Saturday 15 May 2021

Sūrah Al-Mumtaḥanah - The Woman to be Questioned: Exegesis / Tafsir 60th Chapter of Qur'an

Sūrah Al-Mumtaḥanah (الممتحنة‎), translated "Woman That Is To Be Examined" is the 60th Sūrah of the Quran, a Medinan Sūrah with 13 verses divided into two Ruku, part of the 28th Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. The Surah takes its name from the verse 10 wherein it has been enjoined that the women who emigrate to dar al-Islam (the Islamic State) and claim to be Muslims, should be examined hence the title Al-Mumtahinah. The word is pronounced both as mumtahinah and as mumtahanah, the meaning according to the first pronunciation being "the Surah which examines", and according to the second, "the woman who is examined."

This Surah has three parts;
  • The first part consists of verses 1-9, and the concluding verse 13 also relates to it. In this strong exception has been taken to the act of Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a in that he had tried to inform the enemy of a very important war secret of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) only for the sake of safe guarding his family. This would have caused great bloodshed at the conquest of Makkah had it not been made ineffective in time. It would have cost the Muslims many precious lives; many of the Quraish would have been killed, who were to render great services to Islam afterward; the gains which were to accrue from conquering Makkah peacefully would have been lost, and all these serious losses would have resulted only because one of the Muslims had wanted to safeguard his family from the dangers of war. Administering a severe warning at this blunder Allah has taught the believers the lesson that no believer should, under any circumstances and for any motive, have relations of love and friendship with the disbelievers, who are actively hostile to Islam, and a believer should refrain from everything which might be helpful to them in the conflict between Islam and disbelief. However, there is no harm in dealing kindly and justly with those disbelievers, who may not be practically engaged in hostile activities against Islam and persecution of the Muslims.
  • The second part consists of verses 10-11. In this a social problem has been settled, which was agitating the minds at that time. There were many Muslim women in Makkah, whose husbands were pagans, but they were emigrating and reaching Madinah somehow. Likewise, there were many Muslim men in Madinah, whose wives were pagans and had been left behind in Makkah. The question arose whether the marriage bond between them continued to be valid or not. Allah settled this problem for ever, saying that the pagan husband is not lawful for the Muslim women, nor the pagan wife lawful for the Muslim husband. This decision leads to very important legal consequences, which we shall explain in our notes below.
  • The third section consists of verse 12, in which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) has been instructed to ask the women who accept Islam to pledge that they would refrain from the major evils that were prevalent among the womenfolk of the pre-Islamic Arab society, and to promise that they would henceforth follow the ways of goodness which the Messenger of Allah may enjoin.
We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah, which also includes its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to  eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan explaining the Surah in English at the end of this post.

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡا عَدُوِّیۡ وَ عَدُوَّکُمۡ اَوۡلِیَآءَ تُلۡقُوۡنَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ بِالۡمَوَدَّۃِ وَ قَدۡ کَفَرُوۡا بِمَا جَآءَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡحَقِّ ۚ یُخۡرِجُوۡنَ الرَّسُوۡلَ وَ اِیَّاکُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ رَبِّکُمۡ ؕ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ خَرَجۡتُمۡ جِہَادًا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِیۡ وَ ابۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِیۡ ٭ۖ تُسِرُّوۡنَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ بِالۡمَوَدَّۃِ ٭ۖ وَ اَنَا اَعۡلَمُ بِمَاۤ اَخۡفَیۡتُمۡ وَ مَاۤ اَعۡلَنۡتُمۡ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّفۡعَلۡہُ مِنۡکُمۡ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ سَوَآءَ السَّبِیۡلِ
( 1 )   O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah, your Lord. If you have come out for jihad in My cause and seeking means to My approval, [take them not as friends]. You confide to them affection, but I am most knowing of what you have concealed and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.
It would be appropriate to give at the outset the details of the incident concerning which these verses were sent down so that the subject that follows is understood easily. The commentators are agreed, and Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, 'Urwah bin Zubair and others also have unanimously reported, that these verses were revealed at the time when a letter of Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a to the pagans of Makkah was intercepted.

It so happened that, when the Quraish broke the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) started making preparations for an invasion of Makkah, but he did not tell anyone, except a few close Companions, what was the goal of the expedition. By chance at about the same time a woman arrived from Makkah, who had been a slave-girl of the Bani 'Abdul Muttalib, and then after her freedom had adopted singing as her profession. She complained of poverty to the Holy Prophet and requested for financial help. The Holy Prophet appealed to the Bani 'Abdul Muttalib and the Bani al-Muttalib and satisfied her need. When she was about to leave for Makkah, Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a met her and quietly gave her a letter addressed to some of the Makkah chiefs and paid her ten dinars so that she kept the secret and carried the letter to the addressees secretly. When she had just left Madinah, Allah informed the Holy Prophet (Upon whom be Allah's peace) of it. So the Holy Prophet immediately sent Hadrat 'AIi, Hadrat Zubair and Hadrat Miqdad bin Aswad after her with the instruction: "Make haste: At Raudah khaki (12 miles from Madinah on the road to Makkah) you will meet a woman, who carries a letter from Hatib to the pagans of Makkah Seize that letter by any means you like. If she delivers the letter willingly, let her go; if she refuses to deliver it, kill her." When these Companions reached the place, they found the woman there They demanded the letter from her. She replied that she had a letter. They searched her but could find no letter. At last, they told her to deliver the letter, otherwise they would strip her and search her. When she saw that there was no way of escape, she took out the letter from her hair-plait and delivered it to them, and they brought it to the Holy Prophet. When the letter was opened and read it was found to contain information to the Quraish that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) was making preparations to attack them. (In different traditions different wordings of the letter have been reported but the purport of all is one and the same). The Holy Prophet asked Hadrat Hatib what induced him to act thus. He replied: "Sir, do not make haste in this matter of mine. I have not done this because I have become a disbeliever or an apostate, and have started preferring disbelief to Islam. But the truth is that my near and dear ones are still in Makkah. I do not belong to the tribe of the Quraish, but had settled there under the guardianship of some of them. The families of the Emigrants, which are still in Makkah, will be defended and protected by their tribes and clans, but 1 have no tribe, which could give protection to my family. Therefore, I sent this letter in order to keep the Quraish under obligation so that they did not harm my children. " (According to Hadrat Hatib's .son `Abdur Rahman, Hadrat Habit had his children and brother still in Makkah at that time, and according to Hadrat Hatib's own report his mother also was there). Hearing what Hatib had to say, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) said to the people: "Hatib has told you the truth. " That is, the real motive of his action was this and not any treachery against Islam or any intention to support disbelief. Hadrat `Umar rose and said: "Permit me, O Messenger of Allah, that I should cut off this hypocrite's head: he has been treacherous to Allah and His Messenger and the Muslims." The Holy Prophet said: "This man has participated in the Battle of Badr: You may not know, O `Umar, Allah may have looked favorably at the people of Badr and said: "Do as you please, I have forgiven you. " (The words in the last sentence are different in different traditions. In some these are to the effect: "I have granted you forgiveness"; in some other: I am your Forgiver"; and in still an other: "I will forgive you.") Hearing this Hadrat 'Umar wept and said: "Allah and His Messenger have the best knowledge. " This is a resume of those many traditions which Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Timidhi Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir Tabari, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Hibban and Ibn Abi Hatim have related on the authority of several reliable transmitters. The most authentic of these is the tradition which Hadrat `Ali's secretary, 'Ubaidullah bin Abu Rafi', heard from Hadrat `Ali himself, and from him Hadrat 'Ali's grandson, Hasan bin Muhammad bin Hanafiyah, heard and conveyed to the later reporters. In none of these there is .any mention that Hadrat Hatib was pardoned when he presented this excuse. But there is no hint either to show that he was awarded some punishment. That is why the Muslim scholars have concluded that Hadrat Hatib's excuse was accepted and he was pardoned. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The immediate occasion for this was a secret letter sent by one Hatib, a Muhajir, from Madinah, to the Pagans at Makkah, in most friendly terms, seeking for their protection on behalf of his children and relatives left behind in Makkah. The letter was intercepted, and he confessed the truth. He was forgiven as he told the truth and his motive did not appear to be heinous, but this instruction was given for future guidance. This was shortly before the conquest of Makkah, but the principle is of universal application. You cannot be on terms of secret intimacy with the enemies of your Faith and people, who are persecuting your Faith and seeking to destroy your Faith and you. You may not do so even for the sake of your relatives as it compromises the life and existence of your whole community.

Such was the position of the Muslim community in Madinah after the Hijrah and before the conquest of Makkah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "and your enemies" - implying that people who deliberately reject God's messages are ipso facto inimical to those who believe in them.

Historically, here is a reference to the forced emigration of the Prophet and his followers from Mecca to Medina. In a more general sense, however, it is an allusion to the potential persecution of believers of all times by "those who are bent on denying the truth", i.e., those who are averse to religious beliefs as such.

As is shown in verses {7-9}, this prohibition of taking unbelievers for friends relates only to such of them as are actively hostile towards the believers (cf. 58:22 and note - reproduced herein under):
(58:22) " Thou canst not find people who [truly] believe in God and the Last Day and [at the same time] love anyone who contends against God and His Apostle - even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or [others of] their kindred."
The operative phrase of this passage is contained in the words, "anyone who contends against (man hadda) God and His Apostle": i.e., anyone who is engaged in active hostility against God's message and the person or the teachings of His Apostle. As regards relations with non-believers who are not actively hostile to Islam, the Qur'an explicitly permits and implicitly ordains in many places (e.g., in {60:8-9} below) kindness and friendliness towards them.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Though the address is general in nature yet it is directed to the Muslims who though had migrated to Madinah but because of their innate weakness and compromising nature had not been able to sever their former familial and friendly ties with the idolaters of Makkah. The Qur’an regarded it to be against faith and told them that if they lay claim to faith, they should terminate this relationship. This is because these people are not merely disbelievers. They have gone ahead and become the enemies of God and the Muslims and are in a state of war with the Muslims.

