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Overview - Surah 24: an-Nur (The Light) Views: 01790
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 Total Ayat 64
 Total Words 1316
  Root Words 294
Unique Root Words 4
Naming Convention of the Surah [ edit ] Last edited: 05/12/2017

Surah an-Nur [The Light]  takes its name after the Ayat, اللَّـهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth...." [24:35].

The word Nur [light] is mentioned 7 times in this Surah, mentioned more times than in any other Surah of the Qur'an.

The Surah has 64 Ayat.

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah
Central Theme [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016

This Surah and v. 28-73 of Surah 33: al-Ahzab (The Confederates), of which this is the sequel, were sent down to strengthen the moral front, which at that time was the main target of the attack.  v. 28-73 of al-Ahzab were sent down concerning the Prophet’s marriage with Zainab, and on the occasion of the second attack (the ‘Slander’ about A’isha) this Surah was sent down to repair the cracks that had appeared in the unity of the Muslim Community. If we keep this in view during the study of the two Surahs, we can understand the wisdom that underlies the commandments about the veil.

In Surah al-Ahzab, God sent the following instructions to strengthen and safeguard the moral front, and to counteract the storm of propaganda that was raised on the occasion of the marriage of Zainab:

  1. The wives of the Prophet were enjoined to remain within their private quarters, to avoid the display of adornments and to be cautious in their talk with other persons (v. 32, 33).
  2. The other Muslims were forbidden to enter the private rooms of the Prophet and instructed to make their requests from behind a curtain (v. 53).
  3. A line of demarcation was drawn between the mahram (unmarriageable kin) and the non-mahram relatives. Only the former were allowed to enter the private rooms of those wives of the Prophet with whom they were closely related (v. 55).
  4. The Muslims were told that the wives of the Prophet were prohibited for them just like their own mothers; therefore every Muslim should regard them in the highest esteem and with the purest of intentions (v. 53 - 54).
  5. The Muslims were warned that they would invite the curse and punishment of God if they offended the Prophet. Likewise it was a heinous sin to attack the honour of or slander any Muslim man or woman (v. 57 – 58).
  6. All the Muslim women were enjoined to cover over themselves with their outer garments, when they had to go out of their houses (v. 59, al-Ahzab).

On the occasion of the second attack, Surah an-Nur was sent down to keep pure and strengthen the moral fibre of the Muslim society, which had been shaken by the enormity of the slander. Below is a summary of the commandments and instructions in their chronological order so that one may understand how the Qur’an makes use of the event to reform the community through legal, moral and social measures.

  1. Fornication which had already been declared to be a social crime (Surah 4: an-Nisa’ (The Women) v. 15–16,) was now made a criminal offence and was to be punished with a hundred lashes.
  2. It was enjoined to boycott the adulterous men and women and the Muslims were forbidden to have any marriage relations with them.
  3. The one who accused another of adultery but failed to produce four witnesses, was to be punished with eighty lashes.
  4. The law of ‘lian’ was prescribed to decide the charge of adultery by a husband against his own wife.
  5. The Muslims were enjoined to learn a lesson from the incident of the ‘slander’ about A’isha. People should be very cautious in regard to charges of adultery against righteous people, and should not spread lies. Rather they should refute and suppress such ideas immediately. A general principle was also expressed that the proper spouse for a pure man is a pure woman, and vice versa.  Also, reflecting upon the incident, the people knew that the Prophet was a pure man chosen by God, the purest of all human beings.  So how could they believe that God would allow him to marry a wicked woman and exalt her as the most beloved of his wives? It was obvious that an adulterous woman could not have been able to deceive a pure man like the Prophet. They also ought to have considered the fact that the accuser was an evil person, with vested interests, while the accused was always known as a pure chaste woman. This should have been enough to convince them that the accusation was not worth their consideration and not even conceivable.
  6. Those who spread news and evil rumours and propagate wickedness in the Muslim community deserve punishment and not encouragement.
  7.  A general principle was laid down that relations in the Muslim community should be based on good faith and not on suspicion: everyone should be treated as innocent unless he is proven to be guilty.
  8. The people were forbidden to enter the houses of others unceremoniously and were instructed to take permission for this.
  9. Both men and women were instructed to lower their gaze and forbidden to cast unnecessary glances at each other.
  10. Women were enjoined to cover their heads and cover themselves up even inside their houses, when in the presence of non-mahram men.
  11. Women were forbidden to appear beautified before other men, except their servants or such male-relatives (mahram) with whom marriage is prohibited.
  12. They were enjoined not to dress up or beautify such that would be visible to non-mahram men when they went out of their houses, and even forbidden to put on jingling ornaments that would also attract attention when outside.
  13. Marriage was encouraged and enjoined even for slaves and slave-girls, since marriage prevents indecency.
  14. The institution of slavery was discouraged and the owners and other people were enjoined to give financial help to slaves to help earn their freedom under the law of Mukatabat.
  15. Prostitution by slave girls was forbidden, for prostitution in Arabia was confined to this class alone. This in fact implied the legal prohibition of prostitution altogether.
  16. The sanctity of privacy in the home was enjoined even for servants and under-age children, including one’s own. They were enjoined not to enter the private rooms of any man or woman without permission; especially in the morning, at noon and at night.
  17. Old women were given the concession that they could set aside their head covers within their houses but should refrain from the displaying their adornments. They were even told that it was better for them to continue keeping themselves covered.
  18. The blind, lame, crippled and sick persons were allowed to take any article of food from the houses of other people without permission, since it is the responsibility of the community to feed such people.  This act was not to be treated like theft and cheating, which are clear offences.
  19. On the other hand, the Muslims were encouraged to develop mutual relationships by taking their meals together. Near relatives and intimate friends were allowed to take their meals in each other’s house without any formal invitation. This was to produce mutual affection and develop sincere relationships between them to counteract any future mischief. Side by side with more
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Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat [ edit ] Last edited: 05/12/2017

