Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 234
234. " And those of you who die, and leave widows behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days) ; when they have completed their waiting period, then it is no sin on you for what they do for themselves in a fair manner. And Allah is fully aware of what you do."
Superstition Against Women in Old Times
One of the main problems and basic difficulties for women is their marriage after the death of husband. Since the immediate marriage of the widow with another spouse after the death of her husband often contradicts with affections and keeping the regards of the ex-husband, it is not fitting, with the spirit and sensations of the relatives of the Late, besides that the lack of a child in woman's womb must become certain. So, the above verse has conditioned the remarriage of the widows to keeping themselves in waiting for four months and ten days.
Observing the honour of matrimonial life, even after the death of the spouse, is a natural innate proposition. That is why there have always been some special customs common on this purpose among different tribes. Sometimes in these social traditions, the behaviour has been so excessive that women would become helplessly captured in a manner that sometimes the worst crimes could be committed upon them. For example, in some tribes it was customary to burn the widow; and in some others they would bury her alive with the man.
Some groups of people used to deprive the widows from their remarriage forever and, thus, those kind of widows were isolated thereby.
In some tribes, widows had to stay for a length of time beside their husband's grave inside a black tent and in some dirty shabby clothings, plain and without any ornamentation. They could not even wash themselves during days and nights.
The above verse put an end to all of these superstitions, and, in the meanwhile, it worthily and respectfully supported the principle of observing the honour of matrimonial life by keeping the waiting-period after the death of husband. " And those of you who die, and leave widows behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten (days) ; ..." The Arabic term /tawaffa/, which is used in many occurrences in the Qur'an, means ' to take '; and the term /ba¶r/, which has no past tense form in Arabic, means ' strewing '. So, the verse says the women who lose their husbands have to wait for four months and ten days as waiting-period and abstain from remarriage.
"...when they have completed their waiting period, then it is no sin on you for what they do for themselves in a fair manner. ..." The sense of /buluq-i-'ajal/ refers to the conclusion of the period. This part of the verse indicates that after finishing this length of time, women can remarry everybody they want. The prescribed waiting period of four months and ten days is compulsorily to be observed by a widow whether she had intercourse with the bereaved husband or not. In the case of her being pregnant the maximum prescribed waiting period or the period or the delivery, whichever be the later, should be observed.
Dealing with the divorce and the waiting period, it was appropriate to deal with the question of an out sider overtly or covertly proposing to marry the divorced one. Qur'an says there would be no harm provided the talk does not exceed the limit of modesty and no contract is finalised before the conclusion of the waiting period.
In view of the fact that sometimes concerning guardians hinder the marriage of the widows because of some superstitions and vain imaginations, the verse addresses them and tells them that they have no responsibility in this regard and widows can have their re-wedlock on a proper base with whoever they desire. "... And Allah is fully aware of what you do." The guardians should stand away from interfering in their children's affairs, and know that the Lord is aware of everything, and He recompenses all for their good actions and evil actions.
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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