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Section 6: The Prophet Sent as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad-tiding and Bright Lamp

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verses 41-42

يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْراً كَثِيراً

وَسَبّـِحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً

41. “O You who have believed! Remember Allah with much remembrance,”
42. “And glorify Him morning and evening.”

The holy Prophet (S) said:

“Whoever remembers Allah constantly, the good of this world and the next has been given to him.”1

And Imam Sadiq (as) said that everything has a limit except the remembrance of Allah.2

An Islamic tradition indicates that the heart and soul may rust like iron and the remembrance of Allah is a means to remove it and to make it bright.

So, the Qur’an says:

“O You who have believed! Remember Allah with much remembrance,”
“And glorify Him morning and evening.”

Yes, since the factors of negligence are abundantly found in material life of man, and the arrows of the temptations of Satans are being thrown from every side to him, there is no way to defend save by ‘much remembrance’ in its real meaning, i.e., with full attention to Allah, not only by mere murmuring it. It must be a ‘much remembrance’ that affects on all one’s deeds and casts light on them.

Thus, in this verse, the Holy Qur’an enjoins all the believers that they remember Allah in all cases. At the time of worship we must remember Him (s.w.t.) and have attention and sincerity.

At the time when we are in the scene of committing sin, we must remember Him and renounce, or if there happened a fault, we would immediately repent and return to the right way.

At the time of affluence of bounties, we must remember Him ‘and thank Him’; and at the time of affliction and calamity we must remember Him and be patient and steadfast. In short, we must not forget His remembrance in any scene out of the scenes of life.

In a tradition which has been recorded in ‘Sahih Tarmathi’ and ‘Musnad-i-Ahmad, Abu Sa‘id Khidri narrates from the Prophet of Islam (S) who said that once he (S) was asked:

“Which servants have the highest degree with Allah on the Hereafter Day?”

He answered:

“Those who remember Allah very much.”

However, we must note that the Qur’anic phrase: /ŏikran kaθira/ (with much remembrance) has a vast meaning.

If in some narrations it has been rendered into the hymns of Hadrat Zahra (as)3 and some commentators have commented it upon the mentioning the Exulted Attributes, the Names Most Beautiful, and removal Allah from what is not correct for Him, and the like, all of them are of the kind of stating the mentioning the clear example, not for limiting the concept of the verse, and these examples in particular.

Thus, much remembrance of Allah and His glorification every morning and evening will not be obtained but with constant regard to Allah, and permanent removal Him from any blemish and defections and we know that the remembrance of Allah for man’s soul and spirit is like food and water for the body.

Surah Ar-Ra‘d, No. 13, verse 28 says:

“…Behold! By Allah’s remembrance (only) the hearts are set at rest.”

The peace and certainty of the hearts are also the consequence of that which had been stated in Surah Al-Fajr, No. 90, verses 27-30 saying:

“O’ you serene soul!”
“Come back to your Lord well-pleased (with Him) and well-pleasing (Him),”
“So enter among My servants,”
“And enter into My Garden.”

A Few Traditions Upon ‘Much Remembrance’

1- The Qur’an has stated some effects and favours for the remembrance of Allah and it has mentioned it as one of the reasons of ‘prayer’.

It says:

“…and establish prayer for My remembrance.”4

2- Turning away from the remembrance of Allah, will consequence a straitened life.

Allah in the Qur’an says:

“And whoever turns away from My remembrance, verily for him is a life straitened…”5

3- The holy Prophet (S) said:

“He who has a tongue busy reciting Thikr (the Name of Allah) the good of (both) this world and the next has been given to him.”

And Imam Sadiq (as) said:

“Everything has a limit except the remembrance of Allah.”6

4- It has been narrated from Jabir-ibn-‘Abdillah (May Allah be pleased with him) who said that he has heard the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“The best Thikr (remembrance of Allah) is /la’ilaha’illalah/ (there is no god but Allah).”7

5- Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) said:

“A great bliss shall be his whose tongue is busy reciting Thikr (the Name of Allah).”8

6- The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“Do recite much /la houl-a-wala-quwwata-’illa-billah/ (There is neither might nor strength but in Allah) for verily it is (one) of the treasures of the Heaven.”9

7- The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“Whoever whose last word is /la-’ilaha-’illalah/ (there is no god but Allah) will enter Paradise.”10

8- Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) said:

“The pleasure of the lovers (of Allah) is the remembrance (of Allah).”11

9- Imam Ali-ibn-’Abitalib (as) said:

“Do remember Allah everywhere because He is surely with you (everywhere and in any case).”12

10- Imam Sadiq (as) said:

“The hymns of Fatimat-uz-Zahra (as) is of (the kind of) ‘much remembrance’ that Allah, Almighty and Glorious, said:

‘…Remember Allah with much remembrance.”13

11- Some authentic Islamic narrations indicate that ‘the remembrance of Allah’ is not done only by the tongue, but the real remembrance of Allah is in that that at the time of encountering the lawful and unlawful (things) of Allah we remember Him and desist from committing sin.14

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verses 43-44

هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلّـِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلآَئِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ اِلَي النُّورِ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيماً

تَحِيَّتُهُمْ يَوْمَ يَلْقَوْنَهُ سَلاَمٌ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ أَجْراً كَرِيماً

43. “He it is Who sends blessings on you, and (likewise do) His angels, to bring you forth from the shadows (of infidelity) into the light (of faith); and He is Merciful to the believers.”
44. “Their greeting on the Day when they meet Him will be ‘Peace’, and He has prepared for them an honourable reward.”

