Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate)) He says: the vulvas of your wives are plantations for your offspring (so go to your tilth) your plantations (as ye will) as you please, from behind or front as long as the penetration is in the pudendum, (and send (good deeds) before you for your souls) righteous children, (and fear Allah) regarding penetrating your wives in their anus or having sex with them during menstruation, (and know that ye will (one day) meet Him) that you will see Him after you die and He will reward you according to your deeds. (Give glad tidings to believers (O Muhammad)) Allah says: give glad tidings, O Muhammad, to the believers, who ward off penetrating their wives in their anus and further abstain from having sex with them when they are menstruating, that Paradise will be theirs.
Your women are your tillage, so come to your tillage as you like.
The servant has a soul and a heart. The soul is from the low world, and its root is water and dust. The heart is from the high world, that is, the lordly subtlety, and its foundation is pure light. The soul's station is absence, and the heart's station is witnessing. MuṣṬafā alluded to this with his words, “There is no heart that is not between two fingers of God.”
God gave the soul, which stays absent, the same living quarters as its similars, and He made this a favor. He said, “Your women are your tillage, so come to your tillage as you like.” In another place He said, “Marry the women who seem goodly to you” [4:3]. In another place He said, “That you may rest in them, and He placed between you love and mercy” [30:21].
Finding one's own shares and inclining toward similars in this manner is the portion of the soul, which remains in the lowland of jealousy. As for the heart, it has the station of contemplation, so it is forbidden to incline toward any others or to come down to any creature. Until it cuts itself off from creation and makes its own secret core pure of other than the Real, it will not come under these words: “He loves those who make themselves pure” [2:222]. The Lord of the Worlds loves those who are pure in this manner. He calls them men when He says, “In it are men who love to make themselves pure, and God loves those who make themselves pure” [9:108].
Know also that in this house of the decree, vile things are of two sorts. One is vileness of entity, which can never become pure by washing. If you put a corpse into the ocean a thousand times, it will never become pure, for the impurity belongs to its own entity.
The other is vileness of attribute. At root something is pure, but an impurity has reached it. If you wash it, it becomes pure. This impurity, however, is of two sorts. One is flimsy, so it becomes pure with a single water. The other is heavy, so it must be washed with water and dust to become pure.
At root vile things in the religion have the same divisions. One is vileness of the entity, which will never disappear. This is the vileness of the associationism that He does not forgive: Surely God does not forgive that anything be associated with Him [4:48]. The associaters are impure [9:28]. These remain in hell everlastingly, for their impurity is the impurity of the entity and it cannot receive purity, and paradise is the place of the pure.
The other vileness in the religion is vileness of attribute, which is disobedience, and it can receive purity. This also is of two sorts: some sins are small and others are great. The small sins are flimsy and become pure with one pass through hell: And none of you there is but will enter it [19:71]. The great sins are thick and do not become pure with one pass. They remain longer, but
they do not remain everlastingly, for the entity is not impure, and the impurity can be made pure. If someone is washed in this abode with the water of repentance and remorse, he becomes pure. If he does not become pure in this abode, then in the house of retribution nothing but fire will make him pure. Unless the impurity is burnt away, he will not be pure, and unless he is pure, he will not reach the pure Lord. “Surely God is goodly and accepts only the goodly.”
Revelation came to David: “'Make for Me a pure house in which I may reside!' Make My house pure so that the Lord of the House may settle down in it.'”
He said, “O Lord, how shall I make it pure?”
He said, “Strike it with the fire of passion so that everything that does not have My lineage will be burnt. Then sweep it with the broom of remorse so that if any caprice of the soul remains not burnt by the fire of passion, the broom of remorse will sweep it away, for the bride of union with Me does not get along with the soul's caprice.”
The bride of religion will not show her face to you, brother,
till your soul's caprice has settled down in the religion's road.
How long will you sit like women in hope of color and scent?
