Revelational Circumstances of the Qur'an: Surah 24 (An-Noor)

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The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As
Marthad ibn AbuMarthad al-Ghanawi used to take prisoners (of war) from Mecca (to Medina). At Mecca there was a prostitute called Inaq who had illicit relations with him. (Marthad said:) I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him: May I marry Inaq, Apostle of Allah? The narrator said: He kept silence towards me. Then the verse was revealed:"....and the adulteress none shall marry save and adulterer or an idolater." He called me and recited this (verse) to me, and said: Do not marry her.

24:6 - 24:9

6. As for those who accuse their wives but have no witnesses except themselves; let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies, (swearing) by Allah that he is of those who speak the truth;
7. And yet a fifth, invoking the curse of Allah on him if he is of those who lie.
8. And it shall avert the punishment from her if she bear witness before Allah four times that the thing he saith is indeed false,
9. And a fifth (time) that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaketh truth.
Sa'id b Jubair reported: I was asked about the invokers of curses during the reign of Mus'ab (b. Zubair) whether they could separate (themselves by this process). He said: I did not understand what to say. So I went to the house of Ibn 'Umar (Allah be pleased with them) in Mecca. I said to his servant: Seek permission for Me. He said that he (Ibn 'Umar) had been taking rest. He (Ibn 'Umar) heard my voice. and said: Are you Ibn Jubair? I said: Yes. He'said: Come in. By Allah, it must be some (great) need which has brought you here at this Hour. So I got in and found him lying on a blanket reclining against a pillow stuffed with fibres of date-palm. I said: O Abu'Abd al-Rahman, should there be separation between the invokers of curses? He said: Hallowed be Allah, yes, The first one who asked about it was so and so. he said: Messenger of Allah, tell me If one of us finds his wife committing adultery: what should he do? If he talks, that is something great, and if he keeps quiet that is also (something great) (which he cannot afford to do). Allah's Prophet (may peace be upon him) kept quiet (or some time). After some time he (that very person) came to him (Allah's Messenger) and said: I have been involved in that very cage about which I had asked you Allah the Exalted and Majestic then revealed (these) verses of Surah Nur:" Those who accuse their wives" (verse 6), and he (the Holy Prophet) recited them to him and admonished him, and exhorted him and informed him that the torment of the world is less painful than the torment of the Hereafter. He said: No, by Him Who sent you with Truth, I did not tell a lie against her. He (the Holy Prophet) then called her (the wife of that person who had accused her) and admonished her, and exhorted her, and informed her that the torment of this world is less painful than the torment of the Hereafter. She said: No, by Him Who sent thee with Truth, he is a liar. (it was) the man who started the swearing of oath and he swore in the name of Allah four times that he was among the truthful. and at the fifth turn he said: Let there be curse of Allah upon him if he were among the liars. Then the woman was called and she swore four times in the name of Allah that he (her husband) was among the liars, and at the fifth time (she said): Let there be curse upon her if he were among the truthful. He (the Holy Prophet) then effected separation between the two. A hadith like this is narrated by Ibn Numair with a slight variation of words.


Lo! they who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them (will be paid) that which he hath earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom.
Narrated 'Aisha
And as for him among them who had the greater share..' (24.11) was Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul.


When ye welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof ye had no knowledge, ye counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah it is very great.
Narrated Ibn Abi Malaika
'Aisha used to recite this Verse:-- 'Ida taliqunahu bi-alsinatikum' (24.15) "(As you tell lie with your tongues.)" and used to say "Al-Walaq" means "telling of a lie. "She knew this Verse more than anybody else as it was revealed about her.