The actual words are: تُلۡقُوۡنَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ بِالۡمَوَدَّۃِ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… [This] style is similar to the style in the verse: وَ لَا تُلۡقُوۡا بِاَیۡدِیۡکُمۡ اِلَی التَّہۡلُکَۃِ  (and do not with your own hands cast yourselves into destruction, (2:195)). Such relations are generally established through epistles and letters and various other means. Hence this style is very appropriate to convey this meaning.(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 334)
The instrument of state (hal) is employed here so that the whole picture comes before the eyes. In other words, this instrument portrays the situation.

The implication is that Muslims have recognized their obligation towards God; however, this acknowledgement of the truth has become a cause of the Quraysh becoming their enemies.

The answer of اِنْ كُنْتُمْ is suppressed in this sentence. This becomes evident from وَ مَنۡ یَّفۡعَلۡہُ مِنۡکُمۡ ahead and I have attempted to unveil it in the translation above. The implication is that if Muslims set off to please the Almighty and to wage war in His cause, then this should not be with the desire to befriend these enemies of God and while sending messages and memos to them. This is the time of expressing one’s enmity with them and not friendship. Waging jihad for the cause of God and seeking His pleasure are totally opposite to friendship with His enemies. For this reason, these Muslims should incline themselves totally to God and forsake the thought of befriending God’s enemies. If they continue with this attitude, then this would mean that they have chosen to tread the path of Satan while leaving aside the path of God.

اِنۡ یَّثۡقَفُوۡکُمۡ یَکُوۡنُوۡا لَکُمۡ اَعۡدَآءً وَّ یَبۡسُطُوۡۤا اِلَیۡکُمۡ اَیۡدِیَہُمۡ وَ اَلۡسِنَتَہُمۡ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ وَ وَدُّوۡا لَوۡ تَکۡفُرُوۡنَ
( 2 )   If they gain dominance over you, they would be to you as enemies and extend against you their hands and their tongues with evil, and they wish you would disbelieve.
Although what has been said up to here, and what follows in this regard, was sent down in connection with the incident relating to Hadrat Hatib, Allah, instead of dwelling on his case only, has given the believers this lesson for ever and ever: "It is contrary to the profession of the Faith that a person should act, out of any motive or reason, in a way detrimental to the interests of Islam and subservient to the interests of disbelief when a conflict is going on between Islam and disbelief and some people have adopted a hostile attitude towards the Muslims only because they are Muslims. Even if a person be wholly free from any ill-will against Islam and acts thus not with an evil intention but for the sake of a dire personal need, the act anyhow is unbecoming of a believer, and whoever acts thus strays from the right way." 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Besides the question of your fidelity to your own people, even your own selfish interests require you to beware of secret intrigues with enemies. They will welcome you as cat's paw. But what will happen when they have used you and got the better of you and your people! Then they will show you their hand. And a heavy hand it will be! Not only will they injure you with their hands but with their tongues! The only words they will use for you will be "Traitors to their own"! If they intrigue with you now, it is to prevent you from the Path of Truth and righteousness and win you over to their evil ways.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " Indeed, you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people: "Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God: we deny the truth of whatever you believe; and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time " Since the adverb abadan is immediately followed by the particle hatta ("until such a time as..."), it is obviously erroneous to give it the meaning of "forever", as has been hitherto done in all translations of the Qur'an into Western languages. In view of the original connotation of the noun abad as "time" or "long time", i.e., of indefinite duration (Jawhari, Zamakhshari's Asas, Mughni, etc.), abadan is best rendered in the present context as "to last [until]...", etc.

" The only exception was " Lit., "Except for": i.e., an exception from Abraham's statement, "between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last...", etc. In other words, his filial love prevented Abraham from including his father in his declaration of "enmity and hatred", although later - after his father had died as an idolater - Abraham could not but disavow him (cf. 9:114 ).

" Abraham's saying to his father, "I shall indeed pray for [God's] forgiveness for thee " Cf. {19:47-48}.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The implication is that these enemies of God are so severe in their enmity with Muslims that if they are able to lay their hands on them, they will not give any regard to any relationship or kinship with them; instead they will definitely try to harm Muslims in whatever way they can.

لَنۡ تَنۡفَعَکُمۡ اَرۡحَامُکُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اَوۡلَادُکُمۡ ۚۛ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ۚۛ یَفۡصِلُ بَیۡنَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ بَصِیۡرٌ 
( 3 )   Never will your relatives or your children benefit you; the Day of Resurrection He will judge between you. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.
The allusion is to Hadrat Hatib. As he had acted thus only in order to ensure that his mother and brother and children remained safe in the event of a war, it is being said: "The relations for whose sake you have committed this grave error, will not save you on the Day of Resurrection. No one will dare come forward in the Court of Allah and say: `Our father, or our son, or our brother had committed this sin for ow sake; therefore, we may be punished instead of him. At that time everyone will be worried only about himself, and weighed down with the anxiety of somehow saving himself from the consequences of his own acts, not to speak of being ready to take the burden of another's sins on his head," This thing has been expressed in clearer words at several other places in the Qur'an. At one place it has boon said: "To save oneself froth the torment of that Day, the culprit will wish to give his children, his wife, his brother, his kinsfolk, who gave him shelter, and all the people of the earth, in ransom that this device might rescue him." (Al-Ma'arij -11-14). At another place: “On the Day man shall flee froth his brother and his mother and his father and his wife and his children. Each one of them, on that Day, shall have enough to occupy him so as to make him heedless of others." ('Abasa: 34-37). 

That is, "All worldly relationships and bonds of lout and friendship shall be rendered void in the Hereafter. The people will not be judged as groups and parties and families, but every person will have to present himself as an individual and render his own account only. Therefore, no one in the world should commit a wrong for the sake of a relationship or friendship or fraternity, for he will himself have to face all its consequences, and no one else will become a partner in a matter of his personal responsibility." 

The following conclusions arc deduced from the details of the cast of Hadrat Hatib, as mentioned above, and the verses which were sent down in this connection:

(1) Whatever the motive of the person, it was in itself an act of espionage, and a very dangerous kind of espionage on a critical occasion. The enemy, who was absolutely unaware, had been informed of the immanent attack from Madinah. Then it was not a case based on suspicion but a letter written by the concerned person himself had been intercepted, after which no other proof of the guilt was required. These were not peace but war time conditions; yet the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) did not place Hadrat Hatib in confinement without giving-him a chance of self-defense: This chance also was not given him in private but publicly before the people. This makes it manifest that there is no room in Islam for such, laws and regulations under which the ruler may have the right in any case to imprison a person only on the basis of his own knowledge or suspicion. Islam also does not recognize the method of trying a person secretly in secret.

(2) Hadrat Hatib was not only one of the Emigrants but also a participant in the Battle of Badr, and enjoyed a distinguished place among the Companions. But despite this a serious crime happened to be committed by him and Allah took him to task for this in the Qur'an as is evident from the above verses. In the Hadith too, his case has been narrated in detail and among the commentators also there may be none who has not made a reference to it. These arc some of the evidences which prove that the Companions were not innocent. They also could commit errors because of human weaknesses, and errors happened to be committed by them practically. The teaching of regarding them with respect and reverence that Allah and His Messenger have given, does not at all require that if one of them happened to commit an error, it should not be mentioned, for evidently, if this were their demand, neither would Allah have mentioned them in His Book, nor the Companions and their successors and the traditionists and the commentators would have related their details in their traditions and books.

(3) The view that Hadrat `Umar expressed in the case of Hadrat Hatib concerned the apparent aspect of the act. His reasoning was that the act was clearly in the nature of treachery to Allah and His Messenger and the Muslims; therefore, Hatib was a hypocrite and deserved to be put to death. But the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) rejected his viewpoint and explained the viewpoint of the Islamic Shari'ah, saying: "Decision should not be given only on the outward form of the act but it should also be seen what evidence is given by the past lift and general character of the person, who happens to commit the act and the circumstances under which he commits it. The act, no doubt, smacked of espionage, but did the attitude of the person concerned towards Islam and the followers of Islam until then indicate that he could do such a thing with the intention of treachery to Allah and His Messenger and the Muslims? He was one of those who had emigrated for the sake of the Faith. Could he have made such a sacrifice without sincerity? He fought in a critical battle like Badr for the sake of his Faith when the Muslims were facing an enemy much better equipped and three times their number, Could the sincerity of such a person be doubted? Or, could it be believed that he had the slightest inclination towards the Quraish? He was telling the plain truth that his family at Makkah did not enjoy the protection of any tribe or clan, which the families of the other Emigrants enjoyed; therefore, he acted thus during war time only in order to safeguard his children from the persecution of the disbelievers. The facts confirmed that he did not really belong to any tribe at Makkah and this too was known that his family members were still back at Makkah. Therefore, there was no reason why his statement should be taken as false and the opinion formed that his actual motive was not this but the intention of treachery. No doubt, for a sincere Muslim even with a good intention it was not lawful that he should inform the enemy of the military plans of the Muslims only for the sake of his personal interests, yet there is a great difference between the error of a sincere Muslim and the treachery of a hypocrite. Both cannot be awarded the same punishment only on the basis of the similarity between their acts. This was the Holy Prophet's decision in this case, and Allah confirmed it in the verses of Surah Al Mumtahinah. A careful study of the above three verses will show that in these Allah has certainly reprimanded Hatib, but it is a kind of a reprimand administered to a believer and not the one administered to a hypocrite. Moreover, no penalty, or physical punishment was awarded to him, but he was administered a severe rebuke publicly and lot off, which meant that in a Muslim society even a blot on the honor of a guilty believer and his falling into disrepute also was a very severe punishment.

