Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 223
223. " Your women are a tilth for you, so come into your tilth as you will, and forward (good deeds) beforehand for yourselves, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you shall meet Him. And give gladtidings to the believers (O' Muhammad) ."
A Means of Protection for the Human Race
In this verse wives are likened to a tillage. This metaphor about women may seem heavy in the eyes of some people because Islam has stated such a speech upon half of the population of the world. But there is a thin and delicate meaning in this comparison. By this statement, in fact, the Qur'an intends to illustrate the necessity of the existence of women in the human crowd as an essential means of protection and maintenace of humankind, not as a means of quenching the lust and venereal desire.
" Your women are a tilth for you, so come into your tilth as you will, ..." Similar to the need of man for nourishment for the continuance of his life, that without farming and producing food stuff this aim cannot be obtained, the same is for the maintenance of human race wherefore, and as one of the reasons that, the existence of women is needed. This meaning is counted as warning to those who consider women as a toy and a means of sensuality.
"...and forward (good deeds) beforehand for yourselves, ..." This phrase again is, indeed, a hint to this matter that the ideal of sexual intercourse is not a mere pleasure and seeking of enjoyment. Believing persons should utilize the gift of conjugal relations for producing and training good and eligible children which is itself a sacred service as a spiritual supply forwarded beforehand for their own coming life in the Hereafter.
Hence, the Qur'an attracts the attentions to this important fact that, in choosing a wife, observe some principles that lead to developing righteous offsprings and supplying this great social and manly treasure. It is narrated in a tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who has said : "When a person dies, (the continuity of) his deeds ceases except for three (things) : the current charity, the knowledge that be benefited from, and the righteous child who prays for him."
This means that after death there is no deed for a person, so the one can provide no more supply for himself except by means of three things that if the person possesses them, they will be helpful for the mortal after death. These three things are: The first is ' the current charity ', that is the benevolent effects which are always used along the path of social benefits, such as: mosque, hospital, library and the like of them. The second is providing some scientific work, like: compiling a useful book, educating some righteous pupils, and so on. And the third is training some righteous children who, by their tongues and good actions, seek forgiveness for their parents who have passed away.
"...and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you shall meet Him. And give gladtidings to the believers (O' Muhammad) ." Since the subject under discussion (sexual intercourse) is very important and connects with the most attractive instincts of mankind, that is the very sexual instinct, the Lord has invited them to being careful of the problem of venereal association and being attentive to His commandments; so, He says:
"...and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, ..." Then, it attracts their attention to the Resurrection that they will meet their Lord and they will see the fruit of their deeds: "...and know that you will meet Him. ..." Finally, it gives gladtidings to those believing ones who obey these orders, which are useful for both the material and spiritual lives; saying thus:
"... And give gladtidings to the believers (O' Muhammad) ."
Another commentator has rendered the phrase: /qaddimu li anfusikum/ 'and forward (good deeds) beforehand for yourselves' into a rather different dimension of its meaning. This commentary says the phrase mentioned here clearly indicates in every manner or behaviour man should be mindful to see that this move advances something good for him for his future (or the life after death) and that it does not displease God, and a mortal should always remember that his ultimate object is meeting Allah, and this idea contains a good tidings to the believers and a warning to the unbelievers.
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
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