Surah An-Nisa’ Part 10 Ayat 114-130

{114. There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah, or goodness, or conciliation between mankind; and he who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward.

115. And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell what an evil destination!}

Righteous Najwa, Secret Talk

Allah said, “There is no good in most of their secret talks” meaning, what the people say to each other. “save him who orders Sadaqah (charity), or goodness, or reconciliation between mankind” meaning, except for this type of talk.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah said that she heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

”He who brings about reconciliation between people by embellishing good or saying good things, is not a liar.”

She also said, “I never heard him allow what the people say (lies) except in three cases: in war, bringing peace between people and the man’s speech (invented compliments) to his wife and her speech to her husband.” Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah was among the immigrant women who gave their pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (Ahmad 6:403)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Should I tell you what is better than the grade of fasting, praying and Sadaqah?” They said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger!” He said, ”Bringing reconciliation between people.” He also said, ”Spoiling the relationship (between people) is the destroyer.” (Ahmad 6:444)

Allah said, “and he who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allah” with sincerity and awaiting the reward with Allah, the Exalted and Most Honoured, “We shall give him a great reward” meaning, an immense, enormous and tremendous reward.

The Punishment for Contradicting and Opposing the Messenger and Following a Path Other than That of the Believers

Allah’s statement, “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him.” refers to whoever intentionally takes a path other than the path of the Law revealed to the Messenger, after the truth has been made clear, apparent and plain to him. Allah’s statement, “and follows other than the believers’ way,” refers to a type of conduct that is closely related to contradicting the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This contradiction could be in the form of contradicting a text (from the Qur’an or Sunnah) or contradicting what the Ummah of Muhammad has agreed on. The Ummah of Muhammad is immune from error when they all agree on something, a miracle that serves to increase their honor, due to the greatness of their Prophet.

There are many authentic Hadiths on this subject. Allah warned against the evil of contradicting the Prophet and his Ummah, when He said, “We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination!” meaning, when one goes on this wicked path, We will punish him by making the evil path appear good in his heart, and will beautify it for him so that he is tempted further. For instance, Allah said,

“Then leave Me Alone with such as belie this Qur’an. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not”.

“So when they turned away (from the path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away”, and,

“And We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly”. Allah made the Fire the destination of such people in the Hereafter. Indeed, the path of those who avoid the right guidance will only lead to the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, as evident by Allah’s statements,

“(It will be said to the angels): “Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils)”, and,

“And the criminals, shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall therein. And they will find no way of escape from there”

 

{116. Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.

117. They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaytan, a persistent rebel!

118. Allah cursed him. And he [Shaytan] said: “I will take an appointed portion of your servants.”

119. “Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.

120. He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.

121. The dwelling of such (people) is Hell, and they will find no way of escape from it.

122. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, We shall admit them to the Gardens under which rivers flow (i.e. in Paradise) to dwell therein forever. Allah’s promise is the truth; and whose words can be truer than those of Allah}

Shirk Shall not be Forgiven, in Reality the Idolators Worship Shaytan

We talked about Allah’s statement, “Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that” before and mentioned the relevant Hadiths in the beginning of this Surah. Allah’s statement, “and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.” means, he will have taken other than the true path, deviated from guidance and righteousness, destroyed himself in this life and the Hereafter, and lost contentment in this life and the Hereafter. Juwaybir said that Ad-Dahhak said about Allah’s statement, “They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah),” “The idolators claimed that the angels are Allah’s daughters, saying, ‘We only worship them so that they bring us closer to Allah.’ So they took the angels as gods, made the shapes of girls and decided, ‘These (idols) resemble the daughters of Allah (i.e., the angels), Whom we worship.” This is similar to Allah’s statements,

“Have you then considered Al-Lat and Al-Uzza?” 

“And they make the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious (Allah) females” and,

“And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn?”.

Allah’s statement, “and they invoke nothing but Shaytan, a persistent rebel!” means, Shaytan has commanded them to do this and made it seem fair and beautiful in their eyes. Consequently, they are worshipping Shaytan in reality, just as Allah said in another Ayah, “Did I not command you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan?”

