Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-239



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The details of this 'benefit' are that he should allow her to stay in the family house during 'iddah, pay for her total sustenance, pay the full amount of mahr (dower) if still unpaid while intercourse has already occurred; and in case the incident of divorce has occurred before intercourse, then half of the dower should be paid in good cheer. All these are obligatory rights which have to be given to a divorced woman necessarily; however, it is not only desirable but excellent as well, if the divorced wife, on her parting day, goes with some cash or at the least, with a set of clothing as parting gift. Subhan Allah, what a decent teaching it is all that customarily causes quarrels and fights and takes families to ruin has been so wisely transformed into everlasting good will and peace.

After all these injunctions, it was said: وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ , that is, anyone who acts against these divine commands will harm none but himself. It is obvious that Hereafter (the life to come) will be the place where every injustice and cruelty will be avenged in the sight of Allah and the oppressor is not going to move one step forward unless the oppressed is avenged.

If we ponder with discernment and hindsight, we shall discover that, if some oppressor gets away with his cruelty against the oppressed, the evil consequences of this act do disgrace him, more than often, right here in this world. He may or may not comprehend it, but fairly often, he is overtaken by misfortunes which make him taste at least some retribution of his oppression during his life of the mortal world. This is what Shaykh Sa'di,  mercy be on him, said in a Persian couplet:

The oppressor presumed that he had hit me.
But his weapon boomeranged back into his neck while it sailed past me!

The noble Qur'an has an approach which is wise, and a style that is special, when it does not describe law in the manner penal laws of the world are described. It rather explains its injunctions in a sympathetic and persuasive manner, showing its wisdom and describing the series of losses man suffers while acting against it, which, if duly understood, will render one incapable of embarking on such crimes. So, behind every law there comes the reminder that man must fear Allah and that man should never forget his accountability in the Hereafter.

Do not make a marriage and divorce a plaything
The second rule presented in this verse is that the word of Allah
should not be taken lightly as some amusement: وَلَا تَتَّخِذُوا آيَاتِ اللَّهِ هُزُوًا  'And do not take the verses of Allah in jest.' According to one explanation of the expression playing games with the verses of Allah or making a mockery of it means acting against Divine ordinances in matters of marriage and divorce. The second explanation reported from Sayyidna Abu al-Darda' رضي الله عنه that some people during pre-Islam Arabia would give divorce or free a slave, then they would go back on their word and start saying that this was all in fun; talaq (divorce) or 'itaq (to free a slave) was not intended. Thereupon, this verse was revealed which gave the ruling that anyone going through divorce and marriage, even if it be playfully or jokingly, would find these enforced and the plea of 'having no intention' will not be accepted as valid.

The Holy Prophet (SM) has said that there are three things in which acting seriously, or in jest, are both equal: One talaq (divorce); two 'itaq (to free a slave); three nikah (marriage) (reported by Ibn Marduwayh from Ibn al-'Abbas and Ibn al-Mundhir from 'Ubadah ibn al-Samit)

This hadith has been reported from Sayyidna Abu Hurayrah in the following words:

It means that there are three things which take effect equally whether done seriously or jokingly. These are: The marriage, the divorce and the revocation of divorce. (Mazhari).

The Islamic law governing these three is: Should a man and a woman go through the process of offer and acceptance before witnesses, even if it be without any intention or just in jest, the marriage stands solemnized anyway. Similarly, if divorce is given in clear words, without any intention, or gust in jest, divorce takes effect; or revocation, if done, becomes valid too. Similarly again, if a slave is playfully declared to be free, the slave becomes free. Jest or fun are not taken as valid excuses.

After stating this injunction, the noble Qur'an then educates man, in its unique style, how he should obey Allah Almighty and fear the consequences of the life to come (Akhirah). It was said: وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ يَعِظُكُم بِهِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

That is, 'And remember the grace of Allah on you and what He has revealed to you of the Book and the wisdom you good counsel thereby. And fear Allah, and be sure that Allah is all-knowing in respect of everything' It means: He knows the secrets hidden in your hearts, your intentions and your purposes. Therefore, when you have to release your wife from your marriage bond by giving divorce, you should do so with the intention of avoiding mutual disputes, loss of mutual rights and doing injustice, and not with the intention of releasing anger on your wife or disgracing or hurting her.

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