In the previous verse the Qur’an said:

“Remember Allah with much remembrance”.

Now, in this verse it says:

“He it is Who sends blessings on you…”.

As if the blessing of Allah is your much remembrance. It is like the holy verse which says:

“Therefore, remember Me, (and) I will remember you…” 15

In fact, this holy verse is the result and the ultimate cause of the constant remembrance and glorification.

It says:

“He it is Who sends blessings on you, and (likewise do) His angels, to bring you forth from the shadows (of infidelity) into the light (of faith)…”

Allah brings you out from the darkness of ignorance, polytheism, and infidelity and leads you toward the light of faith, knowledge, and piety, because He is Beneficent and Merciful unto the believers and that is why He has undertaken their guidance and leadership and also has commissioned His angels to help them.

So, at the end of the verse, it says:

“…and He is Merciful to the believers.”

The Qur’anic term /yusalli/ is derived from /salat/ which here means a special attention and favour; and this favour in respect to Allah is the descent of Mercy, and in respect to the angels is seeking forgiveness and asking mercy, as in Surah Qafir, No. 40, verse 7 we recite that the angels who bear ‘Arsh (the throne of Allah) and those around it:

“…implore forgiveness for those who believe…”.

However, this verse contains a great glad tiding for the believers who ceaselessly remember Allah, for it explicitly indicates that, in their motion toward Allah, they are not alone, but, based on the Qur’anic verb /yusalli/, which is expressed in future tense and is an evidence to the continuation of action, they are always under the cover of the Mercy of Allah and His angels.

It is under the shade of this Mercy that the curtains of darkness will be removed and the light of knowledge, wisdom, faith, and piety brightens their hearts and souls.

Yes, this verse is a great glad tiding for all those who pave the path of Allah, and it informs them that there is a strong help from the side of Allah, the Almighty, that they succeed to pave the straight way.

The Arabic verb /Kana/ in the sentence:

“…and He is merciful to the believers”

which is grammatically a past tense verb, denotes this fact that Allah is always particularly merciful to the believers, and it is another emphasis on this matter.

Yes, it is this special mercy of Allah that brings the believers out from the darkness of illusions, lusts, and Satanic temptations, and leads them to the light of intuitive faith, certainty, and domination on one’s self, so that if His Mercy were not, this difficult path could not be paved.

The next holy verse, in a short sentence, illustrates the rank of the believers and their reward in the best form.

It announces as follows:

“Their greeting on the Day when they meet Him will be ‘Peace’…”

The Arabic word /tahiyyat/ is derived from /hayat/ in the sense of ‘invocation’ for the health and life of another one.

This is a greeting which is, in fact, the sign of security from punishment and from any kind of pain and affliction. It is a greeting accompanied with calmness, tranquillity, and certainty.

Some commentators believe that the concept of the Qur’anic term /tahiyyatuhum/ (their greeting) refers to the greeting of the believers to each other, but regarding to the former verses the words of which were about the favour and Mercy of Allah and His angels in this world, apparently this greeting is also from the side of His angels in the Hereafter, as Surah Ar-Ra‘d, No. 13, verses 23 and 24 says:

“…and unto whom the angels will enter from every gate,”
“Peace (be) upon you (saying) that you persevered in patience!…”

It was made clear from what was said that the objective meaning of the Qur’anic phrase: /yauma yalqaunahu/ is the Day of Hereafter which has been called: ‘The day of meeting Allah’, and this collocation is usually used in the verses of the Qur’an.

After this greeting, which, in fact, relates to the beginning of their affair, the Qur’an has pointed to the end of their fate and says:

“…and He has prepared for them an honourable reward.”

This is a sentence, which being very short, contains every thing gathered in it and points to all blessings and merits.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verses 45-46

يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اِنَّآ أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِداً وَمُبَشّـِراً وَنَذِيراً

وَدَاعِياً اِلَي اللَّهِ بِاِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجاً مُّنِيراً

45. “O Prophet! Verily We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of glad tiding and as a warner,”
46. “And as one inviting to Allah by His leave, and as a light-giving lamp.”

In these two holy verses the function of the holy Prophet (S) in the society has been stated.

He (S) invites people toward Allah, and his style in this invitation is glad tiding and warning. It is not only by the tongue, but his manner is also an argument for people and as a sample for them.

Therefore, at first, it says:

“O Prophet! Verily We have sent you as a witness…”

From one side, he is as a witness over the deeds of the Ummah, because he sees their deeds, as, in another place, the Qur’an says:

“And say: ‘Act you (as you will)! Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers…”16

and this cognizance will be occurred by the way of reporting the deeds of Ummah to the Prophet (S) and immaculate Imams.

