The Quran

Commentaries for 2.187

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.187 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(It is made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast) for sexual intercourse. (They are raiment for you) a repose for you (and you are raiment for them) a repose for them. (Allah is aware that ye were deceiving yourselves in this respect) by having sexual intercourse with them at night (and He hath turned in mercy towards you) He forgave you (and relieved you) from your deception and did not punish you. (So) now that it is made lawful, (hold intercourse with them and seek that which Allah hath ordained for you) to have a righteous child; this verse was revealed about 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab, (and eat and drink) from the time the night falls (until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn) i.e. until the light of day becomes distinct to you from the darkness of night. (Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall) the beginning of nightfall; this verse was revealed about Sirmah Ibn Malik Ibn 'Adiyy (and touch them not) do not have sexual intercourse with them, (while you are at your devotions) in pious retreat (in the mosques) whether this is during the day or the night. (These are the limits imposed by Allah) such sexual intercourse is a transgression against Allah, (so approach them not) abstain from having sexual intercourse with your wives, during the day and at night, while you are in such retreats. (Thus Allah expoundeth His revelations) His commands and prohibitions (to mankind) as He has exposited this matter (that they may ward off (evil)) they may ward off transgressing against Him. This verse was revealed about a group of Companions of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) among whom were 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib and 'Ammar Ibn Yasir, who were in retreat in the mosque and used to go to their wives whenever they needed them, and then take a ritual bath and return to the mosque. Henceforth but they were forbidden to do so.
2.187 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Permitted to you, upon the night of the Fast, is to go in to your wives, in sexual intercourse: this was revealed as an abrogation of its unlawfulness during the earliest phase of Islam, as well as [an abrogation of] the unlawfulness of eating and drinking after the night prayer; they are a vestment for you, and you are a vestment for them (a metaphor for their embraces or their need for one another); God knows that you have been betraying yourselves, by having sexual intercourse on the eve of the fast: this happened with ‘Umar [b. al-Khattāb] and others, and they apologised to the Prophet (s), and so He has turned to you [relenting], before you even turned in repentance, and He has pardoned you. So now, when it is permitted to you, lie with them, in sexual intercourse, and seek what God has prescribed for you, of sexual intercourse or what it produces of offspring; and eat and drink, [at any time] during the night, until the white thread is distinct, to you, from the black thread at daybreak, that is, the true [moment of daybreak], which explains the white thread, while the explanation of the black thread, namely, the night, has been left out. The whiteness and the darkness of the dawn [twilight] are likened to two black and white threads in the way they stretch out; then complete the fast, from daybreak, to the night, that is, until it arrives, after the setting of the sun; and do not lie with them, your women, while you cleave to the mosques in devotion [to God], while you are residing [therein] with the intention of [performing] i‘tikāf (‘spiritual retreat’). This was a prohibition pertaining to one who used to leave [the mosque], whilst in a state of i‘tikāf, have sexual intercourse with his wife, and then return. Those, rulings mentioned, are God’s bounds, delimited by God for His servants so that they do not overstep them; do not approach them (lā taqrabūhā, is more intense than lā ta‘taddūhā, ‘Do not overstep’, used in verses elsewhere). So, just as He makes clear to you what has been mentioned, God makes clear His signs to people so that they might fear [disobeying] His prohibitions.
2.187 Kashani - Kashani
It is permitted to you, that is, it is allowed for you, upon the night of the Fast, that is, at those moments of forgetfulness which intervene in the abstention mentioned during the time of your presence, to go in to your wives, to condescend to the temptations of your souls on account of the shares due to them, since you will not endure staying away from these given that these [temptations] constantly garb you and that you constantly dress yourselves with them, necessarily by virtue of [your souls] being attached [to you]; God knows that you have been betraying yourselves, by stealing [moments for those] shares during various times of such wayfaring, spiritual discipline or presence [that you may be involved in]; and so He has turned to you [relenting], and He has pardoned you. So now, that is, during the time of uprightness and stability in the state of subsistence after annihilation: lie with them, during those moments of forgetfulness, and seek what God has prescribed for you, of fearing God and having power over those shares by allowing for what is due in the way of uprightness and the fulfilment of what God has commanded of servanthood (ʿubūdiyya) and the calling [of others] to Him; and eat and drink, that is, be in the company [ḍ] of these [things], until the white thread is distinct to you from the black thread at daybreak, [that is] until there manifest upon you the glimpses and flashes of the Presence, [until] Its effects and lights prevail against the blackness and darkness of forgetfulness; [then complete the fast to the night; and do not lie with them, while you cleave to the mosques in devotion [to God]: then adhere to the mentioned abstention through [your] presence with the Truth until the time of forgetfulness comes [again]: for were it not for this [return of forgetfulness] a person would not be able to pursue [his] best interests for what concerns livelihood and [the fulfilment of] his duties.
