Marriage in the Qur’an pt.7 – Justice Between Wives: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book to the issues related to marriage. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the seventh section, click the links the visit the other sections: 12345678 – 9 – 10

{وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ وَإِنْ تُصْلِحُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا} [النساء: 129] .ـ

وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ وَإِنْ تُصْلِحُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] thus leaving another hanging. And if you amend [your affairs] and fear Allah – then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. [4:129]

يخبر تعالى أنه ليس في قدرة الأزواج العدل التام بين زوجاتهم، فإن العدل التام يقتضي أن يكون الداعي والحب على السواء، والميل القلبي على السواء، ويقتضي مع ذلك الإيمان الصادق، والرغبة في مكارم الأخلاق للعمل بمقتضى ذلك، وهذا متعذر غير ممكن، فلذلك عذر الله الأزواج، وعفا عنهم عما لا يقدرون عليه، ولكنه أمرهم بالعدل الممكن فقال: {فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ} [النساء: 129] أي: لا تميلوا إلى إحداهن عن الأخرى ميلا كثيرا، بحيث لا تؤدون حقوقهن الواجبة، بل افعلوا مستطاعكم من العدل، فالنفقة والكسوة والقسم في المبيت والفراش ونحو ذلك مقدور، فعليكم العدل فيها بينهن، بخلاف الحب والوطء وتوابع ذلك، فالعبد لا يملك نفسه فعذره الله . ـ

Allah informs us that it is not within the power of a husband to be completely equal between his wives, for completely equal treatment would require his desire of and love towards each of his wives to be the same and that his heart’s inclination towards each is the same. And in addition to that, it would require true eemaan and an aspiration to have noble manners in order for him to behave with what completely equal treatment of his wives would entail. And that is something that is not feasible, nor is it possible. Therefore, Allah has excused and pardoned the husbands for what they are not able to do. However, He did command them with a type of equal treatment which is possible, for He said:

فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ

So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging [4:129]

meaning: do not incline towards one of them over another in a significant way, such that you would not give them their obligatory rights. Rather, you should be as just and equal as you are able. This applies to spending, clothing, housing, the division of one’s nights among them, and so on. This is something you can do. It is incumbent upon you to be fair and equal with each one of your wives regarding these things. This is in contrast to the issues of love, intercourse, and related matters, for the slave does not have complete control over his own self, and so Allah has excused him.

وقوله: {فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ} [النساء: 129] يعني: أن الزوج إذا مال عن زوجته وزهد فيها ولم يقم بحقوقها الواجبة، وهي في حباله أسيرة عنده صارت كالمعلقة التي لا زوج لها فتستريح، ولا ذات زوج يقوم بحقوقها، وإن تصلحوا فيما بينكم وبين زوجاتكم بوجه من وجوه الصلح كما تقدم، وبمجاهدة أنفسكم على فعل ما لا تهواه النفس احتسابا وقياما بحق الزوجة، وتصلحوا أيضا فيما بينكم وبين الناس فيما تنازعتم به من الحقوق، وتتقوا الله بامتثال أمره واجتناب نهيه {فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا} [النساء: 129]. ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ

thus leaving another hanging [4:129]

meaning that if the husband is disinclined towards one of his wives, disinterested in her, and not fulfilling her obligatory rights, and she is under his authority like a captive to him, then she is left hanging between two things such that she is not without a husband so that she could have relief, nor does she have a husband who is fulfilling her rights. But if you rectify what is between you and each of your wives through any of the previously-mentioned ways of reconciliation, and you struggle against yourself to do what your lower nature does not desire – hoping for reward from Allah and fulfilling your wife’s rights -, and you also resolve whatever disputed rights may exist between you and other people, and you have taqwa of Allah by complying with His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, then

فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful [4:129]

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. ـ {وَإِنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغْنِ اللَّهُ كُلًّا مِنْ سَعَتِهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ وَاسِعًا حَكِيمًا} [النساء: 130] ـ

وَإِنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغْنِ اللَّهُ كُلًّا مِنْ سَعَتِهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ وَاسِعًا حَكِيمًا

But if they separate, Allah will enrich each of them from His abundance. And Allah is abundantly generous and wise. [4:130]

