Islamic Ethics

Quran Times Cultural Institute

The Advanced Level of Islamic Understanding Courses

A short Commentary of Chapter Al-Noor

Session2 (4-10)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

In the name of God the Beneficent the Merciful

وَ الَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثمُ‏ لَمْ يَأْتُواْ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شهُدَاءَ فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَ لَا تَقْبَلُواْ لهَمْ شهَادَةً أَبَدًا وَأُوْلَئكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

(And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever. They indeed are the rebellious.)

This Ayah states the prescribed punishment for making false accusations against chaste women, i.e., those who are free, adult and chaste. If the person who is falsely accused is a man, the same punishment of flogging also applies. If the accuser produces evidence that what he is saying is true, then the punishment does not apply.

If the accuser cannot prove that what he is saying is true, then three rulings apply to him: (firstly) that he should be flogged with eighty stripes, (secondly) that his testimony should be rejected forever, and (thirdly) that he should be labeled as a rebellious who is not of good character, whether in the sight of Allah or of mankind.

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن بَعْدِ ذَالِكَ وَ أَصْلَحُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (5)

(Except those who repent thereafter and do righteous deeds; (for such) verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful)

This exception refers to the second and third rulings mentioned above. The flogging has been carried out regardless of whether he repents or persists, and after that there is no further punishment, as is agreed among the scholars. If he repents, then his testimony may be accepted, and he is no longer to be regarded as a rebellious.

وَ الَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَ لَمْ يَكُن لهَّمْ شهُدَاءُ إِلَّا أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شهَادَاتِ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِين (6)

(And for those who accuse their wives, but have no witnesses except themselves, let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies by Allah that he is one of those who speak the truth)

This Ayah offers a way out for husbands. If a husband has accused his wife but cannot come up with proof, he can swear the (لعان) Li`an (the oath of condemnation) as Allah commanded. This means that he brings her before the Imam and states what he is accusing her of. The ruler then asks him to swear four times by Allah in front of four witnesses (that he is one of those who speak the truth) in his accusation of her adultery.

وَ الخْامِسَةُ أَنَّ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كاَنَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِين (7)

(And the fifth; the invoking of the curse of Allah on him if he be of those who tell a lie)

وَ يَدْرَؤُاْ عَنها الْعَذَابَ أَن تَشهدَ أَرْبَعَ شهادَاتِ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ (8)

(But she shall avert the punishment from her, if she bears witness four times by Allah, that he is telling a lie)

if she bears witness four times by Allah, that he is telling a lie and the fifth; should be that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth. The wrath of Allah is mentioned specially in the case of the woman, because usually a man would not go to the extent of exposing his wife and accusing her of adultery unless he is telling the truth and has good reason to do this, and she knows that what he is accusing her of is true. So in her case the fifth testimony calls for the wrath of Allah to be upon her, for the one upon who is the wrath of Allah, is the one who knows the truth yet deviates from it.

وَ الخامِسَةَ أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيها إِن كاَنَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ (9)

(And the fifth; should be that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth)

وَ لَوْ لَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكمُ‏ وَ رَحْمَتُهُ وَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ حَكِيم (10)

(Were it not for Allah's grace and His mercy upon you, and that Allah is all-clement, all-wise)

و لو لا فضل الله علیکم و رحمته

(And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you!) Meaning, many of your affairs would have been too difficult for you

و ان الله تواب حکیم

(And that Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance) means: from His servants, even if that comes after they have sworn a confirmed oath.

(the All-Wise. ) In what He prescribes and commands and forbids. There are Hadiths which explain how we are to put this Ayah into effect, why it was revealed and concerning whom among the Companions it was revealed.

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