66 - At Tahrim (Prohibition)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 66.2

Al-Jalalayn

Verily God has prescribed, He has made lawful, for you [when necessary] the absolution of your oaths, to absolve them by expiation, as mentioned in the sūrat al-Mā’ida [Q. 5:89] and the forbidding of [sexual relations with] a handmaiden counts as an oath, so did the Prophet (s) expiate? Muqātil [b. Sulaymān] said, ‘He set free a slave [in expiation] for his prohibition of Māriya’; whereas al-Hasan [al-Basrī] said, ‘He never expiated, because the Prophet (s) has been forgiven [all errors]’. And God is your Protector, your Helper, and He is the Knower, the Wise.

Ibn Al Kathir

Allah censures His Prophet for Prohibiting Himself from what He has allowed for Him In the Book

Al-Bukhari recorded that `Ubayd bin `Umayr said that he heard `A'ishah claiming that Allah's Messenger used to stay for a period in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh and drink honey in her house. (She said) "Hafsah and I decided that when the Prophet entered upon either of us, we would say, `I smell Maghafir on you. Have you eaten Maghafir' When he entered upon one of us, she said that to him. He replied (to her),

«لَا، بَلْ شَرِبْتُ عَسَلًا عِنْدَ زَيْنَبَ بِنْتِ جَحْشٍ وَلَنْ أَعُودَ لَه»

(No, but I drank honey in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh, and I will never drink it again.)'' Then the following was revealed;

يأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَآ أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ

(O Prophet! Why do you fobid that which Allah has allowed to you) up to,

إِن تَتُوبَآ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا

(If you both turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined;) in reference to `A'ishah and Hafsah.

وَإِذَ أَسَرَّ النَّبِىُّ إِلَى بَعْضِ أَزْوَجِهِ حَدِيثاً

(And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives,) which refers to this saying,

«بَلْ شَرِبْتُ عَسَلًا»

(But I have drunk honey.) Ibrahim bin Musa said that Hisham said that it also meant his saying,

«وَلَنْ أَعُودَ لَهُ وَقَدْ حَلَفْتُ فَلَا تُخْبِرِي بِذَلِكِ أَحَدًا»

(I will not drink it anymore, I have taken an oath to that. Therefore, do not inform anybody about it.) Al-Bukhari also recorded this Hadith in the Book of Divorce; then he said, "Al-Maghafir is a type of sap, and in Ar-Rimth (a type of citrus) its taste is sweet...'' Al-Jawhari said, "The `Urfut is a tree of the shrub variety, which secretes Maghfur.'' Muslim collected this Hadith from `A'ishah in the Book of Divorce in his Sahih, and his wording is the same as Al-Bukhari in the Book of Vows. In the Book of Divorce, Al-Bukhari recorded that `A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger liked sweets and honey. After performing the `Asr prayer, he used to visit his wives, going close to them. So he went to Hafsah, daughter of `Umar, and stayed with her more than his usual stay. I (`A'ishah) became jealous and asked about that. It was said to me, `A woman of her family sent her a small vessel of honey as a gift, and she gave a drink to Allah's Messenger made from it.' I said, `By Allah, we will contrive a plot against him.' I said to Sawdah bint Zam`ah, `When the Messenger visits you and draws close to you, say to him, `Have you eaten Maghafir' And when he says to you, `No', then ask him, `What is this odor' He will say to you, `Hafsah has given me a drink of honey.' Then you should say to him, `The honeybees might have eaten from Urfut, and I will also say the same to him. Safiyyah, you should also say this.' Sawdah later said, `It was under compulsion that I had decided to state that which you told me; soon, by Allah, he was standing at my door.' So when Allah's Messenger came near her, she said, `O Messenger of Allah! Did you eat Maghafir' He said, `No.' She again said, `Then what is this odor' He said,

«سَقَتْنِي حَفْصَةُ شَرْبَةَ عَسَل»

(Hafsah gave me honey to drink.) She said, `The honeybees might have eaten from `Urfut.')'' `A'ishah continued, "When he came to me I said the same to him. He then visited Safiyyah and she also said similar to him. When he again visited Hafsah, she said, `O Messenger of Allah, should I not give you that (drink)' He said,

«لَا حَاجَةَ لِي فِيه»

