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Repentance is Accepted Until one Faces death

Allah states that He accepts repentance of the servant who commits an error in ignorance and then repents, even just before he sees the angel who captures the soul, before his soul reaches his throat. Mujahid and others said, "Every person who disobeys Allah by mistake, or intentionally is ignorant, until he refrains from the sin.'' Qatadah said that Abu Al-`Aliyah narrated that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah used to say, "Every sin that the servant commits, he commits out of ignorance.'' `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that, Ma`mar said that Qatadah said that, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah agreed that every sin that is committed by intention or otherwise, is committed in ignorance.'' Ibn Jurayj said, "Abdullah bin Kathir narrated to me that Mujahid said, `Every person who disobeys Allah (even willfully), is ignorant while committing the act of disobedience.''' Ibn Jurayj said, "`Ata' bin Abi Rabah told me something similar.'' Abu Salih said that Ibn `Abbas commented, "It is because of one's ignorance that he commits the error.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,

﴿ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ۬

(and repent soon (afterwards)), "Until just before he (or she) looks at the angel of death.'' Ad-Dahhak said, "Every thing before death is `soon ﴿afterwards.''' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said about the Ayah,

﴿ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ۬

(and repent soon afterwards), "Just before his last breath leaves his throat.'' `Ikrimah said, "All of this life is `soon (afterward).''' Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger said,

« إِنَّ اللهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ الْعَبْدِ مَالَمْ يُغَرْغِر »

(Allah accepts the repentance of the servant as long as the soul does not reach the throat.) This Hadith was also collected by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Gharib''. By mistake, Ibn Majah mentioned that this Hadith was narrated through `Abdullah bin `Amr. However, what is correct is that `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab was the narrator. Allah said,

﴿ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَتُوبُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ‌ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَڪِيمً۬ا

(It is they to whom Allah will forgive and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.) Surely, when hope in continued living diminishes, the angel of death comes forth and the soul reaches the throat, approaches the chest and arrives at the state where it is being gradually pulled out, then there is no accepted repentance, nor a way out of that certain end. Hence Allah's statements,

﴿ وَلَيۡسَتِ ٱلتَّوۡبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبۡتُ ٱلۡـَٔـٰنَ

(And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent,'') and,

﴿ فَلَمَّا رَأَوۡاْ بَأۡسَنَا قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَحۡدَهُ ۥ

(So when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone...'') (40:84) Allah decided that repentance shall not be accepted from the people of the earth when the sun rises from the west, as Allah said,

﴿ يَوۡمَ يَأۡتِى بَعۡضُ ءَايَـٰتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنفَعُ نَفۡسًا إِيمَـٰنُہَا لَمۡ تَكُنۡ ءَامَنَتۡ مِن قَبۡلُ أَوۡ كَسَبَتۡ فِىٓ إِيمَـٰنِہَا خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۗ

(The day that some of the signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good through his faith.) (6:158). Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا ٱلَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمۡ ڪُفَّارٌ‌ۚ

(nor of those who die while they are disbelievers.) Consequently, when the disbeliever dies while still a disbeliever and polytheist, his sorrow and repentance shall not avail him. If he were to ransom himself, even with the earth's fill of gold, it will not be accepted from him. Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَا ٱلَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمۡ ڪُفَّارٌ‌ۚ

(nor of those who die while they are disbelievers), was revealed about the people of Shirk. Imam Ahmad recorded that Usamah bin Salman said that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِنَّ اللهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ عَبْدِهِ أَوْ يَغْفِرُ لِعَبْدِهِ مَالَمْ يَقَعِ الْحِجَاب »

(Allah accepts the repentance of His servant, or forgives His servant, as long as the veil does not drop.) They asked, "And what does the drop of the veil mean '' He said,

« أَنْ تَخْرُجَ النَّفْسُ وَهِيَ مُشْرِكَة »

(When the soul is removed while one is a polytheist.) Allah then said,

﴿ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ أَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابًا أَلِيمً۬ا

(For them We have prepared a painful torment), torment that is severe, eternal and enormous.

