SAUM AS A PUNIHSMENT
Now let us visit the places in the Quran where Saum is mentioned and find out whether it is an act of reformation or a punishment of hunger and thirst. Please study verse 196 of Surah Al-Baqara carefully.
196 وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
Complete Hajj and Umrah for the sake of Allah. But if you are restrained, then offer whatever you can gather for sacrifice. And refrain from shaving your head until your offering (the sacrificial animal) arrives at its landing-place (Mecca). If someone among you is sick or suffers from a disease of the scalp, his ransom is fasting or charity or sacrifice. Afterwards when you feel safe, perform Umrah followed by Hajj and offer whatever sacrificial animal you can grab with ease. Anyone who cannot afford a sacrifice, he must fast for three days during Hajj and seven days upon returning home. That is ten days in total. This command is only for those who do not reside near the vicinity of Al-Masjid Al-Haraam. And be mindful of Allah and beware that Allah is stern in retaliation. (Traditional translation)
Here is what we learn from traditional translation of this verse.
1. If you are arrested or restrained by enemy during your journey to Mecca for Umrah or Hajj, then ship to Masjid Haraam whatever sacrificial animal you can grab. Do not shave your head until your sacrificial animal reaches Masjid Haraam.
2. But if someone is sick or suffers from a disease of the scalp, he must pay a ransom in the form of fasting or charity or sacrifice.
3. When you feel safe and want to perform Hajj after Umrah, then you must offer sacrifice again. If you cannot afford a sacrificial animal, then fast three days during the Hajj and seven days when you return home. This command is only for those who do not live in the vicinity of Masjid Haraam.
4. Be mindful of Allah and beware that Allah is stern in retaliation.
Now let us study the first command related to a certain situation. Someone left home for Umrah or Hajj but got caught while crossing an enemy’s territory. He is a prisoner now. There are restrictions on his movements. Despite this he is obliged to buy a sacrificial animal with whatever money he possesses. Now he must send this animal to Mecca. Please take a moment to ponder.
1. How will a prisoner buy a sacrificial animal in a hostile country? Will the enemy let him leave the prison to buy an animal for sacrifice?
2. Where will he find the money to buy a camel or cow or ram?
3. Who will arrange for him to purchase a sacrificial animal?
4. Who will transport the animal to Mecca?
5. In the light of present day situations some Ulma say that he would just send money. Is it easy to send money from a hostile country? Would not the prisoner invite additional punishment for trying to smuggle money outside the country?
This interpretation of Islam has been passed to us for the past 1200 years when people used to travel on camels or foot. How would a prisoner in a hostile country fulfill all these commands? If the prisoner becomes sick or has to shave his head due to a disease, he is forced to carry additional burdens. Take the example of someone who suffers from diabetes. Assume he got rash on his scalp and had to shave his head. Now he must do one of the three.
1. Fast. How can a diabetic fast without risking his life?
2. Give his wealth to charity. He is already a prisoner and all his belongings have been taken or confiscated. What can he offer to the charity?
3. Offer sacrifice. He already spent whatever he had in his possession on the sacrificial animal that he shipped to Mecca. How will he buy another sacrificial animal? Some Ulma translate “Nusuk” to mean worship. What is this new worship? He is already performing Namaz? But he cannot perform Hajj or fast or offer anything to charity.
All the above conditions are unacceptable and unworkable for a prisoner. Particularly fasting can prove to be a killer. It could send him to his grave.
“Afterwards when you feel safe, perform Umrah followed by Hajj and offer whatever sacrificial animal you can grab with ease. Anyone who cannot afford a sacrifice, he must fast for three days during Hajj and seven days upon returning home. That is ten days in total.”
There is something fishy about this translation. According to this translation the above command applies only to those folks who do not reside near the vicinity of Masjid Al-Haraam. In other words the outsiders are subject to liabilities and penalties but the local residents of Mecca enjoy total freedom from any obligations. Are the residents of Mecca Allah’s darlings? The reality is that outsiders deserved the ease, not the locals.
Let us study the Arabic words/ terms used in the verse 2:196.
