Surah An-Nur Ayat 12-29

{12. Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it, think good of their own people and say: “This is an obvious lie” 

13. Why did they not produce four witnesses against him? Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah, they are the liars.}

 

Disciplining the Believers for spreading the Slander

Here Allah disciplines the believers with regard to the matter of A’ishah, because some of them spread this evil talk and the slander that had been mentioned. So Allah says:“Why then, when you heard it,” meaning, the talk which accused the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her, “the believers, men and women, think good of their own people” means, why did they not compare what was said to themselves – if it was not befitting for them then it was even less appropriate for the Mother of the believers, and she was more likely to be innocent. Or it was said that this was revealed about Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari and his wife, may Allah be pleased with them. Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated, “The wife of Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zayd Al-Ansari, Umm Ayyub, said to him, O Abu Ayyub, have you heard what the people are saying about A’ishah’ He said, `Yes, and it is all lies. Would you do that, O Umm Ayyub’ She said, `No, by Allah, I would not do that.’ He said, ‘And by Allah, A’ishah is better than you.’ When the Qur’an was revealed, Allah mentioned those who spoke about the evil deed among the people of the slander,“Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you.” (24:1) This refers to Hassan and his companions who said what they said. Then Allah said,“Why then, did not the believers, men, when you heard it, think…” means, as Abu Ayyub and his wife did.” (At-Tabari 19:129) Allah’s saying:“the believers, men think…” meaning, ‘why did they not think good, because the Mother of the believers is his wife and is closer to him.’ This is concerned with innermost feelings;“and say” means, with their tongues, verbally, “This (charge) is an obvious lie” means, a clear untruth told about the Mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her. What happened should not have been the cause of suspicion. The fact that the Mother of the believers came openly, riding on the camel of Safwan bin Al-Mu`attal at midday, with the entire army watching and the Messenger of Allah among them, should have made it clear that there was no cause for suspicion. If there had been anything suspicious about the matter, they would not have come openly in this manner in front of so many witnesses; they would have come secretly. On this basis, what the people of the slander said accusing the Mother of the believers was an utter lie, false speech and evil foolish talk, by which people who indulged in it lost out. Allah said:“Why did they not produce four witnesses against him?” meaning, to prove that what they were saying was true.“Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars.” Allah has ruled that they are indeed wicked liars.

{14. Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken. 

15. When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.}

 

The Grace of Allah towards the People of the Slander by giving Them the Opportunity to repent

Allah says,“Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter,” This is addressed to those who were indulging in discussing the matter of A’ishah, informing them that Allah has accepted their repentance in this world, and forgiven them because of their faith in the Hereafter. “would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken.” with regard to the slander.“a great torment” This refers to those who had faith in Allah because of their repentance, such as Mistah, Hassan and Hamnah bint Jahsh the sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh. As for the hypocrites who indulged in the slander, such as `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul and his like, they are not the ones who are referred to in this Ayah , because they did not have sufficient faith and righteous deeds to balance or cancel out what they had done. By the same token, the threats that were narrated for a specific deed are bound to be carried out, if there is no repentance or sufficient righteous deeds to balance or outweigh it. Then Allah says: “When you were propagating it with your tongues,” Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “Some of you were relating it to others,” (At-Tabari 19:132) where one says, ‘I heard this from so-and-so, and so-and-so said such and such, and some of them mentioned such and such.’

Others recited the Ayah “When you were inventing a lie with your tongues…” In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded that A’ishah recited it like that. (Fath Al-Bari 8:340) According to her, the meaning refers to lies which a person persists in telling. The first recitation is preferred and more popular, and the majority recite it that way, but the second is reported from A’ishah, the Mother of the believers.“and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge,” means, you were speaking about something which you knew nothing about. Then Allah says: “you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” means, ‘you said what you said about the Mother of the believers and you thought that it was a trifling and insignificant matter, but even if she was not the wife of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, it still would not be an insignificant matter – so how about when she is the wife of the Unlettered Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets and Leader of the Messengers?’ It is a very serious matter with Allah that such a thing should be said about the wife of His Messenger! For Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, feels great fury and anger over such matters, and He would never decree such a thing for the wife of any of His Prophets. If that is the case, then how about the best of the wives of any Prophet, the wife of the best of the sons of Adam in this world and the next Allah says:“you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” In the Two Sahihs it is reported that:

“A man may say a word that angers Allah without realizing how far it will go, and because of that he will be thrown into Hell a distance greater than that between heaven and earth.”

According to another report:“And he may not pay any attention to it.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:314) 

{16. And why did you not, when you heard it, say: “It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah)! This is a great lie.” 

17. Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers. 

18. And Allah makes the Ayat plain to you, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.}

 

Further Discipline

This is further discipline, in addition to the command to think well of people, i.e., if something unbefitting is mentioned about good people, then one should think well of them, and not feel towards them anything but good. Then if a person has any unsuitable thoughts about them, insinuated into his mind and imagination by Shaytan, he should not speak about that, for the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah will excuse my Ummah for anything that occurs to their minds, so long as they do not speak about it or act upon it.”

