O Prophet! when ye do divorce women divorce them at their prescribed periods and count (accurately) their prescribed periods: and fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses nor shall they (themselves) leave except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness. Those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits of Allah does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation. 5503 5504 5505 5506 5507 5508
Thus when they fulfil their term appointed either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you endued with justice and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah He (ever) prepares a way out 5509 5510 5511
And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. 5512
Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses for them the prescribed period if ye have any doubt is three months and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs) their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah He will make their path easy. 5513 5514
That is the Command of Allah which He has sent down to you: and if anyone fears Allah He will remove his ills from him and will enlarge His reward. 5515
Let the women live (in 'iddah) in the same style as ye live according to your means: annoy them not so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs) then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring) give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father's) behalf. 5516 5517 5518 5519
Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty Allah will soon grant relief. 5520
How many populations that insolently opposed the command of their Lord and of His apostles did We not then call to account to severe account? And We imposed on them an exemplary Punishment. 5521 5522
Then did they taste the evil result of their conduct and the End of their conduct was Perdition.
Allah has prepared for them a severe Punishment (in the Hereafter). Therefore fear Allah O ye men of understanding who have believed! for Allah hath indeed sent down to you a Message 5523 5524
An Apostle who rehearses to you the Signs of Allah containing clear explanations that he may lead forth those who believe and do righteous deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light. And those who believe in Allah and work righteousness He will admit to Gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever: Allah has indeed granted for them a most excellent provision. 5525
Allah is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah comprehends all things in (His) Knowledge. 5526 5527 5528
Note that in the first instance the Prophet is himself addressed individually, as the Teacher and representative of the Community. Then the actual directions: "when ye...." are addressed to the Community collectively.
"Of all things permitted by law, Divorce is the most hateful in the sight of Allah"; see Introduction to this Sura. The general directions and limitations of Divorce may be studied in ii. 228-232, 236-237, 241, and notes; also iv. 35.
'Iddat, as a technical term in divorce law, is explained in n. 254 to ii. 228. Its general meaning is "a prescribed period": in that general sense it is used in ii. 185 for a prescribed period for fasting.
The prescribed period (see last note) is in the interests of the wife, of the husband, of an unborn child (if there is any), and of sex laws in nature, and therefore the elementary dictates of refined human society. In English Law the six months interval between the decree nisi and the decree absolute in divorce attains the same purpose in a round-about way. The Commentators suggest that the divorce should not be pronounced during the courses. Read with ii. 222, this implies that any incipient differences between husband and wife should not be forced to an issue at a time when sex is least attractive and almost repulsive. Everything should be done to strengthen the social and spiritual aspects of marriage and keep down stray impulses of animal instinct. The parties are to think seriously in a mood of piety, keeping the fear of Allah in their minds.
As Islam treats the married woman as a full juristic personality in every sense of the term a married woman has a right, in the married state, to a house or apartment of her own. And a house or apartment implies the reasonable expenses for its upkeep and for her own and her children's maintenance. And this is obligatory not only in the married state, but during the 'iddat, which is necessarily a most trying period for the woman. During this period she must not only not be turned out, but it is not decent for her to leave of her own accord, lest the chances of reconciliation should be diminished: see the next note.
A reconciliation is possible, and is indeed recommended at every stage. The first serious difference between the parties are to be submitted to a family council on which both sides are represented (iv. 35); divorce is not to be pronounced when mutual physical attraction is at an ebb (n. 5506); when it is pronounced, there should be a period of probationary waiting: dower has to be paid and due provision has to be made for many things on equitable terms; every facility has to be given for reconciliation till the last moment, and impediments are provided against hasty impulses leading to rupture. "Thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation."
Cf. ii. 231. Everything should be done fairly and squarely, and all interests should be safeguarded.
Publicity and the establishment of proper evidence ensure that no one will act unjustly or selfishly. All should remember that these are matters of serious import, affecting our most intimate lives, and therefore our position in the next life.
