The 80th Call: Testing the Emigrating Women

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The 80th Call: Testing the Emigrating Women

 

; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbandsAlmighty Allah says: “O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers] for them. But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent. That is the judgment of Allah; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. And if you have lost any of your wives to the disbelievers and you subsequently obtain [something], then give those whose wives have gone the equivalent of what they had spent. And fear Allah, in whom you are believers.” (Al-Mumtahah: 10-11)

         

The Prophet concluded the al-Hudaybiyah Treaty with Quraysh in Makkah and this specified a condition whereby the Prophet and the Muslim community would return to them anyone who went over to the Muslims, even though that person might be a Muslim. Reports mention that when the Prophet was about to leave al-Hudayhiyah, a few women came over to him seeking to join the Muslim community in Madinah. The Quraysh asked for their extradition in accordance with the terms of the treaty. It appears that those terms were not conclusive in the case of women. These two verses were revealed to block returning women believers to the unbelievers, for fear that they would be persecuted on account of their faith.

 

Almighty Allah clarifies to the believers that if believing women comes to you to migrate from among the disbelievers, then test their faith in order to know if they are truthful and not to hand them back to the disbelievers because they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them.

 

Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet tested any such woman, asking her: "By Allah, have you fled to us because you hate your husband? By Allah, have you come to us merely to migrate to a new land? By Allah, are you coming to us

in pursuit of some material gain? By Allah, have you come to us only because you love Allah and His Messenger?'

         

Almighty Allah mentions that He knows best of the faith of the immigrating women than you believers. Then He clarifies the rule in that case:

 

He says to them: Give them (the disbelievers) that which they have spent (on their dowry). And there will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their due to them. Likewise do not keep the disbelieving women, and ask for that which you have spent (on their dowry) and let them (the disbelievers) ask for that which they have spent.

 

That is the judgment of Allah, He judges between you. And Allah is All-Knowing and All-Wise, so have Taqwa of Allah, the One in Whom you are believers.

 

And if any of your wives have gone from you to the disbelievers and they do not pay you the dowries you paid, then you succeed over them (gain victory); then pay those whose wives have gone, the equivalent of what they had spent. And have Taqwa of Allah, the One in Whom you are believers, and obey His commands.

 

Mujahid and Qatadah explained this Ayah, by saying, "This is about the disbelievers who did not have a treaty of peace. If a woman flees to the disbelievers and they do not give back what that her husband spent on her, then if a women comes to them (the Muslims) they are not to return to her husband anything until they pay the Muslim whose wife went to them the equivalent of what he spent.'' Ibn Abbas said: They were paid from the spoils of war before it was divided into the one-fifth share.

 

When the most important bond of faith has been severed, nothing can repair the relationship. Marriage is a union of permanent settlement and it cannot be properly established when the primary bond of faith is absent. Faith is the basic and vital emotion that keeps a heart alive; it cannot be replaced by any other. A believers heart cannot warm to another that is devoid of faith. There can be no true feeling of mutual inclination or security between two hearts when only one of them has faith. Marriage survives on mutual affection, compassion, inclination and security.

 

After the Prophet’s migration to Madinah this issue had been left open, with no rule stated about it in the Quran. Therefore, no couple were separated even if only one accepted Islam while the other did not. This was due to the fact that the Muslim society had not yet by then established firm roots. When al-Hudaybiyah Treaty was concluded, it was time that such a separation be made. Muslims, men and women, should understand that the bond that overrides all other bonds is faith, and they should put this rule into practice.

 

The provision for separating such couples was accompanied by a provision for compensation. Thus, an unbeliever whose wife left him because she was Muslim was entitled to receive back whatever he had paid to her in dowry at the time of their marriage. The same applied in reverse, should the man be a believer and his wife not.

 

When this had been done, the Muslims could marry such migrant women, provided that they paid them dowries. Scholars differ as to whether such women should observe a waiting period; as also over the length of the waiting period. Some scholars say that it is the same as that observed by a divorced woman, i.e. until she has gone through three menstrual periods, while others maintain that it lasts only until she has completed one period, to make sure that she is not pregnant. It is agreed that if any such woman is pregnant, her waiting period lasts until she has given birth.

 

“But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent.” (Verse 10) All these rules are then tied to the strongest guarantee a believer has, which is that of watching Allah and fearing Him: “That is the judgment of Allah; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Verse 10) Indeed, this is the only inviolable guarantee. Allah’s judgment is that of the One who knows what is in people's hearts, the Almighty who has power over all creatures. It is enough that a Muslim should realize the source of this judgment in order to implement it fully, because he knows that he will ultimately return to Allah.

 

 

Should a believer lose what he had paid in dowry, because his unbeliever wife or her family refuses to refund her Muslim husband, as happened in some cases, the Muslim ruler would compensate him for this, taking this from any money due to the unbelievers whose Muslim wives had migrated to join the Muslim community, or from any war gains made by the Muslim community: “And if you have lost any of your wives to the disbelievers and you subsequently obtain [something], then give those whose wives have gone the equivalent of what they had spent.” (Verse 11) Again this ruling is tied to the same guarantee that ensures the implementation of every Islamic rule: “And fear Allah, in whom you are believers.” (Verse 11) This is a profound and touching instruction for believers.

 

We see how these rulings concerning the separation of married couples provide an example of the practical implementation of the Islamic concept of life values and ties. They reflect the unity of the Muslim community and its being distinct from any other. It is a community where all life is based on faith, where all distinctions of race, color, language, family and land are insignificant. There is only one sign that distinguishes between people — the sign of the party to which they belong. There are only two parties: the party of Allah and the party of Satan.

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