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The Etiquette of Women walking in the Street

Allah's saying:

﴿ وَلَا يَضۡرِبۡنَ بِأَرۡجُلِهِنَّ

(And let them not stamp their feet...) During Jahiliyyah, when women walked in the street wearing anklets and no one could hear them, they would stamp their feet so that men could hear their anklets ringing. Allah forbade the believing women to do this. By the same token, if there is any other kind of adornment that is hidden, women are forbidden to make any movements that would reveal what is hidden, because Allah says:

﴿ وَلَا يَضۡرِبۡنَ بِأَرۡجُلِهِنَّ

(And let them not stamp their feet...) to the end of it. From that, women are also prohibited from wearing scent and perfume when they are going outside the home, lest men should smell their perfume. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet said:

« كُلُّ عَيْنٍ زَانِيَةٌ، وَالْمَرْأَةُ إِذَا اسْتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ بِالْمَجْلِسِ فَهِيَ كَذَا وَكَذَا »

(Every eye commits fornication and adultery, and when a woman puts on perfume and passes through a gathering, she is such and such) -- meaning an adulteress. He said, "And there is a similar report from Abu Hurayrah, and this is Hasan Sahih.'' It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i. By the same token, women are also forbidden to walk in the middle of the street, because of what this involves of wanton display. Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Usayd Al-Ansari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, as he was coming out of the Masjid and men and women were mixing in the street, telling the women:

« اسْتَأْخِرْنَ فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَكُنَّ أَنْ تَحْقُقْنَ الطَّرِيقَ، عَلَيْكُنَّ بِحَافَّاتِ الطَّرِيقِ »

(Keep back, for you have no right to walk in the middle of the street. You should keep to the sides of the road.) The women used to cling to the walls so much that their clothes would catch on the walls.

﴿ وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

(And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.) means, practice what you are commanded in these beautiful manners and praiseworthy characteristics, and give up the evil ways of the people of Jahiliyyah, for the greatest success is to be found in doing what Allah and His Messenger command and avoiding what He forbids. And Allah is the source of strength.

﴿ وَأَنكِحُواْ ٱلۡأَيَـٰمَىٰ مِنكُمۡ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ مِنۡ عِبَادِكُمۡ وَإِمَآٮِٕڪُمۡ‌ۚ إِن يَكُونُواْ فُقَرَآءَ يُغۡنِهِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬ وَلۡيَسۡتَعۡفِفِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا حَتَّىٰ يُغۡنِيَہُمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡتَغُونَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُكُمۡ فَكَاتِبُوهُمۡ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ وَءَاتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ إِنۡ أَرَدۡنَ تَحَصُّنً۬ا لِّتَبۡتَغُواْ عَرَضَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۚ وَمَن يُكۡرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ إِكۡرَٲهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ وَلَقَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَـٰتٍ۬ مُّبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ وَمَثَلاً۬ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ وَمَوۡعِظَةً۬ لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(32. And marry those among you who are single (Al-Ayama) and the pious of your servants and maidservants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient, All-Knowing.) (33. And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His bounty. And such of your servants as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them. And give them something (yourselves) out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. And force not your slave-girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this worldly life. But if anyone compels them, then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (34. And indeed We have sent down for you Ayat that make things plain, and the example of those who passed away before you, and an admonition for those who have Taqwa.)

The Command to marry

These clear Ayat include a group of unambiguous rulings and firm commands.

﴿ وَأَنكِحُواْ ٱلۡأَيَـٰمَىٰ مِنكُمۡ

(And marry those among you who are single (Al-Ayama)...) This is a command to marry. The Prophet said:

« يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ، مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ »

(O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him marry, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting the private parts. Whoever cannot do that, then let him fast, for it is a protection for him.) This was recorded in the Two Sahihs from the Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud. In the Sunan, it was recorded from more than one person that the Messenger of Allah said:

« تَزَوَّجُوا تَوَالَدُوا تَنَاسَلُوا فَإِنِّي مُبَاهٍ بِكُمُ الْأُمَمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ »

(Marry and have children, for I will be proud of you before the nations on the Day of Resurrection.) The word Al-Ayama, the plural form of Ayyim, is used to describe a woman who has no husband and a man who has no wife, regardless of whether they have been married and then separated, or have never been married at all. Al-Jawhari reported this from the scholars of the (Arabic) language, and the word is applied to men and women alike.

