At-Talaq is not only the name of this Surah but also the title of its subject matter, for it contains commandments about Talaq (divorce) itself.
Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has pointed out, and the internal evidence of the subject matter of the Surah confirms the same, that it must have been sent down after those verses of surah Al-Baqarah in which commandments concerning divorce were given for the first time. Although it is difficult to determine precisely what is its exact date of revelation, yet the traditions in any case indicate that when the people started making errors in understanding the commandments of Surah Al-Baqarah, and practically also they began to commit mistakes, Allah sent down these instructions for their correction.
In order to understand the commandments of this Surah, it would be useful to refresh one's memory about the instructions which have been given in the Quran concerning divorce and the waiting period (Iddat) above.
"Divorce may be pronounced twice; then the wife may either be kept back in fairness or allowed to separate in fairness." (Al Baqarah 229)
"And the divorced women (after the pronouncement of the divorce) must wait for three monthly courses...and their husbands are fully entitled to take them back (as their wives) during this waiting period, if they desire reconciliation." (Al Baqarah 228)
"Then, if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain lawful for him after this divorce, unless she marries another husband..." (Al-Baqarah : 230)
"When you marry the believing women, and then divorce them before you have touched them, they do not have to fulfil a waiting period, the completion of which you may demand of them." (Al-Ahzab : 49)
"And if those of you who die, leave wives behind, the women should abstain (from marriage) for four months and ten days." (Al-Baqarah 234)
The rules prescribed in these verses were as follows:
1. A man can pronounce at the most three divorces on his wife.
2. In case the husband has pronounced one or two divorces he is entitled to keep the woman back as wife within the waiting period and if after the expiry of the waiting period the two desire to re-marry, they can re-marry; there is no condition of legalisation (tahlil). But if the husband has pronounced three divorces, he forfeits his right to keep her as his wife within the waiting period, and they cannot re-marry unless the woman remarries another husband and he subsequently divorces her of his own free will.
3. The waiting period of the woman, who menstruates and marriage with whom has been consummated, is that she should pass three monthly courses. The waiting period in case of one or two divorces is that the woman is still the legal wife of the husband and he can keep her back as his wife within the waiting period. But if the husband has pronounced three divorces, this waiting period cannot be taken advantage of for the purpose of reconciliation, but it is only meant to restrain the woman from re-marrying another person before it comes to an end.
4. There is no waiting period for the woman, marriage with whom has not been consumated, and who is divorced even before she is touched. She can re-marry, if she likes, immediately after the divorce.
5. The waiting period of the woman whose husband dies, is four months and ten days.
Here, one should understand well that Surah At-Talaq was not sent down to annul any of these rules or amend it, but it was sent down for two purposes: first, that the man who has been given the right to pronounce divorce should be taught such judicious methods of using this right as do not lead to separation, as far as possible however, if separation does take place, it should only be in case all possibilities of mutual reconciliation have been exhausted. For in the Divine Law provision for divorce has been made only as an unavoidable necessity; otherwise Allah does not approve that the marriage relationship that has been established between a man and a woman should ever break. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) has said "Allah has not made lawful anything more hateful in His sight than divorce." (Abu Daud). And: "Of all the things permitted by the Law, the most hateful in the sight of Allah is the divorce." (Abu Daud).
The second object was to complement this section of the family law of Islam by supplying answers to the questions that had remained after the revelation of the commandments in Surah Al-Baqarah. So, answers have been supplied to the following questions: What would be the waiting period of the women, marriage with whom has been consummated and who no longer menstruate, or those who have not yet menstruated, in case they are divorced? What would be the waiting period of the woman, who is pregnant, or the woman whose husband dies, if she is divorced?And what arrangements would be made for the maintenance and lodging of the different categories of divorced women, and for the fosterage of the child whose parents have separated on account of a divorce?
THE HOLY QUR'AAN
Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
65 : 1
1. Ya ayyuha alnnabiyyu itha tallaqtumu alnnisaa fatalliqoohunna liAAiddatihinna waahsoo alAAiddata waittaqoo Allaha rabbakum la tukhrijoohunna min buyootihinna wala yakhrujna illa an ya/teena bifahishatin mubayyinatin watilka hudoodu Allahi waman yataAAadda hudooda Allahi faqad thalama nafsahu la tadree laAAalla Allaha yuhdithu baAAda thalika amran
O Prophet! When you men divorce your women, divorce them only at the end of their waiting term, and keep track of this term, and revere Allah, your Lord! Drive them not from their houses during the waiting term nor allow them to leave of their own accord except if they have committed an act of gross indecency. These are the limits imposed by Allah, and he who exceeds Allah's limits does so to the detriment of his own soul. You know this not, but perhaps Allah might bring about a different situation later on.
