THIS CHAPTER of 22 verses arranged in three sections dates from Madina, like the previous one. It was revealed after the one on Hypocrites 63 and before The [Inner] Apartments 49. This thus makes it the second of the two Madinese chapters which are placed here, as one can see with its longer verses and more involved paragraphs. Its theme condemning arrogant conduct likewise gives it an affinity to the beginning of Chapter 24 Light (sections i-iii).
The woman referred to was Khawla bint-Thalaba, and the incident refers to her domestic problems. The mock divorce of the pagan Arabs which bound the rejected wife to her household chores is condemned at the very beginning of the chapter (i). The chapter also contains some lyrical passages concerning God's awareness of everything, especially of intrigue. Manners at meetings and parliamentary procedure are discussed in section ii.
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(i) * God has heard the speech of the woman pleading with you about her husband, and complaining to God. God hears whatever you both discuss; God is Alert, Observant.
Mock Divorce Condemned
* Those among you who back away from their wives even though they are not their mothers (their mothers are only the ones who have given birth to them) are making a dishonorable statement as well as twisting things around. Yet God is Pardoning, Forgiving. * The ones who back away from their wives [as if they were their mothers], then retract whatever they have said, should free a captive before either of them may touch one another [again]. That you are instructed to do; God is Informed about anything you do. * Whoever does not find such [a captive to free], should then fast for two consecutive months before either of them may touch one another. Anyone who is still unable [to conform] should then feed sixty paupers.
That is [laid down] so you may believe in God and His messenger; such are God's limits. Disbelievers will have painful torment! ** The ones who want to limit God and His messenger will be restrained just as those before them were restrained. We have sent down clear signs: disbelievers will have disgraceful torment. * Some day God will raise them all up again and notify them about anything they have done. God has calculated it while they have forgotten it. God is a Witness for everything!
God is Everwhere
(ii) * Have you not considered how God knows whatever is in Heaven and whatever is on Earth? No private conversation ever takes place among three [persons] unless He is their Fourth, nor among five unless He is their Sixth, nor [any number] less than that nor greater unless He is with them, wherever they may be. Then on Resurrection Day, He will notify them about whatever they have been doing. God is Aware of everything!
* Have you not considered the ones who, even though they have been forbidden to [carry on any] intrigue, still go back to what they have been forbidden to do and conspire out of sin and enmity, and in defiance of the Messenger? Whenever they come to you, they greet you the way God never greets you, and tell themselves: "Should God not punish us for what we say?"
Hell will be enough for them; they shall roast in it, for it is such an awful goal to have. * You who believe, whenever you confer with one another, do not conspire out of sin and enmity, and in defiance of the Messenger: confer virtuously and through a sense of duty. Heed God, before whom you will appear.
** Intrigue comes only from Satan, so he may sadden those who believe. Yet he will not harm them in any way except with God's permission; so on God let believers rely.
* You who believe, whenever someone tells you to make room at (any) sessions, then make room; God will make room for you [elsewhere]. When it is said: "Move on ahead!", then move on up. God will raise those of you who believe, in rank, as well as the ones who are given knowledge. God is Informed about anything you do.
Manners at Meetings; Parlimentary Procedure
* You who believe, whenever you confer with the Messenger, offer some sort of charity before you confer [with him]; that will be better for you, and purer [besides]. Yet if you do not find anything [to give], God is still Forgiving, Merciful. * Are you worried about proffering some charity before your consultation? If you do not do so, God still turns towards you, so keep up prayer and pay the welfare tax, and obey God and His messenger. God is Informed about anything you do.
(iii) * Have you not considered those who make friends with a folk whom God is angry with? They are neither on your side nor yet on their own, and they perjure themselves while they know it. ** God has prepared severe torment for them; with them, anything they do is evil. * They have taken their faith as a disguise and obstructed God's way. They will have disgraceful torment; * neither their wealth nor their children will help them out in any way with God. Those will become imnates of the Fire; they will remain there for ever.
* Some day God will raise them all up together and they will swear toHim just as they have swom to you; they reckon they will get something out of it. They are such liars! * Satan has won them over and made them forget to mention God; those are Satan's party. Yet Satan's side will be the losers! ** Those who would limit God and His messenger are the vilest sort.
* God has written: "I shall prevail, both I Myself and My messengers!" God is Strong, Powerful. * You will not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day showing affection for anyone who places limits on God and His messenger, even though they are their own fathers, their sons, their brothers or anyone from their family connection. With those He will engrave faith on their hearts, assist them with a spirit from Himself, and will show them into gardens through which rivers flow, to live there for ever. God will approve of them while they will be pleased with Him. Those are on God's side. God's party are those who shall be successful!
Published with authorization from Dr.T.B.Irving.