Quran 24:58-59 Seeking Permission Before Entering The House

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Background

Madinan verse (Mawdudi, and Dr. Muhammed Asad).

Analysing Verse

“O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you. There is no blame upon you nor upon them beyond these [periods], for they continually circulate among you – some of you, among others. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.
And when the children among you reach puberty, let them ask permission [at all times] as those before them have done. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.” – Quran 24:58-59

This verse speaks about those who enter the house, that they should ask permission before entering. The scholars below will explain in more detail.

Commentaries

Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi

“358. (in the Hereafter).
358-A. Your legal slaves and slave girls.
359. (when entering your houses or apartments).
360. (and the usual hours of undress). Even for a domestic or a child it is not proper to come into anyone’s room without notice. Such are Islamic rules of decorum.
361. i.e., outside these three stated times.
362. (without obtaining permission).
363. i.e., their seniors. The children when they are grown-ups must follow the same rules.
364. The verse is repreated perhaps to mark the special importance of the rule embodied in it.”
(Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 3, page 236)

George Sale commentary:

“h Because there are certain times when it is not convenient, even for a domestic, or a child, to come in to one without notice. It is said this passage was revealed on account of Asma Bint Morthed, whose servant entered suddenly upon her, at an improper time; but others say, it was occasioned by Modraj Ebn Amru, then a boy, who, being sent by Mohammed to call Omar to him, went directly into the room where he was, without giving notice, and found him taking his noons nap, and in no very decent posture’ at which Omar was so ruffled, that he wished GOD would forbid even their fathers, and children, to come in to them abruptly, at such times!
I Which is the time of people’s rising from their beds, and dressing themselves for the day.
J That is, when ye take off your upper garments to sleep at noon; which is a common custom in the east, and all warm countries.
K When ye undress yourselves to prepare for bed. Al Beidawi adds a fourth season, when permission to enter must be asked, viz., at night: but this follows of course.” (The Koran translated by George Sale: George Sale commentary, online source https://archive.org/stream/TheKoranTranslatedByGeorgeSale/GSale-Quran#page/n133/mode/1up )

Mawdudi:

