Citation for Light

Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd Ed..

MLA

Abdel Haleem, M. A. S. , trans. "Light." In The Qurʾan. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Aug 21, 2019. <http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/book/islam-9780192831934/islam-9780192831934-chapter-24>.

Chicago

Abdel Haleem, M. A. S. , trans. "Light." In The Qurʾan. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/book/islam-9780192831934/islam-9780192831934-chapter-24 (accessed Aug 21, 2019).

24. Light (1 – 21)

This Medinan sura clarifies several regulations for the Muslim community, mainly to do with marriage, modesty, obedience to the Prophet, and appropriate behaviour in the household. The initial context is the false rumour against ‘A’lsha, the Prophet's wife, who was left behind unwittingly by her travelling companions after wandering away in search of a dropped necklace. She was escorted back to Medina by a Muslim man coming later who found her there. The sura is named after the Verse of Light (verses 35–6) where God's light is contrasted to the darkness in which the disbelievers find themselves engulfed.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

1This is a sura We have sent down and made obligatory: We have sent down clear revelations in it, so that you may take heed.2Strike the adulteress and the adulterera The crime of zina in Arabic covers all extramarital sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. one hundred times.b Jalada in Arabic means ‘hit the skin’ with the hand or anything else. There are reports that people used shoes, clothes, etc. (Bukhari, Hudud 4). Do not let compassion for them keep you from carrying out God's law —if you believe in God and the Last Day —and ensure that a group of believers witnesses the punishment. 3The adulterer is only [fit] to marryc This is not an injunction but a statement of fact, emphasizing the guilt of both. There is another opinion that yankihu is used in its original sense of’copulate’. Whichever translation is used, this is not part of the punishment but a condemnation of the crime. an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress is only [fit] to marry an adulterer or an idolater: such behaviour is forbidden to believers. 4As for those who accuse chaste women of fornication, and then fail to provide four witnesses, strike them eighty times, and reject their testimony ever afterwards: they are the lawbreakers,5except for those who repent later and make amends —God is most forgiving and merciful.

6As for those who accuse their own wives of adultery, but have no other witnesses, let each one four times call God to witness that he is telling the truth, 7and, the fifth time, call God to reject him if he is lying;8punishment shall be averted from his wife if she in turn four times calls God to witness that her husband is lying 9and, the fifth time, calls God to reject her if he is telling the truth.

10If it were not for God's bounty and mercy towards you, if it were not that God accepts repentance and is wise . . .! a The statement ‘If it were not for God's bounty and mercy’ is repeated four times in this context, but the concluding clauses are suspended in verses 10 and 20. This rhetorical suspense works in English and in Arabic. (See verses 14, 20, 21). 11It was a group from among you that concocted the lieb This alludes to the accusation made against ‘A’isha, the Prophet's wife. —do not consider it a bad thing for you [people]; it was a good thing— and every one of them will be charged with the sin he has earned. He who took the greatest part in it will have a painful punishment. 12When you heard the lie, why did believing men and women not think well of their own people and declare, ‘This is obviously a lie’? 13And why did the accusers not bring four witnesses to it? If they cannot produce such witnesses, they are the liars in God's eyes. 14If it were not for God's bounty and mercy towards you in this world and the next, you would already have been afflicted by terrible suffering for indulging in such talk. 15When you took it up with your tongues, and spoke with your mouths things you did not know [to be true], you thought it was trivial but to God it was very serious. 16When you heard the lie, why did you not say, ‘We should not repeat this— God forbid!— It is a monstrous slander’? 17God warns you never to do anything like this again, if you are true believers. 18God makes His messages clear to you: God is all knowing, all wise. 19A painful punishment waits in this world and the next for those who like indecency to spread among the believers: God knows and you do not.20If it were not for God's bounty and mercy and the fact that He is compassionate and merciful . . .! 21Believers, do not follow in Satan's footsteps— if you do so, he will urge you to indecency and evil. If it were not for God's bounty and mercy towards you, not one of you would ever have attained purity. God purifies whoever He will: God is all hearing, all seeing.

Notes:

a The crime of zina in Arabic covers all extramarital sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

b Jalada in Arabic means ‘hit the skin’ with the hand or anything else. There are reports that people used shoes, clothes, etc. (Bukhari, Hudud 4).

c This is not an injunction but a statement of fact, emphasizing the guilt of both. There is another opinion that yankihu is used in its original sense of’copulate’. Whichever translation is used, this is not part of the punishment but a condemnation of the crime.

a The statement ‘If it were not for God's bounty and mercy’ is repeated four times in this context, but the concluding clauses are suspended in verses 10 and 20. This rhetorical suspense works in English and in Arabic. (See verses 14, 20, 21).

b This alludes to the accusation made against ‘A’isha, the Prophet's wife.

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