(4) About the great merit of tile Companions who fought at Badr, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) said: You may not know Allah might have looked favorably at tilt people of Badr and said: 'Do as you please, I have forgiven you'." This does not moan that the Companions of Badr were forgiven each and . every sin and they were at liberty to commit whatever sin and crime they pleased, for forgiveness had already been guaranteed to them This was neither meant by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) nor the Companions ever understood it in this meaning, nor any Canpartion of Badr after hearing this good news ever thought that he was free to commit any sin, nor ever any rule was made on the basis of this in the Islamic Shari'ah that if a Companion of Badr happened to commit a sin, he should not be given ally punishment for it. As a matter of fact, if one considers the circumstances under which this was said and the words that the Holy Prophet used on this occasion carefully, one can clearly understand the meaning to be this: "It would not be anything impossible if in view of the great and meritorious services that the Companions rendered at Badr out of sincerity and devotion and at the very risk of their lives for the sake of Allah and His Religion, Allah might have forgiven all their former and latter sins mercifully. Therefore, you should not suspect such a Companion of treachery and hypocrisy, and should accept the excuse that he himself is presenting for his crime."

(5) From the Qur'an and the Holy Prophet's sayings it also becomes evident that a Muslim's being involved in espionage for the disbelievers by itself is not a sufficient basis for the conclusion that he has become an apostate, or is devoid of the Faith, or is a hypocrite. For reaching such a conclusion if there arc some other circumstances and evidences, it would be a different thing; otherwise by itself this act is only a crime, not a sign of disbelief.

(6) From these verses of the Qur'an it also becomes evident that for a Muslim it is in no case permissible that he should spy for the disbelievers, no matter how gravely his own life and property, or that of his near and dear ones, might be endangered.

(7) When Hadrat `Umar asked for the Holy Prophet's permission to put Hadrat Hatib to death for the crime of espionage, the Holy Prophet did not say that the crime was not punishable with -death, but declined permission on the ground that Hatib's being a Companion of Badr was an express proof of his being sincere, and the statement given by him was correct that be had acted thus not out of any good wishes for the enemies but for the sake of safeguarding his family from any possible persecution to death. From this one section of the jurists has argued that the general law in respect of a Muslim spy is that he should be put to death, unless there are very weighty-reasons for awarding him a lesser punishment or a mere reprimand. But the jurists have disputed this question. Imam Shafe'i and some other jurists hold the view that the Muslim spy is punishable, but not with death. Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Auza'i maintain that he will be subjected to corporal punishment and long imprisonment. Imam Malik says that he will be put to death, but the Malik; jurists hold different views on this question. Ash'hab says that the Muslim ruler has vast powers in this matter. He can exercise his judgment keeping in view the circumstances of the crime and the culprit and award him any punishment. A saying of Imam Malik and Ibn al-Qasim also is to the same effect. Ibn al Majishun and `Abdul Malik bin Habib say that if the culprit is a habitual spy, he should be put to death. Ibn Wahb says that the punishment of the spy is death, but if he repents of spying, he may be pardoned. Sahnun says that one cannot know whether his repentance is genuine or deceptive; therefore, he should be put to death. There is a saying of Ibn al-Qasim also in support of this. And Asbagh says that the belligerent spy is punishable with death, but the Muslim or dhimmi spy should be given corporal punishment instead of the death sentence, unless he be helping the enemies openly as against the Muslims. (Ibn al-`Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur'an; 'Umdat al-Qari; Fath al-Bari.)

(8) The Hadith that has been cited above also permits that for the investigation of the crime not only the male but the female accused also can be stripped if so required. Although Hadrat `Ali, Hadrat Zubair and Hadrat Miqdad had not stripped the woman, yet they had threatened her that if she did not produce the letter, they would strip and search her.. Obviously, if it were not lawful, the three illustrious Companions could not have threatened her thus. And one can understand that they must have reported the story of their expedition on their return to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah s peace). Had he expressed his displeasure, it must have been reported. That is why the jurists have held it as permissible. ('Umdat al-Qari).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The plea of children and relatives (correlate with explanation of verse one above) will be no excuse for treachery when the Day of Judgment comes. Your children and family will not save you. The Judgment will be in the hands of Allah, and He has full knowledge of all your overt and hidden acts and motives.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This expression is so beautifully placed between two sentences that it becomes the locus of both the preceding and succeeding verbs.

قَدۡ کَانَتۡ لَکُمۡ اُسۡوَۃٌ حَسَنَۃٌ فِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗ ۚ اِذۡ قَالُوۡا لِقَوۡمِہِمۡ اِنَّا بُرَءٰٓؤُا مِنۡکُمۡ وَ مِمَّا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ ۫ کَفَرۡنَا بِکُمۡ وَ بَدَا بَیۡنَنَا وَ بَیۡنَکُمُ الۡعَدَاوَۃُ وَ الۡبَغۡضَآءُ اَبَدًا حَتّٰی تُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَحۡدَہٗۤ اِلَّا قَوۡلَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ لِاَبِیۡہِ لَاَسۡتَغۡفِرَنَّ لَکَ وَ مَاۤ اَمۡلِکُ لَکَ مِنَ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ رَبَّنَا عَلَیۡکَ تَوَکَّلۡنَا وَ اِلَیۡکَ اَنَبۡنَا وَ اِلَیۡکَ الۡمَصِیۡرُ 
( 4 )   There has already been for you an excellent pattern in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, "Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone" except for the saying of Abraham to his father, "I will surely ask forgiveness for you, but I have not [power to do] for you anything against Allah. Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination.
That is, "We reject you: we neither consider you to be in the right nor your religion. " The inevitable demand of the faith in Allah is denial of taghut (Satan): "Whoever rejects taghut and believes in Allah has taken a firm support that never gives way." (Al-Baqarah: 256). 

In other words, it means: "Though there is an excellent example for you in Abraham's conduct in that he expressed disapproval of his pagan people and broke off all connections with them, yet his promise to pray for the forgiveness of his pagan father and then carrying it out practically is not worth following, for the believers should not have even this much relationship of love and sympathy with the disbelievers. In At-Taubah: 113, Allah has clearly warned: "It does not behoove the Prophet and those who have believed that they should pray for the forgiveness of the polytheists even though they be near kinsmen. " Thus, no Muslim is allowed to pray for the forgiveness of his unbelieving kinsmen on the basis of the argument that the Prophet Abraham had done so. As for the question, why did the Prophet Abraham pray thus, and did he carry out his promise practically? the answer has been provided by the Qur'an in full detail. When his father expelled him from the house, he had said on his departure: "I bid you farewell: I will pray to my Lord for your forgiveness." (maryam: 47). On the basis of this very promise he prayed for him twice. One prayer is contained in Surah Ibrahim: 41: "Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day when reckoning will be hold. " And the second prayer is in Surah Ash Shua'ra 86: "Forgive my father, for indeed he is from among those who have strayed and do not disgrace the an the Day when the people will be raised back to life." But afterwards when he realized that the father for whose forgiveness he was praying, wan an enemy of Allah, he excused himself from it and broke off even this relationship of love and sympathy with him:

"As regards the prayer of Abraham for his father, it was only to fulfill a promise he bad made to him, but when he realized that he was an enemy of Allah, he disowned him. The fact is that Abraham was a tender-hearted, God fearing and forbearing man (At-Taubah: 114).

A study of these verses make: the principle manifest that only that act of the prophets worthy of following, which they persistently practiced till the end. As regards those acts which they themselves gave up, or which Allah restrained them from practicing or which were forbidden in the Divine Shari ah, they are not worth following, and no one showed follow such acts of theirs on the basis of the argument that that was such and such a prophet's practice.

Here, another question also arises, which may create confusion in some minds. In the verse under discussion, the saying of the Prophet Abraham which Allah has declared as not worth following, has two parts. The first part is that he said to his father: "I will pray for your forgiveness," and the second: `I have no power to get anything for you from Allah. " Of these the first thing's not being a worthy examples to be. followed is understandable, but, what is wrong with the second thing that that too has been made an exception from being an example worthily of imitation, whereas it by itself is a truth? The answer is that the saying of the Prophet Abraham has been included in the exception for the reason that when a person after making a promise with another to do something, says that it is riot in his power to do anything beyond that for him, it automatically gives the meaning that if it were in his power to do anything further for him, he would have done that too for his sake. This makes his relationship of sympathy with the other person even more manifest. On that very basis this second part of the saying of the Prophet Abraham also deserved to be included in the exception, although its subject was true in so far as it does not lit even in the power of a Prophet to have a person forgiven by Allah. 'Allama Alusi also in his Ruh al-Ma ani has given this same answer to this question.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: See ix. 114. Abraham was tender-hearted, and loyal to his father and his people. He warned them against idolatry and sin, and prayed for his father, but when his father and his people became open enemies of Allah, Abraham entirely dissociated himself from them, and left his home, his father, his people, and his country. Those with him were his believing wife and nephew Lut and any other Believers that went into exile with him.

The enemies of Allah are enemies of the righteous, and they hate the righteous. Therefore the righteous must cut themselves off eternally from them, unless they repent and come back to Allah. In that case they receive Allah's mercy and are entitized to all the rights of love and brotherhood. This shows that our detestation is for evil, not for men as such so long as there is a chance for repentance. See also verse 7 below. But we must give no chance to Evil for working evil on our Brotherhood at any time.

Refer again to ix. 114. Abraham's conduct is not condemned. it was a special case, and is not to be imitated by weaker men, who may fall into sin by thinking too much of sinners.

This prayer indicates what our attitude should be. We must trust to Allah, and not to Allah's enemies to protect and befriend ourselves, our families, or those near and dear to us.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " to last until such a time " Since the adverb abadan is immediately followed by the particle hatta ("until such a time as..."), it is obviously erroneous to give it the meaning of "forever", as has been hitherto done in all translations of the Qur'an into Western languages. In view of the original connotation of the noun abad as "time" or "long time", i.e., of indefinite duration (Jawhari, Zamakhshari's Asas, Mughni, etc.), abadan is best rendered in the present context as "to last [until]...", etc.