The root of this word is H J J (Ha, Jim, Jim). Many words such as Hajat, Hajaat , Ahtajaj, Mahtaj are derived from this root. All these words have Hajat (need) obvious. This is an action that requires discussion and dialogue and results in meeting the demands or needs of people. Any complaints or protests by people to gain their rights or fulfill their needs fall under this term. This word is a proper noun. People can perform Hajj in a thousand different ways. However, the Hajj mentioned in this verse is a special Hajj (Al-Hajj).
This word is a proper noun as well. Its root is A M R (Ayn, Meem, and Raa). It means to live or spend life or settle down. Whether we live during the times of peace or turbulent, we must obey God’s commandments. Even if we are forced to protest to gain our rights, we must do so without abandoning our commitment to God’s decrees. But we assumed that Lilalah means the way to please Allah. Hence, we converted Al-Hajj and Al-Umra to methods of worship. The truth is that Umra means the life spent peacefully during the times of peace while Hajj means protest to restore or take back rights. Unrest in the society and even rebellion and war fall under this term called Hajj. War is the biggest form of protest. Hence, it is called “Hajj Akbar”.
It is obvious from the next part of this verse that this is not a peaceful setting. It says if you are restrained (فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ). When people are restrained they face turbulent or unfriendly situation. This hostile environment may lead to agitation and protest. Hence, to deal with this situation God command us to take whatever guidance is available (فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ). Al-Hadah too is a proper noun. Our Imams translated it to mean sacrifice. By doing this they have envisioned a God who is thirsty of blood. Hence, shedding blood in God’s name, i.e. sacrificing animals is considered a virtue that brings rewards. Once upon a time wild nations used to slaughter beautiful women and children at the altar to please their gods. The same ritual is still being performed. The only difference is that animals have replaced young women and children.
The root of Al-Hadah is H D Y (Haa, Daal, and Yaa). It means guidance. Those who protest take the risk of arrest. If this happens and you are cut off from the guidance or instructions, then you should act upon whatever guidance you can find. But you must take precautions to keep the enemy in dark about your next steps or the directions of the movement or protest. That is why God commands you to make a circle around your leaders وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ. If enemy learns about the leaders and arrests or restrains them, it could be a severe blow to the movement.
If any disagreement with your leader over the direction of the movement or lack of capabilities upsets you, you should first overcome these obstacles, i.e. acquire capabilities through appropriate training and resolve any differences with your leader.
When some among you are deficient in capabilities (فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا) or you are under fire from you leader (أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ ) because of your deficiency, you should get training to overcome your deficiencies or demonstrate that you are capable of carrying out the task or duties entrusted to you. Many things can cause differences or disputes between followers and the leader. It could be bad mouthing, disobedience, or some disagreement over the strategy. Hence, God commands that there should be no bad mouthing, disobedience, or quarrelling during the protest (Hajj). These are three circumstances that warrant three training sessions or courses during Hajj or protest.
فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ
Hence, whoever does not find guidance he/she has to complete three training sessions to learn how to avoid bad-mouthing, disobedience, and quarrel when there is a disagreement. Additional training sessions will enhance your knowledge, skills, and capabilities. This is indeed good for the whole society.
ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
This command is for those who lack the ability to obey and carry out orders that place restrictions on them. Follow the path of God (Taqawa) and beware that God is severe in retribution.
197 الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
The reasons for the Protest (Hajj) are obvious. If anyone has objections or wants to argue about these reasons, he/she can do so without bad-mouthing, disobedience, and quarrel. And God is aware of whatever good you do. The more good you do is better for you, as all your actions that conform to God’s decrees bring good back to you. Oh, people of knowledge and wisdom, follow and enforce My decrees and commands at all times.
In brief this verse commands us not to indulge in slandering, law breaking, and quarrelling during the Protest. These are the three Siam, which means to guard against these three human weaknesses. Afterwards whatever good we do is known to God. All our actions must conform to God’s decrees or laws at all times. If we do so, we receive in return nothing but good. In other words as we sow, so shall we reap.