In these very delicate and difficult matters, the wisdom of jurists provides a less satisfactory solution than a sincere desire to be just and true, which is described as the "fear of Allah". Where such a desire exists, Allah often provides a solution in the most unexpected ways or from the most unexpected quarters; e.g., the worst enemies may be reconciled, or the cry or the smile of an infant baby may heal seemingly irreparable injuries or unite hearts seemingly alienated for ever. And Faith is followed at once by a psychological feeling of rest for the troubled spirit.
Our anger and our impatience have to be curbed. Our friends and our mates or associates may seem to us ever so weak and unreasonable, and the circumstances may be ever so disheartening; yet we must trust in Allah. How can we measure our own weakness or perhaps blindness? He knows all. His universal Purpose is always good. His Will must be accomplished, and we should wish for its accomplishment. His ordering of the universe observes a due, just, and perfect proportion.
Cf. ii. 228, For normal women, the 'iddat is the three monthly courses after separation: if there are no courses or if the courses are in doubt, it is three calendar months. But that time it will be clear whether there is pregnancy: if there is, the waiting period is still after delivery.
Cf. n. 5511. If there is a true and sincere desire to obey the Will of Allah and do right the difficulties will vanish, and these delicate matters will be settled for the greatest happiness of all.
Allah's ordinance is nothing arbitrary. "It is to help us, and to lead us on to our highest good, temporal and spiritual. If we obey Allah, His wisdom will not only solve our difficulties, but it will remove other ills that we may have, subjective and objective. Like a good shepherd, He will lead us on to more and more luscious pastures. With each step higher, our position becomes more and more sure and our reward more and more precious.
Cf. n. 5507 above. A selfish man, because he has divorced his wife, may, in the probationary period before the divorce becomes absolute, treat her with contumely, and while giving her residence and maintenance, may so restrict it as to make her life miserable. This is forbidden. She must be provided on the same scale as he is, according to his status in life. There is still hope of reconciliation, and if not, yet the parting must be honourable.
If there is pregnancy, a sacred third life comes on the scene, for which there is added responsibility (perhaps added hope of reconciliation) for both parents. In any case no separation is possible until after the child is born. Even after birth, if no reconciliation between parents is possible, yet for the nursing of the child and for its welfare the care of the mother remains the duty of the father, and there must be mutual counsel between him and the mother in all truth and sincerity.
"If ye find yourselves in difficulties": e.g., if the mother's milk fails, or if her health fails, or if any circumstance arises which bars the natural course of the mother nursing her own child. There may be psychological difficulties also.
That is, the father must stand all expenses.
We must trust in Allah, and do whatever is possible for us in the interests of the young life for which we are responsible. We must not be frightened by difficulties. Allah will give us relief and provide a solution if we act with honest integrity. Cf. xciv. 5-6.
Insolent impiety consists not only in the breach of the rites of religion. Even more vital is the defiance of the laws of nature which Allah has made for us. These laws, for us human beings include those which relate to our fellow-beings in society to whom kindness and consideration form the basis of our social duties. Our duties to our families and our children in intimate matters such as were spoken of in the last Section, are as important as any in our spiritual life. Peoples who forgot the moral law in marriage or family life perished in this world and will have no future in the Hereafter. The lessons apply not only to individuals but to whole nations or social groups.
This refers to the present life: apparently the Hereafter is implied in verse 10 below.
See last note.
There is no excuse for us to go astray, seeing that Allah in His infinite Mercy has explained to us His Message by His many Signs around us and clearly by means of the human Teachers and Messengers whom He has sent for our instruction: see next verse.
Cf. xxiv. 40: the unbelievers' state is "like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by dark clouds; depths of darkness, one above another." Cf. ii. 257; "Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light."
"Seven Firmaments." (Cf. ii. 29; xvii. 44; xxiii- 86; and xli. 12.)
Literally: they are seven in number, each one separate from the other.
But in all spheres of life and Creation, whatever conception we are able to form of them, it is certain that the Command or Law of Allah runs through them all, for His knowledge and power extend through all things.