THIS SLIGHTLY longer chapter was revealed after The House of Imran 3 and before Examining Her 60. It contains 73 verses arranged in nine sections, all of which were revealed in Madina. This thus represents a break in the diminishing sequence of chapters.
The Jews and pagan Arabs around Madina had risen 10,000 strong in a conspiracy directed against the nascent Islamic state at this point (the year 5 / 626-7), and the chapter bears witness to the difficulties existent in this developing society. The troubles which Muhammad faced in Madina in the year 5 / 626-7 were different from the ones he had met with in Mecca. We hear graphic portrayals of meddlers and slackers who, for instance, gave rise to recruiting and defence problems (it). Salman the Persian had a trench dug so the Madinese could withstand a siege. Following this success, the Prophet began to achieve the hegemony of Arabia and control over the trade routes to Syria.
The Prophet's wives appear again (IV &VI), plus rules for divorce (VI) and modesty (VIII). There is also a section on protocol in connection with affairs of state (VII). The chapter ends with a statement on the philosophy of history (VIII) plus a vivid picture of how God's trust was offered to the mountains, but they were prudent enough to reject it (IX).
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(I) *0 Prophet, heed God and do not obey disbelievers and hypocrites. God is Aware, Wise. * Follow whatever you are inspired with by your Lord; God is Informed about what you (all) are doing. * Rely on God; God suffices as a Trustee.
* God has not placed two hearts in any man's body. Nor has He granted you wives whom you may back away from, to act as your mothers, nor has He granted your adopted sons to be your own sons. That is your own statement made by your own mouths. God states the Truth and He guides one along the Way. ** Call them after their own fathers; it is fairer so far as God is concerned. If you do not know who their fathers were, then [call them] your brothers in religion and your wards.
What you may have slipped up on already will not be held against you, but only something your hearts have done intentionally. Yet God is Forgiving, Merciful.
* The Prophet is closer to believers than even they themselves are, and his wives are [like] their mothers. Yet blood relatives are closer to one another in God's book than are believers and the Refugees, except that you should act in a proper manner towards your wards. That has been underlined in the Book.
* When We made an agreement with the prophets, with you and with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus the son of Mary, We pledged a solemn agreement with them * so He might question sincere persons concerning their sincerity. He has prepared painful torment for disbelievers!
(II)* You who believe, remember God's favor upon you when the armies charged at you! We sent a wind and even armies you did not see against them. God was Observant of what you were doing, ** as they came at you both from above you and from below you, and your eyesight faltered and your hearts leaped up into your throats, and you entertained certain thoughts about God; there believers were tested and severely shaken as if in an earthquake. Thus hypocrites and those whose hearts contain malice said: "God and His messenger have only promised us something to lure us on."
* So when a faction of them said: "O people of Yathrib, there is no room for you, so return!", a group of them took leave of the Prophet, saying: "Our houses lie exposed." They were not defenceless; they merely wanted to run away. * If a raid had been made on them from [all] its quarters, then they had been asked to rise up in dissension, they would have done so and yet not lasted very long. ** Still they had already pledged to God that they would not turn their backs! Any oath [made] to God will be asked about.
* SAY: "Fleeing will never help you: if you should flee from death or slaughter, then you will still enjoy (life) only briefly." * SAY: "Who is there to shield you from God if He should want any ill for you or wants mercy for you?" They will find they have no patron nor any supporter besides God.
* God knows the meddlers among you and the ones telling their brethren: "Come over to our side!" They only take part in conflict for a little while, * skimping towards you (all). Whenever fear comes over them, you will see them looking at you, their eyes rolling around like someone whom death has almost seized. Once fear leaves them. they will lash out at you (all) with [their] sharp tongues, yet skimping about [doing] any good. Those persons do not believe, so God has foiled their actions. That is so easy for God [to do]. ** They reckon the Coalition will not go away. If the Coalition should come [again], they would like to be wandering around far away among the [desert] Arabs, asking for news about you. Yet even if they were among you, they would only fight a little.