Please note that twice these commandments talk about being Conscious of God. First, near the end of the verse 196 we are commanded to conform to God’s decrees (وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ). Next, the people endowed with knowledge and wisdom are commanded to follow God’s decrees or commands at all times (وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ). Obviously, these commands are addressed to the scholars, intellectuals, and leaders of the nation. Hence, Hajj is a gathering of the scholars and leaders, not the public. These scholars and leaders are commanded to conform to God’s decrees while carrying out the duties of Hajj. The more their actions and affairs conform to God’s decrees, the better for them. As a matter of fact all good actions bring good results. These commands are meant for the scholars, intellectuals, and leaders because they will be responsible for the planning and implementing Hajj. But this does not mean the public will be kept in the dark about their rights. However, it is the responsibility of the learned persons to educate the people about their rights. Also, the learned persons are in a better position to convey the voice and concerns of the public to the relevant authorities.
These verses deal with a situation that demands discussion, dialogue, or protest. During the protest people can get surrounded, restrained or imprisoned. As a result tempers can flare and there is risk of disobedience to the leaders. Hence, God commands that if you are in dispute with the leadership, there are three ways to compensate. First get training. If the dispute is due to your lack of capability in certain area, then acquire the capability through training. If that is not possible, do something to prove you are right. If that too is not possible, the leadership can prescribe an action plan for you. Once the protest is over and peace returns, more training sessions may be prescribed for you. Unlike peace Hajj is a state of worry, misery, and protest. Hence, from peace to protest whatever guidance is available follow it. If no guidance is available, then you have to undertake three training sessions. This training will empower you how to avoid bad mouthing, disobedience, and quarrel. These are the training courses mentioned in the next verse.
فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ
Slandering, disobedience, and quarrelling are not allowed during the Protest.
This command indicates that the disobedience mentioned in verse 2:196 was the result of a dispute with the leadership and it had escalated to bad-mouthing or defiance or quarrel. To mend this situation three training courses are prescribed. But there could be more courses once protest is over and peace returns.
SURAH AN-NISA, VERSE 92
92 وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ أَن يَقْتُلَ مُؤْمِنًا إِلَّا خَطَأً ۚ وَمَن قَتَلَ مُؤْمِنًا خَطَأً فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ وَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ إِلَّا أَن يَصَّدَّقُوا ۚ فَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ عَدُوٍّ لَّكُمْ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ وَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُم مِّيثَاقٌ فَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ وَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ تَوْبَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
A believer should never kill a believer. But if a believer kills another believer accidently, his compensations is to free a believing slave and pay a ransom to the family of the victim unless they waive it willingly. If the victim was a believer but belonged to a nation hostile to you, then freeing a believing slave should be enough. If he victim came from a nation that has a treaty with you, then victim’s family should receive a ransom as well as freeing a believing slave is in order. However, if he is not capable of fulfilling the above demands, he should fast for two months as a way of repentance to God. And God is knowledgeable and wise.
This verse deals with a situation where God announces punishment for the killer of a believer (Mumin). The punishment prescribed in this verse seems to apply to both accidental and intentional murder. Prior to this verse we learn about a war situation. We are told that during the war the believers may encounter many types of people. There are some people who make excuses to avoid fighting in the war. These are not our comrades. However, we must put them to trial. If they come forward to support us in the war, then they are our comrades. Others may belong to a nation with whom we have a treaty. If these people do not join us in the war, they can be excuses. Because of the treaty, they are not accountable and cannot be punished. Third type of people claim to be with us. But they also claim allegiance to their own nation. But at the times of trials they fall flat on their bellies. If these folks do not mend their ways, we can hold them accountable and even fight them till they sue for peace. In this background the verse 4:92 comes into play.
Please notice that during the times of war if a believer kills another believer, then there are three ways to deal with the killer. In the first case, he has to free a believing slave only. In the second case he has to free a believing salve as well as pay a ransom to the victim’s family. If the killer is unable to fulfill the above, he must fast for two months. In other words if the killer cannot free a believing slave or pay the ransom to the victim’s family, he must fast for two months. In other words the punishment for committing a murder is just fasting for two month. A killer is given a punishment that is not even enforceable. Who can stop a person from drinking water? When a person visits restroom to answer the call of nature or enters a bathroom or stream to wash his body, nobody can stop him from drinking water. While taking a bath he can gulp enough water to quench his thirst for rest of the day. Once thirst is gone, fasting is no big deal for the killer.