يعني: إذا تعذر الاتفاق والالتئام فلا بأس بالفراق، فقال : {وَإِنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا} [النساء: 130] أي: بفسخ أو طلاق أو خلع أو غير ذلك {يُغْنِ اللَّهُ كُلًّا} [النساء: 130] من الزوجين {مِنْ سَعَتِهِ} [النساء: 130] أي: من فضله وإحسانه العام الشامل، فيغني الزوج بزوجة خير له منها، ويغنيها من فضله برزق من غير طريقه، فإنها وإن توهمت أنه إذا فارقها زوجها المنفق عليها القائم بمؤنتها ينقطع عنها الرزق، فسوف يغنيها الله من فضله، فإن رزقها ليس على الزوج ولا على غيره، بل على المتكفل القائم بأرزاق الخليقة كلها، وخصوصا من تعلق قلبه به ورجاه رجاء قلبيا طامعا في فضله كل وقت، فإن الله عند ظن عبده به، ولعل الله يرزقها زوجا خيرا لها منه وأنفع {وَكَانَ اللَّهُ وَاسِعًا} [النساء: 130] أي: واسع الرحمة كثير الإحسان {حَكِيمًا} [النساء: 130] في وضعه الأمور مواضعها. ـ

Meaning: if agreement and coexistence cannot be attained, then there is no sin in them separating, so He said:

وَإِنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا

But if they separate [4:130]

whether this be a court-ordered divorce, a divorce initiated by the man, a divorce initiated by the woman, or some other form of separation

يُغْنِ اللَّهُ كُلًّا مِنْ سَعَتِهِ

Allah will enrich each of them out of His abundance [4:130]

– meaning: He will enrich each of the spouse out of His bounty and His expansive ihsaan. So He enriches the husband with a wife who is better for him than the former, and He enriches the wife with provision from some route other than her former husband, out of His bounty. For she may have mistakenly though that if she were to separate from her husband – the one who spends on her and provides for her needs – that provision and sustenance would be cut off from her. But Allah will enrich her out of His bounty. For her provision does not come from her husband or from anybody else; rather it is from the One who provides for and sustains the provision of every single created being, especially those who attach their hearts to Him and hope with earnest and ardent desire in Him for His goodness at all times. For truly Allah is as His slave thinks of Him. And perhaps Allah will provide her with a husband who is better for her and more beneficial than the former:

وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ وَاسِعًا

And ever is Allah abundantly generous

– meaning: expansive in mercy, abundant in ihsaan :

حَكِيمًا

and wise

in placing the affairs in their proper places.

وفي الآية تنبيه على أنه ينبغي للعبد أن يعلق رجاءه بالله وحده، وأن الله إذا قدر له سببا من أسباب الرزق والراحة أن يحمده على ذلك، ويسأله أن يبارك فيه له، فإن انقطع أو تعذر ذلك السبب فلا يتشوش قلبه، فإن هذا السبب من جملة أسباب لا تحصى ولا يتوقف رزق العبد على ذلك السبب المعين، بل يفتح له سببا غيره أحسن منه وأنفع، وربما فتح له عدة أسباب . ـ

So this ayah contains is an announcement that the slave ought to attach his hope to Allah alone, and that whenever Allah decrees some means of provision and comfort for him, he should praise and thank Him for that and ask Him to it for him. Then if Allah were to cut off or impede that means of provision, his heart would not be disturbed, for this route was merely one of the uncountable means of provision, and the slave’s sustenance is not dependent on that particular means alone. Rather, Allah will open some other means for him which will be better and more beneficial than the first, and perhaps even a number of means will be opened for him.

فعليه في أحواله كلها أن يجعل فضل ربه، والطمع في بره نصب عينيه وقبلة قلبه، ويكثر من الدعاء المقرون بالرجاء؛ فإن الله يقول على لسان نبيه: «أنا عند ظن عبدي بي، فإن ظن بي خيرا فله، وإن ظن بي شرا فله» ، وقال: «إنك ما دعوتني ورجوتني غفرت لك على ما كان منك ولا أبالي» . ـ

So in all of his various circumstances the conditions, the slave ought always to consider the bounteous generosity of his Lord and to take the fervent desire for His goodness as His heart’s compass. And He ought to frequently engage of supplication paired with hope. For Allah said upon the the lips of His Prophet, “I am as my slave thinks of Me, so if he thinks well of Me then I am so to Him, and if he thinks ill of Me then I am so to him.” And He said, “I forgive whatever you have committed as long as you supplicate to Me and hope in Me, and I do not mind.”

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 215-217]

This article is the seventh in a ten-part series on Marriage and Divorce in the Qur’an. See our Series Guide to view the other sections and for more details.

Continue reading: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 1: Imam al-Sa’di

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11 thoughts on “Marriage in the Qur’an pt.7 – Justice Between Wives: Imam al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.1 – Conditions for Marriage: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.2 – Rights of Wives: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.3 – Prohibited Relationships: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.4 – The Husband’s Roles and Responsibilities: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.5 – Marital Discord: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.6 – Settlement: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 1: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  8. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  9. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  10. Pingback: Special Circumstances of Marriage and Divorce: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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