2 - Al Baqara (The cow)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 2.228

Al-Jalalayn

Divorced women shall wait by themselves, before remarrying, for three periods (qurū’in is the plural of qar’), of purity or menstruation — these are two different opinions — which begin from the moment of divorce. This [stipulation] applies to those who have been sexually penetrated but not to those otherwise, on account of His saying, there shall be no [waiting] period for you to reckon against them [Q. 33:49]. The waiting period for immature or menopausal women is three months; pregnant women, on the other hand, must wait until they give birth, as stated in the sūrat al-Talāq [Q. 65:4], while slavegirls must wait two months, according to the Sunna. And it is not lawful for them to hide what God has created in their wombs, of child or menstruation, if they believe in God and the Last Day. Their mates, their spouses, have a better right to restore them, to bring them back, even if they refuse, in such time, that is, during the waiting period, if they desire to set things right, between them, and put pressure on the woman [to return]; the statement is not a condition for the possibility of return, but an incitement [to set things right] in the case of repealed divorce; the term ahaqq, ‘better right to’, does not denote any priority, since, in any case, no other person has the right to marry them during their waiting period; women shall have rights, due from their spouses, similar to those, rights, due from them, with justice, as stipulated by the Law, in the way of kind conjugality and not being harmed; but their men have a degree above them, in rights, as in their duty to obey their husbands, because of their [the husbands’] payment of a dowry and their [husbands] being the bread-winners; God is Mighty, in His Kingdom, Wise, in what He has ordained for His creatures.

Al-Qushairi

Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods.

He commanded divorced women to wait, out of respect for spousal relations, meaning, 'if the relationship has been cut off between the two of you, observe the condition of fulfilling [the waiting period] for the sake of what occurred in the past in the relationship. Do not put others quickly in place of [the spouse]. Be patient until the allotted period has passed.' Don't you see that the bride whose marriage was not consummated is not commanded to undergo a waiting period, since there were no spousal relations between the two of them?

[2:228 cont'd] And it is not lawful for them to hide what God has created in their wombs if they believe in God and the Last Day.

It means that even if the tie between the two of you has been severed, do not severe what God has established in the parental relationship.

[2:228 cont'd] Their mates have a better right to restore them

It means that the one who had the prior relationship has a better right to restore the breach in the marriage.

[2:228 cont'd] in such time if they desire to set things right;

It means that the [husband's] intention to return should be to set things right in the estrangement that occurred, not to prolong the waiting period for her if he has resolved to divorce her after he has taken her back.

[2:228 cont'd] women shall have rights similar to those due from them, with justice;

It means if he has a right over her for what he has expended in wealth, she has a right for prior service in the situation.

[2:228 cont'd] but their men have a degree above them; God is Mighty, Wise.

[He has the degree] in merit (fa?īla), but she has a prerogative (mazīya) in frailty and human weakness.

Ibn Al Kathir

The `Iddah (Waiting Period) of the Divorced Woman

This Ayah contains a command from Allah that the divorced woman, whose marriage was consummated and who still has menstruation periods, should wait for three (menstrual) periods (Quru') after the divorce and then remarry if she wishes.

The Meaning of Al-Quru

Ibn Jarir related that `Alqamah said: We were with `Umar bin Al-Khattab when a woman came and said, "My husband divorced me one or two periods ago. He then came back to me while I had prepared my water for taking a bath, took off my clothes and closed my door.'' `Umar asked `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, "What do you think'' He said, "I think that she is still his wife, as long as she is not allowed to resume praying (i.e., until the third period ends before he takes her back).'' `Umar said, "This is my opinion too.'' This is also the opinion of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Abu Ad-Darda', `Ubadah bin As-Samit, Anas bin Malik, Ibn Mas`ud, Mu`adh, Ubayy bin Ka`b, Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari and Ibn `Abbas. Furthermore, this is the opinion of Sa`id bin Musayyib, `Alqamah, Aswad, Ibrahim, Mujahid, `Ata', Tawus, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Sirin, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ash-Sha`bi, Ar-Rabi`, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi, Makhul, Ad-Dahhak and `Ata' Al-Khurasani. They all stated that the Quru' is the menstruation period. What testifies to this is the Hadith that Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i reported that Fatimah bint Abu Hubaiysh said that Allah's Messenger said to her:

«دَعِي الصَّلاَةَ أَيَّامَ أَقْرَائِك»

(Do not pray during your Aqra' (pl. for Quru', the menstruation period).)

If this Hadith was authentic, it would have been a clear proof that the Quru' is the menstruation period. However, one of the narrators of this Hadith, Al-Mundhir, is an unknown person (in Hadith terminology), as Abu Hatim has stated, although Ibn Hibban has mentioned Al-Mundhir in his book Ath-Thiqat.

A Woman's Statement about Menses and Purity is to be accepted

Allah said:

وَلاَ يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَن يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِى أَرْحَامِهِنَّ

(...and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs,) meaning, of pregnancy or menstruation periods. This is the Tafsir of Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hakam bin `Utaybah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and others.

Allah then said:

إِن كُنَّ يُؤْمِنَّ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ

(...if they believe in Allah and the Last Day.)

