سورة النساء   

Surah Name: An-Nisa' Meaning:The Women

  • Revealed at Madinah
  • The evolution of a society is based upon the determination of rights and duties. It is the responsibility of the ruler or the State to ensure compliance by the people and to punish the negligent. Since the duty of one is the right of another, any failure in the performance will surely lead to the extortion of people's rights. This is the basic concept of every social system though we may not like its particular manner of determination of duties. Islam far surpasses others in this regard. It begins by fixing the rights and duties of people. It reminds the State of its responsibilities. It goes still further and makes an individual stand before Allah-SWT , and motivates him to perform his duties to gain His-SWT Pleasure, He-SWT , Whose-SWT Providence he enjoys every moment and Who-SWT knows him inside out; Whose-SWT Nearness is his destination; Whose-SWT Pleasure is his aim of life; and Whose-SWT Grace is his ambition and desire. Abiding by the rules and regulations is one thing, and feelings of the Qalb is another. Spending on parents, wives, children and orphans is a noble act; but emotions, such as respect, love, kindness, cannot be measured by any scale, nor can be commanded. Therefore, the reward for such noble feelings will be Allah-SWT's Pleasure. Since this Surah deals especially with the rights of women, it has been named An-Nisa'
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 24
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 176
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 4
  • Rukū / Section 3 contains Āyāt / Parts 8
  • Siparah/ Volume 4, 5 & 6


وَاللاَّتِي يَأْتِينَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مِن نِّسَآئِكُمْ فَاسْتَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَرْبَعةً مِّنكُمْ فَإِن شَهِدُواْ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ فِي الْبُيُوتِ حَتَّىَ يَتَوَفَّاهُنَّ الْمَوْتُ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلاً

Wa(a)llatee yateena alfahishata min nisaikum fa(i)stashhidoo AAalayhinna arbaAAatan minkum fain shahidoo faamsikoohunna fee albuyooti hattayatawaffahunna almawtu aw yajAAala Allahu lahunna sabeela(n)

As of those of your women who may commit adultery, call against them four witnesses from among you: then if they testify, confine them to their houses, till death completes their term of life, or Allaah-SWT appoints for them some other way.


وَاللَّذَانَ يَأْتِيَانِهَا مِنكُمْ فَآذُوهُمَا فَإِن تَابَا وَأَصْلَحَا فَأَعْرِضُواْ عَنْهُمَا إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

Wa(a)llathani yatiyaniha minkum faathoohuma fain taba waaslaha faaAAridoo AAanhuma inna Allaha kana tawwaban raheema(n)

And as for the two of you who commit it,  hurt them both, then if they repent and amend, spare them, surely Allah-SWT is Relenting, Merciful.


إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوَءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً

Innama a(l)ttawbatu AAala Allahi lillatheena yaAAmaloona a(l)ssooa bijahalatin thumma yatooboona min qareebin faolaika yatoobu Allahu AAalayhim wakana Allahu AAaleeman hakeema(n)

Upon Allaah-SWT is the repentance of those who do an evil act out of foolishness, and then repent. Such are the people Allaah-SWT shall relent. And Allaah-SWT is the Knowing, Wise.


وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الآنَ وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

Walaysati a(l)ttawbatu lillatheena yaAAmaloona a(l)ssayyiati hatta itha hadara ahadahumu almawtu qala innee tubtu alana wala allatheena yamootoona wahum kuffarun olaika aAAtadna lahum AAathaban aleema(n)

And repentance is not for those who go on working evil till death presents itself to one of them and he says: "Now I repent:" nor for those who die while they are non-believers. For them We-SWT have prepared a painful punishment.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَاء كَرْهًا وَلاَ تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُواْ بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la yahillu lakum an tarithoo a(l)nnisaa karhan walataAAduloohunna litathhaboo bibaAAdi ma ataytumoohunna illa an yateena bifahishatin mubayyinatin waAAashiroohunna bi(a)lmaAAroofi fain karihtumoohunna faAAasa an takrahoo shayan wayajAAala Allahu feehi khayran katheera(n)

O’ you who believe! It is not allowed to you that you may heir the women forcibly, nor shut them up that you may take away from them pan of what you had given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it is possible that you detest a thing and yet Allaah-SWT places abundant good therein.


وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارًا فَلاَ تَأْخُذُواْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَاناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً

Wain aradtumu istibdala zawjin makana zawjin waataytum ihdahunna qintaran falatakhuthoo minhu shayan atakhuthoonahu buhtanan waithman mubeena(n)

And if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given the first one of them a heap of gold, take not back anything of it. Would you take it back by slander and manifest sin.


وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَى بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

Wakayfa takhuthoonahu waqad afda baAAdukum ila baAAdin waakhathna minkum meethaqan ghaleetha(n)

And how can you take back when one of you has gone into the other and they had obtained from you a rigid bond?


وَلاَ تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاء إِلاَّ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَمَقْتًا وَسَاء سَبِيلاً

Wala tankihoo ma nakahabaokum mina a(l)nnisai illa ma qad salafa innahu kana fahishatan wamaqtan wasaa sabeela(n)

And wed not of women whom your fathers have wedded except what has already passed. Surely that has been an indecency and an abomination and an evil way.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

As of those of your women ... surely Allah-SWT is Relenting, Merciful

The Heinousness of Adultery

Till now matters concerning the distribution of estates and the traditions prevalent during the days of utter ignorance and oppression have been discussed. Islam abolished these traditions and granted woman the status of a shareholder and an owner. At the same time her attention is drawn to the duties and responsibilities she has towards those from whom she inherits, i.e. parents, husbands or other relatives. Their honour and pride depends, to a certain extent, on her conduct. Therefore, on one hand she has been stressed upon to watch her step and on the other measures have been initiated to protect her against false accusations that might be made out of jealousy or other motives. It is enjoined that if your women are charged with lewdness or adultery, then ask for four men as witnesses amongst you. They should be Muslims, adults, free and wise, and should be summoned before the ruler or the court. I he evidence by a woman is not admissible in such a case. The author of Ruh al Ma’ani quotes 'Allama Zahiri-RUA that the Sunnah of Holy Prophet-SW's time regarding the inadmissibility of women's evidence in punishable crimes continued through the period of the first two Caliphs-RAU.


The present day hue and cry over the equality of the sexes is a hoax, claiming that a woman can do what a man can. The Islamic concept of equality is that they should both get their respective rights easily, and for a woman her gender should not become a barrier in getting what is rightfully hers, as enjoined by Allaah-SWT . He-SWT creates both genders and defines the rights of each. No one can alter them by personal choice or opinion. Allaah-SWT has decided that the evidence of women is not acceptable in cases where Allaah-SWT has set the limits. Moreover, in case of crimes for which Allah-SWT has laid down the punishment, the judge or the Court shall only record evidence. The practice of the Holy Prophet-SW constitutes the biggest proof to this. If all the four witnesses testify that the allegation is true, the woman shall be con lined to the house until death or until Allah-SWT ordains a way out. In case any two people are accused of adultery, not specifically a married woman but any woman and man, or both men as in homosexuality witnesses must be produced as laid down, and if the crime is proved, the guilty must be punished. The authorities may decide the nature of punishment, and the women must also be con lined in their homes until Allah-SWT prescribes a punishment or they die.


So Allah-SWT later on revealed the punishment. Hadhrat lbn-e-"Abbas-RAU states that a married culprit is to be stoned to death and an unmarried, flogged. Many Ahadith prove that these punishments were implemented by the Holy Prophet-SW and also by the four Caliphs-RAU.Any unnatural way of fulfilling the carnal desires is similarly punishable. Most of the scholars agree that walluzane refers indeed to sodomy or homosexuality The Holy Prophet-SW condemns this act and warns of Allah-SWT's wrath for such people. Hadhrat Abu Huraira-RAU quotes him-SW: "There are four persons with whom Allaah-SWT is never happy, and who remain under His-SWT constant annoyance." When asked to explain, he is reported to have said: "(I) A man dressed up as and bearing resemblance to a woman: (2) A woman bearing the appearance of a man: (3) A person who satisfies his lust with an animal and (4) The one who commits an unnatural act with another man " Hadhrat Ibn Abbas-RAU also reports: "If you witness sodomy, kill them both. i.e. the sodomite and his minion " Similarly an unnatural act with a woman is indeed abominable. Hadhrat Khuzaimah bin Thabit-RAU reports that the Holy Prophet-SW " repeated thrice: "Allah-SWT is not shy of telling the truth. Do not go to your women in an unnatural way." Hadhrat Abu Huraira-RAU quotes once again: "Whoever commits an unnatural act with his wife is an accursed person."

