Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-246

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In the second situation, when the woman's dower has been fixed before marriage and divorce occurs before actual consummation, the injunction says that the man shall be obligated to pay half of the dower already fixed. However, should the woman forgive, or should the man pay the whole, this will be a matter of free choice, as is evident from the verse:

إِلَّا أَن يَعْفُونَ أَوْ يَعْفُوَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ

Unless they (the women) forgive, or forgives the one in whose hand lies the marriage tie. (2:237)

The use of the word ya'fu ('forgives')to cover even the payment of full dower, perhaps, reflects the customary ' Arab bpractice of the payment of dower amount simultaneously with the marriage. If so, the husband has become, in the event of a pre-consummation divorce, deserving of taking half of the dower back. Now, if he yields voluntarily and does not take his half back, this too, would virtually be an act of forgiving. And the act of forgiving has been declared more merit-worthy, and closer to Taqwa (the sense of being responsible to Allah, commonly rendered as piety or fear or righteousness in absence of an exact equivalent); because this forgiveness symbolically indicates that the severance of the bond of marriage was also done with magnanimity and good grace, which is the objective of the Shari'ah and certainly, deserving of great merit the forgiveness could come from the woman, or from the man, it does not matter.

Explaining the words of the verse الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ in whose hands
lies the marriage tie), the Holy prophet (SM) has himself said: ولي عقدة النكاح الزوجة that is, 'the husband is the guardian (wali) of the bond of marriage.' This hadith appears in Darqutni as narrated by 'Amr ibn Shu'ayb from his father on the authority of his grandfather, and also from Sayyidna 'رضي الله عنه and Sayyidna ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنه (Qurtubi).

This also proves that the authority to continue or terminate the bond of marriage rests with the husband. It is he who can pronounce talaq (divorce). The woman cannot divorce her husband.

Verses 238 - 239
[٢٣٨]حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ

[٢٣٩]فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ فَرِجَالًا أَوْ رُكْبَانًا ۖ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ

Take due care of all the prayers, and the middle prayer, and stand before Allah in total devotion. But if you are in fear, then (pray)on foot or riding. And when you are in peace, recite the name of Allah as He has taught you what you did not know. (Verses238 - 239)

Commentary
Based on the authority of some ahadith, a very large number of 'ulama', have said that al-salat al-wusta or the middle salah is the salah of 'Asr because there are before it, two Salahs during the day, that of Fajr and Zuhr; and after these come two evening Salahs, that of Maghrib and 'Isha'. Special emphasis has been placed on it because this is a tike in which most of the people are busy in their professional work.

Incidentally, the Qur'anic word, Qanitin meaning obedient or submitting, rendered here as 'stand before Allah in total devotion', has been explained in Hadith as denoting sukut or motion-less silence.

It was through this very verse that talking in salah was forbidden. Earlier, talking was permissible. The verse 239 has allowed a special way of offering prayers in the state of 'fear' i.e. the state of war. In such a state, one can offer salah (prayer) while standing, with a condition that he can stand in one place without moving, and can make the gesture of sajdah in a lower position than he makes in ruku'. However, salah cannot be performed while walking. If it is not possible to perform the prayer in the said manner, such as at the time of actual fighting, then, it is permissible to delay the prayer and to offer it later as qada.

Verses 240 - 242
[٢٤٠]وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا وَصِيَّةً لِّأَزْوَاجِهِم مَّتَاعًا إِلَى الْحَوْلِ غَيْرَ إِخْرَاجٍ ۚ فَإِنْ خَرَجْنَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي مَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ مِن مَّعْرُوفٍ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

[٢٤١]وَلِلْمُطَلَّقَاتِ مَتَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۖ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ

[٢٤٢]كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

And those among you who pass away and leave wives behind are to make a will in favour of their wives to benefit them for one year without being expelled. Then, if they move out, there is no sin on you in what they have done for themselves of the recognized practice. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. And the divorced women deserve a benefit as recognized, being an obligation on the God-fearing. This is how Allah makes His verses clear to you, that you may understand. (Verses 2:240 - 242)

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