& Morphology (الصرف و اللغة)
The word ma‘rūf in the Qur’ān as well as in Arabic has two meanings:
1. the good and the equitable.
2. the norms and customs of a society.
For example, it is said in the Qur’ān that Muslims enjoin the ma‘rūf and
And believing men and women are friends to each other. They enjoin what is
ma‘rūf and forbid what is munkar. (9:71)
Since the word munkar means ‘evil’, one can easily conclude that here the
word ma‘rūf is used in the first meaning ‘good,’ given above.
Similarly, it is said in the Qur’ān that if a Muslim has murdered a Muslim
and if the family of the slain person forgives him, then he should pay Dīyah
(fine) to them according to the ma‘rūf:
Then for whom there has been some remission from his brother, [the
remission] should be followed according to the Ma‘rūf and Dīyat should be
paid with goodness. (2:178)
Here the word ma‘rūf is used in the second meaning ‘custom’ given because
first, the imperative verb used is ittibā‘ (to follow) which collocates with
this meaning and second, the latter part of verse 2:178 (pay it [– the Dīyah
–] with goodness) becomes redundant if the first meaning is thought to be
It is in this second meaning that the word is used all four times that it
occurs in these set of verses. The norms and conventions of a society here
point actually to the good and acceptable norms – those which human nature
and intuition endorse as good.
The way the word ‘الكِتَاب’ is used in 2:235
conclusively shows that here it means ‘law’ – that is the law which denotes
the prescribe time period of Iddat.
3. Usage of
the particle ‘س’
out in the translation, the particle ‘س’ in the
word ‘سَتَذْكُرُونَهُنَّ’ denotes ‘certainty’ and
‘definiteness’. Its usage as a particle of future is not implied here.
II Eloquence & Style (الاساليب
of a Preposition
the preposition of a verb is sometimes suppressed in order to stress the
action the verb denotes. In the expression ‘وَلَا
تَعْزِمُوا عُقْدَةَ النِّكَاحِ’ 2:235, the preposition ‘عَلى’
has been suppressed after the verb ‘تَعْزِمُوا’.
The implied meaning being that a person should not even think of declaring
his decision of marriage until the prescribed waiting period expires.
2. Usage of
classical Arabic, whenever the ‘مَعْدُوْد’ (the
counted object) is ellipsed – whether it be a feminine noun or a masculine
noun – the ‘عَدَد’ (the numeral) may be masculine
or feminine. It is not necessary that it follow the general rule.
Here it is
obvious that the suppressed ‘مَعْدُوْد’ (the
counted object) is ‘اَيَّام’ and, consequently,
even though it is masculine, the ‘عَدَد’ (the
numeral) is not ‘عَشَرَهَ’ as should have been the
case in accordance with the general rule in this regard.
Addressees of ‘عَلَيْكُمْ’
evident that in 2:234 while the addressees of the first ‘عَلَيْكُمْ’
are the guardians of the widow, the addressees of the second ‘عَلَيْكُمْ’
are those men who intend to propose to the widow.
4. Use of
the Verb ‘آتَيْتُمْ’
Arabic language, a verb may be used in various degrees. For example, a verb
may express intention, result or completeness depending upon the context in
which it is used. The verb ‘آتَيْتُمْ’ (2:223), as
pointed by the author in his translation (what you promised) expresses
intention. Consequently, Zamakhsarī points to this usage of ‘آتَيْتُمْ’
by saying: ‘مَا اَرَدْتُمْ اِيْتَاءَهُ’.
III. Exegesis and Explanation
(الشرح و التفسير)
of a Widow
of a widow as 2:234 specifies is four months and ten days. For a divorced
lady it is three months (three menstrual cycles), as stated in 2:228.
has pointed out (ref. 2) that the basic reason for the extended ‘Iddat
period of a widow is to be absolutely certain whether she is pregnant or
not. In case of a divorced lady, the husband has been directed to divorce
her in that period of purity in which sexual intercourse has not taken
place. In such instances three menstrual cycles are enough to determine
pregnancy. Obviously, in case of a widow no such care can be exercised;
hence the ‘Iddat period has been extended to a period after which pregnancy
or a lack of it can be ascertained with certainty.