Tafseer For Quran 70:22-31

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Background

Makkan verse (Anwarul bayan [1], Mawdudi and Dr. Muhammed Asad).

Analysing Verses

“Not so those devoted to Prayer—those who remain steadfast to their prayer; and those in whose wealth is a recognized right for the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking); and those who hold to the truth of the Day Of Judgement; and those who fear the displeasure of their Lord—for their Lord’s displeasure is the opposite of Peace and Tranquility—and those who guard their chastity, except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess—for (then) they are not to be blamed.” – Quran 70:22-31

 

Commentaries

Scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

“5689 In adversity he complains and gets into despair. In prosperity he becomes arrogant and forgets other people’s rights and his own shortcomings. Cf. 41:49-50. 5690 The description of those devoted to Prayer is given in a number of clauses that follow, introduced by the words “Those who . . .”. “Devoted to Prayer” is here but another aspect of what is described elsewhere as the Faithful and the Righteous. Devotion to prayer does not mean merely a certain number of formal rites or prostrations. It means a complete surrender of one’s being to Allah. This means an earnest approach to and realisation of Allah’s Presence (“steadfastness in Prayer”); acts of practical and real charity; and attempt to read this life in terms of the Hereafter; the seeking of the Peace of Allah and avoidance of His displeasure; chastity; probity; true and firm witness; and guarding the sacredness of the Presence (verse 34).
5691 See n. 5001 to 51:19. True charity consists in finding out those in real need, whether they ask or not. Most frequently those who ask are idle men who insolently wish to live upon others. But all cases of those who ask should be duly investigated, in case a little timely help may set the erring on the way. But the man with wealth or talent or opportunity has the further responsibility of searching out those in need of his assistance, in order to show that he holds all gifts in trust for the service of his fellow creatures.
5692 A true fear of Allah is the fear of offending against His Holy Will and Law, and is therefore akin to the love of Allah. It proceeds from the realisation that all true peace and tranquillity comes from attuning our will to the Universal Will, and that sin causes discord, disharmony, and displeasure—another name for the Wrath of Allah.
5693 Some would construe this verse: “And their Lord’s displeasure is one against which there is no security”; meaning that the punishment of sin may come suddenly at any time, when you least expect it.
5694 Captives of war may be married as such: see 4:25: but their status is inferior to that of free wives until they are free. This institution of the captives of war is now obsolete. Such inferiority of status as there was, was in the status of captivity, not in the status of marriage as such, in which there are no degrees except by local customs, which Islam does not recognise.” (The Meaning of The Noble Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 418, online source http://www.ulc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/English-Quran-With-Commentaries.pdf )

Dr. Muhammad Asad:

“11 This warning against pharisaic self-righteousness implies that however “good” a person may be, there is always a possibility of his or her having done a moral wrong (e.g., an injury to a fellow-being) and then conveniently “forgotten” this sin. Elliptically, this warning contains a call to increasing consciousness in all one’s doings – for, “temptation to evil (fitnah) does not befall only those who are bent on denying the truth” (8:25), but may also befall people who are otherwise righteous.
12 Lit., “who guard their private parts”.
l3 See the identical passage in 23:5-7, as well as the corresponding note 3, in which I have fully explained the reasons for my rendering of the phrase aw ma malakat aymanuhum as “that is, those whom they rightfully possess [through wedlock]”. As regards this interpretation, see al Razi’s comments on 4:24, as well as one of the alternative interpretations of that verse advanced by Tabari on the authority of lbn Abbas and Mujahid.
on 4:24,
26 The term muhsanah signifies literally “a woman who is fortified [against unchastity]”, and carries three senses: (1) “a married woman”, (2) “a chaste woman”, and (3) “a free woman”. According to almost all the authorities, al-muhsanat denotes in the above context “married women”. As for the expression ma malakat aymanukum (“those whom your right hands possess”, i.e., “those whom you rightfully possess”), it is often taken to mean female slaves captured in a war in God’s cause (see in this connection 8:67, and the corresponding note). The commentators who choose this meaning hold that such slave-girls can be taken in marriage irrespective of whether they have husbands in the country of their origin or not. However, quite apart from the fundamental differences of opinion, even among the Companions of the Prophet, regarding the legality of such a marriage, some of the most outstanding commentators hold the view that ma malakat aymanukum denotes here “women whom you rightfully possess through wedlock”; thus Razi in his commentary on this verse, and Tabari in one of his alternative explanations (going back to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, and others). Razi, in particular, points out that the reference to “all married women” (al-muhsanat min annisa’), coming as it does after the enumeration of prohibited degrees of relationship, is meant to stress the prohibition of sexual relations with any woman other than one’s lawful wife. (The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Muhammad Asad, page 1207 and 163, online source http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/religious_text/The_Message_of_The_Quran__by_Muhammad_Asad )

Maulana Muhammad Ali:

“30a. See 23:5a, 6a.
5a. Furaj, plural of farj, indicates the part of a person which it is indecent to expose (LL), particularly the pudenda. In this sense √if˚ al-farj means generally the observing of continence, or the restraining of sexual passions.
6a. The words au ma malakat aimanu-hum, of which a literal rendering is given in the translation, usually indicate slaves. It should be noted that this chapter is a Makkan revelation, and the conditons under which slave-girls could be taken as wives were given later at Madinah; see 4:25a. If the reference here is to sexual relations, the permission regarding those whom their right hands possess must be read subject to the conditions of 4:25. It may be added that slave-girls, when taken as wives, did not acquire the full status of a free wife, and hence they are spoken of distinctly. It may, however, be added that √if˚ al-farj in a wider sense means the covering of parts of the body which it is indecent to expose, and in this connection it must be borne in mind that according to Islamic rules of decency, the exposure of such parts of the body, as are generally exposed in ballrooms and theatres, is disallowed, but a certain degree of freedom is allowed to women in the presence of their husbands and female servants and to men in the presence of their wives and male servants.” (The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 684 and 1132)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

“…(And those who guard their private part (chastity).) meaning, they keep their private parts away from that which is forbidden and they prevent their private parts from being put into other than what Allah has allowed them to be in. This is why Allah says, (Except from their wives or their right hand possessions) meaning, from their female slaves. (for (then) they are not blameworthy. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers.) The explanation of this has already preceded at the beginning of Surat Al-Mu’minun, and therefore does not need to be repeated here. …” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir – Surah 70:30 – online source http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/70/19 )

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Reference:

[1] Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran – Tafseer Anwarul Bayan – by Shaykh Ashiq Ilahi Madni (r.a), volume 5, page 265 – 266

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