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Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 59

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"

59. "And when the children among you reach puberty then let them ask permission even as those before them used to ask it. Thus does Allah make clear His revelations for you. Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise."


Wet dream is a boundary of reaching the religious puberty.

The Arabic word /hulum/ and the word /'ihtilam/ means to see a wet dream when one is sleeping, and it is one of the signs of puberty. Of course, the signs of puberty for girls and boys are various and they are mentioned in detail in the treatises of authorities of imitation.

In this holy verse the ordinance of those who have reached puberty is mentioned. It says:

"And when the children among you reach puberty then let them ask permission even as those before them used to ask it. …"

The Arabic word /hulum/ means 'intellect' and implies puberty which is usually accompanied with an intellectual and mental mutation. It is sometimes said that the word /hulum/ means 'dream' and 'dreaming', and since, after puberty, the youth see some scenes in dream that cause them ejecting semen, this word has been used to mean puberty ironically.

Anyway,it is understood from this verse that the ordinance for those who have reached puberty is different from those who have not reached this status, because immature children are obligated to take permission only in three times, according to the previous verse, since their life is so mixed with their own parent's that if they want to take permission every time, it will cause them difficulty. Moreover, their sexual feelings are still undeveloped, but according to this verse, which has obliged them to take permission absolutely, matured youth in any condition must take permission every time they go to their parents.

This ordinance is for the place where parents are taking rest, otherwise, entering public room (if there is such a room), especially when others are there and there is nothing to cause problem, needs no permission.

It is also important to mention that the Qur'anic sentence "... even as those before them used to ask it ..." refers to the adults who were obligated to take permission whenever they wanted to enter their parents' room and, in this verse, those who have just reached puberty are like the adults who were enjoined to ask permission.

In order to emphasize and attract the attentions, at the end of the verse, it says:

"... Thus does Allah make clear His revelations for you. Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise."

This is just like the sentence that was at the end of the previous verse, but in that holy verse the word /al'ayat/ (the revelations) was used and in this verse the word /'ayatihi/ (His revelations) is used. However, there is not much difference in their meanings.

Some details about philosophy of taking permission

Only giving heed to executing fixed punishments and flogging wrongdoers is not enough to eradicate a social mischief such as immodest unchaste actions. Such a treatment does not produce a good result in any one of social issues. In fact we must have a package which includes intellectual cultural teachings, which is along with ethical and sentimental rules and correct Islamic teachings, and we must also create a sound social environment and then punishment can be considered as a factor along with them.

Consequently, this holy Sura, which is the Sura of chastity, begins with the act of flogging and punishment of adulterer and adulteress, and covers the issues such as paving ground for a sound marriage, observing Islamic veiling, prohibiting ogling, banning the act of accusing people to unchaste pollution, and, finally, children's taking permission at the time of entering parents' room. This shows that no subtle thing about chastity is ignored in Islam.

Servants must take permission when they want to enter a room in which wife and husband exist. Matured children must take permission when they want to enter such a room, even immature children, who are always with parents, are also taught not to enter the parents' room without permission at least at three special times, (before morning ritual prayer, after night prayer, and at noon time when parents are taking rest).

This is a kind of Islamic politeness which is unfortunately observed less today. Although the holy Qur'an has mentioned it explicitly in the above holy verses, we see that this Islamic ordinance and its philosophy is less discussed in lectures and writings and it is not clear that why this decisive ordinance of the holy Qur'an has been ignored.

Although the verse apparently obligates people to observe this ordinance, even if we suppose that this ordinance is recommended, it must be talked about and its details must be discussed.

Contrary to what some simple-minded individuals, who think that children do make nothing of these issues and servants do not pay attention to them, it is proven that children (let alone adults) are extraordinarily sensitive to this matter and sometime parents' carelessness and children looking at scenes that they must not see, are the source of ethical deviations and even psychical maladies.

We have experimented the individuals who themselves confessed that as a result of the carelessness of their parents to this matter and that they observed them busy having a sexual intercourse those individuals had reached such a stage of sexual stimulation and psychical complex that they felt the enmity of their parents in them, nigh to kill them or perhaps, nigh to commit self-murder.

It is here that the value and magnificent of this Islamic ordinance appears that the issues and matter that scientists have found today, Islam foresighted in its ordinances fourteen centuries ago.

It is also necessary to recommend parents to take these matters earnest and to make their children accustomed to taking permission of entrance. They also must avoid actions, such as sleeping together in a room discerning children sleep, which may excite children as much as possible. You must know that these affairs have got extraordinarily educational effect on children's fate.

It is interesting that there is a tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who said: "Be careful that you do not have sexual intercourse while a child is looking at you from cradle." 120


120. Bihar-ul-'Anwar, Vol. 103, p. 295

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