Introduction to Surat An-Nisaa’ (The Women)
Names of the Surah:
1- The Women
The Surah takes its title form the many references to women throughout the Surah. For example, the Almighty Allah says:
And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four… (An-Nisaa’ 4:3)
2- The Longer Surah of Women
Some Scholars call this Surah ‘the longer Surah of women’ as Surat At-Talaq is so called the ‘the shorter surah of women’ as was mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
It was narrated from `Abdullah that the shorter Surah, which speaks of women (At-Talaq), was revealed after Al-Baqarah. (An-Nasa’i)
Is it a Makki or Madani Surah?
It is a Madani Surah that comprises several discourses which were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between the end of (3 A.H.) and the end of (4 A.H.) or the beginning of (5 A.H.). Although it is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations, yet it is possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the commandments and the events mentioned therein and the traditions concerning them.
Subject: Consolidation of the Islamic Community
The main object of this Surah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community, have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.
Topics and Purposes of the Surah:
1- The surah also reflects some of the efforts Islam exerted in bringing into being and protecting the first Muslim community and Islamic society.
2- Just, fair and equitable laws and regulations for the smooth running of family life have been laid down for the husband and wife. Detailed instructions have been given for the division of inheritance and due regard has been paid to the rights of orphans.
3- The surah moves with clear determination to erase all aspects of that ignorant society from which Islam saved the Muslim community.
4- The ways of the purification of mind and body for the offering of prayer have been taught because it plays the most important part in every scheme of moral and social reform.
5- The Surah discusses the rights of orphans, particularly girls, plundered by the very relatives and guardians who were supposed to look after them; what property of theirs was good and valuable being substituted with foul and less valuable things.
6- The establishment of the family on a firm basis coupled with the requirements of human nature, its protection against temporary influences in family and social life.
7- Organizing relations between individuals in the Muslim community so that they are based on mutual care, compassion, honest counsel, justice and benevolence is the subject dealt with by many verses.
8- The surah examines, in detail, the discussion started in the previous two surahs about the successive plots hatched by the Jews against the Muslim community in Madinah.
Sayyed Abu Ala Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.
Sayyid Qutb’s Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an.