(III)* In God's messenger you have a fine model for someone who looks forward to [meeting] God and the Last Day, and mentions God frequently. * When believers saw the Coalition, they said: 'This is what God and His messenger have promised us. God and His messenger have told the truth." It merely increased them in faith and submission. * Some believers are men who are sincere in what they pledge to God, while others have already fulfilled their mortal duty, and still others are waiting [their chance]; they have not changed in the least, * so God may reward the truthful for their truthfulness and punish hypocrites if He so wishes, or else relent towards them. God is Forgiving, Merciful.
** God sent the ones who disbelieved back in their fury; they did not accomplish any good. God spares believers the trouble of fighting; God is Strong, Powerful! * He has tossed some People of the Book who had backed them up, out of their strongholds and cast panic into their hearts; one group you killed while you captured another group. * He let you inherit their land, their homes and their property, plus a land you have not yet set foot on. God is Capable of everything!
The Prophet's Wives
(IV) * 0 Prophet, tell your wives: "If you are wanting worldly life and its attraction, then come on! I'll let you enjoy them and dismiss you in a handsome fashion. * However if you have been wanting [to see] God and His messenger, as well as having a home in the Hereafter, well God has prepared splendid payment for the kindly women among you. ** 0 wives of the Prophet, anyone of you who commits some flagrant act of misconduct shall have [her] punishment doubled twice over. That is easy for God [to do].
(IV contd) * "Yet We will give any of you who is devoted to God and His messenger, and acts honorably, her earnings twice over. We have reserved a generous provision for her. * 0 wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women! If you do your duty, then do not act too deferential while talking [to others] lest someone whose heart contains malice may thereby be encouraged. Employ suitable speech. * Remain in your homes and do not dress up fancily the way they used to dress during [the time of] primitive Ignorance. Keep up prayer and pay the welfare tax, and obey God and His messenger. God merely wants to remove any blight from you [since you are] People of the [Prophet's] House, and to cleanse you thoroughly. * Remember any of God's verses and wisdom which are recited in your homes. God is Gracious, Informed."
(v) ** Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, devout men and devout women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, reverent men and reverent women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, and men who safeguard their private parts and women who safeguard [theirs], and men who remember God often and women who remember [Him]-for [all of] them God has prepared forgiveness and a splendid wage.
* No believing man nor any believing woman should exercise any choice in their affair once God and His messenger have decided upon some matter. Anyone who disobeys God and His messenger has wandered off into manifest error.
* Thus you told someone whom God had favored and whom you yourself have favored: "Hold on to your wife, and heed God," while you kept to yourself what God had disclosed and you dreaded people['s opinion], although it is more correct for you to dread God. Once Zayd had accomplished his purpose with her, We married her off to you so that there would be no objection for believers in respect to their adopted son's wives once they have accomplished their purpose with them. God's command must be done! * The Prophet is not to be reproached for [doing] what God has stipulated for him to do. God's practice has been such with those who have passed on already-God's command is a pre-ordained decree* for those who transmit God's messages and dread him, while they do not dread anyone else than God. God suffices as a Reckoner.
Muhammad the Last Prophet
** Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but [he is] God's messenger and the Seal of the Prophets. God is Aware of everything!
(VI)* You who believe, remember God often. * Celebrate him morning and evening; * He is the One Who accepts prayers from you, as do His angels, to lead you out of darkness into Light. He is Merciful with believers. * Their greeting on the day they meet Him will be: "Peace!" He has prepared generous payment for them.
** 0 Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, herald and warner, * and as someone who invites people to [know] God by His permission, and as a shining lamp. * Proclaim to believers how they will have great bounty from God.
Do not obey disbelievers and hypocrites, Disregard their annoyance and rely on God: God suffices as a Trustee.
* You who believe, whenever you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have touched them, you have no number [of months] to count in their case. Provide for them and release them in a handsome manner.