65 : 2
2. Fa-itha balaghna ajalahunna faamsikoohunna bimaAAroofin aw fariqoohunna bimaAAroofin waashhidoo thaway AAadlin minkum waaqeemoo alshshahadata lillahi thalikum yooAAathu bihi man kana yu/minu biAllahi waalyawmi al-akhiri waman yattaqi Allaha yajAAal lahu makhrajan
Then, as they approach the end of this term, either take them back with kindness or send them away with due courtesy, and keep as your witness two honest men from among you and keep your testimony honest for Allah. Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day is thus admonished; and for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out -
65 : 3
3. Wayarzuqhu min haythu la yahtasibu waman yatawakkal AAala Allahi fahuwa hasbuhu inna Allaha balighu amrihi qad jaAAala Allahu likulli shay-in qadran
And will send him his provision from a least expected direction! And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Verily every promise of Allah will come to pass! Allah has set a measure for all things!
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Context of Revelation : The following verse was revealed when the believers wanted to know the waiting term for women who no longer menstruated because of 'menopause', or of girls who have reached puberty but have not yet begun to menstruate, or women who are not menstruating because they are pregnant.
65 : 4
4. Waalla-ee ya-isna mina almaheedi min nisa-ikum ini irtabtum faAAiddatuhunna thalathatu ashhurin waalla-ee lam yahidna waolatu al-ahmali ajaluhunna an yadaAAna hamlahunna waman yattaqi Allaha yajAAal lahu min amrihi yusran
In the case of those of your women who are done with menstruation, - if you are in doubt, - their waiting term shall be three months, as it is in the case of those who are not yet menstruating; and for those who are pregnant, their waiting term is until they delivered their burden. And whoever discharges his duty to Allah, He makes his tasks easy for him!
* * *
65 : 5
5. Thalika amru Allahi anzalahu ilaykum waman yattaqi Allaha yukaffir AAanhu sayyi-atihi wayuAAthim lahu ajran
Such is the commandment of Allah, which He has revealed to you! And whoever discharges his duty to Allah, He will remit his sins and will multiply his reward!
65 : 6
6. Askinoohunna min haythu sakantum min wujdikum wala tudarroohunna litudayyiqoo AAalayhinna wa-in kunna olati hamlin faanfiqoo AAalayhinna hatta yadaAAna hamlahunna fa-in ardaAAna lakum faatoohunna ojoorahunna wa/tamiroo baynakum bimaAAroofin wa-in taAAasartum fasaturdiAAu lahu okhra
Let them live where you live, or in par with your status, and do not inflict indigence on them; and if they are bearing, make provision for them until they have delivered; and if they offer to suckle the infant, give them the sum agreed after consultations; but if there is dissent between the two of you, then let some other woman suckle for you.
65 : 7
7. Liyunfiq thoo saAAatin min saAAatihi waman qudira AAalayhi rizquhu falyunfiq mimma atahu Allahu la yukallifu Allahu nafsan illa ma ataha sayajAAalu Allahu baAAda AAusrin yusran
Let those of you who have the means sustain them in accordance with their means; and he who is of limited resources, let him spend out of whatever Allah has given him. Allah does not levy any burden upon a soul beyond that with which He has equipped it to bear. After every term of hardship, Allah ensures for you a term of comfort! (R)
* * *
65 : 8
8. Wakaayyin min qaryatin AAatat AAan amri rabbiha warusulihi fahasabnaha hisaban shadeedan waAAaththabnaha AAathaban nukran
And how many a community rebelled against the commandment of its Lord and His messengers and We took them to task for it and meted out to them harsh punishment
65 : 9
9. Fathaqat wabala amriha wakana AAaqibatu amriha khusran
So that they got a taste of the outcome of their follies, and the outcome of their follies was nothing but sheer loss!
65 : 10
10. aAAadda Allahu lahum AAathaban shadeedan faittaqoo Allaha ya olee al-albabi allatheena amanoo qad anzala Allahu ilaykum thikran
Allah has kept in store for them a harsh castigation, so discharge your duty to Allah, O men of good sense and you who believe! Allah has sent down to you a Reminder
65 : 11
11. Rasoolan yatloo AAalaykum ayati Allahi mubayyinatin liyukhrija allatheena amanoo waAAamiloo alssalihati mina alththulumati ila alnnoori waman yu/min biAllahi wayaAAmal salihan yudkhilhu jannatin tajree min tahtiha al-anharu khalideena feeha abadan qad ahsana Allahu lahu rizqan
And a messenger to recite to you the clear revelations of Allah so that he may bring forth those of you who believe and perform righteous deeds out of darkness and into light! And whoever believes in Allah and performs seemly deeds, He will lead them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they shall dwell forever. Verily Allah has made a worthwhile provision for them!