On the other side, he is as a witness to the former prophets who were in turn witnesses to their own nations, as the Holy Qur’an says:

“How will it be, then, when We bring from every people a witness and We bring you a witness over those (witnesses)?”17

On the third side, your existence with your good qualities and good temper, with your constructive programs, with your bright background and with your actions, you are witness for the truthfulness of your school, as well as a witness for the greatness and Power of Allah.

Then, the verse refers to the second and the third qualities.

It says:

“…and as a bearer of glad tiding and as a warner,”

The Prophet (S) is a bearer of glad tiding to the righteous for the endless reward of Allah, for the eternal health and happiness, and for honourable victory and success. He is a warner for the disbelievers and the hypocrites against the painful punishment of Allah, against the loss in their whole capital of their selves, and against falling into misery both in this world and the next.

As we said before, too, glad tiding and warning must be with together and equilibrated with each other everywhere, because half of the self of man is formed by the interest of attracting profit, and the next half is formed by repelling the harm. Glad tiding is a motive for the former, and warning is a motive for the latter.

So, those who, in their programs, insist only on one part, in fact, have not recognized man, and have not noted the motive of his action.

The next holy verse points to some other qualities of the Prophet (S).

It says:

“And as one inviting to Allah by His leave, and as a light-giving lamp.”

The Prophet (S) is as a lamp of guidance in the society whose light is the cause of growth, movement and discrimination.

Here, it is necessary to pay attention to a few points:

1- Concerning the Prophet (S) the rank of being as a witness is mentioned before all of his other qualities since this rank needs not a preliminary state save the self of the Prophet (S) and his prophethood, and, as soon as he was appointed to that rank, his being witness to all those aspects which were mentioned in the above statements will be certain, while the rank of being as a ‘bearer of glad tiding’ and as a ‘warner’ are some things that happen after that.

2- The invitation to Allah is a stage next to that of glad tiding and warning, since these are some means for making people prepared for accepting the Truth. When through encouragement and warning preparation was gained, the invitation to Allah would begin, and it is only in this case that the invitation will be effective.

3- Here only the act of invitation is conditioned to the leave of Allah, although all the deeds of the Prophet (S) were done by the leave and command of Allah.

This is for the sake that the most difficult and the most important duty of the prophets is that very invitation to Allah.

The reason of it is that the Prophet (S) must lead people to pave a path against their desires and lusts, and this stage must be fulfilled by the leave, command and help of Allah to be accomplished; and, in the meantime, it makes it manifest that the Prophet does not do anything from his own accord, and whatever he does is by the leave of Allah.

4- The application of the Qur’anic phrase /sirajan munira/ (a light-giving lamp) as a quality of the Prophet (S), with regard that means ‘lamp’ and /munir/ means ‘illuminative’, points to the miracles and proofs of legitimacy and signs of truthfulness of the Prophet’s invitation.

He is a lamp which is witness of him. He causes every kind of darkness to be dismissed, and the eyes and the hearts to be attracted toward him, and like sun, his existence is a reason for his legitimacy, too.

It is noteworthy that the word /siraj/ is mentioned four times in the Qur’an.

In three occurrences, it means ‘sun’, including Surah Noah, No. 71, verse 16, which says:

“And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp.”

The existence of the Prophet is like an illuminating sun that removes the darkness of ignorance, polytheism, and paganism from the horizon of the sky of man’s soul, but in the same way that the blind do not utilize the light of the sun, and those ones, who like bats, their eyes can not bear seeing this light will hide themselves from it.

The obstinate blind- hearted ones have not utilized this light and will not do, either. Abujahl used to put his finger into his ear in order not to hear the sound of reciting the Qur’an.

Also, the existence of the Prophet (S) is the cause of tranquillity, the cause of the fleet of the thieves of religion and faith, and the fleet of the cruel members of the societies. He is the cause of the ease of mind, of the elevation and growth of the essence of faith and morals; and in short, he is the cause of vitality, activity, and motion in the society.

The history of the Prophet’s life is a good witness over this matter.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verses 47-48

وَبَشّـِرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِاَنَّ لَهُم مّـِنَ اللَّهِ فَضْلاً كَبِيراً

وَلاَ تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَاهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَي اللَّهِ وَكَفَي بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلاً

47. “And give the believers the glad tiding that they shall have from Allah a great grace.”
48. “And do not obey the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and heed not their hurt, but rely on Allah, and Allah is sufficient as a protector.”

The Prophet (S) is commanded from the side of Allah to give glad tiding to the believer that His special grace and favour will envelop them, and this itself is the greatest grace of Allah.

So, here, the Qur’an says:

“And give the believers the glad tiding that they shall have from Allah a great grace.”

This points to the fact that the Prophet’s glad tiding is not limited only to the reward of the good deeds of the believers, but Allah bestows on them from His grace so much so that the balance between their good deed and this reward will utterly be changed, as some other noble verses of the Qur’an certify this meaning.

