Period of Revelation:
This Surah consists of several speeches, which perhaps were revealed during the period ranging between the end of 3 A. H. and the end of 4 A. H. or the beginning of 5 A. H. on different occasions. Although it is difficult to determine the beginnings and ends of the similar speeches and their exact period of revelation, however, we do find some relevance of period in the Traditions towards certain commandments and events -- on the bases of these we can assign certain period to these different speeches – in which these commandments and events occurred. For example, we know that the division of inheritance and instructions concerning the rights of the orphans were revealed after the Battle of Uhud – when 70 Muslims were killed. This question has arose from the households of city of Al-Madinah that -- how can the division of the martyrs inheritance be done -- and how to protect the rights of orphans children they left behind. On the bases of this, we can deduce that the first Four Rakuh and first Three Ayâts of Fifth Rakuh (vv. 1 –28) would have been revealed in that period.
In Traditions, we find the
mentioning of (Salât-e-Khauf) prayer during wartime in Zat-ur-Riqa'a, and
The expulsion of Banu Nadir from Al-Madinah was in Rabi'-ulAwwal, 4 A. H. So, an intelligent guess can be made that the speech -- in which the Last warning has been given to Jews that bring Faith before it that WE disfigure your faces and turn them back -- might have revealed before it, in nearby period.
When no water was available,
the permission of Tayammum (the performance of ablution with pure dust
-- when no water is available) was granted during the Bani-al-Mustaliq
Background of Revelation and Topics of discussion:
In this way knowing the period of revelation -- we should review the history of this time to get help in understanding the Sűrah.
The task at that time Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had in front of him can be divided into three big assignments:
First, the development of the newly well-established Islamic society – that had been formed in Al-Madinah and its surroundings at the time of his migration. In those new principles of moral, cultural, social, economic and political ways were being introduced by eradicating the old ways of the pre-Islamic periods.
The second this was, to encounter the struggle that was going on with the mushrik Arabs, the Jewish tribes and the hypocrites -- who were opposing his mission of reform with their full strengths.
Thirdly -- to spread the message of Islam in the face of the powerful opposition and to win more hearts. All those speeches that were revealed by Allâh subhaana wa ta’aala – are related to these three occasions.
The instruction that had been given in Sűrah Al-Baqarah to organize the Islamic society, now this society needed more detailed instructions, this is why in the speeches of Sűrah An-Nisâ more detailed instructions have been given – how to corrected the social life according to the Islamic principles. The principles to construct families have been given. Rules have been set for marriages and the limitations have been put in the society for man and woman relationship. The rights of orphans have been determined. The laws have been laid down for the division of inheritance, and instructions have been given to reform social economic affairs. The way to settle the family dispute has been taught. The foundation of the penal code has been laid down. Drinking has been prohibited. The instructions have been given for cleanliness and purity. The Muslims were told what kind of behavior a righteous person should with their Allah and fellow men. Instructions have been given about the discipline for the Muslim organization. Discussing the moral and religious condition of the people of the Book – Muslims has been forewarn that they should refrain from following the path of former nations. The conduct of the hypocrites has been criticized and the distinctive features of hypocrisy and true faith have been given to enable the Muslims to clearly distinguish between the two.
The struggle with the
anti reform forces has gone into a critical situation after the Battle of
Uhud. The aftermath of the Battle of
Uhud had encouraged the mushrik tribes, the neighboring Jews, and the
hypocrites at home – and Muslims were surrounded in danger from all sides. In these circumstances, Allâh inspired the
Muslims with encouraging speeches to encounter and on the other side; different
special instructions were given to deal with
Among Jews the tribe of Bani Nadir was showing a hostile and intimidating attitude – they were sporting non-Islamic forces openly against their peace treaties with the Muslims. They were devising plots against the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Muslim Community even at AI-Madinah itself. On their hostile behavior, they were taken to task and they had been given a final clear warning. After that, they were exiled from Al-Madinah.
Different groups of hypocrites had different behavior – it was very difficult for Muslims to decide how to handle these hypocrites appropriately. All of the hypocrites were divided into different categories and clear instructions were given to handle each category of hypocrites separately.
It was also made clear that what type of attitude Muslims should adopt towards the non-hostile tribes. The most important thing was – Muslims’ character should be spotless because it was obvious that this small group of Muslims could only succeed because of their high moral character. For this reason Muslims were taught very high morals and they were caught on their all weaknesses.
In this Sűrah due
attention has been paid to the propagation of Islam beside all these
things. The superiority of the Islamic
morality and culture has been established over that of the Jews, Christians and
Mushriks; on the other hand, their wrong religious ideas, morality and evil acts
have been criticized in this Sűrah and they have been invited towards the