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Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 26

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"

26. "Impure women are for impure men, and impure men for impure women. Good women are for good men, and good men are for good women; such are innocent of that which they say: For them is forgiveness and a bountiful provision."

Commentary

This verse propounds a general principle and it does not imply that if a man or a woman is good, his or her spouse necessarily is also good, forgiven and is one of the people of the Heaven. For the Holy Qur'an counts faith, piety, and good deed as the criterion, therefore, in spite of the fact that Noah and Lut (a.s.) were pure and faithful, their spouses were evil and Helish.

The Arabic word /tayyib/ means pleasant and nice. In the Qur'an this word has been used in description of property, offspring, discourse, city, spouse, food and sustenance, home, angle, tree, and greeting. Its contrary word is the Qur'anic term /xAbio/ with the sense of: malicious and evil. It has also been used in description of property, man, spouse, speech, deed, and tree.

This verse can be interpreted in different ways:

1. With regard to the previous verses that were about chaste women and the affair of 'Ifk and with regard to the sentence: "... such are innocent of that which they say...", the verse means that the evil words such as calumny and slander are appropriate for malicious people, and pure and nice words are suitable for pure persons.

2. It is possible that the purpose of the verse is intellectual, doctrinal, ethical conformity, so as to say that man and wife must be matching and soft-hued with each other. It means that every person naturally seeks an individual of the same wavelength. In other words, vile persons are after evil ones and on the contrary good persons are after good ones. The verse says:

"Impure women are for impure men, and impure men for impure women. Good women are for good men, and good men are for good women;..."

3. It is possible that the purpose of the verse is stating a religious ordinance, meaning that marriage of good persons with malicious ones is unlawful. It is like the third verse of this Sura, which says: "The fornicator shall not marry save a fornicatress or an idolatress ...". Imam Baqir (a.s.) in a tradition confirms this meaning, too. 32

Therefore, the words 'KhAbithat' and 'KhAbithan' refer to women and men who are unchaste and, on the contrary, the words 'Tayyibat' and 'Tayyiban' refer to chaste women and men, and the purpose of the verse is apparently this. 33

In the end, the verse refers to the recent group that is pure men and women. It is said:

"... such are innocent of that which they say ..."

Therefore Divine pardon and forgiveness as well as valuable sustenance awaits them. The verse concludes:

"... For them is forgiveness and a bountiful provision."

Notes:

32. Majma' ul-Bayan, and Wasa'il-ush-Shi'ah, Vol. 14, p. 337

33. We read in the narrations concerning Nikah (marriage) that some of the companions of Imams sometimes asked about 'KhabIthah' and they were answered negatively. This itself shows that the word 'khAbithah' refers to unchaste women, not evil 'words' or evil 'deeds'.

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