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 4 contains Āyāt / Parts 3
  • Siparah/ Volume 4, 5 & 6


حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالاَتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللاَّتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَآئِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللاَّتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ اللاَّتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلاَئِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلاَبِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُواْ بَيْنَ الأُخْتَيْنِ إَلاَّ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا 

Hurrimat AAalaykum ommahatukum wabanatukum waakhawatukum waAAammatukum wakhalatukum wabanatu alakhi wabanatu alokhti waommahatukumu allatee ardaAAnakum waakhawatukum mina a(l)rradaAAati waommahatu nisaikum warabaibukumu allatee fee hujoorikum min nisaikumu allatee dakhaltum bihinna fain lam takoonoo dakhaltum bihinna fala junaha AAalaykum wahalailu abnaikumu allatheena min aslabikum waan tajmaAAoo bayna alokhtayni illa ma qad salafa inna Allaha kana ghafooran raheema(n)

Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your father's sisters and your mother's sisters. and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster mothers and your foster sisters, and the mothers of your wives and your step-daughters that are your wards, born of your wives unto whom you have none in. but if you have not gone in unto them, no sin shall be on you: and the wives of your sons that are from your own loins, and also that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed. Verily Allah-SWT is ever Forgiving. Merciful.


وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاء إِلاَّ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ كِتَابَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَاء ذَلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُواْ بِأَمْوَالِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُم بِهِ مِن بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا 

Wa(a)lmuhsanatu mina a(l)nnisai illa ma malakat aymanukum kitaba Allahi AAalaykum waohilla lakum ma warathalikum an tabtaghoo biamwalikum muhsineena ghayra musafiheena fama istamtaAAtum bihi minhunna faatoohunna ojoorahunna fareedatan wala junaha AAalaykum feema taradaytum bihi min baAAdi alfareedati inna Allaha kana AAaleeman hakeema(n)

And also forbidden are the wedded among women save those whom your right hands possess: Allah-SWT's ordinance for you. And allowed to you are all beyond those mentioned, so that you may seek them with your money, as properly wedded men, not as fornicators. And for the enjoyment you have received from them, give them their Mehr stipulated. And there will be no blame on you in regard to that on which you mutually agree after the stipulation. Verily Allah-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


وَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ فَمِن مِّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُم مِّن فَتَيَاتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَاللّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِكُمْ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ فَانكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ وَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ مُحْصَنَاتٍ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحَاتٍ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ فَإِذَا أُحْصِنَّ فَإِنْ أَتَيْنَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ فَعَلَيْهِنَّ نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْصَنَاتِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ الْعَنَتَ مِنْكُمْ وَأَن تَصْبِرُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Waman lam yastatiAA minkum tawlan an yankiha almuhsanati almuminati famin ma malakat aymanukum min fatayatikumu almuminati wa(A)llahu aAAlamu bieemanikum baAAdukum min baAAdin fa(i)nkihoohunna biithni ahlihinna waatoohunna ojoorahunna bi(a)lmaAAroofi muhsanatin ghayra masafihatin walamuttakhithati akhdanin faitha ohsinna fain atayna bifahishatin faAAalayhinna nisfu ma AAala almuhsanati mina alAAathabi thalika liman khashiya alAAanata minkum waan tasbiroo khayrun lakum wa(A)llahu ghafoorun raheem(un)

And he among you who has not the affluence to wed believing free women, let him wed such of the believing handmaid as the right hands of you people posses. And Allah-SWT knows well your belief: the one of you is as the other. You may wed them. Then with the consent of their owners, and give them their Mehr provided they are chaste and not indulging in fornication, not-taking to themselves secret paramours. And when they have been wedded, it they commit an indecency, on them the punishment shall be a half of that for free wedded women. This is for him among you. Who fears perdition: and that you should abstain is better for you. And Allah-SWT is Forgiving. Merciful.


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

 Forbidden to you are your mothers ... Allah-SWT is ever Forgiving, Merciful

The Forbidden Women

Expanding upon the injunction about the widow of one's father, Allah-SWT revealed a detailed account of all women forbidden to be taken in marriage. This was a grand favour of Islam to women, in an era of extreme immorality, to announce a strong foundation of moral values. Islam raised woman to the most honourable status of a mother, and arranged for her protection in her roles as a sister, a wife and a daughter. In contrast to this, the Europeans today, in their self-styled civilized era, have allowed sons-in-law to marry their mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law to their fathers-in-law, totally destroying the sanctity of relationships. Going even farther, they have legally allowed a man to marry another man, which has invoked a curse in the form of a fatal disease known as AIDS. Similar practices were in vogue in the Era of Ignorance, towards which this modern civilization is degenerating. It was a great favour from Allah-SWT upon the Muslim community that He-SWT clearly outlined for them what is legal and what is forbidden. Amongst women forbidden in marriage there are some who can never be sought in marriage. They are called Muharramat-e Abdiyah or 'Banned Forever'. There are others who are forbidden under certain circumstances. If those circumstances change, they can be sought in marriage: for example wife of another man is forbidden, but if she is divorced or widowed, then after her waiting period is over, she can be sought in marriage. The women, who fall in the category of Banned forever, can be classified as under.