“86 According to the majority of commentators and jurists, this refers to both male and female slaves. Ibn `Umar and Mujahid, however, have expressed the opinion that it refers to the male slaves only. But in view of the Commandment that follows there appears to be no reason for making this distinction. Violation of one’s privacy by one’s’ children is as undesirable as by one’s female slaves. All jurists are agreed that the Commandment given in this verse is applicable both to the minor and to the grown up slaves.
87 Another translation can be: “who have not yet reached the age of seeing wet dreams.” From this the jurists have deduced the principle that in case of boys puberty starts when they begin having nocturnal emissions. But the translation that we have adopted is preferable because the injunction is meant both for boys and for girls. If nocturnal emission is taken as the sign of attaining puberty, the injunction would be confined to boys only, because in the case of girls it is the menstrual discharge, and not nocturnal emission, which marks the beginning of puberty. In our opinion the intention is that the children of the house should follow this procedure till the time that they become sex conscious. After they have become sex conscious they have to follow the injunction that follows.
88 Literally `aurat’ is a place of danger and trouble; it also means a private part of the body which one would not like to expose before others, and something which is not fully secured. All these meanings are close to each other and all are implied in the meaning of this verse. The verse means to say that these are your times of privacy when you are either alone or with your wives in a state when it is not proper for your children and servants to come in to see you unannounced. Therefore, they should be instructed that they must take your permission before coming in to see you in your places of privacy at these three times.
89 That is, at other times than these, there is no restriction on the entry of minor children and slaves in your private rooms without permission. If on such an occasion you are not properly dressed and they enter without permission, you will have no right to take them to task. For in that case, it will be your own folly to have kept yourself in an improper state at a time when you should have been properly dressed for the day’s business. However, if they enter without permission during the times of privacy, the blame will lie with them provided they have been taught the necessary etiquette.
90 This is the reason for the general permission for children and slaves to come without permission .at other times than those mentioned above. This throws light on a fundamental Fiqh principle that every religious injunction is based on some wisdom or good reason, whether it has been explained or not.
91 That is, when they have reached the age of puberty. As has been explained in E.N. 87 above, the signs of puberty in the case of boys and girls are nocturnal emission and menstrual discharge respectively. There is, however, a difference of opinion among the jurists regarding the beginning of puberty in those boys and girls who for some reason do not show these physical signs for an unduly long time. According to Imam Shafi`i, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and Imam Ahmad, a boy or a girl of IS years will be considered to have attained puberty, and a saying of Imam Abu Hanifah also supports this view. But the wellknown view of Imam Abu Hanifah is that in such cases the age of puberty will be 17 years for girls and 18 years for boys. Both these opinions are the result of juristic reasoning and neither is based on any injunction of the Qur’an or Sunnah. It is therefore not necessary that the age limits of 15 or 18 years be accepted as marking the beginning of puberty everywhere in the world in abnormal cases. In different countries and ages there are different conditions of physical development and growth. The age of puberty in a certain country can be determined by means of the law of averages in normal cases. As for abnormal cases, the mean difference of ages may be added to the upper age limit to determine the age of puberty. For instance, if in a country, the minimum and maximum ages for noctural discharge are normally 12 and 15 years respectively, the mean difference of one and a half years may be added to the maximum limit of 15 years to determine the beginning of puberty for abnormal cases. The same principle can be used by the legal experts of various countries to fix the age of puberty keeping in view their peculiar local conditions. There is a tradition quoted from Ibn `Umar in support of the age of 15 years for puberty. He says: “I was 14, when I presented myself before the Holy Prophet to ask his permission to join the Battle of Uhud, but he declined permission. Then on the occasion of the Battle of the Trench, when I was 15, I was again presented and he permitted me to join.” (Sihah Sitta, Musnad Ahmad). This tradition, however, does not stand scrutiny for the following two reasons:
(a) The Battle of Uhud took place in Shawwal, 3 A.H., and the Battle of the Trench in Shawwal, 5 A.H. according to Ibn Ishaq, and in Zil-Qa`d, 5 A.H. according to Ibn Sa`d. There is an interval of two years or more between the two events. Now if Ibn `Umar was 14 at the time of the Battle of Uhud, he could not be 15 at the time of the Battle of the Trench. It may be that he mentioned 14 years for 13 years and 11 months and 15 years for 15 years and 11 months.
(b) It is a different thing to be regarded as an adult for the purposes of war and quite different to be legally adult for social affairs. They are not necessarily interconnected. Therefor the correct view is that the age of 15 for an abnormal boy has been fixed on the basis of analogous and juristic reasoning and not on the basis of anything in the Qur’an or Sunnah.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an, online source http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/24/index.html#sdfootnote86sym )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn:

“O you who believe, let those whom your right hands own, of male slaves and female slaves, and those of you who have not reached puberty, from among the free men, and who have not become [sexually] aware of women, ask leave of you three times: at three times [of the day]: before the dawn prayer, and when you put off your garments at noon, and after the night prayer. [These are] three periods of privacy for you (read thalāthu [‘awrātin lakum] with nominative inflection as the predicate of an implied subject followed by a genitive annexation, with the annexed term standing in place thereof [of the predicate], in other words [the implied predicate followed by the annexation is] hiya awqāt, ‘these are times of …’; or read thalātha [‘awrātin lakum] in the accusative, the implication being that awqāta is itself in the accusative as a substitute for the [syntactical] status of what precedes it, in place of which stands the annexed term). It is because clothes are taken off that private parts are revealed during such [periods]. Neither you nor they, namely, slaves and young boys, would be at fault, in entering upon you without asking leave, at other times, that is, after the three times of day [specified]; they frequent you, to provide service, [as] some of you [do] with others (this sentence corroborates the preceding one). So, just as He has clarified what has been mentioned, God clarifies for you the signs, the rulings; and God is Knower, of the affairs of His creatures, Wise, in what He has ordained for them. It is said that the ‘permission’ verse (āyat al-isti’idhān) was abrogated; but it is also said that it was not [abrogated], but that people thought little of neglecting to seek permission [in such situations].
And when the children among you, O free men, reach puberty, let them seek permission, at all times, just as those, [now] older free men, sought permission before them. So God clarifies His signs for you, and God is Knower, Wise.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn – on surah 24:58 – 59, online source
http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=24&tAyahNo=59&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d. 146/763):