Doubtless, killing another soul is a horrible crime. But first we must determine whether the killing was accidental or intentional. If the killing was an accident, there is no point in imposing a punishment. What the killer needs is reformation so that he would not commit the same mistake again. He needs more training in warfare. Otherwise, he might repeat the same mistake. Here Soam is the training course that helps a believer to avoid killing another believer by mistake. Even modern armies go through intensive training to prevent casualties from friendly fire.
In brief Soam is not stopping eating or drinking. Rather it is training to avoid the situation where a believer might kill his own comrade by mistake during the heat of war. Please note that we used the traditional translation of the verses to prove that Roza or Fasting can never replace Soam.
SURAH AL-MAEDA, VERSE 89
89 لَا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا عَقَّدتُّمُ الْأَيْمَانَ ۖ فَكَفَّارَتُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَةِ مَسَاكِينَ مِنْ أَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُونَ أَهْلِيكُمْ أَوْ كِسْوَتُهُمْ أَوْ تَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ كَفَّارَةُ أَيْمَانِكُمْ إِذَا حَلَفْتُمْ ۚ وَاحْفَظُوا أَيْمَانَكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
God will not hold you accountable for your vain or trivial oaths. But He will certainly take you to task for the oaths that you swear under a treaty. If you break such an oath, the ransom is feeding of ten needy persons with almost the same amount of food you provide for your own family or clothing them or freeing a slave. If you cannot afford the above, then fast for three days. This is the ransom for your sworn oaths. And fulfill your oaths. This is how God clarifies his decrees, so that you might be grateful. (Traditional translation)
This is what we learn from this traditional translation.
1. Vain or trivial oaths are not accountable
2. Only oaths sworn under a treaty are accountable
But there is a ransom for breaking the sworn oaths.
• Feeding ten needy persons or
• Clothing ten needy persons or
• Freeing a salve or
• Fasting for three days
First of all this translation gives a huge relief to the culprit, as it fails to mention any compensation for the other party, which may have suffered losses due to breaking of the oath. Secondly, the punishment is the same regardless of how much loss was inflicted, lesser or greater. Thirdly, the culprit is given even more astonishing relief. If he cannot feed or clothe ten needy people, he can free a slave. Is a human being cheaper than what it costs to feed or clothes ten needy persons? The relief does not stop here. If he is unable to feed or clothe ten needy persons or free a salve, he can do something much easier, i.e. fast for three days. Yes, fast for three days. What a tremendous relief?
Does not this look so easy for someone to get out of all promises and obligations by just staying hungry and thirsty for a few hours? Actually, it is just hunger of a few hours because water is available everywhere to quench the thirst. Doubtless, Soam cannot be a fasting that facilitates breaking of promises under oaths.
The real subject of Surah AL-MAEDA is keeping promises and oaths. This verse deals with breaking promises. People break promises in order to do something that is not permissible to them otherwise. In other words it is about breaking society’s rules and regulations. In the previous verses 87 and 88 we are reminded not to hold back from good things of life that God has made lawful for us. And not to exceed the limits set by God, as He does not like the transgressors. Seek only what God has declared lawful for you. And follow God’s decrees so that you become peace makers. After that the verse 89 states that there is no blame if you fail to fulfill your promise or oath unintentionally. However, you are accountable if you break a promise intentionally. Then, you must do one of the following.
