This page contains all verses of surah An-Noor in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Hafiz Ibn Kathir). In the first part you can read surah النور ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(A Surah which We have sent down) Here Allah is pointing out the high esteem in which He holds this Surah, which is not to say that other Surahs are not important.
(and which We have enjoined,) Mujahid and Qatadah said, "This means: We have explained what is lawful and unlawful, commands and prohibitions, and the prescribed punishments." Al-Bukhari said, "Those who read it: Faradnaha, say that it means: "We have enjoined them upon you and those who come after you."
(and in it We have revealed manifest Ayat,) means, clearly explained,
(that you may remember.)
Then Allah says:
(The Zaniyah and the Zani, flog each of them with a hundred stripes.) This honorable Ayah contains the ruling on the law of retaliation for the person who commits illegal sex, and details of the punishment. Such a person will either be unmarried, meaning that he has never been married, or he will be married, meaning that he has had intercourse within the bounds of a lawful marriage, and he is free, adult and of sound mind. As for the virgin who is unwedded, the prescribed punishment is one hundred stripes, as stated in this Ayah. In addition to this he is to be banished from his homeland for one year, as was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah and Zayd bin Khalid Al-Juhani in the Hadith about the two bedouins who came to the Messenger of Allah . One of them said, "O Messenger of Allah, this son of mine was employed by this man, and committed Zina with his wife. I paid a ransom with him on behalf of my son one hundred sheep and a slave-girl, but when I asked the people of knowledge, they said that my son should be given one hundred stripes and banished for a year, and that this man's wife should be stoned to death." The Messenger of Allah said:
(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I will judge between you both according to the Book of Allah. Take back the slave-girl and sheep, and your son is to be given one hundred stripes and banished for one year. O Unays -- he said to a man from the tribe of Aslam -- go to this man's wife, and if she confesses, then stone her to death.) Unays went to her and she confessed, so he stoned her to death. This indicates that if the person who is guilty of illegal sex is a virgin and unmarried, he should be banished in addition to being given one hundred stripes. But if married, meaning he has had intercourse within the bounds of lawful marriage, and he is free, adult and of sound mind, then he should be stoned to death. Imam Malik recorded that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, stood up and praised and glorified Allah, then he said; "O people! Allah sent Muhammad with the truth, and revealed to him the Book. One of the things that was revealed to him was the Ayah of stoning to death, which we have recited and understood. The Messenger of Allah carried out the punishment of stoning and after him we did so, but I am afraid that as time goes by, some will say that they did not find the Ayah of stoning in the Book of Allah, and they will go astray because they abandoned one of the obligations revealed by Allah. Stoning is something that is prescribed in the Book of Allah for the person -- man or woman -- who commits illegal sex, if he or she is married, if decisive evidence is produced, or if pregnancy results from that, or if they confess to it." It was also recorded in the Two Sahihs in the lengthy Hadith of Malik, from which we have quoted briefly only the portion that is relevant to the current discussion.
(Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah,) Meaning, with a ruling prescribed by Allah. So the meaning of the Ayah is: "Do not feel too sorry for them where the laws of Allah are established." This does not mean that we should not naturally feel pity when carrying out the punishment. What is prohibited here is the kind of pity that may make the judge ignore the punishment altogether. This is what is not permitted for the judge. Mujahid said,
(Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah,) "If the matter is taken to the ruling authority, the punishment has to be carried out and cannot be stopped." This was also narrated from Sa`id bin Jubayr and `Ata' bin Abi Rabah. It was recorded in a Hadith:
(Compromise with the matter of prescribed punishment mutually sorting it out among yourselves, for once a matter where the prescribed punishment is required reaches me, I am obliged to carry it out.) Allah's saying:
(if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. ) means, then do that, carry out the punishments on those who commit illegal sex, and strike them hard without causing any wound, so that he and others like him will be deterred by the terror of that. In Al-Musnad, it was recorded that one of the Companions said, "O Messenger of Allah, when I slaughter a sheep I feel pity for it." He said,
(You be rewarded for that.)
(And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.) This is more humiliating for the people who are guilty of illegal sex, if they are flogged in front of the people. This is because it is more effective as a deterrent and it conveys the sense of scandal and rebuke. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said,
(And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.) "Publicly."
(and the Zaniyah, none marries her except a Zani) a sinful man who is guilty of fornication,
(or a Mushrik) (a man) who does not think it is unlawful.
(Such a thing is forbidden to the believers.) meaning, indulging in this, or marrying prostitutes, or marrying chaste women to immoral men. Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said: "Allah forbade the believers from marrying prostitutes." This Ayah is like the Ayah (about marrying slave-girls):
(they should be chaste, not committing illegal sex, nor taking boyfriends.) 4:25 And His saying:
(desiring chastity not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends) 5:5. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man among the believers asked the Messenger of Allah for permission (to marry) a woman known as Umm Mahzul, who used to commit adultery, and who had stated the condition that she should spend on him. So he asked the Messenger of Allah for permission, or he mentioned the matter to him. The Messenger of Allah recited to him:
(The Zani marries not but a Zaniyah or a Mushrikah; and the Zaniyah, none marries her except Zani or a Mushrik. Such a thing is forbidden to the believers.) 24:3 Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said,
(A Zani who has been flogged should not marry anyone except someone who is like him.) A similar report was recorded by Abu Dawud in his Sunan.
