Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-245

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Some injunctions relating to 'Iddah
1.For one whose husband dies, it is not correct to wear perfume or make-up or use kohl 52 or hair oil, beauty-treat unnecessarily, apply henna and dress gaudily. It is also not correct to talk about the second marriage in clear and unambiguous words a s appears in the succeeding verse. In addition to this it is also incorrect to stay overnight in homes other than one's own. The text's "yatarabbasna bi anfusihinna" translated as "keep themselves waiting" hint towards these avoidances. And this is also the injunction for the woman who has received an irrevocable divorce, that is, in which revocation is not possible. However, it is not right for her to go out of the house even during the daytime unless there is an extreme compulsion.

2. Another rule most people are not aware of is: If the husband dies on the night of the new moon, these months will be completed in accordance with the lunar calendar. Their being of 29 or 30 days makes no difference. But, if he died after the night bf the new moon, all these months will be completed as of 30 days each. In all, 130 days will be completed. And when this period expires, and the same time when the death occurred comes, 'iddah will be over.

And now a word concerning what was said about women "There is no sin on you in what they do for themselves as recognized." This teaches us that it becomes obligatory on others to stop one who acts against the shari'ah, of course, if they have the ability or power to do so. Otherwise, these people too become sinners. And the expression, bil'ma'ruf ('with fairness' or 'as recognized') means that the marriage solemnized should be correct, and permissible according to the shari'ah; all conditions of its being lawful should be observed.

Verses 236 - 237
[٢٣٦]لَّا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِن طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ مَا لَمْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ أَوْ تَفْرِضُوا لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً ۚ وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدَرُهُ مَتَاعًا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۖ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ

[٢٣٧]وَإِن طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ وَقَدْ فَرَضْتُمْ لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً فَنِصْفُ مَا فَرَضْتُمْ إِلَّا أَن يَعْفُونَ أَوْ يَعْفُوَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ ۚ وَأَن تَعْفُوا أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَنسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

*52. Surma: collorium, claimed to be an inorganic lead compound 'Galena', which has been erroneously translated as 'Antimony' by Western writers. Since 'Antimony' is a known ingredient of modern sophisticated explosives, this age-old eye-cosmetic has gone out of fashion and favour*

There is no sin on you if you divorce women when you have not yet touched them nor fixed for them an amount. So, give them benefit, a rich man according to his means and a poor one according to his means a benefit in the recognized manner, an obligation on the virtuous. And if you divorce them before you have touched them, while you have already fixed for them an amount, then there is one half of what you have fixed, unless they (the women) forgive, or forgives the one in whose hand lies the marriage tie. And it is closer to Taqwa 53 that you forgive. And do not forget being graceful to one another. Surely, Allah is watchful of what you do. (Verses 236 - 237)

Commentary
Keeping dower and consummation in view, divorce can be of four situations. The injunction concerning the first two of these has been stated in these verses. (1) Dower is not fixed and consummation has not taken place. (2) Dower is fixed but consummation has not taken place. (3) Dower is fixed and consummation has taken place. Here the fixed dower will have to be paid in full. This injunction appears elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an. (4) Dower has not been prefixed but divorce was given after consummation. Here full mahr al-mithl (a dower as in the divorcees' family) will have to be paid. It means the amount of the dower will be the same as custornarily given in the immediate family circle of the woman,. This too has been taken up in yet another verse of the Holy Qur'an.

The injunction related to the first two situations has been stated in the verses appearing here. Out of the two, the injunction for the first situation is: No dower is due but it is obligatory for the husband to give something on his own to the woman -- the least being a set of clothes. In fact, the Holy Qur'an has not fixed any amount for this gift. However, it does indicate that the affluent should give in accordance with their capacity, which carries a n element of persuasion for the man of means who should not behave tight-fisted in this act of grace. Sayyidna Hasan رضي الله عنه , in a situation like this, gave a gift of twenty thousand dirhams to the divorced woman, and Qadi Shurayh, that of five hundred dirhams; and Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنه has said that the lowest degree here is to give one set of clothes. (Qurtubi).

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