1. Feed and clothe the needy people in the society or
2. Pledge in writing so that you can be held responsible for you actions or
3. Make yourself available for the training so that you become a responsible citizen and avoid actions that harm the state
SURAH AL-MAEDA (THE REPAST), VERSE 95
95 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْتُلُوا الصَّيْدَ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۚ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاءٌ مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ هَدْيًا بَالِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَاكِينَ أَوْ عَدْلُ ذَٰلِكَ صِيَامًا لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِ ۗ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ ۚ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انتِقَامٍ
O ye who believe! Do not hunt animals while you are in the state of Ahram. But if any of you kills an animal intentionally, then the ransom is a similar animal. Two justices among you will decide about the sacrifice to be sent to Kabah. Or the ransom is feeding a needy or fasting as its equivalent, so that he tastes the bitter fruit of his action. God forgives whatever happened in the past. But if someone repeats it, then God will avenge. And God is Mighty Avenger. (Traditional translation)
We learn from the above verse that if someone is in the state of Ahram, he is forbidden to kill an animal. If he violates this command and kills an animal, then he has to pay a ransom. His ransom is to find an animal similar to the one he killed and send it to Kabah for sacrifice. Two justices will examine the animal to make sure it meets the requirement, i.e. it is exactly like the animal he killed. Of course he has the option of feeding a needy person or observing fasting as its equivalent.
It also explains the wisdom behind this decision, which is to punish him for killing an animal by forcing him to kill another animal exactly like the one he killed before. Does this sound like a ransom or punishment? This translation does not explain what animal’s meat will be feed to the needy and who will hunt for it. The absurdity of this translation is obvious. Will we set up a court of two judges to decide whether the bird or animal offered as ransom is exactly like the one the violator killed? Will God personally retaliate if the violator kills another animal intentionally?
Do you think two judges are needed for this type of job? This might make sense only if it involved the murder of a human being. Hence, if repeated, God would personally avenge the murder.
It makes no sense to translate “Antum Hurum” into “when you are in the state of Ahram”. As a matter of fact SURAH AL-MAEDA deals with agreements or contracts. And it highlights the importance of fulfilling our oaths and contracts. That is why the Surah begins with these words.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ
O ye who believe! Fulfill your promises and oaths.
But later the translators wrapped alien meanings around these verses and messed up the real message. They made us believe these verses were about Hajj, a ritual in which the participant removes his clothes and wraps his body in two sheets of cloth called Ahram. Hence, they translate “Antum Hurum” to mean “when you are in the state of Ahram”. What the oaths and contracts or covenants have to do with wearing Ahram? The correct meaning of “Antum Hurum” is “you are bound by”. In other words whatever oaths or promises you have made, you are bound by them.
The verse 95 is all about fulfilling contracts or oaths and the consequences of breaking them. As long as you are bound by the contract (Antum Hurum), you cannot violate any terms of the contract. The Surah mentions restrictions enforced in certain circumstances. The restrictions include imprisonment as well. If someone violates the terms imprisonment, then two honorable judges will decide his fate. As a punishment he has to provide the necessities for the needy persons or undergo a training course for his personal reformation. This training course is termed “Siam”. The same justices will decide about the type and duration of the training course whose purpose is help the trainee avoid committing the same mistake again. But if he repeats the same mistake again, he will receive severe punishment from the authorities. Please remember that the subject of the Surah Al-Maeda is the agreements and contracts between people and nations.
SURAH AL-MUJADALAH (THE PLEADING), VERSE 4
We need to study this verse because according to the traditional translations it mentions fasting for two months. Should we shed tears for the foolishness of the Mufsrin or our own lack of wisdom? We never think twice to realize that the translator’s narrations are totally absurd and irrational.
Our beloved Imams have concocted a story about the revelations of this Surah. It is said that a companion of the Prophet called his wife “My Mom” in a fit of rage. Arabs call this Zahar. His wife visited the Prophet and complained. God was hearing the conversation between the Prophet and the destitute lady. Hence, He revealed this Surah.
3 وَالَّذِينَ يُظَاهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَائِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَاسَّا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
Those who commit the Zahar i.e. call their wives their mothers, utter something baseless. Their wives are not their mothers. Their mothers are only those women who gave birth to them. Hence, what they utter is not true. But after calling their wives their mothers if they want to return back to their wives, then they must free a salve before they can touch their wives again. This is advice for you and God is aware of whatever you do.
4 فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَاسَّا ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَإِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۚ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
If you cannot afford the above, then complete fasting for two months before you can touch your wives again. If it is beyond your capacity, then feed sixty needy people, so that you have faith in God and His apostle. These are God’s limitations. And a horrible punishment is in store for the disbelievers.