Therefore, all such crimes have drawn severest punishment, provided the charge is proved, otherwise false accusation of adultery is punishable by 80 flogs. Scholars differ on the form of punishment on the horrid crimes stated above, but they all agree that the punishment must be severest such as setting ablaze, crushing under a demolishing wall, pushing from a height, stoning to death or beheading by a sword. The ruler has to decide in accordance with the magnitude of the crime, so as to make an example and a lesson for the masses. A person who has been convicted and awarded a capital punishment, and also repents, must not be humiliated or embarrassed in public. However, once proved guilty, the punishment has to be enforced even in case of repentance, which will be beneficial for the Hereafter, Once a convict survives the punishment. Such as after flogging, lie or she will not be embarrassed. But if a convict does not repent alter punishment, he or she will lose due regard in the society. Similarly a convict who had repented before execution must not be remembered with disdain, since Allah-SWT is forgiving and Relenting. Once lie has forgiven the penitent, 110 one has the right to embark upon a humiliation campaign


Upon Allah-SWT is the repentance...We-SWT have prepared a painful punishment

The Reality of Repentance

Now with regard to repentance. Allah-SWT enjoins that if a person commits a sin out of folly, and later feels ashamed of it and quickly repents. Allah-SWT forgives such people. Mere evil has been related to ignorance, but it does not imply that had the person known about the crime, he or she would not have committed it. Rather, ignorance stands for all actions done contrary to the orders and the teachings of Allah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW even it committed by a highly educated person. Hadhrat Qatada-RAU  reports "The Companions-RAU of the Holy Prophet-SW all agree that any wrong done, voluntarily or unwittingly, is ignorance and whoever disobeys Allah-SWT is indeed an important."


Now how soon must a wrongdoer turn to Allah-SWT for repentance? The next Ayah defines that repentance of such people is not accepted who indulge in sin all then lives, and are reminded of repentance when the angels and other realities of the Hereafter begin to unveil before them, Nor is it accepted of people who live and die as disbelievers, like the Pharaoh, who on the verge of drowning proclaimed "I accept the Rabb-SWT of Musa-AS and Harun-AS Allah-SWT declared that the time was over and it was too late to embrace faith. This means that before the throes of death begin, there is still lime to repent, and such repentance shall be accepted, provided it is done in sincerity. The author of Tafsir-e Mazhari brings forth a very subtle point. According to him "quickly turning lo Allah-SWT means, within the time when the heart is not yet completely covered with darkness, or completely destroyed.

Repentance must be done before the sins outweigh the noble deeds rendering them worthless, for this is a slate whereby the person is deprived of the Divine Guidance which develops an urge to repent, and the heart no longer accepts any positive influence. The first step towards repentance is they a person should feel guilty and embarrassed in the heart. The second step is to abandon that sinful life and vow never to repeat the mistakes. The third step is to start compensating for all that has been missed, such as obligatory Salat and lasting. The penitent should also try to remember any other form of sinful deeds committed by him, such as the usurpation of rights or possessions of others. If this has been done the repentant must return the amount to the real owner. If he or she has ever transgressed the limits to hurt someone, they must seek forgiveness from the victim. One must try lo make up for all misdeeds, as much as practically possible. Verbal regrets with continued practical indulgence in sin is a very common scenario and does not amount to repentance. Today, a male feels proud in putting on a feminine face and strangely enough, the females also prefer to resemble males by their hair-dos and costumes, knowing that tins is an act accursed by Allah-SWT ; yet verbally they might be chanting the words of penitence It must be remembered that the repentance invokes Allah-SWT's Mercy as He-SWT is the Most Forgiving and kind. He-SWT not only forgives but erases all past misdeeds and replaces them with virtue. Moreover, Allah-SWT makes the true repentants His-SWT chosen persons and includes them amongst those whom He-SWT loves. But to achieve this, it is extremely important for a person, to put on a decent appearance and abstain from such acts that invite Allah-SWT's curse.