(I do not need it.) Sawdah said, `By Allah! We have prevented him from drinking honey.' I said to her, `Keep quiet!''' Muslim also recorded this Hadith, but this wording is from Al-Bukhari. In the narration of Muslim, `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to hate to have a bad odor coming from him'' This is why they suggested to him that he ate Maghafir, because it causes a bad odor. When he said,

«بَلْ شَرِبْتُ عَسَلًا»

(No, I had some honey.) They said that the bees ate from a tree that is called Al-`Urfut, which has Maghafir gum, suggesting that this is the reason behind the bad odor they claimed was coming from him. The latter narration, collected through `Urwah from `A'ishah, mentions that it was Hafsah who gave the Prophet the honey. In another narration collected from `Ubayd bin `Umayr, from `A'ishah, it was Zaynab bint Jahsh who gave the honey to the Prophet, while `A'ishah and Hafsah were the plotters. Allah knows best. Some might say that they were two separate incidents. However, it is not likely that the Ayat were revealed about both incidents, if indeed they were two separate incidents. Allah knows best. A Hadith that Imam Ahmad collected in the Musnad mentions that `A'ishah and Hafsah were the plotters. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "I was eager to ask `Umar about the two ladies among the wives of the Prophet, about whom Allah said,

إِن تَتُوبَآ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا

(If you two turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined;) Then I performed Hajj along with `Umar, and on our way back from Hajj he went aside (to relieve himself). I also went aside along with him carrying a tumbler of water. When he finished and returned, I poured water on his hands from the tumbler and he performed ablution. I said, `O Commander of the faithful! Who were the two ladies among the wives of the Prophet, to whom Allah said,

إِن تَتُوبَآ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا

(If you two turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined)' `Umar said, `I am astonished at your question, O Ibn `Abbas.''' - Az-Zuhri (a subnarrator) said that `Umar did not like the question, but he still answered it, saying that they were `A'ishah and Hafsah. "Then `Umar went on relating the story and said, `We, the people of Quraysh, used to have authority over our women. But when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. At that time, I was residing at the house of Umayyah bin Zayd, in Al-`Awali. Once I got angry with my wife, and she talked back to me; I disliked her answering me back. She said, `Why do you dislike me talking back to you By Allah, the wives of the Prophet talk back to him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day, until nightfall.' Then I went to Hafsah and asked her, `Do you talk back to Allah's Messenger' She said, `Yes.' I asked, `Does any of you keep Allah's Messenger angry all day long, until night' She replied, `Yes.' I said, `Whoever among you does this is a ruined, losing person! Doesn't she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of His Messenger and, thus, she will be ruined Don't ask Allah's Messenger too many things, and don't retort him in any case. Demand from me whatever you like, and don't be tempted to imitate your neighbor, for she is more beautiful than you, and more beloved to Allah's Messenger than you.' He meant `A'ishah.

I, and an Ansari neighbor of mine used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the revelation and when he went, he used to do the same for me. In those days it was rumored that the Ghassan (tribe) were preparing their horses to invade us. My companion went and returned to us at night and knocked at my door. I came out to him. He said that a grave thing happened. I asked him, `What is it Have Ghassan come' He replied that it was worse and more serious than that, adding that Allah's Messenger had divorced all his wives. I said, `Hafsah is a ruined loser! I expected that would happen some day.' So I dressed myself and I performed the Subh prayer. I went to Hafsah and found her weeping. I asked her, `Has Allah's Messenger divorced all of you' She replied, `I don't know. He is there alone in the upper room.' I went to the upper room and asked a black slave of the Prophet to ask for his permission to see me, and the boy went in and then came out saying, `I mentioned you to him and he remained silent.' I then went out and came to the Minbar and found a group of people around it and some of them were weeping. I sat with them for some time, but could not endure the situation. So, I requested to the boy, `Will you get the permission for `Umar' He went in and then came out saying, `I mentioned you to him, but he did not reply.' So, I went to Minbar and sat with the people who were sitting by the Minbar, but I could not bear the situation, so I went to the boy again and said, `Will you get the permission for `Umar' He went in and brought the same reply as before. When I was leaving, behold, he called me saying, `Allah's Messenger has granted you permission.' So, I entered the Prophet's room, greeted him with the Salam and saw him lying on a mat without bedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet.