“Then the following was revealed when ‘Umar said: ” I wish that Allah forbids our children and servants from entering in on us except with permission at three times when we are likely to be exposed “: (O ye who believe) in Muhammad (pbuh) and in the Qur’an! (Let your slaves) young slaves, (and those of you who have not come to puberty) among those who are not slaves, (ask leave of you) to enter in on you (at three times: Before the prayer of dawn) from the time of dawn until the beginning of Fajr prayer, (and when ye lay aside your raiment for the heat of noon) for the time of the siesta until the prayer of Zuhr, (and after the prayer of night) and after the ‘Isha’ prayer to the break of dawn. (Three times of privacy for you). Then Allah gave them dispensation to enter without permission, saying: (It is no sin for them) for the children or young slaves, excepting from this older slaves, (or for you) for the masters of the house (at other times) other than those three times of privacy, (when some of you go round) to serve (attendant upon others) you and them can enter in on each other without permission. As for older children and older slaves they have to ask permission at all times before entering in on their parents or masters. (Thus Allah maketh clear the revelations for you) He explains the commands and prohibitions just as He explained this. (Allah is Knower) He knows what is good for you, (Wise) He decreed that young children and slaves ask permission in those three times of privacy.
Allah then mentioned only older children and slaves, saying: (And when the children among you come to puberty) whether they are your own children or your slaves (then let them ask leave) at all times (even as those before them) of their brothers who were mentioned before (used to ask it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations) His commands and prohibitions as He explained this (for you. Allah is knower) He knows what is good for you, (Wise) He decreed that older people must ask permission at all times.” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas – on surah 24:58 – 59, online source
http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=24&tAyahNo=59&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Tafsir Ibn kathir:

“The Times when Servants and Young Children should seek Permission to enter
These Ayat include a discussion of how people who are closely related should seek permission to enter upon one another. What was mentioned earlier in the Surah had to do with how unrelated people should seek permission to enter upon one another. Allah commanded the believers to ensure that their servants and their children who have not yet reached puberty should seek permission at three times: the first is before the Fajr prayer, because people are asleep in their beds at that time. (and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon,) means, at the time of rest, because a man may be in a state of undress with his wife at that time. (and after the `Isha’ prayer.) because this is the time for sleep. Servants and children are commanded not to enter upon household members at these times, because it is feared that a man may be in an intimate situation with his wife and so on. Allah says: ((These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them) If they enter at a time other than these, there is no sin on you if you let them enter, and no sin on them if they see something at a time other than these times. They have been given permission to enter suddenly, because they are those who go around in the house, i.e., to serve you etc., and as such they may be forgiven for things that others will not be forgiven. Although this Ayah is quite clear and has not been abrogated, people hardly follow it, and `Abdullah bin `Abbas denounced the people for that. Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: “Most of the people do not follow it, the Ayah that speaks about asking permission, but I tell my servant woman to seek permission to enter.” Abu Dawud said: `Ata’ also narrated that Ibn `Abbas commanded this. Ath-Thawri narrated that Musa bin Abi `A’ishah said, “I asked Ash-Sha`bi ﴿about the Ayah﴾: (Let your slaves and slave-girls ask your permission.) He said, `It has not been abrogated.’ I said: `But the people do not do that.’ He said, `May Allah help them.”’ Then Allah says: (And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age)) meaning: when the children who used to seek permission at the three times of privacy reach puberty, then they have to seek permission at all times, i.e., with regard to those who are non-relatives, and at times when a man may be in a state of intimacy with his wife, even if it is not one of the three times stated above.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir – on Surah 24:58, online source
http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/24/58 )

Malik Ghulam Farid:

“2058. The subject of ‘Pardah,’ as stated under v. 32 above, has been referred to at four different places in the Qur’an. Whereas 24:32 deals with ‘Pardah’ primarily within four walls of the house, v. 33:60 discusses ‘Pardah’ outside the house and on thoroughfares, while vv. 33:33, 34 speak of a restricted kind of ‘Pardah,’ particularly enjoined on the Holy Prophet’s wives and by implication on all Muslim women, and by inference point to the fact that the principal centre of a woman’s activities is her home. The present verse, however, refers to another kind of ‘Pardah,’ viz., that domestic servants and minor children too should not enter the private apartments of their masters or parents at three particular hours mentioned here without getting prior permission. Zahirah means, vehement heat of the midday; the period from a little before to a little after midday in summer (Lane).” (The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary By Malik Ghulam Farid, page 727)

Maulana Muhammad Ali:

“58a. Rules relating to personal and family privacy are of the utmost importance in the betterment of social relations, and their non-observance leads to all kinds of false reports, which scandal-mongers are always ready to lay hold upon, thereby creating dissensions in society.”
(The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 713)