24:11 - 24:20

11. Lo! they who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them (will be paid) that which he hath earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom.
12. Why did not the believers, men and women, when ye heard it, think good of their own own folk, and say: It is a manifest untruth?
13. Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah.
14. Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you in the world and the Hereafter an awful doom had overtaken you for that whereof ye murmured.
15. When ye welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof ye had no knowledge, ye counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah it is very great.
16. Wherefor, when ye heard it, said ye not: It is not for us to speak of this. Glory be to Thee (O Allah)! This is awful calumny.
17. Allah admonisheth you that ye repeat not the like thereof ever, if ye are (in truth) believers.
18. And He expoundeth unto you the revelations. Allah is Knower, Wise.
19. Lo! those who love that slander should be spread concerning those who believe, theirs will be a painful punishment in the world and the Hereafter. Allah knoweth. Ye know not.
20. Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you, and that Allah is Clement, Merciful, (ye had been undone).
Narrated Aisha

(the wife of the Prophet) "Whenever Allah's Apostle intended to go on a journey, he would draw lots amongst his wives and would take with him the one upon whom the lot fell. During a Ghazwa of his, he drew lots amongst us and the lot fell upon me, and I proceeded with him after Allah had decreed the use of the veil by women. I was carried in a Howdah (on the camel) and dismounted while still in it. When Allah's Apostle was through with his Ghazwa and returned home, and we approached the city of Medina, Allah's Apostle ordered us to proceed at night. When the order of setting off was given, I walked till I was past the army to answer the call of nature. After finishing I returned (to the camp) to depart (with the others) and suddenly realized that my necklace over my chest was missing. So, I returned to look for it and was delayed because of that. The people who used to carry me on the camel, came to my Howdah and put it on the back of the camel, thinking that I was in it, as, at that time, women were light in weight, and thin and lean, and did not use to eat much. So, those people did not feel the difference in the heaviness of the Howdah while lifting it, and they put it over the camel. At that time I was a young lady. They set the camel moving and proceeded on. I found my necklace after the army had gone, and came to their camp to find nobody. So, I went to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would discover my absence and come back in my search. While in that state, I felt sleepy and slept.

Safwan bin Mu'attal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani was behind the army and reached my abode in the morning. When he saw a sleeping person, he came to me, and he used to see me before veiling. So, I got up when I heard him saying, "Inna lil-lah-wa inn a ilaihi rajiun (We are for Allah, and we will return to Him)." He made his camel knell down. He got down from his camel, and put his leg on the front legs of the camel and then I rode and sat over it. Safwan set out walking, leading the camel by the rope till we reached the army who had halted to take rest at midday. Then whoever was meant for destruction, fell into destruction, (some people accused me falsely) and the leader of the false accusers was 'Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul. After that we returned to Medina, and I became ill for one month while the people were spreading the forged statements of the false accusers. I was feeling during my ailment as if I were not receiving the usual kindness from the Prophet which I used to receive from him when I got sick. But he would come, greet and say, 'How is that (girl)?' I did not know anything of what was going on till I recovered from my ailment and went out with Um Mistah to the Manasi where we used to answer the call of nature, and we used not to go to answer the call of nature except from night to night and that was before we had lavatories near to our houses. And this habit of ours was similar to the habit of the old 'Arabs in the open country (or away from houses). So. I and Um Mistah bint Ruhm went out walking. Um Mistah stumbled because of her long dress and on that she said, 'Let Mistah be ruined.' I said, 'You are saying a bad word. Why are you abusing a man who took part in (the battle of) Badr?' She said, 'O Hanata (you there) didn't you hear what they said?' Then she told me the rumors of the false accusers.