" The only exception was " Lit., "Except for": i.e., an exception from Abraham's statement, "between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last...", etc. In other words, his filial love prevented Abraham from including his father in his declaration of "enmity and hatred", although later - after his father had died as an idolater - Abraham could not but disavow him (cf. 9:114 ).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: قَدۡ کَانَتۡ لَکُمۡ اُسۡوَۃٌ حَسَنَۃٌ فِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ. This style shows that whatever is being said is already known to people. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
 The Arabs were proud to be the progeny of Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws). They were aware of the traditions of his migration and sacrifice offered. Though with the passage of time, a lot of dust had settled on these traditions and innovations too had distorted them, it was not that they were completely unaware of them as some historians think. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 334)
After this, occur the words وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗ. It is evident from this that when Abraham (sws) migrated, there were those people with him as well from among his nation who professed faith in him.

Ie., renounce whatever they believe in.

After conclusive communication of the truth, this declaration of acquittal has been made by every messenger before his respective nation. After this, the relationship of inviting his people to the truth and preaching them ends, and the rejecters of a messenger are clearly told that friendship and fraternal ties can no longer exist between them and the followers of the messenger. They are the enemies of God and of the religion of God. So enmity and revulsion should be proclaimed with them until they repent from polytheism and accept monotheism.

This is an exception from the proclamation of acquittal. In other words, the only lenience which Abraham (sws) showed to them in this open declaration of acquittal was that he promised his father that he would pray for his forgiveness. What was the reason for this lenience. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

The reason for this lenience was Abraham’s temperament evident from other places of the Qur’an: he was very compassionate and forbearing. He thought that if he prayed for his father, then this would not be adverse to the declaration of acquittal he had made against all his people and in fact was a natural corollary of the benevolence every son is bound to show to his parents. Till that time he also did not know the extent of his father’s enmity with religion; he thought that the real reason for the father’s anger was that he as per his own beliefs wanted to save his son from being misguided; however, when it became evident that his father was a die-hard enemy of religion, Abraham (sws) declared his complete acquittal from him. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 329)
Abraham (sws) meant that the authority he too has is only to pray for his father’s forgiveness. To accept or reject it rests in the hands of God. He cannot intervene in His decision in any manner.

رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا فِتۡنَۃً لِّلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا وَ اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا رَبَّنَا ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ
( 5 )   Our Lord, make us not [objects of] torment for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise."
There are several ways in which the believers can become a cause of trial for the disbelievers, for which every believer should seek Allah's refuge. For example,

(1) the disbelievers may gain in upper hand over them and consider it a proof of their being in the right and the believers being in the wrong; otherwise it could not be that in spite of Allah's good pleasure that they claim to enjoy, the disbelievers would have been able to gain an upper hand over them;

(2) the persecution of the believers by the disbelievers may become unbearable with the result that they may yield to them and abandon their Faith and moral values this would subject the believers to public ridicule and would provide the disbelievers with an opportunity to humiliate and debase than and their religion:

(3) in spite of being the standard-bearers of the true Faith the believers may lose their moral superiority that should accrue to them as believers. and the people have the same defects and deficiencies in their character as are commonly found in an un-Islamic community: this would give the disbelievers an opportunity to say that the Faith of the believers was in no way superior to their disbelief. (For further details sec verse 85 of Surah 10. Yunus - reproduced herein under):
(10:85) They replied: 'We place our reliance on Allah. Our Lord! Do not make us a trial for the oppressors,

Those, who responded to the appeal of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) were those youth who obeyed and followed him, and not the Israelites, as a community, as is obvious from the context. 

The prayer, “Our Lord, do not make us a trial for the wrongdoing people” is very comprehensive in meaning. Whenever the standard bearers of the truth rise up to establish virtue and eradicate the prevalent evil, they come into conflict with unjust people, who, for one reason or the other, are always on the lookout to find fault with them. First, there are the champions of falsehood, who try their level best to crush down with full force the champions of the truth. Then there are the so called champions of the truth who profess to believe in it but are not prepared to enter into conflict with the powerful government of the time. Therefore they declare it to be a useless and foolish effort, and begin to invent excuses to justify the wrong stand they take in regard to the struggle with falsehood in order to silence the prick of conscience they feel for their criminal attitude of cowardice. Accordingly, they try to prove that it is these standard bearers of the truth who are in the wrong and not them. Lastly, there are the common people, who watch the conflict as bystanders and join forces with those who prove to be more powerful of the two, whether they are the supporters of the truth or of falsehood.
Now let us consider how the champions of the truth are liable to become a cause of trial for these unjust people. If they are crushed down or defeated, the first group declares, we were in the right and not these foolish people: otherwise they could not have been defeated. The second group says, their defeat has proved that they did not make the correct estimate of the circumstances and caused the destruction of valuable lives by coming in conflict with the mighty powers. Moreover, the Shariat has not made it obligatory on us to expose ourselves to risk, when we are fulfilling the most essential religious duties without any restrictions from the tyrants of the day. As regards to the common people, their criterion of judging the truth is this: Whatever triumphs is truth. Therefore their defeat has proved that the champions of the truth must be in the wrong. Likewise, every mistake and error the champions of the truth commit, every weakness they show in the face of overwhelming odds against them, every moral fault to which anyone of them succumbs, becomes a good excuse for those who intend to stick to falsehood. Consequently, the invitation to the truth becomes dormant for years after their defeat.
Thus it has become quite clear that this prayer of the companions of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was well timed and meaningful: Our Lord, have mercy upon us so that we might not become a cause of trial for the unjust people: protect us from errors, defects and, weaknesses and make our efforts successful in this world so that we may become a source of goodness to Thy creatures and not a source of evil for the unjust people.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the disbelievers,) Mujahid said, "It means, `Do not punish us by their hands, nor with a punishment from You.' Or they will say, `Had these people been following the truth, the torment would not have struck them'.'' Ad-Dahhak said something similar. Qatadah said, "Do not give the disbelievers victory over us, thus subjecting us to trials by their hands. Surely, if You do so, they would then think that they were given victory over us because they are on the truth.'' This is the meaning that Ibn Jarir preferred. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas: "Do not give them dominance over us, lest we suffer trials by their hands.'' 

Allah's statement, (and forgive us, Our Lord! Verily, You, only You, are the Almighty, the All-Wise.) means, `cover our mistakes from being exposed to other than You, and forgive us for what (sin) is between us and You.'

(Verily, You, only You, are the Almighty,) `and those who seek refuge in Your majesty are never dealt with unjustly,' 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In viii. 25, I have explained the shades of meaning in the word Fitnat (reproduced below). 

Fitna has many meanings: (1) the root meaning is trial or temptation, as in ii. 102 and viii. 28; (2) an analogous meaning is trial or punishment, as in v. 71; (3) tumult or oppression, as in ii. 193, and here: and in viii. 39 (4) there is here (viii. 25) the further shade of meaning suggested, discord, sedition, civil war. This warning against internal discord or tumult was very necessary in the Civil Wars of early Islam, and was never more necessary than it is now. For it affects innocent and guilty alike.

In ii. 102 Harut and Marut were a trial to test the righteous who trusted in Allah from the unrighteous who resorted to evil and superstition. Here the prayer to Allah is that we should be saved from becoming so weak as to tempt the Unbelievers to try to attack and destroy us.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words are: لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا فِتۡنَۃً. The word فِتۡنَۃ (trial) means the target of trial and refers to the harms the disbelievers of the truth would inflict on the Muslims. Such a supplication has been made by every prophet at the time of migration and acquittal. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: … This prayer expresses the fact that the virtuous of intentions of a person is materialized only after God provides facility and favourable circumstances. For this reason, every step should be taken by seeking His help. Only those succeed in the trials of God whose hearts are always inclined towards Him, and who have the full conviction that at last one day they will have to return to their Lord. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 330)

Qur'an Wiki: This prayer is an appeal to God not to give the unbelievers mastery over the believers, which would strengthen the former's rejection of true faith.
They would think that had faith provided any protection to its followers, they themselves would not have been able to subdue them. This is a confusing point, one that often surfaces when falsehood manages to gain the upper hand for a time and purpose known only to God. In such periods, tyranny is able to treat believers very badly. Good believers endure this test with patience, but this should not prevent them from praying to God to spare them such hardship that makes of them a test to others and a basis for creeping doubt.

Abraham and his group continue their supplication: "Forgive us." This is said by Abraham, God's own friend, realizing that the standard of worship which is worthy of God is beyond his reach. As a human being, he cannot attain the level of worship which gives due thanks for God's favours and which sufficiently glorifies Him. Therefore, he appeals for forgiveness, setting an example for his own group and all later believers.

Concluding his prayer, Abraham addresses his Lord by His attributes that are the most suitable here: "Lord' You are the Almighty, the Wise." (Verse 5)

لَقَدۡ کَانَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہِمۡ اُسۡوَۃٌ حَسَنَۃٌ لِّمَنۡ کَانَ یَرۡجُوا اللّٰہَ وَ الۡیَوۡمَ الۡاٰخِرَ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ الۡغَنِیُّ الۡحَمِیۡدُ
( 6 )   There has certainly been for you in them an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day. And whoever turns away - then indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
"Who is hopeful Or Allah and the Last Day": who expects that one Day he will have to present himself before Allah and is hopeful that Allah will treat him benevolently and help him attain to success in the Hereafter. 

That is, "Allah has no need of such believers, who profess to believe in His Religion as well as maintain friendly relations with His enemies. He is Self Sufficient: His Godhead does not require that they should acknowledge Him as God. He is Self-Praiseworthy, i.e. 'His being praiseworthy is not dependent on the people's praising and glorifying Him. , If they affirm the faith, they faith, they do so not for any good of Allah, but for their own good: and they cannot gain anything from their affirmation of the faith until they break off all connections of love and friendship with the enemies of Allah as the Prophet Abraham and his companions did."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: In them: i.e. in their attitude of prayer and reliance on Allah, and of dissociation from evil.