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمۡ أَن تَرِثُواْ ٱلنِّسَآءَ كَرۡهً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَا تَعۡضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذۡهَبُواْ بِبَعۡضِ مَآ ءَاتَيۡتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّآ أَن يَأۡتِينَ بِفَـٰحِشَةٍ۬ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ۬‌ۚ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ فَإِن كَرِهۡتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَيَجۡعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيۡرً۬ا ڪَثِيرً۬ا وَإِنۡ أَرَدتُّمُ ٱسۡتِبۡدَالَ زَوۡجٍ۬ مَّڪَانَ زَوۡجٍ۬ وَءَاتَيۡتُمۡ إِحۡدَٮٰهُنَّ قِنطَارً۬ا فَلَا تَأۡخُذُواْ مِنۡهُ شَيۡـًٔا‌ۚ أَتَأۡخُذُونَهُ ۥ بُهۡتَـٰنً۬ا وَإِثۡمً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا وَكَيۡفَ تَأۡخُذُونَهُ ۥ وَقَدۡ أَفۡضَىٰ بَعۡضُڪُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ وَأَخَذۡنَ مِنڪُم مِّيثَـٰقًا غَلِيظً۬ا وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَآؤُڪُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ ڪَانَ فَـٰحِشَةً۬ وَمَقۡتً۬ا وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً

(19. O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will, nor to prevent them from marriage in order to get part of (the dowry) what you have given them, unless they commit open Fahishah. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.) (20. But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin) (21. And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant) (22. And marry not women whom your fathers married, except what has already passed; indeed it was shameful and Maqtan, and an evil way.)

Meaning of `Inheriting Women Against Their Will

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمۡ أَن تَرِثُواْ ٱلنِّسَآءَ كَرۡهً۬ا‌ۖ

(O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will,) "Before, the practice was that when a man dies, his male relatives used to have the right to do whatever they wanted with his wife. If one of them wants, he would marry her, give her in marriage, or prevent her from marriage, for they had more right to her than her own family. Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed about this practice,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمۡ أَن تَرِثُواْ ٱلنِّسَآءَ كَرۡهً۬ا‌ۖ

(O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will).''

Women Should not Be Treated with Harshness

Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا تَعۡضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذۡهَبُواْ بِبَعۡضِ مَآ ءَاتَيۡتُمُوهُنَّ

(nor to prevent them from marriage, in order to take part of what you have given them,) Allah commands: Do not treat the woman harshly so that she gives back all or part of the dowry that she was given, or forfeits one of her rights by means of coercion and oppression. Allah's statement,

﴿ إِلَّآ أَن يَأۡتِينَ بِفَـٰحِشَةٍ۬ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ۬‌ۚ

(unless they commit open Fahishah.) Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Muhammad bin Sirin, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Qilabah, Abu Salih, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam and Sa`id bin Abi Hilal said that this refers to illicit sex. Meaning that if the wife commits adultery, you are allowed to take back the dowry you gave her. You are also allowed to annoy her, until she gives back the dowry in return for a Khula`.'' In Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَڪُمۡ أَن تَأۡخُذُواْ مِمَّآ ءَاتَيۡتُمُوهُنَّ شَيۡـًٔا إِلَّآ أَن يَخَافَآ أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of what you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah) (2:229). Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak said that Fahishah refers to disobedience and defiance. Ibn Jarir chose the view that it is general, encompasses all these meanings, adultery, disobedience, defiance, rudeness, and so forth. Meaning that he is allowed to annoy his wife when she does any of these acts until she forfeits all or part of her rights and he then separates from her, and this (view) is good, and Allah knows best.

Live With Women Honorably

Allah said,

﴿ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ

(And live with them honorably), by saying kind words to them, treating them kindly and making your appearance appealing for them, as much as you can, just as you like the same from them. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَلَهُنَّ مِثۡلُ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيۡہِنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ

(And they have rights similar over them to what is reasonable) (2:228). The Messenger of Allah said,

« خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي »

(The best among you is he who is the best with his family. Verily, I am the best one among you with my family.) It was the practice of the Messenger of Allah to be kind, cheerful, playful with his wives, compassionate, spending on them and laughing with them. The Messenger used to race with `A'ishah, the Mother of the Faithful, as a means of kindness to her. `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah raced with me and I won the race. This occurred before I gained weight, and afterwards I raced with him again, and he won that race. He said,

« هذِهِ بِتِلْك »

(This ﴿victory is for that (victory).)'' When the Prophet was at the home of one of his wives, sometimes all of his wives would meet there and eat together, and they would then go back to their homes. He and his wife would sleep in the same bed, he would remove his upper garment, sleeping in only his lower garment. The Prophet used to talk to the wife whose night it was, after praying `Isha' and before he went to sleep. Allah said,