My sickness was aggravated, and when I returned home, Allah's Apostle came to me, and after greeting he said, 'How is that (girl)?' I requested him to allow me to go to my parents. I wanted then to be sure of the news through them I Allah's Apostle allowed me, and I went to my parents and asked my mother, 'What are the people talking about?' She said, 'O my daughter! Don't worry much about this matter. By Allah, never is there a charming woman loved by her husband who has other wives, but the women would forge false news about her.' I said, 'Glorified be Allah! Are the people really taking of this matter?' That night I kept on weeping and could not sleep till morning. In the morning Allah's Apostle called Ali bin Abu Talib and Usama bin Zaid when he saw the Divine Inspiration delayed, to consul them about divorcing his wife (i.e. 'Aisha). Usama bin Zaid said what he knew of the good reputation of his wives and added, 'O Allah's Apostle! Keep you wife, for, by Allah, we know nothing about her but good.' 'Ali bin Abu Talib said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Allah has no imposed restrictions on you, and there are many women other than she, yet you may ask the woman-servant who will tell you the truth.' On that Allah's Apostle called Buraira and said, 'O Burair. Did you ever see anything which roused your suspicions about her?' Buraira said, 'No, by Allah Who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen in her anything faulty except that she is a girl of immature age, who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough for the goats to eat.' On that day Allah's Apostle ascended the pulpit and requested that somebody support him in punishing 'Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul. Allah's Apostle said, 'Who will support me to punish that person ('Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul) who has hurt me by slandering the reputation of my family? By Allah, I know nothing about my family but good, and they have accused a person about whom I know nothing except good, and he never entered my house except in my company.'

Sad bin Mu'adh got up and said, 'O Allah's Apostle! by Allah, I will relieve you from him. If that man is from the tribe of the Aus, then we will chop his head off, and if he is from our brothers, the Khazraj, then order us, and we will fulfill your order.' On that Sad bin 'Ubada, the chief of the Khazraj and before this incident, he had been a pious man, got up, motivated by his zeal for his tribe and said, 'By Allah, you have told a lie; you cannot kill him, and you will never be able to kill him.' On that Usaid bin Al-Hadir got up and said (to Sad bin 'Ubada), 'By Allah! you are a liar. By Allah, we will kill him; and you are a hypocrite, defending the hypocrites.' On this the two tribes of Aus and Khazraj got excited and were about to fight each other, while Allah's Apostle was standing on the pulpit. He got down and quietened them till they became silent and he kept quiet. On that day I kept on weeping so much so that neither did my tears stop, nor could I sleep.

In the morning my parents were with me and I had wept for two nights and a day, till I thought my liver would burst from weeping. While they were sitting with me and I was weeping, an Ansari woman asked my permission to enter, and I allowed her to come in. She sat down and started weeping with me. While we were in this state, Allah's Apostle came and sat down and he had never sat with me since the day they forged the accusation. No revelation regarding my case came to him for a month. He recited Tashah-hud (i.e. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is His Apostle) and then said, 'O 'Aisha! I have been informed such-and-such about you; if you are innocent, then Allah will soon reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then repent to Allah and ask Him to forgive you, for when a person confesses his sin and asks Allah for forgiveness, Allah accepts his repentance.' When Allah's Apostle finished his speech my tears ceased completely and there remained not even a single drop of it. I requested my father to reply to Allah's Apostle on my behalf. My father said, By Allah, I do not know what to say to Allah's Apostle.' I said to my mother, 'Talk to Allah's Apostle on my behalf.' She said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to Allah's Apostle.

I was a young girl and did not have much knowledge of the Quran. I said. 'I know, by Allah, that you have listened to what people are saying and that has been planted in your minds and you have taken it as a truth. Now, if I told you that I am innocent and Allah knows that I am innocent, you would not believe me and if I confessed to you falsely that I am guilty, and Allah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allah, I don't compare my situation with you except to the situation of Joseph's father (i.e. Jacob) who said, 'So (for me) patience is most fitting against that which you assert and it is Allah (Alone) whose help can be sought.' Then I turned to the other side of my bed hoping that Allah would prove my innocence. By Allah I never thought that Allah would reveal Divine Inspiration in my case, as I considered myself too inferior to be talked of in the Holy Qur'an. I had hoped that Allah's Apostle might have a dream in which Allah would prove my innocence. By Allah, Allah's Apostle had not got up and nobody had left the house before the Divine Inspiration came to Allah's Apostle. So, there overtook him the same state which used to overtake him, (when he used to have, on being inspired divinely). He was sweating so much so that the drops of the sweat were dropping like pearls though it was a (cold) wintry day. When that state of Allah's Apostle was over, he was smiling and the first word he said, 'Aisha! Thank Allah, for Allah has declared your innocence.' My mother told me to go to Allah's Apostle . I replied, 'By Allah I will not go to him and will not thank but Allah.' So Allah revealed: "Verily! They who spread the slander are a gang among you . . ." (24.11)