If any one rejects Allah's Message or Law, the loss is his own. It is not Allah Who needs him or his worship or his sacrifice or his praise. Allah is independent of all wants, and His attributes are inherently deserving of all praise, whether the wicked give such praise or not, in word or deed.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a permutative (badal) from لَقَدۡ کَانَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہِمۡ اُسۡوَۃٌ حَسَنَۃٌ. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: " … What is implied is that indeed for them the best example to follow in this matter is found in the declaration of acquittal made by Abraham (sws) and his companions; however, not every slave to his desires is able to follow such an example. Only those people have the courage to embark upon this job who also hope to receive God’s help and also hope for the Hereafter to materialize. People who do not have full conviction in these two things cannot undertake this task."(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 330)

عَسَی اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یَّجۡعَلَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ وَ بَیۡنَ الَّذِیۡنَ عَادَیۡتُمۡ مِّنۡہُمۡ مَّوَدَّۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ قَدِیۡرٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ 
( 7 )   Perhaps Allah will put, between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Although the true believers were following the exhortation to sever their connections with the unbelieving kinsmen patiently, yet Allah knew how hard it was to break off one's connections with one's parents, brothers and sisters and near relations. Therefore, Allah consoled them with the hope that a time would soon come when their same relations would become Muslims and their today's enmity would again change into love tomorrow. When this thing was said no one could understand how this would happen. But hardly a few weeks had passed after the revelation of these verses when Makkah fell and the people of Quraish began to enter Islam in large numbers, and the Muslims witnessed with their own eyes how the hope they were given materialized. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Apparent religious hatred or enmity or persecution may be due to ignorance or over-zeal in a soul, which Allah will forgive and use eventually in His service, as happened in the case of Hadhrat 'Umar, who was a different man before and after his conversion. As stated in n. 5414 above, we should hate evil, but not men as such.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a reference to the fact that at times persevering itself becomes a source of inviting others to it. When people see that a person merely for his religion is prepared to leave his brothers and sisters, near of kin and friends, they do reflect on the nature of this faith that has made a person its steadfast adherent. As a result, they become ready to listen and understand the call of this faith, and it is this very thing which changes their enmity into friendship.

Since He has power over everything, so if He wants, He can make enemies turn into bosom friends. At the same time, since He is also forgiving and gracious He is always on the lookout to forgive people and facilitate them towards the path of goodness if they come forward and seek repentance for their blemishes.

لَا یَنۡہٰىکُمُ اللّٰہُ عَنِ الَّذِیۡنَ لَمۡ یُقَاتِلُوۡکُمۡ فِی الدِّیۡنِ وَ لَمۡ یُخۡرِجُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ دِیَارِکُمۡ اَنۡ تَبَرُّوۡہُمۡ وَ تُقۡسِطُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُقۡسِطِیۡنَ 
( 8 )   Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
Here a doubt may arise in the minds. It is all right to treat the disbelievers, who are not hostile, kindly, but should only they be treated unjustly? And should the disbelievers, who arc hostile, be treated unjustly? The answer is that in this context, the word justice, in fact, has been used in a special sense. It means: "Justice demands that you should not be hostile to those who are not hostile to you, for it is not justice to treat the enemy and the non-enemy alike. You have every right to adopt a stem attitude towards those who persecuted you for embracing Islam and compelled you to leave yew homes and pursued you even after your expulsion. But as for those who were not partners in persecuting you, you should treat them well and should fulfill the right they have on you because of blood and other relationships. " 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Even with Unbelievers, unless they are rampant and out to destroy us and our Faith, we should deal kindly and equitably, as is shown by our holy Prophet's own example.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual word is: الْبِّر. In the Arabic language, it means “observing blood relationships, being just and kind and fulfillment of rights.”

In other words, if they have any dispute with Muslims about worldly affairs relating to family, tribe or nation, then this is a separate matter; if the dispute does not relate to religion, God does not stop them from anything.

God, undoubtedly, likes those who do good; however, since factors which motivate a person to do good are found in human nature, hence a person easily gets ready to help the needy, support the weak and fulfill his obligations towards blood relations. Being just, on the other hand, is not easy. For this reason, it was specially said that God likes the just.

اِنَّمَا یَنۡہٰىکُمُ اللّٰہُ عَنِ الَّذِیۡنَ قٰتَلُوۡکُمۡ فِی الدِّیۡنِ وَ اَخۡرَجُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ دِیَارِکُمۡ وَ ظٰہَرُوۡا عَلٰۤی اِخۡرَاجِکُمۡ اَنۡ تَوَلَّوۡہُمۡ ۚ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّہُمۡ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ 
( 9 )   Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
The instructions to sever relations with the disbelievers given in the preceding verses, could cause the people the misunderstanding that this was because of their being the disbelievers. Therefore, in these verses it has been made clear that its actual cause is not their disbelief but their hostility to Islam and their tyrannical treatment of the followers of Islam. The Muslims, therefore, should distinguish between the hostile disbeliever and the non-hostile disbeliever, and should treat those disbelievers well who have never treated them evilly. Its best explanation is the incident that took place between Hadrat Asma', daughter of Abu Bakr, and her disbelieving mother. A wife of Hadrat Abu Bakr's was Qutaylah bint 'Abdul `Uzza, who wax a disbeliever and had remained behind in Makkah after the migration. Hadrat Asma' had been born of her. After the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah when the traffic opened between Makkah and Madinah, she came to Madinah to see her daughter and also brought sane gifts. Hadrat Asma' herself has related that she went to the Holy Prophet and asked: "Should I see my mother? And can I treat her as a daughter should treat her mother?" The Holy Prophet replied: "Yes, treat her as your mother. " (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim). Hadrat Asma's son, 'Abdullah bin Zubair, has given further details of this incident. He says that Hadrat Asma' in the beginning had refused to see her mother. Then, when she received Allah and His Messenger's permission she met her. (Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim). This by itself leads to the conclusion that a Muslim's serving his unbelieving parents and his helping his unbelieving brothers and sisters and relatives is permissible when they are not hostile to Islam; Likewise one can spend one s charities also on the indigent among the dhimmis (Al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur'an; Ruh al-Ma ani) 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The specific nature of the directive found in the verse totally relates to this word. In other words, what is forbidden is only that friendship which becomes a means of giving priority to personal interests and biases which relate to family, tribe and nation over faith and religion; showing kindness and being just is not forbidden; they shall be adhered to at all cost. There is no question of any distinction in this regard between friends and foes, believers and disbelievers; being pious and righteous and adhering to justice is a requisite of faith. No believer can disregard this fact in any circumstances.

The word الظّٰلِمُوۡن here means: لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ (they are unjust to their souls).

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا جَآءَکُمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتُ مُہٰجِرٰتٍ فَامۡتَحِنُوۡہُنَّ ؕ اَللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِاِیۡمَانِہِنَّ ۚ فَاِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمُوۡہُنَّ مُؤۡمِنٰتٍ فَلَا تَرۡجِعُوۡہُنَّ اِلَی الۡکُفَّارِ ؕ لَا ہُنَّ حِلٌّ لَّہُمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحِلُّوۡنَ لَہُنَّ ؕ وَ اٰتُوۡہُمۡ مَّاۤ اَنۡفَقُوۡا ؕ وَ لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اَنۡ تَنۡکِحُوۡہُنَّ اِذَاۤ اٰتَیۡتُمُوۡہُنَّ اُجُوۡرَہُنَّ ؕ وَ لَا تُمۡسِکُوۡا بِعِصَمِ الۡکَوَافِرِ وَ سۡـَٔلُوۡا مَاۤ اَنۡفَقۡتُمۡ وَ لۡیَسۡـَٔلُوۡا مَاۤ اَنۡفَقُوۡا ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ حُکۡمُ اللّٰہِ ؕ یَحۡکُمُ بَیۡنَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ 
( 10 )   O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them. But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

Note: Tafsir of verse 10 by eminent scholar and exegete Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi is in quite elaborate and in much detail. Therefore it has been shared in an exclusive post separately. Please click here for these details.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Under the treaty of Hudaibiya women under guardianship (including married women), who fled from the Quraish in Makkah to the Prophet's protection at Madinah were to be sent back. But before this Ayat was issued, the Quraish had already broken the treaty, and some instruction was necessary as to what the Madinah Muslims should do in those circumstances. Muslim women married to Pagan husbands in Makkah were oppressed for their Faith, and some of them came to Madinah as refugees. After this, they were not to be returned to the custody of their Pagan husbands at Makkah, as the marriage of believing women with non-Muslims was held to be dissolved if the husbands did not accept Islam. But in order to give no suspicion to the Pagans that they were badly treated as they lost the dower they had given on marriage, that dower was to be repaid to the husbands. Thus helpless women refugees were to be protected at the cost of the Muslims.

The condition was that they should be Muslim women. How were the Muslims to know? A non-Muslim woman, in order to escape from her lawful guardians in Makkah, might pretend that she was a Muslim. The true state of her mind and heart would be known to Allah alone. But if the Muslims, on an examination of the woman, found that she professed Islam, she was to have protection. The examination would be directed (among other things) to the points mentioned in verse 12 below.

As the marriage was held to be dissolved (as already explained above), there was no bar to the remarriage of the refugee Muslim woman with a Muslim man on the payment of the usual dower to her.

Unbelieving women in a Muslim society would only be a clog and a handicap. There would be neither happiness for them, nor could they conduce in any way to a healthy life of the society in which they lived as aliens. They were to be sent away, as their marriage was held to be dissolved; and the dowers paid to them were to be demanded from the guardians to whom they were sent back, just as in the contrary case the dowers of believing women were to be paid back to their Pagan ex-husbands.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " examine them, [although only] God is fully aware of their faith;" Under the terms of the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, concluded in the year 6 H. between the Prophet and the pagan Quraysh of Mecca, any Meccan minor or other person under guardianship who went over to the Muslims without the permission of his or her guardian was to be returned to the Quraysh. The Quraysh took this stipulation to include also married women, whom they considered to be under the "guardianship" of their husbands. Accordingly, when several Meccan women embraced Islam against the will of their husbands and fled to Medina, the Quraysh demanded their forcible return to Mecca. This the Prophet refused on the grounds that married women did not fall within the category of "persons under guardianship". However, since there was always the possibility that some of these women had gone over to the Muslims not for reasons of faith but out of purely worldly considerations, the believers were enjoined to make sure of their sincerity; and so, the Prophet asked each of them: "Swear before God that thou didst not leave because of hatred of thy husband, or out of a desire to go to another country, or in the hope of attaining to worldly advantages: swear before God that thou didst not leave for any reason save the love of God and His Apostle" (Tabari). Since God alone knows what is in the heart of a human being, a positive response of the woman concerned was to be regarded as the only humanly attainable - and, therefore, legally sufficient - proof of her sincerity. The fact that God alone is really aware of what is in a human being's heart is incorporated in the shar'i principle that any adult person's declaration of faith, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, makes it mandatory upon the community to accept that person - whether man or woman - as a Muslim on the basis of this declaration alone.