Fix your aspiration on the road and set out like a man! [DS 205]
Your women are a tillage for you, that is, the place where you sow [the seeds of] your children; so come to your tillage, that is, the specified place, the front part, as, in whichever way, you wish, whether standing up, sitting down, lying down, from the front or the back: this was revealed in response to the Jews saying that if a person had vaginal intercourse with his wife from behind, the child would be born cross-eyed; and offer for your souls, righteous deeds, such as saying, ‘In the Name of God’ (bismillāh) when you commence intercourse; and fear God, in what He commands and prohibits; and know that you shall meet Him, at the Resurrection, where He will requite you according to your deeds; and give good tidings, of Paradise, to the believers, who feared Him.
Sexual Intercourse with Menstruating Women is prohibited
Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Jews used to avoid their menstruating women, they would not eat, or even mingle with them in the house. The Companions of the Prophet asked about this matter and Allah revealed:
(They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: "That is an Adha, therefore, keep away from women during menses and go not in unto them till they are purified.)
Allah's Messenger said:
«اصْنَعُوا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا النِّكَاح»
(`Do everything you wish, except having sexual intercourse.)
When the Jews were told about the Prophet's statement, they said, "What is the matter with this man He would not hear of any of our practices, but would defy it.'' Then, Usayd bin Hudayr and `Abbad bin Bishr came and said, "O Messenger of Allah! The Jews said this and that, should we have sex with our women (meaning, during the menstruation period)'' The face of Allah's Messenger changed color, until the Companions thought that he was angry with them. They left. Soon after, some milk was brought to Allah's Messenger as a gift, and he sent some of it for them to drink. They knew then that Allah's Messenger was not angry with them. Muslim also reported this Hadith. Allah said:
فَاعْتَزِلُواْ النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
(...therefore, keep away from women during menses.) meaning, avoid the sexual organ. The Prophet said:
«اصْنَعُوا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا النِّكَاح»
(Do anything you wish except having sexual intercourse.)
This is why most of the scholars said that it is allowed to fondle the wife, except for having sexual intercourse (when she is having her menses). Abu Dawud reported that `Ikrimah related to one of the Prophet's wives that she said that whenever the Prophet wanted to fondle (one of his wives) during her menses, he would cover her sexual organ with something.
Abu Ja`far bin Jarir related that Masruq went to `A'ishah and greeted her, and `A'ishah greeted him in return. Masruq said, "I wish to ask you about a matter, but I am shy.'' She replied, "I am your mother and you are my son.'' He said, "What can the man enjoy of his wife when she is having her menses'' She said, "Everything except her sexual organ.'' This is also the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan and `Ikrimah.
One is allowed to sleep next to his wife and to eat with her (when she is having her menses). `A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger used to ask me to wash his hair while I was having the menses. He would lay on my lap and read the Qur'an while I was having the period.'' It is also reported in the Sahih that `A'ishah said, "While having the menses, I used to eat from a piece of meat and give it to the Prophet who would eat from the same place I ate from. I used to have sips of a drink and would then give the cup to the Prophet who would place his mouth where I placed my mouth.''
It is also reported in the Two Sahihs that Maymunah bint Al-Harith Al-Hilaliyah said, "Whenever the Prophet wanted to fondle any of his wives during the periods (menses), he used to ask her to wear an Izar (a sheet covering the lower-half of the body).'' These are the wordings collected by Al-Bukhari. Similar was reported from `A'ishah. In addition, Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah reported that `Abdullah bin Sa`d Al-Ansari asked Allah's Messenger, "What am I allowed of my wife while she is having her menses'' He said, "What is above the Izar (a sheet covering the lower-half of the body).'' Hence, Allah's statement: h
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
(...and go not in unto them till they are purified.) explains His statement:
فَاعْتَزِلُواْ النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
(...therefore, keep away from women during menses.)
Allah prohibited having sexual intercourse with the wife during menstruation, indicating that sexual intercourse is allowed otherwise.
(And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you.) indicates that men should have sexual intercourse with their wives after they take a bath. The scholars agree that the woman is obliged to take a bath, or to perform Tayammum with sand, if she is unable to use water, before she is allowed to have sexual intercourse with her husband, after the monthly period ends. Ibn `Abbas said:
"(till they are purified) means from blood, and,
(And when they have purified themselves) means with water.'' This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Al-Layth bin Sa`d and others.