[Those are God's bounds; do not approach them]: and do not approach them in your state of spiritual retreat, during your stay and presence in the mosques of your heart, lest your [spiritual] moment be disturbed by the manifestation of these [temptations].
[So, God makes clear His signs to people so that they might fear.]
2.187 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Eating, Drinking and Sexual Intercourse are allowed during the Nights of Ramadan
These Ayat contain a relief from Allah for the Muslims by ending the practice that was observed in the early years of Islam. At that time, Muslims were allowed to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse only until the `Isha' (Night) prayer, unless one sleeps before the `Isha' prayer. Those who slept before `Isha' or offered the `Isha' prayer, were not allowed to drink, eat or sexual intervourse sex until the next night. The Muslims found that to be difficult for them.
The Ayat used the word `Rafath' to indicate sexual intercourse, according to Ibn `Abbas, `Ata' and Mujahid. Similar Tafsir was offered by Sa`id bin Jubayr, Tawus, Salim bin `Abdullah, `Amr bin Dinar, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Az-Zuhri, Ad-Dahhak, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, As-Suddi, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Muqatil bin Hayyan.
Allah said:
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ
(They are Libas i.e., body-cover, or screen for you and you are Libas for them.)
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that this Ayah means, "Your wives are a resort for you and you for them.'' Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "They are your cover and you are their cover.'' In short, the wife and the husband are intimate and have sexual intercourse with each other, and this is why they were permitted to have sexual activity during the nights of Ramadan, so that matters are made easier for them.
Abu Ishaq reported that Al-Bara' bin `Azib said, "When the Companions of Allah's Messenger observed fast but would sleep before breaking their fast, they would continue fasting until the following night. Qays bin Sirmah Al-Ansari was fasting one day and was working in his land. When the time to break the fast came, he went to his wife and said, `Do you have food' She said, `No. But I could try to get you some.' His eyes then were overcome by sleep and when his wife came back, she found him asleep. She said, `Woe unto you! Did you sleep' In the middle of the next day, he lost consciousness and mentioned what had happened to the Prophet. Then, this Ayah was revealed: r
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَآئِكُمْ
(It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting)) until...
وَكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ
(and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall. ) Consequently, they were very delighted.'' Al-Bukhari reported this Hadith by Abu Ishaq who related that he heard Al-Bara' say, "When fasting Ramadan was ordained, Muslims used to refrain from sleeping with their wives the entire month, but some men used to deceive themselves. Allah revealed:
عَلِمَ اللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ
(Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you.)
`Ali bin Abu Talhah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "During the month of Ramadan, after Muslims would pray `Isha', they would not touch their women and food until the next night. Then some Muslims, including `Umar bin Al-Khattab, touched (had sex with) their wives and had some food during Ramadan after `Isha'. They complained to Allah's Messenger. Then Allah sent down:
عَلِمَ اللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ فَالـنَ بَـشِرُوهُنَّ
(Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them)'' This is the same narration that Al-`Awfi related from Ibn `Abbas.
Allah said:
وَابْتَغُواْ مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
(...and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring),)
Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas, Anas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata', Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam, Hakam bin `Utbah, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, and others said that this Ayah refers to having offspring. Qatadah said that the Ayah means, "Seek the permission that Allah has allowed for you.'' Sa`id narrated that Qatadah said,
وَابْتَغُواْ مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
(and seek that which Allah has ordained for you,)
Time for Suhur
Allah said:
وَكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ الصِّيَامَ إِلَى الَّيْلِ
(...and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.)
Allah has allowed eating and drinking, along with having sexual intercourse, as we have stated, during any part of the night until the light of dawn is distinguished from the darkness of the night. Allah has described that time as `distinguishing the white thread from the black thread.' He then made it clearer when He said:
مِنَ الْفَجْرِ
(of dawn.)