The sum and substance of the above verses is that if a person calls his wife his mother. Then, he cannot enjoy intimate relations with his wife unless he fulfills the following conditions.
1. Free a salve or
2. Fast for 2 months or
3. Feed sixty needy people
After we pass beyond the cause of this revelation and the traditional translation of the beginning verses, the subject of the Surah seems to change. The verse 5 indicates that issue under discussion is not a quarrel between a husband and wife. Rather it is a conspiracy against the government or authority. Please ponder over these statements.
5 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ كُبِتُوا كَمَا كُبِتَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ وَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ ۚ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
Those who oppose God and His Messenger, they will face humiliation and annihilation like those who lived before them. And we have revealed clear decrees. And there is severe punishment for the disbelievers.
Obviously, people were not quarrelling with their wives. They were opposing God and His Messenger. And that was not something new. Throughout history people have opposed God and His Messengers.
Please notice that Zahar can turn a person into disbeliever. But a person does not become a disbeliever by calling his wife his mother. Only hostility or conspiracy against God and His Messenger can turn a person into disbeliever. Next God says.
6 يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا ۚ أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
That day they will stand before God and face the charge sheet. God has recorded everything and God is witness to everything though people may forget what they did during their life time.
A time will come when everyone will be help accountable for his/her actions. In the court of God Almighty they will see the whole record of their lives revealed in front of them. And God Himself will be a witness to everything they did during their short lives on the earth.
Next verse (7) confirms that it was indeed a conspiracy against the authorities. Did not you see (Alam Tara)? Obviously, it was something people could see or witness while living on earth. Hence, wherever in the Quran “Alam Tara” is used, it is related to this world. Please ponder over this verse.
7 أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَا أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Are not you aware that God knows all that is in the Heavens and the Earth? It is not possible that three people consult in secret and God not be there as the fourth or five people confer and God will be among them as the sixth. Those who plan in secret be they small or large in number God is always present among them. On the Day of Judgment (Retribution) God will reveal whatever they had done. God has full knowledge of everything. (Traditional translation)
Obviously, it was no quarrel between husband and wife. Rather a secret plot against the Prophet is being revealed. This is made even further clear in the next verse.
8 أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نُهُوا عَنِ النَّجْوَىٰ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا نُهُوا عَنْهُ وَيَتَنَاجَوْنَ بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ الرَّسُولِ وَإِذَا جَاءُوكَ حَيَّوْكَ بِمَا لَمْ يُحَيِّكَ بِهِ اللَّهُ وَيَقُولُونَ فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ لَوْلَا يُعَذِّبُنَا اللَّهُ بِمَا نَقُولُ ۚ حَسْبُهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ يَصْلَوْنَهَا ۖ فَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
Have not you seen those who were warned not to confer in secret? But they keep backsliding. They talk in secret about committing sins, violence, and disobedience to the Prophet. When these folks visit you, they greet you with salutations not condoned by God. When they are with their own kind, they boast why God cannot punish them for what they say. But they are running straight to their final abode, the hell, which is the worst place to live.
The above verse leaves no doubt that the issue of “Zahar” was not about a husband calling his wife “mother”. Rather it was related to secret conspiracies to commit violence or disturbance against the authority. Hence, they were warned not to plot in secret. But they kept backsliding. As a result several forms of punishments were prescribed for them. They included the following.
They were to give a written statement so that they could be held accountable if they backslide again.
They could enroll in a training program for their reformation.
They could take care of needy people.
The above verses contain some words worth pondering. They are “Taamu Miskeen” and “Tahriru Raqabat”. Generally Taam is considered to mean food and drink. In fact it includes all the necessities for a human being, such as food, clothes, home, education, and medical aid. Similarly, “Tahriru Raqabat” is translated to mean freeing a salve. In reality “Tahrir” means something in writing. Hence, Tahriru Raqabat is a written statement that allows authority to take to task the person (or persons) who backslides after writing his promissory note. It can also be used to help someone who is in trouble.
