233 Mothers suckle their children for two whole years, if they wish to complete the term, and clothing and maintenance must be borne by the father in a fair manner. No one should be burdened with more than they can bear: no mother shall be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor any father on account of his. The same duty is incumbent on the father’s heir. [a] If, by mutual consent and consultation, the couple wish to wean [the child], they will not be blamed, nor will there be any blame if you wish to engage a wet nurse, provided you pay as agreed in a fair manner. Be mindful of God, knowing that He sees everything you do.
234 If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten nights before remarrying. When they have completed this set time, you will not be blamed for anything they may reasonably choose to do with themselves. God is fully aware of what you do. 235 You will not be blamed whether you give a hint that you wish to marry these women, or keep it to yourselves– God knows that you intend to propose [b] to them. Do not make a secret arrangement with them; speak to them honorably and do not confirm the marriage tie until the prescribed period reaches its end. Remember that God knows what is in your souls, so be mindful of Him. Remember that God is most forgiving and forbearing.
236 You will not be blamed if you divorce women when you have not yet consummated the marriage or fixed a bride-gift for them, but make fair provision for them, the rich according to his means and the poor according to his– this is a duty for those who do good. 237 If you divorce wives before consummating the marriage but after fixing a bride-gift for them, then give them half of what you had previously fixed, unless they waive [their right], or unless the one who holds the marriage tie waives [his right]. Waiving [your right] is nearer to godliness, so do not forget to be generous towards one another: God sees what you do. 238 Take care to do your prayers, [c] praying in the best way, [d] and stand before God in devotion. 239 If you are in danger, pray when you are out walking or riding; when you are safe again, remember God, for He has taught you what you did not know.
240 If any of you die and leave widows, make a bequest for them: a year’s maintenance and no expulsion from their homes [for that time]. But if they leave of their own accord, you will not be blamed for what they may reasonably choose to do with themselves: God is almighty and wise. 241 Divorced women shall also have such maintenance as is considered fair: this is a duty for those who are mindful of God. 242 In this way God makes His revelations clear to you, so that you may grow in understanding.
a. If he dies.
b. Dhakara in classical Arabic meant ‘to propose’.
c. To secure that the parties in such a bitter situation will abide by the Quran’s teaching they are instructed to pray and stand before God.
d. Another interpretation is ‘including the middle prayer’, with various opinions as to which prayer is meant.
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.