As stated in a Hadith that Imam Abu `Abdullah Al-Bukhari recorded, Sahl bin Sa`d said, "When the following verse was revealed:
وَكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ
(Eat and drink until the white thread appears to you, distinct from the black thread) and (of dawn) was not revealed, some people who intended to fast, tied black and white threads to their legs and went on eating till they differentiated between the two. Allah then revealed the words, (of dawn), and it became clear to them that it meant (the darkness of) night and (the light of) day. ''
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said that `Adi said, "I took two strings, one black and the other white and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night, but could not make any distinction between the two. So, the next morning I went to Allah's Messenger and told him the whole story. He said:
«إِنَّ وِسَادَكَ إِذًا لَعَرِيضٌ، أَنْ كَانَ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ وَالْأَسْوَدُ تَحْتَ وِسَادَتِك»
(Your pillow is very wide if the white and black threads are under it!) Some wordings for this Hadith read,
«إِنَّكَ لَعَرِيضُ الْقَفَا»
(Your Qafa (back side of your neck) is wide!)
Some people said that these words meant that `Adi was not smart. This is a weak opinion. The narration that Al-Bukhari collected explains this part of the Hadith. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Adi bin Hatim narrated: I said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the white thread from the black thread Are they actual threads'' He said:
«إنَّكَ لَعَرِيضُ الْقَفَا أَنْ أَبْصَرْتَ الْخَيْطَيْنِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: لَا بَلْ هُوَ سَوَادُ اللَّيْلِ وَبَيَاضُ النَّهَار»
(Your Qafa is wide if you see the two threads. Rather, they are the blackness of the night and the whiteness of the daylight.)
Suhur is recommended
Allah allowed eating and drinking until dawn, it represents proof that Suhur is encouraged, since it is a Rukhsah (concession or allowance) and Allah likes that the Rukhsah is accepted and implemented. The authentic Sunnah indicates that eating the Suhur is encouraged. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Anas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السَّحُورِ بَرَكَة»
(Eat the Suhur, for there is a blessing in Suhur.)
Muslim reported that `Amr bin Al-`As narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«إِنَّ فَصْلَ مَا بَيْنَ صِيَامِنَا وصِيَامِ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أَكْلَةُ السَّحَر»
(The distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is the meal of Suhur.)
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Sa`id narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«السَّحُورُ أَكْلُهُ بَرَكَةٌ فَلَا تَدَعُوهُ، وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ تَجْرَعُ جُرْعَةَ مَاءٍ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّون عَلَى الْمُتَسَحِّرِين»
(Suhur is a blessed meal. Hence, do not abandon it, even if one just takes a sip of water. Indeed, Allah and His angels send Salah (blessings) upon those who eat Suhur.)
There are several other Hadiths that encourage taking the Suhur, even if it only consists of a sip of water.
It is preferred that Suhur be delayed until the time of dawn. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Anas bin Malik narrated that Zayd bin Thabit said, "We had Suhur with Allah's Messenger and then went on to pray.'' Anas asked, "How much time was there between the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Suhur'' He said, "The time that fifty Ayat take (to recite).''
Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Dharr saying that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا تَزَالُ أُمَّتِي بِخَيْرٍ مَا عَجَّلُوا الْإِفْطَارَ وَأَخَّرُوا السُّحُور»
(My Ummah will always retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast and delay the Suhur.)
There are several Hadiths that narrate that the Prophet called Suhur "the blessed meal.''
There are narrations from several of the Salaf that they allowed the Suhur to be eaten later until close to Fajr. This is is reported from Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Hudhayfah, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas and Zayd bin Thabit. It is also reported from many of the Tabi`in, such as Muhammad bin `Ali bin Husayn, Abu Mijlaz, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Ad-Duha, Abu Wa'il and other companions of Ibn Mas`ud. This is also the opinion of `Ata', Al-Hasan, Hakam bin `Uyainah, Mujahid, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Abu Sha`tha' Jabir bin Zayd, Al- A`mash and Ma`mar bin Rashid. We have mentioned the chains of narrations for their statements in our (Ibn Kathir's) book about Siyam (Fasting), and all praise is due to Allah.