The word Nur [light] is mentioned 7 times in this Surah, mentioned more times than in any other Surah of the Qur'an.

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah [ edit ] Last edited: 04/03/2016
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Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016
  • The begining of the previous Surah [23: al-Mumineen] had the words, وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ "And they who guard their private parts" [23:5] and this Surah begins with the ruling regarding those who do not gaurd their private parts, i.e. commit Zina [illegal sexual intercourse].
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The Virtues of the Surah [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016
  • Harithah bin Mudhrib said, "Umar ibn al-Khattab wrote to us, [advising] to teach Surah an-Nisa, al-Ahzab and an-Nur to our women." [Shawkani, Fath al-Qadeer - Kanzul A'mal]
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Special Features of the Surah [ edit ] Last edited: 04/03/2016
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Important key and unique words of the Surah [ edit ] Last edited: 24/11/2017
  • Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. اللَّـهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّـهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ  "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things." (24:35)
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat)
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Period of Revelation [ edit ] Last edited: 04/03/2016

The consensus of opinion is that this Surah was sent down after the campaign against Bani Al-Mustaliq and this is confirmed by v. 11-20 that deal with the incident of the ‘slander’ which occurred during that Campaign. But there is a difference of opinion as to whether this Campaign took place in 5 A.H. before the Battle of the Trench or in 6 A.H. after it.

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Background Reasons for Revelation [ edit ] Last edited: 04/03/2016

After the victory at Badr the Islamic movement began to gain strength day by day; so much so that by the time of the Battle of the Trench it had become so strong that the united forces of the enemy numbering about ten thousand, failed to crush it and had to cease the siege of Madinah after one month. Both parties understood that it meant that the war of aggression, which the disbelievers had been waging for several years, had come to an end. The Prophet himself declared: “After this year the Quraysh will not be able to attack you; now you will take the offensive.”

When the disbelievers realised that they could not defeat Islam on the battlefield they chose a new path of attack, to assault the moral fabric of the Muslim community. It cannot be said with certainty whether this change of tactics was the outcome of deliberate consultations or due to the humiliating retreat in the Battle of the Trench, for which all the forces of the enemy had been concentrated.

The disbelievers knew that the rise of Islam was not due to the number of Muslims, nor to their superior arms and ammunition and neither to their greater material resources.  In fact, the Muslims were fighting against fearful odds on all these fronts. They considered that they owed their success to their moral superiority. The pure and noble qualities of the Prophet and his followers were capturing the hearts of the people and binding them into a highly disciplined community. As a result, they were defeating the Polytheists and Jews because of their lack of discipline and character.

The wickedness of the disbelievers led them to start a campaign of vilification against the Prophet and the Muslims in order to destroy their high moral standard. The strategy was to attain the assistance of the hypocrites to spread slanders against the Prophet and his followers so that the Polytheists and the Jews could exploit these to sow the seeds of discord among the Muslims.

The first opportunity for the use of the new strategy was afforded in Dhul-Qa’dah 5 A.H. when the Prophet married Zainab (the daughter of Jahsh) who was the divorced wife of his adopted son Zayd bin Harithah. The Prophet had arranged this marriage in order to put an end to the ignorant custom where an adopted son was considered like a biological son to the adopted parents, whereas in Islam this is a right that is solely retained by the true parents. The hypocrites however considered it a golden opportunity to maliciously slander the Prophet from inside the community, whilst the Jews and the Polytheists focused on exploiting it from outside the community, in a bid to ruin his high reputation.