Dr. Muhammad Asad:

“77 In pursuance of the Qur’anic principle that the social and individual – as well as the spiritual and material – aspects of human life form one indivisible whole and cannot, therefore, be dealt with independently of one another, the discourse returns to the consideration of some of the rules of healthy social behaviour enunciated in the earlier parts of this surah. The following passage takes up and elaborates the theme of the individual’s right to pflvacy, already touched upon in verses 27-29 above.
78 Lit., “whom your right hands possess” – a phrase which, primarily and as a rule, denotes male and female slaves. Since, however, the institution of slavery is envisaged in the Qur’an as a mere historic phenomenon that must in time be abolished (cf. notes 46 and 47 on verse 33 of this silrah, as well as note 146 on 2:177), the above expression may also be understood as referring, in general, to one’s close dependants and to domestic servants of either sex. Alternatively; the phrase ma malakat aymainukum may denote, in this context, “those whom you rightfully possess through wedlock”, i.e., wives and husbands (cf. 4:24 and the corresponding note 26).
79 I.e., all children, irrespective of whether they are related to one or not.
80 The term zahirah (lit., “midday” or, occasionally, “heat of midday”), which occurs in the Qur’an only in this one instance, may have been used metonyrnically in the sense of “day-time” as contrasted with the time after the prayer of nightfall and before the prayer of daybreak: hence my tentative rendering as “middle of the day”.
81 Lit., “three [periods] of nakedness (thalath ‘awrat) for you”. This phrase is to be understood both literally and figuratively. Primarily, the term ‘awrah signifies those parts of a mature person’s body which cannot in decency be exposed to any but one’s wife or husband or, in case of illness, one’s physician. In its tropical sense, it is also used to denote spiritual “nakedness”, as well as situations and circumstances in which a person is entitled to absolute privacy. The number “three” used twice in this context is not, of course, enumerative or exclusive, but is obviously meant to stress the recurrent nature of the occasions on which even the most familiar members of the household, including husbands, wives and children, must respect that privacy.” (The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Dr. Muhammad Asad, page 769 -770, online source http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/religious_text/The_Message_of_The_Quran__by_Muhammad_Asad.pdf )

Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an – Qutb:

“Good Manners at Home Believers! Let those whom you rightfully possess, and those of you who have not yet attained to puberty, ask leave of you at three times of day: before the prayer of daybreak, and whenever you lay aside your garments in the middle of the day, and after the prayer of nightfall. These are three occasions on which you may happen to be undressed. Beyond these occasions, neither you nor they will incur any sin if they move freely about you, attending to one another. Thus God makes clear to you His revelations. God is All-Knowing, Wise. (Verse 58) Earlier in the surah the proper manner of seeking permission before entering a house is outlined. Now the surah speaks of the need to seek permission within the home. Servants, who were slaves, and children who are not so young but have not yet attained puberty enter rooms without knocking to seek permission, except during three times of the day. These are periods of relaxation when adults may be undressed. These three occasions are: 1) shortly before the daybreak prayer, i.e. fajr, when people normally still wear their night garments, or they may be putting on their day clothes in readiness to go out; 2) about midday when people take a nap after changing into more comfortable garments for relaxation; and 3) after they have offered their nightfall prayer, i.e. `isha’. At this time, people put on their night clothes for more comfort. During these three periods, servants and children below the age of puberty must knock before entering rooms in the house so that they do not see their relatives undressed. Many people do not observe such manners at home, thinking little of the psychological and moral effects of their laxity. Or they may think that servants do not stare at their masters’ nakedness, or that children below the age of puberty do not take notice. With the progress achieved today in the field of human psychology, experts emphasize that people are often influenced for life by what they see or experience in childhood, and that such experience may cause them psychological problems that are not easy to cure. God, who knows everything, including the finest and most subtle feelings, outlines these manners which He wants the Muslim community to observe, so that it remains a community with sound hearts and minds, free from psychological problems. These three occasions are specified because it is more likely that people will be undressed. Children and servants are not required to knock before entry all the time, because this would be difficult to observe, considering that these two groups frequently enter their elders’ rooms: either because servants are going about their tasks or because children cannot stay away from their parents for long. Hence the description: “Beyond these occasions, neither you nor they will incur any sin if they move freely about you, attending to one another.” We see how the divine instruction strikes a balance between the need to ensure that people do not show their nakedness in front of others, even though they may be young or servants, and the practical need for easy access. Hence, the instruction does not order seeking permission to enter on all occasions. When children attain to puberty, the same rules of entry apply to them as to those who are not related to the family. This means that they must seek permission before entering a room at any time, in accordance with the general rules outlined earlier in the sūrah: “Yet when your children attain to puberty, let them ask leave of you, as do those senior to them [in age]. Thus does God make revelations clear to you. God is All-Knowing, Wise.” (Verse 59) We note that the final comment in these verses stresses God’s knowledge and wisdom, because the instructions given are based on His knowledge of our inner feelings and the manners that are most likely to refine such feelings. In His wisdom, God lays down the teachings that set minds and hearts on the right course.” (In The Shade Of The Quran (‘Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an’), by Sayyid Qutb, volume 12, page 277 – 278)