It is also recorded in the Two Sahihs that Al-Qasim said that `A'ishah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا يَمْنَعُكُمْ أَذَانُ بِلَالٍ عَنْ سَحُورِكُمْ، فَإِنَّهُ يُنَادِي بِلَيْلٍ، فَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّى تَسْمَعُوا أَذَانَ ابْنِ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يُؤَذِّنُ حَتَّى يَطْلُعَ الْفَجْر»
(The Adhan pronounced by Bilal should not stop you from taking Suhur, for he pronounces the Adhan at night. Hence, eat and drink until you hear the Adhan by Ibn Umm Maktum, for he does not call the Adhan until dawn.)
This is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari.
Imam Ahmad reported that Qays bin Talq quoted from his father that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَيْسَ الْفَجْرُ الْمُسْتَطِيلَ فِي الْأُفُقِ وَلَكِنِ الْمُعْتَرِضُ الْأَحْمَر»
(Dawn is not the (ascending) glow of white light of the horizon. Rather, it is the red (radiating) light.)
Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith, but their wording is:
«كُلُوا واشْرَبُوا، وَلَا يَهِيدَنَّكُمُ السَّاطِعُ الْمُصْعِدُ، فَكُلُوا واشْرَبُوا حَتَّى يَعْتَرِضَ لَكُمُ الْأَحْمَر»
(Eat and drink and do not be rushed by the ascending (white) light. Eat and drink until the redness (of the dawn) appears.)
Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) recorded that Samurah bin Jundub narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا يَغُرَّنَّكُمْ أَذَانُ بِلَالٍ وَلَا هَذَا الْبَيَاضُ لِعَمُودِ الصُّبْحِ حَتَّى يَسْتَطِير»
(Do not be stopped by Bilal's Adhan or the (ascending) whiteness, until it spreads.) Muslim also recorded this Hadith.
Q: Is it "Haram" to begin fasting while "Junub"?
Answer to: "Is there harm in starting the month of fasting while junub?" is: NO.
Issue: Among the benefits of allowing sexual activity, eating and drinking until dawn for those who are fasting, is that it is allowed to start the fast while Junub (in the state of impurity after sexual discharge), and there is no harm in this case if one takes a bath any time in the morning after waking up, and completes the fast. This is the opinion of the Four Imams and the majority of the scholars. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that `A'ishah and Umm Salamah said that Allah's Messenger used to wake up while Junub from sexual intercourse, not wet dreams, and he would take a bath and fast. Umm Salamah added that he would not break his fast or make up for that day.
Muslim recorded that `A'ishah said that a man asked:
يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، تُدْرِكُنِي الصَّلَاةُ وَأَنَا جَنُبٌ فَأَصُومُ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم:
«وَأَنَا تُدْرِكُنِي الصَّلاةُ وَأَنَا جُنُبٌ فَأَصُوم»
"O Messenger of Allah! The (Dawn) prayer time starts while I am Junub, should I fast'' Allah's Messenger replied, (And I. The prayer time starts while I am Junub and I fast.)
He said, "You are not like us, O Messenger of Allah! Allah has forgiven your previous and latter sins.'' Allah's Messenger said:
«وَاللهِ إِنَّي لَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَخْشَاكُمْ للهِ وَأَعْلَمَكُمْ بِمَا أَتَّقِي»
(By Allah! I hope that I have the most fear from Allah among you and the best knowledge of what Taqwa is.)
And Allah Knows Best
Question: "Does Fasting End Exactly at Sunset?"
Answer: Let us look to what Allah said:
ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ الصِّيَامَ إِلَى الَّيْلِ
(...then complete your fast till the nightfall.)
This Ayah orders breaking the fast at sunset. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said that Allah's Messenger said:
«إِذَا أَقْبَلَ اللَّيْلُ مِنْ ههُنَا، وَأَدْبَرَ النَّهَارُ مِنْ ههُنَا فَقَدْ أَفْطَرَ الصَّائِم»
(If the night comes from this direction (the east), and the day departs from that direction (the west), then the fasting person breaks his fast.)
It is reported that Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا يَزَالُ النَّاسُ بِخَيْرٍ مَا عَجَّلُوا الْفِطْر»
(The people will retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said:
«يَقُولُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: إِنَّ أَحَبَّ عِبَادِي إِلَيَّ أَعْجَلُهُمْ فِطْرًا»
(Allah the Exalted said, `The dearest among My servants to Me are those who hasten in breaking the fast the most.')
At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and said that this Hadith is Hasan Gharib.