I said, `Have you divorced your wives, O Allah's Messenger' He raised his eyes to me and replied no. I said, `Allahu Akbar. O Allah's Messenger! We, the people of Quraysh used to have the upper hand over our women. But when we came to Al-Madinah, we found a people whose women had the upper hand over them. Our women started learning this behavior from them. Once, I got angry with my wife, and she talked back to me. I disliked that behavior from her and she said, `Why do you dislike that I talk back to you By Allah, the Prophet's wives talk back to him and one of them would ignore him the whole day, until the night.' I said to her, `Whoever does this among them is the ruined loser! Does she feel safe from Allah getting angry with her on account of His Messenger's anger In that case, she would be ruined.' On that the Prophet smiled. I then said, `O Allah's Messenger! I went to Hafsah and said to her, `Do not be tempted to imitate your companion (`A'ishah) for she is more beautiful than you and more beloved to the Prophet.' The Prophet smiled again. When I saw him smiling, I said, `Does the Messenger feel calm' He said, `Yes.' So, I sat down and cast a glance at the room, and by Allah, I couldn't see anything of importance, except three hides. I said, `Invoke Allah, O Allah's Messenger, to make your followers prosperous, for the Persians and the Byzantines have been made prosperous and given worldly luxuries, even though they do not worship Allah.' The Prophet sat upright and said,

«أَفِي شَكَ أَنْتَ يَا ابْنَ الْخَطَّابِ أُولَئِكَ قَوْمٌ عُجِّلَتْ لَهُمْ طَيِّبَاتُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا»

(O Ibn Al-Khattab! Do you have any doubt These people have been given rewards of their good deeds in this world only.) I asked the Prophet, `Please beg Allah's forgiveness for me, O Allah's Messenger.' The Prophet swore that he would not go to his wives for one month, because of his severe anger towards them, until Allah the Exalted and Most Honored censured him.'' Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also collected this Hadith using various chains of narration. Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected it from Ibn `Abbas, who said, "For a whole year, I was eager to ask `Umar bin Al-Khattab about an Ayah. However, I hesitated out of respect for him. Once, he went on a Hajj trip and I accompanied him. On our way back, he stopped to relieve himself behind some trees of Arak. I stopped until he finished and then walked along with him and asked him, `O Leader of the believers! Who are the two women who helped each other (or plotted) against the Prophet ''' This is the narration that Al-Bukhari collected, while Muslim recorded that Ibn `Abbas asked, "Who are the two women about whom Allah the Exalted said,

وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ

(but if you help one another against him, )'' `Umar replied, "A'ishah and Hafsah.'' Muslim mentioned the rest of the Hadith. Muslim also recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said to him, "When Allah's Messenger stayed away from his wives, I entered the Masjid and found people striking the ground with pebbles. They said, `Allah's Messenger has divorced his wives.' That occurred before Hijab was commanded. I said to myself, `I must investigate this news today.''' So he mentioned the Hadith in which he went to `A'ishah and Hafsah and admonished them. He then said, `I went in and found Rabah, the servant of Allah's Messenger, sitting on a window sill. I called, `O Rabah, seek permission for me from Allah's Messenger.''' He then mentioned the story as we mentioned above. `Umar continued, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah, what trouble do you feel from your wives If you have divorced them, verily Allah is with you, His angels, Jibril, Mikal, I, Abu Bakr and the rest of believers are with you.' Often, when I talked, all praise is due to Allah, I hoped that Allah would testify to the words that I uttered. And so the Ayat of option was revealed. Allah said,

عَسَى رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَجاً خَيْراً مِّنكُنَّ

(Maybe his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him in your place wives better than you,) and,

وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَـهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَـلِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمَلَـئِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ

(but if you help one another against him, then verily, Allah is his Protector, and Jibril, and the righteous among the believers; and after that the angels are his helpers.) I said, `Messenger of Allah, have you divorced them' He said, `No.' I stood at the door of the Masjid and called out at the top of my voice, `The Messenger of Allah has not divorced his wives.' It was on this occasion that this Ayah was revealed,

وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الاٌّمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِى الاٌّمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنْبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ

(When any matter pertaining to peace or alarm comes to them, they broadcast it; whereas, if they would refer it to the Messenger and those who have been entrusted with authority among them, those of them who are engaged in obtaining intelligence would indeed know (what to do with) it.)(4:83) It was I who understood (and properly investigated) this matter.'' Similar was said by Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Ad-Dahhak and others. The Ayah,

وَصَـلِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(and the righteous among the believers;) refers to Abu Bakr and `Umar. Al-Hasan Al-Basri added `Uthman to them. Layth bin Abi Sulaym said from Mujahid:

وَصَـلِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(and the righteous among the believers;) includes `Ali bin Abi Talib also. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said, "`Umar said, `The wives of the Prophet were all jealous for his affection, and I said to them,

عَسَى رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَجاً خَيْراً مِّنكُنَّ

(Maybe his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him instead of you, wives better than you.) Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed.''' We mentioned before that `Umar said statements that were confirmed by the Qur'an, such as about the revelation about Hijab see 33:53and the captive idolators after the battle of Badr see 8:67. `Umar's suggestion to take the Station of Ibrahim as a place for prayer and Allah revealed this Ayah;

وَاتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَهِيمَ مُصَلًّى

(And take you the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.) (2:125) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Anas said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "I heard news that the Mothers of the faithful had a dispute with the Prophet. So I advised them, saying, `Either stop bothering Allah's Messenger or Allah might provide him better wives than you. Al-Hasan Al-Basri added `Uthman to them. Layth bin Abi Sulaym said from Mujahid:

وَصَـلِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(and the righteous among the believers;) includes `Ali bin Abi Talib also. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said, "`Umar said, `The wives of the Prophet were all jealous for his affection, and I said to them,

عَسَى رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَجاً خَيْراً مِّنكُنَّ

(Maybe his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him instead of you, wives better than you.) Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed.''' We mentioned before that `Umar said statements that were confirmed by the Qur'an, such as about the revelation about Hijab see 33:53and the captive idolators after the battle of Badr see 8:67. `Umar's suggestion to take the Station of Ibrahim as a place for prayer and Allah revealed this Ayah;

وَاتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَهِيمَ مُصَلًّى

(And take you the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.) (2:125) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Anas said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "I heard news that the Mothers of the faithful had a dispute with the Prophet. So I advised them, saying, `Either stop bothering Allah's Messenger or Allah might provide him better wives than you. Abu `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami, Abu Malik, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, and others.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This is not, in fact, a question but an expression of disapproval. The object is not to ask the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) why he had done so, but to warn him that his act to make unlawful for himself what Allah had made lawful is not approved by Allah. This by itself gives the meaning that nobody has the power to make unlawful what Allah has made lawful; so much so that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) himself also did not possess any such power. Although the Holy Prophet did not regard this as unlawful as a matter of faith nor legally but only forbade himself its use, yet since he was not an ordinary man but Allah's Messenger, and his forbidding himself something could have the effect that his followers too would have regarded it as forbidden, or at least reprehensible, or the people of his community might have thought that there was no harm in forbidding oneself something his Allah had made lawful, Allah pointed it out to him and commanded him to refrain from such prohibition.

This shows that in this case the Holy Prophet had not made a lawful thing unlawful because of a personal desire but because his wives had wanted him to do so, and he had made it unlawful for himself only in order to please them. Here, the question arises: why has Allah particularly made mention of the cause of making the thing unlawful besides pointing out the act of prohibition? Obviously, if the object had been to make him refrain from making a lawful thing unlawful, this could be fulfilled by the first sentences and there was no need that the motive of the act also should have been stated. Making mention of it in particular clearly shows that the object was not to check the Holy Prophet only for making a lawful thing unlawful, but along with that to warn the holy wives also to the effect that in their capacity as the Prophet's wives they had not understood their delicate responsibilities and had made the Holy Prophet do a thing which could lead to making a lawful thing unlawful.

Although it has not been mentioned ill the Qur'an as to what it was that the Holy Prophet had forbidden himself yet the traditionists and commentators have mentioned in this regard two different incidents, which occasioned the revelation of this verse. One of these relates to Hadrat Mariyah Qibiyyah (Mary, the Copt lady) and the other to his forbidding himself the use of honey.