65 : 12
12. Allahu allathee khalaqa sabAAa samawatin wamina al-ardi mithlahunna yatanazzalu al-amru baynahunna litaAAlamoo anna Allaha AAala kulli shay-in qadeerun waanna Allaha qad ahata bikulli shay-in AAilman
Allah it is who created the seven heavens and the earth with a similar number (of layers). His commands circulate between them so that you know that Allah is able to do all things and that He has knowledge of all things. (R)
1. O Prophet (SAW)! When you divorce women, divorce them at their 'Iddah (prescribed periods), and count (accurately) their 'Iddah (periods ). And fear All‚h your Lord (O Muslims), and turn them not out of their (husband's) homes, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open illegal sexual intercourse. And those are the set limits of All‚h. And whosoever transgresses the set limits of All‚h, then indeed he has wronged himself. You (the one who divorces his wife) know not, it may be that All‚h will afterward bring some new thing to pass (i.e. to return her back to you if that was the first or second divorce).
2. Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner. And take for witness two just persons from among you (Muslims). And establish the witness for All‚h. That will be an admonition given to him who believes in All‚h and the Last Day. And whosoever fears All‚h and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in All‚h, then He will suffice him. Verily, All‚h will accomplish his purpose. Indeed All‚h has set a measure for all things.
4. And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death] . And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears All‚h and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.
5. That is the Command of All‚h, which He has sent down to you, and whosoever fears All‚h and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward.
6. Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means, and do not treat them in such a harmful way that they be obliged to leave. And if they are pregnant, then spend on them till they deliver. Then if they give suck to the children for you, give them their due payment, and let each of you accept the advice of the other in a just way. But if you make difficulties for one another, then some other woman may give suck for him (the father of the child).
7. Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what All‚h has given him. All‚h puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. All‚h will grant after hardship, ease.
8. And many a town (population) revolted against the Command of its Lord and His Messengers, and We called it to a severe account (i.e. torment in this worldly life), and shall punish it with a horrible torment (in Hell, in the Hereafter).
9. So it tasted the evil result of its disbelief, and the consequence of its disbelief was loss (destruction in this life and an eternal punishment in the Hereafter).
10. All‚h has prepared for them a severe torment. So fear All‚h and keep your duty to Him, O men of understanding who have believed! - All‚h has indeed sent down to you a Reminder (this Qur'‚n).
11. (And has also sent to you) a Messenger (Muhammad SAW), who recites to you the Verses of All‚h (the Qur'‚n) containing clear explanations, that He may take out, those who believe and do righteous good deeds from the darkness (of polytheism and disbelief) to the light (of Monotheism and true Faith). And whosoever believes in All‚h and performs righteous good deeds, He will admit him into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. All‚h has indeed granted for him an excellent provision.
12. It is All‚h Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven). His Command descends between them (heavens and earth), that you may know that All‚h has power over all things, and that All‚h surrounds (comprehends) all things in (His) Knowledge.
YUSUFALI: O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately), their prescribed periods: And fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation.
PICKTHAL: O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women, put them away for their (legal) period and reckon the period, and keep your duty to Allah, your Lord. Expel them not from their houses nor let them go forth unless they commit open immorality. Such are the limits (imposed by) Allah; and whoso transgresseth Allah's limits, he verily wrongeth his soul. Thou knowest not: it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass.
SHAKIR: O Prophet! when you divorce women, divorce them for~ their prescribed time, and calculate the number of the days prescribed, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, your Lord. Do not drive them out of their houses, nor should they themselves go forth, unless they commit an open indecency; and these are the limits of Allah, and whoever goes beyond the limits of Allah, he indeed does injustice to his own soul. You do not know that Allah may after that bring about reunion.
YUSUFALI: Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out,
PICKTHAL: Then, when they have reached their term, take them back in kindness or part from them in kindness, and call to witness two just men among you, and keep your testimony upright for Allah. Whoso believeth in Allah and the Last Day is exhorted to act thus. And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him,
SHAKIR: So when they have reached their prescribed time, then retain them with kindness or separate them with kindness, and call to witness two men of justice from among you, and give upright testimony for Allah. With that is admonished he who believes in Allah and the latter day; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet,
YUSUFALI: And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.
