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AT-TAHRIM, interesting commentary

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rami View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 June 2008 at 11:00pm
Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

assalamu alaikum

I thought this commentary was interesting especially number 4.



Total Verses: 12





REVEALED in the second half of the Medina period - probably in 7 H. - this surah has been occasionally designated as "The Surah of the Prophet" (Zamakhshari) inasmuch as the first half of it deals with certain aspects of his personal and family life.



(1) O PROPHET! Why dost thou, out of a desire to please [one or another of] thy wives, impose [on thyself] a prohibition of something that God has made lawful to thee? 1 But God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace:

(2) God has already enjoined upon you [O believers] the breaking and expiation of [such of] your oaths [as may run counter to what is right and just]: 2 for, God is your Lord Supreme, and He alone is all-knowing, truly wise.

(3) And lo! 3 [It so happened that] the Prophet told something in confidence to one of his wives; and when she thereupon divulged it, and God made this known to him, he acquainted [others] with some of it and passed over some of it. 4 And as soon as he let her know it, she asked, "Who has told thee this?" 5 - [to which] he replied, "The All-Knowing, the All-Aware has told me."

(4) [Say, O Prophet: 6] "Would that you two turn unto God in repentance, for the hearts of both of you have swerved [from what is right]! 7 And if you uphold each other against him [who is God's message-bearer, know that] God Himself is his Protector, and [that,] therefore, 8 Gabriel, and all the righteous among the believers and all the [other] angels will come to his aid."

(5) [O wives of the Prophet!] Were he to divorce [any of] you, God might well give him in your stead spouses better than you - women who surrender themselves unto God, who truly believe, devoutly obey His will, turn [unto Him] in repentance [whenever they have sinned] worship [Him alone] and go on and on [seeking His goodly acceptance] 9 - be they women previously married or virggins. 10


1 There are several essentially conflicting - and, therefore, in their aggregate, not very trustworthy - reports as to the exact reason or reasons why, at some time during the second half of the Medina period, the Prophet declared on oath that for one month he would have no intercourse with any of his wives. Still, while the exact reason cannot be established with certainty, it is sufficiently clear from the above-mentioned ahadith that this emotional, temporary renunciation of marital life was caused by a display of mutual jealousy among some of the Prophet's wives. In any case, the purport of the above Qur'anic allusion to this incident is not biographical but, rather, intended to bring out a moral lesson applicable to all human situations: namely, the inadmissibility of regarding as forbidden (haram) anything that God has made lawful (halal), even if such an attitude happens to be motivated by the desire to please another person or other persons. Apart from this, it serves to illustrate the fact - repeatedly stressed in the Qur'an - that the Prophet was but a human being, and therefore subject to human emotions and even liable to commit an occasional mistake (which in his case, however, was invariably pointed out to him, and thus rectified, through divine revelation).

2 See 2:224 and the corresponding note 212, which shows that in certain circumstances an oath should be broken and then atoned for: hence the above phrase, "God has enjoined upon you the breaking and expiation" (with the term tahillah comprising both these concepts).

3 See surah 2, note 21.

4 Lit., "he turned aside from [or "avoided"] some of it". There is no reliable Tradition as to the subject of that confidential information. Some of the early commentators, however, connect it with the Prophet's veiled prediction that Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab would succeed him as leaders of the Muslim community; the recipient of the information is said to have been Hafsah, the daughter of Umar, and the one to whom she disclosed it, A'ishah, the daughter of Abu Bakr (Baghawi, on the, authority of Ibn Abbas and Al-Kalbi; also Zamakhshari). If this interpretation is correct, it would explain why the Prophet "acquainted [others] with some of it and passed over some of it": for, once his confidential prediction had been divulged, he saw no point in withholding it any longer from the community; nevertheless, he alluded to it in deliberately vague terms- possibly in order not to give to the succession of Abu Bakr and Umar the appearance of all "apostolic sanction" but to leave it, rather to a free decision of the community in pursuance of the Qur'anic principle amruhum shura baynahum (see 42:38).

5 I.e., that she had broken the Prophet's confidence.

6 Although in the sequence the Prophet is referred to in the third person, it is obvious that it is he who is commanded through revelation to speak thus to his wives Hafsah and A'ishah (see note 4); hence my above interpolation.

7 Referring to Hafsah, who betrayed the Prophet's confidence, and to A'ishah, who by listening contributed to this betrayal (see note 4 above).

8 Lit., "after that", i.e., in consequence of the fact that God Himself protects him.

9 For this rendering of the expression sa'ihat, see note 147 on 9:112, where the same expression occurs in the masculine gender relating to both men and women.

10 I.e., like the actual wives of the Prophet, one of whom ("A'ishah) was a virgin when she married him, one (Zaynab bint Jahsh) had been divorced, while the others were widows. This allusion, together with the fact that the Prophet did not divorce any of his wives, as well as the purely hypothetical formulation of this passage, shows that it is meant to be an indirect admonition to the Prophet's wives, who, despite their occasional shortcomings - unavoidable in human beings - did possess the virtues referred to above. On a wider plane, it seems to be an admonition to all believers, men and women alike: and this explains the subsequent change in the discourse.

the rest can be found here.

Muhammad Asad has by far the best translations of the meanings of the Quran and commentary available in the english language, i would recommend that non muslims read this before Yusif Ali or any other version but keep in mind like the authors it also has mistakes or rather the authors personnel views as apposed to those held by the wider community in it, but at least he gives his reasons and the issue isnt left a mystery as to why....The Wiki page sums it up well i think.

Edited by rami - 22 June 2008 at 11:49pm
Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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minuteman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote minuteman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2008 at 3:53am
  Thanks for this post. I learnt a very good lesson from this post (commentary). Muhammad Asad was great. Only yesterday, I had learnt something from his commentary about (Ya Ukht a haroon a, v. 19:28). That was really good (on another forum).
 Now, I request that the last two verses of the Sura At-Tahrim may also be presented because they also carry a very good message. Thanks.
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