" ..  lawful to their erstwhile husbands" Lit., "to them". Thus, if a wife embraces Islam while her husband remains outside its pale, the marriage is considered, from the Islamic point of view, to have been automatically annulled.

" and these are [no longer] lawful to them. None the less, you shall return to them whatever they have spent [on their wives by way of dower]; " Such an annulment is to be subject to the same conditions as a khul' (dissolution of marriage, at the wife's instance, from her Muslim husband - see explanation on the second paragraph of 2:229 ): that is to say, since the non-Muslim former husband is presumed to have been innocent of any breach of his marital obligations as such, the wife is to be considered the contract-breaking party and has, therefore, to refund the dower (mahr) which she received from him at the time of concluding the marriage. In case of her inability to do so, the Muslim community is obliged to indemnify the erstwhile husband: hence the plural form in the imperative "you shall return" (lit., "give").
(2:229) " ....And it is not lawful for you to take back anything of what you have ever given to your wives unless both [partners] have cause to fear that they may not be able to keep within the bounds set by God: hence, if you have cause to fear that the two may not be able to keep within the bounds set by God, there shall be no sin upon either of them for what the wife may give up [to her husband] in order to free herself."
All authorities agree in that this verse relates to the unconditional right on the part of the wife to obtain a divorce from her husband; such a dissolution of marriage at the wife's instance is called khul'. There exist a number of highly-authenticated Traditions to the effect that the wife of Thabit ibn Qays, Jamilah, came to the Prophet and demanded a divorce from her husband on the ground that, in spite of his irreproachable character and behaviour, she "disliked him as she would dislike falling into unbelief after having accepted Islam". Thereupon the Prophet ordained that she should return to Thabit the garden which he has given her as her dower (mahr) at the time of their wedding, and decreed that the marriage should be dissolved. (Several variants of this Tradition have been recorded by Bukhari, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Bayhaqi, on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas.) Similar Traditions, handed down on the authority of 'A'ishah and relating to a woman called Hubaybah bint Sahl, are to be found in the Muwatta' of Imam Malik, in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and in the compilations of Nasa'i and Abu Da'ud (in one variant, the latter gives the woman's name as Hafsah bint Sahl). In accordance with these Traditions, Islamic Law stipulates that whenever a marriage is dissolved at the wife's instance without any offence on the part of the husband against his marital obligations, the wife is the contract-breaking party and must, therefore, return the dower which she received from him at the time of concluding the marriage: and in this event "there shall be no sin upon either of them" if the husband takes back the dower which the wife gives up of her own free will. An exhaustive discussion of all these Traditions and their legal implications is found in Nayl al-Awtar VII, pp. 34-41. For a summary of the relevant views of the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence, see Bidayat al-Mujtahid II, pp. 54-57.
" On the other hand, hold not to the marriage-tie with women who [continue to] deny the truth, " I.e., such of the pagan wives of Muslim converts as refuse to abandon their beliefs and their non-Muslim environment, in which case the Muslim husband is to regard the marriage as null and void. As for Muslim wives who, abandoning their husbands, go over to the unbelievers and renounce their faith, see verse {11}.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation
Ie., this is the requisite of the attitude which Muslims have been earlier urged to adopt.

Ie., evaluate them viz a viz the fact whether they have really accepted faith and have migrated because of it or they have some other worldly motive before them like revulsion from their husbands or love for someone or merely the desire to change location.

The implication is that no one can deceive God and He also needs no investigation in this regard. If they lie, they will not be able to escape God’s grasp; it is sufficient for the Muslims to investigate their faith through an oath and other circumstantial evidence. They are not responsible to do anything beyond this.

If after investigation and evaluation, it becomes evident that it is not faith and religion that has brought them; rather some worldly motive, then they should be returned. In this phase of the preaching mission when the Prophet (sws) is trying to purify the Muslims and also isolating them from non-Muslims as a unified body, only true believers can be accepted in the society of Madinah; there is no possibility for disbelievers to live here.

This directive is a corollary of the actual directive mentioned above viz. no ties should remain with the enemies of religion. The marriage bond between a husband and wife comes into existence because of this relationship and continues on its basis. When the Almighty directed Muslims to sever every kind of relationship with these disbelievers, then as an essential consequence of this the marriages of those women who had come to Madinah to protect their faith were also terminated. It is evident that this directive relates only to those disbelievers who are active adversaries and started opposing it by becoming its enemies.

This is a further explanation of the directive: the marriage of women who convert to Islam and migrate to Madinah will stand terminated automatically; they will not require any divorce or the permission of their guardians in this regard. So after Muslims return their dowers, they can marry them with their consent without any hesitation.

In other words, the dowers which their previous husbands gave them will also be returned and the women with whom marriage is contracted shall also be given her dower.

Ie., marriages of Muslims with their wives who had stayed back in Makkah and had not yet converted to Islam shall be considered terminated. Muslims should not keep them in wedlock and should divorce them. As for their dowers, they can be mutually exchanged. This is a requisite of justice. This will not only solve the issue but also harm no one.

This complete directive represents also the decision on the dispute that had arisen on one of the statutes of the peace treaty of Hudaibiya. This statute read that if anyone from among the Quraysh ran away to join the Muslims even if he had converted to Islam, Muslims would be bound to return him. On the other hand, if a Muslim went over to the Quraysh, they will not be bound to return him. (Bukhari, no. 2581).

Muslims accepted this statute with regard to their men, but did not accept it as specific with regard to their women and openly declared that this condition related to men and not to women (Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 4, 229), This took the shape of a dispute between the Quraysh and the Muslims. Thus God declared His decision here. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: " … A little deliberation will show that this verdict was very fair. Had the verdict of the Qur’an been that as per the treaty Muslims were not bound to return any woman, it would not have been unfair; however, this could have been regarded as an act of purely taking advantage of the words of the treaty. The Qur’an did not merely take advantage of the words of the treaty, it also gave a verdict based on very sound intellectual and moral basis: it did direct the Muslims to return women who did not migrate for the cause of God and His Prophet (sws) but did so because of some trivial worldly purpose; however, it did not allow those of them to be returned who were proven as believers. This is so principle a statement that no sensible person can refute it. A person is equipped with moral and intellectual sensitivity and it is an obvious injustice to him if he is forced to live in a society where his moral and intellectual identity is not safe; especially women, being the weaker gender, deserve even more to be protected." (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 340)

وَ اِنۡ فَاتَکُمۡ شَیۡءٌ مِّنۡ اَزۡوَاجِکُمۡ اِلَی الۡکُفَّارِ فَعَاقَبۡتُمۡ فَاٰتُوا الَّذِیۡنَ ذَہَبَتۡ اَزۡوَاجُہُمۡ مِّثۡلَ مَاۤ اَنۡفَقُوۡا ؕ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡتُمۡ بِہٖ مُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ 
( 11 )   And if you have lost any of your wives to the disbelievers and you subsequently obtain [something], then give those whose wives have gone the equivalent of what they had spent. And fear Allah, in whom you are believers.
This thing had two alternatives and the verse applies to both. First, with the disbelievers with whom the Muslims had treaty relations, they wanted to settle the matter, thus: "We shall return the dowers of the women who have emigrated to us, and you will return the dowers of the pagan wives of our men) who have been left on your side." But the disbelievers did not agree to this. However, according to Imam Zuhri, the Muslims, in obedience to the Divine Command became ready to return the dowers of the women who were left behind with the pagans in Makkah, but the pagans refused to return the dowers of the women who had emigrated to the Muslims in Madinah. Thereupon Allah enjoined that the dowers of the emigrant women, which were to be returned to the pagans, should be collected together in Madinah instead of sending these to pagans; then from these collections disbursements should be made to those to whom the dowers were due from the pagans according to what was due to them.

The second alternative was that there were several converts to Islam, who had emigrated to the abode of Islam from the territories of the disbelievers with whom the Muslims had no treaty relations, leaving their pagan wives behind. Likewise, some women also had become converts and emigrated, leaving their pagan husbands behind. About them it was decreed that the matter should be settled in the abode of Islam itself on the bargain basis. That is, when the dowers were not being returned by the disbelievers, no dowers should be returned to them Instead, the dower of the woman who had emigrated to the abode of Islam, should be paid to the person, whose wife had been left with the disbelievers.

But in case the account could not be settled equitably thus, and the amount of the dower due on behalf of the disbelieving wives of Muslims, who were left in the abode of disbelief, exceeded the amount of the dowers of the Muslim women who had emigrated, it was en joined that the deficiency be made up from the spoils that the Muslims took in the wars against the disbelievers. Ibn 'Abbas has related that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) would command that the loss of the person who did not receive his share of the dower be made up from the spoils. (Ibn Jarir). This same view has been adopted by 'Ata', Mujahid, Zuhri, Masruq Ibrahim Nakha'i, Qatadah, Muqatil and Dahhak. All these scholars say, that the people whose dowers are left with the disbelievers, should be paid these from the collective spoils taken from the enemy. That is, before the booty is distributed, the dead dowers of the people should be paid and then the distribution made in which these people too should be given their equal shares along with the other soldiers. Some jurists say that the loss of such people can be made up not only from the spoils but even from the fai properties But a large section of the scholars does not subscribe to this view. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: A very unlikely contingency, considering how much better position the women occupied in Islam than under Pagan custom. But all contingencies have to be provided for equitably in legislation. If a woman went over to the Pagans, her dower would be recoverable from the Pagans and payable to the deserted husband. If a woman came over from the Pagans, her dower would be payable to the Pagans. Assuming that the two dowers were equal, the one would be set off against the other as between the two communities; but within the communities the deserted individual would be compensated by the individual who gains a wife. If the dowers were unequal, the balance would be recoverable as between the communities, and the adjustment would then be made as between the individuals.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " And if any of your wives should go over to the deniers of the truth, and you are thus afflicted in turn " Lit., "and you are thus taking your turn", i.e., like the unbelievers whose wives have gone over to the Muslims and renounced their erstwhile faith.