The incident relating to Hadrat Mariyah is that after concluding the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah one of the letters that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) sent to the rulers of the adjoining countries was addressed to the Roman Patriarch of Alexandria also, whom the Arabs called Muqawqis. When Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta a took this letter to him, he did not embrace Islam but received him well, and in reply wrote: "I know that a Prophet is yet to rise, but I think he will appear in Syria. However, I have treated your messenger with due honor, and am sending two slave-girls to you, who command respect among the Coptics. " (Ibn Sa'd). One of those slave-girls was Sirin and the other Mariyah (Mary). Un his way back from Egypt Hadrat Hatib presented Islam before both and they believed. When they came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) he gave Sirin in the ownership of Hadrat Hassan bin Thabit and admitted Hadrat Mariyah into his own household. In Dhil-Hijjah, A.H. 8 she gave birth to the Holy Prophet's son, Ibrahim. (Al-Isti'ab; Al-Isabah). This lady was very beautiful. Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Al-Isabah has related this saying of Hadrat 'A'ishah about her: "No woman's entry into the Holy Prophet's household vexed me so much as of Mariyah, because she was very beautiful and pleased him much. " Concerning her the story that has been narrated in several ways in the Hadith is briefly as follows:

One day the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) visited the house of Hadrat Hafsah when she was not at home. At that time Hadrat Mariyah came to him there and stayed with him in seclusion. Hadrat Hafsah took it very ill and complained of it bitterly to him. Thereupon, in order to please her the Holy Prophet vowed that he would have no conjugal relation with Mariyah in future. According to some traditions, he forbade Mariyah for himself, and according to others, he also swore an oath on it. These traditions have been mostly reported by the immediate successors of the Companions without mentioning any intermediary link. But some of these have been reported from Hadrat 'Umar,. Hadrat `Abdullah bin 'Abbas and Hadrat Abu Hurairah also. In view of the plurality of the methods of narration, Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari has expressed the view that there is some truth in the story. But in none of the six authentic collections of the Hadith has this story been narrated. In Nasa'i only this much has been related from Hadrat Anas: "The Holy Prophet had a slave-girl with whom he had conjugal relations. Then, Hadrat Hafsah and Hadrat `A'ishah began to point out this to him repeatedly until he forbade her for himself. There upon, Allah sent down this verse: 'O Prophet. why do you make unlawful that which Allah has made lawful for you?"

The other incident has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i and several other books of Hadith from Hadrat `A'ishah herself and its purport is as follows:

“The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) usually paid a daily visit to all his wives after the `Asr Prayer Once it so happened that he began to stay in the house of Hadrat Zainab bint-Jahsh longer than usual, for she had received some honey from somewhere as a gift and the Holy Prophet was very fond of sweet things; therefore, he would have a drink of honey at her house. Hadrat 'A'ishah states that she felt envious of this and spoke to Hadrat Hafsah, Hadrat Saudah and Hadrat Safiyyah about it and together they decided that whoever of them was visited by the Holy Prophet, she should say to him: 'Your mouth smells of maghafir ' Maghafir is a kind of flower, which gives out an offensive smell, and if the bee obtains honey from it, it is also tainted by the same odor. They all knew that the Holy Prophet was a man of very fine taste and he abhorred that he should emit any kind of unpleasant smell. There fore, this device was contrived to stop him from staying in the house of Hadrat Zainab and it worked. When several of his wives told him that his mouth smelt of Maghafir, he made a promise not to use the honey any longer. In one tradition his words are to the effect "Now, I will never have a drink from it: I have sworn an oath. " In another tradition he only said: "I will never have a drink from it," and there is no mention of the oath And in the tradition which Ibn al Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani and Ibn Marduyah have related from Ibn 'Abbas the words are to the effect: "By God, I will not drink it!"

Our eminent scholars regard this second version as correct and the first as unreliable. Imam Nasa'i says: "About honey the Hadith reported from Hadrat 'A'ishah is authentic, and the story of forbidding Hadrat Mariyah for himself by the Holy Prophet has not been narrated in a reliable way." Qadi 'Iyad says: "The truth is that this verse was sent down concerning honey and not Mariyah." Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi; also regards the story about honey as correct and the same is the opinion of Imam Nawawi and Hafiz Badruddiu 'Aini. Ibn Humam writes in Fath al-Qadir "The story of the prohibition of honey has been narrated in Bukhari and Muslim from Hadrat `A'ishah who was herself a party to it; therefore, it is much more reliable."