Anal Sex is prohibited
مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ
(...as Allah has ordained for you.) this refers to Al-Farj (the vagina), as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and other scholars have stated. Therefore, anal sex is prohibited, as we will further emphasize afterwards, Allah willing. Abu Razin, `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak and others said that:
فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ
(...then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you.) means when they are pure, and not during the menses. Allah said afterwards:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَبِينَ
(Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance) from the sin even if it was repeated,
(and loves those who purify themselves.) meaning, those who purify themselves from the impurity and the filth that include having sexual intercourse with the wife during the menses and anal sex.
The Reason behind revealing Allah's Statement: "Your Wives are a Tilth for You.
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you,)
Ibn `Abbas commented, "Meaning the place of pregnancy.'' Allah then said:
فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(...so go to your tilth, when or how you will,) meaning, wherever you wish from the front or from behind, as long as sex takes place in one valve (the female sexual organ), as the authentic Hadiths have indicated.
For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Al-Munkadir said that he heard Jabir say that the Jews used to claim that if one has sex with his wife from behind (in the vagina) the offspring would become cross-eyed. Then, this Ayah was revealed:
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,)
Muslim and Abu Dawud also reported this Hadith.
Ibn Abu Hatim said that Muhammad bin Al-Munkadir narrated that Jabir bin `Abdullah told him that the Jews claimed to the Muslims that if one has sex with their wife from behind (in the vagina) their offspring will become cross-eyed. Allah revealed afterwards:
(Have sex with her as you like as long as that occurs in the vagina.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Sabit said: I went to Hafsah bint `Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr and said, "I wish to ask you about something, but I am shy.'' She said, "Do not be shy, O my nephew.'' He said, "About having sex from behind with women.'' She said, "Umm Salamah told me that the Ansar used to refrain from having sex from behind (in the vagina). The Jews claimed that those who have sex with their women from behind would have offspring with crossed-eyes. When the Muhajirun came to Al-Madinah, they married Ansar women and had sex with them from behind. One of these women would not obey her husband and said, `You will not do that until I go to Allah's Messenger (and ask him about this matter). ' She went to Umm Salamah and told her the story. Umm Salamah said, `Wait until Allah's Messenger comes.' When Allah's Messenger came, the Ansari woman was shy to ask him about this matter, so she left. Umm Salamah told Allah's Messenger the story and he said:
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will.) He added:
(Only in one valve (the vagina).)''
This Hadith was also collected by At-Tirmidhi who said, "Hasan.''
An-Nasa'i reported that Ka`b bin `Alqamah said that Abu An-Nadr said that he asked Nafi`, "The people are repeating the statement that you relate from Ibn `Umar that he allowed sex with women in their rear (anus).'' He said, "They have said a lie about me. But let me tell you what really happened. Ibn `Umar was once reciting the Qur'an while I was with him and he reached the Ayah:
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,) He then said, `O Nafi`! Do you know the story behind this Ayah' I said, `No.' He said, `We, the people of Quraysh, used to have sexual intercourse with our wives from the back (in the vagina). When we migrated to Al-Madinah and married some Ansari women, we wanted to do the same with them. They disliked it and made a big issue out of it. The Ansari women had followed the practice of the Jews who have sex with their women while they lay on their sides. Then, Allah revealed:
(Allah does not look at a man who had anal sex with another man or a woman.)
At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Gharib.'' This is also the narration that Ibn Hibban collected in his Sahih, while Ibn Hazm stated that this is an authentic Hadith.
In addition, Imam Ahmad reported that `Ali bin Talaq said, "Allah's Messenger forbade anal sex with women, for Allah does not shy away from truth.'' Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi also reported this Hadith and said, "Hasan''.
Abu Muhammad `Abdullah bin `Abdur-Rahman Darimi reported in his Musnad that Sa`id bin Yasar Abu Hubab said: I said to Ibn `Umar, "What do you say about having sex with women in the rear'' He said, "What does it mean'' I said, "Anal sex.'' He said, "Does a Muslim do that'' This Hadith has an authentic chain of narrators and is an explicit rejection of anal sex from Ibn `Umar.