In one place the Holy Qur’an says:

“Whoever brings a good (deed), he shall have ten times its like…”18

In another place it says:

“The likeness of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn) that grows seven ears, (with) a hundred grains in every ear. And Allah multiplies (in abundance) for whom He wills…”19

So that, according to it, sometimes the reward of a charity will be seven hundred times more, and sometimes more than one thousand times.

Sometimes their reward may be more than this and beyond what was said.

The Holy Qur’an says:

“And no person knows what (important reward) is hidden for them of the joy of the eyes…”20

Thus, this verse elevates the dimensions of the great grace of Allah higher than that which can come into existence in man’s imagination and apprehension.

Next to that, the Qur’an refers to the second and the third instruction.

It says:

“And do not obey the unbelievers and the hypocrites…”

No doubt the Messenger of Allah (S) never did obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites, but the importance of the matter is so much that the Qur’an has specially stressed on it as an emphasis for the Prophet (S) and as a warning and lesson for others.

The reason of it is that there are some important dangers in the way of the true leaders that they may be invited to collusion that they submit, sometimes by threat and sometimes by the way of giving some privileges.

This may happen so frequently that sometimes man makes mistake and thinks that the way of reaching to the aim is accepting such a collusion and submission; the same collusion and submission the result of which is that all efforts and endeavours remain fruitless and the whole struggles become futile.

The history of Islam announces that some pagans, or some groups of the hypocrites, repeatedly tried to draw the Prophet of Islam (S) to such situation. Sometimes they suggested that he should not mention the names of their idols in a bad way and would not criticize them.

Sometimes they told him to allow them to worship his object of worship for one year and then he would worship their objects of worship. Sometimes they told him to respite them for one more year to continue their own programs and then they would believe.

Sometimes they suggested him to send away the poor believers from around him so that they, who were rich and influential, might accept him. Sometimes they said they were ready to give him some financial privileges, sensitive rank and position, beautiful wives and the like.

It is evident that all of them were some dangerous pitfalls on the way of rapid progress of Islam and against rooting out paganism and hypocrisy. If the Prophet of Islam (S) showed flexibility in the face of one of these suggestions, the basis of the Islamic revolution would ruin and the struggles might not result.

Then in the fourth and fifth commands, it says:

“…and heed not their hurt, but rely on Allah, and Allah is sufficient as a protector.”

This part of the verse shows that in order to make the Prophet (S) submit they had put him in an intensive pressure. They hurt him in different ways: whether through sarcasm, slander and undue insolence, or through bodily hurt, or by economic embargo (siege) unto him and his companions, differently in Mecca and Medina.

The term ‘hurt’, mentioned here, is a word the meaning of which covers all kinds of annoyance.

Raqib in Mufradat says:

“‘Hurt’ means any kind of harm that reaches a living creature, whether unto its spirit or unto its body, or unto his relatives, worldly or other worldly.”

The history indicates the Divine prophets and early believers stood firmly against kinds of hurts and never accepted the disgrace of submission and defeat and finally succeeded in their goals.

This is also noteworthy that the above five commandments, which have been mentioned in the recent two holy verses, are related to each other and are complement to each other.

Giving glad tiding to the believers for attracting the faithful forces, the lack of collusion and submission before pagans and hypocrites, being heedless to their hurts, and relying on Allah totally form a collection in which the way of reaching to the goal is hidden and they are as an inclusive instruction of action for all the truth seekers.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 49

يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتّـِعُوهُنَّ وَسَرّ‌ِحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً

49. “O you who have believed! When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you touch them, you have no period to reckon against them; so give them a present, and release them in a handsome manner.”

The objective meaning of the Arabic word /nikah/, here, is marriage and the purpose of /tamas/ (touch) is ‘to have sexual intercourse’, and the purpose of the Qur’anic phrase /sarahan jamila/ is a divorce without any enmity and roughness.

The Arabic word /‘iddah/ is called to the term that women must wait, and do not marry another spouse, until its end after becoming divorced. The woman’s term in divorce is three menstrual cycles and becoming purified; and the term of the death of her husband is four month, and ten days.

In this verse Allah says:

“O you who have believed! When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you touch them, you have no period to reckon against them…”

Here Allah has stated an exception for the ordinance of the divorced woman’s term saying that if the divorce occurs before the first coition in marriage, keeping the term is not necessary. It is understood from this meaning that the ordinance of the term (period) has been stated before this verse.

The application of the Qur’anic word /mu’minat/ (believing women) is not an evidence for saying that marriage with non-Muslim women is absolutely forbidden but it may refer to the precedence of them.

Therefore, it does not contrast with the narrations and the known pronouncements of jurisprudents which consider the temporary marriage with the women of the People of the Book permissible.

However, it is understood from the Arabic word /lakum/ (you have) and also from the Qur’anic sentence: /ta‘taddunaha/ (to reckon against them) that woman’s keeping the term is counted a kind of right for man, and it must be so, because it is possible that, in fact, the woman is pregnant and marriage with another man without keeping the term causes that the situation of the child would not be distinguished and the man’s right in this regard might be disregarded.