This Ayah warns women against hiding the truth (if they were pregnant or on their menses), indicating that they are the authority in such matters as they alone know such facts about themselves. Since verifying such matters is difficult, Allah left this decision with them. Yet, women were warned not to hide the truth in case they wish to end the `Iddah sooner, or later, according to their desires. Women were thus commanded to say the truth (if they were pregnant or on their menses), no more and no less.

The Husband has the Right to take back his Divorced Wife during the `Iddah (Waiting Period)

Allah said:

وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُواْ إِصْلَـحاً

(And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation.)

Hence, the husband who divorces his wife can take her back, providing she is still in her `Iddah (time spent before a divorced woman or a widow can remarry) and that his aim, by taking her back, is righteous and for the purpose of bringing things back to normal. However, this ruling applies where the husband is eligible to take his divorced wife back. We should mention that (when this Ayah 2:228 was revealed), the ruling that made the divorce thrice and specified when the husband is ineligible to take his divorced wife back, had not been revealed yet. Previously, the man used to divorce his wife and then take her back even if he had divorced her a hundred separate times. Thereafter, Allah revealed the following Ayah (2:229) that made the divorce only thrice. So there was now a reversible divorce and an irreversible final divorce.

The Rights the Spouses have over Each Other

Allah said:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

(And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable,)

This Ayah indicates that the wife has certain rights on her husband, just as he has certain rights on her, and each is obliged to give the other spouse his due rights. Muslim reported that Jabir said that Allah's Messenger said:

«فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّكُمْ أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانَةِ اللهِ، وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللهِ، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ، فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذَلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ، وَلَهُنَّ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوف»

(Fear Allah regarding your women, for you have taken them by Allah's covenant and were allowed to enjoy with them sexually by Allah's Words. You have the right on them that they do not allow anyone you dislike to sit on your mat. If they do that, then discipline them leniently. They have the right to be spent on and to be bought clothes in what is reasonable.)

Bahz bin Hakim said that Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri related that his grandfather said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the right the wife of one of us has'' The Prophet said:

«أَنْ تُطْعِمَهَا إِذَا طَعِمْتَ، وتَكْسُوَهَا إِذَا اكْتَسَيْتَ، وَلَا تَضْرِبِ الْوَجْهَ، وَلَا تُقَبِّحْ، وَلَا تَهْجُرْ إِلَّا فِي الْبَيْت»

(To feed her when you eat, buy her clothes when you buy for yourself and to refrain from striking her on the face, cursing her or staying away from her except in the house.)

Waki` related that Ibn `Abbas said, "I like to take care of my appearance for my wife just as I like for her to take care of her appearance for me. This is because Allah says:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

(And they (women) have rights similar (to those of their husbands) over them to what is reasonable.)'' This statement is reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abu Hatim.

The Virtue Men have over Women

Allah said:

وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ

(but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.)

This Ayah indicates that men are in a more advantageous position than women physically as well as in their mannerism, status, obedience (of women to them), spending, taking care of the affairs and in general, in this life and in the Hereafter. Allah said (in another Ayah):

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَلِهِمْ

(Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.) (4:34)

Allah's statement:

وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكُيمٌ

(And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) means, He is Mighty in His punishment of those who disobey and defy His commands. He is Wise in what He commands, destines and legislates.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

That is, ''Fear Allah and do not divorce your wives for frivolous and unjustifiable reasons, for He knows everything."

Jurists differ in the interpretation of this verse. According to one section of them, divorce does not take place and the husband retains the right of reunion up to the time of the purification of the wife by a bath after the third monthly course. This is the opinion of Hadrat Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Abu Musa Ash-'ari, Ibn Mas'ud and some other Companions of the first rank, and the Hanafi jurists have accepted the same. On the contrary, the other section says that the husband forfeits the right of reunion as soon as the wife has a discharge of the third monthly course. This opinion is held by Hadrat `A'ishah, Ibn `Umar and Zaid bin Thabit, and the Shafe'i and the Maliki jurists have adopted the same. It must, however, be clearly understood that the husband retains the right of reunion only in the case when he has pronounced one divorce or two divorces, but he forfeits the right of reunion when he has pronounced three divorces.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Women who are divorced) through one or two pronouncements of divorce (shall wait) shall wait a certain time called the waiting period, (keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses) for three menstruation periods. (And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal) their pregnancy (that which Allah hath created in their wombs) of offspring (if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back) to take them back as their wives (in that case) during the waiting period or if they are pregnant (if they desire reconciliation.) This is because in the early period of Islam, when a man divorced his wife via one or two pronouncements of divorce, he had a better right to take her back after the lapse of the waiting period, before her marrying again. Later, the right to take one's wife back was abrogated by the saying of Allah: (Divorce must be pronounced twice). Similarly, a man had a better right to take his wife back if she were pregnant, even if he had pronounced her divorce a thousand times. This was however abrogated by Allah's saying: (divorce them for their (legal) period) [65:1]. (And they (women) have rights) and inviolability with their husbands (similar to those) of their husbands (over them in kindness) in kind companionship and intercourse, (and men are a degree above them) in relation to the reasoning faculty, inheritance, blood money, as witnesses in court and also that which they owe them in terms of expenditure and service. (Allah is Mighty) in that He is vengeful vis-"-vis whoever leaves that which is between a husband and wife of rights and inviolability, (Wise) regarding that which He has ruled between them.