Prohibition of Uninterrupted Fasting (Wisal)
There are several authentic Hadiths that prohibit Al-Wisal, which means continuing the fast through the night to the next night, without eating. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا تُوَاصِلُوا»
قَالُوا: يَارَسُولَ اللهِ إِنَّكَ تُوَاصِلُ، قَالَ:
«فَإِنِّي لَسْتُ مِثْلَكُمْ إِنِّي أَبِيتُ يُطْعِمُنِي رَبِّي وَيَسْقِينِي»
(Do not practice Al-Wisal in fasting.) So, they said to him, "But you practice Al-Wisal, O Allah's Messenger!'' The Prophet replied, "(I am not like you, I am given food and drink during my sleep by my Lord.),So, when the people refused to stop Al-Wisal, the Prophet fasted two days and two nights (along with those who practiced Wisal) and then they saw the crescent moon (of the month of Shawwal). The Prophet said to them (angrily):
«لَوْ تَأَخَّرَ الْهِلَالُ لَزِدْتُكُم»
(If the crescent had not appeared, I would have made you fast for a longer period.)
That was as a punishment for them (when they refused to stop practicing Al-Wisal). This Hadith is also recorded in the Sahihayn.
The prohibition of Al-Wisal was also mentioned in a number of other narrations. It is a fact that practicing Al-Wisal was one of the special qualities of the Prophet, for he was capable and assisted in his practice of it. It is obvious that the food and drink that the Prophet used to get while practicing Al-Wisal was spiritual and not material, otherwise he would not be practicing Al-Wisal. We should mention that it is allowed to refrain from breaking the fast from sunset until before dawn (Suhur). A Hadith narrated by Abu Sa`id Khudri states that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا تُوَاصِلُوا فَأَيُّكُمْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُوَاصِلَ فَلْيُوَاصِلْ إِلَى السَّحَر»
(Do not practice Al-Wisal, but whoever wishes is allowed to practice it until the Suhur.)
They said, "You practice Al-Wisal, O Messenger of Allah!'' He said:
«إِنِّي لَسْتُ كَهَيْئَتِكُمْ، إِنِّي أَبِيتُ لِي مُطْعِمٌ يُطْعِمُنِي وَسَاقٍ يَسْقِينِي»
(I am not similar to you, for I have One Who makes me eat and drink during the night.) This Hadith is also collected in the Two Sahihs.
The Rulings of I`tikaf
Allah said:
وَلاَ تُبَـشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَـكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَـجِدِ
(And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids.)
`Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This Ayah is about the man who stays in I`tikaf at the mosque during Ramadan or other months, Allah prohibited him from touching (having sexual intercourse with) women, during the night or day, until he finishes his I`tikaf.'' Ad-Dahhak said, "Formerly, the man who practiced I`tikaf would go out of the mosque and, if he wished, would have sexual intercourse (with his wife). Allah then said:
وَلاَ تُبَـشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَـكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَـجِدِ
(And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids.) meaning, `Do not touch your wives as long as you are in I`tikaf, whether you were in the mosque or outside of it'.'' It is also the opinion of Mujahid, Qatadah and several other scholars, that the Muslims used to have sexual intercourse with the wife while in I`tikaf if they departed the mosque until the Ayah was revealed. Ibn Abu Hatim commented, "It was reported that Ibn Mas`ud, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Mujahid, `Ata' Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Muqatil said that the Ayah means, `Do not touch the wife while in I`tikaf.'''
What Ibn Abu Hatim reported from these people is the agreed upon practice among the scholars. Those who are in I`tikaf are not allowed to have sexual intercourse as long as they are still in I`tikaf in the mosque. If one has to leave the mosque to attend to a need, such as to relieve the call of nature or to eat, he is not allowed to kiss or embrace his wife or to busy himself with other than his I`tikaf. He is not even allowed to visit ailing persons, but he can merely ask about their condition while passing by. I`tikaf has several other rulings that are explained in the books (of Fiqh), and we have mentioned several of these rulings at the end of our book on Siyam (Fasting), all praise is due to Allah. Furthermore, the scholars of Fiqh used to follow their explanation of the rules for fasting with the explanation of the rules for I`tikaf, as this is the way these acts of worship were mentioned in the Qur'an.