Moreover, woman’s keeping term gives an opportunity to the man and woman both that if they have accepted the divorce under the effect of ordinary excitements, they can find a time to review and return, and this is a right for both man and woman.

Then it refers to another ordinance from the ordinances concerning the women who have obtained their divorce before having sexual intercourse, which has also been mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah, and says:

“…so give them a present…”

No doubt, giving a suitable present to the woman is obligatory when there has not been appointed a dower for her, as Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 236 says:

“There is no sin on you if you divorce women while you have not yet touched them nor settled any dowry on them; you make provision for them…”

Therefore, though the verse under discussion has an absolute meaning and covers both the instances in which dowry has been settled or not, yet with the frame of reference of the verse of Surah Al-Baqarah we limit the verse under discussion to the instance that there has not been settled a dowry, because in the case dowry is settled and the first coition in marriage is not performed, it is incumbent to pay half of the dowry21.

As some Islamic commentators and jurists said, this is also probable that the ordinance of ‘paying a suitable present’ mentioned in the verse under discussion is general and it envelops even the instances in which the dowry is determined, but in these instances it is recommendable, and in the instance that the dowry is not defined it is obligatory.

Some verses of the Holy Qur’an, as well as some Islamic narrations, have referred to this meaning, too.22

Concerning the level and amount of this present, the Holy Qur’an, in Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 236 has stated:

“…a provision in a fair manner…”

Again, in this very verse, it says:

“…the rich according to his means, and the straitened according to his means…”

Thus, if there have been mentioned some instance in the Islamic narrations such as: house, servant, clothing, and the like, they are some extensions of this general meaning which varies in respect to the possibilities of husband and the situation of woman.

The last ordinance in the verse under discussion is that you must release the divorced women in a fair manner and separate from them with a proper form.

It says:

“…and release them in a handsome manner.”

The Qur’anic phrase /sarahan jamila/ means: to leave them respectfully and affectionately, without any enmity, roughness, cruelty and disgrace. In short, as it is said in Surah Al-Baqarah, No.2, verse 229 either the wife must be maintained suitably in honour or she may be released kindly and respectably.

Both the continuation of conjugality must be with the humane criterions, and separation. It is not so that whenever the husband decides to separate from his wife, he counts any kind of hatred, injustice, cruelty and taunt unto his wife permissible. This kind of manner is certainly non-Islamic.

Some other commentators have rendered the Qur’anic phrase: /sarahan jamila/ mentioned here into the sense of divorce according to the Islamic rule.

In the narration mentioned in the commentary of ‘Ali-ibn-’Ibrahim’ and ‘Uyun-ul-’Akhbar, this meaning is emphasized, too. But it is certain that the meaning of /sarahan jamila/ is not limited only in this meaning, though one of its clear expansions is this very meaning’.

Some other commentators have taken the phrase /sarahan jamila/ here with the sense of permission of going out of house and departure, since the woman has not a duty to keep ‘the term’, therefore she must be allowed to go wherever she wishes.

But, regarding to the fact that the phrase /sarahan jamila/, or the like, in other verses of the Qur’an concerns even about the women who must keep ‘the term’, the above mentioned meaning does not seen proper.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 50

يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّآ أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللاَّتِي ءَاتَيْتَ اُجُورَهُنَ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّآ أَفَآءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمّـِك َوَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالاَتِكَ اللاَّتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً اِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيّ‌ِ اِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِي أَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ لِكَيْلاَ يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً

50. “O’ Prophet! Verily We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have paid their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has assigned to you, and (marriage with) the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts who have emigrated with you, and a believing woman if she gives herself unto the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to wed her, for you exclusively, not for the (rest of the) believers. Indeed We know what We have ordained for them about their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that there should be no difficulty for you. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

It is only Allah Who defines what is lawful and what is unlawful. (Even the Prophet (S), in his personal subjects, obeys the law of Allah.)

Islam has appointed some duties and also some special privileges for the Prophet (S).

This verse explains seven instances that marriage with them was allowed for the Prophet (S).

1- At first, it says:

“O’ Prophet! Verily We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have paid their dowries…”

As the next sentences indicate, the objective meaning of these wives is those wives who were not the Prophet’s relatives and got marriage with him. Perhaps, mentioning the payment of dowry is for the same reason, because it had been customary then that, at the time of marriage with women other than relatives, the dowry should be paid in cash.

Moreover, hastening in giving the dowry is better, specially that the wife is in need of it. But, however, this action is not among obligatory deeds, and with mutual agreement the dowry, partly or wholly, can remain as a debt that the husband is charged with it.

2- The second instance is as follows:

“…and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has assigned to you…”

The Arabic phrase /’afa’allah/ is derived from /fay’/ which is called to the properties that are gained without trouble, therefore, it is used for the spoils of war and also the natural wealth and properties which belong to the Islamic government and have not a proper possessor.

