Surah Mujadila- The Pleading Woman

Recently I stumbled across a surah mujadila, a surah I’ve never heard of or read about. I was immediately intrigued by the title ‘pleading woman’. The surah begins by saying “Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and seeing.” This ayah alone tells us so much about the relationship between this Muslim woman and her creator, that her concerns were important to him. Secondly it shows us that during the time of the Prophet (saw) women constantly asked him about different matters however in these case he didn’t have a clear answer. Allah ends highlighting that he hears and sees all matters.“Those who pronounce zihar among you who separate from their wives – they are not [consequently] their mothers. Their mothers are none but those who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying an objectionable statement and a falsehood. But indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving”. Ayah two further elaborates on what the matter is concerning, which is a type of divorce called zihar which happened in pre Islamic Arabia. A man would say that “sleeping with you is like sleeping with my mother” and that would validate a divorce. Therefore this woman was worried that she and her husband would have to divorce even though he rebuked the statement later and probably just said it in the fit of anger. Allah clearly states the disgust at likening your wife to your mother and how inappropriate and disrespectful that is to their own mothers.
“And those who pronounce thihar from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said – then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allah is Acquainted with what you do”. Allah then resolves the dispute by stating that in Islam that statement doesn’t constitute a divorce and it’s invalid. However, if you want to get back with your wife you have to free a slave. In the case that you can’t find a slave.., “And he who does not find [a slave] – then a fast for two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable – then the feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe [completely] in Allah and His Messenger; and those are the limits [set by] Allah. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment”.

This story highlights a woman’s rights in Islam. Her husband is not allowed to walk away scotch free, he can’t just divorce her by making false statements and then get back with her if he choose. If he wants to he must either free a slave, feed sixty people or fast for two months. Not only are these punishments designed to sooth our nafs they would also be helping the community at large in particular the vulnerable and needy.For me the most important lesson or reminder that I feel that I have learnt from this ayats. Is that Allah truly listens to our pleading even when we feel he isn’t he emphasises his qualities that he is the all hearing and all seeing. Even in a domestic dispute such as this which some may see as unimportant.

*Orginally posted on my call of duty of muslimah blog March 2016

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