Hafiz Ibn Kathir says: "The truth is that this verse was sent down about forbidding honey for himself by the Holy Prophet."

That is, "Although the act of making a lawful thing unlawful only in order to please your wives was an act unbecoming of your high and responsible office, yet it was no sin, which might have entailed a punishment. Therefore, Allah has only pointed it out to you and corrected it, and has forgiven you for this error. "

It means: "Act according to the method Allah has prescribed for absolution from oaths by expiation in Al-Ma'idah :89 and break your promise that you have trade to forbid yourself a lawful thing. " Here, an important legal question arises and it is this: Is this Command applicable to the case when a person has forbidden himself a lawful thing on oath, or is forbidding oneself a lawful thing by itself tantamount to swearing an oath, whether the words of the oath have been used or not'? The jurists in this regard have expressed different opinions:

One section of them says that mere forbidding oneself a lawful thing is not an oath. If a person without swearing an oath has forbidden himself a wife, or some other lawful thing, it is an absurd thing which does not entail any expiation, but he can resume without any expiation the use of the thing that he had forbidden himself. This is the opinion of Masruq, Sha'bi, Rabi'ah and Abu Salamah; and the same view is held by Ibn Jarir and all the Zahiris. According to them forbidding oneself something would be an oath only in case express words of oath are used when forbidding it for oneself. In this regard, their reasoning is that since the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) while forbidding himself a lawful thing had also sworn an oath, as has been reported in several traditions, Allah told him to act according to the method that had been appointed for absolving oneself from oaths.

The second group says that to forbid oneself something without using the words of oath is not an oath by itself, but the case of the wife is an exception. If a person has forbidden himself a garment, or an article of food, it is meaningless, and one can use it without expiation. But if concerning a wife or a slave-girl he has said: "I forbid myself an intercourse with her," she would not become unlawful and forbidden, but one would have to expiate the oath before going in to her. This is the opinion of the Shafe'is. (Mugni al-Muhtaj). And a similar opinion on this question is held by the Malikis. (Ibn al-'Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur an).

The third group says that to forbid oneself something is by itself an oath even if the words of oath have not been used. This is the opinion of Hadrat Abu Bakr. Hadrat 'A'ishah, Hadrat 'Umar, Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit and Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas (may Allah bless them all). Although from Ibn 'Abbas another opinion has been reported in Bukhari to the effect: "If a man has forbidden himself his wife, it is meaningless," yet it has been interpreted to mean that according to him this is not divorce but an oath which entails an expiation. For in Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Majah, another saying of Ibn 'Abbas has been reported that to forbid oneself one's wife entails an expiation, and in Nasa'i the tradition is to the effect that when Ibn 'Abbas was asked his opinion on this, he said: "She is not forbidden to you, but you must pay the expiation." and in Ibn Jarir's tradition the words of Ibn 'Abbas are to the effect: "If the people forbid themselves what Allah has made lawful for them, they must expiate their oath." This same is the opinion of Hasan Basri, 'Ata, Ta'us. Suleman bin Yasar. Ibn Jubair and Qatadah, and the same has been adopted by the Hanafis. Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas says: `The words of the verse lima tuharrimu do not indicate that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) along with forbidding himself the lawful thing had also sworn an oath, therefore, one will have to admit that tahrim (to forbid oneself something) itself is an oath; for after it Allah made obligatory the expiation of the oath in connection with the prohibition." Farther on he writes again: 'Our companions (i.e. the Hanafis) regard tahrim as an oath in case it is not accompanied by the intention of divorce. If a person forbade himself his wife, he in fact said: "By God, I will not come near you," thus, he committed ila' (act of temporary separation!. And if he forbade himself an article of food. etc, he in a way said: "By God, I will not use that article." For Allah first said: "Why do you forbid that which Allah has made lawful?" and then said. "Allah has appointed a way to absolve you from your oaths." Thus, Allah has regarded tahrim as an oath, and the word tahrim in its meaning and legal effect becomes synonymous with an oath."

Here, for the benefit of the common man, it would be useful to tell what is the legal command according to the jurists in respect of forbidding oneself one's wife and forbidding oneself other things besides the wife.

