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The Reason why the Ayah of Li`an was revealed Print E-mail

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "When the Ayah

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَـتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُواْ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَآءَ فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلاَ تَقْبَلُواْ لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَداً﴾

(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:

«يَا مَعْشَرَ الْأَنْصَارِ أَلَا تَسْمَعُونَ مَا يَقُولُ سَيِّدُكُمْ؟»

(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:

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُمْ شُهَدَآءُ إِلاَّ أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَـدَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَـدَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ﴾

(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,

«أَبْشِرْ يَا هِلَالُ فَقَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَكَ فَرَجًا وَمَخْرَجًا»

(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:

«أَرْسِلُوا إِلَيْهَا»

(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,

«لَاعِنُوا بَيْنَهُمَا»

(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,

«إِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أُصَيْهِبَ (أُرَيْسِحَ) حَمْشَ السَّاقَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِهِلَالٍ، وَإِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أَوْرَقَ جَعَدًا جُمَالِيًّا خَدَلَّجَ السَّاقَيْنِ سَابِغَ الْأَلْيَتَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِلَّذِي رُمِيَتْتِبهِ»

(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,

«لَوْلَا الْأَيْمَانُ لَكَانَ لِي وَلَهَا شَأْنٌ»

(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,

«الْبَيِّنَةَ أَوْحَدٌّ فِي ظَهْرِكَ»

(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,

«الْبَيِّنَةَ وَإِلَّاحَدٌّ فِي ظَهْرِكَ»

(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,

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَجَهُمْ﴾

(And for those who accuse their wives,) Then he recited until he reached:

﴿إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّـدِقِينَ﴾

(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,

«إِنَّ اللهَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمَا كَاذِبٌ، فَهَلْ مِنْكُمَا تَائِبٌ؟»

(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,

«أَبْصِرُوهَا، فَإِنْ جَاءَتْ بِهِ أَكْحَلَ الْعَيْنَيْنِ سَابِغَ الْأَلْيَتَيْنِ خَدَلَّجَ السَّاقَيْنِ، فَهُوَ لِشَرِيكِ ابْنِ سَحْمَاءَ»

(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,

«لَوْلَا مَا مَضَى مِنْ كِتَابِ اللهِ لَكَانَ لِي وَ لَهَا شَأْنٌ»

(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,

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَجَهُمْ﴾

(And for those who accuse their wives,) until he reached:

﴿أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَآ إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّـدِقِينَ﴾

(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.

﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَآءُوا بِالإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ لاَ تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرّاً لَّكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِىءٍ مِّنْهُمْ مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الإِثْمِ وَالَّذِى تَوَلَّى كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴾

(11. Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.)

 
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