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 3 (Verses 24:21–24:26): Slanderers of Women


یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّبِعُوۡا خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَّبِعۡ خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ فَاِنَّہٗ یَاۡمُرُ بِالۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَ الۡمُنۡکَرِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ لَا فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَتُہٗ مَا زَکٰی مِنۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ اَحَدٍ اَبَدًا ۙ وَّ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُزَکِّیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۱﴾

24:21 O you who believe, do not follow the footsteps of the devil. And whoever follows the footsteps of the devil, surely he commands indecency and evil. And if it were not for Allah’s grace on you and His mercy, not one of you would ever have been pure, but Allah purifies whom He pleases.1 And Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

وَ لَا یَاۡتَلِ اُولُوا الۡفَضۡلِ مِنۡکُمۡ وَ السَّعَۃِ اَنۡ یُّؤۡتُوۡۤا اُولِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَ الۡمَسٰکِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُہٰجِرِیۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۪ۖ وَ لۡیَعۡفُوۡا وَ لۡیَصۡفَحُوۡا ؕ اَلَا تُحِبُّوۡنَ اَنۡ یَّغۡفِرَ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۲﴾

24:22 And the possessors of grace and abundance among you should not swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have fled in Allah’s way; and pardon and overlook. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.2

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَرۡمُوۡنَ الۡمُحۡصَنٰتِ الۡغٰفِلٰتِ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ لُعِنُوۡا فِی الدُّنۡیَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۪ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾

24:23 Surely those who accuse chaste believing women, unaware (of the evil), are cursed in this world and the Hereafter, and for them is a grievous punishment,3

یَّوۡمَ تَشۡہَدُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ اَلۡسِنَتُہُمۡ وَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ اَرۡجُلُہُمۡ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾

24:24 on the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet bear witness against them as to what they did,4

یَوۡمَئِذٍ یُّوَفِّیۡہِمُ اللّٰہُ دِیۡنَہُمُ الۡحَقَّ وَ یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ الۡحَقُّ الۡمُبِیۡنُ ﴿۲۵﴾

24:25 on that day Allah will pay back to them in full their just reward, and they will know that Allah, He is the Evident Truth.

اَلۡخَبِیۡثٰتُ لِلۡخَبِیۡثِیۡنَ وَ الۡخَبِیۡثُوۡنَ لِلۡخَبِیۡثٰتِ ۚ وَ الطَّیِّبٰتُ لِلطَّیِّبِیۡنَ وَ الطَّیِّبُوۡنَ لِلطَّیِّبٰتِ ۚ اُولٰٓئِکَ مُبَرَّءُوۡنَ مِمَّا یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ ؕ لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃٌ وَّ رِزۡقٌ کَرِیۡمٌ ﴿٪۲۶﴾

24:26 Unclean things are for unclean ones and unclean ones are for unclean things, and good things are for good ones and good ones are for good things; these are free from what they say. For them is forgiveness and an honourable sustenance.5


  1. This passage shows that the companions of the Holy Prophet were purified from sins by Allah’s grace.
  2. This verse was revealed in connection with the action of Abu Bakr, Aishah’s father, who had sworn not to allow maintenance to one of his relatives named Mistah, who had taken part in spreading the false reports against Aishah. After inflicting the legal punishment on the culprits the Prophet was required to bear them no ill-will and to hide no rancour in his heart even towards the slander­ers of his wife. Revelation even required his companions to be kind and forgiving to them. Abu Bakr is spoken of here as one possessing grace and abundance (Bukhari, 65.24:13), the former of these words referring to his moral and spiritual superiority and the latter to abundance in wealth. (Editor’s Note: Upon hearing this revelation, Abu Bakr exclaimed: “I certainly love that Allah should forgive me”, and then he resumed pro­viding assistance to Mistah. This verse shows also that it is entirely baseless and false to assert that Islam prescribes the death penal­ty for those who commit “blasphemy” against its sacred personalities.)
  3. This refers to those who continue to spread evil reports concerning chaste women, the gossip-mongers in every society.
  4. The evidence of the members of the body is sometimes witnessed in this very life against the doers of evil, in the consequences of the evil done. On the day of Resurrection the consequences of the evil deeds will assume a palpable form, as is also indicated in the paying back in full of the just rewards in the next verse, and thus bear witness to the evil done. This highly developed idea of the Resurrection did not exist before the Quran.
  5. The meaning of this whole passage is made clear by the concluding words, i.e., nothing impure can be attributed to the pure ones, and they are free from what the impure ones say.