Muhammad's Wives (again)
** 0 Prophet, We have permitted you [to deal with] your wives whom you have given their allotments to, and anyone your right hands control from what God has furnished you [as captives], and your paternal uncles' and aunts' daughters, and your maternal uncles' and aunts' daughters who have migrated along with you, and any believing woman who bestows herself upon the Prophet, provided the Prophet wants to marry her; such is exclusively for you and not for [other] believers. We know what We have stipulated for them concerning their wives and anyone their right hands control, so it will not be held against you. God is Forgiving, Merciful.
* You may make any one of them you wish wait, and let any one you wish approach you. It will not be held against you concerning anyone you may desire among those whom you have set aside. That is more suitable so that you may comfort them and they will not be saddened, and [instead] pleased with anything you may give them all. God knows what is in your hearts; God is Aware, Lenient.
* No [other] women will be lawful for you later on nor may you exchange them for other wives, even though their beauty may entice you, except for someone your right hand controls. God is an Observer over everything.
Etiquette; Affairs of State
(VII) * You who believe, do not enter the Prophet's [private] quarters unless an invitation has been extended to you for a meal, though still without watching how it is prepared. However once you have been invited, then go on in; and once you have been fed, then disperse, not indulging in conversation. That has been disturbing the Prophet and he feels ashamed [to tell] you so. Yet God is not ashamed [to raise] the Truth.
Whenever you ask (his wives) for any object, ask them for it from behind a curtain. That will be purer for your hearts as well as for their hearts. It is not proper for you to annoy God's messenger, nor ever to marry his wives after him; that would be serious with God! * Whether you reveal anything or hide it, God is Aware of everything.
** There is no objection to their [appearing before] their fathers, their sons nor their brothers, nor their brothers' and sisters' sons, nor their own womenfolk, nor anyone their right hands control. Heed God (you women); God is a Witness for everything!
On Greeting the Prophet
* God and His angels accept prayers for the Prophet. You who believe, pray for him (too) and greet him properly. * God will curse those who [try to] annoy God and His messenger in this world and the Hereafter, and will prepare shameful torment for them. * Those who annoy believing men and believing women without their having deserved it, will assume [the guilt of] slander and [commit] a clear offence against themselves.
Rules for Modesty
(VIII) * 0 Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and believers' wives as well, to draw their cloaks close around themselves. That is more appropriate so they may be recognized and not molested. God is Forgiving, Merciful. ** If hypocrites and those whose hearts contain malice do not stop, as well as the agitators in Madina, We shall stir you up against them. Then they will live alongside you as neighbors for only a little while [longer]; * cursed wherever they are encountered, they will be seized and completely routed. * [Such is] God's practice with those who have passed on before; you will never find any change in God's practice.
Philosphy of History
* People will ask you about the Hour. SAY: "Knowledge about it rests only with God." What will make you realize that perhaps the Hour is near! * God will curse disbelievers and prepare a Blaze for them ** to remain in for ever. They will not find any patron nor supporter; * on a day when their faces will be twisted by the Fire, they will say: "If we had only obeyed God and obeyed the Messenger!" * They will (also) say: "Our Lord, we have obeyed our superiors and our great men, and they led us off from the Way. * Our Lord, give them double torment and curse them with a great curse!"
(IX) * You who believe, do not be like those who abused Moses. cleared him of what they said. He became outstanding with God. ** who believe, heed God and speak straight to the point; * He will improve your actions for you and forgive you your sins. Anyone who obeys God and His messenger will achieve a splendid Triumph.
God's Trust; The Human Dilemma
* We offered the trust to Heaven and Earth,
and to the mountains too,
yet they refused to carry it,
and shrank back from it.
However man accepted it:
he has been unfair [to himself], ignorant!
* Still God will punish hypocritical men and hypocritical women and associating men and associating women. However God relents with believing men and believing women. God is Forgiving, Merciful!