The Hanafis say that if without the intention of divorce somebody forbade himself his wife, or swore an oath that he would not have conjugal relations with her, this would be ila (temporary separation), and in this cast he would have to expiate his oath before having the sexual relation. But if with the intention Of divorce he said: "You are unlawful to me," it will have to be ascertained what was his actual intention. If his intention was of three divorces, the three divorces will take place, and if the intention was of a lesser number, of one or two divorces, only one divorce will take place in either case. And if some body says: "I have forbidden myself whatever was lawful for me, this would not apply to the wife unless he said these words with the intention of forbidding himself the wife. Apart from the wife, one cannot use the thing O11e has forbidden oneself until one has expiated the oath. Badai as-Sana'i: Hedayah; Fath Al-Qadir,' al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur an.

The Shafe'is say that if one forbids oneself the wife with the intention of divorce or zihar, the intended thing would become effective, whether it is a revocable divorce or an irrevocable divorce, or zihar. And if a person used the words of tahrim with the intention of both divorce and zihar, he would be asked to choose one, or the other, for both divorce and zihar cannot be established at one and the same time. Divorce dissolves marriage but in case of zihar it continues and if without any intention the wife is forbidden, she would not become forbidden, but expiation of the oath would become necessary. And if another thing, apart from the wife, is forbidden, it would be meaningless; there is no expiation for it. (Mughni al-Muhtaj).

The Malikis say that if a person forbids himself anything other than the wife, it neither becomes forbidden nor entails an expiation. But if he says to the wife, "You are unlawful, or unlawful for me, or I am unlawful for you," this would amount to a triple divorce in any case whether this was said to a wife with whom marriage has been consummated, or to one with whom it has not yet been consummated, unless his intention was of less than three divorces. Asbagh says: 'If a person says: whatever was lawful for me, is unlawful, the wife also becomes forbidden unless he makes an exception of the wife." In al-Mudawwanah, distinction has been made between the wife with whom marriage has been consummated and the wife with whom it has not been consummated. If one forbids oneself the former, a threefold divorce will take place irrespective of the intention, but in case of the latter the same number of divorces would take effect as was intended, and if there was no intention of any particular number, it would be considered a triple divorce (Hashiyah ad-Dusuqi). Qadi Ibn al-'Arabi in his Ahkam al-Qur'an has cited three statements of Imam Malik: (1) That forbidding oneself the wife amounts to an irrevocable divorce; (2) that it amounts to three divorces; and (3) that in case of the wife with whom marriage has been consummated it amounts to three divorces, bat in case of the one with whom it has not been consummated, to only one divorce if one was intended Then he says: 'The correct thing is that forbidding oneself the wife amounts to one divorce only. for if the man uses the word divorce instead of calling her unlawfirl without specifying the number, only one divorce will take place."

Three different views in this regard have been reported from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal: (1) That to forbid oneself the wife, or to make a lawful thing absolutely unlawful for oneself, is zihar, whether zihar was intended or not; (2) that this is an express allusion to divorce, and it amounts to pronouncing a triple divorce whether only one divorce was intended; and (3) that it is an oath, unless The man had the intention of divorce or zihar and in this case the same would take effect as was intended. Of these only the first one is the best known view among the Hanbalis. (Al-Insaf)

That is, "Allah is your Master and Guardian of your affairs. He knows best in what lies your own good, and whatever Commands He has given, they are all based on wisdom. "The first thing means: "You are not independent in this world, but you are servant of Allah and He is your Master; therefore, none of you possesses any power to alter or change the ways and methods prescribed by Him; the best thing for you is to entrust your affairs to Him and continue to obey Him."

The second thing means that all the methods and laws that Allah has enjoined, are based on knowledge and wisdom, Whatever He has made lawful, has been made lawful on the basis of knowledge and wisdom and whatever He has made unlawful also has been made unlawful on the basis of knowledge and wisdom. Nothing has been made lawful or unlawful at random. Therefore, those who believe in Allah should understand that it is Allah Who is AII-Knowing and All-Wist and not they. and their well-being lies only in carrying out duly the Commands given by Him.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Allah hath made lawful for you (Muslims) absolution from your oaths (of such a kind)) and so the Prophet (pbuh) absolved himself from his oath and married Maria the Copt, (and Allah is your Protector) and Helper. (He is the Knower) He knows that you forbade yourself Maria the Copt, (the Wise) in that which He enjoined about the expiation of oaths.