Allah said that, on the Day of Resurrection, the angels shall proclaim about the idolators who worshipped them in this life: “Nay, but they used to worship the Jinn; most of them were believers in them”. Allah’s statement, “Allah cursed him”, means, He expelled him and banished him from His mercy and His grace. “I will take an appointed portion of your servants” means, a fixed and known share. Muqatil bin Hayyan commented, “From every one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine will go to the Fire and one to Paradise.”

“Verily, I will mislead them” from the true path, “and surely, I will arouse in them false desires” tempting them to feign repentance, arousing false hopes in them, encouraging them to delay and procrastinate with righteous deeds, deceiving them. “and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle” meaning, slitting their ears to designate them as Bahirah, Sa’ibah, and a Wasilah, as Qatadah and As-Suddi stated. “And indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah” means tattooing, according to Al-Hasan bin Abi Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded the prohibition of tattooing the face, which in one of its wordings states: “May Allah curse whoever does this.” (Muslim 3:1618) It is also recorded in the Sahih that Ibn Masud said, “May Allah curse those who have tattoos and those who do it, who pluck their (facial) hairs and the one who does it for them, and those who make spaces between their teeth for the purpose of beauty, changing what Allah has created.” He t hen said, “Why should not I curse whom the Messenger of Allah has cursed, when the Book of Allah commands it,” referring to the Ayah, ”And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” (Fath Al-Bari 8:498).

Allah’s statement, “And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.” means, he will have lost this life and the Hereafter. Indeed, this is a type of loss that cannot be compensated or restored. Allah’s statement, “He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires” explains the true reality. Surely, Shaytan deceitfully promises his supporters and tempts them into believing that they are winners in this and the Hereafter. This is why Allah said, “and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.”

Allah states that on the Day of Return, “And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you”, until, “Verily, there is a painful torment for the wrongdoers.” Allah’s statement, “of such (people)” refers to those who like and prefer what Shaytan is promising and assuring them of, “The dwelling of such (people) is Hell”, as their destination and abode on the Day of Resurrection, “and they will find no way of escape from it”, meaning, they will not be able to avoid, avert, evade or elude the Hellfire.

The Reward of Righteous Believers

Allah then mentions the condition of the content righteous believers and the perfect honor they will earn in the end. Allah said, “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds” meaning, their hearts were truthful and their limbs obedient with the righteous acts they were commanded, all the while abandoning the evil they were prohibited from doing.

“We shall admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)” meaning, they will think of where they want these rivers to flow and they will flow there, ”to dwell therein forever”, without end or being removed from it. ”Allah’s promise is the truth”, meaning, this is a true promise from Allah, and verily, Allah’s promise shall come to pass. Allah then said, ”and whose words can be truer than those of Allah” meaning, none is more truthful in statement and narration than Allah. There is no deity worthy of worship, or Lord except Him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to proclaim in his speech,

”The most truthful speech is Allah’s Speech, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst matters are the newly invented (in religion), every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a heresy, and every heresy is in the Fire.”

 

{123. It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah.

124. And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a believer, such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a Naqir, will be done to them.

125. And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah; and he is a Muhsin (a doer of good). And follows the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist). And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!

126. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is Ever Encompassing all things.}

Success is Only Achieved by Performing Righteous Deeds, not Wishful Thinking

Qatadah said, “We were told that the Muslims and the People of the Scriptures mentioned their own virtues to each other. People of the Scriptures said, ‘Our Prophet came before your Prophet and our Book before your Book. Therefore, we should have more right to Allah than you have.’ Muslims said, ‘Rather, we have more right to Allah than you, our Prophet is the Final Prophet and our Book supersedes all the Books before it.’ Allah sent down,

”It will not be in accordance with your desires (Muslims), nor those of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”,

”And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah; and he is a Muhsin.”