The Glory of True Repentance

According to the Holy Prophet-SW: "The one who repents is Allah-SWT ’s beloved and shall be taken as if he never sinned." An Attribute of Allah-SWT is that He-SWT is All-knowing. Aware, He-SWT is Aware of the desires that arise within ones inner self. If someone does not ask for forgiveness until the last gasp, it is Satanic. When the signs of death become visible and the Hereafter begins to reveal, the time to repent is over. Imam Ghazali-RUA asserts that total abstinence from sin is the attribute of angels-AS, and the Prophets-ASs who are innocent, while constant indulgence and insistence upon it is a practice of the Satan. Human beings are in the third category. They make mistakes but quickly realize, avow never to recommit and beg forgiveness from Allah-SWT . If a life spent in evil ends up as such, not only will such people be punished, but an agonizing retribution has also been specially arranged for them. May Allaah-SWT protect us! Having no regrets on wrongdoing is a sure sign of callousness of the heart, which indeed is a misfortune in this world and leads to the loss of faith as a final punishment, leaving no hope for salvation. Since the exact hour of death is beyond human knowledge, there is a definite need for constant repentance: who knows which moment may be the last!


O ‘ you  who believe! ... and an abomination and an evil way.

The Status of Women in Society

The topic of repentance came up incidentally while discussing the rights and duties of women. After describing the rights to inherit and her duty to uphold the honour of the families here from she inherits, the discourse now turns to her status. When she becomes a wife, she does not become a slave of anyone. In fact, she enjoys more rights and security than she did before marriage. Islam abolished all the cruel practices against women, which existed before and are still prevalent in some non-Muslim societies. For example a widow would lose her status and any one of the heirs to her husband could marry her at his free will or give her hand to someone else or keep her from marrying at all. Holding after as a captive this is a common scenario in the Hindu society even today not only this but a widow is burnt alive on her husband's funeral pyre to usurp the entire wealth in the Era of Ignorance too. The widows were forced to take up prostitution as a source of earning. Sometimes rich widows would forgo their wealth to win freedom Often the husbands maltreated their wives and divorced them after taking away all their possessions. The security provided to women by Islam against all atrocities was unimaginable in those dark ages The Western civilization today has deceived woman under the luring garb of freedom and equality, and has deprived her of her honour and at the same time has failed to provide her any type of protection and security.

Treatment to Wives

By addressing the believers here the fact is highlighted that it is not befitting for a Muslim to seize the freedom of others, reiterating in strong words LaYahillo (not lawful). It is forbidden for any human being to take another as a slave and deprive him of freedom. Only Allah--SWT can inflict slavery as a punishment on people. Widows were forcibly put to slavery to the extent that they were distributed amongst the heirs as an item of inheritance even a stepson could marry a widow stepmother. Where woman was treated as property, what would be the status of her belongings? Therefore Allah--SWT strictly forbade such practices. Here another point is proved that a mentally sound and mature girl cannot be married without her consent and wish. It she is. She shall not acquire the status of a legally wedded wife, nor will the laws of lineage or inheritance be applicable. So neither should the women be forced into marriage, nor should they be barred from it for their wealth.


Islam discourages the practice of keeping them in wedlock just as captives, neither fulfilling their rights nor divorcing them, or to prevent them from marrying someone of their own choice unless they pay some money. Another form of this exploitation is to demand money for release, or demand the Mehr back. In short, all such tactics employed to grab their wealth are condemned. If the wives are found guilty of committing a sin, they too deserve the punishment as defined by Shari'ah: otherwise, they deserve kind treatment. Sometimes a man may not like his wife's physical appearance, but only Allah-SWT knows what happiness and blessings she may bring. So he must treat her kindly. It is quite possible that she turns out to be an obedient wife or she may bear noble children. Even if she does not provide the above, his reward in the Hereafter is guaranteed, because if he has for the sake of Allah-SWT treated her well, his efforts and kindness will certainly be well rewarded.

If for any genuine reasons a man does wish to remarry and divorce the present wife, he should not demand back anything from what he may have given her during their married life. Neither should the woman be called upon to pay in lieu of the divorce, nor should she be pestered. Accusing and slandering the wife just to find excuses to usurp her rights is sheer cruelty. When the two had made a pact with Allah-SWT as their witness, and had exposed themselves upon each other, what right does the man now have to claim back anything? Is there anything more respectable and valuable than a person's honour? No, not at all! Once the marriage has been consummated, the Mehr surely belongs to the wife. The most important thing is the respect for humanity and Islam has honoured women with a special status in this regard. Islam orders men not to marry those women who were once married to their fathers or grand-fathers. But whatever happened in the Era of Ignorance has gone past and must not be repeated. And it is immodest and shameless to marry a woman whom one knew as his mother for years. It is a sin which invokes Allah-SWT's Annoyance.