Abu Bakr bin Ziyad Naysaburi reported that Isma`il bin Ruh said that he asked Malik bin Anas, "What do you say about having sex with women in the anus'' He said, "You are not an Arab Does sex occur but in the place of pregnancy Do it only in the Farj (vagina).'' I said, "O Abu `Abdullah! They say that you allow that practice.'' He said, "They utter a lie about me, they lie about me.'' This is Malik's firm stance on this subject. It is also the view of Sa`id bin Musayyib, Abu Salamah, `Ikrimah, Tawus, `Ata, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Mujahid bin Jabr, Al-Hasan and other scholars of the Salaf (the Companions and the following two generations after them). They all, along with the majority of the scholars, harshly rebuked the practice of anal sex and many of them called this practice a Kufr.
(...and send for your own selves beforehand.) meaning, by performing the acts of worship while refraining from whatever Allah has prohibited for you. This is why Allah said afterwards:
(And fear Allah, and know that you are to meet Him (in the Hereafter),)
meaning, He will hold you accountable for all of your deeds,
(...and give good tidings to the believers (O Muhammad ).) meaning, those who obey what Allah has commanded and refrain from what He has prohibited. Ibn Jarir reported that `Ata' said, or related it to Ibn `Abbas,
(...and send for your own selves beforehand.) means, mention Allah's Name, by saying, `Bismillah', before having sexual intercourse.'' Al-Bukhari also reported that Ibn `Abbas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(If anyone of you on having sexual relations with his wife said: `In the Name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you bestow upon us (i.e., the coming offspring) from Satan,' and if it is destined that they should have a child then, Satan will never be able to harm him.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Arabic word "adha" stands both for illness and for uncleanliness. Menses are not only a state of impurity but also of disease. During the monthly period, women are medically nearer a state of illness than of health.
The Qur'an uses indirect and covert hints and suggestions for the expression of such delicate matters. The instructions, "They should be separated" and "Do not go near them", do not mean that the women should be made untouchables during their monthly periods, as they are made by the Jews, the Hindus and some other communities. The Holy Prophet explained that this commandment meant only to prohibit intercourse with them during the menses. All other relations with them may be continued as before.
The Arabic word amr does not refer to any legal injunction but to the natural instinct that has been embedded in the nature of every human being and animal and is known to every one.
Allah has not created women merely for the enjoyment and entertainment of men. The relation between the two is as serious an affair as that of a farmer and his field. The farmer does not go to his field merely for recreation and enjoyment but for cultivation to get produce from it. In the same way, a man should go to his wife to produce children. Allah's law, however, is not concerned with the method of cultivation but with the demand that man should go to the field and not elsewhere and to his own field and for production.
The Arabic words are comprehensive. They may imply : "You should try to produce children for the continuation of your race",or that "You must take special pains to bring up and train them morally to be good men." Here both the aspects are implied. That is why they have been warned, in the next sentence, that they shall be called to account by Allah for any deliberate disregard of these obligations.
Your women are a tillage for you; so come to your tillage as you wish; and offer for your souls; and fear God; and know that you shall meet Him; and give good tidings to the believers. Because the bodily and lower selves are defined by absence from reality ḥaqīqa they find rest with their mates [and this] is allowable where it has been permitted. But when hearts are in the place of presence maḥall al-ḥuḌūr it is forbidden for them to be with created beings and anything other [than God]. And offer for your souls those righteous deeds that will benefit you on the day of your insolvency and because of this He said “and know that you shall meet Him.” So look to yourselves and offer what can be found that will ease your way before your Lord.