" then give unto those whose wives have gone away the equivalent of what they had spent [on their wives by way of dower], " Since, as a rule, the unbelievers cannot really be expected to indemnify a husband thus deserted, the Muslim community as a whole is bound to undertake this obligation. As a matter of fact, there were only six such cases of apostasy in the lifetime of the Prophet (all of them before the conquest of Mecca in 8 H.); and in each case the Muslim husband was awarded by the communal treasury, on orders of the Prophet, the equivalent of the dower originally paid by him (Baghawi and Zamakhshari).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: In other words, if the disbelievers do not agree to this exchange arrangement, then the just way in this regard will be that instead of paying them the dower of a woman, Muslims should pay it to one of their brethren whose wife did not migrate to Madinah. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: " … This is a fair measure of retaliation suggested by the Qur’an and was allowed by it because one of the parties was being unjust." (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 342)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ اِذَا جَآءَکَ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتُ یُبَایِعۡنَکَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ لَّا یُشۡرِکۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَا یَسۡرِقۡنَ وَ لَا یَزۡنِیۡنَ وَ لَا یَقۡتُلۡنَ اَوۡلَادَہُنَّ وَ لَا یَاۡتِیۡنَ بِبُہۡتَانٍ یَّفۡتَرِیۡنَہٗ بَیۡنَ اَیۡدِیۡہِنَّ وَ اَرۡجُلِہِنَّ وَ لَا یَعۡصِیۡنَکَ فِیۡ مَعۡرُوۡفٍ فَبَایِعۡہُنَّ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَہُنَّ اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ 
( 12 )   O Prophet, when the believing women come to you pledging to you that they will not associate anything with Allah, nor will they steal, nor will they commit unlawful sexual intercourse, nor will they kill their children, nor will they bring forth a slander they have invented between their arms and legs, nor will they disobey you in what is right - then accept their pledge and ask forgiveness for them of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
As we have explained above, this verse was sent down some time before the conquest of Makkah. After the conquest the Quraish stated coming to the Holy Prophet in large numbers to take the oath of allegiance. From the men he took the oath himself on Mount Safa, As for the woman he appointed Hadrat 'Umar to administer the oath to them on his behalf and to ask them to pledge that they would refrain from the things mentioned in this verse. (Ibn Jarir, on the authority Of Ibn 'Abbas; Ibn Abi Hatim, on the authority of Qatadah). Then. on his return to Madinah he ordered the Muslim women of Madinah to be gathered together in a house and he sent Hadrat Umar to take the oath from them. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Marduyah, Bazzar, Ibn Hibban, on the authority of Umm 'Atiyyah Ansariah). On the 'Id day also, after his address to men, he went to the assembly of women and in his sermon to than he recited this verse and asked them to pledge that they would refrain from the things mentioned in it. (Bukhari on the authority of Ibn `Abbas's tradition). Apart from these occasions. at different other tithes also, the women came before the Holy Prophet individually as well as collectively to take the oath of allegiance, as mentioned in several Ahadith.

" they will not associate aught with Allah in His Divinity, that they will not steal," In Makkah, when the oath of allegiance was being administered, Hind bint `Utbah. wife of Abu Sufyan, asked the Holy Prophet its explanation and said: "Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is rather stingy. Will it be sinful if I take out something from his wealth without his permission to meet my own and my children's needs?" The Holy Prophet replied: "Nay, but only, lastly and lawfully; i.e. take only that much as may actually suffice for your needs." (Ibn al--'Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur'an).

" that they will not commit illicit sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children " This also includes abortion, whether it is abortion of the legitimate or of the illegitimate fetus. 

" that they will not bring forth a calumny between their hands and feet " This implies two kinds of calumny:

(1) a woman's accusing other women of having illicit relations with other men and her spreading such stories among the people, for the women are generally prone to spreading such things; and

(2) a woman's delivering a child by somebody else and making her husband believe that it is his. Abu Da'ud has related a tradition from Abu Hurairah saying that he heard the Holy Prophet say: "The woman who brings such a child into a family as does not actually belong to it, has no connection with Allah, and Allah will never admit her to Paradise."

" and that they will not disobey you in anything known to be good " In this brief sentence two important points of the law have been stated:

First, that obedience even to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah s peace) has boon restricted to "in what is good", although about the Holy Prophet no one could imagine that he would order somebody to do an evil From this it automatically follows that no one in the world can be obeyed outside the bounds of Divine law. For when obedience to Allah's Messenger-himself is conditional upon "in what is good". who else can have a position to demand unconditional obedience and require the people to obey and follow each of his commands laws, rules or customs, which are opposed to the law of Allah? The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) has stated this principle, thus: "There is no obedience in the disobedience of Allah; obedience is only in what is good and right." (Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i). Our great doctors have derived this very theme from this verse, Hadrat 'Abdur Rehman bin Zaid bin Aslam says:

"Allah has not said that they should not disobey you (the Holy Prophet) but that they should not disobey you in what is good.

Then, when Allah Almighty has made obedience even to the Holy Prophet himself conditional upon this, how can another person have the right that he should be obeyed in anything but what is good?" (Ibn Jarir).

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas writes:

"Allah knew that His Prophet never enjoined anything but what was good. Still He restricted obedience to him only in what is good, so that no one ever may find a provision to obey the kings when they enjoined something outside the obedience of Allah. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) has said: 'He who obeys a creature in disobedience to the Creator, Allah appoints the. same c creature over him in power' . " (Ahkam al-Qur an).

'Allama Alusi says:

"This command refutes the view of those ignorant people who think that obedience to the ruler is absolutely necessary. Allah has restricted even obedience to His Messenger only in what is good, whereas the Messenger never enjoins anything but what is good. This is meant to warn the people that obedience to no one is lawful in disobedience to the Creator. " (Ruh al-Ma ani).

Thus, this command in fact, is the foundation stone of the rule of law in Islam. The rule is that anything which is opposed to the law of Islam is a crime, and no one has the right to enjoin any such thing on any one. Anyone who enjoins anything against the law, is a culprit; and the one who obeys such a command is . also a culprit. No subordinate can escape the punishment on the basis of the excuse that his superior officer had ordered him to do something which was a crime in the law.

The other thing which has great legal import is that in this verse after enjoining five prohibitions only one positive command has been given, namely that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) will be obeyed in all good things. As for the evils, the major evils in which women of the pre-Islamic days were generally involved, have been mentioned and a pledge taken from them to refrain from them. But as for the good works, they have neither been mentioned nor any pledge taken to observe them. The only pledge that has been taken is that they will have to obey the Holy Prophet in every good work that he enjoins. Now obviously, if the good works be only those which Allah Almighty has enjoined in the Qur'an,.the pledge should have been to the effect: "You will not disobey Allah," or "You will not disobey the injunctions of the Qur'an." But when the pledge taken was to the effect: "You will not disobey any good work that is enjoined by the Messenger of Allah", it automatically leads to the conclusion that the Holy Prophet has been given vast powers for the reformation of society, and it is obligatory to obey all his commands, whether they are found in the Qur'an or not.

On the basis of this very legal authority the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) asked the women to pledge that they would refrain from all those evils which were prevalent among the women of .he Arabian society at that time, and gave several such commands as have not been mentioned in the Qur'an. One may study the following Ahadith in this connection

Ibn 'Abbas, Umm Salamah, Umm `Atiyyah Ansariah and others have reported that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) while administering the oath of allegiance to the women asked them to pledge that they would refrain from mourning over the dead. These traditions have been related by Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa'i and Ibn Jarir.

A tradition reported by Ibn `Abbas contains this detail: "The Holy Prophet appointed Hadrat `Umar to administer the oath of allegiance to the women and commanded that he should forbid them to mourn over the dead, for in the days of pre-Islamic ignorance women used to tear their clothes and hair, scratched their faces and bewailed in aloud voice." (Ibn Jarir).

Zaid bin Aslam has reported that the Holy Prophet white administering the oath of allegiance forbade the women to scratch their faces tear their garments, bewail and sing verses while mourning over the dead. (Ibn Jarir). Another tradition bearing on the same subject has been reported by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir from a woman who was among the women taking the oath of allegiance.

Qatadah and Hasan Basri (may Allah bless them) say that one of the things that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) had made the women to pledge also was that they would refain from talking with the other men freely. Ibn 'Abbas has explained it in a tradition, thus: "That they would not talk with the other men in private." Qatadah has further explained it thus: hearing this command Hadrat 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf said; `O Messenger of Allah. sometimes it so happens that we are not present in the house and somebody comes to see us.' The Holy Prophet replied: 'I do not mean this. "That is, the woman is not forbidden to tell the visitor that the master of the house is not present." (These traditions have been cited by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim).

Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-'As has reported another tradition from Umaimah bint-Rugaiqah, maternal aunt of Hadrat Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her), saying: "The Holy Prophet made me to pledge that I would neither bewail the dead nor display myself like the women of the pre-Islamic paganism." (Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).

Salmah bint Qais, a maternal aunt of the Holy Prophet, says: “I went before the Holy Prophet with some other women of the Ansar to take the oath of allegiance. He made us to pledge that we would abstain from the things mentioned in this verse, and then said: `Do not defraud your husbands.' When we were about to leave, a woman said to me: `Go and ask the Holy Prophet what is meant by defrauding the husbands?' When I went and asked the explanation, he replied: 'This that you should defraud him of his money and expend it on others." (Musnad Ahmad).

Umm 'Atiyyah says: "The Holy Prophet after administering to us the oath commanded us that we would attend the `Id congregational prayers, but the Friday prayer is not obligatory for us, and he forbade us to follow the bier." (Ibn Jarir).