When Allah gave the declaration of my Innocence, Abu Bakr, who used to provide for Mistah bin Uthatha for he was his relative, said, 'By Allah, I will never provide Mistah with anything because of what he said about Aisha.' But Allah later revealed: --

"And let not those who are good and wealthy among you swear not to help their kinsmen, those in need and those who left their homes in Allah's Cause. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Verily! Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (24.22) After that Abu Bakr said, 'Yes ! By Allah! I like that Allah should forgive me,' and resumed helping Mistah whom he used to help before.

Allah's Apostle also asked Zainab bint Jahsh (i.e. the Prophet's wife about me saying, 'What do you know and what did you see?' She replied, 'O Allah's Apostle! I refrain to claim hearing or seeing what I have not heard or seen. By Allah, I know nothing except goodness about Aisha." Aisha further added "Zainab was competing with me (in her beauty and the Prophet's love), yet Allah protected her (from being malicious), for she had piety."


And let not those who possess dignity and ease among you swear not to give to the near of kin and to the needy, and to fugitives for the cause of Allah. Let them forgive and show indulgence. Yearn ye not that Allah may forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Narrated Aisha

When there was said about me what was said which I myself was unaware of, Allah's Apostle got up and addressed the people. He recited Tashah-hud, and after glorifying and praising Allah as He deserved, he said, "To proceed: O people Give me your opinion regarding those people who made a forged story against my wife. By Allah, I do not know anything bad about her. By Allah, they accused her of being with a man about whom I have never known anything bad, and he never entered my house unless I was present there, and whenever I went on a journey, he went with me." Sad bin Mu'adh got up and said, "O Allah's Apostle Allow me to chop their heads off" Then a man from the Al-Khazraj (Sa'd bin 'Ubada) to whom the mother of (the poet) Hassan bin Thabit was a relative, got up and said (to Sad bin Mu'adh), "You have told a lie! By Allah, if those persons were from the Aus Tribe, you would not like to chop their heads off." It was probable that some evil would take place between the Aus and the Khazraj in the mosque, and I was unaware of all that. In the evening of that day, I went out for some of my needs (i.e. to relieve myself), and Um Mistah was accompanying me. On our return, Um Mistah stumbled and said, "Let Mistah. be ruined" I said to her, "O mother Why do you abuse your Son" On that Um Mistah became silent for a while, and stumbling again, she said, "Let Mistah be ruined" I said to her, "Why do you abuse your son?" She stumbled for the third time and said, "Let Mistah be ruined" whereupon I rebuked her for that. She said, "By Allah, I do not abuse him except because of you." I asked her, "Concerning what of my affairs?" So she disclosed the whole story to me. I said, "Has this really happened?" She replied, "Yes, by Allah." I returned to my house, astonished (and distressed) that I did not know for what purpose I had gone out. Then I became sick (fever) and said to Allah's Apostle "Send me to my father's house." So he sent a slave with me, and when I entered the house, I found Um Rum-an (my mother) downstairs while (my father) Abu Bakr was reciting something upstairs. My mother asked, "What has brought you, O (my) daughter?" I informed her and mentioned to her the whole story, but she did not feel it as I did. She said, "O my daughter! Take it easy, for there is never a charming lady loved by her husband who has other wives but that they feel jealous of her and speak badly of her." But she did not feel the news as I did. I asked (her), "Does my father know about it?" She said, "yes" I asked, Does Allah's Apostle know about it too?" She said, "Yes, Allah's Apostle does too." So the tears filled my eyes and I wept. Abu Bakr, who was reading upstairs heard my voice and came down and asked my mother, "What is the matter with her? " She said, "She has heard what has been said about her (as regards the story of Al-lfk)." On that Abu- Bakr wept and said, "I beseech you by Allah, O my daughter, to go back to your home" I went back to my home and Allah's Apostle had come to my house and asked my maid-servant about me (my character). The maid-servant said, "By Allah, I do not know of any defect in her character except that she sleeps and let the sheep enter (her house) and eat her dough." On that, some of the Prophet's companions spoke harshly to her and said, "Tell the truth to Allah's Apostle." Finally they told her of the affair (of the slander). She said, "Subhan Allah! By Allah, I