In short it depends how you look at these commandments. If you believe that these commandments are virtuous and workable in all times and spaces, then we can derive the meaning of freeing a slave only if Islam allows slavery. If in no time in history human trafficking or human trade was allowed, then “Tahriru Raqabat” cannot mean to free a slave. On one hand we claim Islam is the most virtuous and civilized religion that promotes nothing but the highest moral values. On the other hand countless barbaric laws and regulations have become part of Islam under the influence of Fiqh and Ahadith. As a result we find nothing civilized or humane in the present day Islam, which our Imams practice and preach.
Some apologists say Muslims are at fault, not the Islam they follow. Do not they know that a religion is known by the people who practice it? Look at the personality and character of today’s Muslims. Can you call them righteous or civilized? Their wild faces and rude looks not only strike terror in children but also frighten adults. There is no country left in the world where these fanatic Muslims have not shed the blood of innocents. What is the cause of this? The answer is that the ideas and teachings poured into their heads present these crimes against humanity to be something very noble.
Muslims are not alone. Virtually, every nation is guilty of crimes against humanity. But gradually other nations overcame their negative ideas and thoughts that promoted violence against others. Sadly, we are still glued to those violent ideas and thoughts, which were never part of the Quran or our True Islam. Since we invented a new fake Islam under the influence of Zoroastrian Imams, we take joy and pride in robbing and killing others. The Islam that Prophet and his companions followed was based on the teachings of the Quran. The focus of this True Islam was human rights, not ritual worship.
The soam mentioned in the Surah Mujadalah is the training for those situations we discussed earlier. In brief this training helps a person to reform his behavior, give up evil ways, and live life according to the teachings of the Quran. The subject of this Surah is “Zahar”, i.e. conspiracies against the Islamic State. Hence, to deal with this situation the conspirators will be offered the opportunity to reform themselves through training that will also teach them obedience to the authority.
THE SOAM OF SYEDA MARYAM
The Quran mentions Soam of Syeda Maryam in Surah Maryam verse 26 as follow.
فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا
Eat, drink, and keep your composure. If you see any human being, say I have pledged a fast for the Most Gracious. Hence, I will not talk to any human being after today. (Traditional translation)
We learn the following things from the above verse.
1. Maryam could eat and drink while she was fasting.
2. Maryam was allowed to speak during her fasting.
3. Maryam observed only one fast and it was a continuous fast, as whenever she saw a human being she was instructed to say that she had vowed a fast for the Most Gracious.
4. Maryam refers her fast to the Most Gracious.
Please note that Maryam’s fast allowed eating and drinking. When we ask our religious gurus about this discrepancy, they respond that fasting in Maryam’s Sharia did not forbid eating and drinking. Instead her Sharia had fasting of speech. But the next part of the verse does not support this argument. It clearly says that if you see a human being, say I have vowed a fast for the Most Gracious. In other words Syda Maryam’s fast allowed her to speak. Did Maryam announce her fast without speech? Our honorable Ulma respond that she might have spoken in gestures. Does that make sense? If she were supposed to communicate in gestures, God Almighty would have certainly commanded her to do likewise. The use of word “Qool” implies that she was commanded to communicate in speech. Moreover, Quran explicitly declares that Siam were mandatory for previous nations as well. Then, why concoct strange stories or come up with such weird interpretations? Do not we know that God never changes His laws? Hence, there should be no difference between the Siam of previous nations and that or ours. God Almighty says:
شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ
He has prescribed for you the same Sharia of Deen that He had ordained to Noah. And the decrees you have received are the same He sent down to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, i.e. uphold the Deen and do not create divisions. (42:13)
Now please observe the behavior of our beloved Ulma (clergy). Do not they demonstrate utter ignorance of the teachings of the Quran by promoting sectarianism and creating divisions among Muslims? They have invented their own countless sharias to compete with One Sharia of Deen in blatant violation of God’s Command. And each Alim proudly follows and promotes sharia of his own sect.
If Maryam was following the same Sharia received by our Prophet, then her fasting was exactly the same as ours. If her fasting allowed her to eat and drink, then our fasting should allow us to eat and drink as well. There should be no difference whatsoever.