﴿ إِن يَكُونُواْ فُقَرَآءَ يُغۡنِهِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ

(If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas: "Allah encouraged them to get married, commanded both free men and servants to get married, and He promised to enrich them.''

﴿ إِن يَكُونُواْ فُقَرَآءَ يُغۡنِهِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ

(If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty.) It was recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said: "Seek the richness through marriage, for Allah says:

﴿ إِن يَكُونُواْ فُقَرَآءَ يُغۡنِهِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ

(If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty.)'' This was recorded by Ibn Jarir. Al-Baghawi also recorded something similar from `Umar. It was reported from Al-Layth from Muhammad bin `Ajlan from Sa`id Al-Maqburi from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said:

« ثَلَاثَةٌ حَقٌّ عَلَى اللهِ عَوْنُهُمْ: النَّاكِحُ يُرِيدُ الْعَفَافَ، وَالْمُكَاتَبُ يُرِيدُ الْأَدَاءَ، وَالْغَازِي فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ »

(There are three whom it is a right upon Allah to help: one who gets married seeking chastity; a slave who makes a contract with his master with the aim of buying his freedom; and one who fights for the sake of Allah.) This was recorded by Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. The Prophet performed the marriage of a man who owned nothing but his waist wrap, and could not even buy a ring made of iron, but he still married him to that woman, making the Mahr his promise to teach her whatever he knew of the Qur'an. And it is known from the generosity and kindness of Allah that He provided him with whatever was sufficient for her and for him.

The Command to keep Oneself Chaste if One is not able to get married

Allah's saying:

﴿ وَلۡيَسۡتَعۡفِفِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا حَتَّىٰ يُغۡنِيَہُمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ

(And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His bounty.) This is a command from Allah to those who do not have the means to get married: they are to keep themselves chaste and avoid unlawful things, as the Prophet said:

« يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ »

(O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him marry, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting the private parts. Whoever cannot do that, then let him fast, for it is a protection for him.) This Ayah is general in meaning, and the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa' is more specific, where Allah says:

﴿ وَمَن لَّمۡ يَسۡتَطِعۡ مِنكُمۡ طَوۡلاً أَن يَنڪِحَ ٱلۡمُحۡصَنَـٰتِ

(And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women)until His statement;

﴿ وَأَن تَصۡبِرُواْ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ‌ۗ

(but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint) (4:25) meaning, it is better for you to be patient and refrain from marrying slave-girl, because any child that is born will also be a slave.

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ

(and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful) (4:25).

﴿ وَلۡيَسۡتَعۡفِفِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا

(And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste,) `Ikrimah said, "This refers to a man who sees a woman and it is as if he feels desire; if he has a wife then let him go to her and fulfill his desire with her, and if he does not have a wife, then let him ponder the kingdom of heaven and earth until Allah grants him means of livelihood.''

The Command to grant Slaves a Contract of Emancipation
﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡتَغُونَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُكُمۡ فَكَاتِبُوهُمۡ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ

(And such of your servants as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them.) This is a command from Allah to slave-owners: if their servants ask them for a contract of emancipation, they should write it for them, provided that the servant has some skill and means of earning so that he can pay his master the money that is stipulated in the contract. Al-Bukhari said: "Rawh narrated from Ibn Jurayj: `I said to `Ata', "If I know that my servant has money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation'' He said, "I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.'' `Amr bin Dinar said: "I said to `Ata', `Are you narrating this from anybody' He said, `No,' then he told me that Musa bin Anas told him that Sirin, who had a lot of money, asked Anas for a contract of emancipation and he refused. So he went to `Umar (bin Al-Khattab) (may Allah be pleased with him) and he said, `Write it for him.' He refused, so `Umar hit him with his whip and recited,