Raqib in Mufradat says:

“The Arabic word /fay’/ means ‘return to a good state and if a shadow is called /fay’/ it is for the sake that it returns.” Then, he adds: “It is also called to the easy gained properties, since, with all goodness it has, again it is, like shadow accidental and fleeting.”

It is true that sometimes there are many troubles in spoils of war, but since in comparison with other properties there is less difficulty in them, and sometimes it happens that in a single attack a lot of properties are gained, the word /fay’/ is used for it.

Concerning this fact that which one of the holy Prophet’s wives this ordinance was about, some of the commentators have said that one of the Prophet’s wives named “Mariyah Qibtiyyah” was from spoils of war and two other his wives named: “Safiyyah” and “Juwayriyyah” were from /’anfal/ whom the Prophet (S) had manumitted and accepted them as his wives.

This itself was a part of general program of Islam for gradual manumitting of slaves and returning their humane personality to them.

3- The third instance of those who are also lawful for him to marry with are mentioned as follows:

“…and (marriage with) the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts who have emigrated with you…”

Thus, among all his relatives only marriage with daughters of his paternal uncle, and the daughters of his paternal aunts, and the daughters of his maternal uncle, and the daughters of his maternal aunts with the condition that they had emigrated with the Prophet (S) were permissible and lawful for him.

The restriction being laid on these four groups is clear, but the condition of emigration is for reason that in that time emigration was an evidence for faith, and the lack of emigration was as a sign of disbelief.

Or it is for the reason that emigration would give them some more privileges to them, and the aim in this verse is to state the noble and virtuous women who are worthy of marriage with the Prophet (S).

That whether these four groups are mentioned as a general ordinance in the verse and they were practically amongst the Prophet’s wives or not, we can mention only the marriage of the Prophet (S) with ‘Zaynab-bent-i-Jahsh’, the story of which was stated in this very Surah, because Zaynab was the daughter of the Prophet’s maternal aunt and Jahsh was the spouse of his aunt.

4- The fourth instance is announced as follows:

“…and a believing woman if she gives herself unto the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to wed her…”

Then the Qur’an continues saying:

“…for you exclusively, not for the (rest of the) believers. Indeed we know what We have ordained for them about their wives and those whom their right hands possess…”

Therefore, if Allah has assigned some limitations in same instances in the affairs concerning their marriage, it has been for some things that were existed in their life and the life of the Prophet (S), and none of these ordinances and rules was undue.

Then, the verse adds:

“…in order that there should be no difficulty for you…”
“…And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

By the way, the following points must be considered about the recent group (the women with no dowry):

First: No doubt the permission of ‘wedding a wife without dowry’ was one of the specialties of the Prophet (S), and the verse expresses it explicitly; that is why it is one of the ‘certain issues’ of the Islamic jurisprudence.

Thus, no one is allowed to marry with if the dowry is not mentioned at the time of reciting the formula of marriage, and there is not any frame of reference to determine it either, he must pay ‘suitable dower’. The purpose of ‘suitable dower’ is the dowry which the women of the same conditions and specialties of her usually appoint for them.

Second: commentators are divided in that whether this general ordinance was practised by the holy Prophet (S) or not. Some of them, such as Ibn-‘Abbas, believe that the Prophet (S) did not marry any woman in this way.

Therefore the above ordinance was only a general permission for the Prophet (S) which was never practically applied. Some other commentators have mentioned the names of three or four women among the Prophet’s wives who married with him (S) with no dowry.

They were “Maymunah” the daughter of Harith, “Zaynab” the daughter of “Khuzaymah” who was from the tribe of Ansar, a woman named ’Umm-i-Sharik, Jabir’s daughter who was from the tribe of Bani ’Asad, and “Khulah”, the daughter of Hakam.

It is evident that such women only desired to earn spiritual honour which could happen by the way of marriage with the Prophet (S). Therefore, they accepted to marry with him without any dowry.

Third: It is clearly understood from this verse that the recitation of the formula of marriage by the expression of /hibih/ (gift) had only been specialized to the Prophet (S) and no other person can recite the formula of marriage with such an expression.

But if the recitation of the formula of marriage is performed with the expression of marriage, it is allowed even though the dowry is not mentioned, because, as it was said, if the dowry is not mentioned, the ‘suitable dower’ must be paid. (In fact, it is like that ‘the suitable dower’ has been stipulated.)

Fourth: The Qur’anic sentence:

“…in order that there should be no difficulty for you…”

is a hint to the polygamy of the Prophet and the philosophy of these ordinances that are specialized to the Prophet of Islam (S).

This sentence indicates that the Prophet (S) has some conditions that others have not, and this very difference has caused the difference in such ordinances. In other words, it more clearly says that: the aim had been that a part of the restrictions and difficulties could be decreased for the Prophet (S) by means of these ordinances.

This is a delicate meaning which shows that the Prophet’s marriage with different women had been for the removal of a series of social political difficulties from his life.

We know that when the holy Prophet (S) announced Islam he was alone, and it took a long time that people did not believe in him, except a few persons. He roused against all the superstitious beliefs of his time and his environment, and proclaimed the declaration of war against all. It was natural that all the families and tribes in that place to be mobilized against him.