This Ayah states the prescribed punishment for making false accusations against chaste women, i.e., those who are free, adult and chaste. If the person who is falsely accused is a man, the same punishment of flogging also applies. If the accuser produces evidence that what he is saying is true, then the punishment does not apply. Allah said:
(and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever. They indeed are the rebellious.) If the accuser cannot prove that what he is saying is true, then three rulings apply to him: (firstly) that he should be flogged with eighty stripes, (secondly) that his testimony should be rejected forever, and (thirdly) that he should be labelled as a rebellious who is not of good character, whether in the sight of Allah or of mankind.
Then Allah says:
(Except those who repent thereafter and do righteous deeds; (for such) verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) This exception refers to the second and third rulings mentioned above. The flogging has been carried out regardless of whether he repents or persists, and after that there is no further punishment, as is agreed among the scholars. If he repents, then his testimony may be accepted, and he is no longer to be regarded as a rebellious. This was the view of Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib -- the leader of the Tabi`in -- and also a group among the Salaf. Ash-Sha`bi and Ad-Dahhak said, "His testimony cannot be accepted even if he does repent, unless he himself admits that he said something false, in which case his testimony may be accepted." And Allah knows best.
This Ayah offers a way out for husbands. If a husband has accused his wife but cannot come up with proof, he can swear the Li`an (the oath of condemnation) as Allah commanded. This means that he brings her before the Imam and states what he is accusing her of. The ruler then asks him to swear four times by Allah in front of four witnesses
(that he is one of those who speak the truth) in his accusation of her adultery.
(And the fifth; the invoking of the curse of Allah on him if he be of those who tell a lie.) If he says that, then she is divorced from him by the very act of this Li`an; she is forever forbidden for him and he must give her Mahr to her. The punishment for Zina should be carried out on her, and nothing can prevent the punishment except if she also swears the oath of condemnation (Li`an) and swears by Allah four times that he is one of those who lied, i.e., in what he is accusing her of;
(And the fifth; should be that the crath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth.) Allah says:
(But she shall avert the punishment) meaning, the prescribed punishment.
(if she bears witness four times by Allah, that he is telling a lie. And the fifth; should be that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth.) The wrath of Allah is mentioned specially in the case of the woman, because usually a man would not go to the extent of exposing his wife and accusing her of Zina unless he is telling the truth and has good reason to do this, and she knows that what he is accusing her of is true. So in her case the fifth testimony calls for the wrath of Allah to be upon her, for the one upon whom is the wrath of Allah, is the one who knows the truth yet deviates from it. Then Allah mentions His grace and kindness to His creation in that He has prescribed for them a way out of their difficulties. Allah says:
(And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you!) meaning, many of your affairs would have been too difficult for you,
(And that Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance,) means, from His servants, even if that comes after they have sworn a confirmed oath.
(the All-Wise. ) in what He prescribes and commands and forbids. There are Hadiths which explain how we are to put this Ayah into effect, why it was revealed and concerning whom among the Companions it was revealed.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "When the Ayah
(And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever) 24:4 was revealed, Sa`d bin `Ubadah, may Allah be pleased with him, -- the leader of the Ansar -- said, `Is this how it was revealed, O Messenger of Allah' The Messenger of Allah said:
(O Ansar, did you hear what your leader said) They said, `O Messenger of Allah, do not blame him, for he is a jealous man. By Allah, he never married a woman who was not a virgin, and he never divorced a woman but none of us would dare to marry her because he is so jealous.' Sa`d said, `By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I know that it (the Ayah) is true and is from Allah, but I am surprised. If I found some wicked man lying down with my wife, should I not disturb him until I have brought four witnesses By Allah, he would have finished what he was doing before I could bring them!' A little while later, Hilal bin Umayyah -- one of the three whose repentance had been accepted -- came back from his lands at night and found a man with his wife. He saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears, but he did not disturb him until the morning. In the morning he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Messenger of Allah, I came to my wife at night and found a man with her, and I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.' The Messenger of Allah did not like what he had said and got very upset. The Ansar gathered around him and said, `We were being tested by what Sa`d bin Ubadah said, and now the Messenger of Allah will punish Hilal bin Umayyah and declare his testimony before people to be unacceptable.' Hilal said: `By Allah, I hope that Allah will make for me a way out from this problem.' Hilal said, `O Messenger of Allah, I see how upset you are by what I have said, but Allah knows that I am telling the truth.' By Allah, the Messenger of Allah wanted to have him flogged, but then Allah sent revelation to His Messenger . When the revelation came upon him, they knew about it from the change in his face, so they would leave him alone until the revelation was finished. Allah revealed the Ayah:
(And for those who accuse their wives, but have no witnesses except themselves, let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies by Allah...,) Then the revelation was finished and the Messenger of Allah said,
(Rejoice, O Hilal, for Allah has made a way out for you.) Hilal said, `I had been hoping for this from my Lord, may He be glorified.' The Messenger of Allah said:
(Send for her.) So they sent for her and she came. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah to them both, and reminded them that the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe than the punishment in this world. Hilal said, `By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I have spoken the truth about her.' She said, `He is lying.' The Messenger of Allah said,
(Make them both swear the Li`an.) So Hilal was told, `Testify.' So he testified four times by Allah that he was one of those who speak the truth. When he came to the fifth testimony, he was told, `O Hilal, have Taqwa of Allah, for the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter, and this will mean that the punishment will be inevitable for you.' He said, `By Allah, Allah will not punish me for it, just as He has not caused me to be flogged for it.' So he testified for the fifth time that the curse of Allah would be upon him if he was telling a lie. Then it was said to his wife, `Testify four times by Allah that he is telling a lie.' And when his wife reached the fifth testimony, she was told, `Have Taqwa of Allah, for the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter, and this will mean that the punishment will be inevitable for you.' She hesitated for a while, and was about to admit her guilt, then she said: `By Allah, I will not expose my people to shame, and she swore the fifth oath that the wrath of Allah would be upon her if he was telling the truth.' Then the Messenger of Allah separated them, and decreed that her child should not be attributed to any father, nor should the child be accused, and whoever accused her or her child, they would be subject to punishment. He also decreed that Hilal was not obliged to house her or feed her, because they had not been separated by divorce, nor had he died and left her a widow. He said,
(If she gives birth to a red-haired child (with skinny thighs) and thin legs, then he is Hilal's child, but if she gives birth to a curly-haired child with thick legs and plump buttocks, then this is what she is accused of.) She subsequently gave birth to a child who was curly-haired with thick legs and plump buttocks, and the Messenger of Allah said,
(Were it not for the oath that she swore, I would deal with her.)" `Ikrimah said, "The child grew up to become the governor of Egypt, and he was given his mother's name and was not attributed to any father." Abu Dawud recorded a similar but briefer report. This Hadith has corroborating reports in the books of Sahih and elsewhere, with many chains of narration, including the report narrated by Al-Bukhari from Ibn `Abbas, that Hilal bin Umayyah accused his wife before the Prophet with Sharik bin Sahma'. The Prophet said,
(Evidence or the punishment on your back.) He said, "O Messenger of Allah, if any one of us saw a man with his wife, how could he go and get evidence" The Prophet again said,
(Evidence otherwise the punishment on your back.) Hilal said, "By the One Who sent you with the truth! I am telling the truth and Allah will reveal something that will protect my back from the punishment. " Then Jibril came down and brought the revelation,
(And for those who accuse their wives,) Then he recited until he reached:
(that he is one of those who speak the truth) 24:6. When the revelation had finished, the Prophet sent for them both. Hilal came and gave his testimony, and the Prophet said,
(Allah knows that one of you is lying. Will one of you repent) Then she stood up and gave her testimony, and when she reached the fifth oath, they stopped her and said, "If you swear the fifth oath and you are lying, the curse of Allah will be inevitable." Ibn `Abbas said, "She hesitated and kept quiet until we thought that she had changed her mind, then she said, `I will not dishonor my people today', and she went ahead. Then the Messenger of Allah said,
(Wait until she gives birth, and if she gives birth to a child whose eyes look as if they are ringed with kohl and who has plump buttocks and thick legs, then he is the child of Sharik bin Sahma'.) She gave birth to a child who matched this description, and the Prophet said,
(Were it not for the Book of Allah, I would deal with her.) This version was recorded only by Al-Bukhari, but the event has been narrated with additional chains of narration from Ibn `Abbas and others. Imam Ahmad recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: During the governorship of Ibn Az-Zubayr I was asked about the couple who engage in Li`an, and whether they should be separated, and I did not know the answer. I got up and went to the house of Ibn `Umar, and said, "O Abu `Abdur-Rahman, should the couple who engage in Li`an be separated" He said, "Subhan Allah, the first one to ask about this was so-and-so the son of so-and-so. He said, `O Messenger of Allah, what do you think of a man who sees his wife committing an immoral sin If he speaks he will be speaking about something very serious, and if he keeps quiet he will be keeping quiet about something very serious.' The Prophet kept quiet and did not answer him. Later on, he came to him and said, `What I asked you about is something with which I myself being tested with.' Then Allah revealed the Ayat,
(And for those who accuse their wives,) until he reached:
(That the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaks the truth.) He started to advise the man and remind him about Allah, and told him that the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter. The man said: `By the One Who sent you with the truth, I was not telling you a lie.' Then the Prophet turned to the woman and advised the woman and reminded her about Allah, and told her that the punishment of this world is easier than the punishment of the Hereafter. The woman said, `By the One Who sent you with the truth, he is lying.' So the Prophet started with the man, who swore four times by Allah that he was one of those who speak the truth, and swore the fifth oath that the curse of Allah would be upon him if he were lying. Then he turned to the woman, who swore four times by Allah that he was lying, and swore the fifth oath that the wrath of Allah would be upon her if he was telling the truth. Then he separated them." It was also recorded by An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir, and by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in the Two Sahihs.