Allah then supported the argument of the Muslims against their opponents of the other religions.” (At-Tabari 9:229) Similar statements were attributed to As-Suddi, Masruq, Ad-Dahhak and Abu Salih. Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas commented on this Ayah [4:123] , “The followers of various religions disputed, the people of the Tawrah said, ‘Our Book is the best Book and our Prophet (Musa) is the best Prophet.’ The people of the Injil said similarly, the people of Islam said, ‘There is no religion except Islam, our Book has abrogated every other Book, our Prophet is the Final Prophet, and you were commanded to believe in your Books and adhere to our Book.’ Allah judged between them, saying, ”It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof.” (At-Tabari 9:230)

This Ayah indicates that the religion is not accepted on account of wishful thinking or mere hopes. Rather, the accepted religion relies on what resides in the heart and which is made truthful through actions. It is not true that when one utters a claim to something, he attains it merely on account of his claim. It is not true that every person who claims to be on the truth is considered as such, merely on account of his words, until his claim gains merit with proof from Allah. Hence Allah’s statement, “It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor those of the People of the Scripture, whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”, meaning safety will not be acquired by you or them just by wishful thinking. Rather, the key is in obeying Allah and following what He has legislated through the words of His honorable Messengers. This is why Allah said afterwards, “whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof”

Similarly, Allah said, “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.” and it was reported that when these Ayat were revealed, they became hard on many Companions. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that A’ishah said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I know the hardest Ayah in the Qur’an.’ He said, ‘What is it, O A’ishah!’ I said, “whoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof” He said, “That is what strikes the believing servant, even the problems that bother him.” (At-Tabari 9:244)

Said bin Mansur recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “When the Ayah, “whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof” was revealed, it was hard on Muslims. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to them,

“Be steadfast and seek closeness. Everything that afflicts the Muslim, even the thorn that pierces his skin and the hardship he suffers, will be an expiation for him.” (Ahmad 2:248)

Allah’s statement, “and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said; “Unless he repents and Allah forgives him.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded it. (At-Tabari 9:239)

Allah then said, “And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a believer”. Allah mentions the recompense for evil actions and that He will surely inflict its punishment on the servant, either in this life, which is better for him, or in the Hereafter, we seek refuge with Allah from this end. We also beg Allah for our well-being in this life and the Hereafter and for His forgiveness, mercy and pardon.

Allah then mentions His kindness, generosity and mercy in accepting the good deeds from His servants, whether male or female, with the condition that they embrace the faith. He also stated that He will admit the believers into Paradise and will not withhold any of their righteous deeds, even the weight of a Naqir – speck on the back of a date-stone. Earlier, we discussed the Fatil – the scalish thread in the long slit of a date-stone, and both of these, along with the Qitmir – the thin membrane over the date-stone were mentioned in the Qur’an.

Allah then said, “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face to Allah” meaning, performs the good actions in sincerity for his Lord with faith and awaiting the reward with Allah, “and he is a Muhsin” following the correct guidance that Allah legislated in the religion of truth which He sent His Messenger with. These are the two conditions, in the absence of which no deed will be accepted from anyone; sincerity and correctness. The work is sincere when it is performed for Allah alone and it becomes correct when it conforms to the Shariah. So, the deed becomes outwardly correct with following the Sunnah and inwardly correct with sincerity. When any deed lacks either of these two conditions, the deed becomes null and void. For instance, when one lacks the pillar of sincerity in his work, he becomes a hypocrite who shows off for people. Whoever does not follow the Shariah, he becomes an ignorant, wicked person. When one combines both pillars, his actions will be the deeds of the faithful believers whose best deeds are accepted from them and their errors erased. Consequently, Allah said, “And follows the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist).” referring to Muhammad and his following, until the Day of Resurrection. Allah said, “Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet”, and, “Then, We have sent the Revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (Monotheist) and he was not of the Mushrikin”. The Hanif, intentionally and with knowledge, avoids Shirk, he goes attentively to the truth, allowing no one to hinder him or stop him from it.