By mentioning I`tikaf after fasting, Allah draws attention to practicing I`tikaf during the month of the fast, especially the last part of the month. The Sunnah of Allah's Messenger is that he used to perform I`tikaf during the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan until he died. Afterwards, the Prophet's wives used to perform I`tikaf as the Two Sahihs recorded from `A'ishah the Mother of the believers. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyai, went to Allah's Messenger to visit him in the mosque while he was in I`tikaf. She had a talk with him for a while, then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied her back home, as it was night. Her house was at Usamah bin Zayd's house on the edge of Al-Madinah. While they were walking, two Ansari men met them and passed by them in a hurry, for they were shy to bother the Prophet while he was walking with his wife. He told them:
«عَلى رِسْلِكُمَا، إِنَّهَا صَفِيَّةُ بِنْتُ حُيَي»
(Do not run away! She is (my wife) Safiyyah bint Huyai.) Both of them said, "All praise is due to Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Allah's Messenger!'' The Prophet said (to them):
«إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَجْرِي مِنِ ابْنِ آدَمَ مَجْرَى الدَّمِ، وَإِنِّي خَشِيتُ أَنْ يَقْذِفَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمَا شَيْئًا، أَوْ قَالَ: شَرًّا»
(Shaytan reaches everywhere in the human body, that the blood reaches. I was afraid lest Shaytan might suggest an evil thought in your minds.)
Imam Ash-Shafi`i commented, "Allah's Messenger sought to teach his Ummah to instantly eliminate any evil thought, so that they do not fall into the prohibited. They (the two Ansari men) had more fear of Allah than to think evil of the Prophet. Allah knows best.''
The Ayah (2:187) prohibits sexual intercourse and anything like kissing or embracing that might lead to it during I`tikaf. As for having the wife helping the husband, it is allowed. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that `A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger would bring his head near me (in her room) and I would comb his hair, while I was on my menses. He would enter the room only to attend to what a man needs.''
Allah's statement:
تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ
(These are the limits (set) by Allah) means, `This is what We have explained, ordained, specified, allowed and prohibited for fasting. We also mentioned the fast's objectives, what is permitted during it, and what is required of it. These are the set limits that Allah has legislated and explained, so do not come near them or transgress them.' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "(Allah's set limits mentioned in the Ayah) mean these four limits (and he then recited):
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَآئِكُمْ
(It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting).) and he recited up to:
ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ الصِّيَامَ إِلَى الَّيْلِ
(then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall.) My father and other's used to say similarly and recite the same Ayah to us.''
Allah said:
كَذلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ
(Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind) meaning, `Just as He explains the fast and its rulings, He also explains the other rulings by the words of His servant and Messenger, Muhammad.' Allah continues:
لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
(to mankind that they may attain Taqwa.) meaning, `So that they know how to acquire the true guidance and how to worship (Allah).' Similarly, Allah said:
هُوَ الَّذِى يُنَزِّلُ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ ءَايَـتٍ بَيِّنَـتٍ لِّيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِّنَ الظُّلُمَـتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(It is He Who sends down manifest Ayat to His servant (Muhammad ) that He may bring you out from (types of) darkness into the light. And verily, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Merciful.) (57:9)
2.187 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, just as nothing can intervene between the clothes and the body and each fits into the other naturally, so is the relation between the husband and the wife: each is a means of comfort, protection and happiness for the other.
Although at first there was no clear injunction forbidding intercourse between husband and wife during the nights of Ramadan, yet the Muslims had a vague notion that it was not lawful to do so and it was with a guilty conscience that sometimes some of them went to bed with their wives. There was thus a danger of developing a criminal and sinful mental attitude. Therefore, Allah first warned them of their dishonest behaviour towards their conscience and then made it lawful so that they might do it with a clear conscience.
There was also a misunderstanding about the timings of eating and drinking during Ramadan. Some people were of the opinion that eating and drinking was prohibited after the `Isha' (night) Prayer up to sunset of the next day. Others thought that one was permitted to eat and drink as long as one kept awake after the 'Isha' Prayer, but could not do so after one had fallen asleep; they were often put to great inconvenience on account of these notions of their own creation. In this verse their misunderstandings were removed and the duration of the period of fasting was fixed from the dawn of the morning to the sunset, and eating and drinking and intercourse with wives were permitted from sunset to dawn. Besides, the Holy Prophet instructed that a meal should be taken before the dawn (of morning) as a preparation for fasting.
