Exposition of the Holy Quran – 60 Al-Mumtahanah (G A Parwez)

Surah 60: Al-Mumtahanah

(The Examined Woman)


(1) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! Do not take the enemies of the divine system, who are your enemies also, as your friends (3:117). While they are opposing this code of divine order that has come from the Almighty, you should never establish relations of affection and affinity with them. (The basis of relations should be your deen and not personal preferences or family ties – 60:4, 9:13.) Their enmity is so deep that they have forced the Rasool and yourself to leave your homes, simply because you have professed eiman on Allah, your Rabb. Just ponder whether these two attitudes can be together? On the one hand you come out to wage jihad in order to establish this divine system and follow My law; while on the other you establish secret friendships with these enemies. Remember, whatever you conceal or reveal is all known to Me; and whoever from amongst you does this, will stray from the right path.

(2) If ever they conquer you, you will see for yourselves the extent of their enmity and the misery they can inflict on you with their hands and tongues. Their only desire is to make you deviate from your deen and become like them once again.

(3) It is true that you have blood relations with them, but remember that on the Day of Judgment, neither your relatives nor your children will be of any help. At that time you will be visibly separated from each other; and it will be your own deeds which Allah sees so well, that will help you.

(4) In order to understand this (the position of personal relations as compared to the divine order) you have the excellent model of Abraham and his companions. This should give you peace of mind by removing all your concerns (33:21). They openly told their people (those with whom they had blood relations), “We are disgusted with you and the deities which you worship, leaving Allah aside (37:85-86). We totally reject your way of life and consider it wrong; and on account of this there will always be enmity and hatred between us, until you profess eiman on Allah.” (In this way you will become our brethren in deen – 3:117, 58:22). However, Abraham did tell his father that he would beseech Allah Almighty to grant him (his father) faith and make provisions for his protection, but at the same time he made it clear to him that if he (his father) did not believe, then he (Abraham) had no power to help him against Allah’s Law of Mukafat. (Thus when his father did not believe, Abraham abandoned him – 9:114, 14:41, 19:47.) Abraham and his companions, ignoring the power, strength and authority of their people, broke their relationship with them and declared to their Rabb, “We have complete faith and trust in the truth of Your laws. Leaving aside everything else we follow only Your laws. Every step in our journey of life shall be towards You, as that is the only goal of our lives.”

(5) At the same time they asked their nourisher, “O our Rabb, we should not become playthings for the people who deny your deen. Therefore, O Our Rabb! Provide us with means of protection. You are almighty and all-wise!”

(6) This was the conduct of Abraham and his companions; and it is an excellent example for those who have faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment. (The loss would be that of whoever turns away from this way of life, and not that of Allah.) He is independent of (unaffected by) what they do; and He is worthy of all hamd.

(7) You should not be in haste. He is creating circumstances in which people who presently harbour enmity will develop love and affection for you (by professing eiman and thus becoming your brethren in deen). All this happens according to the measures determined by Allah, through which you obtain protection and nourishment for development.

(8) It must be clarified that Allah does not stop you from showing kindness openly. You have to deal fairly and justly with all who, on account of your deen, have neither waged war against you nor expelled you from your dwellings. As has been said before (5:8), justice will also be done to whoever wages war against you, because Allah likes those who are just and fair. (Thus, over and above being just, you should be cordial with those who have not waged war against you.)

(9) He only forbids you from making friends with people who fought with you over matters of deen, drove you out of your homes or rendered help to those who did so. Therefore, do not establish friendly relations with them. Those who do so shall be considered criminals.

(10) (There is now another important clause.) At this time many Muslim women are coming to you after migrating from Makkah. Whenever they come to you, investigate their cases yourself, although Allah is fully aware of who amongst them are true to their eiman. If after scrutiny you are satisfied that they are firm and true in faith, then do not turn them back to the kuffar. This is because they have professed eiman and their spouses are still kafirs (and a momin woman cannot live as the wife of a non-Muslim husband, just as a momin man cannot marry a kafir woman). Therefore, neither are these Muslim women lawful for kafir husbands, nor are the kuffar for Muslim women. As such the question of returning these Muslim women to them does not arise. However, justice demands that whatever they have spent on their marriage to these women, should be repaid to them. Thereafter, there is no harm if you marry them, on payment of dowers to previous husbands (4:24).

Likewise, do not hold back those of your women who have not professed eiman. Your marital relationship with them is over. However, this issue would be better finalized after recovering from the kuffar, whatever you have spent on the marriage. Similarly, pay the kuffar for their women who have come over to you, whatever is due to them.

This is the command of your Allah. All such disputed matters should be decided according to His commandments, as His judgments are based on knowledge and wisdom; (whereas there is a possibility that your emotions will affect the decisions you take).

(11) In case the wives of some of you have stayed back with the kuffar who are not ready to pay the amount due or who retain a portion of it (the amount which you had spent on them), then keep an account. When your turn comes you can deduct this amount from what you have to pay them. Use this money to reimburse their Muslim ex-husbands. (Settle your accounts in this way, but remember this may not be done individually, but at a state level.)

In any case the kuffar can do whatever they like. However, you should always act in accordance with the laws of Allah, which you believe in. (This is the basic difference between a kafir and a momin; a momin never loses sight of the divine laws.)

(12) O Nabi! When momin women come to you (after migration), you should take an oath of allegiance (in your capacity as the central authority of the divine order) that they will not associate anybody with Allah (meaning they will obey only Allah’s laws); will not steal; will not commit fornication; will not kill their children (81:8); will not indulge in slander concocted by themselves; and will not disobey you in matters of state laws. (Your personal opinions will not be binding on them; but the directives issued by you in your capacity as the central authority of the divine order will have to be obeyed.)

Accept their oath of allegiance on the aforementioned matters, then on behalf of the divine system make arrangements for their protection. The responsibility for providing nourishment and protection to all members of the society lies with it.

(13) (All laws and directives in respect of relationships with the kuffar have been explained in detail. Therefore) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! You should not establish any friendly relations with those who have been declared guilty on account of their opposition to the divine order. Won’t it look odd that, while they stand condemned in the eyes of your system, you still maintain friendship with them? Remember, the basic difference between eiman and kufr is the concept of the Law of Mukafat and the life hereafter. These people have rejected these basic concepts, just like those kuffar who are now dead and lie buried in their graves. (The rejection of the basic commands of deen is the prime reason why friendly relations with those who have been declared criminals are forbidden).

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