast thou not observed those who have been forbidden to use clandestine discourse, but afterwards return to what they have been forbidden, and discourse privily among themselves of wickedness, and enmity, and disobedience towards the Apostle? And when they come unto thee, they salute thee with that form of salutation wherewith GOD doth not salute thee; and they say among themselves, by way of derision, Would not GOD punish us for what we say if this man were a prophet? Hell shall be their sufficient punishment: they shall go down into the same to be burned; and an unhappy journey shall it be! (10) O true believers, when ye discourse privily together, discourse not of wickedness, and enmity, and disobedience towards the Apostle; but discourse of justice and piety: and fear GOD, before whom ye shall be assembled. (11) Verily the clandestine discourse of the infidels proceedeth from Satan, that he may grieve the true believers: but there shall be none to hurt them in the least, unless by the perinission of GOD; wherefore in GOD let the faithful trust. (12) O true believers, when it is said unto you, Make room in the

(9) Hast thou not observed those, &c. "That is, the Jews and hypocritical Muslims, who caballed privately together against Muhammad, and made signs to one another when they saw the true believers; and this they continued to do notwithstanding they were forbidden."-Sale.

They salute thee, &c. "It seems they used, instead of As salam alaika, i.e., 'Peace be upon thee,' to say, As sam alaika, i.e., 'Mischief on thee,' &c."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(12) Make room. "In this passage the Muslims are commanded to give place in the public assemblies to the Prophet and the more honourable of his companions and not to press and crowd upon him, as they used to do, out of a desire of being near him and hearing his discourse."-Sale.


126

assembly; make room: GOD will grant you ample room in Paradise. And when it is said unto you, rise up; rise up: GOD will raise those of you who believe, and those to whom knowledge is given to superior degrees of honour; and GOD is fully apprised of that which ye do. (13) O true believers, when ye go to speak with the Apostle, give alms previously to your discoursing with him; this will be better for you, and more pure. But if ye find not what to give, verily GOD will be gracious and merciful unto you. (14) Do ye fear to give alms previously to your discoursing with the Prophet, lest ye should impoverish yourselves? Therefore if ye do it not, and GOD is gracious unto you by dispensing with the said precept for the future, be constant at prayer, and pay the legal alms; and obey GOD and his Apostle in all other matters: for GOD well knoweth that which ye do.

R 3/3.

(15) Hast thou not observed those who have taken for their friends a people against whom GOD is incensed? They are neither of you nor of them: and they swear to a he knowingly. (16) GOD hath prepared for them a grievous punishment; for it is evil which they do. (17) They have taken their oaths for a cloak, and they have turned men aside from the way of GOD: wherefore a shameful punishment awaiteth them; (18) neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them at all against GOD.

(13) Give alms previously, &c. "To show your sincerity, and to honour the Apostle. It is doubted whether this be a counsel or a precept ; but, however, it continued but a very little while in force, being agreed on all hands to be abrogated by the following passage, 'Do ye fear to give alms,' &c."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

(15) A people, &c., i.e., the Jews.

Neither of you nor of them. "Being hypocrites and wavering between the two parties." -Sale.

They swear to a lie. "They have solemnly professed Islam, which they believe not in their hearts."-Sale.

(16-21) These verses express the intensity of the hatred which Muhammad now felt towards the Jews. They had all along been the keenest of his opponents and the readiest to expose the falseness of his prophetic pretensions. His was a hatred that could not be appeased even by the slaughter of the Bani Quraidha.


127

These shall be the inhabitants of hell-fire; they shall abide therein for ever. (19) On a certain day GOD shall raise them all, then will they swear unto him as they swear now unto you, imagining that it will be of service to them. Are they not liars? (20) Satan hath prevailed against them, and hath caused them to forget the remembrance of GOD. These are the party of the devil; and shall not the party of the devil be doomed to perdition? (21) Verily they who oppose GOD and his apostles shall be placed among the most vile. GOD hath written, Verily I will prevail, and my apostles: for GOD is strong and mighty. (22) Thou shalt not find people who believe in GOD and the last day to love him who opposeth GOD and his Apostle; although they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brethren, or their nearest relations. In the hearts of these hath GOD written faith: and he hath strengthened them with his spirit: and he will lead them into gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to remain therein for ever. GOD is well pleased in them; and they are well pleased in him. These are the party of GOD: and shall not the party of GOD prosper?


Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page