He had to use all possible means to break the evil unity of the enemies, one of which was creating relation by the way of marriage with the women of different tribes of Arab, since the most stable relation among the Arabs of the Age of Ignorance was counted the relative relation. There are many evidences which show that the Prophet’s marriages were mostly done politically.

Some of his marriages, like marriage with Zaynab, were for breaking the rules of pagan Arab, the explanation of which was stated in the commentary of verse 37 of the current Surah.

Some of his other marriages were for the sake of decreasing the level of the enemies’ hostility or attracting the affection of individuals or that of the obstinate zealous tribes.

In some history books we even read that the Prophet (S) married with numerous women but there happened nothing save the ceremonies of wedding, and he had no sexual intercourse with them. In some instances he sufficed only with marriage proposal from the women of some tribes.23

They were happy and boasted only with this that a woman from their tribe was called as the Prophet’s wife and they were honoured with it. Thus, their social relation with the Prophet of Islam (S) became closer and they were more decided to defend him.

The enemies of Islam had intended to use the numerous marriages of the Prophet of Islam (S) as a means for their most horrible attacks and to make some false stories from them, but referring to history and the manner of the Prophet (S), makes the fact fairly manifest and introduces the anonymous plots.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 51

تُرْجِي مَن تَشَآءُ مِنْهُنَّ وَتُؤْوِي إلَيْكَ مَن تَشَآءُ وَمَنِ ابْتَغَيْتَ مِمَّنْ عَزَلْتَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكَ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَي أَن تَقَرَّ أَعْيُنُهُنَّ وَلاَ يَحْزَنَّ وَيَرْضَيْنَ بِمَآ ءَاتَيْتَهُنَّ كُلُّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَلِيماً

51. “You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please, and whom you desire of those of whom you have separated, no blame shall be on you, this is most proper to give them the joy of their eyes and they may not grieve, and that they should be pleased, all of them with what you give them, and Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is Knowing, Forgiving.”

Those who have heavy responsibilities should be offered some particular authorities.

According to the previous statements and the proofs which were mentioned in the explanation of the verse, the numerous marriages of the holy Prophet (S) were often formed by political, social, and emotional aspects, and they were, in fact, a part of the fulfilment of his Divine messengership, but in the meantime, the opposition between his wives and their normal woman rivals created a conflict inside the Prophet’s house, and it would make his thought busy.

It is here that Allah has mentioned another quality of the Prophet (S) and, by putting an end to these conflicts, made his mind free from this point of view and, as we recite in the verse, He said:

“You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please…”

The Arabic term /turji/ is derived from /’irja’/ in the sense of delay; and the term /tu’wi/ is derived from /’iwa’/ in the sense of ‘to take in one’s place’.

We know that one of the ordinances of Islam is that when a man has numerous wives he must divide his time justly among them. If one night he is with one of them, another night he must be with another wife, and there is not any difference between them from this point of view. This subject has been explained in the books of Islamic jurisprudence under the title of /haqq-i-qasm/.

One of the qualities of the Prophet (S) was that this right, mentioned in the above verse, was not upon the Prophet (S), because of the specific conditions of his difficult life, specially when he was inside Medina and approximately every month a war was imposed on him during this very time that he had numerous wives.

Then he could divide his time in any form he desired, though, as the Islamic history books explicitly denote, he tried to observe equality among them as much as possible. Yet, the existence of this divine ordinance gave a kind of peace to the Prophet’s wives and to the interior environment of his life.

Then, the verse adds:

“…and whom you desire of those of whom you have separated, no blame shall be on you…”

Thus, not only at the beginning the authority was with the holy Prophet (S) but also this choice was with him in the continuation of it, and, in other words, this choice was a ‘continuous choice’.

By this expansive and vast ordinance any kind of excuse due to the Prophet’s wives was ceased from the programs of his life, and he could concentrate his thought on the great and heavy responsibilities of prophetship.

Then in order that the wives of the holy Prophet (S) should also know that besides obtaining the honour of being the Prophet’s wives, by submitting to this particular program of the Prophet’s time division they have shown a kind of self-sacrifice from them and that there is no objection upon them at all, because they have submitted to the ordinance of Allah, it adds:

“…this is most proper to give them the joy of their eyes and they may not grieve, and that they should be pleased, all of them with what you give them…”

This is so because: firstly this is a general ordinance about all of them, and, thus, there is no difference between them. Secondly: this is an ordinance from the side of Allah which has been ordained for some important interests.

Therefore, they must accept it willingly and contently in a way that they not only should not be annoyed but also be pleased with it.

At the end, the Holy Qur’an concludes the verse with the following sentence:

“…and Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is Knowing, Forgiving.”

Yes, Allah knows well that which ordinance you are heartily pleased by and submitted to, and which one you are unpleased with. He knows that in which of your wives you are more interested and in which one less, and how you observe the ordinance of Allah when confronting these affairs.

Again, He knows who, protesting in their hearts, sit here and there and object these Divine ordinances concerning the Prophet (S), and who eagerly accept them all.