(Your women are a tilth for you…) [2:223]. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Qadi informed us> Hajib ibn Ahmad> 'Abd al-Rahim ibn Munib> Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah> Ibn al-Munkadir that he heard Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah say: “The Jews used to say that whoever penetrates the vagina of his wife from a back position, the child born as a result of this intercourse will be cross-eyed. To deny this, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will)”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Abu Nu'aym and by Muslim from Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, and Abu Nu'aym and Abu Bakr related it from Sufyan. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Abu Sa'id Isma'il ibn Ahmad al-Khalali> 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd al-Bajali> Abu Kurayb> al-Muharibi> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Aban ibn Muslim> Mujahid who said: “I read the Qur'an out of memory, from beginning to end, under Ibn 'Abbas' supervision three times, stopping at each verse to ask him about its meaning until he got to this verse (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will). He said: 'The men of this part of Quraysh used to have sexual intercourse with their wives while the latter lay down on their front. They enjoyed their wives from the front and back positions. When they migrated to Medina and married the women of the Helpers, they tried to do with them what they were in the habit of doing in Mecca. But the women of the Helpers objected, saying: 'This is something that we did not do before'. The talk spread until it reached the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will). He said: If you want you can penetrate your wives from a back position or from a front position, or if you want from a kneeling down position. He meant by this, penetrating their women's vaginas from any of these positions. He said: go to your tilth as you will' ”. This was narrated by al-Hakim Abu 'Abd Allah in his Sahih from Abu Zakariyya al-'Anbari from Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Salam from Ishaq ibn Ibrahim from al-Muharibi. Sa'id ibn Muhammad al-Hayyani informed us> Abu 'Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Faqih> Abu'l-Qasim al-Baghawi> 'Ali ibn Ja'd> Shu'bah> Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir who heard Jabir saying: “the Jews said: 'If a man has sex with his wife when she is in a kneeling down position, any child born as a result of this intercourse will be cross-eyed'. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verses (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will)”. Sa'id ibn Muhammad al-Hayyani informed us> Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Hamdun> Ahmad ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Sharafi> Abu'l-Azhar> Wahb ibn Jarir> Abu Kurayb who is reported to have heard al-Nu'man ibn Rashid narrate from al-Zuhri from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir from Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah who said: “The Jews said: 'When a man has sexual intercourse with his wife while she is in a kneeling down position, any child born to them as a result of this will be cross-eyed'. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will), i.e. if you want [you can have intercourse with them] in a kneeling down position or if you want in a different position, as long as the penetration happens in the vagina”. This was narrated by Muslim from Harun ibn Ma'ruf from Wahb ibn Jarir. The Shaykh Abu Hamid ibn al-Sharqi said: “This is a great hadith which equals one hundred hadiths; only al-Nu'man ibn Rashid related it from al-Zuhri”. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Mutawwi'i informed us> Abu 'Amr ibn Hamdan> Abu 'Ali> Zuhayr> Yunus ibn Muhammad> Ya'qub al-Qummi> Ja'far> Sa'id ibn Jubayr> Ibn 'Abbas who said: “ 'Umar ibn al-Khattab went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said to him: 'I have perished!' The Prophet exclaimed: 'And what is the reason of your peril?' He said: 'I turned over the carriage of my camel'. He said: 'The Prophet did not answer him. But then this verse (Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will) was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace'. Meaning: penetrate your wives from the front and from the back, but avoid penetrating them in the anus or during their menstruation”. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Asfahani informed us> 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl ibn 'Uthman> al-Muharibi> Layth> Abu Salih> Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab who was asked about the saying of Allah (… so go to your tilth as ye will) and he said: “This was revealed about coitus interruptus”. And in the report of al-Kalbi, Ibn 'Abbas said: “This was revealed about the Emigrants after they settled in Medina. They mentioned having sex with their wives from the front and back positions and did not see any harm in doing so as long as the penetration was done in the women's sexual organ. The Helpers and Jews who were present condemned this and mentioned that the only lawful way of sleeping with one's wife is to do it from the front position. The Jews also mentioned that they find in the Torah that it is filth in the sight of Allah to sleep with one's wife in any other position than when the wife is lying on her back, and failing to do so is the cause why children are born cross-eyed or mentally disturbed. The Muslims mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, saying: 'In the pre-Islamic period and after we embraced Islam we always had sex with our wives in any position we liked. The Jews have condemned us for doing so and, further, claimed this and that'. And so Allah, exalted is He, gave the lie to the Jews and revealed this verse to give dispensation (… so go to your tilth as ye will.) He says: the sexual organ of the wife is the plantation where the child grows (… so go to your tilth as ye will), meaning: from in front of her and from behind her as long as the penetration is done in her sexual organ”.