know nothing against her except what goldsmith knows about a piece of pure gold." Then this news reached the man who was accused, and he said, "Subhan Allah! By Allah, I have never uncovered the private parts of any woman." Later that man was martyred in Allah's Cause. Next morning my parents came to pay me a visit and they stayed with me till Allah's Apostle came to me after he had offered the Asr prayer. He came to me while my parents were sitting around me on my right and my left. He praised and glorified Allah and said, "Now then O 'Aisha! If you have committed a bad deed or you have wronged (yourself), then repent to Allah as Allah accepts the repentance from his slaves." An Al-Ansari woman had come and was sitting near the gate. I said (to the Prophet). "Isn't it improper that you speak in such a way in the presence of this lady? Allah's Apostle then gave a piece of advice and I turned to my father and requested him to answer him (on my behalf). My father said, "What should I say?" Then I turned to my mother and asked her to answer him. She said, "What should I say?" When my parents did not give a reply to the Prophet, I said, "I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Apostle!" And after praising and glorifying Allah as He deserves, I said, "Now then, by Allah, if I were to tell you that I have not done (this evil action) and Allah is a witness that I am telling the truth, that would not be of any use to me on your part because you (people) have spoken about it and your hearts have absorbed it; and if I were to tell you that I have done this sin and Allah knows that I have not done it, then you will say, 'She has confessed herself guilty." By Allah, 'I do not see a suitable example for me and you but the example of (I tried to remember Jacob's name but couldn't) Joseph's father when he said; So (for me) "Patience is most fitting against that which you assert. It is Allah (alone) whose help can be sought.' At that very hour the Divine Inspiration came to Allah's Apostle and we remained silent. Then the Inspiration was over and I noticed the signs of happiness on his face while he was removing (the sweat) from his forehead and saying, "Have the good tidings O ' "Aisha! Allah has revealed your innocence." At that time I was extremely angry. My parents said to me. "Get up and go to him." I said, "By Allah, I will not do it and will not thank him nor thank either of you, but I will thank Allah Who has revealed my innocence. You have heard this story but neither did not deny it nor change it (to defend me)," (Aisha used to say:) "But as regards Zainab bint Jahsh, (the Prophet's wife), Allah protected her because of her piety, so she did not say anything except good (about me), but her sister, Hamna, was ruined among those who were ruined. Those who used to speak evil about me were Mistah, Hassan bin Thabit, and the hypocrite, Abdullah bin Ubai, who used to spread that news and tempt others to speak of it, and it was he and Hamna who had the greater share therein. Abu Bakr took an oath that he would never do any favor to Mistah at all. Then Allah revealed the Divine Verse:-- "Let not those among you who are good and wealthy (i.e. Abu Bakr) swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, and those in need, (i.e. Mistah) ...Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah if Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (24.22)

On that, Abu Bakr said, "Yes, by Allah, O our Lord! We wish that You should forgive us." So Abu Bakr again started giving to Mistah the expenditure which he used to give him before.


And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.
Narrated 'Aisha
(the wife of the Prophet) 'Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah's Apostle "Let your wives be veiled" But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi.' Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam'a went out and she was a tall woman. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, "I have recognized you, O Sauda!" He ('Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Divine orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling. (Al-Hijab; a complete body cover excluding the eyes). (See Hadith No. 148, Vol. 1)


And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful.
Jabir reported that 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul used to say to his slave-girl: Go and fetch something for us by committing prostitution. It was in this connection that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this verse:" And compel not your slave-girls to prostitution when they desire to keep chaste in order to seek the frail goods of this world's life, and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful" (xxiv. 33).

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