Shaykh Ashiq Ilahi Madni:

“PERMISSION SHOULD BE SOUGHT BEFORE ENTERING ANY ROOM ESPECIALLY DURING THREE TIMES
Verse 27 of this Surah mentions seeking permission to enter any home. That law applies especially to people who do not live in the same home. The above two verses apply to people who live in the same home and who are constantly in and out of the house.
Allah says, ‘O you who believe, your slaves and your children who have not yet come of age must seek permission (to enter your room) on three occasions (especially). (These three times are) Before the Fajr Salah, when you remove your (excess) clothes in the afternoons and after the Isha Salah. These are three times of seclusion for you.’ These are times when people usually lie down to rest and want to relax without wearing excess clothing. Couples also usually use these times to lie down together. Permission must be sought before entering the room during these times to ensure privacy.
Sayyidina Abdullah bin Abbas reports that one afternoon the Holy Prophet sent an Ansari Sahabi to call Sayyidina Umar. The Sahabi entered without seeking permission and Sayyidina Umar was upset because his clothes were dishevelled. The above verse was then revealed.
‘After these (three times), there is no sin on yourselves, or on them (if they enter without permission). (This is permitted because) They often come and go from your presence, one from the other.’ If they had to constantly seek permission to enter, it would be extremely difficult for all. Therefore, they may enter the house without permission at other times. Allah then says, ‘Thus does Allah elucidate injunctions to you. Allah is All knowing, The Wise.’ (Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran – Tafseer Anwarul Bayan – by Shaykh Ashiq Ilahi Madni, volume 3, page 607 – 608)

Scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

“3033 We now come to rule of decorum within the family circle in refined society. Servants and children have rather more freedom of access, as they come and go at all hours, and there is less ceremony with them. But even in their case there are limitations. During the night, before morning prayer, i.e., before dawn, they must discreetly ask for permission before they enter, partly because they must not unnecessarily disturb people asleep, and partly because the people are then undressed. The same applies to the time for the midday siesta, and again to the time after night prayers, when people usually undress and turn in to sleep. For grown-ups the rule is stricter: they must ask permission to come in at all times (24:59).
3034 This would mean slaves in a regime of slavery. But the principle applies to all personal servants, who have to render personal service to their masters or mistresses by day and by night.
3035 I have translated “come of age” euphemistically for “attain the age of puberty”.
3036 It is mark of refinement for ladies and gentlemen not to be slipshod or vulgarly familiar, in dress, manners, or speech; and Islam aims at making every Muslim man or woman, however humble in station, a refined gentleman or lady, so that he or she can climb the ladder of spiritual development with humble confidence in Allah, and with the cooperation of his brothers and sisters in Islam. The principles here laid down apply, if they are interpreted with due elasticity, even if social and domestic habits change, with changes in climate or in racial and personal habits. Punctilious self-respect and respect for others, in small things as well as great, are the keynotes in the simple rules of etiquette. 3037 Children among you: i.e., in your house, not necessarily your own children. All in the house, including the stranger within your gate, must conform to these wholesome rules.
3038 Those senior to them: literally, those before them, i.e.., those who have already become grown-up before these children attain their age. It is suggested that each generation as it grows up should follow the wholesome tradition of its predecessors. While they were children, they behaved like children; when they grow up, they must behave like grown-ups.
3039 The refrain connects up this verse with the last verse, whose meaning is completed here. The slight variation (“His Signs” here, against “the Signs” there) shows that this verse is more personal, as referring to children who have now become responsible men and women.” (The Meaning of The Noble Qur’an Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 240, online source http://www.ulc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/English-Quran-With-Commentaries.pdf )

 

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