Ban because of Kinship

So first of all is a woman married to one's father. She is forbidden for his son whether the marriage was consummated or not. Similarly if the son marries a woman, she will be forbidden for the father. ‘ Allama Shami-RUA writes: "whether consummated or not, marriage of either son or father renders the women unlawful for the other." Even if the father has committed adulteress that woman will he forbidden for the son. The term "Your Mothers" includes mothers and grandmothers both paternal and maternal, and "Your Daughters" includes daughters and grand daughters, both on the son's and daughter's side. If the daughter or son is an adopted child and is not a progeny; this rule will not apply, provided there is no other avenue of prohibition. Children born outside the wedlock in adultery are also forbidden under the same law. Similarly the term "Your Sisters" includes sisters, whether real or step on the father's or mother's side, and "Your Father's Sisters" includes aunts i.e. sisters of the father, whether real or step; and "Your Mother's Sisters" means sisters of the mother, whether real or step: they are all forbidden. The term "Brother's Daughters" stands for the daughters of real brothers or stepbrothers, and the term "Sister's Daughters" includes daughters of real sisters or stepsisters: they all are forbidden in marriage.


Ban because of Fosterage,

Forbiddance due to fosterage is explained next. Women who have breast-fed you whether once or more than once are like your mothers, provided they have fed you during infancy or that period of childhood when a child is mainly fed on milk. This period of breast-feeding varies according to the various Schools of Thought, from birth to two and a half years of age. If after the lapse of this period, someone is breast fed by a woman, she does not become his or her (foster) mother. Foster sisters are not allowed in marriage. When a boy or a girl is fed by a woman during infancy or the breast feeding days, she becomes his or her foster mother, her husband, foster father and her children foster brothers and sisters. But this only applies to that particular person who has been breast fed, not to his other brothers or sisters (if any) who have not been breast-fed by her. All statutes applicable to real kinship are applicable to fosterage. According to Hadith "What is forbidden for kins is forbidden for fosters.” More details on this can be seen in the books on Fiqh. Mu'arif al Quran by Mufti Muhammad Shafi-RUA can also be consulted for reference.


Ban because of Affinity

Mothers of the wives are forbidden in marriage. The term includes the mothers, grandmothers, and foster mothers of wives. Similarly copulation with a woman, legal or in adultery bans her mother in marriage. Even if only taken in Nikah, the ban will become effective irrespective of the consummation. If a woman is taken in wedlock, her daughter from a previous husband shall be forbidden only if the marriage with her mother has been consummated. After Nikah, being in privacy with her or touching her out of lust, amounts to consummation. Similarly, the daughters and grand daughters of a woman with whom a man commits adultery, are all forbidden for him.


The wife of a son cannot ever be sought in marriage; foster sons, grandsons all inclusive. However, an adopted son without any foster-ties or lineage bonds is not included in this statute. And marrying two sisters simultaneously is strictly forbidden, whether they are real or foster sisters. However, one after the other is allowed i.e. when one has been divorced and her waiting period is over, only then can her sister be taken in Nikah. Similarly, a man cannot keep his wife and her maternal or paternal aunts in Nikah at the same time. Muslim jurists have laid down a rule of thumb for this: any two women of whom if one is assumed to be a man the other will be prohibited to him, cannot be taken as wives together or cannot be lied in the same wedlock together. Whatever has happened before Islam shall not be accounted for but after Islam this cannot be carried on. On many occasions the Holy Prophet-SW annulled such marriages.


And also forbidden are the wedded ... Verily Allah-SWT is Knowing, Wise

The married women, as long as they are married to other men. are forbidden to be sought in marriage, except those who come as prisoners of war. This is because the wedlock of a woman who is taken as a captive during a battle with her husband left behind in Dar al Harb (Enemy Country) is automatically dissolved, whether she is a Muslim or from the People of the Book. Any Muslim from Dar ul Islam (Muslim Country) can marry her. Orient list have tried to question the Islamic laws concerning captives and bondswomen, and so have the Westernized Muslims of today.  A study of the background shall facilitate us to formulate an unbiased opinion about it.