So, the application of the Qur’anic term /qulubikum/ has a vast meaning that involves both the Prophet (S) and his wives, and all the believers who submit to these ordinances with consent, or protest and deny them though they do not make it manifest.

In Islamic jurisprudent, there is a discussion that whether it was obligatory for the Prophet (S) to divide his time equally among his numerous wives in the same way that is incumbent for the Muslims in general, or the Prophet (S) had the exception ordinance of ‘choice’.

It is known among the jurisprudents of Shi‘ah and among a group of the jurisprudents of the Sunnites that he was made an exception of this ordinance.

They take the above verse as its evidence that says:

“You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please…”

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 52

لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكَ النّـِسَآءُ مِن بَعْدُ وَلآ أَن تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ اِلاَّ مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَي كُلّ‌ِ شَيْءٍ رَقِيبًا

52. “Thereafter women are not lawful to you, neither for you to take other wives in exchange for them, though their beauty may charm you, except what your right hand possesses, and Allah is watchful over all things.”

Some tribes of Arab put the holy Prophet (S) under pressure to take a wife from them so that they boasted that the Messenger of Allah was their bridegroom. According to some expediencies, the holy Prophet (S) married with a few women, but this verse hindered the continuation of this action.

It says:

“Thereafter women are not lawful to you, neither for you to take other wives in exchange for them, though their beauty may charm you, except what your right hand possesses, and Allah is watchful over all things.”

The commentators of the Holy Qur’an and the Islamic jurisprudents have delivered many various explanations upon the commentary of this verse and there have also been recorded many different narrations in the Islamic sources upon this matter.

At first, without regarding the commentators’ statements, we mention whatever is meant from the apparent of the verse and in relation with the before and later verses, then we will refer to other matters.

The apparent meaning of the Arabic phrase /min ba‘du/ (thereafter) is that ‘thereafter new marriages are unlawful for you’. Therefore, the Arabic word /ba‘du/ means either the length of time, that is, after this time do not choose any more wife.

Or after that, according to the command of Allah in previous verses, you told your wives to choose to have a simple life in your house or to be divorced, and they willingly preferred to continue their matrimonial life with you, you should not marry any other woman thereafter.

And also, you can not divorce some of them and take other wives in exchange for them. In other words, you can neither increase them nor can you change the existing ones.

The commentators have taken the Qur’anic sentence: /walau ’a‘jabaka husnuhunna/ (though their beauty may charm you) as an evidence for the famous ordinance which is also referred to in some Islamic narrations saying that: the one who wants to marry a lady, he can have a look at her before, a looking that makes her situation, feature, and body distinguish for him.

The philosophy of this ordinance is that man may choose his wife with a complete distinction and it might prevent the later regret, which can put the marriage agreement in danger.

An Islamic tradition indicates that the Prophet (S) told one of his companions who wanted to marry a woman:

“Look at her (previously) and this causes that the affection between you will endure.”24

In another tradition, Imam Sadiq (as) in answer to this question that whether, at the time of deciding to marry a lady, man can look at her carefully and sees her face and her back, the Imam (as) said:

“Yes, it does not matter that when man wants to marry a lady he looks at her back and her face.”25

There are, of course, a lot of traditions in this regard, but some of them explicitly denote that this look at this time should not be done by the man lustfully and with the intention of pleasure.

This is also clear that this ordinance is specialized for the instances that the one really intends to study about a woman to understand that if she has the conditions he desires to marry her; but the one who has not decided to marry and that he will probably marry later, or as a mere study, he is not allowed to look at women.

  • 1. Kafi, Vol. 2, chapter ‘Remembrance’
  • 2. Ibid
  • 3. 34 times Allah-u-Akbar, 33 times Al-Hamd-u-lillah, and 33 times Subhan-allah
  • 4. Surah Taha, No. 20, verse 14
  • 5. Ibid, verse 124
  • 6. ’Usul-i-Kafi, Vol. 4, P. 274
  • 7. Riyad-us-Salihin, P. 542
  • 8. Qurar-ul-Hikam, Vol. 2, P. 465
  • 9. Kashf-ul-‘Iqal, Vol. 1, P. 454
  • 10. Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 1, P. 418
  • 11. Qurar-ul-Hikam, Vol. 1, P. 25
  • 12. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, Vol. 90, P. 54
  • 13. Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 500
  • 14. Mizan-ul-Hikmah, and Safinat-ul-Bihar, section Thikr
  • 15. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 152
  • 16. Surah At-Taubah, No. 9, verse 105
  • 17. Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, verse 41
  • 18. Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 160
  • 19. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 261
  • 20. Surah As-Sajdah, No. 32, verse 17
  • 21. as Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 237 has announced
  • 22. Like Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 241, and many traditions in this regard in chapter 50, Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, Vol. 15, P. 59
  • 23. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, Vol. 22, PP. 191-192
  • 24. The commentary by Qurtabi, Vol. 8, P. 5303
  • 25. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, Vol. 14, chapter 36, tradition 3

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