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Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 21 - Slandering Chaste Women Commentary

Adopted from the book: "The Light of the Holy Qur'an - Interpretation of Sura an-Nur" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani & a Group of Muslim Scholars"

Not to follow Satan’s steps for bids filth and evil – Slandering chaste women shall be punished in this world and in the Hereafter

21. “O you who believe! Do not follow the steps of the Satan. And whoever follows the steps of the Satan, then verily he commands indecency and wrong. Had it not been Allah’s grace and His mercy on you, not one of you would have ever been pure. But Allah purifies whom He pleases; and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”

Commentary

The Arabic word /xutuwat/ is the plural form of the word /xutwat/ that means ‘step’. The holy Qur’an has used the phrase /xutuwatis saytan/ (‘the footsteps of the Satan’) when it is the matter of calumny and lust, in order to indicate that Satan encourages man step by step to do some sins.

Though these verses do not follow the subject of ’Ifk, they complete the content of that matter. It is a warning for all believers that evil thoughts and deeds sometimes penetrate gradually and invisibly. If they are not controlled and hindered in their first steps, man will get alerted when the die is cast. Thus when the first temptations of spreading lewdness or any sin get manifest, they must be immediately withstood, so that defilement does not get prevalent.

In the first verse, addressing the believers, it says:

“O you who believe! Do not follow the steps of the Satan. And whoever follows the steps of the Satan, then verily he commands indecency and wrong....”

If ‘Shaytan’ is interpreted into the vast meaning of the word, as any ‘ruinous, felonious, cunning creature’, the extensiveness of this warning in all dimensions of life becomes clear.

A pure and faithful man can never be all of a sudden involved in corruption, but it is done step by step:

First step: hobnobbing and getting familiar with wicked persons

Second step: attending their parties

Third step: thought of sin

Fourth step: committing questionable examples and errors

Fifth step: committing lesser sins

Finally he will do the worst sins and he is just like a person on whom an offender’s yoke is laid and the offender leads him to precipice step by step, so that he falls down and will be ruined. Yes, these are ‘the footsteps of the Satan’.[1]

Then the verse refers to one of the most important Divine favours and blessings which are bestowed on man in the path of guidance. It says:

“... Had it not been Allah’s grace and His mercy on you, not one of you would have ever been pure. But Allah purifies whom He pleases; and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”

Undoubtedly, Divine grace and bless rescue men from defilements, sins and deviations, because He has conferred, on one hand, the gift of intellect and, on the other hand, the grace of the existence of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and ordinances that have been sent down by revelation. Moreover, His special help, and supernatural aids that cover deserving, receptive, and apt men are the most important factors of purification and cleanness.

The Qur’anic holy phrase /manyasa’/, as we have said repeatedly, does not mean unreasonable will and desire, but Allah does not do any guidance and does not confer any grace, unless attempt and exertion is carried out by servants. One who has decided to go this path and tries, Allah will hold his hands, saves him from devils’ temptations and so leads him to the destination.

In other words, Divine grace and bless has sometime religious aspect, that has come forth through mission of prophets, revelation of heavenly books, legalization of ordinances, glad tidings and warnings. And it is sometime genetic or inherent, that comes forth through Divine spiritual helps. The verses in question (out of indication of the sentence ‘man yasha’) mostly concern the second section.

Meanwhile, we must pay attention that the words ‘Zakat’ and ‘Tazkiyah’ originally mean ‘to grow’ and ‘to cause to grow’, but in most cases they have been applied in the sense of: ‘to become clean’ and ‘to clean something’. They may have one root, because no growth and development occurs when evils and corruptions are not got rid of.

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