﴿ فَكَاتِبُوهُمۡ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ

(give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them.)Then he wrote the contract.'' This was mentioned by Al-Bukhari with a disconnected chain of narration. It was also narrated by `Abdur-Razzaq who said Ibn Jurayj told them: I said to `Ata', "If I know that my servant has some money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation'' He said, `I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.''' (It was also said by `Amr bin Dinar who said, "I said to `Ata', `Are you narrating this from anybody' He said, `No.''') Ibn Jarir recorded that Sirin wanted Anas bin Malik to write a contract of emancipation and he delayed, then `Umar said to him, "You should certainly write him a contract of emancipation.'' Its chain of narrators is Sahih. Allah's saying:

﴿ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ

(if you find that there is good and honesty in them.) Some of them said (this means) trustworthiness. Some said: "Honesty,'' and others said: "A skill and ability to earn.''

﴿ وَءَاتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ

(And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.) This is the share of the wealth of Zakah that Allah stated to be their right. This is the opinion of Al-Hasan, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and his father and Muqatil bin Hayyan. It was also the opinion favored by Ibn Jarir.

﴿ وَءَاتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ

(And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. ) Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, "This is urging the people, their masters and others.'' This was also the view of Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Al-Aslami and Qatadah. Ibn `Abbas said: "Allah commanded the believers to help in freeing slaves.''

The Prohibition of forcing One's Slave-Girls to commit Zina

Allah's saying:

﴿ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ

(And force not your slave-girls to prostitution...) Among the people of the Jahiliyyah, there were some who, if he had a slave-girl, he would send her out to commit Zina and would charge money for that, which he would take from her every time. When Islam came, Allah forbade the believers to do that. The reason why this Ayah was revealed, according to the reports of a number of earlier and later scholars of Tafsir, had to do with `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul. He had slave-girls whom he used to force into prostitution so that he could take their earnings and because he wanted them to have children which would enhance his status, or so he claimed.

Reports narrated on this Topic

In his Musnad, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Ahmad bin `Amr bin `Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Bazzar, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Az-Zuhri said, "`Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul had a slave-girl whose name was Mu`adhah, whom he forced into prostitution. When Islam came, the Ayah

﴿ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ

(And force not your slave-girls to prostitution...) was revealed.'' Al-A`mash narrated from Abu Sufyan that Jabir said concerning this Ayah, "This was revealed about a slave-girl belonging to `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul whose name was Musaykah. He used to force her to commit immoral actions, but there was nothing wrong with her and she refused. Then Allah revealed this Ayah:

﴿ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ

(And force not your slave-girls to prostitution,) until His saying;

﴿ وَمَن يُكۡرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ إِكۡرَٲهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

(But if anyone compels them, then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)'' An-Nasa'i also recorded something similar. Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "I heard -- and Allah knows best -- that this Ayah was revealed about two men who used to force two slave-girls of theirs (into prostitution). One of them was called Musaykah who belonged to (the Ansari), and Umaymah the mother of Musaykah belonged to `Abdullah bin Ubayy. Mu`adhah and Arwa were in the same situation. Then Musaykah and her mother came to the Prophet and told him about that. Then Allah revealed:

﴿ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ

(And force not your slave-girls to prostitution), meaning Zina.

﴿ إِنۡ أَرَدۡنَ تَحَصُّنً۬ا

(if they desire chastity,) means, if they want to be chaste, which is the case with the majority of slave-girls.

﴿ لِّتَبۡتَغُواْ عَرَضَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۚ

(in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this worldly life.) meaning, from the money they earn and their children. The Messenger of Allah forbade the money earned by the cupper, the prostitute and the fortune-teller. According to another report:

« مَهْرُ الْبَغِيِّ خَبِيثٌ وَكَسْبُ الْحَجَّامِ خَبِيثٌ، وَثَمَنُ الْكَلْبِ خَبِيثٌ »

(The earnings of a prostitute are evil, the earnings of a cupper are evil, and the price of a dog is evil.)