This was reported in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 1:557)

Allah’s saying:“And why did you not, when you heard it, say: “It is not right for us to speak of this?” meaning, we should not talk about it or mention it to anyone.“Glory be to You (O Allah)! This is a great lie.” means, glory be to Allah that such a thing should be said about the wife of His Prophet and close Friend.

Then Allah says,“Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever,” meaning, Allah is forbidding you and warning you from doing anything like this again in the future. Allah says,“if you are believers.” meaning, if you believe in Allah and His Laws, and you respect His Messenger . As for those who are described as disbelievers, a different ruling applies in their case. Then Allah says,“And Allah makes the Ayat plain to you,” meaning, He makes clear to you the rulings of Shari`ah and His divine decrees.“and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” means, He knows what is right for His servants and He is Wise in His Laws and decrees.

{19. Verily, those who like that Fahishah should be circulated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.}

 

Disciplining Those Who like that Illegal Sexual Intercourse should be circulated among the Believers

This is a third instance of discipline directed at those who hear evil talk, believe it to some extent, and start to spread it; they should not spread such talk or pass it on to others. Allah says:“Verily, those who like that Fahshah should be circulated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment” meaning, those who like to see evil talk about them (the believers) appear, “they will have a painful torment in this world” means, because of the prescribed punishment, and in the Hereafter because of the torment in Hell.

“And Allah knows and you know not.” means, return the matter to Him and you will be guided. Imam Ahmad recorded from Thawban that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Do not annoy the servants of Allah, nor abuse them, nor seek their hidden shortcomings. Whoever seeks out the faults of his Muslim brother, Allah will expose his faults and degrade him, even if he is hiding in his house.” (Ahmad 5:279) 

{20. And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, and that Allah is full of kindness, Most Merciful. 

21. O you who believe! Follow not the Khutuwat of Shaytan. And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily, he commands Al-Fahsha’ and the evil deeds. And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.}

 

A Reminder of the Grace of Allah and a Warning against following the Footsteps of Shaytan

Allah says:“And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, and that Allah is full of kindness, Most Merciful.” meaning, if it were not for this, it would have been another matter altogether, but He, may He be exalted, is full of kindness towards His servants and Merciful towards them. He accepts the repentance of those who repent to Him from this sin, and purifies those among them who are purified by the prescribed punishment carried out on them. Then Allah says:“O you who believe! Follow not the Khutuwat of Shaytan.” hmeaning, his ways and paths and what he commands,“And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily, he commands immorality and the evil deeds.” This is a warning given in the most concise and eloquent manner. Ali bin Abi Talhah recorded from Ibn Abbas that “the Khutuwat of Shaytan” means his deeds. (At-Tabari 3:301) Ikrimah said that it means his evil whispers. Qatadah said: “Every sin is one of the footsteps of Shaytan.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 1:404) Abu Mijlaz said: “Vowing to commit sin is one of the footsteps of Shaytan.” (At-Tabari 3:301) Then Allah says: “And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins.” meaning, if He did not help whomever He wills to repent and come back to Him and be purified from Shirk, evil and sin, and whatever bad characteristics each person has according to his nature, no one would ever attain purity and goodness.“But Allah purifies whom He wills” means, among His creation, and He sends astray whomever He wills, leaving him to be doomed in his misguidance and sin.“and Allah is All-Hearer,” means, He hears what His servants say, “All-Knower.” of who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be misguided.

{22. And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

 

Urging Those Who have been blessed with Wealth to give and to be tolerant

Allah says, “And let not swear” meaning, make an oath, “those among you who are blessed with graces” means, those who have the means to give charity and do good, “and wealth” means, good fortune, “to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause.” means, do not swear that you will not uphold the ties of kinship with your relatives who are needy or who migrated for the sake of Allah, which is the ultimate act of kindness in the area of upholding kinship ties. Allah says, “Let them pardon and forgive.” past insults and bad treatment. This is part of the patience, generosity and kindness of Allah towards His creation, despite the fact that they wrong themselves. This Ayah was revealed concerning As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, when he swore that he would not help Mistah bin Uthathah after he said what he said about A’ishah, as we have already seen in the Hadith.

When Allah revealed the innocence of the Mother of the believers, A’ishah, and the believers were happy and content with the outcome of this incident, and those believers who had talked about the matter repented, and the prescribed punishment had been carried out upon those on whom it was carried out, then Allah started to soften the heart of As-Siddiq towards his relative Mistah bin Uthathah. Mistah was the cousin of As-Siddiq, the son of his maternal aunt, and he was a poor man with no wealth except whatever Abu Bakr spent on him. He was one of those who had migrated for the sake of Allah. He had invented the lies and the slander, but then Allah accepted his repentance from that and the prescribed punishment was carried out on him. As-Siddiq was known for his generosity and he did favors to his relatives and strangers alike. When this Ayah was revealed: “Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?”, which shows that the reward fits the action, and that ‘if you forgive others, you will be forgiven,’ then As-Siddiq said, “Of course, by Allah, we love – O our Lord – that You should forgive us.” Then he resumed his spending on Mistah and said, “By Allah I will never stop spending on him.” This was to counteract what he had said previously, “By Allah I will never spend on him.” This proves that he deserved to be called As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him and his daughter.

 

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