Islamic Concept of Bondage

War is an inevitable event of human social life and certainly without it peace cannot prevail. But nations of the world often, in the garb of enforcing peace, cause massive destruction, since their inner motive is to conquer people and to usurp their rights. Pages documented with the histories of conquests of nations still seem to be dripping with blood. But Islam has given war a better name, rather has replaced it with Jihad, derived from Jahada which means striving, or a constant and ongoing effort. Jihad does not mean the usurpation of the rights of others, rather it is waged to help the oppressed against the oppressors, or against the sell proclaimed gods to enforce the law of Allah-SWT , and is an effort to prevent and restrain tyrants from their tyranny. Naturally, when the entire philosophy of war is changed, the results are bound to be different.


In a war. the life, wealth and honour of the conquered were, and are at the disposal and mercy of the conqueror. But Islam revolutionized this and ordered that (I) no member of the Muslim army shall stand in the way of any citizen who does not confront him: (2) no trees will be cut. nor will the crops be destroyed: (3) the Muslim army shall not attack women, children and the old as well as those engaged in worship inside their worship places: and (4) no Muslim soldier shall dishonour any woman, even if the subdued woman is a non-believer.


Now coming to those non-believers who are actively participating in the war, when they are defeated: (1 The men are to be taken prisoners and their rights are to be safeguarded (2) They shall not be harmed or tortured (3) They shall be free to follow a religion of their choice. (4) They shall not be forced to perform such tasks, which they are unable to perform. (5) The captives shall be provided with the same food, which the Muslims consume. (b) Their freedom shall be forfeited: that, too, could be restored after they pay ransom. Great rewards are promised to those believers who emancipate slaves in the Name of Allah-SWT , an act prescribed for expiation and atonement for sins, besides being a very noble deed. Seizure of freedom is a mild punishment as compared to the crimes and the treatment meted out to the vanquished by the victorious nations of the world.


The women captured in the battlefield may be freed, which is a noble gesture. If a woman is accompanied by her husband and they are both captives. She will stay his wife. But if after the distribution of booty amongst the Mujahidin. the owner of the couple sells her alone then her marriage will be nullified, the marriages of those women who are captured without their husbands shall be dissolved and they will be lawful without a formal marriage for the person who has received them in his share, but only for the master or else for the person to whom he sells or gives as a gift. She will then be forbidden for the original owner, and will be lawful for only one man at a time. All the human rights of these women shall be preserved with the exception of freedom, for her to be lawful to the owner, she must wail for one period of cleanness. If she is pregnant, she must wait till the birth of her child. Only then she can be lawful to the owner. Lineage is taken into consideration here. If she bears the children of the owner she will be called as Umm-e Wald i.e. mother of the child, whom the owner cat neither sell nor gift to anyone and on his death she will be automatically freed.


This is the maximum punishment Islam inflicts on women prisoners of war, which seems nothing when compared to the brutal treatment rendered to them by other nations of the world. Again and again men are encouraged to free such captive women and then to seek them in wedlock, and also to free them in order to please Allah-SWT . Apart from these regulation for war, any buying or selling of women is un-Islamic and a grave sin. In fact a mature girl cannot be forced to marry someone, let alone be sold. Out civilized intellectuals have no reason to feel embarrassed. They should in fact look into the eyes of other nations and rightfully claim that Islam did not oppress anyone, not even those at war. Neither it plundered people, nor allowed the molestation of honour. Let the nations of the world probe into their own performances to see the difference.


These are the rules laid down by Allah-SWT and no believer can dare defy them. Apart from all those forbidden in marriage, the rest are lawful to be sought in marriage with their Mehr and for the protection of honour and chastity as distinct from lewdness. Mehr is mandatory with Nikah. If a couple gets married with mutual understanding, even then Mehr has to be paid according to what is customary in their families. Yet there is room for fixing the amount to the minimum, which can afterwards be increased by the husband. If the wife desires, she can forgo it or reduce it. Anyway, Allah-SWT declares it as mandatory with the Nikah. The philosophy of Mehr is that on joining a new family the woman must have some financial or material standing, in order that she is accepted on equal basis and not disdainfully. That is why Mehr should be determined according lo the financial status of the family. Hadhrat 'Umar Farooq-RAU sought Umm-e-kalsoom-RAU daughter of Hadhrat Ali-RAU and Hadhrat Fatima-RAU' in marriage. When his attention was drawn to the vast difference in the ages of the proposed couple, he said: "I heard the Holy Prophets-SW say that all relationships of kinship and affinity will break away on Yaum-al-Qiyamah except mine. This is the reason for my proposal;'' and the marriage was agreed Hadhrat Umar-RAUl paid forty thousand dirham as Mehr in spite of the fact that he always advised against excess in its fixation. The excess or extravagance referred to in Tafsir Kashf al-Asrar (Vol. 2 p 460) means fixation of Mehr beyond one's financial situation.