﴿ وَمَن يُكۡرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ إِكۡرَٲهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

(But if anyone compels them, then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) meaning, towards them, as has already been stated in the Hadith narrated from Jabir. Ibn Abi Talhah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "If you do that, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful, and their sin will be on the one who forced them to do that.'' This was also the view of Mujahid, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Al-A`mash and Qatadah. After explaining these rulings in detail, Allah says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَـٰتٍ۬ مُّبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬

(And indeed We have sent down for you Ayat that make things plain,) meaning, in the Qur'an there are Ayat which are clear and explain matters in detail.

﴿ وَمَثَلاً۬ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ

(and the example of those who passed away before you,) means, reports about the nations of the past and what happened to them when they went against the commandments of Allah, as Allah says:

﴿ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ سَلَفً۬ا وَمَثَلاً۬ لِّلۡأَخِرِينَ

(And We made them a precedent, and an example to later generations.) (43:56); We made them a lesson, i.e., a rebuke for committing sin and forbidden deeds.

﴿ لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(for those who have Taqwa.) meaning, for those who remember and fear Allah.

﴿ ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِۦ كَمِشۡكَوٰةٍ۬ فِيہَا مِصۡبَاحٌ‌ۖ ٱلۡمِصۡبَاحُ فِى زُجَاجَةٍ‌ۖ ٱلزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّہَا كَوۡكَبٌ۬ دُرِّىٌّ۬ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ۬ مُّبَـٰرَڪَةٍ۬ زَيۡتُونَةٍ۬ لَّا شَرۡقِيَّةٍ۬ وَلَا غَرۡبِيَّةٍ۬ يَكَادُ زَيۡتُہَا يُضِىٓءُ وَلَوۡ لَمۡ تَمۡسَسۡهُ نَارٌ۬‌ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ۬‌ۗ يَہۡدِى ٱللَّهُ لِنُورِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ وَيَضۡرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡأَمۡثَـٰلَ لِلنَّاسِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ۬

(35. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a star Durriyyun, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth, though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.)

The Parable of the Light of Allah

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said:

﴿ ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) means, the Guide of the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. Ibn Jurayj said: "Mujahid and Ibn `Abbas said concerning the Ayah:

﴿ ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) He is controlling their affairs and their stars and sun and moon.'' As-Suddi said concerning the Ayah:

﴿ ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) by His Light the heavens and earth are illuminated. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "When the Messenger of Allah got up to pray at night, he would say:

« اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ، أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ نُورُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ »

(O Allah, to You be praise, You are the Sustainer of heaven and earth and whoever is in them. To You be praise, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them. ) It was narrated that Ibn Mas`ud said, "There is no night or day with your Lord; the Light of the Throne comes from the Light of His Face.''

﴿ مَثَلُ نُورِهِۦ

(The parable of His Light) There are two views concerning the meaning of the pronoun (His). The first is that it refers to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, meaning that the parable of His guidance in the heart of the believer is

﴿ كَمِشۡكَوٰةٍ۬

(as a niche) This was the view of Ibn `Abbas. The second view is that the pronoun refers to the believer, which is indicated by the context of the words and implies that the parable of the light in the heart of the believer is as a niche. So the heart of the believer and what he is naturally inclined to of guidance and what he learns of the Qur'an which is in accordance with his natural inclinations are, as Allah says:

﴿ أَفَمَن كَانَ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ وَيَتۡلُوهُ شَاهِدٌ۬ مِّنۡهُ

(Can they who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him recites it (can they be equal with the disbelievers)) (11:17). The heart of the believer in its purity and clarity is likened to a lamp in transparent and jewel-like glass, and the Qur'an and Shari`ah by which it is guided are likened to good, pure, shining oil in which there is no impurity or deviation.

