Two disbelieving women and two believing women: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Tahreem with the following ayaat where He says:

‏ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ * وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ * وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Loot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.” And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Fir’awn and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” And [the example of] Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and His Scriptures, and she was of the devoutly obedient. [66:10-12]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary:

هذان المثلان اللذان ضربهما الله للمؤمنين والكافرين، ليبين لهم أن اتصال الكافر بالمؤمن وقربه منه لا يفيده شيئًا، وأن اتصال المؤمن بالكافر لا يضره شيئًا مع قيامه بالواجب عليه‏.‏

These are two examples which Allah has struck of the believers and the disbelievers in order to clarify to them that a connection of a kaafir to a mu’min and his closeness to him does not benefit the kaafir at all, and that the connection of a mu’min to a kaafir does not harm the mu’min at all, so long as he establishes his duties to him [i.e. giving him his due rights, not being unjust to him, etc.]

فكأن في ذلك إشارة وتحذيرًا لزوجات النبي ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ عن المعصية، وأن اتصالهن به ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ لا ينفعهن شيئًا مع الإساءة، فقال‏:‏

So it is as if this is a sign and a warning to the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) against disobedience, and that their connections to him (ﷺ) would not benefit them at all against abuse, so He said:

‏{‏ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ المرأتان ‏{‏تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ‏}‏ وهما نوح، ولوط عليهما السلام‏.‏

Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Loot. They were“- i.e. the two women – “under two of Our righteous servants” and they were Nuh and Loot (‘alaihima al-salaam)

‏{‏فَخَانَتَاهُمَا‏}‏ في الدين، بأن كانتا على غير دين زوجيهما، وهذا هو المراد بالخيانة لا خيانة النسب والفراش، فإنه ما بغت امرأة نبي قط، وما كان الله ليجعل امرأة أحد من أنبيائه بغيًا، ‏{‏فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ نوح ولوط ‏{‏عَنْهُمَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ عن امرأتيهما ‏{‏مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ‏}‏ لهما ‏{‏ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ‏}‏ ‏.‏

But they betrayed them” in the deen, because they both were on something other than the religion of their respective husbands – and that is the meaning of betrayal, nor the betrayal of relationships or infidelity, for verily it does not befit the wife of a prophet at all, and Allah did not make any of the wives of the prophets a prostitute. “So they” – i.e. Nuh and Loot – “did not benefit them” – i.e. their respective wives – “from Allah at all, and it was said” to them “Enter the Fire with those who enter.

{‏وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ‏}‏ وهي آسية بنت مزاحم رضي الله عنها ‏{‏إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ‏}‏ فوصفها الله بالإيمان والتضرع لربها، وسؤالها لربها أجل المطالب، وهو دخول الجنة، ومجاورة الرب الكريم، وسؤالها أن ينجيها الله من فتنة فرعون وأعماله الخبيثة، ومن فتنة كل ظالم، فاستجاب الله لها، فعاشت في إيمان كامل، وثبات تام، ونجاة من الفتن، ولهذا قال النبي ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ‏:‏ ‏(‏كمل من الرجال كثير، ولم يكمل من النساء، إلا مريم بنت عمران، وآسية بنت مزاحم، وخديجة بنت خويلد، وفضل عائشة على النساء، كفضل الثريد على سائر الطعام‏)‏ ‏.‏

And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Fir’awn” – and she is Aasiyah bint Muzaahim (raadi Allaahi ‘anha) –  “when she said, ‘My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Fir’awn and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people’“. So Allah described her with eemaan and invocation to her Lord. And her request to her Lord was seeking entrance to Jannah, and nearness to the Noble Lord, and her request for Allah to deliver her from the fitnah of Fir’awn and his despicable actions and from the fitnah of every wrongdoer. So Allah responded to her, so she subsisted in perfect eemaan, and complete steadfastness, and deliverance from the fitan (pl. of fitnah). And the prophet (ﷺ) said about this:

Many amongst men have attained perfection, but amongst women none attained the perfection except Maryam bint`Imran, and Aasiya the wife of Fir’awn, and Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid. And the superiority of `Aa’isha to other women is like the superiority of Thareed (i.e. a certain Arab dish) to other meals.

وقوله ‏{‏وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ صانته وحفظته عن الفاحشة، لكمال ديانتها، وعفتها، ونزاهتها‏.‏

And His statement, “And Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity” – meaning she safeguarded and protected it from faahishah (immoral conduct, especially immoral sexual behavior) as part of the complete perfection of her deen, and her chastity, and her integrity.

‏{‏فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِنَا‏}‏ بأن نفخ جبريل ‏[‏عليه السلام‏]‏ في جيب درعها فوصلت نفخته إلى مريم، فجاء منها عيسى ابن مريم ‏[‏عليه السلام‏]‏، الرسول الكريم والسيد العظيم‏.‏

And We breathed into here Our Ruh” by the breathing of Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) in the sleeve of her garment, so his breath reached Maryam, then from her came ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam (‘alaihis salaam), the noble messenger and great leader.

‏{‏وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ‏}‏ وهذا وصف لها بالعلم والمعرفة، فإن التصديق بكلمات الله، يشمل كلماته الدينية والقدرية، والتصديق بكتبه، يقتضي معرفة ما به يحصل التصديق، ولا يكون ذلك إلا بالعلم والعمل، ‏[‏ولهذا قال‏]‏ ‏{‏وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ المطيعين لله، المداومين على طاعته بخشية وخشوع، وهذا وصف لها بكمال العمل، فإنها رضي الله عنها صديقة، والصديقية‏:‏ هي كمال العلم والعمل‏.‏

And she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord and His Scriptures” – and this is Him describing her with ‘ilm and knowledge, for verily affirmation of the Words of Allah includes His Words both related to the deen and to qadr (Divine Pre-ordainment). And affirmation of His Books, which requires knowledge of what is being affirmed, and that is not done except by ‘ilm and action, and concerning this He said, “And she was devoutly obedient” – meaning: one of the obedient ones to Allah, consistently and persistently upon obedience to Him with khashyah (reverential fear) and khushoo’ (devotion), and this is Him describing her with the perfection of action, for verily she (raadi Allaahu ‘anha) was a siddeeqah, and al-siddiqeeyyah is perfection of ‘ilm and actions.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman p. 1031-1032]

See also: The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Clothed in the world but naked in the hereafter!”: Fath al-Baari

See also: The children of Zina

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

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