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Surah Mujadila

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Surah Mujadila is the 58th surah of the Quran and the first surah in juz 28. Mujadila means the female pleader who pleaded to the Prophet (s) to solve her problem. In this article on Islam4u, we will explore the concepts Allah has introduced in this surah.

General Facts About Surah Mujadila

Surah Mujadila is the 58th surah in the Quran and is in juz 28. Allah revealed this surah to the Prophet in Medina. One of the interesting things about this surah is that it is the only surah that the word Allah is mentioned at least once in every verse. The word “mujadila” means a woman who pleads to someone. The first few verses of this surah relate the story of a woman who complained to the Prophet about her husband. Surah Mujadila has 22 verses, 475 words, and 2046 letters.

The Story of Mujadila

There was a beautiful woman named Khawla. She married a man named Aws. They lived happily together and lived a comfortable life. However, as years passed, they became poor. One day, Khawla was praying. Aws was captivated by her wife’s beauty. When she finished her prayer, he ran to her. However, Khawla, who was in a spiritual state, ignored him. Aws got very angry and said something worse than any insult. He said something that the pagan Arabs used to say. It was called “zihar.” Zihar comes from zahr, which means back. They would swear an oath that they would never have intercourse with their wives by saying that their wives’ backs are like the backs of their mothers. In this way, both the husband and wife would become forbidden from having intercourse with one another. At the same time, the woman could not marry another man either.

This despicable oath was sworn by Aws. Khawla became very sad and went to the Prophet (s). She said, “I cannot entrust my children to my irresponsible husband, neither can I myself satisfy their hunger because I am too poor. Please. Is there anything that can be done?” The Prophet (s) listened keenly to Khawla’s words. He said, “There is nothing I can say because no ruling has been revealed in this regard.” Khawla became extremely sad. Long did not pass before Allah revealed the first few verses of Surah Mujadila. The Prophet said, “Go and bring Khawla to me. Allah has answered her prayer.” The Noble Prophet (s) then recited the verses of Surah Mujadila to her:

قَدْ سَمِعَ ٱللَّهُ قَوْلَ ٱلَّتِى تُجَٰدِلُكَ فِى زَوْجِهَا وَتَشْتَكِىٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ يَسْمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمَآ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعُۢ بَصِيرٌ ‎﴿١﴾‏ ٱلَّذِينَ يُظَٰهِرُونَ مِنكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِهِم مَّا هُنَّ أُمَّهَٰتِهِمْ ۖ إِنْ أُمَّهَٰتُهُمْ إِلَّا ٱلَّٰٓـِٔى وَلَدْنَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَقُولُونَ مُنكَرًا مِّنَ ٱلْقَوْلِ وَزُورًا ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ ‎﴿٢﴾‏ وَٱلَّذِينَ يُظَٰهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا۟ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِۦ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ ‎﴿٣﴾‏ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّا ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَإِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ۚ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَلِلْكَٰفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ‎﴿٤﴾

Allah has certainly heard the speech of her who pleads with you about her husband and complains to Allah. Allah hears the conversation between the two of you. Indeed Allah is all-hearing, all-seeing. (1) As for those of you who repudiate their wives by zihar, they are not their mothers; their mothers are only those who bore them, and indeed they utter an outrage and a lie. Indeed Allah is all-excusing, all-forgiving. (2) Those who repudiate their wives by ³ih¡r and then retract what they have said, shall set free a slave before they may touch each other. This you are advised [to carry out], and Allah is well aware of what you do. (3) He who cannot afford [to free a slave] shall fast for two successive months before they may touch each other. If he cannot [do so], he shall feed sixty needy persons. This, that you may have faith in Allah and His Apostle. These are Allah’s bounds, and there is a painful punishment for the faithless. (4)

The Prophet (s) asked for Aws. When Aws came, he was ashamed of his action and said that he was so enraged that he did not know what he was saying. The Prophet said that there are three things he could do to live with his wife once again. Free a slave. He said, “I cannot do that.” The Prophet (s) said, “Fast two successive months.” Aws said he is too weak to fast for two successive months. The Prophet (s) said, “Feed sixty poor persons.” He said, “I can only do that if someone helps me.” Therefore, the Prophet (s) helped Aws and he was able to feed sixty poor people. Subsequently, Aws and Khawla went back home and lived a happy life, just like before.

Wives Can Never Be Mothers

The verses of this surah state that one’s wife can never be like one’s mother. One’s mother is only the one who has given birth to them. Allah in these verses announces the prohibition of such an oath. He also deters people from swearing such an oath by placing the kaffarah (expiation), which is freeing a slave, fasting for two successive months, or feeding sixty poor people.

Allah Is Aware of All Secret Gatherings

The seventh verse of Surah Mujadila reads:

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَٰثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَآ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ ‎﴿٧﴾

Have you not regarded that Allah knows whatever there is in the heavens and whatever there is in the earth? There is no secret talk among three, but He is their fourth [companion], nor among five but He is their sixth, nor less than that, nor more, but He is with them wherever they may be. Then He will inform them about what they have done on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah has knowledge of all things.

This verse says that Allah knows whatever people say and do in secret. If three people have a secret gathering, Allah is the third one who also knows what they are saying. If there are four people, Allah is the fifth one, and so on. This verse shows that nothing is hidden from Allah. He is the one who created the heavens and the earth and knows what goes on in them. Then the verse ends by saying that Allah will inform them of their deeds on the Day of Qiyamah.

Famous Verses of Surah Mujadila

Some verses in the Quran stand out among other verses. Surah Mujadila has two other verses that convey a special message. Let us go over them.

The Verse of Private Talk (Najwa)

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا نَٰجَيْتُمُ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا۟ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَىٰكُمْ صَدَقَةً ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ‎﴿١٢﴾

O you who have faith! When you converse privately with the Apostle, offer a charity before your private talk. That is better for you and purer. But if you cannot afford [to make the offering], then Allah is indeed all-forgiving, all-merciful. (12)

A group of wealthy people living at the time of the Prophet (s) used to have too many private talks with the Prophet (s). This would waste the Prophet’s time and would worry the destitute. As a result, Allah ordained that before holding private talks with the Prophet, the wealthy must give some money or provisions to the poor. When this ruling was issued, the wealthy no longer held private talks with the Prophet (s). Consequently, the next verse of Surah Mujadila was revealed, rebuking those individuals as well as abrogating the previous verse:

ءَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا۟ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ نَجْوَىٰكُمْ صَدَقَٰتٍ ۚ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا۟ وَتَابَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ ‎﴿١٣﴾

Were you dismayed by having to offer charities before your private talks? Since you did not do it, and Allah has excused you [for not being able to comply], now maintain the prayer and pay the zakat, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Allah is well aware of what you do. (13)

Imam Ali (a) was the only one who would pay sadaqah before holding private talks with the Prophet (s).

However, Allah said that it was not necessary anymore to pay sadaqah before meeting with the Prophet (s), and He allowed everyone to have private conversations with the Prophet (s).

The Verse of Allah’s Confederates (Hizbullah) in Surah Mujadila

لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنْ حَآدَّ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَوْ كَانُوٓا۟ ءَابَآءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَٰنَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ كَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ ٱلْإِيمَٰنَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّٰتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ حِزْبُ ٱللَّهِ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّ حِزْبَ ٱللَّهِ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ ‎﴿٢٢﴾‏

You will not find a people believing in Allah and the Last Day endearing those who oppose Allah and His Apostle even though they were their own parents, or children, or brothers, or kinsfolk. [For] such, He has written faith into their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Him. He will admit them into gardens with streams running in them, to remain in them [forever], Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. They are Allah’s confederates. Look! The confederates of Allah are indeed felicitous! (22)

The confederates of Allah are not indebted to anyone as regards their belief in Allah and the Last Day in the sense that they would not be inclined to the enemies of Allah, even if they are their own parents, children, brothers, or relatives. Such people have a firm resolve to tread the straight path, and Allah fortifies their hearts and supports them. They are the ones who will be prosperous in both worlds.

Benefits of Surah Mujadila

  • The Prophet (s) said, “Whoever recites Surah Mujadila, they will be among the confederates of Allah on the Day of Judgment.
  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, “Whoever recites the two surahs of Hadid and Mujadila in their obligatory prayers and persists in doing so, Allah will never punish him throughout his life, and he will not experience any bad thing from himself and his family, and he will never become poor and sick.

Conclusion

Surah Mujadila is the 58th surah in the 28th juz of the Quran. It has 22 verses, and it was revealed in Medina. The surah begins by relating the complaint of a woman to the Prophet (s) whose husband swore an oath that made both of them unlawful from having intercourse with one another. Allah revealed the first five verses of Surah Mujadila. Allah said that that man must pay the expiation for his oath, and then they would become lawful for one another once again. The surah also talks about how holding private talks with the Prophet by the wealthy required them to pay sadaqah before doing so. Finally, the surah talks about the confederates of Allah, who do not follow the enemies of Allah, even if they are their own family and relatives.

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