For this purpose fantastic stories were concocted and spread to this effect: “One day Muhammad happened to see the wife of his adopted son and fell in love with her; he manoeuvred her divorce and married her.” Though this was absurd it was spread with such skill, cunning and artfulness that it succeeded in its purpose; so much so that some Muslim traditionalists and commentators also have cited some parts in their writings, leaving the orientalises to exploit it further. As a matter of fact, Zainab was not a stranger to the Prophet, which undermines the absurd slander that he saw her by chance and fell in love with her at first sight. Actually, she was his first cousin being the daughter of his paternal aunt Umaimah, daughter of Abdul Muttalib. He had known her from her childhood to her youth. Only a year before this incident, he himself had persuaded her against her will to marry Zayd bin Haritha, a former slave, in order to practically demonstrate that slaves were equals. However because of their differences, the marriage inevitably ended in divorce. The above mentioned facts were well known to all, yet the slanderers succeeded in their false propaganda with the result that even today there are people who continue to exploit these false stories to defame Islam

The second slander was made on the honour of A’isha, a wife of the Prophet, in connection with an incident which occurred while he was returning from the Campaign against Bani al-Mustaliq. As this attack was even severer than the first one and was the main background of this Surah, we shall deal with it in greater detail.

Let us start with a few words about Abdullah bin Ubayy, who was the villain of the attack. He belonged to the clan of Khazraj and was one of the most important chiefs of Madinah. Directly before the coming of the Prophet, the people had originally intended to make him their king, but his succession was superseded by the arrival of the Prophet. Though he had embraced Islam, in his heart he remained a staunch hypocrite and his hypocrisy was so apparent that he was called the “Chief of the Hypocrites.” He never lost any opportunity to slander Islam in order to take his revenge.

Now for the main theme. In Sha’aban 6 A.H. the Prophet learned that the people of Bani al-Mustaliq were making preparations for a war against the Muslims and were also trying to muster other clans for this purpose. The Prophet pre-empted their attack and took the enemy by surprise, capturing the people of the clan and their belongings.  The Prophet made a halt near Muraisi, a spring in their territory. One day a dispute concerning taking water from the spring started between a servant of Umar ibn Al Khattab (a famous companion) and an ally of the clan of Khazraj, and developed into a quarrel between the immigrants (Muhajirs) and the Muslims of Madina (Ansar). Nevertheless the dispute was soon settled but this did not suit the strategy of Abdullah bin Ubayy, who had also joined the expedition with a large number of hypocrites. So he began to incite the Ansar, saying, “You yourselves brought these people of the Quraysh from Makkah and made them partners in your wealth and property. And now they have become your rivals and want domination over you. If even now you withdraw your support from them, they shall be forced to leave your city.” Then he swore and declared, “As soon as we reach back to Madinah, the respectable people (Ansar) will turn out the degraded people from the city (Muhajirs).”

When the Prophet came to know of this, he ordered the people to immediately set off on a march back to Madinah. The forced march continued up to noon the next day without a halt on the way, leaving the people exhausted with no time for idle talk.

Though this wise judgment and quick action by the Prophet averted the mischief, Abdullah bin Ubayy got another opportunity for something far more serious, engineering a ‘slander’ against the Prophet’s wife (A’isha).  This mischief might well have involved the young Muslim community in a civil war, if the Prophet and his sincere and devoted followers had not shown wisdom, forbearance more

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Relevant Hadith [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016
  • Mujahid reports that the Prophet [saw] said, "Teach your men Surah al-Maidah [5] and teach your women Surah an-Nisa." [Baihaqi]
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Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016
  • Laws relating to the punishment for rape, fornication and adultery.
  • The punishment for bearing false witness relating to any of these crime.
  • Layan (bearing witness against one's own wife when there is no other witness in a case of adultery). Slander against the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah's declaration of her innocence, and admonition to those who were involved in that scandal.
  • Regulations relating to entering houses other than your own.
  • Regulations relating to mixed gatherings of males and females.
  • Allah's commandment to singles about getting married.
  • Allah's commandment to help slaves in getting their freedom.
  • The fact that Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
  • The fact that Allah has created every living creature from water.
  • True believers are those who, when called towards Allah and His Rasool, say: "We hear and we obey."
  • Regulations relating to:
    a) entering the room of a married couple b) eating at houses other than one's own.
  • Allah's commandment for attending meetings which are called for discussions and decisions about taking collective actions.
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Wiki Forum Last edited: 04/03/2016
Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories… Login to enter your comments
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Miscellaneous Issues [ edit ] Last edited: 04/03/2016
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External Links [ edit ] Last edited: 03/03/2016
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