English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 58: Al-Mujadilah — The Pleading Woman (Revealed at Madinah: 3 sections, 22 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 58:1–58:6): Safeguarding Women’s Rights

Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Part 2858:1 Allah indeed has heard the plea of her who pleads with you about her husband and complains to Allah; and Allah hears the contentions of both of you.1 Surely Allah is Hearing, Seeing.
58:2 Those of you who put away their wives by calling them their mothers — they are not their mothers. None are their mothers except those who gave them birth, and they utter indeed a hateful word and a lie. And surely Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.
58:3 And those who put away their wives by calling them their mothers, then go back on what they said, must free a captive before they touch one another. To this you are exhorted; and Allah is Aware of what you do.
58:4 But he who does not have the means should fast for two months successively before they touch one another, and he who is unable to do so should feed sixty needy ones. That is in order that you may have faith in Allah and His Messenger. And these are Allah’s limits. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment.
58:5 Surely those who oppose Allah and His Messenger will be humbled as those before them were humbled,2 and indeed We have revealed clear messages. And for the disbelievers is a humiliating punishment.
58:6 On the day when Allah will raise them all together, then inform them of what they did. Allah records it, while they forget it. And Allah is Witness over all things.

Commentary:

  1. The woman referred to was Khaulah or Khuwailah, wife of Aus ibn Samit, who was separated by her husband in an old Arab form, the husband say­ing to the wife, You are to me as the back of my mother. See also 33:4 footnote, for this practice of ẓihār, and its abolition by Islam. The woman comp­lained about it to the Holy Prophet, who said that, as he had no revelation about it, he could not interfere. Then Aus wanted her to have conjugal relations with him, but she refused and came to the Prophet complaining of his bad temper. The Prophet wanted her to be more lenient but she was not willing. It was then that the Prophet received this revelation, according to which it was necessary that the husband should in such cases make an expiation before re-establishing conjugal rights.
  2. Those who would not abide by the Divine commandments regarding the treatment of women are here told that this was not a light matter. They were in the ranks of those who opposed the Prophet.

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