﴿ كَمِشۡكَوٰةٍ۬

(as (if there were) a niche) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b and others said, "This refers to the position of the wick in the lamp.'' This is well-known, and hence Allah then says:

﴿ فِيہَا مِصۡبَاحٌ‌ۖ

(and within it a lamp.) This is the flame that burns brightly. Or it was said that the niche is a niche in the house. This is the parable given by Allah of obedience towards Him. Allah calls obedience to Him as light, then He calls it by other numerous names as well. Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "The lamp is the light, and this refers to the Qur'an and the faith that is in his heart.'' As-Suddi said, "It is the lamp.''

﴿ ٱلۡمِصۡبَاحُ فِى زُجَاجَةٍ‌ۖ

(the lamp is in a glass,) means, this light is shining in a clear glass. Ubayy bin Ka`b and others said, "This is the likeness of the heart of the believer.''

﴿ ٱلزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّہَا كَوۡكَبٌ۬ دُرِّىٌّ۬

(the glass as it were a star Durriyyun,) Some authorities recite the word Durriyyun with a Dammah on the Dal and without a Hamzah, which means pearls, i.e., as if it were a star made of pearls (Durr). Others recite it as Dirri'un or Durri'un, with a Kasrah on the Dal, or Dammah on the Dal, and with a Hamzah at the end, which means reflection (Dir'), because if something is shone on the star it becomes brighter than at any other time. The Arabs call the stars they do not know Darari. Ubayy bin Ka`b said: a shining star. Qatadah said: "Huge, bright and clear.''

﴿ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ۬ مُّبَـٰرَڪَةٍ۬

(lit from a blessed tree,) means, it is derived from olive oil, from a blessed tree.

﴿ زَيۡتُونَةٍ۬

(an olive,) This refers to the blessed tree mentioned previously.

﴿ لَّا شَرۡقِيَّةٍ۬ وَلَا غَرۡبِيَّةٍ۬

(neither of the east nor of the west,) means, it is not in the eastern part of the land so that it does not get any sun in the first part of the day, nor is it in the western part of the land so that it is shaded from the sun before sunset, but it is in a central position where it gets sun from the beginning of the day until the end, so its oil is good and pure and shining. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented on:

﴿ زَيۡتُونَةٍ۬ لَّا شَرۡقِيَّةٍ۬ وَلَا غَرۡبِيَّةٍ۬

(an olive, neither of the east nor of the west,) "This is a tree in the desert which is not shaded by any other tree or mountain or cave, nothing covers it, and this is best for its oil.'' Mujahid commented on:

﴿ لَّا شَرۡقِيَّةٍ۬ وَلَا غَرۡبِيَّةٍ۬

(neither of the east nor of the west, ) saying; "It is not in the east where it will get no sun when the sun sets, nor is it in the west where it will get no sun when the sun rises, but it is in a position where it will get sun both at sunrise and sunset.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr commented:

﴿ زَيۡتُونَةٍ۬ لَّا شَرۡقِيَّةٍ۬ وَلَا غَرۡبِيَّةٍ۬ يَكَادُ زَيۡتُہَا يُضِىٓءُ

(an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself)) "This is the best kind of oil. When the sun rises it reaches the tree from the east and when it sets it reaches it from the west, so the sun reaches it morning and evening, so it is not counted as being in the east or in the west.''

﴿ يَكَادُ زَيۡتُہَا يُضِىٓءُ وَلَوۡ لَمۡ تَمۡسَسۡهُ نَارٌ۬‌ۚ

(whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it.) `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said (this means) because the oil itself is shining.

﴿ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ۬‌ۗ

(Light upon Light!) Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas that this meant the faith and deeds of a person. As-Suddi said:

﴿ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ۬‌ۗ

(Light upon Light!) "Light of the fire and the light of the oil: when they are combined they give light, and neither of them can give light without the other. Similarly the light of the Qur'an and the light of faith give light when they are combined, and neither can do so without the other.''