Ibrahim is Allah’s Khalil

Allah’s statement, “And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!” encourages following Ibrahim Al- Khalil, because he was and still is an Imam whose conduct is followed and imitated. Indeed, Ibrahim reached the ultimate closeness to Allah that the servants seek, for he attained the grade of Khalil, which is the highest grade of love. He acquired all this due to his obedience to His Lord, just as Allah has described him, “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled”, and, “Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah, obedient to Allah, a Hanif, and he was not one of the Mushrikin”.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Amr bin Maymun said that when Muadh came back from Yemen, he led them in the Fajr prayer and recited, “And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil!” One of the men present commented, “Surely, the eye of Ibrahim’s mother has been comforted.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:662)

Ibrahim was called Allah’s Khalil due to his Lord’s great love towards him, on account of the acts of obedience he performed that Allah loves and prefers. We should mention here that in the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that when the Messenger of Allah gave them his last speech, he said,

”O people! If I were to take a Khalil from the people of the earth, I would have taken Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah as my Khalil. However, your companion (meaning himself) is the Khalil of Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:15)

Jundub bin Abdullah Al-Bajali, Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Asand Abdullah bin Masud narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah has chosen me as His Khalil, just as He has chosen Ibrahim as His Khalil.” (Muslim 1:377)

Allah’s statement, “And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth.” means, everything and everyone are His property, servants and creation, and He has full authority over all of this. There is no one who can avert Allah’s decision or question His judgment. He is never asked about what He does due to His might, ability, fairness, wisdom, compassion and mercy. Allah’s statement, “And Allah is Ever Encompassing all things” means, His knowledge encompasses everything and nothing concerning His servants is ever hidden from Him. Nothing, even the weight of an atom, ever escapes His observation in the heavens and earth, nor anything smaller or bigger than that.

 

{127. They ask your legal instruction concerning women. Say: “Allah instructs you about them, and about what is recited unto you in the Book concerning the orphan girls whom you give not what they deserve and yet whom you desire to marry, and the children who are weak and oppressed, and that you stand firm for justice to orphans. And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All-Aware of it.}

 

The Ruling Concerning Female Orphans

Al-Bukhari recorded that A’ishah said about the Ayah, “They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, “Allah instructs you about them…” until, “whom you desire to marry…” “It is about the man who is taking care of a female orphan, being her caretaker and inheritor. Her money is joined with his money to such an extent, that she shares with him even the branch of a date that he has. So he likes (for material gain) to marry her himself, and hates to marry her to another man who would have a share in his money, on account of her share in his money. Therefore, he refuses to let her marry anyone else. So, this Ayah was revealed.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:114)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that A’ishah said, “The people asked Allah’s Messenger (about orphan girls), so Allah revealed, “They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, “Allah instructs you about them and about what is recited unto you in the Book…”

What is meant by Allah’s saying, ‘And about what is recited unto you in the Book’ is the former verse which said, “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice.” (At-Tabari 9:258)

A’ishah said, “Allah’s statement, “whom you desire to marry…” also refers to the desire of the guardian not to marry an orphan girl under his supervision when she lacks property or beauty. The guardians were forbidden to marry their orphan girls possessing property and beauty without being just to them, as they generally refrain from marrying them (when they are neither beautiful nor wealthy).” (Fath Al-Bari 9:6) The basis of this is recorded in Two Sahihs.

Consequently, when a man is the caretaker of a female orphan, he might like to marry her himself. In this case, Allah commands him to give her a suitable dowry that other women of her status get. If he does not want to do that, then let him marry other women, for Allah has made this matter easy for Muslims. Sometimes, the caretaker does not desire to marry the orphan under his care, because she is not attractive to his eye. In this case, Allah forbids the caretaker from preventing the female orphan from marrying another man for fear that her husband would share in the money that is mutually shared between the caretaker and the girl.

Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, the caretaker of a female orphan would cover her with his rope, and when he did that, no man would marry her. If she was beautiful and he desired to marry her, he married her and took control of her wealth. If she was not beautiful, he did not allow her to marry until she died, and when she died he inherited her money. Allah prohibited and outlawed this pract ice.” (At-Tabari 9:264)

He also said about Allah’s statement, “and the children who are weak and oppressed” that during the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to deny young children and females a share of inheritance. So Allah’s statement, “you give not what they deserve” thus prohibiting this practice and designating a fixed share for each, “To the male, a portion equal to that of two females.” whether they were young or old, as Said bin Jubayr and others stated.  Said bin Jubayr said about Allah’s statement, “and that you stand firm for justice to orphans.” “Just as when she is beautiful and wealthy you would want to marry her and have her for yourself, so when she is not wealthy or beautiful, marry her and have her for yourself.” (At-Tabari 9:255)

Allah’s statement, “And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All-Aware of it.” encourages performing the good deeds and fulfilling the commandments, and states that Allah is knowledgeable of all of this and He will reward for it in the best and most perfect manner.