﴿ لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬

(Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow) (33:21). Allah said,

﴿ فَإِن كَرِهۡتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَيَجۡعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيۡرً۬ا ڪَثِيرً۬ا

(If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.) Allah says that your patience, which is demonstrated by keeping wives whom you dislike, carries good rewards for you in this life and the Hereafter. Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "That the husband may feel compassion towards his wife and Allah gives him a child with her, and this child carries tremendous goodness.'' An authentic Hadith states,

« لَا يَفْرَكْ مُؤْمِنٌ مُؤْمِنَةً، إِنْ سَخِطَ مِنْهَا خُلُقًا، رَضِيَ مِنْهَا آخَر »

(No believing man should hate his believing wife. If he dislikes a part of her conduct, he would surely like another.)

The Prohibition of Taking Back the Dowry

Allah said,

﴿ وَإِنۡ أَرَدتُّمُ ٱسۡتِبۡدَالَ زَوۡجٍ۬ مَّڪَانَ زَوۡجٍ۬ وَءَاتَيۡتُمۡ إِحۡدَٮٰهُنَّ قِنطَارً۬ا فَلَا تَأۡخُذُواْ مِنۡهُ شَيۡـًٔا‌ۚ أَتَأۡخُذُونَهُ ۥ بُهۡتَـٰنً۬ا وَإِثۡمً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا

(But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin) The Ayah commands: When one of you wants to divorce a wife and marry another one, he must not take any portion of the dowry he gave to the first wife, even if it were a Qintar of money. We mentioned the meaning of Qintar in the Tafsir of Surah Al `Imran. This Ayah is clear in its indication that the dowry could be substantial. `Umar bin Al-Khattab used to discourage giving a large dowry, but later on changed his view. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Al-`Ajfa' As-Sulami said that he heard `Umar bin Al-Khattab saying, "Do not exaggerate with the dowry of women, had this practice been an honor in this world or a part of Taqwa, then the Prophet would have had more right to practice it than you. The Messenger of Allah never gave any of his wives, nor did any of his daughters receive a dowry more than twelve Uwqiyah. A man used to pay a substantial dowry and thus conceal enmity towards his wife!'' Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan collected this Hadith through various chains of narration, and At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded that Masruq said, "`Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah and said, `O people! Why do you exaggerate concerning the dowry given to women The Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to pay up to four hundred Dirhams for a dowry, or less than that. Had paying more for a dowry been a part of Taqwa or an honor, you would not have led them in this practice. Therefore, I do not want to hear about a man who pays more than four hundred Dirhams for a dowry.' He then went down the Minbar, but a woman from Quraysh said to him, `O Leader of the Faithful! You prohibited people from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women' He said, `Yes.' She said, `Have you not heard what Allah sent down in the Qur'an' He said, `Which part of it' She said, `Have you not heard Allah's statement,

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡتُمۡ إِحۡدَٮٰهُنَّ قِنطَارً۬ا

(And you have given one of them a Qintar)' He said, `O Allah! Forgive me...' He then went back and stood up on the Minbar saying, `I had prohibited you from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women. So, let everyone pay what he likes from his money.''' The chain of narration for this Hadith is strong.

﴿ وَكَيۡفَ تَأۡخُذُونَهُ ۥ وَقَدۡ أَفۡضَىٰ بَعۡضُڪُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬

(And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other) how can you take back the dowry from the woman with whom you had sexual relations and she had sexual relations with you Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, As-Suddi and several others said that this means sexual intercourse. The Two Sahihs record that the Messenger of Allah said three times to the spouses who said the Mula`anah;

« اللهُ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمَا كَاذِبٌ، فَهَلْ مِنْكُمَا تَائِبٌ؟ »

(Allah knows that one of you is a liar, so would any of you repent ) The man said, "O Messenger of Allah! My money,'' referring to the dowry that he gave his wife. The Messenger said,

« لَا مَالَ لَكَ، إِنْ كُنْتَ صَدَقْتَ عَلَيْهَا فَهُوَ بِمَا اسْتَحْلَلْتَ مِنْ فَرْجِهَا، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ كَذَبْتَ عَلَيْهَا فَهُوَ أَبْعَدُ لَكَ مِنْهَا »

(You have no money. If you are the one who said the truth, the dowry is in return for the right to have sexual intercourse with her. If you are the one who uttered the lie, then this money is even farther from your reach.) Similarly Allah said;

﴿ وَكَيۡفَ تَأۡخُذُونَهُ ۥ وَقَدۡ أَفۡضَىٰ بَعۡضُڪُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ وَأَخَذۡنَ مِنڪُم مِّيثَـٰقًا غَلِيظً۬ا

(And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant) (Be kind with women, for you have taken them by Allah's covenant and earned the right to have sexual relations with them by Allah's Word.)

