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Surah Al-Mumtahana

Ayat/pg: 5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | All

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-Mumtahana

Madina Madina (91)
13Total Ayat: 13
2Total Ruku: 2


In verse 10 of this Surah it has been enjoined that the women whoemigrate to dar al-Islam (the Islamic State) and claim to be Muslims,should be examined hence the title Al-Mumtahinah. The word ispronounced both as mumtahinah and as mumtahanah, the meaning accordingto the first pronunciation being "the Surah which examines", andaccording to the second, "the woman who is examined."

Period of Revelation

The Surah deals with two incidents, the time of the occurrence of whichis well known historically. The first relates to Hadrat Hatib bin AbzBalta'a, who, a little before the conquest of Makkah, had sent asecret letter to the Quraish chiefs informing them of the HolyProphet's intention to attack them. The second relates to the Muslimwomen, who had started emigrating from Makkah to Madinah, after theconclusion of the Truce of Hudaibiyah, and the problem arose whetherthey also were to be returned to the disbelievers, like the Muslim men,according to the conditions of the Truce. The mention of these twothings absolutely determines that this Surah came down during theinterval between the Truce of Hudaibiyah and the Conquest of Makkah.Besides, there is a third thing also that has been mentioned at theend of the Surah to the effect; What should the Holy Prophet (upon whombe Allah's peace) make the women to pledge when they come to take theoath of allegiance before him as believers?About this part also theguess is that this too was sent down some time before the conquest ofMakkah, for after this conquest a large number of the Quraish women,like their men, were going to enter Islam simultaneously and had to beadministered the oath of allegiance collectively.

Theme and Topics

This Surah has three parts;

The first part consists of vv. 1-9, and theconcluding verse 13 also relates to it. In this strong exception hasbeen taken to the act of Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a in that he hadtried to inform the enemy of a very important war secret of the HolyProphet (upon whom be Allah's peace) only for the sake of safeguarding his family. This would have caused great bloodshed at theconquest of Makkah had it not been made ineffective in time. It wouldhave cost the Muslims many precious lives; many of the Quraish wouldhave been killed, who were to render great services to Islamafterward; the gains which were to accrue from conquering Makkahpeacefully would have been lost, and all these serious losses wouldhave resulted only because one of the Muslims had wanted to safeguardhis family from the dangers of war. Administering a severe warning atthis blunder Allah has taught the believers the lesson that nobeliever should, under any circumstances and for any motive, haverelations of love and friendship with the disbelievers, who areactively hostile to Islam, and a believer should refrain fromeverything which might be helpful to them in the conflict betweenIslam and disbelief. However, there is no harm in dealing kindly andjustly with those disbelievers, who may not be practically engaged inhostile activities against Islam and persecution of the Muslims.

Thesecond part consists of vv. 10-11. In this a social problem has beensettled, which was agitating the minds at that time. There were manyMuslim women in Makkah, whose husbands were pagans, but they wereemigrating and reaching Madinah somehow. Likewise, there were manyMuslim men in Madinah, whose wives were pagans and had been leftbehind in Makkah. The question arose whether the marriage bond betweenthem continued to be valid or not. Allah settled this problem for ever,saying that the pagan husband is not lawful for the Muslim women, northe pagan wife lawful for the Muslim husband. This decision leads tovery important legal consequences, which we shall explain in our notesbelow.

The third section consists of verse 12, in which the HolyProphet (upon whom be Allah's peace) has been instructed to ask thewomen who accept Islam to pledge that they would refrain from themajor evils that were prevalent among the womenfolk of the pre-IslamicArab society, and to promise that they would henceforth follow theways of goodness which the Messenger of Allah may enjoin.

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