Islamic Ethics

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A short Commentary of Chapter Al-Noor

Session3 (11 – 14)

The next ten Ayat were all revealed concerning `A'ishah, the wife of Prophet, when the people of slander and falsehood among the hypocrites made their accusations against her and spread lies about her. Allah became jealous on her behalf and on behalf of His Prophet, and revealed her innocence to protect the honor of the Messenger of Allah. He said:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُو بِالْافْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكمُ‏ لَا تحَسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم بَلْ هُوَ خَير لَّكمُ‏ لِكلُ‏ امْرِىٍ مِّنهم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْاثْمِ وَ الَّذِى تَوَلىَ‏ كِبرهُ مِنهمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيم

(Indeed those who initiated the calumny are a band from among yourselves. Do not suppose it is bad for you. Rather it is for your good. Each man among them bears [the onus for] his share in the sin, and as for him who assumed its major burden from among them there is a great punishment for him)

ان الذین جاءوا بالافک عصبه منکم ...

(Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you..)

Meaning they were not one or two, but a group. Foremost among this group was `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, the leader of the hypocrites, who fabricated the lie and whispered it to others, until some of the Muslims started to believe it, and others thought it might be possible and began to talk about it. This is how matters remained for almost a month, until these verses were revealed.

The Story: (Cause of Revelation)

It is shared between Shia and Sonni sources that A'ishah, the wife of the Prophet , said: "When the Messenger of Allah wanted to go on a journey, he would cast lots among his wives, and the one whose lot was drawn would go with him.'' `A'ishah, said, "So he drew lots among us with regard to a campaign he was going out on, and mine was drawn, so I went out with the Messenger of Allah . This was after the commandment of Hijab had been revealed, so I traveled in my howdah and stayed in it when we camped. We traveled until the Messenger of Allah completed his campaign, then we returned. As we were approaching Al-Madinah, we paused for a while, and then they announced that the journey was to be resumed. When I heard this, I walked quickly away from the army to answer the call of nature, and then I came back to my howdah. Then I put my hand to my chest and noticed that a necklace of mine that was made of onyx and cornelian had broken, so I went back and looked for it, and was delayed because of that. In the meantime, the people who used to lift my howdah onto my camel came along and put it on the camel, thinking that I was inside. In those times women were more slender and not so heavy, they only ate mouthfuls of food. So the people did not think anything of the howdah being so light when they lifted it up, as I was a young woman. They set off, and I found my necklace after the army had moved on. Then I came back to the place where we had stopped, and I saw no one to call or answer. So I went to the place where I had been, thinking that the people would miss me and come back for me. While I was sitting there, I fell asleep. Safwan bin Al-Mu`attal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani had rested during the night behind the army. Then he set out just before daybreak and reached the place where I was in the morning, where he saw the outline of a person sleeping. He came to me and recognized me when he saw me, as he had seen me before Hijab was made obligatory for me. When he saw me and said `Truly, to Allah we belong, and truly, to Him we shall return,' I woke up, and covered my face with my Jilbab (outer garment). By Allah, he did not speak a word to me and I did not hear him say anything except `Truly, to Allah we belong, and truly, to Him we shall return,' until he brought his camel and made it kneel so that I could ride upon it, then he set out leading the camel until we caught up with the army at Zuhr time.

There are people who are doomed because of what happened to me, and the one who had the greater share therein was `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul. When we came back to Al-Madinah, I was ill for a month, and the people were talking about what the people of the slander were saying, and I knew nothing about it.

Until the ten verses Allah revealed concerning my innocence and protecting His Prophet’s face.

لَا تحَسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم بَلْ هُوَ خَير لَّكمُ‏ لِكلُ‏ امْرِىٍ مِّنهم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْاثْمِ

Means: each of those who spoke about this matter and of any immoral action will have a great share of punishment.

وَ الَّذِى تَوَلىَ‏ كِبرهُ مِنهمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيم

It was said that this referred to the one who initiated the rumors, or that it was the one who collected rumors and spread them among the people. He was `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, may Allah disfigure and curse him.

لَّوْ لَا إِذْ سمعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ خَيرا وَ قَالُواْ هَاذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِين

(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”)

Here Allah disciplines the believers with regard to the matter, because some of them spread this evil talk and the slander that had been mentioned. So Allah says: you shouldn’t be suspicious about what happened and this event and others like that should not have been the cause of suspicion.

لَّوْ لَا جَاءُو عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شهدَاءَ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُواْ بِالشهدَاءِ فَأُوْلَئكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُون

)Why did they not bring four witnesses to it? So when they could not bring the witnesses, they are liars in Allah's sight)

Means: For proving this, four witnesses are needed. If accuser cannot prove what he saying, then he will be punished with eighty stripes and he is liars in Allah’s sight (as it is mentioned before) so when an accusation spread in Islamic society on behalf of somebody, believers should reject it in the first step, and if it is serious, they should seek and want four witnesses from the accuser. The honor of Muslims are so respected is Islam.

وَ لَوْ لَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكمُ‏ وَ رَحْمَتُهُ فىِ الدُّنْيَا وَ الاخِرَةِ لَمَسَّكمُ‏ فىِ مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيهِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيم

(Were it not for Allah's grace and His mercy upon you in this world and the Hereafter, there would have befallen you a great punishment for what you ventured into)

This is addressed to those who were indulging in discussing the matter of slander, informing them that Allah has accepted their repentance in this world, and forgiven them because of their faith in the Hereafter.

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.

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