24-Surah An-Noor ( The Light ) 11
            
    Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment.
    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ۚ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۚ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ ۚ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ


    Quran's Tafhim ( explanation)

    *8) This is an allusion to the slander against Hadrat `A'ishah. Allah has Himself described it as Ifk (false accusation, calumny) which implies its total refutation
    From here begins the mention of the incident which provided the occasion of this Surah's revelation. We have reproduced the initial part of it in the Introduction as related by Hadrat `A' ishah herself; the rest of it is reproduced below. She says:
    "Rumours about this slander went on spreading in the city for about a month, which caused great distress and anguish to the Holy Prophet. I cried due to helplessness and my parents were sick with mental agony. At last one day the Holy Prophet visited us and he sat near me, which he had not done since the slander had staved. Feeling that something decisive was going to happen that day, Hadrat Abu Bakr and Umm Ruman (Hadrat `A'ishah's mother) also sat near us. The Holy Prophet started the conversation, saying: `A'ishah, I have heard this and this about you: if you are innocent, I expect that Allah will declare your innocence. But it u you have committed a sin, you should offer repentance and ask for Allah's forgiveness; when a servant (of Allah) confesses his guilt and repents, Allah forgives him.' Hearing these words, tears dried in my eyes. I looked up to my father expecting that he would reply to the Holy Prophet, but he said, `Daughter, I do not knave what I should say.' Then I turned to my mother, but she also did not know what to say. At last I said, `You have all heard something about me and believed it. Now if I say that I am innocent-and Allah is my witness that I am innocent-you will not believe me; and if I confess something which I never didand Allah knows that I never did it-you will believe me.' At that time I tried to call to memory the name of Prophet Jacob but could not recall it. Therefore in view of the predicament that I was placed in, I said, ' `I cannot but repeat the words which the father of Prophet Joseph had spoken: fa-sabrun jamil: I will bear this patiently with good grace.' (XII: 83). Saying this I lay down and turned to the other side. I was thinking that Allah was aware of my innocence, and He would certainly reveal the truth, but I could never imagine that Divine Revelation would come down in my defense, which the people will read and recite till the Last Day. What I thought probable was that the Holy Prophet would see a dream in which Allah would indicate my innocence. But in the meantime suddenly, the state of receiving Revelation appeared on the Holy Prophet, when pearl-like drops of perspiration used to gather on his face even in severe winter. We all held our breath and sat silent. As for me I was fearless, but my parents seemed to be struck with fear; they did not know what the Divine Revelation would be. When the Revelation was over, the Holy Prophet seemed to be very pleased. Overjoyed with happiness the first words he spoke were: `Congratulations, `A'ishah, Allah has sent down proof of your innocence' and then he recited these ten verses (11-21). At this my mother said to me, `Get up and thank the Holy Prophet.' I said, 'I shall neither thank him nor you two, but thank Allah Who has sent down my absolution. You did not even so, much as contradict the charge against me.' (This is not the translation of any one tradition, but the substance of many traditions which are found in the books of Hadith in connection with the incident of the slander against Hadrat `A'ishah).
    One subtle point to be understood here is that before mentioning the absolution of Hadrat 'A'ishah, a full section of verses has been devoted to the Commandments pertaining to zina, qazf and li'an by which Allah means to admonish that zina is not a slight matter which may be used as a means of entertaining the people in a gathering. It is very serious.'If the accuser is right in his accusation he should produce witnesses, and get a most horrible punishment inflicted upon the adulterer and the adulteress. If the accuser is false, he deserves to be given 80 stripes, so that nobody may dare to bring a false charge against the other person. And if the accuser is a husband, he will have to exercise /i an in a court of law to settle the matter. So, none who utters such an accusation will have peace. The Islamic society which has been brought about for the purpose of establishing goodness and piety in the world, can neither tolerate zina as a means of entertainment nor endure loose talk about it as a diversion and amusement.

    *9) Only a few persons have been mentioned in traditions, who were spreading the rumours. They were: `Abdullah bin Ubayy, Zaid bin Rifa'ah (who was probably the son of Rifa'ah bin Zaid, the Jewish hypocrite), Mistah bin Uthathah, Hassan bin _Thabit, and Hamnah bint Jahsh. The first two of these were hypocrites, and the other three Muslims, who had been involved in the mischief due to misunderstanding and weakness. Names of the other People who were more or less involved in the mischief have not been mentioned in the books of Hadith and life of the Holy Prophet.