The people who think that the constitutional powers and authority that the Holy Prophet possessed emanated from his position as a ruler instead of his position as a Messenger of Allah, and say that since he was also the ruler at the time, whatever commands he gave in that capacity were only meant to be obeyed during his time, say an absurd thing. Consider the Holy Prophet's commands and instructions that we have cited above. If these instructions given by him for the reformation of the woman had emanated only from his position as a ruler how could these reforms then be introduced and enforced among the women of the Muslim society of the entire world for ever? Which ruler has there been in the world, who might have had the position that a command issued by him just once for a reform might have become enforced in the Muslim society everywhere in the world for ever? (For further explanation, see E. N . 15 of Surah Al-Hashr).

Several authentic Ahadith show that in the Holy Prophet's time the procedure of administering the oath of allegiance to the women was different from that to the men. For the men the procedure was that the ones pledging allegiance would give their hand in the hand of the Holy Prophet and take the oath. As for the women; the Holy Prophet never took any woman's hand in his own hand, but adopted different other methods. In this connection, the following traditions have been reported:

Hadrat 'A'ishah says: "By God, in connection with the oath of allegiance the Holy Prophet's hand never touched any other woman's hand. While administering the oath of allegiance to a woman, he would only say to her: 'I have accepted your allegiance' ." (Bukhari, Ibn Jarir).

Umaimah bint Ruqaiqah has stated: "I along with some other women went before the Holy Prophet to pledge allegiance, and ho made us to pledge according to this verse of the Qur'iin. When we said: `We will not disobey you in what is good and right', he said: 'As far as it is in your power.' We submitted: `Allah and His Messenger are more kind to us than we could be to ourselves.' Then we said: 'O Messenger of Allah, stretch your hand so that we may pledge allegiance.' He replied: 'I do not shake hands with women: I only make them take the pledge. So he made us to pledge." In another tradition she has stated: "The Holy Prophet did not take the hand of any of us in his own hand. " (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim).

Abu Da'ud, in Marasi, has related this from Sha'bi: "While administering the oath of allegiance to the women, a sheet of cloth was stretched towards the Holy Prophet, which he took in his hand and said: `I do not take the woman's hand in my hand'." This same subject has been related by Ibn Abi Hatim from Sha'bi, by 'Abdur Razzaq from Ibrahim Nakha`i and by Sa'id bin Mansur from Qais bin Abi Hazim.

Ibn Ishaq, in Maghazi has related this from Aban bin Salih.: "The Holy Prophet would put his hand in a vessel full of water and then the woman also would put her hand in the same vessel. " In Bukhari, a tradition from `Abdullah bin 'Abbas is to the effect: "After giving the Eid congregational sermon, the Holy Prophet went through the rows of the then to the place where the women were sitting. There, in his address, he recited this verse of the Qur'an, then asked the women: `Do you promise to act according to it?' A woman from the assembly replied: `Yes, O Messenger of Allah'.

In a tradition related by Ibn Hibban, Ibn Jarir, Bazzar and others, Umm 'Atiyyah Ansariah has stated this: "The Holy Prophet extended his hand from outside the house and we extended our hands from inside the house. " But this does not prove that the women might have shaken hands with the Holy Prophet, for Hadrat Umm `Atiyyah has not made any mention of the shaking of hands. Probably on this occasion for the purpose of taking the pledge the Holy Prophet might have extended his hand from outside and the women their hands from inside the house towards him without any of their hands touching his.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " O Prophet! Whenever believing women come unto thee to pledge their allegiance to thee, " This connects with verse {10} above, and particularly with the words, "examine them...and if you have thus ascertained that they are believers...", etc. (see note [11]). Thus, after having "ascertained" their belief as far as is humanly possible, the Prophet - or, in later times, the head of the Islamic state or community - is empowered to accept their pledge of allegiance (bay'ah), which concludes, as it were, the "examination". It should be noted that this pledge does not differ essentially from that of a male convert.

"[pledging] that [henceforth] they would not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught but God, and would not steal,"  In this context, according to Razi, the term "stealing" comprises also all acquisition of gains through cheating or other unlawful means.

" and would not commit adultery, and would not kill their children, " Sc., "as the pagan Arabs often did, burying their unwanted female offspring alive" (see also note [147] on 6:151 ).

" and would not indulge in slander, falsely devising it out of nothingness, " Lit., "between their hands and their feet": i.e., by their own effort, the "hands" and "feet" symbolizing all human activity.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This is a very elegant style to refer to the sexual organs because it is these organs which are found between the hands and the feet. The benefit of employing this style is that all the organs are referred to in a covert manner and all accusations of sexual nature are also covered as such like fornication kissing and touching.

The actual word is: مَعۡرُوۡف. It refers to all those acts of goodness which every upright person is aware of. They are mentioned concisely in the statement of pledge while the evil acts are mentioned comprehensively because the multitudes of women which were coming to pledge allegiance were mostly from those sections of the society in which these evils prevailed in the time of jahiliyyah.

The implication is that even after this investigation they should be considered in the folds of Islam if they make a pledge to abide by these things. The Prophet (sws) adopted different ways of taking pledges from women (Bukhari, nos. 2564; 4609)), yet this much is a fact that he never took their hands in his own hand.

Ie., the prayer that after embracing faith, God forgives their previous sins.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Now come directions as to the points on which women entering Islam should pledge themselves. Similar points apply to men, but here the question is about women, and especially such as were likely, in those early days of Islam, to come from Pagan society into Muslim society in the conditions discussed in notes 5422 and 5423 above. A pledge on these points would search out their real motives: (1) to worship none but Allah; (2) not to steal; (3) not to indulge in sex outside the marriage tie; (4) not to commit infanticide; (the Pagan Arabs were prone to female infanticide): (5) not to indulge in slander or scandal; and (6) generally, to obey loyally the law and principles of Islam. The last was a comprehensive and sufficient phrase, but it was good to indicate also the special points to which attention was to be directed in those special circumstances. Obedience was of course to be in all things just and reasonable: Islam requires strict discipline but not slavishness. A) "That they will not utter slander intentionally forging falsehood". Literally, "...nor produce any lie that they have devised between their hands and feet,". These words mean that they should not falsely attribute the paternity of their illegitimate children to their lawful husbands thereby adding to the monstrosity of their original sin of infidelity.

If pledges are sincerely given for future conduct, admission to Islam is open. If there is anything in the past, for which there is evidence of sincere repentance, forgiveness is to be prayed for. Allah forgives in such cases: how can man refuse to give such cases a real chance?

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَوَلَّوۡا قَوۡمًا غَضِبَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ قَدۡ یَئِسُوۡا مِنَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ کَمَا یَئِسَ الۡکُفَّارُ مِنۡ اَصۡحٰبِ الۡقُبُوۡرِ 
( 13 )   O you who have believed, do not make allies of a people with whom Allah has become angry. They have despaired of [reward in] the Hereafter just as the disbelievers have despaired of [meeting] the inhabitants of the graves.
The words in the original can have two meanings:
  • First, that they have despaired of their well-being and rewards in the Hereafter just as the deniers of the life-after-death have despaired of the resurrection of their near and dear ones, who are dead and gone into the graves. This meaning has been given by Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas and Hadrat Hasan Basri, Qatadah and Dahak (may Allah bless them).
  • The second meaning can be: They have despaired of the mercy and forgiveness of the Hereafter just as the disbelievers, who are Iying in the graves, have despaired of every good, for they are certain of their being involved in the punishment. This meaning has been related from Hadrat `Abdullah bin Mas'ud and from Mujahid, 'Ikrimah, Ibn Zaid, Kalbi, Muqatil, Mansur (may Allah bless them all). 
Yusuf Ali  Explanation: So we come back to the theme with which we started in this Sura: that we should not turn for friendship and intimacy to those who break Allah's Law and are outlaws in Allah's Kingdom. The various phrases of this question, and the legitimate qualifications, have already been mentioned, and the argument is here rounded off. Cf. also lviii. 14.

The Unbelievers, who do not believe in a Future Life, can therefore have no hope beyond this life. Miserable indeed is this life to them; for the ills of this life are real to them, and they can have no hope of redress. But such is also the state of others-People of the Book or not-who wallow in sin and incur the divine Wrath. Even if they believe in a Future Life, it can only be to them a life of horror, punishment, and despair. For those of Faith the prospect is different. They may suffer in this life, but this life to them is only a fleeting shadow that will soon pass away. The Reality is beyond; there will be full redress in the Beyond, and Achievement and Felicity such as they can scarcely conceive of in the terms of this life.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: " O YOU who have attained to faith! Be not friends with people whom God has condemned! " Cf. 58:14, which explains the reference to those "who would be friends with people whom God has condemned".
(58:14) "ART THOU NOT aware of those who would be friends with people whom God has condemned?.."
For the meaning of "God's condemnation", see note [4] on the last verse of Al-Fatihah. In this particular context, the ones "who would be friends with people whom God has condemned" are the half-hearted who - while dimly perceiving the truth of God's existence and self-revelation - are nevertheless unwilling to surrender themselves to this truth for fear of estranging themselves from their God-denying environment and, thus, of losing what they regard as the material advantages of a spiritually uncommitted life: and it is this moral falsehood to which the last sentence of this verse refers. (See also the last verse of surah {60}.)
" They [who would befriend them] are indeed bereft of all hope of a life to come " I.e., only people without any real belief in a life to come can remain "neutral" between right and wrong.

"  just as those deniers of the truth are bereft of all hope of [ever again seeing] those who are [now] in their graves " I.e., because they utterly reject the idea of resurrection.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., the Jews. This expression is used for them in the Qur’an.

Ie., in spite of acknowledging the Hereafter from their tongues, they show despair in the Hereafter because of their misdeeds; there is no difference between them and the disbelievers of the Quraysh; both are at the same level viz a viz the Hereafter; hence both should be treated in the same way.

For Tafsir Ibn Kathir of this surah, please click here.

You may now like to listen to explanation of the sürah by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation and explanation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9

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