Marrying the Wife of the Father is Prohibited

Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَآؤُڪُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ

(And marry not women whom your fathers married,) Allah prohibits marrying the women whom the father married, in honor and respect to the fathers, not allowing their children to have sexual relations with their wives after they die. A woman becomes ineligible for the son of her husband as soon as the marriage contract is conducted, and there is a consensus on this ruling. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to prohibit what Allah prohibits (concerning marriage), except marrying the stepmother and taking two sisters as rival wives. Allah sent down,

﴿ وَلَا تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَآؤُڪُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ

(And marry not women whom your fathers married,) and,

﴿ وَأَن تَجۡمَعُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡأُخۡتَيۡنِ

(And two sisters in wedlock at the same time) (4:23). '' Similar was reported from `Ata' and Qatadah. Therefore, the practice that the Ayah mentions is prohibited for this Ummah, being disgraced as an awful sin, r

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ ڪَانَ فَـٰحِشَةً۬ وَمَقۡتً۬ا وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً

(Indeed it was shameful and Maqtan, and an evil way.) Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ‌ۖ

(Come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful acts) whether committed openly or secretly) (6:151), and,

﴿ وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ فَـٰحِشَةً۬ وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً۬

(And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Fahishah and an evil way.) (17:32) in this Ayah (4:22), Allah added,

﴿ وَمَقۡتً۬ا

(and Maqtan), meaning, offensive. It is a sin itself and causes the son to hate his father after he marries his wife. It is usual that whoever marries a woman dislikes those who married her before him. This is one reason why the Mothers of the Faithful were not allowed for anyone in marriage after the Messenger . They are indeed the Mothers of the Faithful since they married the Messenger , who is like the father to the believers. Rather, the Prophet's right is far greater than the right of a father, and his love comes before each person loving himself, may Allah's peace and blessings be on him. `Ata' bin Abi Rabah said that the Ayah,

﴿ وَمَقۡتً۬ا

(and Maqtan), means, Allah will hate him,

﴿ وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً

(and an evil way), for those who take this way. Therefore, those who commit this practice will have committed an act of reversion from the religion and deserve capital punishment and confiscation of their property, which will be given to the Muslim Treasury. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan recorded that Al-Bara' bin `Azib said that his uncle Abu Burdah was sent by the Messenger of Allah to a man who married his stepmother to execute him and confiscate his money.

﴿ حُرِّمَتۡ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ أُمَّهَـٰتُكُمۡ وَبَنَاتُكُمۡ وَأَخَوَٲتُڪُمۡ وَعَمَّـٰتُكُمۡ وَخَـٰلَـٰتُكُمۡ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلۡأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلۡأُخۡتِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُڪُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِىٓ أَرۡضَعۡنَكُمۡ وَأَخَوَٲتُڪُم مِّنَ ٱلرَّضَـٰعَةِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُ نِسَآٮِٕكُمۡ وَرَبَـٰٓٮِٕبُڪُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِڪُم مِّن نِّسَآٮِٕكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى دَخَلۡتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمۡ تَكُونُواْ دَخَلۡتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَحَلَـٰٓٮِٕلُ أَبۡنَآٮِٕڪُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِنۡ أَصۡلَـٰبِڪُمۡ وَأَن تَجۡمَعُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡأُخۡتَيۡنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدۡ سَلَفَ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا

(23. Forbidden to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father's sisters, your mother's sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters, your foster mothers who suckled you, your foster milk suckling sisters, your wives' mothers, your stepdaughters under your guardianship, born of your wives unto whom you have gone in -- but there is no sin on you if you have not gone in unto them (to marry their daughters), -- the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins, and two sisters in wedlock at the same time, except for what has already passed; verily, Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.)