Islam has set a standard of time for its practices which can be applied universally by people at every stage of civilization and in every part of the globe. That is why it does not fix the boundary lines of its religious practices by watches and clocks but by clear signs in the sky. This is a standard which can suit the people of every age and country, and can be set by watches between these prescribed bounds to suit their circumstances and convenience. But those people who do not understand its philosophy raise foolish objections. For example, they say that this standard cannot work near the Poles, because there the duration of the day and the night is of many months. They forget that even in the polar regions, the signs of morning and evening and mid-night appear as regularly as in other places and the inhabitants regulate the tunings of work, play, sleep, etc. in accordance with the appearance of these signs. When there were no watches and clocks, the inhabitants of the Arctic Circle fixed their timings by these signs. Thus when these signs can help them to fix the timings in other matters of life, they can also serve them to fix the timings of the Prayer and of the commencement and end of the Fast.
"Complete your fast till nightfall" means: "Your fast ends where the boundary of the night begins." It is obvious that the boundary line of the night begins at sunset: therefore the fast should be broken at the time of sunset for which we should look at the eastern horizon. If we see the darkness of the night rising up there, it is a signal for the breaking of the fast. In the same way, the rising of the white streak of the morning in the eastern horizon is a signal for the beginning of the fast.
It must be clearly understood that in the Islamic Code of Law there are no hard and fast limits, exact to the second or minute, for the duration of the fast. There is great latitude in both the limits. Differences of a minute or a second either way do not make the fast defective. The fast becomes complete as soon as the darkness of night begins to rise in the east. It should, therefore, be broken at sunset. In the same way, when the dawn of the morning appears in the eastern horizon, the boundary line begins for observing the fast and eating and drinking, should be stopped. But here, too, there is an allowance for one to finish ones meal even though the dawn of the morning might have appeared, if one could not wake up in time for it. There is a Tradition of the Holy Prophet to this effect: "If one, while taking his meals, hears the call for the morning Prayer (or the sound of the siren as in our age) for beginning the fast, one should not withdraw one's hand inunediately from food, but should finish the meal." Likewise, one is enjoined to break the fast without delay as soon as the dark line of the night appears in the east.
I'tikaf is a special voluntary practice of devotion during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. One confines oneself to a mosque and devotes one's whole time to prayer and meditation in addition to the prescribed obligatory religious duties. One is required to abstain from all worldly pursuits, desires, lusts, etc., and is not to leave the mosque except to attend to the call of nature etc.
The wording of the Commandment about the extreme limits is very significant. It not only prohibits one from transgressing them but also warns one not even to go near them. It is very dangerous to roam about on the boundary lines of the forbidden territory for one is liable to enter into it by mistake. Going near them has, therefore, been prohibited. The Holy Prophet emphasized the same pint, saying, "Every king has some reserved land and Allah's 'reserved' land is hounded by those limits which prescribe the lawful and the unlawful, the right and the wrong. The animal which grazes near the last bounds of the reserved land might one day enter into it." It is a pity that. inspite of this clear warning. many people, who are ignorant of the spirit of Islamic law, persist in going to the extreme limits and many "learned" people try to find excuses for them from the same Islamic Code of Law that warns the Muslims not to go near the boundary line. That is why many people get involved in vice and stray front the straight path. Obviously, it is not an easy thing to demarcate these tine boundary lines and to control oneself from transgressing them, when one is roaming near them.
2.187 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Permitted to you upon the night of the fast is to go in to your wives; they are a vestment for you and you are a vestment for them; God knows that you have been betraying yourselves and so He has turned to you [relenting] and He has pardoned you. So now lie with them and seek what God has prescribed for you and eat and drink until the white thread is distinct to you from the black thread at daybreak; then complete the fast to the night; [God] informs us that in truth the customs that characterize human beings are not attributable to Him. Whether you are engaged in worship ʿibāda which is the right of the Real or in the customs of companionship with your mate which is the goal sought by your lower self and worldly concern-both are the same for your state so long as there is refined behavior adab. The verse was revealed regarding the lapse of al-Fārūq. [God] made that [lapse] an occasion for a dispensation for all Muslims until the resurrection. Thus are the rulings of the [divine] solicitude. It is said that [God] knew there is no escaping worldly concerns for the servant so He divided the night and day in this month between His right ḥaqq and your worldly portion ḥaẓẓ. He said “As for My right complete the fast to the night and as for your worldly portion eat and drink until the white thread is distinct to you from the black thread at daybreak.” and do not lie with them while you cleave to the mosques in devotion [to God]. Those are God's bounds; do not approach them. So God makes clear His signs to people so that they might fear. [God] states that the place of nearness is sanctified from the seeking of worldly concerns. He said “When you are occupied with your [lower] selves you are veiled through yourselves in yourselves but when your business is with Us do not turn back from Us to yourselves.” It is said that the jealousy ghayra of the Real سبحانه [comes] at the times when serious business is mixed with fun. ʿāÌisha [عليه السلام] said concerning it “O Messenger of God I truly love you and love being near to you.” [Muḥammad] replied “Let me be daughter of Abū Bakr I am worshiping my Lord.” He ﷺ said to her “I have a time wherein none but my Lord is allowed me.”