{128. And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better. And human souls are swayed by greed. But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well- Acquainted with what you do.

129. You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them so as to leave the other hanging. And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

130. But if they separate (by divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.}

 

The Ruling Concerning Desertion on the Part of the Husband

Allah states, and thus legislates accordingly, that sometimes, the man inclines away from his wife, sometimes towards her and sometimes he parts with her. In the first case, when the wife fears that her husband is steering away from her or deserting her, she is allowed to forfeit all or part of her rights, such as provisions, clothing, dwelling, and so forth, and the husband is allowed to accept such concessions from her. Hence, there is no harm if she offers such concessions, and if her husband accepts them. This is why Allah said, “there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves” He then said, “And human souls are swayed by greed” means, coming to peaceful terms, even when it involves forfeiting some rights, is better than parting.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to A’ishah.’ And he did, and later on Allah sent down, “And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both” Ibn Abbas said, “Whatever (legal agreement) the spouses mutually agree to is allowed.”. (Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi:349)

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that A’ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zamah became old, she forfeited her day to A’ishah, and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to spend Sawdah’s night with A’ishah. (Fath Al-Bari 9:223) Al-Bukhari also recorded that A’ishah commented, “And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part”, that it refers to, “A man who is married to an old woman, and he does not desire her and wants to divorce her. So she says, ‘I forfeit my right on you.’ So this Ayah was revealed, ”and making peace is better” than divorce.

Meaning of “Making Peace is Better”

Allah said, “And making peace is better”. Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah refers to, “When the husband gives his wife the choice between staying with him or leaving him, as this is better than the husband preferring other wives to her.” However, the apparent wording of the Ayah refers to the settlement where the wife forfeits some of the rights she has over her husband, with the husband agreeing to this concession, and that this settlement is better than divorce. For instance, the Prophet kept Sawdah bint Zamah as his wife after she offered to forfeit her day for A’ishah. By keeping her among his wives, his Ummah may follow this kind of settlement. Since settlement and peace are better with Allah than parting, Allah said, “and making peace is better”. Divorce is not preferred with Allah. The meaning of Allah’s statement, “But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do” if you are patient with the wife you dislike and treat her as other wives are treated, then Allah knows what you do and will reward you for it perfectly. Allah’s statement, “You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire” means, O people! You will never be able to be perfectly just between wives in every respect. Even when one divides the nights justly between wives, there will still be various degrees concerning love, desire and sexual intimacy. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah used to treat his wives equally and proclaim, “O Allah! This is my division in what I own, so do not blame me for what You own and I do not own” referring to his heart. This was the wording that Abu Dawud collected, and its chain of narrators is Sahih. (Abu Dawud:2134)

Allah’s statement, “so do not incline too much to one of them” means, when you like one of your wives more than others, do not exaggerate in treating her that way, “so as to leave the other hanging” referring to the other wives. Ibn Abbas, Mujahid Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Muallaqah ‘hanging’ means, “She is neither divorced nor married.” (At-Tabari 9:290-292)

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever has two wives and inclines to one of them (too much), will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides dragging.” (Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi:322)

Allah’s statement, “And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Ayah states: If you do justice and divide equally in what you have power over, while fearing Allah in all conditions, then Allah will forgive you the favoritism that you showed to some of your wives. Allah then said, “But if they separate (divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.” This is the third case between husband and wife, in which divorce occurs. Allah states that if the spouses separate by divorce, then Allah will suffice them by giving him a better wife and her a better husband. The meaning of, “And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.” is: His favour is tremendous, His bounty is enormous and He is All-Wise in all His actions, decisions and commandments.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 2 (Abridged) Pages 579-603

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