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Quran Chapter 4 [part 2] - The Women - About Women, Serve God

15 If any of your women commit a lewd act, call four witnesses from among you, then, if they testify to their guilt, keep the women at home until death comes to them or until God shows them another way. [a] 16 If two men commit a lewd act, punish them both; if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone– God is always ready to accept repentance, He is full of mercy. 17 But God only undertakes to accept repentance from those who do evil out of ignorance and soon afterwards repent: these are the ones God will forgive, He is all knowing, all wise. 18 It is not true repentance when people continue to do evil until death confronts them and then say, ‘Now I repent,’ nor when they die defiant: We have prepared a painful torment for these.

19 You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will, [b] nor should you treat your wives harshly, hoping to take back some of the bride-gift you gave them, unless they are guilty of something clearly outrageous. Live with them in accordance with what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good. 20 If you wish to replace one wife with another, do not take any of her bride-gift back, even if you have given her a great amount of gold. 21 How could you take it when this is unjust and a blatant sin? How could you take it when you have lain with each other and they have taken a solemn pledge from you?

22 Do not marry women that your fathers married– with the exception of what is past– this is indeed a shameful thing to do, loathsome and leading to evil. 23 You are forbidden to take as wives your mothers, daughters, sisters, paternal and maternal aunts, the daughters of brothers and daughters of sisters, your milk-mothers and milk-sisters, [c] your wives’ mothers, the stepdaughters in your care– those born of women with whom you have consummated marriage, if you have not consummated the marriage, then you will not be blamed– wives of your begotten sons, two sisters simultaneously– with the exception of what is past: God is most forgiving and merciful– 24 women already married, other than your slaves. [d] God has ordained all this for you. Other women are lawful to you, so long as you seek them in marriage, with gifts from your property, looking for wedlock rather than fornication. If you wish to enjoy women through marriage, give them their bride-gift– this is obligatory– though if you should choose mutually, after fulfilling this obligation, to do otherwise [with the bride-gift], you will not be blamed: God is all knowing and all wise.

25 If any of you does not have the means to marry a believing free woman, then marry a believing slave– God knows best [the depth of] your faith: you are [all] part of the same family [e] – so marry them with their people’s consent and their proper bride-gifts. [Make them] married women, not adulteresses or lovers. If they commit adultery when they are married, their punishment will be half that of free women. This is for those of you who fear that you will sin; it is better for you to practice self-restraint. God is most forgiving and merciful, 26 He wishes to make His laws clear to you and guide you to the righteous ways of those who went before you. He wishes to turn towards you in mercy– He is all knowing, all wise– 27 He wishes to turn towards you, but those who follow their lusts want you to go far astray. 28 God wishes to lighten your burden; man was created weak.

29 You who believe, do not wrongfully consume each other’s wealth but trade by mutual consent. Do not kill each other, for God is merciful to you. 30 If any of you does these things, out of hostility and injustice, We shall make him suffer Fire: that is easy for God. 31 But if you avoid the great sins you have been forbidden, We shall wipe out your minor misdeeds and let you in through the entrance of honor. 32 Do not covet what God has given to some of you more than others– men have the portion they have earned; [f] and women the portion they have earned– you should rather ask God for some of His bounty: He has full knowledge of everything. 33 We have appointed heirs for everything that parents and close relatives leave behind, including those to whom you have pledged your hands [in marriage], so give them their share: God is witness to everything.

Serve God

34 Husbands should take good care of their wives, with [g] [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in their husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness [h] from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. [i] If they obey you, you have no right to act against them: God is most high and great. 35 If you [believers] fear that a couple may break up, appoint one arbiter from his family and one from hers. Then, if the couple want to put things right, God will bring about a reconciliation between them: He is all knowing, all aware.

36 Worship God; join nothing with Him. Be good to your parents, to relatives, to orphans, to the needy, to neighbors near and far, to travelers in need, and to your slaves. God does not like arrogant, boastful people, 37 who are miserly and order other people to be the same, hiding the bounty God has given them. We have prepared a humiliating torment for such ungrateful people. 38 [Nor does He like those] who spend their wealth to show off, who do not believe in Him or the Last Day. Whoever has Satan as his companion has an evil companion! 39 What harm would it do them to believe in God and the Last Day, and give charitably from the sustenance God has given them? God knows them well. 40 He does not wrong anyone by as much as the weight of a speck of dust: He doubles any good deed and gives a tremendous reward of His own. 41 What will they do when We bring a witness from each community, with you [Muhammad] as a witness against these people? 42 On that day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Prophet will wish that the earth could swallow them up: they will not be able to hide anything from God.


a. Through another regulation, or marriage, or any other way. See also end of 65: 2, which uses nearly identical words.

b. In pre-Islamic Arabia, if a man died leaving a widow, her stepson or another man of his family could inherit her.

c. Islam regards women who breastfeed other people’s infants as their ‘milk-mothers’, not merely ‘wet nurses’.

d. Slave women were often unclaimed war captives, who would not be in a position to dissolve any previous marriage. An owner was not permitted to touch a slave woman whose husband was with her (Abu Hanifa, in Razi).

e. Literally ‘you are from one another’.

f. The preposition min here is taken to have an explanatory rather than a partitive function, which would render the translation ‘some of what they have earned’.

g. bi is interpreted as instrumental rather than causal.

h. The verb nashaza from which nushuz is derived means ‘to become high’, ‘to rise’. See also verse 128, where the same word is applied to husbands. It applies to a situation where one partner assumes superiority to the other and behaves accordingly.

i. This signifies a single blow, as is clear from the circumstances of the revelation of this verse. See also Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qur'an, 46–54.

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.



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