2.187 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(It is made lawful for you to go in unto your wives on the night of the fast...) [2:187]. According to the report of al-Walibi, Ibn ‘Abbas said: “This is because after the nightfall (‘Isha’) prayer during Ramadan, the Muslims were forbidden to have food or sex until the following night. But some Muslims, among whom were ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, complained to Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, about this. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Abu Bakr al-Asfahani informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Razi> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman al-‘Askari> Yahya ibn Abi Za’idah> his father and others> Abu Ishaq> al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib who said: “After breaking their fast, the Muslims used to be allowed to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse for as long as they did not sleep. Once they went to sleep, they were forbidden to do all these things until the following day when they broke their fast. Qays ibn Sirma al-Ansari went to his wife at the time of breaking the fast. His wife went out to get something [to eat]. While he was waiting, he fell asleep [and therefore could not eat until the following night]. The following day he fainted in the middle of the day. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab also had sexual intercourse with his wife after he found her sleeping. He mentioned what had happened to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and the verse was (is made lawful for you to go in unto your wives on the night of the fast…) was revealed, up to Allah’s saying (…of the dawn.). The Muslims were very happy with this”. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Hamid> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Shaybani> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Daghuli> al-Za‘farani> Shababah> Isra’il> Abu Ishaq> al-Bara’ who said: “The Companions of Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, when one of them was fasting and was still sleeping at the advent of the time of breaking the fast, he was not allowed to eat that night or the following day until the advent of the time of breaking the fast of the following day. Qays ibn Sirma al-Ansari was fasting. When the time of breaking fast came, he went to his wife and asked her: ‘Do you have any food?’ She said: ‘No! But I will go and find something for you’. As he was working all day, he fell asleep. When his wife came back and saw that he had slept, she said: ‘What a disappointment!’ And so he had to carry on his fast. At midday on the following day, he fainted. He mentioned what had happened to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Then the verse (It is made lawful for you to go in unto your wives on the night of the fast…), and they were overjoyed”. Narrated by Bukhari from ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Musa from Isra’il. Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn al-Fadl> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Hafiz> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Hisham ibn ‘Ammar> Yahya ibn Hamzah> Ishaq ibn Abi Farwah> al-Zuhri> al-Qasim ibn Muhammad who said: “At the beginning of the prescription of fasting, one used to fast from the night to the following night. Once one went to sleep, one could not touch one’s wife or eat or sleep. That is until ‘Umar went to his wife and seeing that he wanted to sleep with her, she told him that she had slept. ‘Umar slept with her anyhow. Sirma ibn Anas also was fasting and slept before he broke his fast—that is because once they slept they could not eat or drink — and had, therefore to fast until the following day. Fasting was so hard on them that it nearly killed them, and so Allah, glorified and exalted is He, sent down this dispensation and revealed (and He hath turned in mercy toward you and relieved you…)”. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad al-Zahid> his grandfather> Abu ‘Amr al-Hiri> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Ibn Abi Maryam> Abu Ghassan> Abu Hazim> Sahl ibn Sa‘d who said: “The verse (… and eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread…) but (of the dawn) was not revealed yet. As a result, when one of them wanted to fast, he tied one white thread and another black thread to his legs and ate and drank until he could distinguish between the two threads. Allah then revealed (… of the dawn), and understood from the verse that Allah meant by the black and white threads the night and day”. Narrated by Bukhari from the report of Ibn Abi Maryam, and also by Muslim from the report of Muhammad ibn Sahl from Ibn Abi Maryam.