The Basis of Nikah

The second condition is Nikah that it should be for the protection of lineage, chastity and cleanliness and under no circumstances for mere lust. Muhsanina Ghaira Musafehin means that this union should aim at construction of human society, with the family as its foundation stone and it should be done with ceaseless efforts. A short-term contract of marriage to fulfill the carnal desires in return for some price mutually agreed upon is not allowed This is what the Shi’ites practice, believing it not only to be legal, but also a worship of the highest order. There is no place for it in Islam, because any Nikah with a predetermined duration is not valid at all. It was a pre-Islamic custom that Arabs travelling for trade purposes would resort to temporary Nikah over a mutually agreed upon price and period for brief stopovers at various places. Islam prohibited this practice, just like drinking alcohol was a habit with them but the ban was revealed at Madinah, and it is not rational to argue that it was previously allowed in Islam, the truth is that it was a practice of the Era of Ignorance.


Mut’a Practice of Ignorance

Mut'a with women was practiced during the ages of darkness and ignorance, and was banned on the Day of Khyber. It is in no way connected to Islam, which has laid great emphasis upon lineage even in the case of bondswomen and women captured during war. How can it allow Mut'a in which no family genealogy can be established, since one woman can have it with many men within the same month, for a few days each. No waiting period is required, and no rules of inheritance apply on such marriages, The Shi’ite Clerics themselves do not believe in giving any consideration to inheritance, waiting period and pedigree in case of Mut'a. Any effort to prove Mut'a as lawful by merely combining and twisting words is ignorance and tampering of Quran, which is a gruesome crime.


Women with whom the marriage is consummated after Nikah must be paid their Mehr. If the marriage is not consummated the Mehr shall be reduced to half and is payable at the time of divorce. After the fixation of Mehr the couple can adjust the amount by their mutual consent and there is no harm in it, since Allah-SWT is the Wisest and All-Knowing. Nikah is a decent way of rearing the human race. The foundation of this bond rests upon mutual trust, love and care of the spouses for each other. So if they mutually agree upon altering the original amount of Mehr, it  is permissible.


And he among who has not ... Allah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.

One who cannot afford to marry women of status i.e. free and believing, should marry a believing bondswoman, since her Mehr money and other expenses would be much less than that of a tree woman. But he must, even in this case, marry a believing bondswoman and not a woman from the People of the Book, because children of the latter, even if they do not adopt the religion of their mother, shall never become good Muslims either. This is the situation faced by many Muslims today. European Christians and Jewish girls have a strong hold on prominent Muslim families. They are destroying their generations, as well as giving away their secrets. Moreover, the contemporary women of the Book have more or less become atheists: their faith in their own Books has waned away.


Marriage with a believing maid shall be held after the consent of her master. The maid shall remain as his (master's) servant and her children shall also be his slaves. It is only when someone fears that he might give in to adultery, and cannot afford marrying a free believing woman, that he should marry a believing maid, for Nikah is by far better than adultery. One should not feel embarrassed, because the slaves and the free are all children of Prophet Aadam-AS .Who is better in the eyes of Allah-SWT , is only known to Him-SWT . The Mehr of these maids, which is half of that of the free women, must also he paid. Except for Imam Malik-RUA ' all other agree that this Mehr too belongs to the master.


While marrying a maid, consider her nobility. She should be a pious woman, and not an adulteress or one with secret lovers. Islam places chastity and noble lineage at a very important pedestal. Had Mut'a been lawful, it would have been clearly stated and permitted here Mut'a is nothing but debauchery. When even a maid indulging in Mut'a is not worthy of being taken in marriage, how can Mut'a be considered noble and allowed in principle? How can such practice be permitted, in which a woman, secretly or openly, offers herself for a certain period of time to another man in return for money? No waiting period, no inheritance, no pedigree is involved in Mut'a; so how can it be lawful? It can be deemed as the easiest outlet for sexual urge. The Quran emphasizes that women should be chaste and noble, and not of loose conduct: whereas Mut'a involves nothing but lust and lewdness.


If after marriage, these maids commit adultery, they are to receive hall the punishment given to a free unmarried adulteress, which is one hundred lashes. A free, married woman, guilty of fornication would be stoned to death. So the punishment which a married maid would receive for adulteress is fifty lashes. According to Muslim jurists, the same rule (of half punishment) applies lo male slaves as well.


Men who fear committing adultery and cannot afford marriage to free women should marry a maid, or else be patient. Allah-SWT duly appreciates and rewards patience. Allah-SWT is all-Forgiving and Gracious. Remember that only those categories which have been defined in the above Ayah of the Quran will be known as maids and slaves. Apart from these, no women or child can be sold or bought to be condemned to slavery. This is strictly forbidden. People, who receive money in lieu of their daughter's hand in marriage should know that if she does not agree to this marriage, the Nikah is not valid, Even if the girl agrees under duress, it is an act of enormous cruelty. These all are customs and traditions of the lira of Ignorance, which are again raising their ugly head because of weakening bonds with Islam.