    *10) That is, "You should not lose heart. Though the hypocrites, according to their own presumptions, have made the worst attack on you, it will eventually bring misfortune on them, and will prove to be a blessing in disguise for you."
    As mentioned in the Introduction above, the hypocrites had planned to inflict a defeat on the Muslims on the moral front, which was their real field of superiority and responsible for their victory on every other front against the opponents. But Allah turned this mischief into a means of strength for the Muslims. On this occasion, the conduct and attitude adopted by the Holy Prophet, Hadrat Abu Bakr and his family, and the Muslims at large proved beyond any doubt that they were the purest people morally, tolerant and just in nature, noble and forbearing in character. If the Holy Prophet had wished he could have got the people responsible for the attack on his honour beheaded immediately. But he bore everything with patience for a whole month. And when Divine injunction came down from Allah, he enforced the punishment for qazf only on those three Muslims whose guilt was established, and even spared the hypocrites. Hadrat Abu Bakr's own relative, whose whole family he had been supporting all along, continued heaping disgrace on him publicly, but that noble man neither severed his family relations with him nor stopped monetary help to him and his family. None of the wives of the Holy Prophet took the least part in the slander nor even expressed the slightest approval of it. So much so that Hadrat Zainab (a wife of the Holy Prophet), for whose sake her real sister, Hamnah bint Jahsh, was taking part in the slander, did not utter anything about her rival (Hadrat `A'ishah) except good words. According to Hadrat `A'ishah, herself: "Zainab among the wives of the Holy Prophet was my strongest rival, but when in connection with the incident of the slander, the Holy Prophet asked her opinion of me, she said, `O Messenger of Allah, I swear by God that I have perceived nothing in her except piety'." Hadrat `A'ishah's own nobility of character can be judged by this that though Hassan bin _Thabit had played a prominent role in the campaign of slander against her, she continued to treat him with due honour and esteem. When the people reminded her that he was the man who had slandered her, she retorted, `No, he it was who used to rebut the anti-Islamic poets on behalf of the Holy Prophet and Islam.' Such was the conduct and attitude of those people who were directly affected by the slander. As for the other Muslims, their attitude can be judged from one instance. When Hadrat Abu Ayyub Ansari's wife mentioned before him the rumours of the slander, he said, "Mother of Ayyub, if you had been there in place of `A'ishah, would you have done that?" She replied, "By God, I would never have done it." Hadrat Ayyub then said, "Well, `A'ishah is a much better woman than you. As for myself. if I had been in place of Safwan, I could never have entertained such an evil thought and Safwan is a better Muslim than I. ' Thus, the result of the mischief engineered by the hypocrites was contrary to what they had planned to achieve, and the Muslims emerged out of this test morally stronger than before.
    Then there was more good to come from this. The incident became the cause of some very important additions to the social law and injunctions of Islam. Through these the Muslims received such Commandments from Allah by which the Muslim society can be kept clean and protected against the creation and propagation of moral evils, and if at all they arise, they can be corrected promptly.
    Furthermore, there was another aspect of goodness in it also. The Muslims came to understand fully that the Holy Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) had no knowledge of the unseen. He knew only that which Allah taught him. Beside that his knowledge was the same as that of a common man. For one full month he remained in great anxiety with regard to Hadrat `A'ishah. He would sometimes make enquiries from the maid-servant, sometimes from his other wives, and sometimes from Hadrat `Ali and Hadrat Usamah. At last when he spoke to Hadrat `A'ishah, he spoke only this: "If you have committed the sin, you should offer repentance, and if you are innocent, I expect that Allah will declare your innocence." Had' he possessed any knowledge of the unseen, he would not have felt so upset' nor would have made enquiries, nor counselled repentance. However, when Divine Message revealed the truth, he received that knowledge which he had not possessed for more than a month. Thus Allah arranged to safeguard the Muslims, through direct experience and observation, against exaggerated notions in which people generally get involved in regard to their religious leaders on account of excessive blind faith. Perhaps this was the reason why Allah withheld Revelation for a month, for if Revelation had been sent down on the very first day, it could not have had any beneficial effect.
    *11) That is, `Abdullah bin Ubayy, who was the real author of the false accusation and mischief. In some traditions it has been wrongly claimed that this verse refers to Hadrat Hassan bin _Thabit; this is actually due to a misunderstanding of the narrators themselves. As a matter of fact, Hadrat Hassan bin Thabit's only weakness was that he became involved in the mischief engineered by the hypocrites. Hafiz Ibn Kathir has rightly observed that if this tradition had not been included in Bukhari, it would not have deserved any notice. The greatest falsehood, rather a calumny, in this connection is the assertion by the Umayyads that it was Hadrat `AIi who had been referred to in this verse. A saying of Hisham bin `Abdul Malik has been cited in Bukhari, Tabarani and Baihaqi to the effect: "The one who had the greatest share of responsibility in it" refers to `Ali bin Abi Talib. The fact, however, is that Hadrat `Ali had no hand whatever in this mischief. The truth is that when Hadrat `Ali saw the Holy Prophet in a perturbed state of mind and the Holy Prophet asked for his counsel, he said: "Allah in this matter has not laid any restriction on you: suitable women are plenty: you may if you like divorce `A'ishah and marry another woman." But this did not at all mean that Hadrat `Ali had supported the accusation against Hadrat `A'ishah. His object was only to allay the Holy Prophet's mental anguish.
     
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