English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 24: An-Nur — The Light (Revealed at Madinah: 9 sections, 64 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 24:11–24:20): Slanderers of Aishah


اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ جَآءُوۡ بِالۡاِفۡکِ عُصۡبَۃٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ ؕ لَا تَحۡسَبُوۡہُ شَرًّا لَّکُمۡ ؕ بَلۡ ہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ؕ لِکُلِّ امۡرِیًٔ مِّنۡہُمۡ مَّا اکۡتَسَبَ مِنَ الۡاِثۡمِ ۚ وَ الَّذِیۡ تَوَلّٰی کِبۡرَہٗ مِنۡہُمۡ لَہٗ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۱﴾

24:11 Surely they who concocted the lie are a group from among you.1 Do not consider it an evil to you; rather, it is good for you. For every one of them is the sin he has earned; and as for him among them who took upon himself the main part of it,2 he shall have a grievous punishment.

لَوۡ لَاۤ اِذۡ سَمِعۡتُمُوۡہُ ظَنَّ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتُ بِاَنۡفُسِہِمۡ خَیۡرًا ۙ وَّ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَاۤ اِفۡکٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۱۲﴾

24:12 Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when you heard it, think well of their own people, and say: This is an evident falsehood?3

لَوۡ لَا جَآءُوۡ عَلَیۡہِ بِاَرۡبَعَۃِ شُہَدَآءَ ۚ فَاِذۡ لَمۡ یَاۡتُوۡا بِالشُّہَدَآءِ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ہُمُ الۡکٰذِبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾

24:13 Why did they not bring four witnesses of it? So, as they have not brought witnesses, they are liars in the sight of Allah.4

وَ لَوۡ لَا فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَتُہٗ فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ لَمَسَّکُمۡ فِیۡ مَاۤ اَفَضۡتُمۡ فِیۡہِ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿ۚۖ۱۴﴾

24:14 And if it were not for Allah’s grace upon you and His mercy in this world and the Hereafter, a grievous punishment would certainly have touched you for the talk you indulged in.

اِذۡ تَلَقَّوۡنَہٗ بِاَلۡسِنَتِکُمۡ وَ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ بِاَفۡوَاہِکُمۡ مَّا لَیۡسَ لَکُمۡ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ وَّ تَحۡسَبُوۡنَہٗ ہَیِّنًا ٭ۖ وَّ ہُوَ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۵﴾

24:15 When you received it on your tongues and spoke with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, and you considered it trivial, while with Allah it was serious.

وَ لَوۡ لَاۤ اِذۡ سَمِعۡتُمُوۡہُ قُلۡتُمۡ مَّا یَکُوۡنُ لَنَاۤ اَنۡ نَّتَکَلَّمَ بِہٰذَا ٭ۖ سُبۡحٰنَکَ ہٰذَا بُہۡتَانٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۶﴾

24:16 And why did you not, when you heard it, say: It is not worthy of us to talk of it. Glory be to You! This is a great slander.

یَعِظُکُمُ اللّٰہُ اَنۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡا لِمِثۡلِہٖۤ اَبَدًا اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۱۷﴾

24:17 Allah instructs you never to return to anything like it again, if you are believers.

وَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۸﴾

24:18 And Allah makes clear to you the messages; and Allah is Knowing, Wise.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُحِبُّوۡنَ اَنۡ تَشِیۡعَ الۡفَاحِشَۃُ فِی الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ۙ فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾

24:19 Those who love that scandal should circulate with regard to those who believe, for them is a grievous punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows, while you do not know.

وَ لَوۡ لَا فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَتُہٗ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ رَءُوۡفٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿٪۲۰﴾

24:20 And if it were not for Allah’s grace on you and His mercy5 — and that Allah is Compassionate, Merciful.


  1. The incident referred to here took place when the Prophet, accom­panied by his wife Aishah, was returning from an expedition in 5 A.H. Aishah had gone out on a private occasion, but, when she returned, she realized that she had lost her necklace, and went back to search for it. In her absence the attend­ants, supposing her to be in her howdah, started while it was yet dark. When she returned, finding the camel and the men gone, she sat down there and was brought to Madinah by a man who was in the rear of the party. Some mischievous per­sons from among the hypocrites spread false reports, slandering her, and some of the Muslims also associated themselves with the slander. Aishah’s innocence was at length established by this revelation (Bukhari, 52:15). Those who had taken part in the accusation were punished, according to one hadith (Ibn Maja, 20:13). It may be added here that the tongue of gossip has never spared even the most virtuous women. Another case of a virtuous woman being thus defamed is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus, about whom the Jews talked similar slander. The words — do not consider it an evil to you; rather, it is good for you — aim to bring solace to such aggrieved people.
  2. He who took the main part of it upon himself is said to be Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the chief of the hypocrites (Bukhari, 64:36), because he concocted the lie and circulated the false report.
  3. There was not a single witness, nor any circumstance that could lend colour to the false story.
  4. While the Quran takes a very serious view of crimes against chastity, it also makes criminal the circulation of false reports affecting a woman’s chastity. Thus even a lighter accusation in connection with the misconduct of women required the evidence of four witnesses; see 4:15.
  5. The same words in the next verse are followed by the statement, not one of you would ever have been pure.