﴿ يَہۡدِى ٱللَّهُ لِنُورِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ

(Allah guides to His Light whom He wills.) means, Allah shows the way to the ones whom He chooses, as it says in the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad from `Abdullah bin `Amr, who said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

« إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى خَلَقَ خَلْقَهُ فِي ظُلْمَةٍ ثُمَّ أَلْقَى عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ نُورِهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ، فَمَنْ أَصَابَ مِنْ نُورِهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ اهْتَدَى وَمَنْ أَخْطَأَ ضَلَّ فَلِذَلِكَ أَقُولُ: جَفَّ الْقَلَمُ عَلَى عِلْمِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ »

(Allah created His creation in darkness, then on the same day He sent His Light upon them. Whoever was touched by His Light on that day will be guided and whoever was missed will be led astray. Hence I say: the pens have dried in accordance with the knowledge of Allah, may He be glorified.)''

﴿ وَيَضۡرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡأَمۡثَـٰلَ لِلنَّاسِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ۬

(And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.) Having mentioned this parable of the Light of His guidance in the heart of the believer, Allah ends this Ayah with the words:

﴿ وَيَضۡرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡأَمۡثَـٰلَ لِلنَّاسِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ۬

(And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.) meaning, He knows best who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be led astray. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« الْقُلُوبُ أَرْبَعَةٌ: قَلْبٌ أَجْرَدُ فِيهِ مِثْلُ السِّرَاجِ يُزْهِرُ، وَقَلْبٌ أَغْلَفُ مَرْبُوطٌ عَلَى غِلَافِهِ، وَقَلْبٌ مَنْكُوسٌ، وَقَلْبٌ مُصْفَحٌ. فَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَجْرَدُ: فَقَلْبُ الْمُؤْمِنِ سِرَاجُهُ فِيهِ نُورُهُ، وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْأَغْلَفُ فَقَلْبُ الْكَافِرِ، وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمَنْكُوسُ فَقَلْبُ الْمُنَافِقِ، عَرَفَ ثُمَّ أَنْكَرَ، وَأَمَّا الْقَلْبُ الْمُصْفَحُ فَقَلْبٌ فِيهِ إِيمَانٌ وَنِفَاقٌ، وَمَثَلُ الْإِيمَانِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْبَقْلَةِ يُمِدُّهَا الْمَاءُ الطَّيِّبُ، وَمَثَلُ النِّفَاقِ فِيهِ كَمَثَلِ الْقَرْحَةِ يُمِدُّهَا الدَّمُ وَالْقَيْحُ، فَأَيُّ الْمدَّتَيْنِ غَلَبَتْ عَلَى الْأُخْرَى غَلَبَتْ عَلَيْهِ »

(Hearts are of four kinds: the heart that is clear like a shining lamp; the heart that is covered and tied up; the heart that is upside-down; and the heart that is clad in armor. As for the clear heart, it is the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light; as for the covered heart, this is the heart of the disbeliever; as for the upside-down heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite, who recognizes then denies; as for the armor-clad heart, this is the heart in which there is both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of the faith in it is that of legume, a sprout that is irrigated with good water, and the likeness of the hypocrisy in it is that of sores that are fed by blood and pus. Whichever of the two prevails is the characteristic that will dominate.) Its chain of narrators is good (Jayyid) although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it.

﴿ فِى بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ ٱللَّهُ أَن تُرۡفَعَ وَيُذۡڪَرَ فِيہَا ٱسۡمُهُ ۥ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ۥ فِيہَا بِٱلۡغُدُوِّ وَٱلۡأَصَالِ رِجَالٌ۬ لَّا تُلۡهِيہِمۡ تِجَـٰرَةٌ۬ وَلَا بَيۡعٌ عَن ذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَإِيتَآءِ ٱلزَّكَوٰةِ‌ۙ يَخَافُونَ يَوۡمً۬ا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ وَٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ لِيَجۡزِيَہُمُ ٱللَّهُ أَحۡسَنَ مَا عَمِلُواْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضۡلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُ مَن يَشَآءُ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ۬

(36. In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered. Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the evenings,) (37. Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah nor from performing the Salah nor from giving the Zakah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned.) (38. That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.)