PICKTHAL: And will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he hath no expectation. And whosoever putteth his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Lo! Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah hath set a measure for all things.
SHAKIR: And give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything.
YUSUFALI: Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.
PICKTHAL: And for such of your women as despair of menstruation, if ye doubt, their period (of waiting) shall be three months, along with those who have it not. And for those with child, their period shall be till they bring forth their burden. And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him.
SHAKIR: And (as for) those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, if you have a doubt, their prescribed time shall be three months, and of those too who have not had their courses; and (as for) the pregnant women, their prescribed time is that they lay down their burden; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah He will make easy for him his affair.
YUSUFALI: That is the Command of Allah, which He has sent down to you: and if any one fears Allah, He will remove his ills, from him, and will enlarge his reward.
PICKTHAL: That is the commandment of Allah which He revealeth unto you. And whoso keepeth his duty to Allah, He will remit from him his evil deeds and magnify reward for him.
SHAKIR: That is the command of Allah which He has revealed to you, and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will remove from him his evil and give him a big reward.
YUSUFALI: Let the women live (in 'iddat) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father's) behalf.
PICKTHAL: Lodge them where ye dwell, according to your wealth, and harass them not so as to straiten life for them. And if they are with child, then spend for them till they bring forth their burden. Then, if they give suck for you, give them their due payment and consult together in kindness; but if ye make difficulties for one another, then let some other woman give suck for him (the father of the child).
SHAKIR: Lodge them where you lodge according to your means, and do not injure them in order that you may straiten them; and if they are pregnant, spend on them until they lay down their burden; then if they suckle for you, give them their recompense and enjoin one another among you to do good; and if you disagree, another (woman) shall suckle for him.
YUSUFALI: Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.
PICKTHAL: Let him who hath abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah hath given him. Allah asketh naught of any soul save that which He hath given it. Allah will vouchsafe, after hardship, ease.
SHAKIR: Let him who has abundance spend out of his abundance and whoever has his means of subsistence straitened to him, let him spend out of that which Allah has given him; Allah does not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent to which He has granted it; Allah brings about ease after difficulty.
YUSUFALI: How many populations that insolently opposed the Command of their Lord and of His messengers, did We not then call to account,- to severe account?- and We imposed on them an exemplary Punishment.
PICKTHAL: And how many a community revolted against the ordinance of its Lord and His messengers, and We called it to a stern account and punished it with dire punishment,
SHAKIR: And how many a town which rebelled against the commandment of its Lord and His messengers, so We called it to account severely and We chastised it (with) a stern chastisement.
YUSUFALI: Then did they taste the evil result of their conduct, and the End of their conduct was Perdition.
PICKTHAL: So that it tasted the ill-effects of its conduct, and the consequence of its conduct was loss.
SHAKIR: So it tasted the evil result of its conduct, and the end of its affair was perdition.
YUSUFALI: Allah has prepared for them a severe Punishment (in the Hereafter). Therefore fear Allah, O ye men of understanding - who have believed!- for Allah hath indeed sent down to you a Message,-
PICKTHAL: Allah hath prepared for them stern punishment; so keep your duty to Allah, O men of understanding! O ye who believe! Now Allah hath sent down unto you a reminder,
SHAKIR: Allah has prepared for them severe chastisement, therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah, O men of understanding who believe! Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder,
YUSUFALI: An Messenger, who rehearses to you the Signs of Allah containing clear explanations, that he may lead forth those who believe and do righteous deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light. And those who believe in Allah and work righteousness, He will admit to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: Allah has indeed granted for them a most excellent Provision.
PICKTHAL: A messenger reciting unto you the revelations of Allah made plain, that He may bring forth those who believe and do good works from darkness unto light. And whosoever believeth in Allah and doeth right, He will bring him into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to abide for ever. Allah hath made good provision for him.
SHAKIR: An Messenger who recites to you the clear communications of Allah so that he may bring forth those who believe and do good deeds from darkness into light; and whoever believes in Allah and does good deeds, He will cause him to enter gardens beneath which rivers now, to abide therein forever, Allah has indeed given him a goodly sustenance.
YUSUFALI: Allah is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge.
PICKTHAL: Allah it is who hath created seven heavens, and of the earth the like thereof. The commandment cometh down among them slowly, that ye may know that Allah is Able to do all things, and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge.
SHAKIR: Allah is He Who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge.